Happy New Year, my friends! I know I said I hoped to have new content up soon–well soon is now! lol Actually, things got really busy in the office (I’m a media intern) closer to Christmas break and so I wasn’t able to update both WP and my YouTube Channel. I like to put some thought into my posts before I write something. The new Year is a time when maybe of us make resolutions, I usually make none not because I don’t want to change, but because I dislike making grand promises I know I’m unlikely to keep. But in general it is my goal every year to take what I learned form the last year and to better with God’s help. That is my hope with this year as well. =)

Lately I’ve been working a little on the Agents Novel, Hardwired and the sequel. I’m debating whether or not to make the next chapter of Hardwired as long as the previous two. I’m thinking maybe shorter. In any case I’ll probably vary chapter length a bit. In the meantime I have another chapter from Marianna to share. It’s called “Why?” and answers some of the questions raised by the previous chapters.




Pilgrim’s Progress Part 3

©2007-2011, CGI Studios, Ltd.

Why? by Jaron Belboda

Pilgrim’s Progress Part III Marianna

Chapter Five: Why?[JDB1]

Scene #1

Narrator:   By this time one big question was haunting me. Why? Why did things get all slowed down? Why was it that Marianna couldn’t just leave it all behind like Christiana did? Why was it so hard? And why was there so much pressure on Great-heart’s family and not on Marianna? Of course—better them than her. I knew the scripture: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But what purpose? Surely the purpose was to save Marianna from the destruction of Stupidity. If this was indeed His purpose, why was it taking so long?

Narrator:   Admittedly it had been only a little over a week earlier that Marianna was wallowing in depression, believing herself to have little hope of salvation. And then Mr. Great-heart had arrived with his message of hope. But I had expected that by nightfall she would have been at the Interpreter’s house. Instead she and her children are being held in a sort of house arrest in the palace, Mr. Great-heart has disappeared, Nyssa is dead, and now, Paul and Faith are rapidly progressing towards a shivering death in the ice box! Why?!

(The word ‘why’ echoes in a large chamber.)[JDB2]

Gh:   I see you are troubled. What’s the matter?[JDB3]

Narrator:   Matter? Mr. Great-heart, if you knew what’s happening to your children you wouldn’t ask such a thing.

Gh:   Well, if you mean how my only daughter was beaten to death, and how Paul and Faith are awaiting death in the ice box, yes I know all about it. (calmly)

Narrator:   Aren’t you distressed?

Gh:   Well I don’t pretend to have no feeling, but I also know that it’s all part of a bigger plan, Mr. uh…

Narrator:   I am one that is drawn to truth.

Gh:   Ah, yes. Well, Mr. Drawn-to-truth[JDB4] , it is all part of a bigger plan.

Narrator:   But how…?

Gh:   If the truth be spoken, good sir, the efforts to harm us are not just the workings of a vengeful sorcerer.

Narrator:   They’re not?

Gh:   No, they’re to destroy Marianna and prevent any others from going on pilgrimage.

Narrator:   But if Caluvaar is targeting you,

Gh:   Mm-Hm,

Narrator:   How…Oh! This just doesn’t fit.

Gh:   Ah. (laugh) Well, one of Caluvaar’s oldest methods is to use the fear of either torture or death or both of these combined, to keep honest hearts from going on pilgrimage.

Narrator:   So who is Caluvaar?

Gh:   A warlock, a wizard, a witch, a sorcerer, an architect, a deceiver.

Narrator:   Hm.

Gh:   An accuser of the brethren. A fearsome fighter, one totally opposed to God.

Narrator:   Ah. I sensed as much.

Gh:   He is one of our most ancient foes.

Narrator:   How is it then that we have not heard of him before?

Gh:   Ah, he has many names. Many, many names.

Narrator:   Name a few.

Gh:   Satan, Devil, Adversary, Deceiver. In short he is the originator of all evil.

Narrator:   Being up against such a foe puts Marianna and your family in more danger than most of us.

Gh:   Does it, Drawn?

Narrator:   Well I mean since he’s personally overseeing it and…

Gh:   Have you forgotten that the devil continually seeks for ways to destroy you?

Narrator:   I hadn’t given it much thought.

Gh:   The fact that we here in Dark-land are facing him in a visible form, doesn’t make him any less dangerous when dealt with in your world.

Narrator:   I see. Then I must ever be on my guard to ensure that all my gates are sealed. [JDB5]

Gh:   Indeed.

Narrator:   So, answer me this question. You believe in Romans 8:28, right?

Gh:   Yes.

Narrator:   What do you see as the purpose in all of this suffering?

Gh:   I see the reason to be twofold. First: the testimony of a true and faithful witness in life, death, or suffering has one of two effects on the beholder. It either fills them with contempt at the foolishness of one who would undergo all manner of difficulties to gain an invisible prize; or, it infuses them with the same desire for a better country whose builder and maker is God.

