Valiant: Knock Knock…The Sandman…The Gift…Part 17…

‘Legends will come to life, an age-old
Brotherhood will rise and be reborn to
Guide the world into a new era…Where
A balance will be found unlike ever before.’

-The Traveler

Jon lay in his bed watching the lady
Unsure if he was asleep or awake.
It really struck him this time more
Than ever before, it was so hard to
Separate what he was seeing from
Night and day…everything was
So clear. ‘So, that is your name…

‘You may call me that, yes.’ She

‘I always wondered.’ He said with
Awe. ‘You never told me…It somehow
Made me think it was all…just a

She held her manner very carefully,
Even shyly. ‘No, Jon. This isn’t a
Dream. I assure you, one day you
Will understand.’ Then she paused
Thinking fast. ‘But what concerns
Me more…is you. I’m sorry that you
Are going through such a hard time
Right now…I knew, I mean…I’m
Sorry but it’s hard for me to find the
Right words. There are things that
I want to tell you…’

‘But you can’t.’ Jon said finishing
Her words for her. ‘But…you DO
KNOW. You KNOW, don’t you?
That’s why you come. Because
You know something…you know

Kyrie watched him closely, her
Eyes meeting his like an old
Friend. She held her tongue regardless
Of what she wanted to say about it.

‘Why?’ He could only ask. ‘Why
Come then? To watch? I don’t
Understand? If you know…and
Don’t do anything…then why bother?’

‘Because we can’t.’ She only said.

‘That makes no sense to me.’ Jon
Told her. ‘Do you know how that
Makes me feel? I have wondered
This for a long time. I can’t tell
Anyone…Do you know what that
Would sound like if I did—how it
Would sound?’

She held her breath and sighed.
‘I realize that.’

‘No, I don’t think you do.’ He said.
‘From where I am, it makes me feel
Like…a pet. Like a pet being watched.’

‘It’s not like that, Jon.’ Kyrie insisted.

‘Then what am I supposed to think?’
He defended, even pushed for the
First time. ‘Do you know what just
Happened…what, or Who…just
Came to see me? What is happening?
I didn’t ask for this!’

‘Jon, please listen.’ Kyrie tried to
Tell him. ‘I can’t explain why these
Things happen to you, I only know
That they do. I can’t give you all
Those answers because I don’t know
Them all…not exactly. I am not t
Trying to add to your problems, I
Promise. We came to help you.’

‘We?’ Jon asked more curiously,
His mind racing. ‘Him…the
Stranger, the visitor…He always
Makes me forget his face. I can
Remember his words, the meaning.
Until I see him again…. Then, I
Remember. But over time, I am
Remembering more and more.’

Now she watched him more
Seriously. ‘You do? How much
Are you remembering?’

Jon caught himself before reacting
To her question. ‘You only let me
Remember a little…Is that right?’

Kyrie held herself strongly as she
Sat up straighter on his bed, but
Still exuded all the warmth and
Kindness that she always did. ‘I’m
Trying to help, Jon.’

‘Help me?’ Jon asked, almost
Spitting the words. ‘For what?’

There was a strained silence
Between them for a moment…Then,
The familiar visitor that was listening
Just outside of his door slowly
Walked in with his new (or seemingly
New) companion. ‘Jon, I think that
It’s time that our talks took a different
Turn…I think it’s time for you
To see something that…we…
Would like to show you.’ He
Nodded to Kyrie, who appeared
Surprised by him entering the room,
And then to this new companion…
Who was yet another beautiful
Woman with long wavy golden
Hair and the most amazing sparkling
Bluish eyes.

Jon was now in absolute awe. These
People were all so fantastic looking,
All of them…they just looked perfect.
There was no other way to describe
Them. He had never seen people like
This…And their clothes were all so
Finely tailored. Even their behavior
And tone was so regal. Jon felt so
Small in their presence, as though he
Were some grunt or primitive before
Them. ‘You want to show me

‘Yes.’ The man said standing tall and
Strong beside Kyrie now.

‘Jon, this…is- ‘Kyrie began to say.

‘Apollo.’ The man answered very
Casually, confidently. ‘You many call
Me, Apollo…But over the years I
Have had many names…. Depending
On who I am speaking with, and where.
I usually ask that they give me some
Variant name…for the era.’

‘Era?’ Jon half laughed.

‘I can tell you,’ This lady Ceres then
Added with a slightly cynical smile,
‘That the names suit some manner
Of his disposition.’

Apollo grinned and shut his eyes
Briefly trying not to laugh at some
Secret between them on this. ‘Let
Us be brief with words on this…
And remain as kindly to the point
As we can. In truth, we can’t stay
Long.’ Then he held out his hand
And gently waved for Jon to get out
Of bed. ‘Come…Let me show you.
There’s no way to explain it, you
Can see for yourself, decide for
Yourself….and put it in your own
Words. I know you have the sense
To see it right. So please, come with
Us, Jon. I promise you will be alright.’

