The Journey of Discovery

Preface:
In English, eleventh grade, we had to write a short story about supernatural powers. I enjoyed writing it and afterwards continued to work on it. I would forget about it for several months but then find it again and work on it a little more. What you are about to read is, I believe, the final version.

The Journey of Discovery

        His name is Maximus. Bronzed and muscled, he looks like a Greek god. However, he is no god. He is a warlord, Master of the Nine Seas of the Dark Lands, Lord of the Sevenfold Kingdom, and Guardian of the Three Gates. Little does he know of his future, little does he know of his fall. Maximus, the once proud and powerful, will be nothing more than an outcast.
        Maximus wakes early, before the rise of the sun, and walks onto his balcony to survey his kingdom in the newly birthed light of the rising sun. Today the sun will not rise, for the Lord of the Air is making his move upon the Sevenfold Kingdom. Waiting for the sun to rise, Maximus begins to shiver; it is getting colder. After what seems like hours, the sun peeks above the horizon, promising a prosperous day in the kingdom. Suddenly dark clouds begin to form and lightning brightens the sky. Slowly, the sun begins to sink. Lower and lower it falls until it has gone from sight. It has begun.
        This is an omen, Maximus is sure of it. Quickly he sends for his advisors, his conjurers, and his sorcerers. With a flurry, they rush into the presence of their lord, careful not to ignite his wrath. They fall on their faces at the sight of the sky. It is darker than the deepest night. Horrible dark clouds cover the sky, no stars can be seen, nor can the moon. Maximus roars with anger and demands that his sniveling advisors quite themselves and explain this "sign of evil." With fear, they say they do not know. They huddled together mumbling to themselves. Maximus could only catches pieces of what the said, something about a "Lord of the Air," and a bit about a prophecy being fulfilled. Then one of them, a small man in the back, speaks up,
        "My Lord, it can only be the Powers of this dark earth that have done this. The Lord of the Air himself is upon us and were are doomed to burn in his infernal pits. The prophecy has been fulfilled. It is written in the tomes of lore, on the graves of our ancestors before us. They warned us that this day would come. The prophecy is this:

A child will be born from the gods,
He will hold in each of his seven hands,
A golden candlestick,
He will melt them down into one.
The three gates will be his,
The eyes, the ears, the mouth,
He will be taught how to control them,
He will be taught of their powers.
He will reign in peace until his time has come.
The child is the enemy of the Lord of the Air

The sky will darken in the morning,
The earth will spin against itself,
The sun will set before it rises.
This is the sign of his coming,
He will be a beast of unimaginable horror,
He will lead in four chariots of war,
Each a different color,
One was white as snow with a bow etched into its side,
Another was blood red with a sword imprinted into its side,
The third was black as the deepest night with
a pair of scales carved into its side,
Last came one that was pale as a full moon with
death engraved into its side,
These are the signs of the Lord of the Air.

