The story of ahrinziman told by himself introduction

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THE STRANGE STORY

OF

AHRINZIMAN

by

ANITA SILVANI



SECOND EDITION

CHICAGO


THE PROGRESSIVE THINKER PUBLISHING CO.

1908

this wiseman AHRINZIMAN is told of in the book of A Farnese – A Wanderer in The Spirit Land | mirror | audio mp3 on this Ahriziman book here



THE STORY OF AHRINZIMAN
TOLD BY HIMSELF

INTRODUCTION

The philosophy of Ahrinziman, the Persian — what life hath taught

him of the Soul; life lived on Earth and life of ages in the Abyss and in the Heavens of the Beyond.

To each one comes life's lessons in different form. Let him that would learn the meaning of this tale attend to these words that he may the better understand, and let him that is but the idle hearer of a story pass them by.

He who would write truly the history of any Soul must take

into account the prenatal conditions, that is, those which have

preceded its conception into mortal form.

A Soul germ is but an incomplete unit until it touches the

Plane of Earth Life, because until then it is still wanting in one,

at least, of the elements which go to form the Perfect Whole.

And although at the death of the earthly body the Soul would

appear to cast off entirely its purely earthly attributes with the

earthly shell, which, like the husk of the wheat, has concealed

the grain within, yet it does hot do so. From every one of the

lower faculties it has retained the Spiritual germ, and these germs

of the grosser propensities may be called, for lack of a better

term (there being no word in the English language which exactly

expresses this element, and this element only, i.e., the Soul), the

"Animal Soul," since they are typified in Man's lower, or animal,

propensities and are the "Soul" elements of these propensities.

Therefore, the idea which has prevailed among many religious

faiths, that at death there is a complete severance between the

Animal Soul and the higher Spiritual faculties, is an error

absurd as it is pernicious, because men are thereby led to give

undue prominence to At purely intellectual and moral faculties

and to cramp and neglect the due, proper, and judicious

development and regulation of the faculties of this Animal Soul,

which is truly not only an immortal part of the Soul itself, but quite as

needful as any other to its complete evolution.

The Animal Soul contains all those elements which give

force to the character: strength to will and to act with decision,

power to command and to contend, and perseverance to struggle

and battle with the trials of the Earth life here and with the contending forces of the Spiritual World hereafter. All the elements

which go to make Man great in a physical as well as moral sense

are born of the passions of this Animal Soul, and no one ever

emerged from the condition of the Dreamer and Visionary into

the active agent for the fulfillment of his dreams unless he cultivated the powers of his Animal Soul as fully as those of his moral and intellectual ones.

The love of conquest, the thirst for power from purely selfish

and greedy motives, becomes in the properly developed Spirit

of the higher spheres the strength by which he protects his weaker

brethren, and by which he contends with the Powers of Evil to

overthrow them – a strength and force of will which are developed

first in the rapacious conflicts of the Animal Soul during the

life of Earth and of the lower spheres.

From the equal development of all three of man's Moral,

Intellectual, and Physical attributes are born those seeds which

spring up into the beautiful flowers of a truly Spiritual character.

All the lower propensities of Man's Soul have each their

spiritual seed, and although when unduly developed and unequally balanced by the development of Man's higher nature and

uncontrolled by his moral and intellectual powers these

lower propensities bring suffering and destruction on all sides,

yet their very excess of development creates a force of character

which (when, the higher attributes become equally Developed

and in their turn the controlling powers of Man's Soul) will

send the Soul upwards with a velocity and a strength pf flight

equal to that with which the evil propensities dragged it down,

and these natures will possess a grandeur of character, a power

and breadth of thought, which, when combined, with the perfections

of the higher Soul enable their possessors to become rulers in the Spiritual World.

Our teachings are that the Soul, in its passage downwards

from the central source of life, travels through all the intermediate

spheres by a series of what may be termed "Births," since it

clothes itself in each sphere with something appertaining to

that sphere which is requisite to the completion of its individuality,

and when it touches the Earth sphere, and comes in contact with

the material organisms of its mortal parents, it obtains

the last elements necessary to form the Perfect Whole. At

this stage it has completed the first half of its pilgrimage and

assumed all those materials from which it is to evolve an individual consciousness for itself, and becomes at the moment

of its final birth into Earth life a responsible being, to reap the

reward or suffer the penalties of its own actions.

From this stage (the Earth life) it proceeds upwards through

a series of Deaths; i.e., castings off of the grosser husks from

which it has extracted the Spiritual germs (which husks are no

longer needful or useful to the Soul). There are some who

object to the word "Death" as signifying to the ordinary mind

a condition of decay. Very good; let them, by all means, if

they prefer it, say that the Soul returns through the second half

of the cycle of its progress through a succession of re-births;

only, let them also remember that the process of Death, or disintegration of the form which the Soul has left (a process not

experienced until the Soul has entered the Earth life), is no less

essential to its progression. This is because so long as a shell

once inhabited by a Soul (be it a mortal, an astral, or an envelop

of any of the higher spheres) retains any cohesion in its particles,

so long will it act as a weight, retarding the Soul's progress to a

higher sphere; the ties between a Soul and its envelop remaining

in a greater or less degree as long as the envelop retains any

impression of the Soul's individuality.

