When sixteen-year-old Harius is chosen to guard a mystic key and sword, he’s sure there’s been some mistake. Protecting the divine relics requires the celestial flame, a power that only mystic warriors can wield. And while Harius is training to become such a warrior, he’s lacked the faith needed to access the flame ever since his mother’s tragic death.
Despite his doubts, Harius accepts the calling at a time when evil forces threaten to destabilize his world. As the son of his nation’s most controversial leader, Harius soon becomes a delegate to a foreign land filled with technological marvels capable of saving his ancient race of winged men. Acquiring the necessary tech won’t be easy, though, as the king of this land won’t share it unless Harius uses the celestial flame to rescue the royal family from a foe out to conquer the realm.
With so much resting on his fragile faith, Harius fears he will ultimately fail. Yet, amid all the danger he will learn that the relics he guards hold the secret to not only restoring his faith, but to revealing his untold destiny.
Harius felt his heart pulse wildly inside his chest as he turned to face the entrance. After a moment’s hesitation, he reached out and parted the veil before passing through to find a small silver basin set atop a white marble perch shaped like a column to his left. A small silver ring attached to the perch held a towel. A white table stacked with neatly folded robes of the same color stood to his right. He approached the basin and proceeded to wash every inch of his hands and forearms before drying them with the towel. Once he had donned one of the robes and tied its sash at his waist, he turned and faced the veil leading into the main chamber.
Harius stood there for a moment longer, all the while taking stock of himself. He couldn’t fathom how he, a doubter, was qualified to enter the holiest room in the Hamystic Faith, a place reserved for the elders to receive Divine instruction. In spite of his reservations, though, he knew who was waiting for him on the other side, and his heart longed to be near the one person whom he felt he needed to speak with the most. Mustering all his willpower now, Harius took a deep breath to calm himself as he reached out with his hand and parted the veil to enter the room.
Stepping over the threshold, Harius raised his arm to shield his eyes from the light that seemed to emanate from every particle of the interior’s marble floor and pillars. As his pupils began to contract, Harius lowered his arm to discover that the light was coming from an altar at the room’s center, which was surrounded by thin, transparent veils that hung from all sides of a square hole in the limestone ceiling.
The altar itself was a perfectly shaped cube made of cloud-white marble, with a basin half an arm’s length in diameter carved into its center. Inside that basin burned a blue-and-white flame that had an unworldly quality Harius had never seen before. It gave off a warm, invigorating sensation that made him feel more and more elated as he began to marvel over the flame and the significance it had to him as a Zehnarch-in-training.
As Harius began making his way toward the altar, he noticed a man with long white hair sitting atop a white plush bench situated about seven feet from the altar. He wore a white robe with thin silver chains embroidered on the hems, which glistened in the light of the flame. As the man turned to reveal his aging face, his countenance began to beam. He reached out to Harius with both arms and said in a warm, inviting voice, “You’ve grown since we last spoke.”
“Grandfather,” Harius said as he sat next to the Emissary and entered his warm embrace. As they hugged one another, Harius’s heart filled with joy over once again having the chance to be with the man who had given life to Harius’s mother, for he was as loving and kind as the woman Harius missed so dearly. As they released each other, Harius’s grandfather turned toward the altar in front of them and motioned to the flames with his hand.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Harius?” said Azariah. “The Celestial Flame in its purest form, its power capable of infinite possibilities and immeasurable wonders. It is the very power of the Divine, which only we, as Zehnarchs, have the privilege of wielding.” His expression grew more sorrowful as his eyes scanned Harius’s face. “You haven’t been doing what is needed to be blessed by it, have you?”
Harius frowned. “How did you know?”
“It was revealed to me by the Divine. But more importantly, I can see it in your eyes. They are the eyes of an enmity born of fear and sorrow. You’ve allowed the Fallen to trap you in a dark spell, which is unbecoming of a young man preparing to act as an agent of the Divine.”
“I’m sorry,” Harius sobbed. “I’m so lost and miserable right now. I don’t know what I am to do.”
“I am worried about you, Harius. This dark spell will consume you if you don’t rise above it.”
Harius cringed at his grandfather’s gentle yet firm rebuke, which caused him to avert his eyes to hide his shame. As he felt his grandfather pat his hand, Harius turned back to see Azariah staring back at him. His grandfather’s eyes filled with love as he said soberly, “Tell me, why have you let your faith grow so weak?”