Prologue: The Tale of Golden
As the radiant sun gradually submerged into the cool waters of the deep, the twinkling lights of the night began illuminating the sky with unbelievable fascination. The vast sky began producing minuscule stars in various locations. Gradually, more magnificent stars began filling every dark and desolate space - every nook and cranny - that was available for them. When the sky had finished giving birth to its stars, the heavens seemed like a wondrous ball of indescribable beauty. The moon was beginning to awaken, revealing itself from the veil of clouds that it was hiding in. Taking the place of the drained sun, it prepared to shed its glory upon the dark and solemn earth.
Upon the dark earth, there laid a fair city on top of a high and impressive mountain. This city was named Golden. Despite its simplistic name, the city of Golden had a remarkable beginning. This is the incredible tale of Golden:
Since the beginning of time, men envisioned the idea of world peace. From then on, men have attempted to achieve and secure this peace in a corrupt world filled with unspeakable evil. However, each attempt led to failure, and the results of these failures led to terrible outcomes. Such failure led to the cruel idea of dictatorship. The founding fathers of Golden lived in a land under such tyrannical system. Day in and day out, they sought desperately to end the oppression in their land. To achieve their desire of freedom, they secretly plotted the assassination of their dictatorial king. The plan turned out to be a success. The king was slain and never heard from again. When news of the assassination reached the ears of the oppressed people, they cheered and shouted for joy. The men who took part in the assassination were praised and exalted with gifts and shrines from their people, and this lasted for about a week. However, the forefathers' dream of freedom was short-lived. Within a few weeks after the murder, the people of the land were thrown into a panic. Without a leader among them, the people figured that order could not be restored and chaos was bound to roam. The founding fathers of Golden were labeled as traitors and were horrendously mocked and scorned by their fellow kin. The seething hatred against these "traitors" was so great that the people decided to banish the forefathers from their land, and they were never to return. Deeply grieved by the treatment of their kin, the forefathers acquiesced to their peoples' will and left in search for a new refuge that would offer them safety and peace. For months, the forefathers searched for their new home, but there was no such place for them. Wild beasts and dangerous savages roamed everywhere as they went, threatening to kill the forefathers whenever they crossed paths. Seeing that it was hopeless to find such a place, the forefathers agreed to give themselves up to the beasts and savages of the earth.
It was then, in the complete absence of faith, hope, and optimism, that a light suddenly dawned from above upon the forefathers. It was the Divine Being, the God of the forefathers, who appeared in the light. The forefathers fell to the ground and shielded their eyes from His awesome presence. The men had no idea what was happening, and they became frightened.
"Do not be discouraged children! It is I, the Divine Being, who has come to reassure you that you will not die on this barren and wasted land. I will surely guide you to your new home. Look in the distance! See that mountain?" The Divine Being thunderously said. The men turned their faces away from the Divine Being's presence and looked into the distance, as he had commanded them. Suddenly, their eyes spotted a majestic mountain that reached to the sky.
"Do you not see the mountain? That is your home, your refuge. So do not weep or moan any longer! For I have provided you a home that will surely protect you and keep you away from harm. Arise now, my children, and go to the mountain, and you shall surely be blessed all the days of your life!" And with that, the Divine Being disappeared, along with the blinding light. The men got up from the ground and stared at the great mountain that loomed in the distance. Surely this was no hallucination. Their god had spoken to them and ordered them to go to this mountain. There, they would find solace and enjoy all the days of their lives. Surely, they thought, no beasts or savages awaited them at the top of the mountain. At these comfortable and reassuring thoughts, the men regained their confidence and strength. No longer did they feel weak and helpless. Rather, they felt courageous and determined to achieve their long desired freedom. However, at a sudden and uncomfortable thought their minds were stricken with fear. The men knew that a trek to the top would greatly test their strength and willpower. Some men had lost faith and hope in the Divine Being, believing that it was impossible to climb a mountain of such unfathomable size. Nevertheless, the men gazed upon their future refuge, their only beacon of hope left. Having come so close to achieving their goal, nothing could possibly rob the men of their freedom. Without hesitation, the men boldly ventured upon the dangerous journey.