        Maximus opens and closes his mouth; he is stunned. His life had just been told to him from the tomes of lore. The seven candlesticks represent the seven provinces that he conquered and joined. He conquered by using the three "gates" by controlling what the enemy saw, heard, and said. How can this be, how can his life be written before it has happened?
        He cries, "But who has touched the powers of evil, who has brought this to pass? Is it you?" He points to one of his advisors. "Or you?" pointing to a guard. "Tell me my great conjurers and sorcerers, use your 'unholy' power to reveal the traitor. Do it quickly and your reward will be great for uncovering who this blame rests upon."
        His conjurers and sorcerers close their eyes and begin to chant. Their voices shake the walls and their foundations. A light forms in their midst and begins to spin. Faster it spins, the wind is sucked into it, the clouds above being to swirl downwards. The clouds of evil are pulled in. It stops spinning and begins to take on a shape. Hazed and distorted at first, the image begins to clear. Alas it is a man, a man whom everyone present knows, it is Maximus.
        A roar of rage shakes the earth and the image dissolves into the air. Maximus stands there, glaring at his men, "You traitors," he shrieks.
        In chorus they reply, "The gods and Powers of truth have spoken. Be you banished from this kingdom. Guards, you have a new Lord now."
        One of the sorcerers steps forward and says, "I am He." Pointing to Maximus he continues, "Take this abomination to the dungeon."
        "You will do no such thing!" roars Maximus, and with that, he pulls out his sword and charges through the guards, swinging with unchained fury. He cuts them down like rag dolls. Out of his chamber he runs, down the long halls. A trumpet sounds, the guards have been alerted. He comes upon one rushing towards his chambers in reply to the alarm. Before the guard can draw his sword Maximus brings his own blade down in a sweeping arc splitting the guard in two. A trio of Maximus' own honor guards charge their former lord. Strengthened with rage Maximus hefts his broad sword behind his head for a devastating blow. He swings at the first guard severing his arm from his body, the soldier's sword clangs to the ground no longer held by its owner. Without stopping Maximus twirls, bringing the blade up in a nasty arc catching one guard at the hip, slicing towards the shoulder, the other guard is caught by the tip of Maximus' blade as it continues its arc disembodying his head. Running from the castle in a rage, his echo is heard saying, "I will feast on the sweet taste of revenge before my body joins the realm of the dead."
        The castle is now out of sight; he has run non-stop since he fled; tired he now rests. Saying to himself, "How is this possible? What Powers can do this to me? I have held the Three Gates and looked into the depths of time and space and never have I seen a Power this great." Exhausted from his run he closes his eyes to sleep under the starless sky. His sleep will be far from fitful and resting.
        His dreams are dark and frightening. They show an eye, no, a wheel of eyes, all seeing and all knowing, a Power greater than any other. Below the eye the seas part and from them comes a beast, sent by the Lord of the Air. With ten horns and seven heads, from its mouth spews forth a dark cloud. It gathers around the wheel. Slowly the wheel spins and a light shines out from its midst and the clouds break. They disappear, conquered by the eyes.
        Maximus wakes, covered in cold sweat; he sees what must be done. There is but one Power capable of regaining his kingdom and parting the dark clouds. It must be found. Rising he begins to walk, whispering, "Power of the Eyes, guide me to you, be a light unto my feet and show me your path." As he walks his eyes are opened, around him he sees another world, the world of Powers. Frightened he falls to his knees, and cries out "What horrors are mine eyes seeing? I do not wish to see this, I do not wish to be part of this."
        A voice of authority speaks, "But my child you are part of this. Your desires have nothing to do with my will. I have seen fit to show you the world beyond your world, a place that not even the Three Gates could help you obtain. A world beyond your imagination, created for Powers by the POWER. You will gain an understanding for the arcane, and an eye for the unseeable. You will experience the life and power of Powers; you will dwell with knowledge of their constant presence, when you sleep, when you eat, when you hide. Naught is hidden from our eyes; naught is hidden from our ears. Go you now and seek after the Power of the Eyes', see you if you can reach its domain. Try you to understand its power over the Lord of the Air. Then and only then will your kingdom be returned and justice served."
        Maximus climbs to his feet, looking around he sees the ethereal world on top of his own mortal one. A path is before him, burning in a white flame. Where does it lead? With great fear, he approaches it. Steeling himself, ready to be burned, he steps onto the path of fire. It touches his skin but does not burn him. With great determination, Maximus places his feet one foot in front of the other. Slowly moving he follows the path, never moving his eyes from it.
