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       Issue 16, p.1

           The Cross and the Cosmos, Jr
 
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Issue 16
The Cross and the Cosmos

  Issue 16

  ISBN: 9781301023349

  Copyright The Cross and the Cosmos 2013

  Table of Contents----

  Introduction

  by Glyn Shull

  1

  Error: Reference source not found, Part III

  By Johana Rakkav

  3

  Error: Reference source not found

  By Joel Parisi

  21

  Error: Reference source not found

  by Eric Ortlund

  50

  Cover Art courtesy of Scott Richard. You can find more of his work at:

  scottrichard.cghub.com/

  and

  https://rich35211.deviantart.com/

  Introduction

  Greetings and well met!

  Time at last for another action packed episode of the Cross and the Cosmos! This quarter has been beyond exciting, beyond amazing, beyond anything I could have imagined. We have, dear friends, published two, count 'em, two book currently available from Amazon for print and everywhere else for ebooks. Those books are:

  If you have not checked these out yet, then you, my dear readers, are doing yourselves a disservice. What you see before you represents the finest fiction that we have ever produced. I dare say that it is the finest you will ever read(Until we publish again next year). These are authors that you know and love, come back time and again for.

  Frank's daring, crisp style and willingness to go where other Christian authors won't has always brought a certain joy to his writing. In Rebirths, he breaks the barriers again, reminding us that we all have valleys in our lives, and we all struggle with our demons, both new and old. Everything Derke has is taken from him: his life, his family, his faith. When offered a chance to keep his family, he makes what seems to be the only decision, but how will it haunt him?

  In Catalystica, we follow Ratchen, a man well into his mistakes and plagued by demons as well as memories. Betrayed, this man will stop at nothing to get his revenge on the one he once loved. In order to do so, he must gain access to the fabled Lair of Beasts, but he can't do it alone. This gripping tale will keep you entertained through and through. Never a dull moment, this story will not let you go from page 1 till the end. You'll cry with the characters, laugh with them, and, in the end, be sad to see them go. No worries though, GL assures me that here will be more.

  So where can you get your copy? “Rebirths” can be found at:

  and

  https:/sw.createspace.comitle/4283107

  “The Kamanthian Chronicles: Catalystica” can be found at:

  https:/sw.createspace.comitle/4118793

  and

  https:/sw.createspace.comitle/4118793

  And for other news, have you followed us on Facebook, yet? This is where you get all the newest TC2 news, insights, and interaction with myself and my authors. Just search “The Cross and the Cosmos” and give it a go!

  I've kept you long enough! The stories in this issue more than speak for themselves and I expect that you will enjoy them without me spending an hour telling you how amazing they are. The stories speak for themselves.

  God Bless!

  Glyn Shull

  EMBERS

  By Johanan Rakkav

  Part Three

  Alain heard the near-panic in Autumn’s “mental voice” and replied at once.

  “I’ll explain everything when I get home,” he said aloud. “Here and now, I’m in the middle of a very big situation, but I’m all right and among friends. Stand by.”

  Standing by, love. Come home as soon as you can.

  “I will.” By now, a crowd of about two hundred Lightchildren of all ages, men and women and teenagers, had gathered around Alain and his companions in a circle, and many of them were genuflecting on one knee.

  “Hold it. Hold it!” Alain exclaimed with upraised hands. “Stand, all of you, please, and tell me how it is you know of me. You!” he added as he pointed to a tall and lovely blonde with blue eyes. “You’re of the House of Whitestar, aren’t you? I recognize the sigil on your ring.”

  “Yes,” said the woman. “I’m Celeste Whitestar, a descendent of Israel Whitestar the brother of Ranger Nathaniel Whitestar.”

  Alain nodded. Before the Deep Space Fleet was created, special warriors called Ranger Assassins protected mortals and their interests from various hazards on Adami colony worlds. Nathaniel was the first and greatest to be called to the duty. His brother Israel was not a Lightchild, and so carried on the family line. Celeste obviously had been called from the same line in her own time and became a Lightchild herself.

  “Incredible,” Alain went on. “A hundred millennia have passed and your accent in Adamic hardly differs from mine. Your House should be commended for its efforts in fixing the language.”

  “We retain the Imprimatur of the Codex,” said Celeste, referring to the Book of the Covenants, “and using Codex Adamic for comparison, we keep the profane dialect pure as well. Where have you been, Master Alain? Have you returned from beyond the Portal of Light after so very long?”

  “Why do you think I was there?”

  “We know that you disappeared suddenly, ages and ages ago. We could only conclude you returned through the Portal from which you came. Yes, the Hooded Man revealed this much upon your disappearance: both you and the Girl Named after the Moon came from the First Realm, and unlike the rest of us, you two weren’t native to this Realm.”

  “I remember,” Alain said softly. “I learned at the end of that terrible dream,” he added for the sake of the Hegemons, “who I really am—and now I remember who Autumn really is. In actual fact we’re both in the New Heavens and New Earth, as I speak. Here in the Metacosmic Tree we’re but projections—after a fashion.”

