Nikolas at the Crossroads

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By: Nerodia Posted on: July 25, 2006

Lured into a verdant den of clinging
tendrils twined on boughs of green, Nikolas
Paused to smell a fragile blossom springing

From the peaty earth. As he bent
His head, the trail behind impassable became,
And the jungle marked a dark portent.

His fate set with the dipping sun,
As twilight predators left their dens and holes.
Would his dream in death become undone?

Or was he at the mercy of the Garden's
Guiding hand? Between two mossy boulders
An altar, too slight for pious prayer or pardon,

Stood and proudly bore The Logos' mark.
Too tired to stand, he knelt beside the cedar
Shrine and stared at the relentless dark.

Restless was the night and dreamless hours
Passed as the twinkling stars receded.
When sluggish night the rising sun devoured,

Again he tried to find a homeward route.
But every path returned to one before
Until dismayed he ended his pursuit.

When at the crossroads Nikolas stood again
Before the tiny altar made of wood,
He knelt and in that dusk-drenched jungle glen

He prayed aloud to Sarapis for sight,
For guidance and for truth. No longer blind
Would Nikolas seek the gathering light.

Trusting not in might of mortal men
Nor his own designs for Seleucar,
But in the hands that made all in our ken

From towering cliffs to lowly pasture land.
And to his plea the Lord did bend an ear,
Beside the very altar came to stand,

Stepping from the trees without a sound
As if a gentle breeze had wandered in.
His humble robes of grey swept the ground

And hid his countenance beneath the cowl.
No trumpets marked the presence of the Lord,
Nor blinding light, nor visions fair or foul.

He simply was. Within His hand a staff
Of shining gold, the other held a stone
Of jet upon which grew a mossy graft.

"Upon this stone the moss, amar, will thrive
And cleanse the air and waters of their ills.
By this alone may Seleucar survive.

"Take up this staff of gold to claim your throne
As Emperor of all that you can see.
In every tribe and village make it known

"A shining army stands against the Wave.
Gather to your side a host of light
To resist the Dark Ones and their slaves.

"From this day on Nikolas is no more.
Before Me now stands Nicator, the Just,
Builder of the realm, and noble Emperor!"

Back to Seleucar he marched in haste,
Inspired by the words of the Divine.
The mantle of a savior he embraced,

And with a dread resolve prepared for war.
Leaving at the crossroads all his doubts,
To meet the Black Wave as it struck the shore.