Jon was intrigued. For the first time
He was being offered a sincere answer.
He got out of bed and quickly, modestly,
Pulled on his pair of trousers that
Were beside the bed and went with
These friendly visitors.

There was an awkward moment of
All four of them standing there
Staring at each other…They each
Smiled with enthusiasm, watching
Jon’s reaction to all of this, knowing
What was to come. Then there was a
Broad showering circle of silvery
White light that poured down all
Around them. A surge of energy
Filled the air, then suddenly they
Were all standing in a huge round
Steel-like looking room with many
Colored flashing little lights that
Blinked and twinkled from every
Surface…from the walls, and
Polished tables…and strange
Sleek-looking chairs all over.

Jon took it in as best he could, but
It all happened so fast. Before he
Could even ask a question Apollo
Held out his hand gesturing for Jon
To wait a moment more…Then he
Walked quickly over to this giant
Chair positioned higher in the center
Of the room…. He pressed some lights
On its wide arm-rests…Then he
Walked back over to them, waited a
Few seconds more…. Then another
Circle of light showered down on
Them, only this one was a white-gold

Jon understood now, they were being
Moved somehow…over great
Distances. How far, he could only
Imagine. The same tingling sensation
Filled the air again, and then they
Were standing in what appeared to be
In the center of a grassy-garden…
With some sort of tiled or paved
Walkways…surrounded by pillars
And groomed trees…and towering
Rose bushes intense with rich musky
Scents that overwhelmed the air. It
All seemed to be arranged, planted
And groomed into some giant
Cathedral of nature. There was a
Sense of balance to it all that put
Harmony into everything.

Apollo nodded once as he studied
Jon. He wasn’t just observing
Him, he was reading him as well,
Sensing his thoughts and perceptions
And enjoying every moment of it.
‘That’s right, Jon…Just look at
It. Mark everything that you feel,
Make a memory. Just…See it,
Look at it.’

‘What is this?’ Jon asked. ‘Is
It real?’

‘It’s real, Jon.’ Apollo told him.
‘You ARE here…This is not a dream.
Just keep looking at it.’ Then he
Gestured for Jon to come with him
A few steps to the side. ‘Now, I am sorry,
We do not have long. So, I am just
Going to ask you to keep looking…
Keep looking at everything.’

‘I do not understand why you are
Showing me this, why did you bring
Me here?’ Jon asked.

Apollo took him to one side of
This great round garden…to one
Of the four giant arches that stood
Around its circle, at precise points.
They appeared to be entrances. When
They reached the arch, the view
Immediately opened up and extended
Out as far as the eye could see…
‘Just look, Jon…’

There were two long mountain ranges
That ran along the length of either
Side of this long valley, there might
Have been another mountain range
At the far side opposite him, but he
Couldn’t be sure. The sight of it all
Was so much. The sky was a beautiful
Pale blue, but a bit hazy from high
Fog and cloud cover as though it
Had just rained. There was a generous
Amount of greenery extending with
A dip below. There were trees of all
Shapes and kinds, set with well
Manicured shrubs and blooming bushes
Again, all neatly arranged together,
But most of all, there was the intense
Overwhelming aroma of roses…

And there among all of this were
Buildings…everything looked
Very deliberately set and planned
So carefully. There were big domed
Buildings, and tall rectangular-like
Buildings that appeared to be built
Right into the mountainsides, as
Though they were built from the
Mountains. All of these were an
Ivory color, they were all curved
In some way, either along the
Edges or in their rooftops. Jon had
Never seen anything like it before.
He had never even imagined
Anything like it, nor had even heard
That such things existed. And
Everywhere he saw lights in the
Buildings glowing…but not like
A candle’s light or the lights of
A fire’s flame. No, these were lit
In some other way…

Jon was speechless. He saw it,
Felt it, but it still seemed impossible.
The only word that he could find to
Say was, ‘How?’

‘In time.’ Apollo told him watching
His face eagerly. ‘All that you need
To know is what you are seeing…
Right here, right now…IS REAL.
Just look at it. You need to know that.
And you need to know that…NOW.’

‘But why are you showing me this?’
Jon asked again.

Apollo held his words a moment
Before continuing. ‘Put it together
From what you’ve seen, Jon.’
He told him kindly. ‘I am not
Showing anyone else but you.’

‘It’s hard to think.’ Jon said.

Apollo laughed. ‘I know.’ Then
He looked out as he stood beside
Jon, admiring the view with great
Satisfaction. ‘There are…times
To come that are torrential with
Problems…. Ancients, not just in
The world you know, but from many
Places have tried to build such things…
And many never got it right. It’s a
Never ending process building such
A place.’

