“And tho his wandrings bore him oe’r barren stone and harsh crag, threwe forest dense and ice and snow, bless’d Elua didst come alast to a land sun-gylded, where grewe olives ripe, and melon and grape, and the folk turned not away in feare, but ope’d thir arms in eager welcome. And Elua and his Companions didst therin abyde, and ’twas thus called Terre d’Ange.”
– excerpted from the Eluine Cycle
A thousand and more years ago, as the true-gotten son of the One God, Yeshua ben Yosef, hung dying upon the wooden cross, his side was pierced by a Tiberian spear and his blood fell upon the soil, mingling with the tears of his beloved, the Magdalene. And because their union had never been sealed, Earth Herself took pity upon them and in the damp soil She quickened the divine seed of life, and of it blessed Elua was born, and he was nurtured in the womb of Earth.
Misbegotten and reviled by Yeshuites and Tiberians alike, Elua was cast out to wander, and flowers bloomed where his feet trod. And where he went, people feared him, for he was strange to them, and the One God scorned him, mourning only for his true-gotten son. But when the King of Persis cast blessed Elua in chains, there were among the angels in Heaven those who took pity upon him.
Naamah was first among them, and it was she who gave herself to the King to win blessed Elua’s freedom with a night’s pleasure, and also there was clever Shemhazai, gentle Eisheth and kind Anael, proud Azza and martial Camael, and Kushiel with his cruel mercies. And not last among them was Cassiel, who came in duty to the compassion the One God had forgotten. When the door to blessed Elua’s cell was opened, a fragrance of flowers came forth and Elua emerged singing, crowned in vines, and their hearts were moved to love him.
Now, the King of Persis became fearful and betrayed blessed Elua and his Companions, giving them strong wine to drink. While they slept, he had them cast at sea upon a boat with no sails; but blessed Elua awoke and sang, and the creatures of the deep came to answer, guiding the boat across the sea to land in Bhodistan.
In Bhodistan, they are an ancient people, and they feared to turn from their multitude of gods. Yet they saw the light in blessed Elua and would allow no harm to him, so he wandered singing, and people made the sign of peace and turned away. And Naamah and the other Companions followed Elua, not knowing or caring if the eye of the One God was upon them, and where they went they sang, and wound in their hair the flowers that sprang up in blessed Elua’s wake. Alone among them, only Cassiel gave thought to Heaven, but he loved Elua too well to abandon him.
And Elua wandered the bosom of his mother Earth, and his Companions remained at his side through lands harsh and stony. Here the creatures of the earth tended him, or he would surely have perished, for many years they sojourned. In the plains of Akkad, padding lions led him to honey. In Tiroc Pass, a great eagle flew each morning, stooping low over ice and crags to drop a bright berry in blessed Elua’s mouth. North, he wandered, then west, and in the dark woods of the Skaldic hinterlands, the ravens and wolves were his friends, but the tribesmen gave him no heed, brandishing their terrible axes and calling upon their gods in words of blood and iron. So blessed Elua wandered, and snowdrops poked their heads above the drifts where he went.
Westward and westward, with his Companions at his side, blessed Elua wandered and came at last in summer to a land unnamed where olives grew, grapes and melons, and lavender bloomed in fragrant clouds. And here the people welcomed him as he crossed the fields, opening their arms, and blessed Elua took them for his own and loved them. This place, he made his home, and it was called in his name ever after, Terre d’Ange.
In seven parts did Elua’s Companions divide the land among themselves to rule, saving only Cassiel, who remained ever at Elua’s side and loved him as a brother. And these parts were named Namarre, Siovale, Eisande, L’Agnace, Azzalle, Camlach and Kusheth and therein they dwelt, but blessed Elua himself would claim no part, wandering freely in the whole; yet along the banks of a mighty river, where he tarried longest, the City of Elua with its white walls was founded.
For many years they dwelled there and abided by blessed Elua’s precept, that was, “Love as thou wilt.” And Elua and his Companions lay with women and with men, and many children were begotten, save only unto Cassiel, who kept the One God’s commandments. But the other Companions did not, and those secrets which they had brought from Heaven, they did teach to their children, and they grew wise in many arts.
Now, when the One God left off his grieving and turned His thoughts to them He was wroth, for He saw that their offspring would overrun the earth, and He sent the leader of his host to summon blessed Elua before His throne. But blessed Elua smiled upon the leader of the One God’s host and gave him the kiss of peace, laying wreathes of flowers about his neck, and the One God’s commander returned ashamed and empty-handed.
It came then to the One God that He held no dominion over Elua, who was begotten in Earth’s womb and did not answer to Heaven; yet through this he was mortal, and subject to mortality. Thus the One God pondered long, and sent his arch-herald with an offer of forgiveness, did blessed Elua summon his Companions and leave the soil of mortal earth and go in peace to take his place at the right hand of Heaven.
Blessed Elua smiled upon the arch-herald, and turned to his boon companion Cassiel, asking the loan of his dagger. Taking it, he scored the palm of his hand. Bright blood welled in his palm and fell in fat drops to the earth, and anemones bloomed. “My grandfather’s Heaven is bloodless,” Elua told the arch-herald, “And I am not. Let him offer a better place, where we may love and sing and grow as we are wont, where our children and our children’s children may join us, and I will go.” The arch-herald paused, awaiting the One God’s response. “There is no such place,” he replied.
And there was silence in Heaven and in Terre d’Ange, while blessed Elua’s blood fell upon the soil and scarlet anemones bloomed, and his children and his children’s children did watch and marvel. And for the first time in many thousands of years did Earth speak to Her once-husband, and say, “It may be done. Let us create it together, You and I.” This was done, and such a thing has not happened since.
Thus was the creation of the true Terre d’Ange that lies beyond mortal perception, and blessed Elua and his Companions went willingly into it, passing not through the dark gate of death, but straightway through the bright gate. And alone among them, only Cassiel gazed backward in sorrow.
Generation upon generation, the blood of Elua and his Companions runs still in the veins of their descendants, each of whom will one day follow to the land that lies beyond. And though centuries pass, they do not forget, but call their land still after that further one, and keep always sacred the precept of blessed Elua, that is, “Love as thou wilt.”
Such is Terre d’Ange.