By Ashkan Jafarpisheh – May 2020
Aram had a majestic appearance. His worn-out, but of the greatest quality, green & golden armour glistened under the silent moon as he worked his way up the mountain to the entrance of the cave.
The sound of crickets and crows were having a sort of mischievous dance to make the mood more ominous.
Aram had no fear. He was ready to face anything. He had already killed the greatest dragons hidden in the deepest darkness. His heart was still, like a gentle pond on a windless dawn.
His right arm had a huge scar if we were to look at this champion from behind going up the mountain.
On his back was a large and masterfully made sword. This legendary sword knows as knowledge had a black and golden handle with emerald, ruby and sapphire. This was the second greatest sword in existence.
In his left hand our hero was holding a beautiful white and blue amulet on a brown cowhide leather cord. This amulet belonged to his mother. Aram faithfully held this amulet before adversity; his mother’s love was the secret to his unshakability.
O how he loved his mother! Her kind and warm heart was like a secure child’s playful sunny afternoon. He skipped and jumped and even acted a little crazy in his heart when his mother’s love shone on him.
Up above behind the tip of the mountain, where our destination cave was situated, there were an ocean of stars. In fact, our plucky hero had never seen such a beautiful night-sky and this scene together with the touch of his mother’s amulet created a positive symbiosis that strengthened his core and made his steps more sure.
Aram at this moment found himself trying to suppress a chuckle; a playful mood was starting to blossom in his consciousness. He was used to danger; this was his territory.
Looking at our hero from the front we see a small man in his 30s. His right eyebrow had a large gash, one could not help but wonder how he survived this cut with his eye intact! His brown eyes had a sad yet compassionate & hopeful look.
Aram hated predators. He preyed on them. As a master predator-catcher, he always watched for the little slips that gave the monster away. He defeated each predator using their weakness, the same technique these wretched beings used on the poor souls trapped within their grasp.
The trees on this mountain were truly something to behold. One would be lucky to see one tree on the mountain in the area, let alone many giant trees. Adam loved these trees, himself being a gentle giant.
“This is it.” The thought sub-consciously poked its head into this moment as he was passing by the enormous trunk of a patiently-resting tree.
He nimbly skipped over a few rocks in a playful way and did a backflip. Unsheathing his sword he started to do a choreographed ancient dance under the moonlight. Firm, secure and strong was our hero.
Following this few moments of distraction, Aram started to come to his senses and he now felt ashamed.
“I am underestimating this challenge.” He was upset with himself. This was a very careless and unguarded thing that he had done.
He decided to make up for this by praying to the Light under the shade of one of the father-like trees of the mountain.
Please forgive your servant for his foolishness;
I ask you the Light to give me grace and strength to face the true challenge ahead.
I am an arrow in your quiver; release me now, o great Light,
with your blessing into the heart of darkness that lays ahead.”
After these words Aram stilled his being and brought himself back into a somber and focused attitude and continues on the journey to the entrance of the cave.
You see, my dear reader, somewhere in the distant past the universe had said a resounding yes to Aram in her heart, and this appeared all the more certain to him as the years went by.
Confirmation after confirmation and victory after victory, he had made a name for himself. By the fame of his battles he had created a revered and God-like image of a great shepherd warrior, who truly cares for the orphans and widows.
From across the empire, the helpless and the little ones of the earth sought him for justice. And Aram always made time for each; he stooped down in kindness to lift them up with grace and compassion.
Unfortunately our perfect and immaculate painting here had one troublesome blemish. This imperfection was like a defect he tried to scrub, minimize and go around but it always found one way or the other to sneak back up on him. This was his core doubt and the gateway to his mortal enemy fear.
Aram’s motto, which was a kind of goofy saying among children anywhere he visited, was “no fear.”
While we are in this topic we would like to inform you, dear reader, that all was not fun and games in our plucky hero’s life. In fact earlier that day he had gotten in trouble because a few of the village children, spearheaded by a blonde 10-year-old girl had used his no fear motto as a sort of monkey-squirming and mental gymnastics to justify stealing a couple of loaves of bread from the elder’s hut.