The sooner, then, that the Soul's envelop is disintegrated

and dispersed into the elements of the sphere in which it was

formed, the sooner will the Soul be free from all ties to it, and

able to rise into the higher sphere for which It has become fit.

Hence the reason that Fire, the most powerful and purifying

disperser of atoms, was used by the Ancients of my country

and of others to hasten the process of Death, which is

disintegration. Hence the reason that the earlier Fire-worshippers,

as they have erroneously been called, paid homage to the Divine

Fire, or Source of Life) which the Sun and earthly fire were

thought to symbolize. Heat is life; cold h death; and it is

the antagonism between them which makes fire so valuable

an agent in dispersing the dead elements of a body which the

Soul has ceased to animate.

The Soul then at birth passes into matter and the full

measure of its descent being thus accomplished, it arises from

it as a glorious resurrection, ascending stage by stage until

the full cycle of its progression being completed, it assumes

a God-like state, subordinate only to that of the Supreme. But

so great, so vast, so far-extending, is the limit of the orbit of the

Soul's progress, that it is impossible, even in thought, to follow

it from the first departure from the sphere of the Divine till its

return to it again. Neither can we know or even guess at the

possible future of the Soul which has attained to the God-like

condition, and the first cycle of whose development has thus

been accomplished. So far we can see, and no farther, but

what we do see gives us an earnest of our hope that as we climb

to each mountain-top of knowledge a fresh Land of Promise

shall lie open before our eyes.

Upon the threshold of life stand two Angels -the Angels

of the Light and of the Dark Spheres-and it is their task to

observe into which sphere the Star of the Soul that has just been

born ascends. These two Angels are represented as weaving

eternally the light and dark threads to produce the golden or

the somber texture that is to prevail in the web of the Soul's

existence, the happy or sorrowful days of its life. And as a

man leads a moral or an immoral life, so will he draw down

to him from the light or the dark spheres good or evil, light or dark

qualities with which to endow the Soul which shall be transmitted

into life through him, and thus will his children be in affinity with

the light or dark spheres, and so will the stars of those spheres

rule or control their destinies and be the dominating

influence in shaping their lives.

These two spheres of light and dark qualities exist eternally

because they are the antithesis of one another, the poising scales

which keep the balance of progress even and hold up each other

by the equality of their power, causing between them that friction

which prevents stagnation, the true death of progress, and

resembling (the light and the dark, the good and the evil) two

great millstones which, grinding on eternally, free the Soul from

the rough rocks of ignorance and the coarse dross of purely

material desires.

To the student of the Spiritual firmament these two spheres

appear to revolve round two mighty stars – the star of each

typifying by its color the distinction between the qualities bestowed

by each – while another, a third star with its spheres, seems to

hover ever between them, reflecting in its rays a blending

of color drawn from the higher qualities evolved from the influence

of both.


In the spheres of the Star of pure unsullied light are found

the dwelling places of those Souls who have been uncontaminated

by any earthly sin. They have but touched upon the borders

of Earth life, and so have attained conscious existence only to

pass onward. They have not known Earth life save for a brief

period during which mortality has clothed their Souls, but in

which their consciousness has been too slight to enable them to

learn any of Earth's lessons. They are free from sin because

they have never felt temptation. Their garments are unsullied

by the mire of life because they have never felt the cravings

of their animal Soul for those things through which it derives

its nourishment. In them the Animal Soul entirely slumbers;

the strength and power with which its development endows the

Soul who has conquered its temptations and made it subject to

the higher self is not theirs, for they have never shared in life's

conflicts, and the fierce fires of passion have never been kindled

in their hearts.

In the pure white and silver rays of the Star which dominates

this sphere there are found no traces of any color, no shadow

of a darker, deeper tint, no warmth, no glow of passion: all is

pure and perfect in its purity as the driven snow, and as cold,

for those whom no earthly passion has ever sullied live in a

land of dazzling silver light where there is no sun; no fire has

ever warmed them, no shadow darkened their lives, no regrets

from their own lives or from the lives of others have saddened

or touched them; no green moss of hallowed memories hides

their sorrowful or sinful past, as moss and ivy cling to and cover

up the broken stones of an earthly ruin, veiling its ragged fissures

with a tender touch, and hiding its marred and broken

walls and its disfigured beauties. No flowers but the snow

white flowers of purity and the pale blue and silver blossoms

of truth bloom in the lands of the snow white spheres: all is

pale and colorless like the lives of its Angels and its Saints. Those

who live here cannot enter into man's joys and sorrows, his sins

or his triumphs over sins, his hopes and ambitions, his disappointments, his anguish and despair, for they have felt none

of these things. For them the gates of Paradise are open continually

and they, can behold the fair things within, but they cannot

behold at all the dark gates of Hell. All that is beautiful, all

that is pure in Art, in Music, in Literature, in Science, yea, in

all Life, lies open before their eyes, and they can read of the

beautiful in everything: but of the dark books of sorrow and

suffering and sin they cannot read one line, and their sight cannot

behold material things save very dimly, for material life has been

a sealed book to them.