For two days, the men climbed the mountain. Those few who had lost faith earlier in the Divine Being died from either dehydration or falling to their death. With blood, sweat, and tears dripping from their worn and weary bodies, the courageous men who were still alive continued to climb regardless of whatever ill fortune awaited them. Finally, their refuge was coming into sight. As the exhausted men climbed, a constant supply of adrenaline pumped through their veins to keep them awake. Knowing that the end of their long journey was near, their hearts began to race with excitement.
When the few who survived the challenge took there first steps on the unfamiliar terrain, an overwhelming feeling of relief and happiness swept over them like a warm blanket. As the men looked upon the land, they became captivated by its rich beauty. They were astounded to see that life had already existed on such a high mountain and wondered how it was possible. Plants of all different assortments and colors covered every inch of ground. Species of animals that the men had never seen before roamed the vast and beautiful land. Crystal water flowed innocently between the cracks and crevices of the earth. Some of the men looked at the enchanted land with disbelief, assuming that they were seeing mere hallucinations. But no matter how many times those men rubbed their eyes, their view of the land did not change. It was then that they finally accepted the reality. Laughing and smiling, the men rolled on the luscious green grass and pranced around like children. Never had they been more happier in their lives.
As the men explored their new land, they found the source of water; a large pool that looked like a sea of pure glass, as if you could walk on it. It was there that the forefathers decided to consecrate their land. Having seen enough of the land's splendor and magnificence, the forefathers took off their clothes and laid them before the pool. Then they laid on their stomachs and began kissing the ground with their lips. With tears of overwhelming joy, they consecrated their realm in an act of honor to the Divine Being, who had provided them their refuge, and to the men who perished on the journey. Out of deep gratitude the men created a shrine using the natural resources that the land provided them with.
As the months went by, the men learned how to live in harmony with the land. The forefathers sewed fig leaves together to make new clothing. The forefathers created homes using the sturdy trees that surrounded them. When food became scarce, the men dug paths in the earth for the crystal water so that it would irrigate the plants that they grew. At the end of each day, the men would go to the place of consecration and bow to the shrine, giving thanks to the Divine Being for graciously granting them a new day of blissful life. Then they would scoop a handful of the clear water and wash their face and hands in an act of reverence to their god.
As the men became accustomed to living in such an abundant and rich land full of mystical wonders, they began to forget about the importance of their treatment to the land. Seeing that there was practically an unlimited supply of natural resources to harness, the forefathers became corrupt with greed and malice. Their minds spoke nothing more than evil; seeking to fulfill their selfish pleasures despite any and all cost. In an attempt to increase their living spaces, the men began chopping down trees by the dozen everyday. Thousands of innocent creatures lost their humble habitats as the proud men cut down any tree they saw. They wasted their food by throwing it into the far distance, hoping that some form of life would find it and consume it. Feeling that the fruits and vegetables they ate wasn't enough to suffice the forefathers' needs, they began to hunt the living creatures that roamed the land. All of these heinous and wretched acts that the men committed continued for years, to the point when the land itself cried out desperately for deliverance from its oppression.
After wasting most of the precious resources that the land had scarcely left, the heartless men still felt unsatisfied with their blessings. Greed blinded their hearts and darkened their souls to the point that they forgot about their consecration to the land and to their god. The forefathers' greed was unquenchable. As each day passed, their ravenous and uncontrollable appetite for self-indulgence increased. One day, the men decided to use the shrine that they had made for their god to build a house. They blasphemously tore down the shrine piece by piece; cutting down all of the beautiful decorations that they had made as if it was all worthless. Once the men finished building their new house out of the fallen shrine, they jumped into the pool of glass, something that they would have never dared to do years before. But those times seemed like a blur. They swam and splashed each other like immature children, trying to quench their voracious thirst for satisfaction. Still the men were not satisfied.
