I'm not Jewish, but maybe I can give this a try. I'm not trying to be offensive. I think there might be a genuinely good story here.
Originally Posted by uaxuctum
Marlena's bedroom was too small, and she shared it with too many people. Her two younger sisters, Zoja and Beata shared it with her, while her two older sisters, Margo and Julita were in a room of their own. The two bedrooms were separated by a wall so thin that Marlena could hear the two older girls whispering to each other during the night as she was sure Zoja and Beata's quiet giggling could be heard from the neighboring room.
Marlena, on the other hand, usually kept to herself. During the night, while the other girls chatted away, she would lie in bed and imagine something better. Of what, she wasn't quite sure, but she knew that she didn't want to keep living like this for the rest of her life, and so she dreamed. . .
Their grandparents, along with a smattering of small children, had immigrated to New York in the 30s and somehow in the subsequent generation, had unfortunately managed to avoid the slow ascent through the economic and social classes that so many of their Polish neighbors did not. Their surname had gone from Glinski to Glenn at Ellis Island, after which their family had remained in what wouldn't quite be called a slum, but where nobody with any amount of money would ever consider living. There was always enough to eat, but also the persistent fear that some day, there might not be.
On Saturdays, they would have what Julita called "an occasional flirtation with the synagogue," (and to her this had a double meaning) which they attended neither regularly nor devoutly, but Mrs. Kowalski would always invite people over for dinner afterward (and she was someone you had to get to know) and Mr. Zielinski always threw in an extra brisket at his shop for the people he recognized. Besides, Julita and Margo both had a crush on his son, Aleksy, who they would smile at, girlishly, from across the room, as the Rabbi made his way through seemingly interminable ramblings.
It would be safe to say that growing up, Marlena was never a devout Jew, but nevertheless it was a part of her identity, and a part she felt she should be proud of. As she grew older, she had many fond memories of the synagogue, of praying with her parents, of passover dinners, and family gatherings on other holidays, and even as an adult, she always kept a Torah in her house. She never read it and (possibly) never believed it, but somehow, it gave her comfort just knowing it was there.
The next part of the story, I suppose you already know. Marlena grew up into an intelligent, talented, and although she didn't consider it important, beautiful young woman who was always at the head of her class. This lead to her acceptance into Harvard, a PhD at Princeton, and a postdoc at Berkley. Maybe success in college and making a lot of money wasn't enough for her--to truly get away from it all--from the poverty, the cramped apartment, her frivolous sisters. . . maybe she had to leave the planet. And maybe that's why she applied for that job at NASA, which brings us to the fateful mission that landed her on Eternia.
While his brother, Randor, inspected the troops, Keldor often liked to walk through the palace gardens, admiring the exotic trees and plants from far south, where it was always warm, that needed constant attention to stay alive in the only slightly harsher environment in Eternos. Keldor had been king for only a few years now, since his father had died. His younger brother, Randor, was happy to let him have the throne, content merely as the captain of the guard, having no kingly ambitions of his own. Keldor, too, had not sought out the job, but was content, since Eternia was generally peaceful and easy to manage, and the minor luxuries that he afforded himself as king (for he did not believe in extravagance that did not create jobs for or otherwise benefit his subjects) kept him happy.
It was during his walk through the gardens that Keldor noticed a very strange shooting star in the middle of the day. It was strange not only because of its size and brightness, but because long whisps of dark, black smoke and trailed out behind it. Keldor was curious, but not worried, because most things that happened on Eternia, he had found, happened for the best, even when they seemed bad at first. Whatever this thing was, he was sure would prove to bring him adventure, and he felt certain that he could use a little excitement right about then.
He headed nearly a mile in the direction of the whisps of smoke that were still rising from the ground. He walked outside of the palace walls, past the wall of Eternos that ran just behind the palace, and into the dry, empty desert that extended from one side of the city. There he saw a crater.
