One Tree, One Jewel, One Family - Chapter 5 & 6
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Chapter 5: Silent Snow

The cold, stinging air made it hard to breathe. The small, different snowflakes trickled quietly onto the nearest huts and coniferous branches. The thick layer of white already accumulated on the floor created an infinitely large carpet of frozen water. The high sky, so gloomy, dark and grey, looked at all this and probably laughed at such a simple and sad world that can be covered with mere frozen water. The sky is able to create such a beauty, a variable and unique structure, which then formed this thick carpet with other, equally different structures. Such a beauty is something alien, something strange. Only pure silence is something far more beautiful, but together they create a sad and lonely mood. Nature, such a beautiful figure, was alone. However, the boy lying on this carpet, face down, could not perceive this beauty. His eyes, still so young and innocent, were already frozen.

He regretted it. Or maybe not. He himself did not know whether he deserved this or whether this world just did not like him. But it wouldn't change anything. He already didn't know if time had stopped or if this was just his blood freezing over. But even this would not change anything. A small life, somewhere in nowhere, so weak and unimportant, slowly vanished. No one would mourn this life, not even remember it. Minor and unimportant, just another death in the masses of this world.

Steps. Soft but stable steps came closer to the boy. Not being able to move a single muscle of his body, the boy was forced to lie on the white carpet. The steps were getting closer and closer. The boy did not know if he should be afraid of these steps, or if he should throw a cry for help in their direction. Before he could decide, the steps had stopped. The person in question was now standing in front of him, but the boy could not recognize the person because his eyes had already lost their meaning. He had forgotten his name.

"Do you regret it?"

The boy could recognize words, coming from the direction of the person. They sounded young, perhaps a little older than the boy lying on the snow himself. "Do you regret your life?", the young person asked again in a somewhat different way. Whether he regrette it? He often asked himself this question. When he was beaten, when he was insulted, when the blood from his wounds wouldn't stop flowing. Every time he asked himself that question. Every single fucking time.

"You look ridiculous and regrettable."

And what the hell was he supposed to do to change that? His strength has long since disappeared from his body, as early as he was "thrown out". "What am I supposed to do", the boy wanted to ask the person, but the words just wouldn't come out. His lips had become too heavy. He noticed the snowflakes landing on his face. The chills, which ran continuously over his body, simply did not want to stop, although he no longer felt the cold.

"Do you even know why you were treated like this?"

Good question. Because he was different? Because he could do something others couldn't? Because the others were afraid of him? Probably all that together, but what difference would it make? Would it cure his bruises? Would it close his emotional wounds? Would it finally put him out of his misery? All these questions, worthless, lead to no result.

"You can't see anymore, can you?"

That's right. The boy himself has already forgotten when he lost his sight. It's not like it mattered though. It doesn't matter. Worthless. Him, the world, everything else. What's the point of living in a world like this? It'd just be better if he disappeared.

"Are you running away?"

Maybe, but what about it? It wouldn't change anything anyway.

"Get up already, why are you lazily lying on the floor?"

But how?!

"While you still have your senses, you can still orient yourself. Everything else is unimportant. If you give up now, you can only blame yourself."

He's a good talker, huh? Surrender, such a useless word. He'd surrendered a long time ago. He already saw no more sense, the light at the end of the tunnel has disappeared.


The person's voice became louder. It was yelling at the boy. An echo arose and echoed through the snow-covered valley. The environment repeated the word again and again, as if nature and the world were on the side of the person. The boy tried to say something. He tried to ask the person how he could become strong. How he could change his situation. He tried to get up, but this was also the reason why the boy failed. He could only produce a tremor.

"Do you want to die here, a weakling in the void? Are you just gonna lie there hoping someone will save you? Hm, do you want that?"

The echo became stronger and stronger, the words literally speared the boy.

"Go on, tell me! Tell it to my face!"


"Do you really want this?"


"You really want to stay a nobody and die here in this shithole?"

No, no!

"What is it now?!"

No! He won't let it end like this. This cruel world, this scum, it won't end. He'll show them. The boy gritted his teeth together. The muscles hurt, the wounds bled. Everything hurt. But he tried to get up, so he won't let it end. He will stand up, he will become strong and he will take revenge on this filthy world. Who does the world think he is?!

With all the strength left in his body, the boy tried to get up. First his legs moved, then his arms. He tried to support himself with them, but it didn't work. So he tried again. And one more time. And one more time. And one more time. His fingers were frozen and hurt like hell, his feet solid as stone and he himself lean to the skeleton. And yet he tried to stand up.

"Come on! Faster! Get up already!"

The damn thawed snow made it hard to find a support. Nevertheless, the boy bit his lip. He could taste his blood, it was still warm. "I-.. I-… don't want… to die", the boy said out loud. No, he certainly wouldn't die here!

The boy finally found a foothold and supported himself halfway with his frozen arms on the ground. Next up came his legs and then the rest of the body, but before he got to it, he slipped.

Unknown arms caught him. The person, still so far just a second ago, held the boy in its arms. They were warm, the boy almost burned himself on them. He could not see the person, but he felt a coat and something that might have been a scarf. A strange but calming warmth embraced the boy completely. "You did well", said the person. "Now that you've made up your mind, you must keep your word."

He will. The boy took an oath to himself. Blood was still flowing from his lip, but that wasn't important to him.

"From now on you will not rely on your eyes, but on this sound", the person, as it sounded, reached into its coat or trouser pocket and took something out of it. The boy recognized a clear tone of a small bell.

"Let us go now. You're my brother in arms now", said the person.

"Today is your new birthday. Today you go into the world as a new person, and to remember this day, I'll give you a new name."

A name? Was the boy worthy of something like that?

"Your name shall be…"

A name. A new life. A fresh start. Another chance. This time, it's going to be different.

"… Gevurah."

Chapter 6: Kenotaph

A dream world unfolded before his eyes. The gentle wind stroked his cheeks and this world, filled with endless gossip poppy fields, was a sight never seen before. The blood-red flowers blew in the gusts and bent their small, thin trunks. This world, in such beautiful costume, seemed as if it would invite the man in the middle to finally consider this world as his own. A world without violence, quarrels, conflicts, grief, addiction, greed, miserliness, envy, pride, lust and anger, this world was pure and perfect. He now saw this world more and more often, it tried harder and harder to get him to sleep. He knew his senses weren't deceiving him. As long as he lived, the scent of poppies would reach him. But the last sleep would be eternal, for this world, beautiful as it seemed, was the world of inertia of the heart.

"Are you listening to me, Understanding?"

Frozen just a second ago, the senses of Binah returned.
"I am sorry, but would you be so kind to repeat that, Beauty?"
Tiferet sighed, "… I said that it's been a week since the Crown and Knowledge have disappeared. Something must have happened…" Tiferet looked into the distance. "Were they captured?"
"No, it's unrealistic that they were captured. Knowledge should be able to avoid the Foundation's forces, especially as he has been captured before. It would also seem very strange to me if the Crown of all people would be captured."
"Hm." Tiferet fell briefly into thought, and drove her hand through her long, blonde hair. Without looking, she fetched a book from the shelf next to her, sat down on an armchair and put her right leg over the other. Binah watched her curiously.
With her free hand she opened the leather-bound book without a title or other external inscriptions.
"'Hell and Heaven', huh", said Tiferet and sighed briefly. "What an interesting suggestion, dear library", she added, looking up to the ceiling of the huge, multi-storey room, full of shelves with various books.
Binah, still standing next to her, watched Tiferet and her actions. After she was about to delve into the book, he began speaking again.
"What do you think of Knowledge?", he asked Tiferet.
"Knowledge? Hm. Well, he attracted attention before, but he's not one to jump headfirst into anything."
"… Yeah, that's right." This was not news to Binah, but at least he had now learned something about Tiferet. "Where do you think he is now?"
"I didn't worry about that. It's almost impossible to track down Knowledge. He's always been the expert on escape and cover-up."
Binah looked towards the high bookshelves.
"'Hell and Heaven', eh?" Binah said quietly to himself. "Heaven and hell…" Tiferet watched him from the side.
"Are you interested? If you want to, I could…" Tiferet showed Binah the book, but then noticed his concentrated face and fell silent.
"Limbus. The fallen…", Binah seemed to have just learned something he had forgotten a long time ago.
"Limbus?", asked Tiferet silently.
Binah didn't say anything for a while.
Suddenly Binah turned away from Tiferet, "Sorry, Tiferet, but I'm going away for a while."
Tiferet, who did not understand the meaning of the individual words, but the importance of them, turned her gaze away from Binah and opened the book. Her eyes had already forgotten Binah's words.
"Thank you." Binah started running.

The last time Binah was there was when he was accepted into the Collective. With an oil lamp in his right hand, he walked down a long stone corridor. This passage would certainly cause claustrophobia to others, but Binah only looked forward into the dense black of the underground. The air was cold and difficult to breathe. Around Binah's shoulder hung a bag containing a thick, leather-bound book.

He didn't know how long he'd been going, because time didn't matter down here.

When he could finally recognize an old wooden door in front of him, he stopped. He hesitated a little, but shortly after he reached for the metal handle with determination. Carefully, Binah pushed the door open.


Binah lifted the lamp up a little and held it forward, but it was still pitch-black. From memory, he moved along the wall until he came across a wall torch. Binah opened the rusty oil lamp and lit the torch. He repeated this procedure until he had lit about six torches.

After the torches began to burn brightly, Binah finally recognized the contours of the room. A round shaped room with cold grey stones on the walls and a seemingly endless black ceiling. In the middle of the room was a statue carved out of stone; Binah approached it.

The statue was about two and a half meters tall, much bigger than Binah, and looked quite old. The stone statue depicted a humanoid human figure embracing a long staff with her two arms. The figure's face was smashed in and represented only a rough surface. The clothes seemed to be a robe that completely covered the feet of the statue and on its right side hung a chained book that seemed to be carved from the same stone. The book had a carved cross and Hebrew signs on the surface, which apparently represented a name. Since Binah could only decipher the words "God" and "light", he wrote the word down in his book.

Binah, after some time watching the figure from all sides, moved away from it again. He turned his head and looked behind the figure, where there was another door in the stone wall. He approached it with quiet steps.

Just before he tried to grab the handle, a chill ran down Binah's back. He turned abruptly.

"Damned angels", he quietly said to himself as he focused his eyes on the stone sculpture. After a few seconds, he opened the door with his right hand without taking his gaze off the sculpture. As soon as he was in the next room, he first closed the door and then finally turned his gaze towards the room. Binah held out his lamp because he hadn't found any wall torches next to the door this time. With the brightly shining lamp in one hand, he began to explore the dark room.

Structures showed their shape with shadows after Binah drew his oil lamp close enough to them. Stone cuboids, which had been closed from above with a stone cover, had been placed close to each other. On the covers were simple symbols that Binah recognized very well.

Binah started illuminating the individual cuboids and looking at the symbols. With slow and careful steps he stepped deeper and deeper into the room, which in turn brought out more and more cuboids. Nevertheless, Binah stopped after he discovered his name and a "19" on one of the stone cube covers after going on for a while. He placed the lamp on the cover, knelt in front of the cuboid and reached for his dark red book. He opened it carefully and leafed through it until he found the right section. He breathed in and out once, and began to speak.

"Command the Lord your ways and hope for him, he will do it well. And it will bring forth thy righteousness and thy right as the light at the noon. Be still and wait for the Lord, do not be angry at one whose disposition is going away happily."

Binah spoke in a clear and gentle voice as he read the words from his book.

When he arrived at the end of the page, and thus the text, Binah closed the book and wrapped it in his grey bag. Binah, supported with his arms, stood up from his knees and looked at the stone cuboid.

There was a dead silence in the room, not even a draught of wind was present.

Binah moved the lamp from the cover to the floor, looked around and first listened to the silence. It's as if he expected something to make a noise at any moment and jump out of this black. But nothing similar happened.

He was now sure that he was alone in this dark, possibly infinite room, so Binah scanned the cover in front of him. The cover was not fixed, so Binah managed to move it a tiny millimeter. When he noticed this, Binah gathered strength in his arm muscles and pushed the cover away horizontally. The room, recently so quiet, was now filled with a rubbing stone-on-stone sound and Binah's efforts.

The cover crashed to the floor with an echoing noise after Binah had finally managed to push it away.


After a look inside, Binah recognized a human figure wrapped in by now yellow-grey bandages, which lay motionless in the open stone cuboid. The hands of the figure lay calmly on her chest and the face was covered with a white mask.

Binah hesitated a little, but slowly grabbed the white mask and removed it from the figure's face.

"Forgive me", Binah said quietly after seeing the figure's face and closed his eyes. He returned the mask to its owner and moved the cover back to its original position with a lot of puffing.

Binah picked up the lamp, asked for forgiveness one more time and kept looking.

With the same sniffing and puffing, Binah pushed the cover away. The stone cuboid, on which another symbol and the number "12" stood, now revealed its contents. Binah looked again at a wrapped figure with a white mask.

With a hand movement Binah removed the mask and looked at the face it was hiding.

The lamp that lit the face of the resting person showed a long-standing lie.

Binah stood up straight and understood what was going on.

A question that was not addressed to anyone echoed quietly through the room.

"Who are you?"

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