Aram, who had the gift of discernment, of course knew what really had gone on. These poor children were tired of being hungry during the day, and while seeing the obese elder gorge himself at a “school official’s only” banquet, they had stumbled upon a revelation; it was unjust that this gross over-weight bully would be so well-fed and the skinny children go hungry.
The blonde girl named Darya was a sharp creature who bit back quickly if you bothered her in any way. During one of the classes, she had heard the archetypical story of a hero stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The slight sensation of hunger she felt, mixed with the sight of the lazy elder pounding his face back with chicken legs at the Principle’s table, had caused a genesis-spark to go off in Darya’s heart.
That morning Aram remembered meeting Darya very well. Later on this pesky criminal had stolen the loaf of bread and in the afternoon Aram had to endure a bit of scorn and condescending yelling over the two loaves from the village elder.
On that blessed day in the early morning, right around the time roosters start to crow, Aram walked on a dusty road in a completely relaxed state. His walk was actually a stroll. As he walked he took his time standing by an old house’s wall smelling the pink flowers hanging over from a tree.
A small brook flowed beside him, making a peaceful running water sound that gently caressed his being.
The air was crisp and fresh. Adam felt great today on this legendary morning and the Sun was about to come out of hiding to bless half of mankind with her presence.
The sky was a golden and blue color with little fluffy and cute clouds; each one was like an organic and ever-growing piece of art which is continually regenerated by death and rebirth.
Aram had a prophetic air about him today. He had just survived mortal danger and his sword knowledge had penetrated the heart of the serpent he had been hunting down for the last 7 years. Except for this present trial in the cave, the serpent was the hardest and most testing adversary he had faced.
“But the light is with me like a dread champion.”
He thought to himself.
As he walked by a patch of tall grass and wild flowers by a broken-down stone wall, two orange and black butterflies, one large and one small, were enjoying one another’s presence by a yellow blossom.
Aram marvelled at creation, the beauty of the sky and the way nature and man gracefully fit together confirmed in his heart that the Light was very real.
He was a profoundly religious man, everything that happened to him had a spiritual significance. He always looked for signs and confirmations.
He prayed fervently and often, including the Light in the smallest details of what he was doing.
But on this grand morning he had already prayed and the Light had answered him and now he felt a state of deep relaxation. He had learnt this state by closely studying his grandmother’s lazy cat Gofo.
Gofo was a marvel to Aram. This chubby and mysterious creature appeared to rarely move! Aram often spent hours as a child stealthily following Gofo to see how this fluffy ball had acquired the great mass of fat also known as a belly.
They were poor you see; like Darya, he often lacked bread, let alone for their household to be able to lavish Gofo with a shower of delicacies. One cannot simply deny the evidence, and all facts pointed to a massive secret intake happening behind closed doors, which was a conspiracy our adventurous detective was eager to uncover.
But there was no secret stash. The truth was Aram, after wasting dozens of hours, came to the realization that Gofo the cat was frozen in a kind of permanent yawn in space and time. This marvelous animal exerted the absolute least amount of effort necessary!
“Imagine if you could do this and channel your reserved energy, same as the cat’s belly, into an energetic quasar of an arrow for an ultimate purpose?!” Aram philosophised after the disappointing cat-spying debacle.
Back to our current scene (which is happening before our real current scene near the entrance of the cave), we see our prophetic and majestic warrior wrapped around in the comfort of a divine moment, in harmony with the Light and Nature.
At the same time as this is happening our curly-haired and green-eyed freckled anti-hero was making “Ha & Hee & Hum” sounds as she was struggling to reach into a hen’s den to get an egg.
Darya had stretched her little right arm as much as possible, wearing her white chore dress, which seemed as though it had seen many morning battles.