It was a fairly large crater for the tiny object that he found inside of it--a shiny white capsule, with a tinted glass window, and a strange, red, white and blue flag painted on the side. He approached cautiously, but not nervously (for there was little to fear on Eternia) and touched the side of the capsule. It opened with a soft, hissing noise.
Inside, as you can probably guess, he found a gorgeous young woman, who, had he believed in love at first sight, he would have said he was in love with. The woman was, of course, Marlena, and despite the copious safety features of the capsule, she was barely conscious.
"I--what--where am I?" she stammered, her eyes half closed, as she tried in vain to get her bearings.
"You're near Eternos," said Keldor, having no idea where on Eternia the sort of technology to make a capsule like this could be from, nor what the strange flag painted on it represented.
Keldor helped Marlena out of the capsule and back to the palace where he, with some help from his personal staff of physicians, nursed her back to health. Over that time, he got to know her quite well. She told him stories of earth, it's history, and her family, and he told her stories of Eternia, its heroic past, and the kings who had come before him.
It wasn't long before Keldor said the words, "I love you, Marlena," and she responded with, "I love you, too Keldor. More than you could ever know." Within a month, they were married.
For over a year, the two of them were happy. He ruled as King and she as Queen. Eternia was a joyous and beautiful paradise, that seemed so far removed from what Marlena had grown up with. Each day, she thought of home less and less. She though less and less of her parents, of her sisters, of the synagogue--all of these things became distant memories. This was real. Eternia was real. Her old life had been but a dream. She knew this was where she was meant to be.
And then, the plagues came. First it was flies, everywhere, all the time. They were in the air, in the food, and in the fields. These strange Eternian pests seemed to be able to breed limitlessly and destroyed field after field of crops.
Next came the toads that covered everything in a filthy, sticky slime from the swamp. The spread fungus and dirt, they were under every foot, in every corner, hopping through every street, and worst of all, they did nothing to diminish the flies.
Finally, there was the fever. It wiped out nearly a quarter of the population of Eternos before it reached the king.
"I'm going to die soon, Marlena." Said Keldor, who had resigned to death without fear. "I can feel it coming. The headache has gotten worse, and look," he turned over his palms, "the spots are on my hands." Red blisters dotted his palms and ran along the soft side of his wrists. "That means it's going to happen soon."
"You could have a day," began Marlena who had perhaps foolishly refused to leave her husband's side in his very contagious illness. But with a love like theirs, nothing could persuade her to be separated from him in his final hour. "Maybe you could even have--"
"I feel so weak," Keldor cut her off. "It's going to be soon."
Marlena sobbed and kissed him gently on the forehead. "Then, I'm going to stay here with you. I'm not going to leave. Never." Her voice trailed off as she repeated, "Never."
Keldor died that night, and his death was accompanied by mourning from all of Eternia, for he had been a great king, but especially from Marlena, who loved him as she had loved no one else. The fact was, she would never be able to accept his death, and all her life, she had found the strength to change the things she could not accept.
Earth science was perhaps not more advanced than Eternian science, but it was different. And Marlena had been a great scientist on Earth. Maybe that mean there could be hope. She knew that she would have to work quickly, since someone would probably come looking for the body that very night to begin the funeral proceedings. The body would likely be cremated due both to Eternian custom and especially to the disease that still took refuge within it.
Marlena dragged Keldor's body as best as she could, because it was incredibly heavy to her, yet she dared not ask for help. She pulled it, as quietly as possible, across the floor, out of her bedroom, into the hallway, and down the stairs to a small, secluded room below the castle where she had set up various instruments that were once a part of her space capsule. It was her laboratory.
She worked tirelessly. She toiled and sweated for hours, fiddled with dials, punched numbers into a computer hooked to Keldor's brain, and cursed God when she failed. She cut his flesh, soaked him in chemicals until his skin turned blue, and cursed God once more when that didn't work. She broke down, exhausted and angry, sobbing. He was all she had here on Eternia. The only thing she knew. Where would she go without him? Where could she go without him?
By Eternian law, as a foreigner and not of noble birth, she could no longer be queen now that her husband was dead. By tradition, Randor would probably let her live comfortably in the palace. But what if he didn't. What if. . . she couldn't think about it anymore. The grief was too much for her and her mind ran around in circles, through illogical loops and bizzare patterns that only those whose minds are saturated with grief can understand.
But Eternia was and still is a much more magical place than earth, and when she cursed God, there were beings who were listening. Before Marlena had enough time to get all of her tears out, a giant flaming wall appeared before her eyes, and out stepped a surprisingly ordinary looking man.
"You're in so much pain," he said, and she sniffed a little and nodded, too distraught to wonder or care who the man was. She hoped that he was death, coming for her as well.
"M-my husband," she stammered.
"Is dead," said the man. "Yes. I know. It isn't fair to you. And it isn't right." At that, Marlena began a fresh round of sobbing and burried her face into the man's slightly cold chest.
"I see you've tried to bring him back." said the man, and for a moment, Marlena had the fleeting notion that this might be an angel sent by God to punish her and recoiled slightly in fear, but she quickly dismissed it as ridiculous. "Don't worry," the man continued, "I'm not upset. Anyone would have done the same in your place. You just. . ." he gently tapped Keldor's mutilated corpse, "went about it the wrong way."
Marlena sniffed once more, this time with a glimmer of hope in her eyes. "You mean, you can help?" she asked, with just a glimmer of joy trembling beneath her tears.
"I can," said the man. "If you'll let me. Of course, you must realize that my powers aren't infinite. I cannot return him to exactly what he was before."
"I don't care. Just bring him back!"
"Very good," said the man calmly. "There's just one thing I'll need in exchange."
"Anything." said Marlena, equally calmly.
"The power to create life is not within me," said the man. "But," he continued, "it is within you."
Marlena placed her hand just below her abdomen, knowing what he meant.
"Your fertility, he said, "in exchange for his life."
Marlena nodded silently, tears still streaming down her face, and immediately felt a sharp pain shoot through her. She doubled over and just when she thought it was too much, in an instant, it was gone.
The man dug his fingernail into the flesh and bond that hung where Keldor's face had once been and traced a strange symbol that seemed vaguely familiar to Marlena on his forehead. He then placed his hand on top of it and in a blinding flash of light, the symbol sank deeper and deeper into the flesh, until it disappeared.
"It is done," said the man, who vanished into the same wall of fire through which he had come. Marlena looked over at her dead husband, the same blue heap of mangled flesh that she had left lying on the table minutes ago. She wondered what was going to happen to him, how anyone could fix. . . that. And then it started to move.
First the fingers wiggled a little, and then the arms began to flex. The scraped and disolved skin on the fingertips began to reform and then--no, it was too much. The fingernails extended outward into claws. The remaining skin on the face melted away and the muscles began to grow. It was a monster that sat up and turned to face Marlena.
"What's the matter, my dear wife?" came a nasaly, shrill voice that didn't belong to Keldor. "Don't you want to give your husband a kiss?" he cackled in the most horrific laugh imaginable.
"Keldor?" Marlena began timidly, and then began sobbing again, because she knew it wasn't him. Not really.
"Come with me to the garden," said Keldor and Marlena shook her head, too frightened to speak. "No, but I insist, he said," and grabbed her arm. The two of them marched out of her lab and into the garden that had given Keldor so much pleasure when he was alive.
"Let me go," Marlena screamed, but Keldor--or the creature he had become, just held on tighter.
"When you awoke me, you released an evil more powerful than you can imagine," and as if to prove the point, a bolt of energy shot from Keldor's fingertips into the ground, setting the entire garden ablaze with a mighty, thunderous crash. At the noise, Randor came running out into the garden.
