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Kade looks up at his executioner with no fear or hate, watching . . .waiting. At six months old, he could hardly do much more as his grandfather agonizes over the task of taking the life of his only grandson.
Born with the rare ability to control the Divine, Kade has the potential to become one of the most powerful Chosen to ever exist. After a decade of training, Kade learns the harsh reality of the dangerous world he is about to be thrust into, as his Master is brutally murdered right before his eyes. He soon learns he is next.
Judeen glided into the room silently and froze as she watched the Blue Flame of the Divine dance across her father’s hands. The Divine Power made her uncomfortable, and when her father used it, she got knots in her stomach. The way his eyes changed, appearing as though they were large, black marbles while he was using his special gift unnerved her more than she could say.
“Must I extinguish this life?” Zayle asked of no one as he let the flames drift away. He picked up the child and held him at arm’s length while studying him.
“But Father, he is just a baby,” Judeen said as she looked at her child in worry. Zayle startled at her voice.
“Daughter,” Zayle said with a heavy heart, “I understand, but you know how my gift works. You know how the Divine works. If I could change it, I would, but I can’t. I have explained his future to you many times. Do we dare take this chance?” he asked as he agonized over what he must do. “The Divine gift he receives makes him the most powerful among our kind. Judeen, he can draw on unlimited amounts of the Divine, and this makes him too dangerous.”
“You said your gift is not always accurate,” Judeen said as she struggled not to plead.
“What I said was, the future it shows me is not necessarily the one that will come to be. There are many possibilities. The one I see is the one that is most likely, but I have seen others.”
“Others?” Judeen asked hopefully.
“I have seen a future where Kade is not corrupted by the power. Daughter, as much as you dislike the Divine, your son has the potential to be the strongest of us and save our kind, or….” Zayle stopped, not willing to finish for fear of crushing her heart. “Those with great power struggle greatly. He may be too powerful, but he also may be our only hope,” he said as he let out a long sigh and slowly lowered the baby back into the crib. “I have seen futures where he cannot even wield the Divine.”
“Father, are you not able to vanquish this evil yourself?” Judeen asked as she wrapped her arms around herself. For something to be too powerful for her father, one of the most talented Chosen in existence, did not bode well.
“It hides from my gift. It makes no sense,” Zayle said as he spun through the moves for the Divine Fire and studied it closely once again. After a moment, he snapped his hands closed and the blue fire drifted away. The black in his eyes receded like a liquid sliding to the center of his eye and then the normal brown shown through. Zayle ground his teeth hard and his hands were balled into tight fists of anger. “I have to make a choice, and the future I need to see is hidden from me.”
“Father,” Judeen said as she laid a gentle hand on his forearm, “you will do the right thing. I have faith in you,” she said, knowing how much having a grandson meant to him.
She leaned over the crib, kissed her boy on the forehead and then turned to leave her father to his decision. She knew Zayle suffered greatly over this dilemma, but she trusted his judgment…no matter what he decided. She did her best to keep from crying as she walked from the room and turned to the right to walk down the hall. Had she turned left, she would have seen her husband, Garig, standing as still as a statue, taking in everything that was going on.
Zayle studied the child for a long time as he struggled to do what he must. Just when he was certain on the course of action to be taken, he would hesitate with his hands over the crib while looking into those innocent eyes. He hated his gift for showing him what was to come.
He brought the Divine Fire to life again and studied it for several long seconds. He snapped his hands shut and made up his mind. He had his doubts, but if they were to discover the danger that approached, Kade was to be their best chance. Zayle reached for the boy and lifted him once again as he looked deep into his eyes. If he had known Garig was standing in the hall, he would not have spoken, but believing he was alone, he uttered five words that would haunt Garig for the rest of his life.
Five years later…
“Father, it has been too long since your last visit. Why can you not come more often?” Judeen asked as she sat next to Zayle on a bench while the two of them watched Kade play.
“The more contact I have with you, the more I put you in danger. After this visit, the next time I return, it will be for the boy. I have my reasons, but it is imperative that I am very careful. I must be or everything I have worked for will be for naught.”
It was a cruel joke the Divine played on him, giving him a gift that was more like a curse. It tortured him with visions that he did not dare alter. It showed him his daughter suffering terribly while being brutally beaten and he could not change it…not if he wanted her to live. The powerful Master Chosen wished with all his heart that he could keep her safe, but he knew if he altered her future and his grandson’s, they would all suffer a terrible fate. He could not see what the evil was, but he knew his daughter crossed paths with it, and when she did, Kade would be the one to learn of it. For now, he knew he had to trust his gift. He clenched his jaw against the vision of his daughter hanging bruised and beaten at the top of a wooden structure and stood to walk out into the yard.
“How would you like to see something?” Zayle asked.
“What is it?” Kade asked as he looked on in wonder at the man in the long, flowing cloak that brushed the ground as he walked. With a gleam in his eye, Zayle brought the Blue Flame of the Divine to life. Kade’s eyes grew as big as saucers.
“Whoa,” Kade said as he stared in wonder. “Can you do more?”
“I can,” Zayle said, and with that, he gracefully flowed through thirteen moves and threw his hands into the air. There was a bright flash and a deafening thunder as a bolt of Divine Lightning raced skyward.
Kade fell on his backside and stared, wide-eyed. Zayle studied Kade closely. After a moment, a smile slowly crept across his face as he looked lovingly upon his grandson. Kade was like the son he never had. The boy was breathing deeply as his eyes glanced from Zayle’s hand up to the heavens. It only took a moment for the child to grin from ear to ear.
“Can you do it again?” Kade asked excitedly. “Please,” he pleaded. Zayle was more than happy to oblige. For a moment, Zayle reached up and gripped a medallion hanging around his neck. After just a second, he smiled again and then let the lightning fly one after the other. He spun through several more moves and he and the boy vanished from sight.