  Celeste nodded in understanding. “Mistress Autumn couldn’t bear her grief at your absence, and she begged leave to depart, if possible, to wherever you were. The Hooded Man granted her passage through the Portal of Light, and so we inferred you were beyond it as well.”

  “Well, not on my own timeline I wasn’t—but what happened to me needn’t be told here and now. So, how is it you remember me after all these millennia? I may be a star in the Great Beyond, but I’m far, far from the brightest one.”

  “But you were the brightest star here: the Locus, the Steward, and the Herald of the Hooded Man. You changed everything and everyone you touched without changing yourself—except for the better. Today is the anniversary of your departure from us, and so we fast in memory of what might have been.”

  “What might have been?” Exasperation sharpened Alain's voice. “One hundred millennia since my departure and you still mourn for what might have been!”

  “‘Blessed are those who mourn,’ remember?” Celeste lifted her arms in an all-embracing gesture. “Do you think what stands around you and above you, or what your Sentry now knows of elsewhere, is a great thing? Ours are but lesser works of lesser heirs of the Undying Singer and the Girl Named after the Moon. You two were meant to walk among us forever after your normal span as a Lightchild ended, to guide the Archons and their mortal charges in the good and right way, and to inspire your fellow Lightchildren as no one else can save the Undying Song Himself.”

  “Is this true?” asked Phedali in astonishment.

  Alain sighed and nodded. “Yes. In my own timeline, I alone of the Created knew the secret. Autumn didn’t know it, nor the other Lightchildren, nor yet the Archons. But you learned the secret, didn’t you, in your own timeline?” he added for Celeste’s benefit.

  “Yes, Master Alain. We learned this after Mistress Autumn’s departure.” Celeste gathered herself for a moment. “If I may speak freely?”

  “Of course. You remind me of a Levani I met named Iranna, only you
re gentler,” Alain replied. “You’re a Fe’ni, aren’t you?”

  “Yes, you’re right. Hear me then in my gentleness. The Hooded Man has always said your hubris was not that of King Uzziah of the Codex, who valued himself too much in the Creator’s eyes. No, the truly Metacosmic irony was you became like King Saul, who valued himself too little in the Creator’s eyes. Some Ne’fis think they fear the power and persecution of others, when really they fear their power over others and their own fallibility in wielding such power. Perhaps this fallacy was due to the burdens you bore. Only you can say.”

  Alain said nothing, but fell to his knees without warning, and all the feelings trampled on so heartlessly by the Scorpion for so long a subjective time came welling out of him as he wept shaking with his hands covering his face. Every eye looking upon Alain’s straits shared some of his tears, even those owned by the least sentimental among his onlookers.

  I have forgiven you for your error, said a Voice aimed for Alain’s ears alone, for here you are but a stranger and a sojourner. In the First Realm, I made you holy uncounted ages ago. There you are a Spirit of a Just Man Made Perfect with Power beyond Metacosmic reckoning, and so you need fear nothing in these Realms, not even yourself. I need to know but one thing: will you forgive Aqrav despite himself as I have forgiven you?

  He is very nearly beyond redemption, Lord, Alain replied in his thoughts; his tears began to stop as he did so.

  Very nearly indeed, but I will give him one more chance. If he fails the test and then crosses your path again, you will kill him and send him to the Realm of Judgment. You shall do likewise with his nymphomaniac Young Archon lover. But will you forgive them for your own part, regardless of what they choose?

  Of course I will. How can I refuse the One who took me out of the ash heap so very, very long ago?

  Then return to your own time and space and set the Metacosmic Tree in order. And be prepared for some surprises upon your return, pleasant ones.

  Silence.

  No one spoke as the Lightchild rose to his feet. “I’ve forgotten something else—my manners,” he began. “These are Phedali and Briatynne Arondir: the rightful Hegemons of the world of Aetalnor, the world on which I disappeared so long ago. I’ve just found and rescued them from their own eternal prison.” At his pronouncement, nearly everyone in the audience murmured in amazement. “But this isn’t our place in space-time, and we need to return to when and where we belong, where Autumn still is.”

  “Then,” Celeste asked in surprise, “Mistress Autumn isn’t beyond the Portal of Light, from your timeline’s point of view?”

  “No, she isn’t. That’s one reason this branch of the Tree must be pruned. It shouldn’t have grown in the first place.”

  “How can we do this?” Phedali interrupted. “And what of all the people in the intervening millennia in this timeline? Will we not kill them all, including these people?”

  “Worse, husband: will we not we make them as if they never were?” Briatynne added.

  Strangely in the eyes of the Archons, Celeste and her many companions seemed not at all disturbed by the prospect. Alain nodded in acknowledgement of their understanding.

  “Milord and milady,” he began, and his voice grew stronger as he went on, “Aqrav overcame me in part because he caused me to forget what being the Locus really means. It means, subject to our Lord’s will, everything and everyone in these Realms is but potential reality. It only becomes actual reality when I choose it to be so. I forgot my connection to the Lord and His White Hand which makes such a choice possible. But now I remember who and what I am, and what I can do. Think of it this way: as much as my dark dreams were illusions, so from a certain perspective this is also an illusion. The difference is it’s my illusion, generated by my experience in subjective space-time, and therefore infinitely more powerful than anything Aqrav or any other Illusionist can conjure.”

