“Oh God, I have wanted and have tried to do right, to maintain the order; to keep my people on the road to reason and righteousness. You have kept me and my family safe all these years. Until now, you are the only one to have shed blood for me; now I am willing to be or do what you see fit. Protect our Willow, I beg you. ”
Walter Morgan lay flat on his back; looking upward toward God and thoughts came and went about his arm, but his mind never left his daughter. It was indeed gone, but as though it had never been there. He could not be so patient concerning her.
“She was the natural order and it must be given to her!” he cried out.
His eyes drifted to the cavern ceiling and sort of looked through it, as his mind peered through time while summoning back his recollection of his thirteenth birthday. It was then he, just like his beloved little girl, Willow, had embarked upon his newly-found understanding of who he was and what his great responsibility would be to the Neph, as the keeper of the Realm.
“That’s why I buried it here in the first place; so it would be far enough away from me that I couldn’t give it up no matter what the consequences would be.” Then, his father’s voice seemed to invade his thoughts.
“Young man, this is the time to take hold of the Scepter; to let it take hold of you as its protector, its bearer and its crown. It is the sign of the covenant between our kind and the Creator. We were an aberration, Walter, outside the box, not according to the plan, but The King has great tender mercies. He made a way for us to have peace with Him, but only a part of our lot has bowed before the King. It is for that this Scepter was given to us, not as an idol, but as a visible sign of our submission to the one who made the way with his blood. Now, hold out your right arm, Walter.”
“Miss Willow…” Melek saw Willow cross her arms in disgust. “Yes, I mean Willow. You are a persnickety one, aren’t you, but it suits you. Actually Willow, I do not recall your asking me my name, but I could be wrong. We are not perfect creatures. The dark thing we just cast down was once my dear friend, but he chose the way of his master. He is proof enough that we are frail like your kind, and you got the same frailties on both sides.” Melek said in a half-hearted jest.
Willow rolled her eyes and Melek continued. “Anyway, this is not about me. And, you will soon see that the things you shall encounter will make you either a queen of great deeds and service for your kind, or a vassal of a dark ruler who shall never allow you an ounce of freedom.”
“But you said my father was in danger.” Melek nodded his head. “Well, we had better get our cool selves over there then, don’t you think. I have to save my father.” Willow insisted with tears in her eyes. “Father…”
“I’m afraid.” Walter Morgan heard his younger voice travel through his mind again.
“Yes, and it gives me peace to know it too, Walter.” his father said with a positive and victorious voice. “That means you have taken it sincerely, for indeed becoming the Supreme Leader of a countless number of Nephs, of which many are, as of yet, unaware of their difference, is a bold task, my boy. There are many who have never yet sprouted their wings; a phenomenon that no one can explain. And, the number always stays the same, too; one hundred and forty-four thousand, Walter.
“What you are taking hold of and the role you shall now play, to say the least, my son, is no easy task. But, I have great confidence in you. You are a strong one, as will be your kin. Yet, have no confidence in your strength. In that, we are no different than the humans around us. We and they must all trust in God, and to uphold His covenant, which was sealed in pure blood.” Walter recalled the unforgettable expression of pain, determination and fear that overtook his father’s face, at that moment.
“My son, there are only three things that I have determined that I would relinquish my life for. Two of them are your mom and you. Since we lost mom last year that just leaves two huge parts of my life I am prepared to die for.”
Samuel Morgan got down on one knee and peered into his son Walter’s eyes. “You know, I would not even think about it, Walter. If you were in danger, I’d die to preserve your life, without a thought or regret.” Samuel hugged young Walter Morgan and a much older Walter Morgan saw it in his mind as he lay on the cave floor still going over all the things that had brought him to such a low point in his life.
“Walter, I am proud of you and so proud to be your father. Yet, there is one who is over you and over all. It is He who forgave us, transformed us and set us free. To him I can yield all, because I know he can do no wrong and is pure and holy. You can be no less sure of your fate, for trouble shall follow you and you’ll need to know when to make a cry for help…”
Walter opened his eyes and stared, for a moment up at the cave ceiling. His brain told him to move his right arm, but it was gone. He pushed himself up with his left arm and got on his one hand and knees.
“I only get one of these in a lifetime, so I had better make it good!”
He heaved and shook and his skin opened across his back as great shimmering black and purple and blue colored wings unfolded. He rose to his feet and his face began to shine, and he reared back and hurled a deafening cry, heard by no human, but which wailed in the ears of every Neph alive, sprouted or still in hiding.
Throughout every nation, in every city and into the ears of every Neph, Walter Morgan’s cry blasted forth causing some in certain parts of the world awaken in fear and terror while others, in other areas to scream in fear at the sound that no one else around them had heard, including Willow. Many of them instantly sprouted their wings, leaving them in shock.
“Angel, Melak, what was your name again?”
“Miss Willow … whatever! That is how you use that expression, isn’t it?” Willow looked exasperated, but she answered him patiently. “Yes, that was pretty good, in fact.” Melek smiled and was obviously proud of himself.
“You mean the language?”
“No, I mean you humans.”
“Well, it appears,” Willow looked behind her and caught a glimpse of her wings. “I am not exactly … human.”
“That is true, Miss Willow, but you act just like them.”
Willow wondered if that was a compliment or a cut-down. She determined it was a mixture of both. “Anyway, Malachi, I heard my father’s voice come from down below in the caverns. I know them well, but you cannot tell my father. I’ll get grounded for sure if he learns how many times I went wandering around. I certainly don’t want grounded, now that I have wings.”
“Knew every time what?”
“Your father knew where you were every time you escaped without his permission, because I told him.”
“You are such a loser, Meleki!” She smiled because she knew she was getting on his angelic nerves each time she wasted his name.
“It is Melek, quite easy actually, if you just try. That was your father’s voice you heard. He has exercised the rite. As the King of all Nephs, he can hurl one time only.’ Melek looked at Willow who had a very worried look across her face.
“Then, that means he’s in big trouble, doesn’t it, Milton?” In spite of her fear, even Willow laughed.
“I am so happy to be a Watcher.” Melek responded. “That took away any possibility of ever being your father.” They both laughed and leaped into the sky.
“Oh God, I have sought to do what your word told us. I did not do it to find grace with you, because I found that grace through your deeds, and not those of my own. I have sought to please you, but look at me, now.” He thought about Willow and the danger she was in. He remembered his father’s words when he had told Walter he was willing to die for his son. Walter knew he would do no less for his Willow.
“Oh God, I should have been more responsible. My father even warned me about Kassadia.” Walter shouted with tears in his eyes and heard his father’s voice again, in his ears.
“Yet, Walter, my son, even now a new lord of the dark-Hearts has been decreed, this one will grow into the most ruthless and heartless of all the black-Hearts and he shall stop at nothing to get this symbol forged in the same blood as it was with all flesh. He shall seek to corrupt our kind’s peace between God and the Neph. This dark warrior is only different than us because of a plague of darkness, which all humans and all the Neph have as well, except for our faith in the one who cleansed us and who was wounded for us all, which the Dark Hearts have rejected. His name is Kassadia.”
Young Walter Morgan played the name through his mind and it even sounded frightening to him. His face turned a bit ashen and his father saw it.
“Walter, it is OK to be afraid sometimes, and deathly dangerous at others. Fear can be your friend in keeping you on the right path. To fear Him who formed you and pardoned you is the very start of the understanding needed to defeat Kassadia.
“Don’t let the name scare you. It is but a name, and he was not always so … dark. He failed at what you are hoped to achieve, and darkness spread throughout all the land of humans and the Neph. If he wins the Scepter, The Neph will be eliminated.
“As Kassadia’s hand spreads darkness, it will grow and our kind, and those we live amongst will become more and more accustomed to the dark magic of the Dark-Hearts, and the covenant of blood will be abandoned. He will become clever and ready to stop at nothing to get what he wants; your power and your authority, this scepter.
“He will be your greatest adversary with but one call upon his leadership; to wage a never-ending struggle to get to the top where he intends even to defy God, as the master he seeks serves did long ago. It is his unction to get the Golden Scepter and to use it for wickedness.”
Walter Morgan saw his younger self hold out his right arm.
“Walter Morgan, will you uphold the truce with the dark-hearts and will you always seek to be a peacemaker?”
“I … will seek peace with those who can be peaceable.” The boy said with a quivering apprehensive tone. “I will make war with those who seek to break the covenant.”
“Now, my son, take this Scepter from me, as I give it freely without remorse. It has now released my claim, having willed it to you and I now pass it onto you.” Samuel Morgan looked at his son Walter for a moment and smiled and spoke softly.”
“Now, take hold of it and become a man after God’s own heart.”
Young Walter Morgan looked down at the pure golden Scepter his father held out for him to take. The base of the Scepter was round and the precious metal, which was engraved with leaves from the tree of life, shimmered in the light. A long ornate stem, embedded with rubies, and emeralds, rose up from the bottom in a manner that was twisted into a beautiful design that told the bearer of the Scepter that what lay ahead of them was a call of intricacy, uncertainty and reliance on the King of Kings.
On top of the golden stem was a round design that resembled a golden, jewel-incrusted sun flower that had thin, long, golden needles all around the design that naturally drew the eyes to the center of the round top of the Scepter, which held a huge red diamond, the worth of which had to be inestimable. There was an inscription on it that showed the ancient quality of the symbol of peace and power. It read, “Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.” Walter’s father realized how awestruck his son was.
“Yes, Walter, this is the same Scepter that was given to Esther when the King of Assyria chose her to be his queen more than three thousand years ago. She, of course, was no Neph. Yet, she was willing to be the queen of a foreign monarch to save her people from their enemies. Are we not doing the same thing? We are not Watchers. We are not humans. Still for the sake of our people we maintain our secrecy and we only act when called upon for good. Now claim it, and never let it fade away and preserve it.”
Walter’s mind painted the picture before him and he recalled grasping the golden Scepter. He felt like it was almost magnetic as it seemed to pull his hand toward it and the small hairs on his arm leaned forward toward the Scepter.
Walter’s memories showed the young boy reaching out to grasp the scepter. He heard a rumbling sound and he felt the windows rattling a loud pounding sound seemed to fill the whole house. He looked out the window and saw the face of an angry young man, around Walter’s own age, peering inside with a furious expression across his face. He was hitting the windows as hard as he could even though he knew he could not take the scepter in that manner now. His would have to be of a more sinister nature, sometime in the future. Walter recalled his feelings of fear and confusion.
“He is your nemesis, my son. Kassadia is enraged. He is too late, and he knows it, but he will not fail to disrupt your rule, to break the covenant and to rule the Dark Hearts with evil intent and destruction. Son, after lots of study and direct talks with God, I have come to the conclusion that the Dark Hearts are spiritually insane. They should know the could never overcome the maker, lest everything simply cease to be. Yet, they refuse to yield their souls. They hate to be controlled, and they will do anything to win their power back.” Samuel Morgan looked at his son and flat on his back inside a cave underneath an ancient temple, in the land of cave-dwellers, Walter saw it clearly in his mind. The words his father spoke to him in his memory from the past meant more to him now than when he had first heard them.
“Do not try to negotiate, to make; there is no peace to be made with him, for his peace is only for his own selfish ends. Your battle shall never end with him or with his line after him. The battle between light and darkness is an eternal one and you have been entrusted with the battle of the ages. Hold the scepter and rely on your creator, the one who came amongst us and showed us how to live and then gave his life to save ours. That is love, my son. Kassadia will attack you on all sides, but the Branch, he will never give you more than you can handle.”
“I believe you, my father, and I take this upon me to bear the burden of saving the covenant of the Neph.”
Walter’s hand wrapped around the precious golden symbol and he immediately felt its force invade him and fasten itself to Walter’s being. The two, he and the Scepter became as one and each would eventually become dependent on the other.
Walter suddenly felt a sharp, jabbing pain shoot through his back and shoulders. He felt his insides tearing or more like something that had started working for the very first time. He cried out in pain as his bones repositioned themselves and the skin across his upper back tore open and something like feathers unfolded and then, the pain was gone, and Walter Morgan felt them, the wings his father and mother told him he’d one day sprout, which he had always thought was a joke.
“It only hurt for a moment, and then it was gone.” Walter recalled.
“Yes, my son, that was my experience exactly. Tell me, was it worth it?”
“You mean the tearing flesh, my bones being shoved around and feeling these enormous beautiful things crawl out of my back? Yes father, it was worth it and so much more.”
“My daughter? I am going to have a daughter?”
“That’s but a just a detail right now, my son. It only means she will be exceptional in our history. You, take great heed to protect the Scepter well. Wherever you place it, there is where it should be. If you choose to honor another Neph with this gift, you shall be released from its devotion. If it is claimed and taken by another, without your knowledge or agreement, your arm will crumble into sand and over the next twenty days, you shall turn to dust, unless the Scepter is regained. My son, it is a great honor to take on the Golden Scepter. With the privilege comes great responsibility and personal sacrifice to maintain the covenant’s order…”
A sound that resembled twisting metal filled Walter’s ears and his reflections of his childhood were suddenly forced away. He only heard his father’s last words that day as he came back to his present predicament.
“Kassadia must not get the scepter. He must not find it. He must never have the Scepter.”
Beside him, all around him, the Dark-Hearts had surrounded him and were about to assault the King who had once subdued them. He felt his fallen brothers’ presence, even if he could not see them. Then, it was right there, and appeared suddenly in front of Walter Morgan’s face.
“Walter, Walter, we are really going to talk together, but ... later.” Kassadia said mercilessly shaking his head. Walter tried to extend his wings, but something was sprayed into the air and Walter felt like his eyes had weights on them and in spite of his most earnest effort, he was quickly asleep and a prisoner of Kassadia, the prince of the Dark-Hearts. Kassadia looked at Walter and shook his head in pity.
“I really liked your words you spoke to the Maker, Walter. It was all so very touching. I am such a jerk, sometimes; I know that.” Kassadia said out loud as he looked down at Walter Morgan, the Lord of the Nephs, now under his control. “But I like me that way.” He thought he was being a jerk again and laughed loudly.
“I can even recite that last part. Now, what was that?” Kassadia looked down at Walter Morgan, the King of all the Neph and shook his head. Kassadia laughed and mocked Walter and shook Walters’s unconscious body. “Ah yes, I remember, and I’ll say it with all the disrespect I can muster.” Kassadia sarcastically and rebelliously held up the Scepter, smiled and shouted out the words Walter had spoken before God.
“Look at me now!”
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Unknown to Wallace Findings, a one-night stand results in twins. The mother is murdered soon after their birth to cover a hideous crime, which sends Findings on an eighteen year hunt for her murderer. One twin is adopted and welcomed into a wonderful life of plenty and privilege. The other is rejected and left an orphan, in a world without identity or care, facing brutal treatment and sexual abuse. This twin seeks out Findings and his sibling and all those who had abandoned him to carry out a plot of revenge. In the end, Findings discovers his role in a baby for sale scheme in which he and his unknown children were victims.
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Four Lessons For Willow Morgan Part One
by Steven Clark Bradley
& Selin Alicia Bradley
Four Lessons For Willow Morgan Part Two
The Preservation Of The Neph
by Steven Clark Bradley
& Selin Alicia Bradley