Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adventures in Writing and Researching for The Epic of Mekonnen (Part 2)

The multiethnic, international and inter-dimentional cast of characters from the Epic Adventures of Mekonnen. From left to right: Bahetawi Abba Shiloh, King Shekanos, Lord Jalleel Ibsaa, Abner Ben Zebadiyah, Kandake Amanikadetede, Mekonnen Sofaniyas (center), Nuhamin Wolette-Semayat, Rabbel ibn Mansur, Iessai Theophilos, Vymla Thomas, Tsi Ming Moon, and Arch-Angel Miykael (the Lion Hearted). Characters for the Epic of Mekonnen by J. Matiyas, copyright 1992, 2009.

Who is the True Enemy of us All?
Also, I would like to make it clear that this story is not intended to put down or alienate other religions or faiths but to reveal who the real enemy of mankind is, in the opinion of myself and many others, due to experience, observation and research. The the true enemy of mankind is not people of differing races and cultures, not the white man, the black man, the Arab or Jew, but the enemy of us all, the one who is responsible for all evils in the world, all our sadness, miseries and sorrows, the one called Satan (and many other names which I will refrain from listing here). He who hates mankind and set us against each other to start wars and cause destruction of precious life. This is the true enemy of us all, human beings, the animal kingdom, and the holy beings and creatures of the heavenly realms in the universe, including the Almighty One that created it all.

A Trilogy With a Cast of International Characters

Book 1: The Higher Calling

I would like this epic to be a trilogy (or possibly a tetralogy), with the story beginning in Book One as Mekonnen begins his adventure as a young warrior for the Kingdom of Aksum in Abyssinia, today that will be northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. Then he will drift up the Nile River in to a remote village where he will meet an enigmatic holy man (Bahetawi) named Abba Shiloh who will become a mentor to Mekonnen. Here he will also meet the noble Lord Jallel and falls in love with the beautiful Lady Nuhamin. Then he forms an alliance with the strong willed warrior Queen, Kandake Amanikaditede of the southern Nubian kingdom of Alodia. Ultimately he fines himself in a great war among the Nubian Kingdoms as King Basiliskos of Nobatia has gone mad and launches an attack on King Shakanos’ realm of Makurria, who is suspicious of the Aksumites and Amanikaditede’s ulterior motives for helping him in this war. Meanwhile Mekonnen meets the Iron Lion of Zion sent from the Realms of Semayat (Kingdom of Heaven) to assist Mekonnen in this heated battle, and entrusts him with the Armour of God (Agzio). After this Mekonnen and Abba Shiloh tackle the root cause of this chaos, coming from evil forces in high places and positions. Abba Shiloh confronts a high ranking suspect in Alexandria, Egypt, while Mekonnen and Lion of Zion battles forces in the pyramids of Giza where his faithfulness will be tried and tested. Along the way in the course of Mekonnen's journey in book one he will acquire the parts of the Armour of Agziaheber (Armour of God) as described in Ephesians 6:10-18, That’s Book one in a nutshell without giving away any spoilers, I hope. 

Book 2: The Warriors of Light  
In Book Two Mekonnen's adventures will take him to the Middle East from Jerusalem in Israel to Persia. Mekonnen enters Jerusalem secretly and attends a clandestine council meeting led by a holy man from his country they call Abba Yaqob. The meeting is also attended by 11 other warriors, in total representing 12 nations. The nations represented are Abyssinia (Aksum), Armenia, Egypt, Israel (Palestina), Nabataea (North Arabia), Persia, Syria, Ireland, India, Russia (or Georgia), Greece and Italia (Rome).  
At this council Mekonnen becomes close friends with 4 warriors, Abner ben Zebadiyah the Israelite, Iessai (Jesse) Theophilos the Byzantine Greek and Rabbel ibn Mansur the Nabataean Arab .

Each person has a story to tell about their home land being attacked by strange creatures, including Hooded Ones, giants and other malevolent beings. Abba Yaqob explains to the council about the true meaning and origins of these creatures and that the leader is a malevolent fallen Angel named Prince Mastemo who is stationed in an upside down pyramid hovering over Babylon. This is the entry point from where all these creatures are descending to reek havoc on the Kingdoms of Earth. He also explains that the 12 were chosen by the Almighty One for a special purpose and they will be known as the Warriors of Light, fighting to uphold the Yashar-Sodi, which is the Upright and Righteous Way of living.

The battles and encounters they face grow more intense, complex and bizarre as the Warriors of Light set out towards the dark, ominous fortress of the evil Prince Mastemo hovering over the city of Babylon near the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). Each Warrior has their own special skills, weapons, and fighting techniques and their own spiritual creature from the Realms of Shamayim  (The Heavens) to assist them. 

