As told to Kris the Bard, Elannort, Year of Creation 50509
While Simon was away being a hero, I took the opportunity to ask Julie about her background and ancestry. As it turned out, her genetic heritage matched with Simon’s, so that their son, Alexander, carried the perfect set of genes the Great Old Ones were seeking to seed humanity in the past, and he become part of the biggest temporal, ontological paradox ever. While Simon carries the Hero’s genes, Julie can trace her ancestry to the gentle race of beings that shared our world with humans in the days before the Great Old Ones interfered with our evolution.
I’ll let Julie tell her story in her own words.
“As you can probably tell from my complexion and hair, I’m not from Simon’s Anglo Saxon stock. My ancestors came from the area in the Middle East that was known as the cradle of civilisation. There were two great rivers – the Tigris and the Euphrates – and the land between them was fertile beyond imagination. Great civilisations grew and flourished there. It was the biblical Garden of Eden. I am a direct descendent of the King of Mesopotamia – Sargon the Great. He ruled from the city of Akkad around 2330 BC, that’s over four thousand years Before Armageddon Day. Our lineage goes back even beyond that to the days of the Sumerian Empire and earlier. My father used to say that we could almost be traced back to Adam.
“Many empires rose and fell over the centuries – the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Neo-Babylonians; the Persians, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Mongols, the Turkmen tribes, the Safavids of Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and finally the British Empire, which ended just a century ago. Throughout it all, somehow we maintained an association with the land, though we made and lost countless fortunes and were sometimes beggars and at other times we were rich beyond the dreams of avarice. We passed on our history by oral tradition. The land finally became part of the country of Iraq. It struggled for independence before the Second World War and was a monarchy for some time. There was a revolution in 1958 and a Republic was formed. Things went downhill from there.
“There was a military coup in 1963 and another in 1968 when the Ba’ath party came to power, leading to Saddam Hussein taking control in 1979. He was a terrible dictator and tyrant. I guess that Dring reminds me of him. My family were persecuted under Saddam. Many of them were killed. My grandfather and grandmother managed to escape as refugees in 1991 and finally made it to Australia where my father was born. I was born there in 2028. The West, particularly the United States, but also Britain and Australia, began the action that ultimately led to Armageddon Day when they invaded Iraq in 2003.
“It’s not clear why they invaded. Some say it was to secure oil supplies; others say it was for the American President to get revenge on Saddam for his father’s failure to finish him off in the 1991 Gulf War. They used the excuse that Saddam had hidden weapons of mass destruction, which he might supply to terrorists. It was a crazy time, after the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. Saddam was a ruthless dictator, but he didn’t have anything to do with Islamic terrorists. The invaders quickly won the war, and Saddam was captured, tried, and executed. That’s when the problems really started. The internal conflict between various factions and the overall resistance against the occupying forces attracted the terrorists. It was impossible to secure a peace and the Americans were caught in a long drawn-out war of occupation. My beautiful country was destroyed. It broke my father’s heart.”
Julie wiped a tear from her eye at this point, I remember. So Julie’s ancestors came from the part of the world in her dimension that is Elvenhome on FirstWorld. I asked her, but there was no equivalent city to Elannort that she remembered in her dimension. The nearest place, she thought, might be Kirkuk.
I did some research and discovered that the ruins of the ancient city of Arrapkha lie beneath Kirkuk and they have never been excavated. Could they be the ruins of Elannort in Julie’s dimension?
Julie continued to talk about the after effects of the war that brought down Saddam Hussein.
“There was a backlash in the US to the war. Too many American soldiers were being killed. When the Democrats won office in 2008, they tried to bring the troops home – but it proved to be impossible. The Republicans won office again in 2012 on a platform of Christian fundamentalism. They had a policy of disengagement and removed America from world affairs. They built a wall across their southern border and expelled a huge number of immigrants. They became isolationist. They built a new generation of nuclear weapons for defensive purposes. Meanwhile, Islamic fundamentalism was growing across the Muslim world. More and more nations succumbed to it. It gained footholds in Europe in Turkey and Kosovo. To Australia’s north, Indonesia became fundamentalist and began to arm itself. In the Middle East, Iran became a nuclear super power and annexed Iraq and several other countries. Without America to intervene, North Korea resumed its nuclear program. China dominated Asia. India and Pakistan became major confrontational nuclear powers.
