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2206 : Window Onto A New World Book I in The Threshold

Chapter VIII – Nous Sommes Du Soleil

By

Christopher Stewart ★ Bookcast Edition – April 2012


Copyright © 2012 by Christopher Stewart

★ All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

★ Bookcast Edition - April 2012

★ This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Chapter VIII

Nous Sommes Du Soleil

« This place shall be known as the Foremost. Nowhere else are my spirits uplifted in such a striking way. In the cold, damp darkness of this cave, I hear the will of the cosmos, and feel like I am one with the light of the stars. » – Excerpted from the Instructions of the Founder of the Luminous on the Preparation of the Temple (translated from the Kõrgi original)


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R

ahu Lüli could hardly believe it . Kasulik Sõber was leading him inside the mountain. The

elder had come to wake him up in person, while most of the other religious were still asleep in the monastery. He would be allowed to enter and finally witness what only a privileged few could experience. He had been chosen to join the initiates. From his studies of the Kirjast, he knew it meant that the Valgustatud, the Enlightened Ones, had selected him to fulfil a task of crucial import, about which he knew nothing. And despite ardent efforts to recall peculiar signs or visions from his recent dreams and meditations, he couldn't guess anything of what would be required of him. He had often discussed the question with Kiire Õppija, with whom he so enjoyed talking, but the girl didn't know any more than him whatever happened beyond the entrance, located higher on the side of the hill. They both knew the inductees were sworn to secrecy under penalties of muteness, amnesia, and in some cases, even paralysis. But that was about the whole extent of their awareness of the matter. The young monk had seen with his own almond-shaped, dark brown eyes some of those who had attempted to disclose the mysteries of the Tähtsaim. First, they had suddenly become confused as they had started to relate their stories. Then, seemingly having great difficulty to utter even a single word, their throats hurting and burning, they had slowly lost their voices, forced to silence for weeks and even quarters on end in some instances. And once their ability to speak had ultimately returned, they had been unable to recollect their visits to the temple. In similar fashion, those who intended to communicate with gestures would lose motility, regaining it only as memories vanished. Just prior to being exposed, drawings and written accounts would incomprehensibly disappear or be destroyed, often by natural causes, regardless of the precautions taken to protect them. Pictures wouldn't come out right, recordings would be irremediably crippled by noise, and devices would generally behave erratically. Remarkable events inevitably occurred whenever somebody would want to reveal what they had discovered in the secluded place. The apprentice didn't have the faintest idea of what awaited him. He knew that successfully discharging the duty the Enlightened Ones had picked out for him would alter his life forever. That was his chance to join the Väljavalitud, the Chosen Ones, the monastics who could come and go in and out of the mountain. The Valgustatud had elected them to uphold the tradition. Respected by all, they were considered the most precious jewels of the cloister. Each and every boy and girl who had painstakingly travelled the long and so exacting way up to the high-perched building to undergo the training aspired to that status. On that otherwise ordinary, grey and cloudy morning, a thin layer of snow was still covering the ground. It seemed to the novice that the coldness was more biting than usual. He mused that he should have kept his hair longer, instead of having it shaved off as most of his cenobite peers. It had The Threshold

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grown back, but just scarcely. The cut made his ears look overly big and wide, but it made him feel part of the community. As his guide and him were getting near the entryway to the sacred site, their warm breath forming little white puffs in the air, the teenager reflected that he had never climbed to this height before. Not only had he been following the rules to the letter and stayed outside, he had avoided taking even a simple peek inside the unguarded hole in the hillside. He had gazed at it from down below, and he had watched the Väljavalitud pass in and out of it, and it had been sufficient to appease his curiosity. –

« Hurry ! Hurry, young boy ! » exclaimed the bald, bearded man, staring from up above at his struggling companion, « we must not delay, the Valgustatud can't begin without us ! » he warned in an amused tone.

The pupil lifted his head to glance up the steep trail and saw the venerable monk turn around and walk out of his field of vision. He wished not to disappoint the elder, but he was exhausted, and the mere thought of taking another step was barely bearable. The relatively brief ascension reminded him of the gruelling journey up to the monastery, and how the deformity to his knee had made the already perilous feat even more demanding. « Hurry ! » Kasulik Sõber shouted again from within the mountainside, « you don't want to be in here all alone, do you ? » he laughed mischievously. Fearing the possibility, Rahu Lüli suddenly felt a burst of energy and found the strength for the ultimate effort he needed to make in order to catch up. He instinctively knew he could trust the learned religious. In his presence, he always experienced that same uplifting sentiment, that distinct impression of being elevated into a safer, more providential world. The Scriptures told that certain individuals were in fact deities, working among the living, assisting them and shielding them from misfortunes. He wasn't sure whether or not his teacher was one such benevolent entity, but no one else in the community better matched the criteria. Reaching the entrance, the apprentice was relieved that his guide had waited for him. But he was mostly amazed to observe that there wasn't much to be observed. They were standing in a dark, unfurnished cave, wherein they had to bend slightly as the ceiling was rather low. Further towards the back of the cramped place, there was even less headroom. Stranger still, the novice couldn't see a way forward. The only exit to the tiny chamber was the one they had gone in through. Manifestly, they were facing a dead-end. And so, after having quickly examined the diminutive enclosed space, he turned to the other monastic with an expression that left no doubt as to his confusion. « It will all become clearer very soon » chuckled the elder, « but first, you must vow never to try to reveal to anyone in the outside world, any aspect, regardless of its importance to you, of what you'll experience beyond this hall » he announced in a grave voice, « should The Threshold

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you break your vow, you will remain unable to communicate any detail of this experience, in any way whatsoever, until you let go of the memories » he added in a similarly solemn manner. The teenager stayed quiet as he recalled the terrifying condition of those who had tried and failed. Having little choice but to resort to the liberation mantra from the Kirjast, they recited it over and over in their mind, day after day after day, hoping for sound to finally come out of their lips. And he couldn't ignore the sad case of Jonnakas Truu, who couldn't move by himself and had to be taken care of by the religious. According to the ancients, the audacious man had declared beforehand that he would not free himself using the esoteric syllables should he suffer from muteness or paralysis. Instead, he would hold on to the recollections, if only to determine the limits of the spell. { I've never heard Jonnakas Truu speak } Rahu Lüli reflected in apprehension.

– – –

« Hurry ! Hurry, young boy ! » once more repeated Kasulik Sõber, chortling again, as the apprentice was silent. « Ahem... okay » tersely accepted the pupil, visibly unsettled. « To take the vow, just say Ma Teen Vanduma » the guide instructed. « Ma... Teen... Van-du-ma » hesitantly uttered the novice, regretful that he hadn't already begun to study the ancestral Kõrgi language, as ever since the instauration of the Uniform Education System most children of the federated countries were receiving the same formal education, which was given in Standard International Ovelian.

As the teenager pronounced the words, the learned monastic smiled optimistically and started to walk towards the back of the cave. As he advanced, his weight seemingly triggered the lowering of the central section of the rough floor which was slowly tilting down at the far end, rumbling noisily. Covering about one third of the width of the narrow chamber and almost all of its length, the ramp was leading to a dimly lit flight of stairs. –

« Follow me ! » emphatically enjoined the teacher as he headed into the tunnel, stopping briefly to glance at his immobile trainee, « hurry ! Hurry, young boy ! » he urged again, before resuming his descent.

Rahu Lüli couldn't think of anything as he went downwards, obsessed by what he would find at the bottom of the spiralling staircase that was taking them further and further into the heart of the mountain. Trying as he might to concentrate he still had no idea of what could be awaiting him, no glimpses, no images, nothing at all, only the awareness of the question, and of himself being unable to focus on an answer. The rumbling echoed once again, and as he guessed that it must have been the temporary passage closing in the distance behind them, he became conscious of the environment at last. He wondered who could have ever constructed such an elaborate stairwell, and how could there be burning torches alongside the walls to light up the way. { Who takes care of the torches ? I've never The Threshold

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noticed anyone bringing oil with them up the hill ! } he pondered, perplexed. He was ever engrossed in practical considerations when a fleeting vision suddenly demanded his attention. He was recognizing the Väljavalitud, all gathered in a large room. And at the same time, chanting became audible, rising from below them, and he could feel they were approaching their destination. « Remember to keep your voice down » whispered the elder, turning to his guest as they neared the few remaining steps, « I will explain whatever unfolds so you can understand what is happening » he ensured in a friendly manner, « don't be afraid to ask me anything if you're in doubt » he ultimately encouraged his pupil. Too impressed to speak, the apprentice simply nodded in agreement as he peered ahead. The vertical corridor was opening on a much more illuminated and slightly broader hall into which they proceeded. « Welcome to the Tähtsaim ! » announced the venerable religious in a softened tone as they reached the entrance of an unexpectedly vast natural underground amphitheater, the novice staying silent, awed by the spectacle offering itself to his eyes, « the first ever Suur Usujuht found this place many, many generations ago » the hazel eyed guide mentioned soon after, « the legend says he used to isolate himself here to meditate and write down the insights that would be thus revealed to him » he continued admiringly, « his writings eventually became what we now know as the Kirjast, the Scriptures » he noted with an appreciative grin. The teenager was listening intently as he gazed at the sensational surroundings. In the middle of the chamber, which was also its lowest point, he could see a circular arena. Its floor was covered in dark rock tiles, except for seven unevenly spaced concentric circles which had been traced in a paler mineral. The inner circle seemed about as big as the height of a tall man, while the widest was almost the same size as the central area itself. Enclosing this stage, he counted a series of seven ascending rows of seats that had been carved directly from the rocky ground. The ceiling was conical in shape and imposingly high, and at its apex it was apparently turning into some sort of narrow cylindrical chimney, or at least that's what it looked like from where he was standing. « He was then instructed to recruit those who would seek him and show interest in his writings » resumed the knowledgeable teacher, « together, they were required to build a monastery, and convert this mountain cave into a temple, following the extraordinarily accurate plans that he had drawn » he went on pensively, « he dedicated his remaining years to the achievement of those endeavours » he finally observed with evident respect. The boy was fascinated by the uncanny location. He was transported by the distinctive, strong yet pleasant perfume wafting from the twenty-two cauldrons of burning oil which were distributed evenly around the upper level of seating, providing more than sufficient lighting for the entire room. The Threshold

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At his feet was a stairway, also cut in the stone, that descended to the arena, and in front of it was a similar staircase leading up to a second door situated diametrically opposite to the vantage point of the two monastics. The amphitheater was thus completely symmetrical, split into identical halves by the flights of stairs. « Before he died » the elder carried on, « having successfully accomplished his duties » he stressed as he glanced at this interlocutor, « he had additional visions compelling him to select the monks and nuns most devoted to their studies, who had mastered the practices and precepts of the Kirjast » he patiently recounted, « and with them, he established the Ühendamist, the Connecting, the ceremony we are attending this morning » Kasulik Sõber declared, « through this ritual, they would be able to foresee the future, and prepare for the coming of other Suur Usujuhtide, and for the eventual advent of the Suurepärane Giid, the Great Master who would have the power to bring lasting peace to the whole world » he ultimately stated. Just as the venerable man was done with the explanation, six nuns and four monks walked into the vast chamber via the distant hallway. The ten religious were dressed in dark purple robes, and each of them held an old-fashioned notebook, made of bound sheets of paper. The chanting still resounded, and the trainee reckoned that it had to echo from where the group had emerged.