Although Darya was small and somewhat skinny, she had ruddy and chubby cheeks and kind but slightly wild eyes; there was an adorable explosion of subtle freckles on her face. Her hair was cut short, since having them long wasted hours of her day in maintenance, not to include the funny zapped-mad girl look she acquired when she let her hair stick out to high heaven.
“Slim pickins today Mooko!”
Mooko, which was the resident rooster made a little muffled clucking sound with a dumbfounded look on his face.
If our champion Aram had the motto of “no fear,” Darya had the motto that “to live is to play.” She always had a mischievous but good-natured, protective and playful spirit.
Coming out of the chicken coop the cheeky blonde skipped & hopped doing an amateurish acrobatic move which did not go as planned.
As Darya slipped headlong into the mud, the wicker basket with only 6 eggs (one was cracked) went flying, at the exact moment Mooko made the loudest “Cluck” Darya had ever heard, which sent all 11 chickens into a frenzy.
The bewildered eyes of Mooko looked with astonishment at his kingdom. Not only day after day he was being exploited by this monstrous girl and robbed of his offspring, but furthermore this morning his whole kingdom was in disarray and his wives & concubines were running around fighting and spraying loose white feathers everywhere.
This overdose of information was of course too much for Mooko’s roostic brain to bear, which resulted in an internal “Snap” sound followed by a “Bang” & finally a “Boom.”
With the internal “Boom” our poor rooster went from the realm of reason into the realm of the unconscious. A violent suppressed rage started to rumble in the depth of our feathered friend, and soon like a violent volcano or a tsunami it started to bloom upward towards the surface.
“And what is the surface?” You might ask.
In these few seconds, which seemed like infinity to Mooko, the egg-catcher was laying flat on her face in the mud with her back towards the enraged rooster, which provided a perfect surface for the troubled bird to attack.
Finally with a “Waaaah!!” sound Mooko sprinted forward in an epic act of courage, pushing 3 of his wives and 2 of his concubines out of the way, before slamming his beak as hard as possible into the rear of the fallen chore-master.
“Ahhhhhh!” was the subconscious biting back of Darya that immediately got activated.
the rooster which had now been forced to break his own moral code under extreme pressure, to repress the guilt, decided to keep backing up and re-attacking Darya’s farm dress, leaving a few well-placed but not so discreet battle marks.
The final icing on the cake of this turbulent scene of mayhem was a 300 pound middle-aged woman slamming the kitchen door open.
My dear reader, I know what you might be thinking at this point; the abusive caretaker has arrived to bully our damsel in distress’s spirit with her brutality. I assure you, this could not by further from the truth.
Our enormous newcomer had not opened the door in anger but rather in an act of love and concern. Every morning when she woke up before dawn, she knew that as sure as the sun will rise, her little niece would get involved with one shenanigan or the other.
What was not known to anyone, not even to Darya, was that her auntie cherished these shenanigans and had a journal written down with details & dates. Every month when Darya would go to the sunday market, she would have a shenanigan of the month competition, and there were even hall of fame and yearly awards.
This Sunday happened to be award’s day which also coincided with the extremely rare & only once a year Blueberry-pie extravaganza day.
Aunt Sara’s tight apron had blueberries squished in a few places, her right fingers were all purple and her left hand was purple with patches of white flour blending in.
On her adorable concerned face, our beloved auntie even had a small chocolate stain which could be seen if you were to look closely on the bottom left corner of her mouth.
Life had not been kind to aunt Sara, this bruised and battered woman had buried everyone she loved, dead by either disease or war.
Darya was the light of her life. She lived for Darya. Anything that she could, she immediately sacrificed for Darya without a moment’s hesitation and with a cheerful heart.
This powerful love had penetrated Darya’s heart, even deeper than the pain of losing both her parents.
Like a magic-potion, this ruby-love, slowly but surely, had transmogrified Darya’s heart from wilted & dead, into a resurrected, bubbly & free-flowing spirit which gave off sparks & flames as she moved about.
