From Melchior—The Gift of Kings
Frozen to the core, Melchior sat slouch-shouldered at the table; tendrils of steam from his venison stew rose before him. He took a tentative sip and burned his tongue.
Gideon hurried into the hall, his arms swinging at his side, a smile radiating from his face. “Father! Good news!”
Melchior pursed his lips.
Settling next to his father on the bench, Gideon peered from the old man to the stew and grinned. Lifting the bowl, he blew away the steam. After a few hearty puffs, he placed the bowl before his father with a flourish. “You’re right. God takes care of everything!”
Gideon shook his head. “Well, this time. Wilfred told the Prince about the church, and guess what? You can’t imagine.”
“The prince offered to support the building. He even gave me gold to show his sincerity.” Gideon drew out a bag and poured heavy coins onto the table. “Prince Omar believes that the church must be free to serve God without a king’s influence. He’s going to persuade his father to visit, too.”
Melchior swallowed as he envisioned an entourage of foreign kings arriving at his humble abode. “Father Caedmon named you rightly. You’re a warrior meant to spread the word of God, but with a pen, not a sword.” Melchior’s frown returned. “What about studying in Rome?”
Gideon’s eyes glowed. “Perhaps I don’t need to go. With good scholars, we can teach here. Men might come from all over the world to see what we have preserved, what we have remembered…for the glory of God.”
Melchior sighed as images of ruins, mud-caked roads, and ignorant men rose in his mind.
Gideon grasped his father’s cold, feeble hand. “You see. It’s a miracle! And through the help of a foreign king!”
Melchior’s blank stare through red-rimmed eyes proclaimed what he did not see.
“Your father named you Melchior after a foreign king who served God through a gift of gold. This time it will be a king’s son, but a king’s power nonetheless, who serves God through a gift of gold.” Gideon clapped his hands together. “What a wonderful sense of humor God has!”
Melchior sat motionlessly. His stew was quite cool by now. He swallowed and remembered his father’s gentle face as he peered up at him, sitting on the old man’s knee as a boy.
“Never give up, Melchior, for God is never outdone in generosity. His strength reaches to men—through men. God never abandons His own.”
Pushing his stew to the side, Melchior stared at his happy son. The tears that slipped down his cheeks warmed his face.
A silent, invisible being sat at the far end of the table, entranced. Omega itched to take on human form, but he knew the rules. Mother had explained observations techniques very carefully, and Abbas had outlined the horrors of alien exposure in vivid detail. If he wanted a world of his own someday, he must study hard and not take risks.
Appearing as nothing more than a flicker of wind, Omega rose from the table, circled around the old man, and bent low to examine the tears. Awesome things—tears. Fearing spontaneous combustion from sheer exuberance, Omega returned to his own world.
Bright flames flickered over huge logs set into a fireplace large enough to roast a full-grown ox. Lush tapestries and rich oil paintings adorned the lofty walls while heavy wooden trestle tables lined the perimeter.
Appearing as an elderly human in a long robe, wearing a red skull cap, Abbas reclined on an ornate couch with enough pillows to satisfy a Greek god. Studying a painting—the Mona Lisa—propped on a stand at his side, he tapped his fingers against his lips, a minor scowl etched across his brow.
Omega strode into the great hall, bent and kissed his father on the forehead, and tilted his head at the Mona Lisa. “Figure her out yet?”
Abbas rose and waved a languid hand. “She’s not half as interesting as the men who find her fascinating.” Abbas pointed to the painting. “Do you know that Leonardo—the artist—painted her to represent the ideal of happiness?”
A grin played on Omega’s lips. “He’s quite wrong. I believe I’ve discovered ideal happiness—in tears.”
In a fluid motion, Abbas rose and strode to a side table filled with golden goblets and a carafe of pink liquid. “Been to Earth again—have we?” He poured healthy dashes into goblets and handed one to his son. “You realize that we have to find our own medium of happiness—each and every day. It’s not something one discovers once and for all.” He took a smooth sip, eyeing his son over the rim.
In one gulp, Omega downed his drink and tossed the goblet into the fire.
His father frowned.
Flopping onto the couch, Omega crossed his legs and leaned back. He closed his eyes. “I watched a young man turn his father from agony to ecstasy with mere words. He spoke of God as if he knew Him personally, and he drew hope from despair. The old man’s tears redeemed him.” Jumping to his feet, Omega crossed the room and poured himself another drink. “I find that fascinating—even though I hardly understood a word he said.” He gulped down the second drink as quickly as the first, but before he could throw the goblet, his father snatched it from his hand.
“You’re a child, Omega, fascinated by new experiences.” He placed the goblet back on the table. “Even though we have power—we must not waste it. You are too hasty. You—”
“But that’s why they fascinate me! They are creatures of passion and intellect, yet as far below us as their amphibians are below them. But still, they make such music, such poetry—” He swung around and pointed at the Mona Lisa. “Such glorious art! It resonates within me.”
Abbas lifted the painting off the stand and placed it securely between two masterpieces on the wall. His frown deepened.
“Ay, father! Do you think that perhaps they’re right? Maybe they were created by the same God—and that’s why—”
“Don’t forget yourself! You were sent to study—not to emulate—aliens. We worship no gods—or beings—beyond ourselves. That’s how we became so powerful. We’re the best the universe has to offer.”
Turning to the fire and running his fingers through the flames, Omega chuckled. “Yes, father. That’s why we copy their paintings, eat their food, sit at their tables, live in their castles, and wear their skins. We study them—” His smile faded. “And wish we could cry.”
Novels by A. K. Frailey
Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg
Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN
Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r
Coming in 2018…
OldEarth ARAM Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)
The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5
The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00