The King rejoiced in the company of Ahava and Avidan, coming often among them to instruct them in the ways of wisdom and enjoy the beauty of their song. Oft times the Abir would come as well, yet only when the King was present did they have discourse with the twain, preferring otherwise to merely observe the new-made marvels of the world.
Now it came to pass in that one of the Abir rebelled against the King, seeking all glory for himself. The rebel’s name has ne’er been spoken since that day, and it has perished from all memory, save the King’s. And since that day, he has been known as Deathroot, and his followers are called the Rovinih, those in opposition to the Roni’im. Deathroot entered into the world, seeking to claim it as his own, yet most of all he did wish to destroy Ahava and Avidan’s happiness.
Yet the couple knew none of this, and continued to live in joy and peace. Ahava gave birth to a child, a son. Some say that he was hatched from an eggshell, or delivered by Abir. Other legends tell of a beast that ascended to become a man, or a blossom enclosing a child. But oldest songs claim it was a simple birth, yet without the pain that is the lot of women. The king held the child in his arms, and the Abir sang a song of welcome.
Deathroot saw all, gnashing his teeth. Yet he bided his time.
When the boy was just beginning to walk, Deathroot entered the garden, concealing in his garments a single rose saved from the destruction of his soul. For the Abir have not roses as men do, though their soul is shown in that form. Yet their roses have not thorns, for they bear not the sorrows of men. And at that time the thorns were not sharp, nor did they cause pain. Ahava and Avidan greeted him warmly, seeing nothing strange in an Abir’s visit.
Encouraged by this success, Deathroot returned, again and again, always disappearing when one of the Abir—or the King himself—visited. Under the name Eli, he became close in council with Avidan and Ahava, until—without noticing it—they anticipated his visits with greater joy than the King’s, always seeking his council first. So it came to pass that one day, when their son was chest-high to Avidan, Deathroot sparked his plan.
In those days all the roses were one color—deeper than black, richer than crimson. Known as King’s Heart, they were honored as symbols of his love. Yet Deathroot pulled out his own blossom, having cast illusions to make it shine as gems in the sun. “Wherefore do these things of beauty have thorns, which have no purpose nor cause pleasure. See, mine bears them not, for they are the mark of feeble men.” And he spoke cunningly unto them of heaven’s wonders, of newborn stars and mighty mountains, glistening light and wonders beyond mortal ken. Though all he spoke was true, yet it twisted the yearning of every man—the longing for union with the King—to evil purposes.
Lured by his words, Ahava spoke first. “What must we do?”
“Cast away these thorns. Cut them off, and burn them in the fire. Only then shall you be free.”
Ahava and Avidan followed his decree, and so great was their fall that Ahava guided her son to cut away the thorns, and Avidan gave him the flaming brand to start the fire. At first they knew now what they had done, yet the thorns began sharp, digging into their palms and releasing blood that dripped onto the wood. And the smoke of that fire reached the nostrils of the King.
He knew they were free to make their own choices, yet his anger mixed with sorrow. His tears are not as ours, for though he may appear as a man, his ways are beyond imagining. His tears are spoken of as the Sorrowful Rain, the Storming Cloud, the Mournful Violin and the Crushed Petals. Yet the Abir did not understand his sorrow, nor could they see the joy of hope.
In the garden, Avidan was the first to say what they all knew. “Fools we were, and fools we are, to exchange the glory and blessing of the King for pain.” They were too terrified to seek forgiveness; yet the King did not abandon them. He put on the likeness of a man, for they could no longer see his true form. When he entered the garden, they trembled in fear, but he took the thorns from their hands and stopped the bleeding with rose petals. The boy recovered first, staring up with huge eyes while his parents clung to each other.
The King spoke first, setting his hands on the child’s head. “Seneh.” he named the boy. Thorn. Judgment was passed in the name. He knew their wrong, yet he also knew of their love. “You have attempted to destroy the mark of my favor; therefore you must leave the garden, and can no longer walk with me daily. Henceforth all roses shall bear thorns as a testimony against you.” He said many other things, yet not all were understood, and some were lost. Yet he knelt and kissed them, and with tears in his eyes, ordered the Abir to rent the garden, setting them on a distant shore.
And on that distant shore, Ahava gave birth to her second child, another boy, and named him Mechudash. He was the firstborn of a fallen world, born in unimagined, unanticipated pain, and his birth is a byword for a rewarding but painful event. But there are times where pain brings only more hurt, and no healing at all, at least none that man can see, though there are others who can rejoice at the sight.
All shall be revealed and seen aright in the King’s presence.
Scribe's Note: After the First Tale of Men last week, I discussed some things with Micah, and learned that this story is a essential element of the Feast of Fields, though it is known by a different name. Therefore I share it with you now, before we move on to the next tale.