“The valley looks so peaceful, how could it be a place of danger?” Sara asked Ujor.
“Looks can be deceiving.” Said Ujor “The valley rings the king’s castle. In it the guardian army’s of the king, the soldiers of the dead, damned of the underworld. To cross into the valley is to ask for death, the soldiers serve the king well, in return they are allowed to do what evil they wish to all living things in the valley. The peacefulness you see hides the pain and suffering of the souls that live there, trapped and tortured, captive to the kings beast, servants to their bidding, food for their table. Those who enter do so with great peril that they too will become captives of the beast, forever to serve them in torment and pain.”
Adam looked at Sarah and Seth, there was no desire in his heart that harm should come to them. It was he who had decided to take this path, not them. Asking them to carry forward, to suffer and die for a quest that they had not asked for brought him great pain.
And what of the Minotaur, what would become of him? The torture that creature has endured is beyond his comprehension. To ask of him any more would be just as cruel.
“Your Minotaur there” sad Ujor “is that the Minotaur of the Labyrinth?”
“Yes, the three of us had no choice but to enter the Labyrinth on the other side of the mountain. Our path is forward, not back. So we suffered the passageways. We found this suffering beast in the center of the Labyrinth. We could not leave the Minotaur there. We took him as ours. He is just a child.” Said Adam.
“Yes, yes I know the child” said Ujor “he is the child of the queen and the god Poseidon, hidden away in the Labyrinth to shield the kingdom from the shame of his vision.”
“But if he is the child of Poseidon, how could the god allow him to suffer so?” asked Seth.
Ujor gathered up his staff and sat on a log near the embers of the fire. He began to tell Seth, Sarah, and Adam the true nature of their journey.
“Because the king is truly and evil ruler,” Ujor began “and thinks he can deceive even the god Poseidon. He has not. Poseidon allowed the king’s armies victories in the lands across the sea, in return he asked the king and queen birth his son on earth. Poseidon know’s all to well the suffering of his son, and the betrayal of the king and queen, but he could not intervene to abate his torture at the orders of the other gods. They had not wished for any demigod child to be born to the earth. The gods they say, should remain gods, and man they said, should remain man.
“So Poseidon watched on in anguish as his son suffered. But Poseidon is not without good servants on earth. Rebekka of the forest is one, I another. Rebekka waits before the trailhead’s fork, the fork where you chose the path to the right which led you here. Others have come before you, none have made it as far as you three. You have pleased Poseidon with your rescue of his son.
“Now you face your next trial. Crossing the valley you see before you.”
“What reason do we have to travel such a difficult path.” asked Sarah
“Because I have chosen to do such a thing” said Adam, “the moment I decided to set foot on the right path all these events had been written in stone. There would be no turning back. I had no knowledge of what trials were before me, and I knew not who or what you or Seth would be or mean to me once I started the trials.
“You have been with me since the beginning, but not as you are now. You were simply voices in my head. It was only when I chose to see what challenges I could overcome did you become flesh. I would not have chosen had I known such a future was waiting.” Adam Said
“But there must be a reason you chose such a path” Said Seth.
Ujor intervened “To the one who frees the kingdom from the evil rule, all the riches of the kingdom become theirs, and the daughter of Rebekka, the most beautiful and loving Damaris would become the wife of the conqueror.”
In anger Seth rose from the fire and lunged at Adam, grabbing him by the throat. “How could you do this to us! How could you bring us into this world to face such horrors as we had, and what lay before us now, just so you could have riches.” Adam choked in the strength of Seth’s grip. His throat closed, he could feel the bones nearing their breaking point. His face burned red, his heart throbbed in his chest and pounded in his ears. His eyes set their gaze on Seth, he could see the fury in the young man’s eyes. Such a fear he had never witnessed. Adams eyes began to close, his body becoming limp.
“Stop” Sara screamed “release him from your grip Seth. Adam may die, and so may we, but we should not die at each others hand. We must become as one, as we were before. It is the only way we can survive. There is no going back, only forward. We can not go forward without Adam. Let him go.”
Seth released his grip from Adams neck, tossing him like a sack of wheat to the ground. Adam rolled, bringing his knees to his chest. Choking, gasping, he slowly regained his senses.
Raspy, Adam spoke “You have every right to be angry Seth. It was my choice to walk this path, not you, not Sarah. But I feel it is for a larger purpose that we do this. We have freed one soul, and we stand a chance to free so many others. Is it not better that we die in service of good than live in the darkness of the blind eye we turn to suffering.
“Surely what is before is could mean our death, and surely should we survive I would receive riches. But Seth, I am an old man, not many years do I have left on this earth. I have no need for riches of this world. I only need that my…” Adam paused.
He had never considered who Seth and Sarah were to him. He simply had no reason to consider it to this point. But in his mind it became clear. They were like his children. The had come from him, and he was their father in that sense.
“I only need my children to have a future, to do well, to live a happy life. I should do whatever I can to see that happen. I promise you this Seth, and you too Sarah, should we survive and free Damaris, the kingdom is yours. I only ask that I live my life in peace, knowing that I have accomplished something in my life. Something that mattered.” Said Adam
Ujor Spoke “Yes Seth, Adam speaks from his heart. I see that in him. And I add that not all is dark as you think. You and Sarah have many things yet to be discovered, and you have pleased the god Poseidon with the freeing of his child. You stand well in his eyes, I am sure he will be with you as you journey through this dark valley.
“Sit now, all of you, let me tell you of this valley, and what things you will encounter and how you can overcome them.” Said Ujor.
Sarah gathered the gourd and put some herbs and water into it making tea. The five of them sat round the cooking fire that morning, talking long into the day of the plans the could make to reach the king’s castle.