        Many days have passed; in fact, months have gone by. Maximus no longer resembles a lord, his clothes are tattered and his beard is ragged. He has come a great distance. Crossing lands he has never seen before. Constantly fighting a battle inside himself, one that begs him to stop his journey, and to give up, to settle down somewhere, to live a normal life. A life untouched by the Powers and their world. To ignore all and end his life as an old man, dieing with his family, a poor farmer whom none will miss. Yet, he struggles on, pushing aside his fears. Focusing on the Wheel of Eyes, onward he presses.
        Nearer draws he to the domain of the Wheel of Eyes. He can see it off in the distance. He is tired, and worn out, his feet are bloodied from the path, but onwards he plods towards his goal. He has passed through many trials; the Powers of darkness have haunted him throughout his journey. Yet, he has persevered. He has defeated his fear of the world of Powers; he has become accustomed to the battles they wage over the mortal world, to gain control over it. He has seen kingdoms fall to the Powers of darkness only to be saved by Powers of light. He has seen the interactions of the Powers with the mortal world and the influence they have in it. He has witnessed the way the golden haired Powers guard the mortals, fending of the attacks of the dark Powers. He has seen the weapons of the Powers that the mortals wield unknowingly. The shields and armor of Powers that they were strapped to themselves by invisible bonds, and he has seen the way these shields reflect the fiery attacks of the Powers of darkness, all of this going on beyond the control of the mortals and without their knowledge.
        Finally, he has arrived. The home of the Wheel stands before him. Maximus walks towards the gate, reaching to open it, a thunderous voice shouts, "Who has come to the domain of the Wheel? Who seeks to see the all Powerful?" Maximus turns around looking all about him for the voice; up in the sky he sees something. It is a being, but not a man or beast or power. It has a head of a lion, of an ox, of a man, and of an eagle, all at once, it has six wings, each covered in eyes. It is the guardian of the Gate, the one and only gate that marks the entrance to the realm of the All Powerful.
        Maximus shouts out, "It is I, Maximus, humble servant and child of the Power. I have come seeking the Power of the Eyes, for it is the only Power great enough to defeat the seven headed, ten horned beast who has taken my kingdom from me."
        In a blinding flash, the guarding disappears and the gates open. Maximus steps inside and follows the path. After walking for a few minutes he sees the Wheel of Eyes, falling before it he cries, "Great Power, I have come seeking you, the only one great enough to save my kingdom. I am your humble servant, ask of me what you wish."
        A voice like thunder rings out saying, "Look you into my eyes. See what you have not yet seen, the only Truth."
        Raising his head, Maximus looks into the Eyes of the Wheel. Terrified, a vision overcomes him. Before him lays a hill. On it stands three Trees, the middle one stands glowing with power. The earth breaks open and spits forth a beast with two horns, yet it looks like a lamb but it has the voice of a dragon. It opens its mouth and spews forth fire, burning the middle tree. As the flames die down nothing remains but a pile of ashes. With a laugh that chills the blood, the beast takes rule over the earth. The sun sets and rises three times, after the third time the ashes of the Tree begin to float, swirling they form the shape of the Tree. With a sound of a thousand voices shouting, the Tree is reformed. Living and whole, full of life it stands on the hill shining brighter than ever before. It grows brighter and brighter, the beast stands still, filled with fear. Brighter the light from the Tree grows, engulfing the beast.
        The vision ends, Maximus is left shaking and weeping. He is overwhelmed with what he has seen. With tears streaming down his face his weeps, "I believe, truly I believe in the Power of the Tree and of the Wheel. I am theirs if they will have me."
        Gently, like the rustle of leaves, the Wheel speaks, "My child, my dearest child, your faith has made you whole and you will be restored to your throne."
        Before he is returned to his throne, the All Powerful shows him again the world of powers intertwined with that of mortals. Again, Maximus sees the mortals wielding swords of the Powers but he looks more closely and sees that while to the eyes of powers the mortal wields a sword but to the eyes of mortals, he holds a book. On the mortals, armor is writing written in flames. On the shield burns "faith," on the breastplate "righteousness," on the helmet "salvation," on the belt "truth," on the boots "peace."
        Maximus awakes on his chambers' balcony at his castle. The sun is just about to rise; looking up into the sky, he sees stars and a full moon, what a wonderful sight. He stands and wraps his cloak around him. The sun rises over the Sevenfold Kingdom; a new day has come. With a heart full of joy, he turns and heads into his castle. He must tell his kingdom, every soul in it, what has passed. He must tell them of the gift of the Living Tree and love of the Wheel of Eyes. "Yes," he thinks, "this is going to be good day."