The Lords of Heaven: 
Chapter One - The Time of Choosing

Angyl

It was the time of the choosing again. Every fifth cycle the Lord of Heaven would come into their small village and choose on of their youth as his own. That youth would be taught arcane arts and, when ready, sent off to teach others as they had been taught, a circle of life and service to the planet and people which made them. In return for the sacrifice of one of their children, the Lord of Heaven kept the village safe from the Marauders. It was a harsh trade, for the young were the lifeblood and future of the village, but also a fair one for it ensured the survival of the entire village and gave those chosen a great destiny.

Histories taught that it hadn't always been like this. That once, a long time ago, Edan Valley had existed in isolated splendor. The people who existed there had at one time wandered the stars until their great ship crashed in this place and they had built a life for themselves. Only those gifted with 'sight' or one of the other arcane gifts still believed the stories, to everyone else they were old wives tales.

This was the way it remained - until the Lords of Heaven came in their great silver ships, bringing with them knowledge of the arcane and mysterious. They chose to live on the mountain peaks above the valley, silent sentinels to any danger that threatened. There were thirteen lords, each choosing a spire as their own and with it an area of the valley to protect. By some mysterious pull those who did not fit in with the other villagers made their way to the Lords of Heaven to serve them, and up on the peaks they prospered and changed.

When one of those who ventured up to the peaks returned to visit family, knowledge was passed along. The Lords of Heaven came from across the Star Plains, chased from their homes by a great darkness. The same darkness that had caused the Edanites to flee from the same place a millennia ago. The villagers were told of how their ancestors were chosen warriors of a great and ancient order and when the darkness came they were forced to flee or be slaughtered. They fled across the Star Plains until they ended up on Edanna, but the histories were lost in the crash and so the Edanites forgot where they came from as the eons passed.

It was a thrilling idea, to be a child of the stars, to have a noble past where their ancestors had been champions of the light and of justice. The people of Edan were a simple folk who lived simple lives and passed their histories along through the storytellers. They lived off the land, raised their children, laughed, cried, grew old and died. They knew nothing of greed or violence or death beyond sickness and old age. They had no weapons, no enemies and no defenses. To be told that they were once warriors was fantastic, and seductive to some.

Soon after the arrival of the thirteen Lords came the Marauders. The Lords of Heaven raised their collective might and forced the black bird of death from the skies, ensuring that it could never fly again, or send word to others like it. They had believed that those on board had died as well, but the Marauders, led by Sith Sidious had managed to survive. Using stealth and dark arts, they seduced hapless villagers away from the safety of the valley, or appealed to those with darkness in their souls that matched the Marauder's and their numbers began to grow. They were determined to succeed where their ancestors had failed. All the children of the light would be destroyed. It was the destiny of the Sith to rule forever.

The Lords of the Dark were horrific creatures, dressed all in black and brandishing fiery red swords. The most fearsome of the creatures was Maul, chosen successor of Sith Sidious, their leader. He was a vision of the fires of hell, black and red and his head wreathed with a crown of horns. His eyes glowed like hot coals and when he grinned, it was the grimace of death.

When they felt they were strong enough the Dark Lords of the Sith began to raid and destroy the villages of Edan. The villagers could not defend themselves, and although they were great and powerful, the Lords of Heaven could not defeat their enemies now that their numbers had grown like an evil plague spreading through the land. This was why the Lords of Heaven began to choose a child to teach their ways to, it helped keep the Marauders at bay and keep the valley safe. It also allowed the Lords of Heaven to increase their numbers for the battle that was surely to come.

The village of Correllias was part of the domain of Lord of Heaven Jinn and it was the time of the choosing once more, but many were afraid that a choice would not be made and the ancient contract broken. It was common knowledge that the last youth chosen by Lord Jinn had shunned the path of light, choosing instead the seductive pleasures of the Dark.

Xanatos. The son of the last chieftain of the village. He had been a darkly handsome young man, a favorite of all. His pretty visage hid a black heart though. He knew of his appeal and used it to get what he wanted, and he had wanted to be chosen by the Lord of Heaven, so chosen he was.

Lord of Heaven Jinn was the youngest of the Lords, having succeeded the last Lord of Correllias a mere 15 cycles ago. It was said that he was the son of the last Lord, but none had ever seen him until the first time he'd ventured down and chosen Ariadne as his first apprentice. She'd been a perfect student, learning all then venturing out to teach other children of the Edanites their destiny as warriors. The Lord had returned upon her departure and chose his next student, Xanatos. It was rumored that the Lord had not only taught the youth, he had also fallen in love with him, so it was understandable that Xanatos' betrayal was twice as devastating.