‘Is this paradise?’ Jon asked.

‘Oh, it’s more than that, Jon.’
Apollo told him. ‘Much more.
You see, paradise…is like a dream.
This is real. And that takes time.’

‘I would be afraid to stay.’ Jon
Weakly told him. ‘Or even visit.
I don’t feel good enough.’

Apollo smiled. ‘You have got to
Stop thinking like that. But…we
ARE very careful with WHO comes
Here. Think about that, Jon.’ Apollo
Said leaning a bit more seriously
Towards him, trying to tell him
Something with his words and
Tone…hoping that he would
Understand over time.

‘It’s beautiful.’ Jon could only
Say as he was overtaken by the
Immense view.

Apollo nodded once more, still
Admiring Jon’s reaction to
Everything. ‘It is beautiful. And
It takes A LOT of work…A lot
Of work. You can see that, right?
Such things do not spring up over
Night. It takes dedication, it takes
A lot of time…and the right people.’
Apollo’s eyes wandered back to
Ceres and Kyrie as they watched
Jon still smiling gently and

‘I could never have dreamed this.
It’s so…BIG.’ Jon could only say.
‘All the people that…made THIS.’

Apollo thought carefully, quickly.
‘Yes, it’s a lot of work…ongoing, it
Never ends…in building it, and
Maintaining it.’

‘But I still do not understand.’
Jon said. ‘Why are you showing
Me this? I can’t imagine why.’

‘All the things to search and strive
For.’ Apollo said with a mysterious
Tone. ‘Civilizations are built on
Ambition and broken backs…on
Ideas and fragments of dreams
Trying to bring something to life.
Let’s just say…we, are sowing seeds.’

‘Sowing seeds?’ Jon laughed.

‘Over time logic will build the path
To science…and in return, science
Will build with logic.’ Apollo told him.
‘But that’s incomplete, Jon. There are
A lot of missing pieces there that they
Will attempt to put together.’ Then he
Turned and gestured behind them, to
The garden that they stood in, the circle
Of its structure. ‘Nature and science…
Art and science…There are a lot of
Simple answers there. The shape of
Things, the arrangement of things. All
Put together. Look at it, just look at
It. The bridge between these things…
The intuition of art and nature with
Science…can make miraculous
Things, Jon…So simply.’

Jon did as he was asked and
Turned back to look at the
Circle…the garden, the structures
In it…The stones carved so
Precisely all around, like tiles…
All the colors, and the roses.

‘Everything in balance…’ Apollo
Mysteriously said. ‘From the
Positions, to the elements…All in
Balance…Even the air, the aroma
Yields a function. Don’t forget the
Roses, Jon.’

‘I don’t understand.’ Jon said briefly
Shaking his head. ‘What do you
Want me to do, draw a picture?’

Apollo laughed. ‘In time. Sowing seeds,
Jon. That’s what we’re doing.
Planning ahead.’

‘How far ahead?’ Jon asked.

‘Out of view, out of touch,
Outside of time…and treason.’
Apollo told him.

‘Is this a riddle?’ Jon said.

‘Just enough.’ Apollo answered surely.
‘Ripples, Jon…just ripples.’ He
Looked down sadly a moment
Before continuing. ‘Sooner or later
Things go wrong…and when they
Do something ends, then something
New begins…And that’s when
Opportunities arise, and the right
Ideas can work…miracles. Most
Will never see it. Oh, they will
Dismiss it and laugh and say…
That’s a creative idea, a hopeful
One…but others views and schemes
Push the right ideas out of the
Way…And a rotten cycle repeats.
Sometimes, you just have to
Encourage things…

‘But why show me?’ Jon begged.
‘I don’t see why. I live in a
Small village…in nowhere. I’m
Nothing. I couldn’t even begin
To draw this.’

‘From your mind, through his…
It’s like a…reflection. Apollo
Strangely offered. ‘Then I will show
Him…and in that…there will be
A balance.’

‘A balance for what?’ Jon asked.
He was really feeling foolish asking
So much…This was all so beyond him.

‘For the long road and a distant
New beginning. We’re just…sowing
Seeds, Jon.’ Apollo told him. ‘Now,
I’m sorry, my friend…But we
Are going to have to return you
Now. He gestured again for Jon
To go with him, then paused
Again and leaned back to Jon
With a shaky, yet serious
Expression. ‘Jon, I showed you
This for a reason. We don’t do
That so freely.’

Jon nodded awkwardly. Then
They returned him home the
Same way they came. And before
He knew it, he was laying back
In his bed as if he had never
Left…as if nothing ever happened.
But despite the overwhelming
Sense of everything…all the
Visits, all that had happened…
He still lay there just wildly
Wondering why…

And before he fell asleep, he
Heard the voice one more time.
Apollo’s voice gently telling him.
‘Don’t forget about the roses,



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