“He makes me uncomfortable,” Garig said as he slid up to his wife. The image of Zayle holding the baby five years prior sprang into his mind. He pressed his lips together in frustration as he searched the yard for his unseen son and father-in-law.
“Garig, he is my father. He cares for our son. He does. There is more going on than you are aware. You must trust him,” Judeen said as she looked him in the eyes. Garig softened ever so slightly.
“I will trust you. But I do not think I can ever be comfortable with him.”
Judeen stopped as she listened to her father and her son play. It made her heart feel good to hear her father laugh. It rarely happened since mastering his gift. She focused on the sound of her son and her father and a smile spread across her face. Yes, her son would be in good hands. Grandfather and grandson popped into view, startling Garig and Judeen.
“Mother, can I do that?” Kade asked excitedly while pointing to the stranger. Before she could respond, Zayle spoke first.
“Maybe someday I can take you away and train you to be even more powerful than myself,” he said as he knelt down and looked the boy in the eyes. Kade lit up as he turned to plead with his mother. Just as she was about to respond, she froze, seeing a look of sadness in her father’s eyes. Zayle saw his daughter watching him and the sadness vanished to be replaced by a huge smile. “He is a fine young boy.”
“Kade, go play while I talk with Zayle,” Judeen said while giving Kade an affectionate swat on the bottom.
“But mother…,” Kade started to protest until she gave him a look. He shrugged in defeat and turned to go but not before beaming at the stranger and saying, “I want to learn.” And then he was off.
“I will give you two time to talk,” Garig said and turned to leave without waiting for a reply from either.
“Father, why must we keep your identity a secret from him?”
“Judeen,” Zayle said with compassion in his voice. “Daughter, he will make decisions based on that knowledge that will lead to disaster. He must never know. Not until the right time.”
“When is that?”
“I cannot say, but if he were to learn my true identity, it would be a disaster for us all. He must only know me as a master who has agreed to teach him…if he can even learn. The next time I come for him will be on his tenth birthday.”
“You are leaving again? So soon?” Judeen asked, trying hard to hide her sadness. “You have only been here a day. Can’t you stay at least a little longer?”
“I must go. I have no choice. Please,” Zayle said, almost pleading, feeling a hand gripping his heart. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled his daughter into an embrace, holding her while she wept, cursing the Divine with all his being.
Five years later…
Judeen paced for hours the night before Kade’s tenth birthday. She knew her son never forgot the promise given to him by the stranger and that promise was to be fulfilled tomorrow. For different reasons, both mother and child found sleep elusive.
As the sun rose above the trees, there was a knock on the door. Judeen jumped, and without even opening the door, knew who it had to be. Kade raced for the door and flung it open, grinning widely as he looked upon the stranger who had returned as promised. He spun toward his mother with a smile that reached his eyes. Judeen swallowed and put on her bravest face.
“I am glad to see you again,” Judeen said, as she indicated for him to enter. His face showed signs of stress with the sunken cheeks and the haunted look in his eyes. But, when he smiled, it all seemed to melt away.
“I am happy to be back. I made a promise to this young one and I intend on keeping it,” Zayle said as he leaned over to look Kade in the eye. He held his fingers in the shape of a bowl. Soon, there was light glowing in the palm of his hands. Kade’s eyes went wide as his thirst for knowledge kindled a fire in his heart that would never be quenched.
Zayle stayed for most of the day, knowing it would be a long time before he saw his daughter again…if ever. Kade was eager to be on his new adventure as he urged his newfound friend to take him away. Garig was quiet, when he was around.
Against his better judgment, Zayle stayed until the sun was starting to set. Kade never strayed far from the Master Chosen’s side. There was no chance this man was going to get out of the young boy’s sight. Finally, the time came for grandfather and grandson to be on their way. Kade danced from foot to foot as he stood by the front door, eager to be underway.
“Wait for me outside,” Zayle said to the boy, who eagerly shot out the door. Zayle turned to Judeen and wiped a tear off her cheek. He wrapped her in a hug and closed his eyes as he fought his own sadness. He could not bear to tell her it would be their last embrace. Zayle cursed the Divine again and stepped back. He looked into his daughter’s eyes and she shivered as she saw her father melt away to be replaced by a powerful Master Chosen. He reached into his long cloak and pulled an envelope from a hidden pouch, holding it tightly as he spoke.
“There will come a time in the future when Kade will come to see you. You must give this to him. It is imperative or all we have done will be for nothing. You must keep this safe no matter how long it takes. Our future depends on this. Promise me,” Zayle said so intensely that Judeen had to fight the urge to step back.
“I promise,” she said as she gingerly took the envelope as if it might bite.
Garig turned and stormed from the room. This was all he could take. All this man did was bring sadness and suffering to this family. To make matters worse, he was now taking Kade away to study the ways of the Divine. If Zayle had not been so adamant that the boy had very little chance of learning the Divine, he would have flat out refused to allow it at all. But, Judeen was very convincing when she had to be. If he had his way, there would be no such thing as the Divine.
Two years later...
“So this is the boy that saves us?” Jorell asked as she watched Kade work in the field.
“Yes,” Zayle lied. Well, it was only half a lie. He hated that he could not tell her the whole truth but too much depended on things going as planned.
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Allen Johnston is a resident in Lansing, MI. He has a wife that he loves living life with. They share four children that keep life interesting and on edge. He loves aviation and works as an Air Traffic Controller at the Capital City of Michigan. He is full of energy and attacks life with a vengeance. He lives by the motto that anything is possible. When considering learning to fly, he was told that it is not possible to receive a pilot’s license in less than a month by his supervisor, who was also an instructor pilot. Needless to say, he proved that the impossible was, indeed, possible.