Example: Mekonnen has Anbessa Tsion, a fiery Lion; Abner has twin Star Wolves, Rabbel has a larger Eagle/Phoenix and Iessai has a Majestic Pegasus. 

Without giving away the ending, the tone of Book 2 will be similar to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, as it will seem like our heroes are losing the war as the enemy gets the upper hand.

Book 3: Warriors ReUnited 
In Book Three (and final book, though there may be a fourth) Mekonnen will enter Europe through Russia then be captured and taken to the heart of the Byzantium Empire in Asia Minor (Anatolia). Then he goes through Greece and other Byzantine territories, sail the Mediterranean Sea to North African and eventually his adventure ends and he’s back home in Aksum. In a story line running along side Mekonnen's, back in River Village in Abyssinia, Nuhamin and the people of her community must contend with an attack of the Hooded Ones and other creatures dispatched from the Armies of Darkness. They fight the best they can but become overwhelmed and flee to the wilderness. With agents of Darkness on her tale, Nuhamin manages to find refuge in the great city of Aksum. Fed up of running, being afraid and feeling helpless, Nuhamin decides to suit-up and prepare for Battle, taking matters into her own hand, but not without the held of a Higher Power.

Possibly a Fourth Book  
Recently, as of October 2009, new ideas and stories have come to me that may bring the epic to conclude with a 4th book. The 4th book my be something of an epilogue, connecting dots and tying up lose ends in a mystical way This time the story will be telling the tale of Mekonnen’s adventures and inter-dimentional warfare from the Arch-Angels’ point of view and the celestial battle from their perspective. Think of it as the mystical fourth Gospel of John book of the epic. This will complete the mystical/spiritual connection between my four books to the four gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John; the four Arch Angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel; the four cardinal points on earth: East, West, South, North; the four elements of Water, Fire, Earth and Air; the four camps of Israel in the wilderness; Judah, Joseph, Reuben and Dan; and the four Heavenly Creatures that surround and worship at the throne of the Almighty One, Yahweh and His Anointed One, Yehshua, having the faces of a Lion, an Ox, a Man and an Eagle. 

The Ancient Battle Between Light and Darkness  

Almost every culture in the world believes in some sort of struggle or war between what is known to be good or evil. You can see it by reading about the cosmic legends of wars among the 'gods' in cultures like the ancient Greeks and Roman, The Hindus of India, Many African cultures, the Middle Eastern and Far East and other Asian cultures and the Americas. 

Even in modern pop culture we route for the Rebel Forces in the Star Wars series who are on the Light Side of the Force fighting against Darth Vader's Empire that embrace the Dark Side.
And also The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia series, and Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal deal with the contrasts of Light and Dark, Good versus Evil.
Even now when we pray and put on the spiritual Armour of God, The Creator dispatches his angels to fight for us. Like when the Arch-Angel Gabriel told the prophet Daniel that there was a battle going on in the spiritual realm from the time he started praying and fasting (Daniel 9:20-27). 

Why I chose Ethiopia
One of the reasons I chose Ethiopia to be the origin of this story because this east African nation seemed like the best place to represent Africans and the African Diaspora in a positive way. Other than the kingdoms of Egypt, the general public, including many people of African descent, know little of the glories of the kingdoms of Ethiopia and Nubia, which were known as the land of Kush in the ancient world. Instead many have this false stereotypical view of most of Africa being primitive, uneducated, full of just jungles, or desert. That’s the view I had anyway because that’s how it was portrayed in the news and movies. In my opinion, ancient, medival and Christian Nubia and Ethiopia breaks all the stereotypes we and even I had about Africa. 

Another reason is the fact that many people of the African diaspora look up to Ethiopia as a model of freedom and independence, being the only African nation that has remained independent and not been colonized have the scramble for Africa. Also being the first, and right now the only African nation to recognize Christianity to be its state religion. They also have close historical and spiritual ties to Judaism and the nation of Israel going back to almost 3000 years ago, probably beginning with the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem to speak to King Solomon (some experts speculate Judaism may have entered the Ethiopian region long before King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, since around the time of Moses). 

Not forgetting to mention that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, monarchy and government claim to have the sacred Ark of the Covenant, safely guarded in a monastery in the city of Aksum today. In many islands of the Caribbean, particularly among those of African descent, Ethiopia is venerated and recognized as being mentioned in the Bible many times, with some Churches and particularly the Rastafarians believing the Garden of Eden was located in Ethiopia. The Rastafarian movement have done a lot of promoting some understanding, history and culture of Ethiopia and encourage descendants of slaves to remember where we came from, and to rise up above what happened in the past and thrive for a higher standard of life. We must remember that Africa is first of all a land of civilization that still bares Kings, Queens, priests, nobles and warriors.  

by Jerome Matiyas, © 2007, 2010 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adventures in Writing and Researching for The Epic of Mekonnen (Part 1)

(This  article was originally written and posted on my website in 2007 and updated in March 2010)


Writing and researching for my epic tale of the adventures of Mekonnen has been—and still is—a life changing experience for me as it has touched all aspects of my life, physically, intellectually and spiritually. This ongoing project has lead me through some mysterious circumstances, causing me to meet some wonderful people along the way, many of whom have become new friends and aquaintances. I have been enlightened to some awesome discoveries in the history, myths and legends of the ancient land and kingdoms of Abyssinia— which is now known as the countries Ethiopia and Eritrea. And my studies are still expanding my historical knowledge and understanding of the cultures of many nations around the world and how they interconnect with each other.

My experiences have inspired me to create the ideal setting, atmosphere and culture of the world of my main character Mekonnen, weaving a back drop for this tale of personal growth, internal conflict and spiritual warfare. I’ve become enamored of the richness of the culture and history of Ethiopia and I’m now a big fan of almost all things Ethiopian/Abyssinian. “Why Ethiopia?” you may ask, and some already have. Why did I pick this particular region from this particular continent that has been underestimated and subdued for centuries and for a long time stereotyped and thought of by most as only a vast land of jungles, deserts, and primitive peoples? A land with a long and glorious past and whose history of Monarchs,
Priests and Warriors in palaces and fortified cities has been mostly forgotten by the western world.

This journal recounts my experiences and reveal how and why I feel I was lead to explore the Horn of Africa, the African Ark.

Mekonnen Sofaniyas
Aksumite Warrior in Action
Who is Mekonnen and what is the Story About?
Firstly, a short description of who is Mekonnen and what he represents in my story. Mekonnen Sofaniyas is a fictional character placed in the real ancient world with real historical figures and events, mixed in my own imagination of fanciful situations, creatures and characters for dramatic effect. He lives in an alternate world where the earthly and spiritual realms intertwine to demonstrate mankind’s struggle with his moral short comings, attacks and temptations from evil forces in the world and The Creator/The Almighy One's redemption plan for mankind and the battles His heavenly armies of Light will fight for us against those evil forces. The story demonstrates that we most be equipped and prepared to fight these battles, where in Mekonnen’s world the spiritual weapons are manifested naturally as real armour, sword and shield, being plugged into the ultimate source of power that flows from the throne of The Almighty One, the Creator of the Universe. Mekonnen most join forces with fellow warriors from around the world that believe in living the Yashar-Sodi—which in ancient languages translates to the Upright/Righteous Way of living before God and Man— to defeat the invading armies from the dominions of Darkness, lead by the nefarious Prince Mastemo.

King/Negus Gebre Mesqel
Emperor of the Ethiopian Kingdom
of Aksum, 6th century AD.
Warrior from the Ancient Ethiopian Kingdom of Aksum
Mekonnen is a warrior in the royal court of the Kingdom (Empire) of Aksum, one of the first Christian kingdoms of the world. He lived during the prosperous reign of King Amida, also known as Emperor Gebre Meskel (Servant of the Cross), who reigned in the mid 6th century AD. Mekonnen and his allies represents Christians in there walk by faith and the victories and defeats he/she will face in the way of life. There are other main and supporting characters Mekonnen encounters in his journey that will represent many different aspects and situation we may all face in our lives and in our walk with the almighty One/Creator and the way we relate to each other. Like all of us, Mekonnen will meet characters and creatures that will either lift him up to take him to the next level in his life and spiritual growth or try to destroy him or lead him astray, off the path of the special calling for his life.

The basic frame work for Mekonnen’s adventure is Bible based, from a Judeo-Christian’s point of view. This story is not intended to promote any particular religion or church denomination but is dedicated all believers in Jesus Christ and all that believe in a one true almighty creator of the universe and represent all that is good and pure. You will notice a lot of imagery, festivals and languages that are dominant in the Ethiopian culture and religion - especially in Book one - which is used to set the atmosphere and background for that particular period in history. As the story progresses characters of various cultures and ethnic backgrounds will be introduced, some becoming major or supporting characters.

Even though the Epic of Mekonnen was initially inspired by sacred scriptures and ancient writings, I’m hoping it will have a universal appeal to a wide audience and that many may be inspired. It has spiritual symbolism but for a general audience, like C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Ben Hur movie(s). Like any good fantasy tale Mekonnen epic most be balanced with enough down to earth situations that we can relate to, like when a loved one dies, falling in love, looking up to a mentor or becoming prideful and falling to temptations. And a good measure of action, suspense and intrigue to keep you of the edge of your seat, turning the pages for more.

View the Mekonnen Epic Flash site here

Buy T-Shirts and many other merchandise with Mekonnen themes at

J. Matiyas

[To be continued. Stay tuned for Part 2]