Thus even in the beauty of their lives there is a want. Perfect as

they would seem, their lives are yet incomplete, since one

half of their Souls still slumbers, and, it is for such as these that

reincarnation has been thought an aid, and for such Souls as

these the process of assuming the earthly body which has been

prepared for them will be different from that of a Soul which

has not yet attained a conscious life.

There are others who are sent to learn Earth's lessons by so

closely and completely identifying themselves with some Soul

of the same sex already incarnate in the flesh, and which is, in

all its tastes and aspirations, in closest affinity with their own,

that through all its earthly life and trials they may share the

same emotions and the same experiences. To make the experience valuable to the disincarnate Soul, they must become

in all essential respects as one, and share as twins the material

development given to them by Mother Earth. Even then the

disincarnate Soul will but imperfectly learn its lesson, and the

full meaning of sorrow and suffering and trial. It will feel but

the reflected emotion pf its twin Soul, never its fullest and deepest

anguish, its warmth of passion, its depths of despair; and therefore

it is that many celestial teachers would bid the Soul return

to Earth, and in its own proper person, live the life of Earth.

The sphere of darkness is dominated, by a deep Red Star,

which glows like the heart of a furnace, surrounded by black

and blood tinged rays. In the regions dominated by this Star

all appears clouded with a black sulfurous smoke, and all

vegetation is withered up by the blasting fires of unrestrained

passion and unchecked desires. The dry ashes of burnt-out

volcanic lives have buried the blossoms of the Soul beneath

their scorching dust, and the withered sticks of what were once

the trees and shrubs of good intentions and good desires stand

out like gaunt sentinels to mark where the purer life of the Soul

once flourished. The desolation of despair, of crushed and

blighted hopes, is shed around on everything. The dark rivers

of bitter tears shed by tardy and unavailing regret alone water

that sad land, and their scalding streams can never fertilize it,

but only add to its dead seas another rolling wave where already

there are too many flowing over the sad ruins of the city of the Soul.

Yet in the fierce flowing fires within the heart of the Star

a healing balm is found by those who have the fortitude and

courage to seek it; a purifying bath, in which the pure gold of

the Soul is refined and freed from the alloy of gross and material

passions. And from this purifying crucible, the Soul shall come

forth to rise to the spheres of that glorious third Star which,

gleams golden-rayed and crystal-clear, above both the other

stars; even as the Golden Star is the Crown and Diadem of the

heavenly spheres. From this Star dart many rays tinged with

all the colors of the rainbow, which, sparkle like the jewels in

a victor's crown. The crimson rays no longer typify the passions

of the Soul, but its tenderness and its love. The blue and white

no longer show alone its purity, but its truth and constancy. The

soft green denotes its sympathy, the violet, its regal power, the

Gold, its spiritual strength.

The dwellers in the spheres of the Golden Star have all

learned the lesson of Earth-life. They have all cultivated the

sympathies as well as the purity and intellect of their Souls,

and none enter its gates who have not learned in their own lives

to suffer and be strong that they may sympathize with and

strengthen others.

In the complex nature of man and the conditions of his Earth

life it is but seldom that we see the distinct characteristics of

each of these Stars clearly defined, and as a rule men partake

in a greater or less degree of the attributes of both the light and

dark spheres. Those who show either class of qualities in an

abnormal degree, so that they stand forth as great moral teachers,

or as cruel and degraded tyrants, are decidedly the exceptions.

And yet it is the exceptional lives which stand forth for all

time from the lives of their fellow men, like pictures painted

upon large canvases in broad, strong touches, whose meaning

can be read even by the most ignorant, while the delicate minute

finish of a miniature, requiring a close inspection and a knowledge

of its workmanship to reveal its beauties, is lost upon the world at large.

The minute lives of ordinary men and women are no less

Useful and beneficial than those of exceptional characters, but they do not serve the same purpose in the lessons afforded by them. It is the lives of those who are great, either in their virtues or in their vices, which mark the progress which the world has made, and serve either as beacons to warn others of the shoals and rocks and quicksands upon which their own lives were wrecked, or as guiding stars to light the Soul upon its Heavenward way

In this “Story of Ahrinziman” will be found the record of such an exceptional life. In it will be shown, not alone the evils wrought by himself, but those for which others were responsible, the threads of whose lives were interwoven with his own; and also the blossoming into baleful flowers of those seeds of ambition and pride, or passion and intrigue, of revenge and murder, which were sown ere he was born, and which bore such terrible fruits, not alone for him himself to feed upon, but for all those whose hands had sown the seeds and whose actions had nourished them.

