Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Past the Dark Lands and through the forests of the flourishing Good Lands laid a small village. Within that small village lived Chanooby, Fiona, and their daughter Rose. Chanooby was very much like a typical, loving husband, but his love for his family was unlike any other kind of love. This love although very strong, often blinded him and caused him to act rash. Fiona – a beautiful young lady with deep blue eyes and flowing golden hair, was very fond of her family too. She had much love for her daughter Rose, but also showed plenty of affection towards her husband. Rose was a young girl who dearly loved her parents, though her shyness kept her and her parents apart from each other.

        During a typical warm and sunny day, Chanooby and his wife were working on their fields while Rose and her friend Isabella ran around them. A slight chilly wind began picking up as the bright, sunny sky began to engorge within itself.

Soon the once-cloudless sky swirled into an intense whirlwind of darkened, murky clouds. The putrid stench of burning sulfur blew across the border of the Dark Lands towards the family and the village. The swirling mass of clouds suddenly dispersed. The sky was clear again. When Chanooby turned to comfort his frightened family, he only turned to see a white ghost that resembled his wife being carried off by a dark shadow. The white spirit cried for help but Chanooby was too shocked to react. He could only stare while the love of his life was pulled away from his grasps. Chanooby fell on his knees and began weeping, and weeping while he held his wife’s lifeless body in his arms. Rose feeling an emotion never that strong before fell beside her father and began mourning too. Days went by as Chanooby could only remember memories.

        Only three days after Chanooby’s life fell apart did he get up from the cold, hard ground. Chaaanoooby, Chaaanoooby, whispered the cool breeze. In alarm, he jerked his head side to side to find the source of the noise only to find the breeze had stopped. Memories of the recent event flashed through his head. Faint cries of help echoed through his head. Now being frustrated by his impotence to react to his wife’s cries, he decided to chase his wife’s soul and reclaim it back from the evil being that snatched her away.

        The next morning, he set off on his quest to rescue his wife’s soul leaving Rose back in the village for her safety. Knowing in order to succeed, he would have to face the unknowns of the Dark Lands. Only very few that had wandered into the Dark Lands had ever made it back in one piece.

        As he neared the border of the lands, he began worrying if he would ever see Rose again, but his love for his wife was stronger and kept on his journey. After arriving at the crossing point, he spotted a small cabin before the tree line of Douglas Firs. Deciding he should rest before setting out again, he slowly made his way to the cabin. Once he reached the cabin, he stepped in wondering to himself if anyone was present. Suddenly the door blew shut behind him and darkness filled the room. When he turned back around, a dark figure stood before him. Frightened, he explained who he was and what he was searching for. For a short moment, time had seemed suspended. The dark figure then moved back to his chair motioning Chanooby to sit. After conversing with each other, Chanooby had found much information that would help him in his quest. Apparently, another gentleman had crossed the border too in search for his love. That man went by the name of Christos Amefelia. When Chanooby heard the name, he quivered with hate.

        Christos and Chanooby had once been very good friends, but after the incident long before the village had been established, they were sworn enemies. Bitterness kept growing as both had lived on opposite ends of the village.

        Once Chanooby had left the cabin, he thanked Big Bear for his hospitality and information. Before crossing the bridge, Big Bear called out to him and explained three hurdles that would hinder his quest: fear, hate and himself. Upon completing those trials would he find his true treasure. Pondering on that thought, Chanooby crossed into the Dark Lands. Immediate distinction between both lands had been noticed. The Dark Lands contained no vegetation. Only hard, rocky, barren land covered the wasteland. Sign of life was scarce, but Chanooby never allowed his guard down because of the unexpected terrors that roamed the lands. Keeping on the dirty distinct rocky road, he made his way towards the mountain where Big Bear had explained he would find the gatekeeper to the Land of Souls.

