The Forty-Ninth Leaf


Beltane fires burn throughout my kingdom this night.  The far hills are ablaze with flames and the scented fumes of sacred wood.  Sorren, if you were here this night I know you would be out leaping over fires and joining in on the revelry of this feast.  Your pagan roots were never scorned by me though you thought that I did not approve of your ritual magic.  The Easter season has only just passed, and now we come to the pagan holiday of witches and druids and distant and archaic heathen magic of the people before the coming of Christ.  Yes, I know that  the feast of Beltane is older than the Cross, and I am tolerant of these vestiges though I do not practice them, and even a good King should not bludgeon his subjects with the truth.

 I am not ignorant of the symbolism of this holiday.  It is a time of renewal, a time of rebirth, a time of joy for the sunreturn, and a time of love.  Beltane fires are lit to symbolize the power of the sun and the power of the ancient god Bel.  Cattle are passed beside the fire to bring strength and healing, and protection from evil spirits as the people leap into the air and over the fires in ecstatic orgies.  The fires inside of the peoples houses is extinguished, only to be rekindled by burning brands that they take from the Beltane fire, and even as these new fires are rekindled from the sacred fire, the Lord has risen and become rekindled in our heart.  It is a time of birth and celebration of fertility.  These things do not disturb me.  What disturbs me is that these things and this celebration does not celebrate the Lord, and that many of these good people of my kingdom do not even know the Lord.

I rule over a country of ancient gods and ancient ways, and I must respect the traditions of my people, but in truth my heart breaks for them that they may never know the ways of the Lord.  So I will stay inside of my castle this night while my people celebrate and rekindle their past.  I opened a new cask today, and I raise a glass to my people, and that they be happy in the celebration of their traditions, for our traditions help us to live and we are born to pass along our traditions to our children, just as I was taught by my father.


When my brother curated these pages he could not resist the temptation of comparing Sorren's world to that of our own. I too am moved by this same attraction. While the distance between us seems large, that is just one more illusion to my mind. How refreshing to me are the words of this King. While himself a seriously devout follower of his faith, he nevertheless shows a great respect for the beliefs of others. I have no doubt that in our world of today, I should have no problem in finding many similarly devout followers who would chastise this man for his complicity. I find myself frequently returning to this clash of certainty v. respect. And while I struggle with this mightily, I am convinced that the truth will never be revealed. Perhaps my mind can be changed, but if so, only by a vigilant wakefulness. I sense a kindred spirit in Sigmus. He lies awake at night and writes of his struggles. All these centuries later, I too am moved by this same attraction.

- D