In the story of his Earth life will be told how these seeds were sown, and in his experiences in the Spirit World will be shown what fruit was reaped from each seed, and what share of the harvest each Soul whose hands had sown them had to garner into the storehouse of his memory and his life.

THE STORY OF AHRINZIMAN
PART 1

_______
PROLOGUE

When El Jazid, King of Persia, returned from a successful campaign against the Greeks, he brought with him a captive maiden of the most surpassing beauty and the most exquisite grace and charm, a captive destined to reign over the heart of the mighty monarch as its sole queen, and to cause the most powerful king to bow before the potent sway of love as her most abject slave.

And yet this maiden was gentle and timid as a wild fawn, and ignorant of all sacrifice as a little child.

In the devastating march of the Persian conqueror, a splendid Temple of the Greeks had been plundered, its priests slain and its vestals.

Among the captives brought before El Jazid to see if perchance there were any who would find favor in his eyes, there were none so beautiful as Cynthia, the daughter of Archelaus, a maiden of barely fifteen years of age, who had from her infancy, been dedicated to the service of the Gods. Like a child she had lived within the temple walls, ignorant of all things beyond them; ignorant alike of the passions which stir the hearts of men, of the joys unspeakable, the woes unfathomable that spring from their loves and their hates, their ambitions and their pride; ignorant of all the tender joys of relationship, and of the varied hopes and fears which fill the hearts of those who dwell amidst the whirlpool of life, and learn in the struggle for existence, the force of the latent powers within the soul.

Cynthia was terrified like a child at being brought before the monster who had slain or taken captive all those whom her brief life had been spent, and yet she was without that fear of death which inspired the terror of her companions, for she had lived all her life with the Dead, she had held communion with them as with hear and dear friends, and thus the word "Death" had no meaning of fear for her. But she felt

bewildered and full of dread of this unknown and powerful

being who inspired grief and fear in all around her.

And when the eyes of the king beheld how fair she was,

and when he felt the strange thrill of love and admiration which

the sight of her beauty inspired, he bade all others to depart

that he might speak alone with this beauteous maid. And as

Cynthia raised her soft dark eyes to the King's face to read

therein her fate, she felt neither fear nor terror, but only a sense

of wonder, and a dim consciousness that her heart was stirred

by an emotion unknown before.

When all had left the king's presence but the lovely Greek,

he arose from his throne of state, and, approaching his captive

took her hand and gazed into her calm, childlike eyes; and as

he did so she felt abased at the thought of the fate he had at first

destined for her, and ashamed at the baseness of his own, desires. Involuntarily the haughty conqueror knelt at the feet

of this young maiden and kissed, like a humble slave, the hem

of her robe and the soft white fingers of her fair hand.

At the touch of his lips, the soul of the woman awoke in

Cynthia; and the days of her childhood were forever past. She

tasted of the first fruits of the tree of knowledge, and felt for the

first time a shadowy sense of the power which love can exercise

over the hearts of women and of men, for in her heart there was

the first throb of that awakening love which was to make for

her and for the king the reality and the tragedy of their lives.

The days of her dreaming were over. From henceforth she

was to live, the real life of Earth, and to descend from those

mystic mountains of the Soul whereon she had communed only

with the Past; she was to live henceforth on the lower plane of

life, the true existence of the Present.

And for El Jazid also, a, new era had begun: he, too, was to

learn how all-powerful can be the sway of love as distinguished

from mere passion; how even ambition and the love of conquest

could sink into secondary things and be as feather-weights

in the balance. He who had treated all women as playthings

with which to amuse the idle hours, learned to hang upon every

word, every look, of his lovely captive, and to obey her every

wish. When he was exiled from her presence he was restless

and unhappy until he could, return to her again. He assigned

to her the most gorgeous tent, the most luxurious litter to travel

in, slaves and attendants innumerable, who were bidden to

study her every wish as though she had been the Queen herself.

And for it all he exacted no favors save such as she willingly gave.

And Cynthia herself, when the first wonder at the strangeness

had passed, gave back to the king a Iove as deep and tender

as his own; yea, even more, tender, for to the innocent affection

of a child she joined the infinite, tenderness of a woman. In

her pure soul ignorant of all passions, the king's love awakened

a mingled feeling of gratitude and love, which showed itself in

an anxious desire to please him in all things; and, with the unerring instinct of affection, she learned a thousand ways in which

to touch his heart, so that ere long, had she but chosen, she could

have become the most powerful person at his court.