Darya was Sara’s magnum opus, and if auntie were to die today, she would die blessed in every possible way.
By the time aunt Sara’s powerful presence made Mooko leave running in a psychotic craze to the farthest corner possible, Darya had gotten up, now all muddy, with the empty basket which had been ripped & deformed after the fall, in her right hand.
5 eggs lay desecrated not too far from one another, with only the cracked egg still retaining it’s former shape.
“Are you alright?!”
Said aunt Sara with a frantic look as she darted towards her niece.
Darya’s eyes now widened with horror. She had actually had a nightmare or two, which had resulted in her waking up with the same “Ahhhhh!” she had made not too long ago, about her aunt rolling over her and putting her out of her misery forever and ever.
“I am ok auntie, really…”
She quickly ducked her aunt and went over the broken eggs bending forward in a haphazard fake-acting motion to make it appear as though she was deeply grieved by this great loss.
The giant & chubby arm of aunt Sara lovingly moved towards Darya and grabbed her little hands as though she was holding a delicate flower.
“Come inside love, no use crying over broken eggs. One of these days I am going to make a rooster potpie…”
“No auntie! Do not say such things. I love Mooko.”
You see, aunt Sara was the most beautiful and kind soul up until the point that someone dared to touch Darya. At this point she morphed into a horrifying warrior she-woman and with a “Raaar!” she dispensed of the guilty part.
Because of protecting Darya in this way, the little girl was now freed-up to live without self-consciousness like a young lioness; she moved beautifully, boldly and freely.
After the extremely rare morning-feast and a quick slice of hot and fresh aunt Sara’s divine Blueberry pie, a bowl of homemade yogurt, a glass of fresh goat’s milk, a huge sloppy kiss and a suffocating hug, our blonde egg-breaking hero was out of the house in her yellow & white flowery dress, hopping along the village road to cross paths with Aram on her way to school.
By now the morning was in full bloom, Aram had passed his prophetic creation-appreciating mood and had entered into the lazy Sunday mood instead.
He had relaxed his guard and hero pose away from the gaze of onlookers by a few bails of hay in a back alley.
I am not going to lie to you, my dear reader, the pose Darya found Aram in was not a very slightly one. In fact one might dare to say that the small middle aged hero looked defeated & bent out of shape.
He was sitting on a bail with his back against another one, spreading his legs open like one of the village hooligans.
To this day no one knows what was going on through Aram’s mind as he lay there motionless, letting it all air out.
The connection both Darya & Aram felt was instantaneous and unresistable. Without even the smallest fraction of a delay both reacted by a smile. There was no need for introduction. These two old souls did not need to be ceremonious, they had already been together since times immemorial.
After a couple of seconds Aram quickly relaxed in the presence of his neu-found friend back into the same vulnerable & open position. Darya also quickly jumped next to him sitting in a similar but less masculine pose.
She moved her back around on the hay to try to get a comfortable spot where the hay would not needle her too much.
Finally the two heroes lay comfortable, loved & satisfied, looking at the sunny morning sky.
Just at this moment a large and unusually pretty cloud jumped in from of the sun and it caused a cool shade to fall on these two profound souls, which was to remain for the rest of their hay-bail adventure.
“Have you ever heard of a flaming sword?” Asked Aram with a warm and friendly tone.
Aram & Darya laughed and teased one another under the kind sky-canopy the Light had over them, two vibrant beings bouncing their words off of one another’s hearts like seeing one’s own beautiful reflection in a friend’s soul.
The belly laughter the bright eyed egg-robber let out was so contagious that a couple of sparrows, a few ants & even a lizard started to snoop around to see what all the fuss is about.
Meanwhile the warrior Aram had laid his serpent-slaying crown to rest and was having the time of his life with the clout of this unexpected moment, tickling the freckled princess’s funny-bone.
“O how I love the skies Aram, and these funny looking clouds, o my! You know, sometimes when I lay down to look at the sun, the moon & the stars, my heart cannot take the beauty; but then I look around me at my friend’s starving faces and all the pain and the skin & bones, minus my gigantic aunt of course which I told you about, and I wonder what is going on?”