"Ah, Randor, my brother!" came a voice from Keldor's hideous body. "How nice to see you again."
"Keldor?" asked Randor. "Is that you?"
"I was," said the creature, "before THIS happened," and he waved his hand in front of his face. "Now," he went on, "you may call me Skeletor." He paused for a second. "And you may all die." He laughed, horrifically and shot another crackling bolt from his fingertips that just barely missed Randor.
"Oh, God!" screamed Marlena. "What have I done! Why did you have to take him? Why did you take him from me, God! Why!" and with that, black clouds gathered on the horizon and a mighty storm shook the palace walls. Thunder and lightning crashed so loudly that Marlena thought she would go deaf. Off in the distance, black winds swirled and a rapidly twisting vortex made its way toward the garden. It was a tornado.
When Marlena saw the tornado stop in its tracks in front of them, still roaring like a lion, she remembered something she had read long ago and knew who it was. She was more terrified than she had ever been in her life. Skeletor couldn't help but drop to one knee in front of the mighty whirlwind that swirled in front of him. Randor kneeled as well from the other side and bowed his head.
"I am the God of good and evil, of life and death," came a booming voice amidst the churning cacophony. "I am the God of all creation and Keldor's life--all life, is to do with as I please."
Both Randor and Skeletor trembled with fear, but at the same time were filled with a sense of calm and certainty, as if at this moment, in front of the whirlwind, they could do nothing but fulfill their true purpose, whatever that was. If Skeletor was there to destroy, then Randor was there to preserve order, but if commanded to do the opposite, neither could help but obey.
"Master," said Skeletor, "you know I can do nothing but serve."
"All of creation can do nothing but serve," came the voice, "for every act, ever speck of dust, every grain of sand, obeys my will. Go now and serve only as I have commanded, adversary," and with that, Skeletor ran off into the darkness.
Lightning flashed. "Rise, Randor," said the voice, and Randor obeyed. "Marlena's husband is dead. Take her as your wife and she shall bear a son."
"But, I--" Marlena began, clutching her womb.
"What came before is of no consequence. You shall bear a son, because I command it," the voice boomed. "The first of my people born on Eternia. His name shall be Adam, the first man, and he shall be a Jew."
Later that evening, Marlena and Randor talked of the events from earlier. "I have to believe that his soul is at rest," said Marlena. "That creature out there that he has become. . . that wasn't him. That was my doing. My sin. I believe that God will take care of Keldor."
And so it came to pass that Randor and Marlena were married, and the first Jew was born on Eternia and that one day he would rise up to take the throne, and that many generations later, his distant ancestor Joshua would take on the role of He-Man, finally defeat Skeletor, and make the good kingdom of Eternos grow and grow until it covered the planet and reached on into the stars. And when the resurrection came, Keldor was returned to life, not Skeletor, but the man that he once was.
So, no comments on the Jewish version? Despite the fact that it has
- reference to Polish Jews emigrating around WWII
- Allusions to Job
- Allusions to Exodus
- Allusions to Genesis
- A hint of the Golem story
- A messianic figure at the very end
- An appearance by God
- Something from Deuteronomy
And for the MOTU-verse
- An interesting take on Keldor and Marlena
I thought it turned out pretty well, actually, and have an idea for a second part.
It's just so long that I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm sure it's great, but the subject isn't "How would you integrate different religions into MOTU?" It's just a short story showing how I integrated my faith in Jesus Christ into the MOTUverse. I'd also point out that Muslims could referense books of the Bible, and even Jesus Christ, but their faith is still not Christian. They believe that Jesus will return, reveal that He is not the Son of God, say that He faked His own death, and afterward converted to islam, and then He will command that everyone convert to islam or die. Jews don't believe that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah despite over 300 fulfilled prophecies of him, as well as Him being clearly typified in basically every OT passage. Mormons might mention nearly any and all Christian passages and even doctrines, but they believe that God the father is one in a long lineage of "father gods" inspite of Isaiah 43:10 and 44:8. Jehovah's witnesses might do the same, but they believe lots of erroneous doctrine even though it took TONS of Scriptural additions and subtractions in order to create what they believe. So just because Biblical things are mentioned, doesn't mean that I'm going to jump on board with another religified MOTU story. But that doesn't mean that I don't plan on reading your story, but you just seemed to think that I would be impressed (or something to that effect) by Christian elements, so I thought I would clarify that I won't.