« They are the Tõlkiji Luuletajad » whispered the teacher, « they are the ones who write down the revelations of the Kaksikud, and at the end of the rite they will compare their records and compose the official Transcript » he pointed out as each of the purple-robed scribes went their separate ways to sit on their own in the large room. « Who are the Kaksikud ? » asked the pupil, quieting down in mid-sentence, startled by the loudness of his question which he had supposed would be hushed enough, yet, as if the temple had amplified it, it had attracted the attention of some of the transcribers. « Follow me ! » enjoined the guide, indicating the row of seats right below them, « let's sit first » he suggested at once.

Rahu Lüli complied and sat between the elder and the stairs. As he did, he noticed a woman wearing an off-white garment enter through the second doorway. She hastened down the steps and halted in the middle of the stage, in the inner circle. Uniting her hands in front of her, she bent her head slightly, and stood silently for a moment. The apprentice kept watching her, and after a while, the learned monastic resumed his narration, the nun turning to her left and slowly proceeding to the lowest rocky bench in the meantime. « The Kaksikud will follow soon » Kasulik Sõber assured, smiling, « she is the Arbuja, the Soothsayer » he continued in a softened tone, « she will interpret the Transcript based on her impressions during the Connecting » he noted, gazing at the white-robed lady. The Threshold

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Then, quantity of religious, all dressed in the reddish-brown garment traditionally donned by the residents of the cloister, arrived in the amphitheater from both halls. The teenager peered around at the spectators gradually filling up the seating, seeing some familiar faces, and it suddenly occurred to him that he couldn't recognize many of them. Considering that the most advanced members of the community generally tended to be particularly reclusive, he could readily imagine that he still hadn't met a few of them. Yet, he was greatly puzzled by the number of strangers. { Who are they ? Where do they come from ? } he wondered, dumbfounded. « Those are potentials Väljavalitud, just like you are » observed the teacher, « either they have successfully discharged their duties, or they are attending the ceremony in the hopes of gaining clarity regarding how it can be done » he asserted, pausing for an instant as his young student looked at the gathering crowd with curiosity, « in time, some will become Translators, others will replace the Kaksikud, and one of them, maybe you, will take my place as Gatekeeper » he remarked, grinning at the trainee. Captivated by all he was discovering, the boy felt a heightening of sensitivity, his experience seeming more vivid, more real, more meaningful. Scanning the chamber, staring with admiration at everyone and everything, he eventually heard a small bell ring, the high note resounding loudly in the guttiform venue. Soon after, six more nuns and four more monks walked inside the temple from the distant door. Wearing pale yellow robes, they descended the flight of stairs towards the arena, chanting all the while. « The Kaksikud » declared the venerable man in a hushed voice, « the Twins » he clarified immediately, « they're the ones who will convey the revelations of the Enlightened » he stressed solemnly, manifestly deeming the task to be most important, « they will speak in the ancient tongue, and the Tõlkiji Luuletajad will translate as they transcribe what they say » he ultimately announced. Rahu Lüli listened with attention as he witnessed the ten yellow-garbed monastics reach their respective places on the stage. The first one down the steps, a monk, sat in meditation position in the innermost circle. Each Twin who followed him sat on the next available ring of dark stones, in the same posture, facing the center of the room, until the eighth chanter, a nun, went all the way across to seat herself outside the seventh and outermost perimeter marked in paler tiles. Another nun, the ninth Kaksikud, sat near the fourth Twin, a man, in his circle. And finally, the tenth and last religious dressed in yellow, the sixth woman, joined the monk in the middle of the arena. Once in meditation position, she chimed the golden bell she carried with her, and at the distinctive tone the ten sitting cenobites simultaneously stopped their choir. The harmonies echoed under the big conical dome for a while, and then that same nun began talking in Kõrgi. Although he could discern some of the words, the apprentice again wished he had been more familiar with the ancestral language. He turned to the elder, expecting him to explain what was going on and to interpret what the lady was saying, but the The Threshold

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wise guide simply gazed at his pupil, putting his forefinger to his own lips, then to his eye, and then his ear, and the teenager understood he was being instructed to remain silent, and to concentrate on the ritual. As she completed her address, the nun sounded the bell once more. –

« Palun juhtida meid ! » the Twins responded all at the same time, with amazing accuracy, just as a well rehearsed troupe would have.

The boy knew that the group had asked the Enlightened for guidance. And as unanticipated as the spectacle had been up to that point, nothing could have prepared him for what was about to come next. Each at their own pace, the Kaksikud started to levitate and to slowly revolve around the first yellow-robed monastic, as if orbiting the Twin who was floating motionless over the central circle. They all stayed at about two meters from the ground, except for the bell-carrying woman who rose high above everybody else in the amphitheater. Rahu Lüli had heard many accounts of advanced practitioners who, after years and years of dedicated training in seclusion, could levitate at will. But he had never seen anyone actually achieve the feat, and thus he had never really believed such a thing was possible, deciding instead that the stories were meant as incentives for the novices to persevere in their pursuits. And however floored he was by the astonishing sight, he still felt keen to acquire the capacity. Eye-opening in themselves, the demonstrations were the best proofs that his faith was founded after all. { None of the signs I've received before have been that convincing ! } he mused in awe. The young man stared at the Kaksikud as they moved for some while, eventually halting in no specific alignment, at least, not in one he could recognize. Only the one nun watching the assembly from above kept in motion, hovering here and there, as if she were supervising the entire ceremony. Then, some of the Twins uttered short phrases in the ancient tongue, most of them speaking in turn, as if engaged in a dialogue, and sometimes in perfect synchronism with one or more of their peers. Always in rhythm, they all took part in what the apprentice thought was an expertly choreographed, masterfully executed, and oddly inspiring performance. He couldn't make sense of the conversation, yet he very much appreciated the whole scene, and before he could tire of having no idea what the religious were talking about, they all descended back to the rock-tiled surface, retaining their sitting posture, in no particular order, at least, not in one he could recognize. The lady apparently directing the action was the last to return to her original position in the middle of the stage, ringing her bell again as she reached her place. « Aitäh Valgustatud » the Kaksikud replied in another resounding choir. The teenager guessed they had thanked the Enlightened Ones. The conducting woman made one final statement in the ancestral language, and chimed the bell as she finished. The Twins then resumed their intonations, stood up, and retraced their steps up the staircase, following the reverse The Threshold

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sequence in which they had arrived into the arena. As they exited the temple through the door from where they had entered, the purple-garbed Translator Poets gathered and sat nearby the Soothsayer to exchange notes and discuss their transcripts. For an instant, the boy had the impression that the ritual was over. However, the audience remained silent and seated, and so he assumed that further developments awaited him, although he couldn't imagine precisely what lay in store. –

« The Arbuja will be summoning you soon » announced Kasulik Sõber to his pupil, who, realizing what was about to occur, clearly conveyed his apprehensions with a quick glance at his interlocutor, « don't worry » immediately chuckled the Gatekeeper, « just go to her when she invites you, and listen to her » he instructed in a warm, low voice, « you'll do just fine » he ensured with a confident grin.

Calmed to a certain extent by the encouraging words, Rahu Lüli nodded in agreement as he gazed at the huddle of whispering scribes, anticipating his moment. The harmonious chanting echoed under the lofty dome as the minutes passed. He supposed that the nun would tell him the details of the task he had been selected for, and he fancied that it would be something exceptional, something that would set him apart from all the other initiates, something that would necessarily afford him the respect of the entire community. The Tõlkiji Luuletajad quieted down, and the lady robed in white rose and walked to the center of the stage where she joined her hands in front of her, concentrating for a while before addressing the crowd in a solemn manner. –

« Väljavalitud, as you all know, as Arbuja I am able to interpret some of the revelations the Valgustatud offer us via the Kaksikud » the graceful woman began, « but only one of the Suur Usujuhtide, the Great Spiritual Leaders, can completely decipher the rhymes of the Enlightened Ones » she explained pensively, « and only when we are guided by one of those blessed beings is it possible to contact one of the Suurepärane Giidid » she reminded the spectators.

The young monk focused intently on the Soothsayer, increasingly overwhelmed by the feeling that he was about to be thrust into the heart of an adventure that could turn out to be much bigger than him. « This morning, I have good news for you » the Arbuja carried on, « the Valgustatud have good news for us ! » she declared, slightly louder, and in a more cheerful tone, pausing to let the suspense build, « they have informed us that the identity of the next Suur Usujuht has been determined ! » she then affirmed, provoking great agitation in the room, « for many years now, we have been hoping for someone to lead us » the nun mentioned once the reactions had subsided, « most of us were not born when the previous Suur Usujuht left us, but our wishes have not been vain, and our hopes may be about to be fulfilled » she submitted with contagious fervour, and once more, at her statement the assembly had The Threshold

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become excited, the religious looking at one another, many manifesting their contentment audibly while a few others were frowning in misgiving, most of them generally rejoicing at the promising proclamation, « a novice is among us today » the lady observed, staring at the apprentice, « Rahu Lüli, please stand up and join me » she ultimately requested. Startled at first upon hearing his name, the teenager was paralysed by fear. Struggling with himself for a seemingly interminable instant, he finally got up. –

– –

« Hurry ! Hurry, young boy ! » whispered the grinning Gatekeeper, leaning towards his pupil and gently pushing him with one hand, eventually forcing him into motion, « it'll be alright » he assured as the student wearing the traditional reddish-brown clothing climbed down the stairs and limped to the middle of the arena. « Young one, the Valgustatud have asked you to perform a task for them » the Arbuja said as the novice reached her, « if you accept, you'll have to attend the Ühendamist every time we are summoned by the Enlightened, until the details of your mission are clear to you » she went on, smiling comfortingly, « and you'll have to complete this task successfully » she stressed, the apprentice gazing at her with uncertainty, wondering if he should reply immediately or wait for a direct question, and just as he was getting ready to consent, the nun resumed her speech, « if you refuse, you'll be asked to leave the Tähtsaim right away, and never come back unless the Valgustatud require your help again » she insisted in an almost threatening manner. « I accept » tentatively uttered the nervous teenager, noticing that the Soothsayer hadn't anticipated his answer. « Should you fail in your endeavour » the woman continued after a brief hesitation, « you won't have another chance of joining the Chosen Ones in your present incarnation » she warned the boy who was slowly realizing the significance of the unfolding moment, « but you will be allowed to pursue your training at the monastery » she ensured, stopping as if expecting him to respond, but given the effect of his prior intervention, the new initiate had elected to stay silent until the need to talk would be unmistakable, « young man, the Enlightened Ones want you to find the next Suur Usujuht » announced the white-garbed lady in a grave voice, following the slight indecision, « and to arrange for the Väljavalitud to receive the instruction of this Great Leader » she added, once more provoking much exhilaration throughout the audience, « you understand this must take place right here in the Tähtsaim, of course » she lastly reminded the monk.

Upon learning the nature of his challenge, Rahu Lüli had experienced a host of mixed feelings. He was satisfied that the Enlightened had entrusted him with the responsibility, and he could readily recognize its crucial importance. Yet, he was acutely aware of what a possible letdown would mean to the whole community. Could he merely refuse ? Who knew when the monastery would be offered such an exceptional opportunity again ? { I can't just decline and run out. I can't abandon them, they've The Threshold

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taken care of me so generously. I can't refuse ! } he pondered. That was his great occasion to shine, he couldn't miss it. He couldn't disappoint. He couldn't fail. { How hard can it be anyways ? The cloister isn't that big... we're not that many in the community } he reckoned, encouraged. « Before you tell us of your intentions » the Arbuja carried on, « you have to know that you can ask for the advice of any of the Chosen Ones, as you see fit » she informed the novice, « but at all times, you must obey the rules of the Tähtsaim and stay true to your vow, of course » she stipulated, and the apprentice, appearing lost in reflection as if still weighing the implications of his few options, turned to her, and with a quick movement of the head indicated he was willing to proceed, « now, young one, please tell us all gathered here in this incomparable temple, foremost of the world, do you accept to fulfil the duty that the Valgustatud have selected for you ? » she ultimately requested. The teenager already knew what he was going to say, yet he remained quiet a while longer, glancing at Kasulik Sõber as if to obtain his approval. Seeing the joyful elder grin and nod positively in the distance, the pupil could imagine his teacher repeating, { « hurry ! Hurry, young boy ! » } and he finally made his grand declaration, after inhaling deeply. –

« I will not rest until the Väljavalitud receive the instruction of the Suur Usujuht ! » Rahu Lüli affirmed with impressive confidence.

And again, the majority of spectators reacted with excitement to the audacious commitment, whispering to one another, and generally looking delighted that the potential Väljavalitud had taken on the essential assignment with such assurance. –

« It is most auspicious that you should respond to the call of the Valgustatud with such determination » remarked the Soothsayer following a short, surprised silence, « may you successfully discharge your duty ! » she cheerfully wished, « the Väljavalitud rely on you as you can rely on them » she suggested, bowing to the novice, « now, you may return to your place alongside the Värav Hoidja » she concluded, extending her arm gracefully in the direction of the Gatekeeper.

The apprentice joined his hands in front of him, respectfully bowed to the woman, and then hastened to the stairs. Leaving the arena, he watched one of the purple-robed nuns stand up and walk to the inner circle to give a copy of the official Transcript to the Arbuja, and swiftly go back to her seat with the other Translators. He climbed the steps proudly, and sat near the venerable monk who greeted him with a wide smile and an admirative motion of the head. The lady wearing white concentrated for a moment, staring at the manuscript, as the Twins continued their harmonious intonations from outside the amphitheater. Eventually, she began to read The Threshold

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the dialogue of the Valgustatud, identifying each of the Enlightened prior to speaking their lines. –

ÂŤ [Rhea] Prism, O dear Prism, please listen to my plea Prison, this damned prison, overburdening me The Limit is too strong, The Wounded too many This challenge is too long, release I pray of thee [Prism] Eldri will be helping, The Threshold is in sight Before long my dear child you'll be free from your plight Meanwhile do rest assured you will have enough might But if so is your wish I will grant you respite [Hemera] Why is it that Rhea should endure so much pain As if her prior tests had all been passed in vain [Hyperion] Could there be better means to show the way to gain Than prevent and confine and restrict and restrain [Themis] Omni knows his children, of this there's no denial Mistakes he does not make when he creates a trial If she foregoes tension Rhea will pass in style Now please keep observing and make your stay worthwhile [Rhea] Athena, my true friend, bless me with your advice Tell me for which mistake am I paying a price Are Prism's promises merely clever device Illusory comforts to those she would entice [Athena] O Rhea, my pupil, do not give up so close I assure you Prism is not one of your foes [Themis] You'll receive as promised the gifts Omni bestows To believers who pass the tests he does impose

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[Hermes] Opponents are merging in a single unit The Gathering can beat and remove The Limit Listen to your mentor, to your goal do commit And The Congregation will uphold your spirit [Lux] I shall bathe you in light and soothe you with my flares [Erg & Selene] Our fuel we will share to free you from all cares [Athena] I'll make sure that nothing catches you unawares [Hyperion & Hemera] We extend our help like all have offered theirs [Hermes] The Scared are longing for what The Disciples know The Young has already been taken by the flow Will The Catalyst fall prey to the undertow [Themis] The Faithful must be spared, they must reap what they sow [Athena] The Fulcrum has been taught to hear The Adviser [Prism] And The Wise has confirmed, well knowing the latter That this much wretched soul, ensnared by The Hunger Is the poor Erebus, known as The Sinister [Rhea] Mentor, valued mentor, I don't like what I hear Assistance I request, tempted I am by fear Much as I'd like to trust, this part remains unclear What do you mean by close, how far is the frontier [Athena] O Rhea, do not flinch, this time is liminal The Disciples persist, their work will be fruitful Deny the renegade, and sustain The Faithful You soon will reach your aim, be patient beautiful

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[Themis] Place your faith in your guide, this will bring you comfort [Prism] Most factors are in place, that much I can assert [Lux] I shall provide with warmth, so you're spared the effort [Hyperion & Hemera & Erg & Selene] Ask of us anything, much strain we can avert [Prism] The oath that was taken, long ago, is breaking The Limit hard at work, as always, is scheming The Wounded and The Good, selfishly, betraying Even the trusty kin, lovingly, deceiving [Rhea] How come certain beings get away with murder [Themis] No such beings exist, seeder must be reaper Much evil has been done, The Limit will suffer [Rhea] If not, I'll see to it, once this test is over [Athena] O Rhea, dear pupil, by rancour don't be swayed You know better than this, don't go on a crusade Grudges of any kind, only grudger degrade Justice follows its course, just let the game be played [Rhea] I am beside myself, by the test so tensioned Or perhaps I regress, the thought has me frightened [Hemera] What becomes of Rhea, has her wrath been wakened [Hyperion] Such unworthy conduct, is she an enlightened [Themis] Rhea is one of us, don't doubt her worthiness Part of her trial is meant to uproot all meanness The stress she is under, you two should reassess The Threshold

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VIII. Nous Sommes Du Soleil

[Themis & Hermes & Lux & Prism] We consider as grace, what you see as weakness » Rahu Lüli was elated. He was experiencing that same sentiment of elevation which he felt in the presence of his venerable instructor, yet even more acutely. The heightening of the senses was even more pronounced, as if everything had more depth, nuances, and subtleties. He was enraptured by the words, but still, he couldn't decipher their signification. Nevertheless, it seemed to him that none of what he had endured to finally access the magical temple had been in vain. The unhappiness that had caused him to leave his parents, the painful climb to the monastery, the demanding efforts of his spiritual discipline, and even his deformity had lead him to this inconceivable place. { It has all been worthwhile ! All of it ! } he mused, entranced by the beauty of the moment. « [Hermes] Backed by The Catalyst, The Plan that had been sown Before The Gathering, expertly has been grown And so has been The Rift, to the friends unbeknown Before it could exist, the friendship had been thrown [Prism] Be grateful for Eldri, The Wise answered our call To manage settlement and to welcome the haul Now if The Fulcrum choose to surmount the last wall The Gathering will rise, otherwise it will fall [Athena] When The Prophet completes the task undertaken The Instrument will tip towards the one option Which most benefits us, and pleases The Faction Then Rhea can be freed from part of the burden [Erg & Selene] This choice may usher in, should we be triumphant A new era which brings faster development Leaps in technology, all around improvement [Athena] Soon it will be settled, the time is imminent [Hermes] An ear on The Father, The Free are on the rise Clever at devising, but not the best of spies Plotting as to ensure comfort for the allies The Threshold

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VIII. Nous Sommes Du Soleil

Grow at a faster pace, and recover the prize [Prism] Their gaining The Desert can befit The Design But there will be much pain if they're to taste the wine Don't expect The Wounded to just remain supine Yet much relief Rhea can earn from their decline [Hemera] The Free, for a long time, have carried their grievance [Hyperion] And unrelentingly, have prepared their vengeance [Themis] They, despite their evils, must see their allowance Yet loss will be the cost of restoring balance [Athena] The Fulcrum is on course, The Decision is made The Bond has been strengthened, the options have been weighed The Rift has been widened, and the act has been played Duty has been fulfilled, and debt has been repaid [Prism] In place, The Adviser, The Fulcrum will propel Thus now The Gathering, The Limit can expel [Erg & Selene] And so it is settled, your strategy worked well Much praise to you wise one, Athena, you excel [Rhea] Though it's far from over, my guide may you be blessed I'm relieved already, I will sustain this test [Prism] Rhea, you are splendid, Athena, I'm impressed You both are doing great, this much I can attest » – –

« I don't understand » whispered Rahu Lüli, appearing quite perplexed, unable to make any sense of the dialogue. « Shh ! » curtly reacted Kasulik Sõber, barely turning his head towards his pupil, stroking his unkempt, thin, grey goatee as he listened intently to the woman.

