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The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen
In the beginning when man was still welcome in Eden, there were many strange beings cast off into the world by God; one group that would soon come to be known as gods in their own rights for they were those that the Greeks would later call their gods and goddesses.
These gods however, we're jealous, vengeful spirits for they had been banished from the great Garden of Eden by God to make room for the9 newly created man, who'd soon be joined by another. Like the fallen angels before them, the spirits became outraged at what they saw as an act of betrayal, and swore to their creator and exalter that they would one day return for the sacred Garden.
As the disgraced spirits roamed the Earth, they heard news of the banishment of man from the Garden, and became ecstatic with excitement for they realized that man was no better than them. They knew that jealousy, pride, anger, revenge and all other emotions of evil were now within the hated mankind; with this knowledge, the spirits began to hatch a plot to take back their precious Garden of Eden by turning men into their servants of destruction, to ride there upon iron steeds destroying all that is good and just, then to storm the gates of the Garden, leading the assault of the fallen spirits.
Their first victim came swiftly, for jealousy had already taken its deep hold on the second generation of man as Cain, son of Adam and Eve of the Garden, wickedly murdered his brother out of jealousy of an offering to God. After the deed was done, the leader of the spirits came before Cain and gave him a choice - serve them and live well for all eternity, or face God and die.
Cain, though guilty, was selfish, and chose to serve the fallen spirits on their quest for vengeance. At that, Cain became the first, and most powerful, Horseman and would forever be the Horseman of Death.
Soon though, God learned of the evil done, and in a wise attempt to stop the spirits' deadly plot, banished each one to an element of power in the world.
Zeus, the leader, was sent to the skies, Poseidon to the seas, and the rest all separated. God simply could've destroyed the evil ones altogether, but he is a loving god and couldn't bring himself to do the deed, and wrongly thought that what he'd done would quell their treacherous thoughts.
Evil, however, always finds ways to rear its ugly head, and exactly that was done over the next hundred or so years when humanity was still forming and few rules were established, even fewer enforced. This was the perfect moment for the exiled spirits to claim their servants, and they eventually turned three men with evil in their hearts to become Horsemen.
With these three, the Horsemen of Time, of Famine, and of Pestilence led by the Horsemen of Death, the Four Horsemen came into being, and on the first night of riding four villages were destroyed in their wake. They began their goal to destroy all.
So began the Reign of the Horsemen on Earth, terrorizing the lands at night with the only warning, for poor souls that cross their path, being the sound of their iron steeds galloping across the ground, neighing in a blood lusting frenzy.
Finally, God came down to the blood soaked Earth to bind the evil spirits exiled from the sacred Garden of Eden long ago to the far ends of their territories, and to give a grave message to the Four Horsemen - that they would forever roam the Earth never satisfied no matter how much they destroyed until one day, when his chosen one destroyed the Horsemen themselves.
With that, he cast them away for several millennia to the end of the Earth, and the world went on with life
Millennia later, the child of prophecies came into the world, crying for help. He bore the Horsemen's Mark of old, a black Coptic cross with the circle a brilliant silver, emblazoned on his right forearm, and so, with no choice, his caring parents sent him away from their small village on the Tiber River to the safe haven of Venice, for this is where the leaders of the church would look after him, protect him, and train him for the day when he would leave to seek out the dreaded Four Horsemen.
As the years went on, the young boy, Adrian, learned the ways of battle and forgiveness at the Floating City that was Venice. From the great heroes of the Crusades he learned how to hold his own in a life or death battle; from the priests of old, he learned to love, forget, and hope in life and all that's good.
Fourteen years passed since Adrian's arrival, and he knew that soon he'd have to leave the sanctuary of Venice to seek out the Horsemen, but he was very anxious of facing his deadly journey and felt that he didn't deserve to embark on a quest that he may never return from. He began to confide in his only true friend, Randy, who was from the Greek island Rhodes, about his troubles.
"I've told you time and time again Adrian, you are the one of the prophecies - you can do this. Why else would God have given you the Horsemen's Mark? You know the prophecy, 'Thou who bear the Horsemen's Mark, shall be their master, and end their nightly reign.'