Very nice story! Being a Christian myself, I too have always thought of ways to reconcile the use of magic by good characters. What I came up with is that "magic" it an advanced form of energy and matter manupulation. Nothing more. The individuals that wield it are "gifted" as being able to do so. For example, when the Sorceress changes into Zoar, she has the ability to change her molecules from human to falcon all by her gift. She can visualize her molecules coming apart, changing, and then she can rearrange them. When someone is chanting a spell, they are actually using a series of words that they have memorized in order to do a complex energy release or matter transformation. More gifted "magicians" would be able to perform these manipulations better than others. The more they study what energy and matter are, they can learn how to unlock its true potential and power. They would have to have a great knowledge of the living and physical world, other wise their gift would be uncontrolled and could have devestating concequences. So in my cannon there really isn't any "magic", just an extraordinary gift of using God's creation in incredible ways.
While I'm sure your story is nice, I don't have the need to mix Motu with one of the earths religions.
Just like the guy in 'Jackass' holds up as sign that says 'Keep God out of California', I'll keep Him out of Eternia. (Is it ok for me to say this, mods?)
Just saw this today. You're right, I didn't quote any of the "gospel" books to support the gospel I was referring to. You make an interesting, if questionably valid, point. So, to maintain my suggestions while catering to those who believe the "Pauline" gospel is somehow different from the gospel preached by Christ, I would suggest that the references be made directly to the Gospel books. For instance: John 19:30 - "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." in reference to the work of God being completed on the cross.
Originally Posted by uaxuctum
Luke 24:27 - "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." In reference to the whole of the word pointing to the answer, the gospel, in Christ alone.
John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." in reference to Christ being the only way to salvation.
And, since Christ himself said Moses and the Prophets spoke of him (see above), I think it's safe to reference Isaiah 64:6 - "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." which corresponds to 1 John 1:8 (Understood to have been written by the same John who wrote the Gospel of John) - "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Which then goes on to the next verse which reads "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." And these in reference to the idea that man's works (Attempting to obey the Law) are insufficient, but that Christ is sufficient, and fulfills the needs of the law via His blood. Hence Matthew 5:17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Which he did. On the cross. See the first reference.
I hope that's helpful, and I am thankful for uaxuctum for pointing out his issues with my suggestions. It's worth examining.
MOTU was in my BC years, but only just. it became an extension of my Bible learning later, kinda like a modern Narnia to me. Castle Greyskull was always the evil fort, even when i was in darkness, and Dragons live beneath it ready to destroy humans.
Very much your own thing! I love that! That is one of the things that so many contradictory storyarchs offers; the ability to totally make up your own version, and it's still MOTU. How many main line brands offer anything like that!? None that I can think of.
Keep this in mind: On Eternia, religion is practiced often with regard to easily visible and active gods and goddesses. On cannot be an atheist with regards to Procrustus because Procrustus is really there at the center of the planet, holding together tectonic plates! The Sorceress might be called a Goddess in some of the early comics, and she is clearly, in some of them, very deeply connected to the natural world, as well as very capable of hurling bolts of mystic energy. One cannot simply disbelieve in these beings, nor dismiss their powers as inherently unethical or satanic when time and time again they have protected Eternia from destruction that on Earth we would likely compare to the Holocaust, or the Rwandan genocide. There cannot be evil in such heroic forces as, for example, the power of Grayskull.