Aram was listening in a perfectly comfortable state; he was at the same time deeply thinking & trying to ascertain why a certain cloud seemed to stick out with an odd balloon-like formation.
“I knew someone like that once. Not a person but a certain cat my grandma had, it was also huge…”
This touched a sensitive spot in Darya’s soul and she was now starting to be troubled. As was her normal way of functioning, she did not try to repress the truth in any shape or form.
“I sometimes wonder if my auntie is not secretly over-eating and hiding food. I am really bothered & hurt that I have these thoughts Aram. She is such a wonderful lady and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Finally after decades of torment & turmoil it dawned on Aram why he had gone through the many hours of soul-searching in regards to the cat. He waited for the right moment as Darya continued on.
“Every once in a while I have been thinking about following auntie around to see if she had a secret stash but then I feel guilty, and this state of being, creates a sort of uncomfortable split in which I go back & forward between my auntie’s love, her belly, my own skinny body and the accusation.”
Aram calmly replied as if to bait out a reaction.
“I followed our huge cat for days. We were starving back then too…”
“And?!…” Sarah added with eyes wide open in anticipation.
Our warrior cheekily dragged this momentary pause by taking a huge whiff of fresh which resulted in a quick poke in his belly followed by a surprisingly strong pinch from Darya (which he was to find out later had left a purple mark), and an “Ahhhhh!” sound from him.
“Your aunt does not have a secret stash Darya, the cat did not have one either. Some people are just built that way.”
As soon as Darya heard this, she felt a few moments of shame followed by an enormous relief. She not only had been open about a secret that has been bothering her for a few years, but had now been mercifully relieved of carrying this burden.
This was followed by another huge belly-laughter sending the spying lizard back into the wall it had crawled out of.
“You don’t know how happy I am that I have finally been able to be open about these things. Do YOU have any secrets?”
This is the point my dear reader in which our story takes a rather dark turn.
Sometimes the reason why we have not reached our heart’s desire is not based on effort, or lack of, but rather because deep within ourselves we hide the truth. As the proverb goes, he who covers his sin will not prosper.
Somewhere along the line we fall or stumble or worse we KNOW something that we try to lock up in the depth of the dungeons of our being. Because the truth is locked & chained-up, our hose is plugged, therefore life cannot bubble out of us freely.
The second that we decide to suppress the truth, an image and performance takes over. This phenomenon in turn causes us to live by exerting energy.
Luckily for the lovable Darya, the truth of what she had done was a pesky little accusation and had not fully been incubated to give birth to some sort of crime; therefore a simple confession with a sound of “Poof!” washed her heart clean and restored her already overtime-working hose.
Not all souls are as lucky, you see, it takes a gem-like human being to face the truth; unfortunately many of us are plagued with turd-like tendencies, meaning it is easier to run as far away as possible from the pain of facing the truth, as Mooko the rooster had done earlier; often this happens because we have broken down a deep moral code or witnessed someone else partake of a crime.
At the right place & time, in the most innocent and unguarded moment, in which our hero was close to the person speaking the words and in a fully open disposition, the perfect arrow penetrated Aram’s heart.
Aram upon hearing her question quickly jumped up. Darya now was faced with this mighty warrior and she gasped as an enormous ripple of powerful strength went out from him as he stood up in determination.
She saw in Aram a scarred and battle-tested man. He had bruises all across his body as he put his cloak back on.
“What happened?!” She asked as she tugged the edge of his robe.
Aram, who had a disposition of facing rather than running, was having an internal storm, as the truth he had long denied and suppressed slowly started to crawl out.
This pretty & innocent soul had finally broken through his image and defences to uncover his dirty-little secret.
“I do have a secret and just like you, my courageous friend, I need to go and confess it and seek forgiveness.”
“You can confess to me! And I will quickly forgive you and we can get back to our goofy conversation.”