Xanatos had allowed himself to be seduced by Sith Maul with promises of great power and wealth - and pleasure beyond his wildest dreams. The selfish young man did nothing to resist the dark pull and soon turned on the Lord of Heaven, trying to kill him in a spectacular battle in the middle of the village. They fought fiercely, Lord Jinn's eerily beautiful sword of green fire clashing against the dark red fire of Xanatos' weapon. It was a darkly beautiful dance of deadly intent.

In the end, it was Xanatos' father who had put a stop to the battle by stepping between the combatants and taking the blow meant for the Lord of Heaven. As he lay dying he spat upon his son and denied him. "No child of mine would betray that which we have held sacred since the dawning of Edan. You are the spawn of the dark - I do not see you." And with that he died. Xanatos had howled in anguish, blaming the young Lord for his banishment, swearing eternal revenge. He'd disappeared in the shadows and gone to join his Master and lover, Maul, to lick his wounds and plot his vengeance.

The day dawned brightly and many thought it a good omen. Perhaps all would be well, perhaps the Lord would choose his next youth and the promise would hold. Throughout the village mothers prepared their sons and daughters, dressing them in their finest clothing while weeping at the thought of loosing their children.

In the household of the new chieftain a different sort of drama was being played out.

"No Obi-Wan, I forbid it - you will not appear before the Lord of Heaven!" Chieftain Ben-Lar raged at his son. The truth was, Ben-Lar knew that it would be his youngest that would be chosen if any was. Obi-Wan was born to great things; the stars had been in perfect alignment the night of his birth. The fates had blessed his second-born with a great destiny - one that Ben-Lar was afraid of. His first-born son Oh-Wen was too old to be chosen now, and was betrothed to the daughter of the Chieftain from the village of Dantoone, Beru, so he was safe. But little Ben was not.

Obi-Wan had just turned sixteen cycles and was as beautiful as starshine. He was the exact opposite of his distant cousin Xanatos. Where Xanatos had been darkling handsome, Obi-Wan was a golden child with red-blonde hair, sea storm eyes and skin like the finest honeymeade. His soul reflected his features. He was a joy to be around, generous and happy, always with a kind word or deed. Obi-Wan would constantly be found helping those who needed it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.

He was a young man who sang with the power of the ancients, and who would gladly give his life to help defend those he loved from the dark. He was the sort of man who was meant to be a Lord of Heaven.

"Father, I will do this - with or without your approval. It is the law that all the youth of the village present themselves to the Lord of Heaven. It is his right and his privilege to choose whom he sees fit. To do this would be to violate your sacred trust. Just because you are the Chieftain it does not mean I am above the choosing. I will do this father. I must." Obi-Wan prayed his father would one day understand. Something was pulling him to the place of the choosing, a feeling deep inside that spoke to him of the rightness of his actions. He was meant to be there today. He was meant to serve.

Ben-Lar silently acknowledged his son's words as he watched his beautiful child walk out their home for the last time. Obi-Wan would not be back. "Be one with the Force that binds us my son. I love you." A silent tear tracked down the elder's face, destiny was calling and Obi-Wan had to answer.

In the dark shadows surrounding the village of Correllias a predator waited. Today he would get his revenge on the man who cost him his family. Today Lord of Heaven Qui-Gon Jinn would die.

"Patience my dark love," came the sibilant hiss of his lover and Master, Sith Maul. "Patience, and you shall have all you have ever desired." Taking Xanatos' mouth in his own he ravaged it as he had ravaged the younger man's body only hours before. The dark passions that burned within this child fed his own dark flames. Lust, corruption, avarice and greed. He could taste them all in the blood that he lapped from wounds he himself inflicted with his sharp incisors.

How Maul hungered to rend this child apart, to suck the darkness from his very bones. An appetizer, nothing more. The true feast lay in the village beyond, this was what Maul truly desired. A creature of golden light and pure beauty, one that he would corrupt and mold and turn into his perfect plaything - as Sidious had done with him all those years before. Nothing fed the darkness that consumed him like the debasement of true innocence. He would allow this foolish pup to destroy both himself and the Lord of Heaven - then young Obi-Wan would be his.

END

  since 02-17-07

 

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