What we CAN do is denounce their divinity. In Marvel's Mighty Thor comics, a character named Beta Ray Bill is an alien who becomes allies with Thor and the Ęsir, even gaining a magic hammer very like Thor's own. Beta Ray Bill is an atheist, and also a relatively humble figure compared to Thor. Bill will use his powers to protect innocent people, but he will not call himself a god, nor will he refer to the Ęsir as gods (though he avoids argument over the matter with them). As far as he is concerned, they are merely powerful aliens. Thus, he escapes the egoism inherent in claiming divinity, but keeps the power necessary to protect the innocent from various destructive forces. To achieve Christianity in the magic-dependent setting of Eternia, I feel such steps are necessary.
To give up the Power of Grayskull, merely the mystic and military strength of a sorcerer king several centuries dead, would be the height of folly. He-Man, the Elders, and even going all the way back to Grayskull himself, the power has been used to protect the innocent, or locked away. Skeletor would use it for destruction but the power is not inherently evil. Allow me to try a variant on the "Marlena is a Christian" thing.
Molly Glenn was raised Catholic, and she was relatively devout. She loved science and technology, and had always wanted to become an astronaut, to go into space and make friends with aliens. She had been a big fan of Star Trek in her youth. Years later, on an important mission, perhaps to Mars, she is sucked through a wary space warp and finds herself hurtling in the direction of the planet Eternia. Crashing in the midst of a battle between Prince Randor, Prince Keldor and let's say Hordak, she manages to defend herself before one of the Princely brothers find her and brings her back to base. She and Randor soon fall in love, and they have long discussions into the night. Randor is naturally inquisitive about his new beau's life, being, as she is, an alien. Religion naturally comes up in discussion. I suspect Randor is confused by what religion even is, because on Eternia, all beings called gods and goddesses are physically apparent. He has spoken to most of them personally. Marlena, however, is an enlightened, educated Earth woman and quickly confides in Randor that she doesn't think they're actually divine, merely very powerful beings which have come to consider themselves so, possibly through delusion, possibly because being thought of as a god gives them greater influence. He's overcome with her logic, as well as being interested by the stories she tells him about this Christ fellow. He converts to Christianity. After Adora is kidnapped off to Etheria they decide to raise Adam to be a good Christian man on Eternia. Commissioning a chapel within the Eternian palace and having the microfilm bible contained in her spacecraft converted into book form, Marlena raises her son to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Sorceress never decries her magic abilities as being satanic, and Marlena is careful to explain to Adam, Randor and anyone else who might be misled that the stories in early Genesis, Revelation, and various other places in the Bible are metaphorical, as the Catholic Church back on Earth teaches. In God's name Adam eventually swears to use the power of Grayskull to bring peace and harmony to the world, which is why He-Man does things like "save Skeletor's life when it's advantageous to let him die"; he offers Skeletor Christlike grace. It also explains why there's a Christmas tree in the palace once a year. Adam has a pretty easy time converting his sister to Christianity when they start catching up because she's lived her whole life in a militaristic hellhole filled with lies and deceit, and she pretty readily embraces the peace-loving aspects of it. Though Randor kept the religion mostly limited to his own private practice and those who ask about the gift-giving customs once a year in an attempt to keep peace with various 'divine' beings, Adora quickly evangelizes the Great Rebellion, who have little else to believe in. Christendom spreads like wildfire across Etheria, with Christians meeting in secret like they once did under Roman rule.
Well, that's a bit closer to how I'd see it going. After all, it WAS canon that He-Man and She-Ra celebrate Christmas back in the Filmation show.
ONE MORE THING! HE-JUTSU: I really enjoyed your story, especially the denouement where Adam is the first Jew born on Eternia. I do have one question though: is the being which tries to barter for Marlena's fertility supposed to be the Devil? I was unclear.
Wow...just, wow...I'm loving this story.:hmblsh: