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