“The bottom line is that there was an inevitable conflict building between two fundamentalist religions. The irony is that they essentially both believed in the same god. The Jews were caught up in it too. Israel had to arm itself to the teeth with nuclear weapons once America deserted it. The conflict focused on Jerusalem. Each of the three religions claimed the holy city as their own. The conflict, when it finally came, resulted in a huge nuclear war – Armageddon Day.”
I am told that there are echoes of Elannort in Jerusalem. If only they could have achieved balance between the three main religions. There is a great similarity between Julie’s and Simon’s dimension and the one that I find myself in now – your dimension. Clearly, they only separated in the recent past. The one piece of good news is that this dimension does not seem to be heading down the pathway to Armageddon Day, at least not at the moment. I’ll let Julie continue her story.
“One day, when I was a young girl, I was at the market and an old woman, dressed in traditional Muslim dress, approached me. She was tiny and wrinkled like a prune. She spoke in Arabic, the language of my ancestors. She grabbed my hand and told me to follow her. She led me through the market and away down a narrow cobbled side street. We climbed a decrepit set of iron stairs into a dilapidated old building. I was afraid that I was going to be mugged at any minute. We entered a dark room. She closed the door behind us and sat me down on a bright Persian rug in the middle of the floor. She lit candles and incense sticks and produced a crystal ball from somewhere. She sat down in front of me and began to chant in a language I didn’t understand. The crystal ball began to glow and she looked into it. I saw nothing but a blue light. She obviously saw much more. Eventually, she looked up and spoke to me, again in Arabic. She foretold Armageddon Day.
“Until it happened, I had taken what she said as nonsense. But, when it occurred exactly as she had foretold, I realised that the rest of her story could be important, as well. She told me that I was destined to meet, and become the partner of, a very special man. He would have red hair and a sword. I would meet him for the first time while I was in great trouble. He would recognise me and sacrifice himself to save me. He would not die, but he would be gone for a long time. Eventually, he would return and rescue me. I was never to give up hope, because my soul mate would find me.
“I survived Armageddon Day because my mother bought me a ticket to visit my brother who lived in the country. She was so insistent that I went, that I took time off work. All of the rest of my family died that day. My brother returned with me to what was left of Melbourne to search for them. He died of radiation poisoning. Somehow, I survived.
“I was captured by Dring’s men soon after I returned to Melbourne. I was treated differently to most of the others. I thought, then, that Dring was looking for me for a specific reason. He was. I was the bait to catch Simon. I didn’t know very much about the bigger picture but Dring seemed to be working for some greater power, that I now know was Weylyn the Wolf.
“The moment I saw Simon, it was love at first sight. I just knew that he was the one. Dring had a knife to my throat and Simon sacrificed himself to save my life. They tortured him terribly, as you know, before you and Jhamed came to save him.”
Julie was in tears by this point and took some time to compose herself.
“I can never adequately express my eternal gratitude that you took up Kin Slayer, saved Simon, and then gave it back to Simon. I waited three years for Simon to return, but my faith in him never wavered. When we finally met properly, and we held each other, it was as if I had known him forever.”
Yes, I was embarrassed. I include Julie’s words, not because I’m a vain coward looking for recognition for my bravery, but to provide a full and accurate description of the conversation. I remember telling her that it was my finest hour and in a lifetime of cowardice one of the two great things I could be proud of. The other, of course, was facing Weylyn at the gates of Melasurej. Perhaps, there will be a third opportunity, because this conflict has a long way to go before it is finally resolved. If not, I will content myself with study and writing, because a full and frank account of what took place is vital for future generations, should they survive, to understand their history and the great sacrifices made by the Everlasting Hero and his Eternal Soulmate.
I asked Julie if she knew that she was a manifestation of the Eternal Soulmate? That each Everlasting Hero was bound to a different version of her? Of course, this was before the terrible loss of Alexander. I’ll end this report with what Julie said to me, in answer to that question.
“It is our fate. It is written in our genes. We have no choice. But, even if we had a choice, I could not find a better, more loving, more human person than Simon. Whatever the future holds, I count myself very lucky.”
Kris the Bard
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