I know you don't believe me, my friend, so I'll tell you now to go to Draco on the island of Varns just outside the city, for he knows the ancient prophecies better than all, and he surely can assure you."
Adrian agreed to go see the man of myth, but instead grew angry with life, and in an act of frustration, left the city behind and went to the mainland of Italy.
"I shall return to my true home," he whispered to himself, and in a few days’ time, he returned to his homeland village. The village though, was in ruins with the bones of many, and in the center was the sign that told Adrian the prophecy was true.
The Horsemen's Mark was buried into the ground, telling Adrian that the Four Horsemen had risen and begun their nightly rides of destruction.
With fear in his heart, the boy fled the ruins of his home to the city of Rome, for the Horsemen rarely raided the great cities now, to try to get away from the evil, pain, and the prophecy that was his destiny.
His city of hope however, proved otherwise as his Mark was a giveaway of his identity, since all knew the Horsemen's Prophecy. Before he gained the sense to cover it, many began to crowd him in the streets, and he fled Rome before the church discovered him and tries to send him back to Venice.
Days later, Adrian made it to the shore of the Mediterranean, and began to weep. He cried for the loss of his parents to the dreaded Horsemen. He cried for being made to fight a battle that he felt could not be won. He cried for being "the one" that prophecies foretold to being the one to end the nightly reign of the eldest of Greek evils, the Four Horsemen.
It was here on the shores of the Mediterranean where Randy found him, broken and helpless, after days of tracking him down. With him was the mystic Draco, cloaked in black robes and a braided silver crown, the symbol of an angel.
Draco, you see, was a spirit of the ancient times before man. He was a general in the war with the fallen angels at the beginning of time, tended to the Garden of Eden while the Greek spirits were still welcome, then kept them out later on. He had been entrusted by God to keep the Four Horsemen and Greeks at bay until the Horsemen's Prophecy was fulfilled, and for him to guide the chosen one to his destiny.
Determined, Draco told the shattered Adrian everything about his destiny and the Four Horsemen. "They ride in the dead of night, bringing a wake of destruction everywhere they ride. They only say one thing before the slaughter begins - 'Ride with us, the Four Horsemen, or choose your fate and die.' Those who say yes to ride lose their souls to empower the Horsemen on their eternal ride, and the others burn with their homes.
The Horsemen love to hate and hate to love, and this is exactly what the Greek spirits intended as they'd always been in a rage which makes them stronger every night. This is how they were supposed to break through to the Garden, and try they would. They nearly did break past the gates so God weakened them dearly so that only now had their strength returned.
Do not fear though child, for when you first arrived to Venice I knew you were the child of prophecy not by your mark, but by your purity and love for all good. Even as a newborn I could look into your eyes and see your future of greatness, and when you saw your home and family had been destroyed by the Horsemen, you didn't want revenge, only justice. Believe me, you are the one."
Finally, Adrian accepted that this was his destiny, and he, Randy, and Draco started the great trek to reach the Garden of Eden before the Horsemen. There, Adrian would end the Four Horsemen's reign and the Greek spirits power.
The going was difficult since the Horsemen had many allies throughout the world, so our hero and his companions decided to travel at night that way neither the Horsemen nor anyone could catch them in the black night.
They made their way up to Rome to gain supplies, which were badly needed. From there they began the way up to Venice where the leaders of the church blessed Adrian on his way and forgave him for leaving.
Days later, the group had made it as far as Persian Empire when they first realized how close the Horsemen were to them.
They were passing a small village at nearly sunrise when a man came running into the town screaming, “The Four Horsemen are drawing nearer! On iron steeds they ride! They’re coming! Coming to take our lives!”
The Four Horsemen were almost to the village, coming for Adrian. Already they could be heard shouting, "Ride with us, the Four Horsemen, or choose your fate and die!"
Panicked, the group pushed their horses as hard as they could, try to get away. The sun was beginning to rise though, and the Horsemen were forced to be drawn back into the Earth by the light. This was the first of many encounters between Adrian's group and the Four Horsemen.
As the days turned to weeks, and the weeks to months, still Draco led the group around the world searching for the sacred Garden trying to remember its hiding place. It had been so long since he had been to the Garden he could barely remember the route.
Also, the Horsemen were causing death and decay while hot on the trail of our hero and his companions since they themselves had long forgotten the location of Eden's Garden.
Our hero and companions knew the Horsemen were close, and in efforts they began to travel on foot, letting their horses run free hoping the tracks left would confuse their deadly stalkers, and the idea worked to some extent.
Finally, as hope was beginning to be but a memory for Adrian and Randy, Draco led them to the Greek island of Rhodes, the home of Randy. Here is where Draco stopped them to warn them of the dangers of the sacred Garden on the island.
"Touch nothing, for remember to the Garden you are not welcome even if you may be its savior. You two will be the first mortals to see and be in there since the fall of Adam and Eve, and to the Garden's spirit you are no better than they were unless you fulfill the prophecy.
Here is where we make a final stand, my friends. This is where the final battle against the Horsemen will be. Here we three, an angel of olden times, a loyal friend, and a boy with a destiny, go up against the Greek spirits and the wicked on Earth, the Four Horsemen.
I have taught you all I know of the prophecies and life, Adrian. The lives of everything of this world, even the Garden of Eden, rest in your hands."
That night they came to the Garden's gates of gold in the center of Rhodes, where a bewildered Randy couldn't believe he'd now seen it in all of his years of living there. The Garden is sacred though and could only be found by the angels... and any following them.
The Garden was a land of perfection in every sense for it is indeed Heaven on Earth where all creatures live in harmony with all others, and beauty is all there is. When Randy and Adrian felt the tranquility of the Garden they understood why they would defend it at all costs.
As the sun set the next day, the Four Horsemen were drawing nearer, on iron steeds they rode, coming to take all lives. With them were the exiled spirits, the Greek gods, having broken free of their bonds to finally get revenge they'd been waiting to exact for millennia.
When they arrived at the Garden's gates the Four Horsemen stood at front, yearning to tear into the Garden and destroy everything while their masters get their revenge on the God that banished them so long ago. As the gates opened however, something was keeping them at bay from attacking. A feeling none of these evil forces had ever felt before.
The great Greeks and Horsemen feared Adrian as he came towards them with their ancient foe, the angel Draco behind him in the form of a majestic dragon of myth, white as the clouds in Heaven, ridden by Randy of Rhodes. Adrian was in plain white clothes under an intricate white cloak with a silver necklace bearing the Horsemen's Mark while Randy wore the same, but in place of the necklace had a scepter of old that allowed him to harness the power of the grand dragon Draco below him.
Together, Adrian, Randy, and Draco met the darkest spirits to ever roam the Earth besides Lucifer himself in battle at the gates of the Garden of Eden. The battle lasted all through the night with fire, water, ice, lightning, and every other element to destroy the other, but alas, their efforts were in vain. A stalemate of sorts had been reached by the time the sun rose, and yet the Horsemen stayed fighting. They were no longer at the mercy of the sun.
By this time however, the fighting had ceased. The Greek spirits were nearly destroyed and the Horsemen gravely wounded as well as Adrian, Randy, and Draco. Draco could no longer fly and Randy heavily lacerated, but they were all prepared to keep going.
Suddenly, the leader of the Greeks, Zeus, and the First Horsemen, Death, came to Adrian with a choice - join them and exact revenge on all who'd wronged him including the Horsemen by becoming the Fifth Horsemen, leading and battering the other four and storm the Garden, or continue to fight and slowly die.
The one of prophecies simply stared into their eyes and thought, revenge or peace to the world. The choice nearly ate him alive, but ultimately he knew what must be done.
Adrian looked into the eyes of the Horsemen of Death. Eyes that once belonged to a misguided son named Cain long ago, and said, "Four Horsemen of evil, Four Horsemen of old, I call to you by name and pain you shall soon face.
Horsemen of Time, you monstrous creature! Youngest of the Horsemen you may be, but not for long .For I have taken your toll on all but yourself, and know you must feel your own evil, the never ending onslaught of time and its pain.
Horsemen of Famine, creature of hunger! You have worn through all in the land with the Horsemen of Time’s help, but no longer! Very soon you shall feel the pain of never ending hunger as your body of filth is withered away.
Horsemen of Pestilence, bringer of disease! For millennia you have plagued the world with horrible sickness, but nevermore will this be the case! You, evil one, shall face every disease and plague that you have wrought upon the world.
Horsemen of Death, you were the first terror of the Garden. You, my deadly foe, will regret the day you joined the exiled spirits and lost your soul. Never though, will you lose the name Cain. You will face the worst punishment of all – to feel the pain, anger, sorrow, evil, and misery of all that have ever been in existence. The pain felt by the Horsemen you lead will be yours only tenfold for every evil deed you have done.
I banish you to the Abyss where you shall face the pain that is your own namesake. With you, I send your dreaded masters to pay for all that has been done by all your hands."
As the ancient incantation flowed forth like a river from Adrian, his mark flashed brilliantly while the Four Horsemen and their Greek masters, already regretting their acts of revenge, cried out in fear as the Heavens opened up above with waves of rain, ice, wind and lightning pelting the land at the Garden's gates.
Gone was the power of the Greek spirits, banished so long ago. Gone was the rage and yearning for revenge from their hearts.
Gone was the ferocity of the Four Horsemen that had been burning of many millennia. Gone was their lust for the blood of all.
Now, there was only fear and regret. Fear of their punishment, and regret for all that they'd done.
The wrath of the Heavens swirled up around these foes life and engulfed them, leading them up to Heaven for their final judgment at the hands of God.
A great burden was now lifted off the world's shoulders as it breathed a sigh of relief. The Four Horsemen and their dreaded masters of old were gone. The prophecy had been fulfilled at the gates to the Garden of Eden as foretold.
It was here where Draco, now in his mystic form of a man, came to Adrian and thanked him for finally giving him the peace of mind knowing that their Garden was at last safe and free of threat. The angel's youthfulness was finally seen by Adrian and Randy as he let out a great laugh.
Draco invited the two into the Garden of Eden. At the center of the tranquil land was a pool of pure holy water. It was here that Draco gladly told them, "The Garden is finally at peace. You, my dear Adrian, have ended the reign of the Garden's greatest enemy, and for this I thank you.
The fact that you chose justice over revenge shows you are a character of pure heart. Many would have loved to take revenge on all who'd wronged them, but this is one the Greek spirits of the Garden had done, and look at them now.
Adrian, for your actions and virtue, you have been welcomed to stay in the Garden of Eden, forever and ever. Not only this, but I will also give you the most coveted gift of all. Yes, I will turn you into an angel of old, to tend to the Garden and help all.
Do not think I have forgotten about you Randy of Rhodes. Only a true friend could've stuck by Adrian and I on a quest that was not his own, and for that I thank you. For your actions and faithfulness, I will bestow upon the gifts I have given Adrian. You as well may live in the Garden to be an angel at my side.
Do you two accept these gifts?"
With not even a moment's hesitation, Adrian and Randy eagerly accepted, and with great joy became angels of the Garden of Eden.
Time went on afterwards and generations passed with traditions dying as life continued, but still all that lived on this world, were told of the tale of Adrian, Randy, Draco, and the Four Horsemen. None forgot the horrible acts of revenge the ancient Greek spirits had done, and because of the evil acts, all learned very young that revenge was a vile sin that ultimately never prevailed. From the tale, they learned the right way is never in revenge no matter what.
Randy was never forgotten as the one who valiantly stood by his friend against the face of evil, and for this he has become the patron of his home, the island Rhodes. He will forever be Randy, protector of Rhodes.
Adrian, the one of prophecies, the Savior of the Garden, Vanquisher of the Four Horsemen, forever remembered for his brave stand against the Four Horsemen and their vengeful masters. He has become the archetype for youth, courage, purity, and truth. He and Randy forever tend to the Garden, leaving to help others and visit in Heaven.
From Adrian and his actions, justice was found in place of revenge. Not only did he save the world from plunging into the chaos of the banished spirits and the Four Horsemen, he also showed society that justice is even sweeter than revenge.