Driven by Eternity: Making Your Life Count Today and Forever
By John Bevere
There was once a world similar to our own, yet in many ways different. In this world there were no independent nations, only the one great kingdom named Affabel. Though this kingdom spanned the entire known world, it had a single capital city from which all leadership was administered. It was called The Great City of Affabel, which we will refer to from this point on as simply Affabel.
This enchanted city was presided over by a remarkable king named Jalyn. King Jalyn was adored and greatly admired by his subjects. He exuded a depth of love that seemed inexhaustible. He was strong and wise, yet at the same time kind and quick to laugh. Though his bearing was regal, Jalyn was also quite personable. To be with him was to find oneself encompassed in an atmosphere of goodness. His presence raised every aspect of life to a higher level. His vision and foresight were astounding, and he had an uncanny ability to see beyond the actions of people into the motives of their hearts.
Jalyn's father who founded Affabel was known as the Founding King Father. Once the order was established, he turned all leadership over to his son. The residents of this great city helped administrate the rule of Jalyn to the outlying territories of the kingdom. This was accomplished by a hierarchical system of authority and leadership in the ruling city.
The city was enormous, with a landmass of approximately two hundred square miles. It was so well planned that even though it was densely populated, it never felt overcrowded. There was a composite of suburbs, town residences, and villas. Those located in the flatlands, which lay toward the western end of Affabel, were the modest homes of the laborers. (Their modest homes would be considered extravagant in our world.) Even though their jobs were labor intensive, these residents were thankful just to inhabit the king's city. The mountainous terrains of the northern and southern borders were home to the artisans. These were the ones skilled in the creative arts of music, writing, artwork, and design. These homes had beautiful vistas and were more expansive than those of the laborers.
The most inviting section of the city was the eastern district, which contained an abundance of beautiful villas. This area was known as the Regal Center. This large neighborhood is where the king resided and spent most of his time and was home to those who worked closest to the king. It was here his administration and coleaders socialized and worked together. The Regal Center was poised like a jewel on a cliff overlooking the shores of the Great Sea. A constant gentle breeze blew up from the azure ocean and refreshed the city. These waters were fringed by the most pristine white beaches, which were only exceeded by the beauty of the royal gardens. These gardens wove themselves throughout the Regal Center. It was without doubt the most desirable place of residency. Each home was only exceeded in elegance by die king's royal palace.
In the midst of Affabel stood the tree of life. Only the king's subjects were privileged enough to partake of its wondrous fruit. The fruit was not merely delicious and lovely to behold; it had within its fragrant flesh the power of die miraculous.
The Community of Endel
To the west of Affabel's flatlands lay the Outer Wilderness, which stretched for almost sixty miles to the Great River Adonga. Once you crossed the Adonga, you would find yourself in another part of the kingdom, called Endel. At birth, the children of the citizens of Affabel were brought immediately to the province of Endel. Before their first week had passed, they were entrusted to the care of the King's Nurses. Once these young citizens, or Endelites, reached the age of five years they were brought to the School of Endel, where they received training for a period of ten years. There they learned die ways of Affabel and of the great King Jalyn. Only the King's Nurses and Teachers of the School had enjoyed the opportunity to meet Jalyn. Every five years or so, he would visit Endel in secret to confer his heart for the school and children. Though he never made his presence known to all, even so, all around Endel his goodness was evident in every aspect of the community.
The ten years in the School of Endel was to prepare the students for the life ahead of them. At the age of fifteen years they would have a short season to apply all they had been taught. In this span of time they would be entrusted with portions of wealth and responsibility. How they stewarded their young lives and resources determined how and where they would spend the rest of their lives; which in their world was one hundred and fifty years. Though the season of testing was exactly five years, none of the students were aware of its duration. All they were told was it would not exceed ten years. At the end of this time, each would appear before the king to give account of their life choices.
This span of testing determined their allegiances. Those who followed the ordinances of Jalyn with their words and actions acknowledged his leadership. These were admitted as residents of Affabel. Their choices secured for them rewards accordingly. If, however, during the season of testing they rebelled and lived only for and by the rule of themselves, they were exiled to the land of Lone. Lone was a desert land of utter darkness, where loneliness and hopelessness reigned. There they suffered torment and imprisonment for their life's duration.
The first person banished to this desolation was Dagon, who became the founding dark lord of Lone. Though he had rebelled against Jalyn many years before, his influence yet lingered in the land of Endel. Inhabitants of Endel who acknowledged Jalyn's lordship broke free of the dark power of Dagon. However, those who refused to serve Jalyn remained under this fallen lord's sway.
To isolate any further infiltration of darkness in his kingdom, the great King Jalyn was compelled to establish a decree to protect both the integrity and social infrastructure of Affabel. All who followed in the way of Dagon and refused to acknowledge Jalyn as king by word and action were banished for the remainder of their lives to the land of Lone.
So begins our story. We will follow the lives of five students of Endel: two ladies and three men. Their names are as follows: Independent, Deceived, Faint Heart, Selfish, and Charity. Let me introduce each.
Independent constantly questions the existence of Affabel. He really can't believe someone he has never met or seen called Jalyn would require not only his allegiance but such strict adherence to a list of rules. He suspects it to be a scheme to keep him and others under the control of the teachers. In contempt, he refuses to attend classes and learn of this imaginary kingdom.
Independent ridicules others for believing such nonsense. He intends to live as he sees fit and remain free of the laws of Jalyn. The only exception will be if these edicts serve his purpose, then he'll adhere, but only because it's his idea. He has no qualms about letting others know he won't be yielding his life to the will of another.