Aram looked with kindness at this precious girl, his heart was stirred by the genuine love of this child of the Light.
“Unfortunately I have to go and confess it to the person I committed the transgression against to be forgiven.”
“In that case I also will confess to aunt Sara.” Said Darya as she hurriedly got up.
They stood now close to one another, the gentle giant Aram who had no fear, and the little spark of light named Darya.
“I will come back Darya, and when I come we will have even more conversations I promise.”
Upon hearing these words Darya jumped forward and hugged our truth-facing hero and she disappeared as quickly as she came.
Aram walked in a shocked state. The Universe & the Light were no longer hugging him. The wonderful scene we wove together earlier of butterflies and fluffy clouds and gentle this & that was now morphing into a somber reality.
Many years ago, before Aram was a great warrior saviour, he was a regular soldier in King’s army.
One day he was playing who shot the arrow with his best friend and fellow soldier Kaami; at the height of his carelessness, one of his arrows had entered a poor blind peasant lady’s home, killing her baby.
This arrow, which Kaami thought came from him, actually came from Aram. Kaami who was disposed to being over-sensitive, took his traumatic incident very harshly and soon after they grew apart. A couple of years later the drunkard Kaami had ended his own life.
To say that Aram hid the truth would actually not be completely accurate. He minimized it and since he had a 10 percent or so doubt that the arrow was not his, he quickly repressed the truth when facing the screaming haggardly-mother.
Aram let go of all his defences and the years of image he had acquired. The clout of truth had taken the diadem of his great might off.
At this time Aram also had a flood of revelation in regards to a dream he had shortly after the baby-killing travesty.
In this dream he was fighting Demons & Monsters in a tunnel. As time went by he started to run out of his own strength and he cried out for help. Right away 3 powerful men appeared. In their hands they were holding a long object covered by a burlap cloth.
As they pulled the cloth away, it revealed a magnificent Flaming Sword with black & golden handle. The orange glow reflected on Aram’s face and the 3 men of authority who had responded to his cry for help.
Aram received the Flaming Sword which sent a powerful surge of strength rippling through his body. With this neu-found strength Aram pushed forward to a bridge. On the other side of the bridge was a mansion. As Aram reached the halfway point of the bridge, the whole side of the mansion facing him turned into a demonic face which cried out “NO!! DON’T BRING THAT IN HERE!”
It all made sense to him now. He had spent many years searching for the number one sword. There was no place too dark for him to go in search of the ultimate-weapon.
In fact the idea of there being such an astounding sword was seeded in that dream.
Darya, who had a tendency to be open like the sky, had showed him the way.
In order for our hero to find the Flaming Sword, he had to crawl underground, deep within the hidden dungeon of his own heart and face the truth.
“I murdered a baby and hid the truth, killing my best friend.”
One by one the bricks came tumbling down from the perfect image he was portraying to the world around him.
Lately he had been feeling wary and was using a lot more force to keep it altogether.
That night, sleeping in the village inn, Aram saw another dream which took him up the mountain to the entrance of the cave.
But Aram never went inside the imaginary cave, going all the 7 levels to the bottom to slay his arch-nemesis.
Rather a sudden wasp-bite woke him up with a loud “Eeeeeeh!” He was sweating profusely as he opened his eyelids.
Sitting on the corner of his bed, he let the wasp live & get away. He surrendered himself to the pain of the wasp-sting and the challenge that lay before him.
He finally understood the secret to Darya’s power:
“I must let my whole life fall apart to face the Truth, in humility being open like a little-child; only then, I will be free from this image I am holding up altogether, and I will be able to live and flow freely, effortlessly & naturally.”
Aram did not put on a fancy armour as he went outside the inn to look into the starry night-sky.
A certain peace & inspiration he had long forgotten was now propelling him powerfully into the future.
A long road filled with humble-pies lay ahead, but the healing touch of little Darya & the Flaming Sword of truth had finally set our hero free.