El Jazid's first idea had been to marry Cynthia and raise

her to the position of his second queen, but reflection caused

him to abandon that idea as endangering, it might be, her very

existence. For the king had a queen already: a beautiful,

haughty princess, the daughter of one of his most powerful

neighbors and richest ally, and a woman whom he knew would

brook no rival in his affections or sharer of his throne, and he

felt that Cynthia's life would be a brief one did Queen Artemisia

know of his infatuation for her. Had Cynthia herself desired

to become the acknowledged Wife of the king, her influence over

him was so great, that there is little doubt he would have braved

even the anger of his proud queen and the enemity of her haughty

family to make her so, but she was innocent and ignorant as a

child of the world's standards of rank and honor: ambition and

power had; no meaning for her, and she had no sense of the inferior position she held as simply an acknowledged favorite of the king.

Within the temple walls, Cynthia had seen none save those

few attendants who waited upon her and the aged priests under

whose instructions she had grown up; she regarded the king

as a wise and powerful being, whose ability to make all around

him bow to his will, gave him a position akin to that which she

had associated with the idea of a God. Her ignorance of the true relations of men on Earth towards each other was as great

as was her power of seeing and describing the beauties of the

far-off spirit spheres, and she never thought of resisting or questioning any wish of the man whose devotion had won her heart

and whose power had subjugated her mind. Of herself she

never thought, because all self had been so steadily repressed

and so thoroughly neutralized that she had become but the pliant

echo of the thoughts of others that were transmitted through

her. Her own individuality had been so early and so long repressed that she had lost the power of thinking, either for or of herself. Placed in the temple in her infancy, she had remained almost an infant in heart and mind.

To El Jazid, accustomed to the intrigues and self-seeking

ambitions which tainted the atmosphere of a court, the strange,

dreamy innocence of the young Greek came as a rest and a

relief. Her arms were a refuge to which he could escape when

the cares of state and the incessant intriguing among those who

sought to raise themselves in his favor became a burden and a

weariness. From Cynthia he heard of none of these things,

but she would tell him wondrous stories of her Dream-World,

and the beautiful visions she had seen, the bright and glorious

beings with whom she had held converse, and would paint with

playful childish pleasure the future she imagined for them both

when the ties of Earth should no longer chain their souls.

In yielding to the king's love she had in a measure descended

to his level and taken upon her the conditions of his life, so that

she no longer beheld the glories of the higher spheres. Their

gates were closed to her, but she still possessed the power of foreseeing things which lay near the Earth, and although her absorption in the happiness which filled her life made her in a

measure blind even to these things, she was yet able to relate

to the king much concerning himself, and to warn him of more

than one threatened disaster.

Thus between a dream life and a life of active reality, did

the king and Cynthia spend the first few months of their strange

union. El Jazid lingered afar from his kingdom, although the

necessities of conquest no longer constrained him to do so, and

was loath to return to his palace at Agbatana and to the queen,

whose jealous eyes he feared might discover his secret attachment.

He was, however, soon aroused from his dreaming. A messenger

arrived one day, travel stained and exhausted with his

riding, bearing to the king the announcement that the Queen

had borne him a son, an heir to the throne, and that she bade

him leave all else and hasten to her side.

With mingled feelings of joy and apprehension the king

read the letter. This event, which had been hoped for in vain

for several years, and which would once have filled him with

the greatest joy and pride, quickening anew all his love for the

mother of his child, was no longer the greatest desire of his ambition, and awakened no feelings towards the Queen but one of

regret that her son must ever come in succession before any

which his beloved Cynthia, the true queen of his heart, might

bear him. The letter also, couched in terms of the fondest

affection, read like a reproach from one whose love he had well

nigh forgotten. Return to the Queen he must, but ere doing

so it was necessary that he should provide for the safety of Cynthia,

and for her rejoining him as soon as possible.

In this emergency, he bethought him of his chief commander,

Ben al Zulid, a man of noble and intrepid character; upon whose

fidelity he knew, he could rely even in so difficult and delicate a

matter. After a short conference between them it was agreed

that the safest thing was for the king to appear to bestow the

beautiful Cynthia upon his favorite general, together with a

small palace which closely adjoined the king's own apartments

in his palace at Parsagherd, and which might almost have been

considered to form part of ifs outer, buildings. Between the

king's apartments and this small palace, it was resolved to construct

a secret passage underground, with two hidden doors,

one at either end, and the method of opening which was to be

known to the king alone. Al Zulid was commissioned to bring

a cunning artificer from Hindustan, at that time much celebrated

for such kinds of workmanship, to construct the passage and

the spring by which the doors should be made to open and close.

Meanwhile, Cynthia was to be taken care of by Al Zulid, and

treated by him with as much respect as though she was in reality

the queen: neither he nor any of his household were to see her,

the attendants given to her by the king, upon whose fidelity he

could rely, being alone allowed to wait upon her.

In return for these services the King bestowed upon Al Zulid

much treasure, and raised him to a still higher position of honor

than he already occupied.

This agreement Ben Al Zulid kept with the most scrupulous

exactness, and a delicate regard, not alone for the position and

welfare of the beautiful Cynthia herself, but also for the best

interests of the King.

Having thus confided the care of his Beloved to his friend

the King made all haste to return to the Palace at Agbatana,

where his impatient and proud Queen awaited him.

Had beauty been sufficient to win and hold the King’s heart,

then surely had he remained captive to the charms of the fair

Artemisia, for she was one of the most beautiful of women Nature

had lavished upon her intellect and beauty, its fairest gifts. Of commanding stature yet slender form, her supple, perfectly

rounded limbs might have formed the model for a sculptor, while

the finely cut features, the lustrous dark eyes, the perfectly arched

eyebrows, the clearr pallor of the skin, the full exquisitely moulded

red lips, were rendered yet more beaitiful, and more alluring to the eyes of most men by the air of haughty pride and queenly dignity which pervaded their expression. The sensuous droop of the full-lidded eyes, the gleam of anger which at slight provocation shot from them, the full strong chin and jaw, with the quick tightening of the shapely mouth when roused to anger, would all have been signs of temper unheeded by most men, or else would only served as incentives to them, to try whether they could not conquer the heart of this proud beauty, and make those haughty lips whisper fond words for their ears alone, and those dark eyes brighten at their approach. Thus had it once been with El Jazid. Artemisia had roused his passionsand charmed his senses and allured his lower Soul, but her beauty had been powerless to awaken the love of his higher self, the purer and truer love she had been unable to win; Cynthia, and Cynthia alone, could do that, and at her touch the lower, coarser love of the King for Artemisia had melted like a castle of cloud and mist before the glowing beams of the noon-day sun. Thus when El Jazid reached Agbatana, and beheld again the wondrous sensual beauty of his haughty Queen, the mother now of his child, it awoke but a faint echo of the old passion, a feeble return of the old warmth. And though his words were as tener, and full of affection as of old, his phrases as complimentary, his attentions as carefully studied, the heart of the proud, passionate woman, hungering for love and thirsting for devlotion, detected at once, the hollowness of his set phrases, the emptiness of his

honeyed-words, his formal caresses, the artificiality of his endearments, and in vehement anger and disappointment refused to be satisfied with the pretence of a love which her woman’s instinct told her she had somehow lost.

To El Jazid, she said nothing to show that she perceived

any difference in his manner, but she sought to win back from

the returned husband, the devotion of the lover who had left

her less than a year before. She used every art of which she was

mistress, and used them in vain, and she felt it was no longer

possible for her to keep his love, since between their hearts some

barrier had risen which no attentions on the King's part could

hide.


And still, while he remained with her, she made no sign,

dissembling with oriental caution the anger that she felt; but when,

after a brief stay, and with a slender, ill-acted show of regret,

for El Jazid was but a poor dissembler, he had left her again,

declaring that he must return to his army, the anger of the slighted

woman broke forth in a violent storm of rage, and she felt a

fierce thirst for vengeance upon the woman who had stolen from

her the King's heart, and usurped that first place in his thoughts

which,belonged by right to, his Queen alone.

She felt certain that there was some woman; nothing else

could have so changed the King's manner to her, and she was

seized with a wild determination to learn who this unknown

beauty could be, and to behold one whose charms had proved

more potent than her own, strong enough to draw El Jazid from

the side of the Princess, who had distinguished him above her

many suitors and conferred upon him the honor of becoming

the husband of the proud Artemisia. Wounded love struggled

in her hear with wounded pride, and from the conflict was born

a hatred as deep and a|l-absorbing as the love had been.

When the first burst of passion was over Artemisia, with the

craft of her oriental nature, resolved to conceal her suspicions

from El Jazid, and to act towards him as before, in order that

she might better accomplish her revenge upon him and his new

favorite. She set spies to follow the King, and report to her his

every movement, and it was not long ere she learned of the existence of Cynthia, and of the devotion El Jazid had shown to her,

although so quietly had she been taken away by Al Zulid, and

so effectually had he hidden her, that no trace of her whereabouts

could be found. None knew what had become of her, nor by

whom she had been taken away. The King's own visits to

Cynthia being now made with the utmost secrecy and caution,

the spies of Queen Artemisia were for a time completely baffled.

Meanwhile, the making of the secret passage between the

two Palaces at Parsagherd was being rapidly hurried forward.

The Hindoo artificer, whom the King's large bribe had tempted

from his own country, was assisted in his work by a clever, black

slave only. The care taken in making the passage was so great

that all the workmen were brought from a great distance and

carefully prevented from holding any communication with persons employed in the Palace itself. When the work was at length completed, these foreign workmen and the Hindoo artisan were carefully escorted back to their own country, the poor black slave, alone, being left behind. This unfortunate man, belonging to the city of Agbatana, and being employed about the Palace, it occurred to the King that the safest thing to do was,to put him to death, lest at any time he should be tempted to betray the secret of the passage and orders were therefore sent for his execution, the life of one poor slave being but a feather’s weight in the balance compared to the preservation of an Emperor's secret.

When all was at last completed, Al Zulid installed himself

and his household in the house assigned to him, and then brought

Cynthia safely to the part of it which had been prepared for her,

and which was surrounded by high walls, and everything which

it was thought could serve for her protection. Shortly after this,

the court was moved to Parsagherd, and the King was once more

able to visit his beloved freely, and, as he believed, unsuspected.

To the Queen, he maintained always the same scrupulously

careful show of devotion, and so well did Artemisia act her part,

so carefully did she dissemble her wrath, that El Jazid imagined his

secret was in no immediate danger of discovery, and gave himself up to the unrestrained enjoyment of Cynthia's society, scarce

observing as he otherwise might have done, the smouldering fire

which gleamed in the eyes of Artemisia, when he pleaded the

cares of state as a reason why he could not devote more of his

time to her.

Yet not so easily was the death of even a poor slave to pass over

unavenged. It was but a seed, and a small one, in that harvest

field of sorrow which was to surround poor Cynthia. Yet that

seed became a Upas tree whose branches were to blight at their

source the well-spring of hope and love and maternal tenderness

which had sprung up amidst the cramped and blighted affections

of a heart which had been denied all the natural ties of earthly

kindred, all interests which might have abstracted her thoughts

from the contemplation of Heavenly things. The tender joys, the

soft sweet holy thoughts of expectant motherhood, were awakening in Cynthia's Soul, and with a trembling, half-fear, half-hope, she looked forward to the unfolding of a tiny life within her own, the blossoming into life of a little emblem of their love; hopes which gave a new soft light to her eyes and imparted a new meaning to her love for El Jazid.

One evening as the sun was setting and the twilight shadows

were gathering over the valley that lay below, Cynthia and El

Jazid were seated together upon a low divan; and her head rested

upon his shoulder in the sweet abandonment of happy love; her

long dark hair hung loose upon her shoulders and as the King

caressed it with loving touch he spoke to her of those new hopes

which filled with happiness both their Souls.

Suddenly Cynthia, whose dreamy eyes had been gazing into

El Jazid's, turned her head towards the hangings in the corner of

the room where was the secret door, and with a fixed stony look of

fear, such as one sees in a bird which is fascinated by a snake, she

seemed to be following the passage of something or someone along

the wall. Then clutching the King's arm, with a low cry and an

almost frenzied expression of terror, she exclaimed, “Oh look!

look! It is that black shadow of a man again! He is creeping

creeping, towards us, with the most awful look of hatred in his eyes!

He fixes them upon me, and I feel as though I could not move,

could not escape from him! Oh! Save me from him! Save me

from him!" And with a cry, she fell insensible into El Jazid's arms.

In vain did the King, thoroughly alarmed lest it should be

some spy who had found the secret of the passage, search the hangings, the walls, everything. He could see nothing to account for

her alarm, no means.by which anyone could have entered, and

though he had followed the direction of Cynthia's eyes and seen

where she had pointed, he could see nothing to explain the fright.

The secret spring was intact, the door fast closed, yet Cynthia

had seemed to see the figure come from there. Where it had gone

was a mystery, yet El Jazid had too great a belief in her powen

of beholding unseen things, to doubt that she had truly seen something, and its invisibility to his own eyes, greatly added to his

superstitious apprehensions.

To revive and to soothe Cynthia was his first care. He dare

not call any of her attendants as he did not wish his presence

there suspected, and it was some time before she was sufficiently

restored to calmness to allow him to leave her. When he did so,

it was nearly dark, and in order to see his way through the passage,

he lighted a small lamp.

He had almost reached the door leading into his own apartments

when by the feeble light of his lamp he saw a black shadow

in front of him, resembling the crouching figure of a man. To

draw his dagger and to stab at it, was the work of a moment, for

only some meditated treachery could cause anyone to have followed

him into this passage. To his surprise the weapon, and also his

hand and arm, went through the figure, and at the same moment

his lamp seemed to be extinguished by a blast of cold air; as it went

out he saw the figure roll ovet and then rise and, as it seemed,

envelope him like a cloak, and it required all his efforts of strong

will and undaunted courage to free himself from the nameless,

shapeless thing which he now knew to be nothing earthly, and as he

thrust it from him with all his force it seemed to vanish with a

wild unearthly cry of rage.

Convinced that the being he had encountered was some evil

genie, El Jazid consulted the court astrologers and wise men, and

also the Priests as to what could be done to protect himself and,

what was still more important, his beloved Cynthia from the approaches of this horrible thing.

The advice he got was to the effect that this being evidently a

Spirit of darkness, one of the devils of Ahriman, it would be

desirable that El Jazid should at once set forth upon a pilgrimage

to the Temple of Baku, and bring back from there a vessel lighted

by the sacred fire which arises from the earth and burns there

continually. This would combat the evil power of Ahriman, and

draw down to his aid the good Angels of ORMUZD, and thus

would the sacred fire possess a double efficacy for keeping at bay

all the ghouls and genii of the dark kingdom.

From Cynthia the King parted with the utmost reluctance.

Only the assurance of the Priests that it was needful that he himself should go, and in his own person, pay homage at the sacred

altar, would have induced him to leave her at such a time and

under such circumstances. To Ben Al Zulid he confided her, with

the oft repeated warnings to guard the secret door and above everything to keep a special lamp containing the sacred fire ever burning in the room, and station fresh guards round her apartments.

Cynthia herself was most unwilling to allow, the King to leave

her. She was filled with the most anxious fears, the most terrible

apprehensions, and dreaded to lose sight of him even for a few

hours. Still her belief in the advice of the Priests at last overcame

her fears, and with much emotion Cynthia and the King parted.

For some days nothing occurred to justify Cynthia's fears, and

Al Zulid watched over her safety with a care and devotion only

second to that of the King himself, so that she grew gradually

ashamed of her fears and more confident, and began to amuse

herself picturing El Jazid's return.

Thus the time passed, and it was calculated that the King must

already be well advanced upon his homeward way, when one

evening as Cynthia lay upon her cushions, wearied out with anxious

watching for him, she fell asleep.

She had slept but a short time, and was alone for a few moment

the attendant having but just left the room, when the hangings

before the secret door were drawn aside by a hand, a real living

hand, a woman's firm white shapely hand bejewelled with many

rings, and the Queen herself stopped into the room. Drawing

near to the couch of the sleeping girl she stood looking upon the

rival who had stolen from her the King's love. Cruel hatred

gleamed in her eyes, and her white hands were clenched in a fierce

desire to clutch the fair white throat of the beautiful girl and

strangle her? Yes! This girl was beautiful. Perfect in all respects as was she herself, and with a subtle charm in her beauty

which the powerful Queen could never hope to rival. Instinctively she felt the source of Cynthia's power over El Jazid, and she

ground her teeth in silent rage as she drew a step nearer to the

couch, at the same time making a sign with her hand to a slave

who was behind her.

Perhaps it was the proximity of her foe that awakened her, or

it might be that her Guardian Angel sought to save her even then;

be it as it may, Cynthia woke with, a scream of terror and sprang

from the,cushions, uttering sharp cries for help as the slave sprung

upon her and plunged his cruel dagger into her shoulder and white

throat ere the affrighted attendant could rush to her aid; the

slave himself being almost cut to pieces by those who hurried

into the room. The Queen, leaving her minion to his fate, had

retired into the secret passage and closed the door, and there was

therefore nothing to show how or by what means the murderer had

entered;

In truth Artemisia had been for many day's and weeks trying

to discover by what secret means the King visited her rival, for that

she was somewhere near and that he saw her daily, Artemisia was

convinced. She learned that Al Zulid possessed a very beautiful

and mysterious inmate of his seraglio, and guessed that his house

might well be chosen as the asylum for El Jazid's favorite. With

a woman's capacity for receiving and profiting by impressions and

ill-defined and apparently groundless suspicions, she had become

convinced that there must be some secret passage somewhere,

and aided by the vengeful Spirit of the murdered slave, she had

spent the time of El Jazid's absence in searching for it, and, still

guided by the Spirit of the man whose knowledge of its secret had

cost his him life, had at last, that very day, found it.

It was this Spirit whom Cynthia had seen, and whom El Jazid

had encountered hovering around the cause of his untimely end,

and who had led the Queen to seek her rival's room at a moment

when she was alone and unprotected.

Thus did the first seeds bear their fruits, and send forth shoots to

poison yet other lives.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Cynthia was not dead, although fatally wounded, and Al Zulid

sent in all haste to hurry the King, hoping that haply he might

still be in time to receive her last breath,

She lay almost unconscious, but it seemed as though she could

not die till her beloved came.

As day dawned the attendants saw the end was drawing near.

The grey shadows of death were gathering fast upon her fair face;

her eyes were glazing, and all seemed almost over, when the King,

covered with the foam from his horse and the mire from the roads,

haggard and distracted with grief, arrived at last. At his touch

Cynthia's eyes opened once again; her white lips tried to utter his

name, and her dying hand to clasp his, but even as they did so the

silver chord was loosed, and the soul of the gentle, murdered

Cynthia sank to rest.


* * * * * * * * * * *

And in the hour my mother died, I, Ahrinziman, was born.

The moment of her death was also the moment of my entrance

into life.

Not amidst joyous congratulations and happy hopes fulfilled,

was I ushered into life, but amidst bitter tears and wailings of grief;

amidst anger, revenge, and strife. War and murder and jealousy

had shadowed me before my birth, and the Star of my destiny arose upon the horizon of Earth tinged with the blood-red rays of the Fiery Star.



THE STORY OF AHRINZIMAN




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