As each day went by, the men grew more angry at their unsatisfaction. They asked themselves why they were not content with what they had had. The forefathers' discontent eventually compelled them to disregard anything that stood in their path, even if it happened to be themselves. The men quarrelled with one another. Then, they began fighting and killing each other for pleasure. When blood was spilt on the ground, the Divine Being appeared to the men in His most glorious form. The forefathers shielded their faces from the intense light as they stumbled and lost their balance. They collapsed onto the ground in blindness and confusion, and pleaded with their lives for forgiveness from their disdainful and wretched sins. With tears of immense sorrow, they cried out helplessly, hoping they would not have to suffer in any way for what they had done. The Divine Being looked upon the sinful men with heavy sorrow. Seeing how hopeless the men were, he was merciful and forgave them of their sins, assuring them that they would not be punished for what they had done. The Divine Being cured the men of their blindness and instilled in their hearts reverent fear and attentiveness to what he was about to tell them. The Divine Being gave the men a thunderous and stern warning: if any one of them chose to fall prey into the hands of greed and selfishness again, all would be punished severely. The Divine Being gave this warning three times to the men, emphasizing the gravity of the consequences that would follow if one of them chose to foolishly challenge his words. After the third warning, the Divine Being vanished.
When the Divine Being had vanished, the forefathers were still seized with terror. Knowing that the Divine Being was sovereign and omniscient, the few men who remained formed a pact between one another to honor the covenant they had made with the Divine Being. The forefathers agreed to keep peace in their consecrated land and swore that they would not attempt to achieve anymore blasphemous and selfish endeavors or let the blood of another man be spilt on the ground.
To formally honor and uphold this sacred pact and to show their renewed reverence to their god and land, the men conjured up a special symbol. This symbol of the forefathers depicted a yellow sun, symbolizing the Divine Being, with 20 points representing the number of men who were alive at the start of their journey. Around the sun were two crescents of the moon, facing each other at opposite ends. These crescents represented the forefathers' guilt and sorrow from their corrupt and devious ways. Inside the two crescents were triangles that represented forgiveness from the Divine Being and sanctification for the men. In the middle of the sun, the forefathers inscribed the wordIdios, a word in their language that means "life." The men inscribed this design on a monolith near the pool of glass. It was decided among the forefathers that the monolith would replace the shrine as the symbol of reverence to their god and land.
From then on, the men kept guard of their hearts from sinning. They increased their prayers and worship to the Divine Being. Likewise, they honored their land and dared not hurt any form of life. They reverted back to their ways of eating fruits and vegetables and living conservatively. The Divine Being saw these great deeds and He smiled upon the forefathers. Seeing that the forefathers had repented and turned from their old ways, the Divine Being blessed them tremendously. He provided the men with tastier and juicier fruits beyond anything they had ever tasted before, more wood for making fires and building homes, and allowed the men to hunt certain animals for food. In response, the men continued to give thanks to their god by worshipping Him wholeheartedly and offering Him gifts at the monolith. Seeing the beautiful and precious gifts that the men were giving to Him, the Divine Being was pleased. He decided to create gifts of His own for the men. Out of the earth, the Divine Being created a woman for each of the forefathers. When the men gazed upon the women's voluptuous figures, they were aroused in a way that they never had been before. Instinctively, the men chose their partners. The men laid with their wives and bore them children. The forefathers were glad that the Divine Being acknowledged their deeds by blessing them with women and children. To honor the Divine Being, they inscribed into their children's foreheads the wordsidios de pardon, which means "life without guilt." The Divine Being saw the men's actions and blessed them all with good health and peace among their families.
As the new generation of children matured, the forefathers grew weary and old. It was becoming more frequent that the spouse of each man had to remind him of his covenant with the Divine Being, for the men were starting to show signs of carelessness and amnesia. One day, as a group of men were searching for new foods in the forest, one of the men came back from his search and gleefully informed the rest that he had found an enormous supply of gold under the earth. At first, the men disregarded his claim, believing that the old man was merely seeing things. But when the old man showed them a few gold chunks that he clawed out with his hands as proof, the men were suddenly filled with interest and greed clutched at their hearts. At that moment, none of them remembered their covenant with the Divine Being. The men demanded the gold-discoverer to reveal where he had found the gold, and the old coot told them to follow him. Curiosity and greed had bested their conscience and so the men followed the gold-discoverer, who led them all to their doom.
When the men reached their destination, they saw a large ditch covered by a pile of rocks. The old coot beckoned the rest of the men to peer in a crevice between the rocks. In that tiny crevice, the men glimpsed on a wonder almost as beautiful as the Divine Being's presence. What laid below the pile of rocks was a mound of unfathomable size made entirely of pure solid gold. The men shook their heads in disbelief, but their eyes were glued to the glistening gold, which beckoned them to unearth it. After gazing long enough, the men decided to send several of them back to their families to inform them that gold had been discovered. Those who stayed at the gold site wondered why they had never come across the gold before. When the men returned, they brought with them their sons, who were tall, lean, and muscular. One by one, the men with the help of their sons hefted away the large stones that buried the ancient treasure. Sweat trickled down their backs as each rock seemed harder to lift than the previous one. It took two days to lift the rocks away. When all of the rocks were removed from the ditch, the gold shone before the men's eyes with such brilliance that their fatigue seemed to escape from their bodies. By this time, everyone was at the gold site: those who watched the men toil laboriously for two days and those who had recently come to see the finished work of the men. There was no doubt that the gold was real. Tons upon tons of gold laid innocently in the ditch, awaiting for some hardy people to discover its existence. Finally, that glorious day had come. The forefathers lost all control and scrambled into the ditch, hoping to be the first ones to claim their portion of the gold. Those men who stood by watching pushed their sons, daughters, and wives away, paying no attention to their existence. The old wives cried out to their obsessed husbands to remember their covenant with the Divine Being, but none of their wise words reached the men. All thoughts of goodness and righteousness inside the men were quickly replaced by destructive thoughts of greed and corruption. Once the men reached the large mound of gold, they grabbed anything they could find off the ground to chip away at the gold. The men ravenously smashed the gold with sticks and stones, which broke away small portions of the gold. But seeing that the portions were far too small to satisfy their hunger, the men desired more gold. The men chipped at the gold quicker as each second went by. Some of them called upon their sons, who had willingly offered to help their fathers remove the stones from the ditch, to help them divide the large sum of gold. But the sons turned away from their fathers in shame, refusing to take part in their father's shameful acts. The men laughed and jumped for joy as they brought back large piles of gold to show their families. Regardless of how much gold the men had already obtained, they continued to break off more. As the men were hungrily smashing at the gold, a quiet voice could be heard in the distance. At the sound of this voice the sons, daughters, and mothers looked around and wondered where the mysterious voice was coming from. The violent men had not heard the voice yet, since the sound of their ravenous appetite for gold overshadowed everything around them. The voice was starting to get louder and stronger. Those who did not partake in the men's evil acts heard the voice grow louder, and they realized that the voice was singing. The singing in the distance continued to grow louder. The men heard the singing voice and became frightened. They stopped chipping at the gold and their conscience returned to them. Realizing what they had done, the men dropped their tools to the ground and ran out of the gold site as quickly as they could. The men rejoined their families and asked them where the singing voice was coming from, but they did not respond. The forefathers were seized with terror and remembered the Divine Being's words. As the singing grew louder, the men looked around and panicked. The guilty men fell upon their knees and cried out despairingly for forgiveness, but the Divine Being made no response. Their families quietly looked down upon them with immense sorrow and shame; knowing that the men will have to pay gravely for what they had done. The singing had become so loud that the whole land shook violently. All the vegetation on the land died and the wild animals fled to find safety. Despite the terribleness of the situation, the singing voice was beautiful and majestic, and it echoed powerfully throughout the entire land. The women and their children listened to the soothing, aesthetic voice and felt peace that they had never felt before. Even the men, who were frightened and strickened with grief, felt somewhat at ease by its unearthly melody. It was as if the voice was communicating through its song. Suddenly, the enchanting song became harsh and frightening. At that moment the peace had left everyone, and the men continued to cry. The song grew dark and dismal, as if doom and destruction were inevitable. When the song ended, there was a loud and awful shriek that made the men, women, and children cover their ears. So terrible was the scream that the land itself shuddered and lost all of its lively colors. The scream lasted for a couple seconds and then it subsided. Afterwards, there was uncomfortable and deathly silence for about a minute. The men laid on the ground motionless, and were frightened beyond imagination while they waited in painful suspense. Their hearts raced uncontrollably from fear and sweat perspired down their backs. Their families were frightened as well, and they prayed earnestly to the Divine Being for protection and salvation on behalf of the guilty men. The Divine Being heard their prayers but disregarded them. Their was no mercy to be shown anymore. The men were given a second chance, and they blindly wasted it. No chances for salvation remained. The Divine Being thought about killing the forefathers' sons as well, for they had helped their father remove the rocks. But he looked upon the sons' foreheads and remembered their fathers' plea not to hurt them. The Divine Being blessed the sons and found no guilt in them.