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VIII. Nous Sommes Du Soleil

« [Hermes] And away go The Young, The Silent, and The Hurt Along The Catalyst, to harvest The Desert Love they must discover, conflict they must avert To attain The Powers, The Reader must exert [Hyperion] Had they known of their fate, when in that meeting place They surely would have thought that we had planned the case [Hemera] So much significance, in such little a space [Themis] Don't think that it is done, they each have much to face [Erg] The Father and The Great, each other must support And should they be careless, their work could be cut short [Selene] The Silent and The Hurt, also have much to sort [Prism] And their getting along is of crucial import [Prism] The Plan unfolds as hoped, yet much is uncertain So much can happen still before the last curtain Of power, The Fulcrum must fend the attraction If not, then The Hunger will become a prison [Themis] The Devoted believed, they cannot be ignored The Usher must take on the challenge untoward The Faithful trust in us, their loss we can't afford The Prophet did as asked and deserves just reward [Hermes] The Chosen must announce The Quest that is twofold So The Usher can make, as it has been foretold Both Leader and Master, The Devoted behold Will The Witness reveal the way it must unfold »

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The trainee was enthralled by the Soothsayer, who once more remained silent for a moment upon declaiming the final verse, standing still in the inner circle. The audience also kept quiet, as if everyone in the amphitheater had been absorbed in a deep meditation, reflecting on the signification of the conversation of the Valgustatud, while only the harmonies of the Twins resounded under the rocky dome. « Võite lahkuda rahus » eventually announced the white-robed nun, before proceeding slowly to the staircase from which she had originally arrived onto the scene. After the first few steps, the Arbuja hesitated, and then, suddenly turning around, she swiftly walked down and straight across the arena, much to the surprise of the whole assembly. Going up the opposite stairs, she reached the level where Rahu Lüli and Kasulik Sõber were sitting, and offered the Transcript to the novice who accepted it with astonishment. « If you're wise you'll know how to make the best possible use of this » the lady declared cryptically, in a warm, maternal manner. The apprentice watched the woman descend quickly back to the stage, climb up the stairway on the other side, and leave the temple. The ten purple-garbed scribes hurried behind her, and as they disappeared from view, the ring of the small bell crisply echoed one more time, signalling the end of the chanting, and the end of the ritual. The attendees left one by one, some exiting the chamber by the door through which the Tõlkiji Luuletajad had departed, the others via the hall that was located just behind the student and his venerable teacher. Waiting impatiently on his seat, having evidently lost some of his confidence in confusion ever since receiving the document, the teenager hoped that the crowd would soon be gone so his guide could provide some much needed clarifications. – – – –

« What does it mean ? » asked the discomfited boy, holding the manuscript in his hands, once the Tähtsaim was empty. « What does what mean ? » calmly reacted the grinning elder. « The dialogue » the young monk carried on, glancing at the sheets of paper, « I thought the Arbuja would tell us what it means » he remarked, obviously much disappointed. « She doesn't always do » answered the Värav Hoidja, « she doesn't quite know what it means herself sometimes » he revealed with a chuckle, « only a Suur Usujuht knows » he immediately reminded his puzzled pupil, pausing to stare at him, « then again, she gave you the Transcript » the Gatekeeper continued, « maybe that's what it means » he hinted, smiling and indicating the writings.

The trainee looked at his instructor. He didn't know what to make of his last statement. He reflexively directed his gaze to the enigmatic document and began to read, but as he did he started The Threshold

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fearing that his duty probably wouldn't be as simple as he had supposed. – – – – –

« I don't understand » Rahu Lüli admitted, « is the identity of the Great Leader hidden in there ? » he inquired, restless. « Perhaps it is » Kasulik Sõber responded, « perhaps it is not » he added at once, « I don't know » he ultimately commented in a friendly tone. « But if it is not » the upset novice went on, « then why would the Soothsayer give it to me ? » he questioned, manifestly baffled. « I don't know » reiterated the teacher, « perhaps she doesn't know either » he chortled, seemingly not concerned at all with the difficulty his interlocutor was facing. « Wouldn't it be easier to check with everyone at the monastery if they can decipher the verses ? » the increasingly frustrated apprentice wondered after sighing loudly.

Upon hearing the query, the guide opened his eyes wider, as if suddenly realizing that the boy had somehow missed one crucial element. –

– –

– –

« Considering your oath, it might very well be much harder » submitted the experienced religious, the teenager nodding in agreement as he recollected his vow, « and you would be assuming the Suur Usujuht is already among us » he pointed out in the kindliest voice he could. « You mean it's not one of the monks ? » exclaimed the surprised student. « Perhaps it is » the elder replied, « or perhaps it is one of the nuns » he mentioned right away, « or perhaps it is neither » he proposed, this time avoiding to laugh as he sensed his pupil was reaching the limit of his tolerance. « You mean, it could even be one of the laymen who sometimes visit us ? » hazarded the exasperated trainee. « I mean that it could be anybody... in... the whole world » the Värav Hoidja confirmed as tactfully as he could following a tense silence, « it could be any sentient being... in... the whole cosmos » he gravely observed soon after, feeling the building despair of the young man sitting next to him, and seeing it in his expression.

Rahu Lüli remained speechless for a while, progressively filled with consternation as he was finally getting what the Gatekeeper had been trying to convey. Pondering the scope of the task that had been appointed to him, the endeavour he had so confidently and so naively accepted, he rapidly found himself on the brink of breaking into tears. « Don't worry, young boy » Kasulik Sõber reassuringly intervened, putting one hand on the shoulder of the novice, « others have been required to do the same thing in the past, and they have succeeded » he continued in a fatherly fashion, « remember what you have learned from the Kirjast, the Valgustatud will always help you, always » he stressed with The Threshold

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conviction, « we... the Chosen Ones are here to advise you » he lastly offered, in a more relaxed manner. The words of the venerable monastic had somewhat pacified the apprentice. His dismay had been allayed by the support of his teacher, still, he was having a hard time keeping the discouraging thoughts at bay. – –

« But how am I supposed to find him ? » the teenager carried on after a moment. « I'm guessing that not assuming it's a man would be a good start ! » hinted the instructor, chuckling and pausing to let the notion sink in, « how about letting the Enlightened Ones guide you ? » he then suggested.