        After a short while of walking, he found a man hiding behind a large rock. Unsure if it was a man at all, he slowly crept behind the figure and leapt onto him wrestling him down to the ground. Chanooby now certain of the figure asked him for his name. Sure enough, Christos replied with haste. Getting off the ground, both of them began arguing. Soon, it had turned into a fistfight. With a swift blow from each other, both were knocked unconscious.

        When they had awakened, they realized their stupidity and began conversing instead of arguing. Discovering they were both on the same quest, they got up and continued for the mountain. Although they had finally agreed on something, bitterness still roamed in their heads.

As they reached the foot of the recalled mountain, they both raced up the hills to reunite with their loves. The climb to the cave was tedious, but their competitiveness made the climb a lot quicker. Once they reached the entrance of the cave, Christos raced in leaving Chanooby behind him. Christos had entered with courage and compassion, but soon raced out in fear. A swift figure raced out after him. Abian: the legendary gatekeeper to the land of souls. Quivering in fear, Chanooby realized that this was his first trial: fear. He drew his sword and chased after the beast swearing to smite it. With a quick, swift swing of its tail, Chanooby was down. Injured but not beaten, he once again stood up and charged at the beast, again the beast managed to knock him down. Seeing Chanooby’s courage, Christos also drew his sword and charged at the beast. Being knocked down beside his human enemy, they stared at each other with intensity. Thinking about his second trial, he understood that in order to defeat his fear, he would have to conquer his hate. Understanding his hate towards Christos, he realized they would have to work together to conquer the beast.

Chanooby was about to tell Christos about to warn Christos of all his trials, but before he could, Christos jumped up and continued battling the beast. Christos was seriously injured after being knocked down the second time. The beast reared up its massive scaly head to finish him off. Christos cowered in fear crying for help. Before the beast could strike, Chanooby leaped onto it and began struggling with it. The dragon roared in annoyance and flailed its head side-to-side trying to knock him off his back. Christos marveled in surprise that an enemy would help him. After recollecting himself, he got up and picked up his sword. Pacing towards the distracted beast with determination, he raised his sword up and poised to strike. With one mighty slash, the great beast tumbled to the ground with Chanooby still mounted on its back squinting with fear. Shocked, Chanooby opened his eyes and found himself staring at his mortal enemy. What seemed like eternity was broken when Christos offered his hand to Chanooby.

Entering the cave together seemed a little odd to Chanooby because of their past experiences with each other, but after the beast, no one could separate them from each other. As they continued into the entwined cave, a bright light began to emerge to what seemed like the gateway to heaven.

As if they had stepped into a whole new world, their surroundings began resembling the Good Lands. Flowers of all sorts bloomed. What lay after the flowerbed gave both of them a gawking look. Circular, spinning fragments of light suspended in mid air marked the gateway to the Land of Souls. An old man appeared sitting on a rock. Alarmed, they demanded his name. Without answering them, he explained that ye could not pass the portal unless ye’s true treasure lays on the other side. Then the figure disappeared as quickly as it came. Both marveled at what they had just experience, but even that could not stop their love for their wives. They jumped into the portal, but with one great jolt, Chanooby was thrown out of the portal and landed on the flowerbed. Christos stared back at Chanooby and waved good-bye. Recoiling in what was supposed to be painful, he stared at the flowers around him. What had laid in front of him amazed him; a single red rose. Chaaanoooby, Chaaanoooby. The voice was louder than ever. Go back. Your time has not come. Go back. Then the voice died. Picking up the single flower, he wondered what everything meant. He recalled three trials he would have to conquer. So far, he had conquered only two. He figured then this must have been the third one; to conquer himself. Now he understood the meaning.

Down the mountain and through the Dark Lands, across the border and back to the village Chanooby traveled carrying the single rose. All the people of the village with a great cheer greeted Chanooby. As they began searching for what Chanooby had set out for, cheers began to quiet down. Once everyone had stopped cheering, they slummed their heads and began walking away leaving all but one girl standing there. Rose. Chanooby’s eyes filled with tears of happiness as he ran towards his one true treasure.