The Enchanted Writer, who by his discretion once paused the narration of these letters from war he discovered, now continues:
We all had a white piece of cloth attached to our right arms as signs of our belonging to the clan. It was a symbol of our purity and consecration –a form of righteousness-marker. It was also a symbol of pride and dignity for us. I found it hard laying down my food supplies, given that I am a man of divine appetite (and your mother can tell you how profound my appreciation of good cuisine is). Letting go of my charismatic amulet was not that easy too, given my leadership position as a councilmember in the tribe (and you know how indispensable an enchanting tongue is for the politician). Also, I still liked my suavity which earned me the admiration of ladies, despite the fact I am a married man (and you may be familiar with that shameful desire to still feel in the game). I might as well say these now and come clean. Besides, I am not expecting to return. If I do, all well. But, my life is poured out to this war. Son, letting go of this white cloth for a blood-soaked one was unthinkable. We were asked to tie this blood-soaked cloth around our right war-trained muscled arms. Need I say some of us did rather stick with our recognized values and self-righteousness rather than throwing out the last shreds of honour they had.
My deeply rattled fellows who made it through later told me of so many other things they faced at the boarding. The painful things they had to let go. Imagine the pain with which a colleague told me he let go of his carefree attitude which was attached as a tuft of feathers to his head. He was the type to live an aloof life from behind a glass –untouched by all; attached to none. It was easy for this colleague to join the warriors because he had no hooks to life. He was almost immune from pain. Imagine how the sorting went for him. Like I said, the sorting was individualized to each’s weaknesses.
Now, I understand why it is called the River of Deathly Surrender. We did not die; but the things we had to give up made dying seem for a moment a lighter deal!
We waved goodbyes to our comrades as the ship left the port.
Son, I could swear with horror that I saw some of the violent spirits swoon on the warriors who turned away, seeing as the “kind” spirits had left the region with the ship.
Now, we are off in the ship,
Completely as the mercy of these strange beings,
We have to learn to trust.
I was allowed to send this letter to you.
Pray for us, Son. Please, pray for us.
To prevent wearing out the readers, the Enchanted Writer pauses his narration once again.
Dear Son, Before I lose myself in the depth of all that’s unfolding here, let me ask how the tribe is doing. I hope everyone at home is doing fine.
Here goes: like you know, the journey began at the River of Deathly Surrender. We had crossed the Lake of Beginnings with our canoes. Then we approached the River of Deathly Surrender. It would be a misnomer calling it a river. It bore promises of the horrors of a violent ocean. Using canoes across this river would easily make us sitting ducks. Even though we approached the river en masse, we each had to board the ship individually. The ship was manned by spirits which though were of a different sort from the violent slave masters. We were all treated alike. No respect was paid to anybody. The tribe chief was asked to drop his royal war headgear. I felt sorry for the poor man. He was never even supposed to use anything else besides the Helmet of Salvation. The sorting out issues were the highlight, and some of the violent spirits came to grace the event. Unable to approach the ship, they contentedly hovered nearby seeming to enjoy watching us even dare to successfully board the ship. We may have paid them more heed if we didn’t have something even more difficult to deal with. Son, it was tough letting go of some of those loads:
Food provisions of self-dependence –plans we had made for ourselves banking on our supplies, on ourselves, to meet our needs. We would be banking only on the food aboard the ship. We would be learning to rely on the crew to provide our meals for us as at when they think we need it. You can understand how tough it was, knowing we would be completely dependent on strange beings to take care of our needs. We only knew they were not harmful as it were, but some of us who weren’t sure this was enough to trust them politely declined and stayed back;
Good look (or rather, good luck) charms and charismatic amulets. Impressive personalities and sweet talks did not tilt these spirit-guards one bit. I am not sure they will daze the warring spirits we are going to meet either. Don’t get me wrong, Son. You can keep your stunts seeing you might need them to woo your future wife;
(Using his discretion, the Enchanted Writer who was given access to these letters decided to pause his narrative here, to keep the readers from tiring out.
The warriors sail off today,
To secure the liberty of our souls
From the dark spirits that haunt us,
Periodically floating in to take of us into slavery.
They load themselves into canoes
Bound for the land of the spirits across the River of Deathly Surrender.
Dear God of our ancestors,
Their arrows can’t kill even a spirit-watchdog.
Their shields can’t parry a stone missile from the spirits.
And that, if they don’t lose their lives to the bloody River.
(Pardon my swear-word, God!)
Would even having nuclear warheads better our fate?
(Rhetorical question, God!)
I ask for your help.
You supplied the Helmets of Salvation.
You forged for them the Breastplates of Righteousness.
You said they should wear the Belts of Truth.
You told them to cover their legs with the Gospel of Peace.
You instructed them to attack only with the Swords of the Spirit.
You provided the Shields of Truth as the only effective defence.
I know you have tried your very best for them.
Even now, I don’t know how to plead their cause,
Seeing as some have resorted to other means,
Relying on their skills and science,
And learning of other nations
Whose ways have not even helped those other people.
But, err… God
Hmm… Just, please, God…