The student suddenly recalled what the Soothsayer had told him. The details of his mission would come to him as he would attend the rituals. Things would get clearer. And as he regained his composure, his enthusiasm returned. It didn't have to be problematic. He could take it one step at a time. The process could be eye-opening, and for all he knew, it could even be fun. The cloud of gloom slowly dissipating, the pupil became aware again of the papers he was holding, and they reminded him of what had caused his torment. What was he expected to do about the Transcript ? – –

– – – –

« What would you do with the manuscript if you were me ? » the clever trainee inquired after some deliberation. « Good ! » reacted the grinning Gatekeeper, « you're being wiser already ! » he chortled before considering the question, « if I were you... I would put it in a safe place until I was certain what to do with it ! » he hazarded, laughing softly. « Makes sense » Rahu Lüli eventually approved, resigning himself to the idea although he would have liked to receive more substantial direction, « here, you take it » he declared right away, smiling proudly as he handed the document to the astonished elder, « there's no point in taking it back with me anyhow » he reasoned decisively. « If you say so » responded the jolly religious once the surprise had subsided, consenting to the assignment. « I think I better learn Kõrgi now » the novice cheerfully submitted, visibly relieved. « Excellent ! » Kasulik Sõber exclaimed, « I'll show you where to begin ! » he added with excitement as he rose from his seat. « Okay ! » playfully agreed the apprentice.

The teenager also stood up, and the two monks promptly exited the Tähtsaim.

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About the Series

A

t the turn of the century, Ovel must face the consequences of its accelerated growth. One

hundred and twenty seven federated countries and eleven sovereign nations, spread across the homeland and in colonies settled onboard orbiting stations and on a nearby planet. Fourteen billion inhabitants struggling to thrive under the rule of a corrupted Global Government, in power for over forty years. Fuelled by a recent scientific finding, the once in a lifetime discovery of a discontinuity in the cosmic fabric of the neighbouring space, a coalition of politicians is willing to stand up for the people and radically change things. Now relegated to the ranks of an obscure sect, the once dominant Community and its disciples must effectively handle the requirements of the Celestials to ensure that the most favourable of all possible destinies comes to pass. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, a young monk must learn to collaborate with the Enlightened Ones in order to successfully discharge the essential task he has accepted to fulfil in behalf of his monastery. Will the crucial 2206 electoral campaign climax on the emergence of a charismatic Progressive leader, or will the decried Chancellor prevail despite the many forces scheming for his downfall ? On a background of environmental and financial crises, and religious influences intertwining with political manoeuvres to determine the fate of the overpopulated orb, The Threshold chronicles the evolution of the Ovelian civilization as it heads towards unprecedented upheaval.

★ Contact Facebook Profile : https://www.facebook.com/the.threshold.2206 Google Plus Profile : https://plus.google.com/u/0/104660427672333556879

★ The Complete Edition of The Threshold - 2206 : Window Onto A New World is available in the following locations Kindle Format on Amazon ePub Format on Lulu


About the Author

C

hristopher Stewart loves to try his hand at various artistic endeavours, but if there's one discipline he's perfecting, it must be the art of blooming late.

He has studied for a long time, played football even longer, spent a significant part of his adult life developing software on a full-time basis and invested what remained in the pursuit of his ideal of creating meaningful music in the context of a rock ensemble. He has founded the prolific yet still album-less Quebec-based progressive rock outfit Poligraf in 1998 and has never been quite the same since. He has been practising Buddhism dead-seriously since the mid 90s, until he finally awakened to the fact that it teaches living happiness. His interests range from psychology, physics, and philosophy, to mysticism, divination, the arts and the creative process, and, obviously, multitasking and clichés. Pick any task, tag it with the word « impossible, » assign it to him, and he’ll be hard at work for years before the first suspicion finally pops in his mind.

★ Contact Email : christopher.stewart@gmail.com Facebook Profile : https://www.facebook.com/christopher.andrew.stewart Google Plus Profile : https://plus.google.com/114005406455037130049 Twitter Profile : https://twitter.com/poligraf

★ Also Available as eBooks On the Meaning of Sin


Credits Chapter Titles The titles are meant as a tribute to the musicians. Special thanks to the members of Yes for their musical genius, and to Jon Anderson in particular for sharing his vision with the world. Fonts Linux Libertine : http://www.linuxlibertine.org/ Vollkorn : http://friedrichalthausen.de/ Philosopher : http://jovanny.ru/ BorisBlackBoxx : http://manfred-klein.ina-mar.com/ Quirkus : http://www.peter-wiegel.de/ Ubuntu : http://font.ubuntu.com/ Liberation : from the Fedora Linux Distribution : http://fedoraproject.org/ Images Etter Studio : Ama Dablam and Imja valley seen from the same photo point in 2007 Cfynn : Tachog Temple Software Open Office : http://www.openoffice.org/ FreeMind : http://freemind.sourceforge.net/ The Timeline Project : http://thetimelineproj.sourceforge.net/ Gimp : http://www.gimp.org/ Blender : http://www.blender.org/ References Most of my book design questions have found an answer on Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer : http://www.thebookdesigner.com/

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The Threshold Bookcast : Chapter 8 – Nous Sommes Du Soleil