Suddenly, there was a great earthquake that shook the entire mountain. Everyone fell to the ground because of the intensity of the quake. An unearthly force held everyone against the ground, and no one was able to get up. The men quivered and trembled under the great force and cried hysterically. But the Divine Being had had enough of the men's disdainful and wretched acts. The ground before them suddenly opened like a huge mouth that was about to swallow food. The men followed the crack with their eyes as it slowly slithered its way to them. The Divine Being suddenly appeared to the men in his most glorious form. Raging fire burned in the Divine Being's diamond eyes, and terrible wrath could be felt from his presence.
"Look at what you have done! I gave you everything that you ever wanted: your refuge, your protection, and your freedom! Does nothing that I have given you mean anything at all? Because you have disobeyed me and have broken the covenant that I made with you, and for having disregarded your pact with me a second time. For spitting back at me all of my blessings I have given you, and betraying your god and your precious family. For blaspheming my name and my authority by committing this horrible and wretched crime, which I specifically commanded you not to do three times, cursed is this land because of you and your sins! No longer will this land be as beautiful and prosperous as it had been when I first brought you here. I should have never brought you to this land. For the sake of this glorious land, you all should have died in the barren desert!" The Divine Being furiously shouted with a thunderous voice. The men continued to weep bitterly, and remembered when they had wanted to die in the desert. The men had wished that they had died in the desert, so that they wouldn't have to face the punishment that they were about to face. The Divine Being then turned to look upon the distraught wives.
"Because none of you partook in these mens' wretched acts, your generation, your children, and their children - to the 20th generation - will be unaffected by this curse. Prior to this generation, there will be a time of inexplicable bliss. For the 20 men who fought hard to achieve their goal of peace, and who shall now perish because of their wayward minds, shall each represent a generation of peace for you and your offspring. But after the 20th generation, there will be a time of pain and tribulation. People will fear for the end of their lives every moment of the day, and chaos will roam freely on this cursed terrain. The voice which you have heard will be heard continuously during that woeful era. It will be a signal of imminent death and terrible destruction to the people of this land, and there will never be peace again." The Divine Being turned to look at the sons and daughters, and he smiled upon them.
"To you I leave the option of multiplying. But remember my words: the woeful era will come. How fortunate you all are to not live during that unfortunate time! For it is better to die than to live during those dark and terrible days, when men will weep and moan to the heavens for deliverance, but will not receive it." When the Divine Being had finished, he turned back to the condemned men. The Divine Being stared at the men with heavy and sorrowful eyes. A crystal tear appeared in the Divine Being's right eye, and it flowed down his white cheeks.
"Now, go meet the rest of your companions who perished!" The Divine Being harshly commanded, pointing a white finger at the men. Suddenly, the crack in the earth slithered its way beneath the men, and the earth opened up to engulf them. The men fell into the dark abyss while screaming in terrorizing agony. The ground immediately closed up, and the men were heard no more. The Divine Being vanished, and not a sound could be heard throughout the land.