Brock, as ordered, refilled the wrinkled little man's cup with the warm beer they had picked up in the marketplace. The trip through the dusty open market seemed like a dream from years ago. "I don't understand," Brock said.
"I'm trying to explain. My father and my mother -- and my other mother -- spoke often of their home in the garden. I never saw it. But, oh! my mother cried, wherever we went. 'It was so beautiful So beautiful, not like here.'" The brown man sniffed.
"I wanted redemption. I wanted to be a gardener. I wanted to be admitted to the garden I had never seen, show myself worthy to tend it." He drank a long pull from the gourd-cup and continued.
"I bred grapes the size of my head -- two of them would last you all day in the desert. I armed the roses so that birds and beasts wouldn't carry off their sweet flowers. I grew wheat-corns like handfuls of river-stones. I made cotton from fibrous flowers and softened flax and hemp. I tried to show that man could live without death -- without shedding blood. That we could be worthy of the garden, regardless of what my parents had done.
"My first brother. I loved him. But I detested the way he embraced death. It sickened me. 'Death is the gift Javeh as given us,' he said. 'It is the new order of things. Spread this gift. Share it with all of creation!'
"We argued for many turnings, of the sun, of the moon, of the stars and of the soil. We took our argument to the Watcher at the edge of the garden, the one who stood on the border of our land and the garden. I spoke, being eldest: 'Our father and our mother have taught us knowledge of good and evil, yet we disagree. Is it more evil to breed life? Is it more good to slay what you love?' For my brother truly loved his animals.
"The Watcher was short with words. He said, 'Death is your lot. What you love, you will kill.'
"My brother smiled. Yet I was not done. 'I love my brother more than anything or anyone, save Javeh. Will I slay my kin? Will I slay Javeh?'
"The Watcher spoke again. 'Death is Javeh's gift. It is by death that Javeh is among you.'
"I was crying. 'What are you saying?' I shouted. 'Can we not make a garden of our own, for Javeh to visit and be among us?'
"The Watcher spoke for the third and the last time. 'Javeh is among you, and his gift is death. All that you love will die. All will die.'
"I turned away from the Watcher. 'You were right, my brother. We accept Javeh's love through killing and death.' And I picked up a rock. He showed me how he sharpened them for slaying his animals and explained how a blow to the neck was quickest. And in the field before the gate of the garden he knelt before me, as he would make a goat kneel, so I could see.
"'I love you,' I said. 'I am sorry I have been so wrong-headed and so stubborn. Javeh has no mercy.'
"My brother replied, 'You are still wrong. This is Javeh's mercy.' And I saw that he was right.
"He said, 'Make your sacrifice. You must learn.' And I raised the stone ax we had made. I placed my hand on his head and I cried. 'I accept Javeh's gift,' he said. 'Amen,' I replied, and I slew him with a single stroke and held him as he died.
"I left his body in the field and made his dog stand watch over it. And I departed for my own garden, to rip the plants from the ground. Javeh came to me. He asked, 'Where is your brother?' and I answered, 'Why don't you ask his dog?'
"Javeh laughed. 'Your brother's blood cries out to me from the stones of the field. Your hands are brown with his blood. What have you done?'
"I had no idea where my sense of reverence had gone. I was angry and hurt. 'You must know,' I growled. 'You were there. I gave him your gift.'
"Javeh laughed again. 'You learn quickly. What are you doing now?' He asked, and I replied, 'Spreading death. I'm ripping up my garden, my poor imitation of Your garden. And then I will go to find the largest habitation of men, to spread your gift, and to receive it from them. They will kill me, slow learner that I am, when they see me coming.'
"'My servant,' said Javeh. 'Go with my blessing and the mark of my protection. Take death to the deathless. They will fear you. And any that kills you will spread my gift even farther and faster.'
"I began to cry again. 'You still do not understand,' said Javeh. 'Cheer up. You will understand before I give my gift to you. And you will understand even more afterwards.'
"And then I left my gardens and the city of my children for the larger city and the University of the Watchers, because I knew that was what Javeh wanted. And yes, I understand it all now."
Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri