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Zakariah grew tired as night began to fall. He found himself flying over a cool ocean with no thermal waves to coast on and nothing in sight... A small light flashed on the ocean surface and caught his eye. Zakariah spun down to it and as he got closer, he could see a man in a sailboat with a lamp. He landed on the boat and gently set down the Bundle. The man was painting on a piece of driftwood. He did not turn around to Zakariah. “Welcome to my humble boat, fellow traveler,” the man said. “There is fresh water and plenty of stories to share.” 

“Thank you. My name is Zakariah and this is my Bundle. We don’t wish to bother you.” The man put his paint brush down and, wiping his hands, finally turned to Zakariah and said, “My name is Seth.” 

Zakariah noticed that Seth’s eyes were cloudy and that he was making his way across the windy seas without any eye sight. “I don’t want to sound rude, but how do you know what you are painting if you cannot see?” Zakariah asked Seth. 

“Oh, I know what I paint. You might ask yourself instead, ‘What is it that I see in a blind man’s painting?’” 

Zakariah took a closer look at the painting. “I see someone sleeping on a floor. Kings riding in a desert. And above them in the sky a star... the same star I’m following?” Seth smiled and said, “Zakariah, just because I can not see it with my own eyes does not mean I do not know it is there.” 

Zakariah woke up the next morning to the bobbing of the boat, near a beach. Seth, already awake, said “This is as close as I can get you to your Star, Zakariah.” 

Zakariah looked at the beach and saw the Star rising over the top of a distant sand dune. He turned to Seth and said, “Thank you, Seth. I’ll remember these paintings that helped me...” Zakariah paused, looking for the words, “...to wonder what it is we think we see and what is actually there.” Seth bowed and said, “Be well and share your joy.” And then Zakariah said something that felt natural for him to say. “It has always been and it shall always be.” 

Seth clapped his hands in knowing what that meant because he knew these words, “The words of a true Bringer.” 

Zakariah bowed to Seth, picked up the Bundle and hopped off the boat onto the sand. When Zakariah reached the top of the dune, he turned and waved goodbye to Seth and Seth waved back. Ha! And Seth still couldn’t turned see and him. He could see him but… It’s hard for me to explain and I do not have much room to put it down, so….Zakariah took off and with the Bundle and flew out over the dunes into the desert. 

After following the Star across the empty desert for a while, Zakariah lost his sense of time. He squinted as a glint of gold flashed somewhere down below. It looked like a square gold building sitting in the middle of the desert under the gold sun in the gold sand. With the Bundle secure in his beak, Zakariah spiraled down and landed in front of its great golden doors with their big golden lock. I would think it was strange too if I found a locked door in the middle of the desert. I guess that’s why he picked the lock, with his long, red, pointy beak. He then slowly pushed open the heavy doors... 

 

What Zakariah saw through the heavy gold double doors of the gold building surprised him... Inside sat a young woman with a boy’s haircut. The woman looked like one of the kings that Seth had painted. Startled, Zakariah said, “I’m sorry... I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here in the middle of nowhere... out here in the middle of... nowhere.” 

“Hello, Bird,” the young woman said, “My name is Mel.” 

“Hello, Mel. My name is Zakariah... I’ve either broken into your home or I have set you free,” he said perplexed, about the whole situation.

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Mel stood up slowly, spread her arms and said, “My parents ruled as King and Queen over an empire of gold. The day I was born they told our people they had a Son. That is why I am known as Prince Melchior. I was groomed to be the next King of Gold. 

 

After the death of my parents, I let it be known all across the kingdom that I was now their Queen and had never been their Prince... My people felt betrayed and they locked me away in here... This happened a very long time ago.”

 

Timidly, Zakariah gestured to the opened doors and said, “But now the doors are open, Mel.” She looked down at her young hands and felt her young face and wondered out loud, “What will happen if I leave this place? I haven’t aged at all. Will my people recognize me? Will I turn to dust?” 

Zakariah offered, “Or maybe just rapidly age? I don’t know? But the world you knew many life times ago is surely gone by now. I don’t know if that is a good thing or bad thing but everything outside those doors will be new for you.” 

Mel walked to the open doors and looked out into the blinding desert, hesitating, not trusting what might be out there. 

Zakariah spoke up and encouraged her, “It is not as bad as it looks, Princess Melchoir,” so she wouldn’t worry about aging quickly.

“Actually, I’m a Queen now, Zakariah... and I’d like you to call me Mel,” she muttered quietly. “Really? Then get your young old butt out there, Mel!” Zakariah said, nudging her through the open doors into the dazzling desert sunlight. Mel held her arm over her forehead to shield her eyes from the golden light outdoors and then looked down at her toes which wiggled in the warm sand. “It’s not so bad, is it?” Zakariah asked. Uncertain, Mel looked back into the darkness of her golden home. “Once you’ve started your journey, there is no turning back,” he assured her. “Oops. That reminds me.” He then turned around and went back into the gold building. 

 

Mel watched him intensely as he came out with the Bundle and prepared to take off. “What do I do now, Zakariah?” Mel asked. Zakariah rubbed his chin, or what would have been his chin if he were not a Bird, and said, “Any direction from here is as good as the other, but me and the Bundle are going that way,” he pointed at the gleaming Star, “toward that Star we found. Or maybe it found us. I’m not sure.”