Chapter Two


When we were done Ivan led me to a great hall in the village, where there was a dance in progress, and almost without thought I joined in the celebration. It was going on for some time, when I heard a great booming and saw some of the people rushing out. I went over to Ivan to inquire of the disturbance.
"What is that noise?" I asked.
"Oh, it is nothing," Ivan said, "The Children Of The Lords and The Goddens are fighting again. It happens every so often, but it is a meaningless thing. They can't hurt each other, it is all a silly game. It is only in the living world where their battle is important."
"There is war here?" I asked. "Can I see?"
"If you wish," Ivan told me. "Come."
I found we could travel with incredible speed, and I found myself whisked to a hilltop. In the distance was a great, golden city, and away from it, a broad plane of pleasant villages and small cities. Between the two a vast army was fighting....such an army as I had never seen. Winged beings filled the air that looked like large bats with arms. Silver and gold lizard men battled on the ground, and amongst these many humans. "They are monsters!" I cried.
Ivan laughed. "No, my friend," he said, "they are men, like us. But they evolved in different places, in different times. When you get to know them you will find that they are good. Each believes in his own way, that is the only difference."
I sat down, bewildered. "Where did they come from?" I asked.
"Thousands and thousands of years ago," Ivan told me, "they were scattered on many worlds among the stars, but there was a difference between them. The Goddens were a warrior race. They believed in conquest and slavery. They believed in one absolute, unquestioned ruler.
The Children Of The Lords, however, were a peaceful people. They believed in the people picking their rulers, and that their rulers were bound by The Law, just like everyone else. They had no quarrel with the Goddens, but the Goddens would not tolerate anything different from themselves. So they made war on The Children Of The Lords, and it was a long and bitter war. In time only a handful of each people survived, and they came here to Earth, for their own worlds were destroyed.
And they tried one last time to make peace with one-another. They built great colonies here on Earth, but the Goddens could not keep the peace.
There was one last terrible battle, and everything they had built on Earth was destroyed, and, all Their Peoples. Only their Spirits survived.
We humans are the descendants of the servants the Goddens made to till their fields, and do their service. And the battle between the two philosophies has continued through us, as The Children Of The Lords have been waiting to be reborn, and return to the stars where They belong.
The free lands are nurtured by The Children Of The Lords. These lands that are ruled by iron-fisted men are controlled by The Goddens. Earth will see no end to its troubles until these children from without have settled their differences and returned where they belong.
The Goddens are angry. They are slowly losing. Though it seems like they are winning The Children Of The Lords are really far stronger than they are. Time and time again they destroy their plots to establish one absolute ruler on Earth, where the Godden cities are crumbling from within...only shells of their former glory. The Lands Of the Lords are solid, firm, almost as true as the real world, itself! In days to come millions of them and their human allies will be born into the real world, and the battle will be finished. The Goddens will be done. They will only be a shadow of their former selves. Their cities will crumble to dust, their temples will be empty.
Men in the real world will walk in the full Light, not the shadows."
"But Ivan," I asked, "why do men take sides in this battle?"
"Because The Goddens," Ivan answered, "only care about those who worship them. They do not worry about those destroyed by their teachings....led to ruin by their greed. They cast them out of their cities, leave them to perish in The Darkness, bearing the pain they have caused others. But The Children Of The Lords are merciful creatures. They care for even those who in life, despise Their Children. They surrender no one to The Second Death without a battle. They have taught us how to care for them, how to bring the lost ones back to The Light, and many who would have succumbed to Darkness now walk this World healed and ready to journey again, this time, understanding The Truth.
This is why, my friend, mankind takes the side of The Children Of The Lords. This is why the Godden cities slowly grow empty and Their cities swell with willing and devoted friends."
"Well, at least," I told Ivan, "these Children Of The Lords will stand with Russia, for the people there choose their leaders, and the capitalist god is not welcome."
Ivan's silence was like a dagger that cut through my heart, and I knew he had words to tell me I would not want to hear.
"Your dream, my friend," Ivan began, "of universal brotherhood without a divine being has been betrayed. A new czar has taken over Russia, worse than any that were before. He does not call himself a czar, but that's what he is. He cares nothing for the people. All that he lives for is his own power. Germany has risen up again, and there is a terrible war raging. Russia will win. It will take over many lands in the name of workers' freedom, but they will really be the Czar's conqueror's. The people will pay a terrible price for letting this one stay in power. They could rise up. The spark of rebellion is always there, but their fear is too great, and their fear will destroy their dreams.
In the end, communism will fail; not because it is a bad idea, but because human greed in the material form is too strong to be overcome by love of one's brothers."
Ivan turned away, unable to say any more, and I did not wish to disturb him for some time, for I knew he was weeping.....weeping for the Russia we both loved.
Finally I gathered my courage and spoke again.
"Ivan, my friend, I do not understand something you said. You spoke of Spirits dying in The Darkness. I was in the Darkness, yet felt no threat of death. What is this of which you speak; The Second Death?"
"It is a horrible thing," Ivan told me. It is when a Soul is overwhelmed by the pain and suffering it has caused others. It bursts, burns up, cannot return to the material world to be born again. It is a terrible, terrible thing. It means all that Soul could have been, all it may have accomplished is lost forever. There is a terrible danger that so many of Earth's Souls will die before they reach Ultimacy, Oneness With The Universe, than give themselves to create new life so that the circle can continue. That life on Earth may be swallowed up by The Darkness, that all of mankind's hopes and dreams will come to nothing. This is what The Children Of The Lords fight to prevent. Too many worlds have already been lost. Balance must be maintained, or the universe, itself, will be plunged into Darkness...nothing but empty, lifeless worlds to greet the coming dawns.
We must prevent that from happening, my brother! That must never come to be!"
"Can you show me this other Darkness?" I asked.
Ivan shivered. "Not I," he said, "I cannot go near that place. It brings back too much pain, too much sorrow, too many years of weeping. But come...I have a friend and she tends those there. She is a giver of love and compassion for those that dwell on the edge of Forever Night."
Ivan took my hand and led me, and we arrived on the edge of a beautiful valley. But it was as if night was falling, and one part of the valley was in darkness....Darkness that seemed to devour The Light, Darkness deeper than any night that I had ever known. And out of that Darkness stepped one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. Her gown glowed with radiance. Her bearing was grace and dignity. Her smile brought all thoughts of joy. She approached Ivan and greeted him warmly.
"Katrina," Ivan announced, "this is my friend, Lenin. He has recently come out of the Darkness of Tranquility, and wishes to learn of those YOU watch over."
"And you wish me to guide him?" the woman responded. "Of course, dear Ivan! Now return to that place where you are at peace. I will show your friend what he needs to see. Come, dear Lenin," she said, holding out her hand. "You have nothing to fear. Those you will see cannot hurt you. Just observe, do not speak. Most of them cannot see you, but if they hear you speak, your presence will disturb them."
Then she led me into The Darkness, and her own brilliance lit our way, and what I saw appalled me; twisted, tortured things that had once been men and women, bloated, grotesque bodies cracked and broken, covered with sores, weeping and wailing. We went from one to another until finally my guide led me from that terrible place back into The Light. For my strength had almost failed me.
"What has happened to them?" I asked. "What sickness here causes such horror?"
The woman shook her head. "What you have seen," she said, "was not caused by anything here, but is the result of their own hate and greed and lust in the other world. They bear the pain and suffering they caused others, each scar, each sore, each deformity is a pain they unjustly caused another living being. Many teachers have tried to warn man of this place, but man believes he can escape any punishment, that every act he does is just. This is the result of unjust acts."
I walked away shaking my head. "Can a man be totally just," I asked, "in every action he takes, be without blame?"
"Every living person," the woman answered, "knows right from wrong, knows the difference between justice and vengeance. You wonder why you are not here, my brother. The thought is so strong that the weakest newcomer could read it.
Those you fought were evil. The small injustices you committed were balanced by their evil, were the prices of their crimes. In the scale of things you even came out of it ahead, though many men would never understand that truth. That is why you found yourself at peace, and in the paradise you looked for. These others were not so wise. They went beyond the bounds of justice. And other men were able to put their mark upon them. Now I think, dear one, you have seen enough. A lot has happened to you. Return to Ivan. You will know the way. And the thought in your mind is TRUE, but do not be unkind to him. He has paid the price for those days long ago, and now all men are his brothers."
I nodded and took but a step and found myself outside Ivan's home. He greeted me warmly.
"Ivan," I asked, "I do not wish to be offensive, but may I ask you a question? Were you once called "The Terrible?""
Ivan's eyes fell. "Once I was called that," he said, "Once I dwelled in that place you saw. But that was a long time ago, my friend, and many labors have I done since then for those I misused, and many I will do in the future. But if you wish to find dwelling elsewhere, I will certainly understand."
"Why should I seek dwelling elsewhere," I inquired, "when I stay at the house of a friend and countryman?"
"Thank you, brother!" Ivan cried, "Come! Our supper awaits."
And again I found I was hungry, indeed.

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