  “Are we illusions then?” Phedali asked.

  “Circumstances have brought us all together in a way so you all know the truth about who I am and where I came from. And you’re all good people, not evil people. Therefore, on some level you’re not illusions. You have life not only here and now, but somewhere and somewhen, beyond the Metacosmic Tree. I don’t know how and right now, I don’t need to know. What matters is us three getting back to where and when we belong, so the rest of the Metacosmos assumes its intended shape.”

  “Then you can overcome Aqrav when you meet him again?” asked Briatynne.

  “Without a doubt.” Alain had to admire how quickly both Archons had adapted to what they just learned. “Aqrav used my own Shadow powers against me,” and here he touched the Locus’ Ring, “in order to overcome me. I believe it was through another ring bearing the Glyph of Functions; quite likely, he captured you two by the same means. But he could only do it to me because I was focused on my Gift of Foresight, which for me is a Shadow power. Doing so left me wide open to an attack from deeper in the Shadow. When I focus on the Gift of Light, though, I can’t be overcome by the Glyph of Functions or anything else.”

  “But surely he must know this,” Phedali pointed out. “Whatever else Aqrav is, he is far from stupid.”

  “Indeed. But if I understand what the Lord revealed to me privately some minutes ago, Aqrav will flee rather than surrender or die, almost certainly. If he fights me when I return, he won’t stand a chance of winning, and surrender is improbable. But we’ll see.”

  “Who are you speaking of, Master Alain?” Celeste asked.

  “Our jailor: Aqrav the Scorpion, a Hostile Archon who’s about to face a day of reckoning. Please grant me a few moments before we go,” Alain added. “There’s something I must yet do to recover my full strength.”

  “The Chant of Vowels,” Celeste said knowingly.

  “Yes. When Yehawweh created the Old Heavens and the Old Earth, and also the Metacosmic Tree, He did so not by a Big Bang but by a Lost Chord—by singing His Oldest Name. Only the sound envelope so formed can imitate the mathematics of creation. Your people still remember this, Hegemons, as through a glass darkly. Their leader called me Song Incarnate because she sensed unknowingly what I can do with the Oldest Name. When I sing the Chant of Vowels, and then the Rhyme of the Undying Singer—the short version, the one honoring the Hooded Man a tad more and me a tad less—then I truly will become as I’ve ever been.”

  “You already are in the Great Beyond, Mikha’el ben-Avram,” said Celeste reverently, and all the Lightchildren present bowed the knee with her. This time Alain didn’t refuse the gesture.

  Then for the first time in a very long subjective time, Alain Harper the Undying Singer’s lyric tenor voice lifted up in a very special song. The sound seemed to fill the forest around him and all the trees seemed to bend their ears and listen with joy.

  Ieaouoaei… ieaouoaei… ieaouaei…

  Without prompting, Raphael projected vertical panes which acted as high-fidelity speakers, and a subtle orchestral and choral backup began behind Alain’s chant. As he paused in the chant, the choir took it over as normalized in Adamic:

  Ye-ha-wweh… Ye-ha-wweh… Ye-ha-wweh…

  It took Alain time to overcome his own bittersweet tears—but when he did so, his voice began low and soft and soon soared high and loud in the simple melody accompanying these words:

  I walk among the Realms a lonely way

  That leads me to the needy and oppressed.

  “Defend the innocent” is what I say,

  And “be authentic” ever is my quest.

  Where tyrants reign, they tremble at my might,

  And fawning bow, or else they turn to flee;

  Yet in the starry silence of the night,

  They calmly sleep who put their trust in me.

  My Lord and Savior holds me in His hand,

  And nothing can be hidden from His mind;

  And when I need His Light at my command,

  I ask and seek of Him, and so I find.

  As the orchestral a
ccompaniment swelled on the final tonic chord, Alain lifted both hands skyward. His hands became wreathed in white and blue radiance, his clothing turned as white as fresh snow on a clear morning, his hair became like spun gold, and his face shone like the sun overlooking the mountains of Emberland on Aetalnor.

  And then in a melodic-verbal clause growing ever louder as it rose in pitch, Alain sung the seven Words of Command, calling forth his penultimate power over the Metacosmic Tree:

  Let there be Light! Banish the Darkness!

  And as all around him turned into a negative print, the Metacosmos and every Realm in it rang with all the frequencies generated by one note plucked on a perfect string of infinite length.

  * * * * * * * * * *

  Briatynne blinked. “Where are we?”

  “This is the Deep Space Service Courier, the Hind of the Dawn, shortly after Aqrav sealed me away in the Pocket, and we are belowdecks,” Alain replied. “Through my wedding ring, I used Autumn’s location as a target for our transition. She’s on the bridge… and from the sound of it, coming down those spiral stairs as fast as her eager feet can carry her.”

  In moments, the Undying Singer and the Girl Named after the Moon all but threw themselves into each other’s arms.

  “We need to talk,” said Autumn after another very long moment.

 
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