Narrator:   Ah.

Gh:   Second: we know that ‘the Lord permits conflicts, to prepare the soul for peace,’ [JDB6] and that ‘in every affliction God has a purpose to work out for our good.’ As mortals we tend to idolize this earth and what it has to offer. Trials and other such things, tend to loosen our grip on this world, and make us long for that which is to come. Every trial has some purpose.

Narrator:   Hm. So ‘God permits trials to assail His people, that by their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others.’

Gh:   Well said. And when we view things in this light nothing will take our hope.

Narrator:   Ah. But do tell, sir, will Paul and Faith die?

Gh:   I trust that the Master of Dreams will be able to reveal that to you without my presence.

Scene #2

Narrator:   With that I found myself at the ice box where Paul and Faith were holding on as best they could, being quite pale from and shivering in the freezing cold. The ice box was not in in fact controlled by people; rather this section of the prison was built into the coldest part region in which the temperatures would fluctuate form cold to freezing.

(Note: They are both shivering so their voices and speaking cadence should reflect that.)

Faith:   Any regrets, Darling?

Paul:   None. We’re right where we need to be.

Faith:   Those letters from Nyssa were really a blessing.

Paul:   You know, what’s funny is; the conclusions she came to were the very same lessons I was learning at that time, you know? It was like extra confirmation.

Faith:  Mm (shivery)

Paul:   Only in heaven will she know how much those letters meant to me.

Faith:   Looks like we meet her there soon, yeah?[JDB7]

Paul:   Yeah looks like it. I’m not afraid anymore.[JDB8]

Faith:   Me neither.

(Suddenly they hear voices outside the box.)

Valiant:   (tries to pry the bricks apart) Ugh!

Dart:   No, no, no, here. Remove the brick here.

(He does)

Faith:   What’s that?

Dart:   That’s it. Now!

(The men pull)

Paul:   I don’t know. It sounds like Valiant…

Faith:   And Dart.

Paul:   We must be hallucinating!

(With a shuddering thud the brick wall behind Paul and Faith’s back falls into a pile. Now only the super metal wall is between them and their rescuers.)

Faith:   Um, the ground under us just rumbled; I don’t think this is an illusion.

(Valiant drives his sword through the metal wall startling Paul and Faith.)

Dart:   Easy Valiant! You could impale one of them doing that.

Valiant:   If they’re alive! And if they are they’re probably collapsed on the floor by now.

(He resumes his attack on the wall cutting a large rectangle into the metal.)

Valiant:   Hey! Anyone alive in there?

Paul:   Yes we’re here!

Dart:   Thank God!

(Valiant pulls the rectangle out of place opening the box up and significantly raising its temperature. Paul and Faith breathe a sigh of relief.)

Faith:   That’s much better!

Paul:   It’s hot out here!

Valiant/Dart: (Laugh heartily)

Dart:   Hot! It’s almost 40 degrees out here, lad!

Paul:   Ugh! Guess we’ve been in the freezer too long.

Dart:   Aye; come on out. Here, wrap these blankets around you.

Faith/Paul:   Oh!/Thanks! (grateful)

Dart:   You’re welcome.

Paul:   And thanks for rescuing us, Bro.

Valiant:   Couldn’t have my little brother’s blood on my hands.

Paul:   I’ll take that as “you’re welcome.”

Dart:   You really have to read in between the lines with this chap don’t you?

Faith:   Sometimes. But are you sure you should have gotten involved, Dart? It’s pretty dangerous for the head of regional security to come here and rescue us.

Dart:   Don’t be insane, my lady. I’m already involved; from the moment Warcraft attacked your father-in-law until now. Besides, can’t trust any of my boys to do something like this; could lose income for their families if they’re caught—not to mention their lives.

Faith:   But what about your life?

Dart:   Ah, not that important, Ma’am. Since I’ve come to know the King serving Him is life. Refusing to take action is death. I may as well die serving Him as not.

Paul:  You’re a true friend, Dart.

Valiant:   Yes, yes. Can we stop with the pleasantries? We have to get you away from here before you get caught.

Dart:   Where do you suggest?

Valiant:   Well back to Three-hearts Shop and from there…

Paul:   Ah, no. Thank you gentlemen, both, for risking you lives to save us; but I must return to the Queen’s Palace. Council should be in session now; I shall remake my case in Marianna’s favor.

Dart:   What?

Paul:   That first case was not strong enough.

Valiant:   Are you mad?

Paul:   Yes.

(There is a period of silence.)

Paul:  You two should get going before someone sees you.

Faith:   I’ll go with you.

Valiant:   (sighs) I will never understand you.

(Valiant walks away.)

Dart:  (calls after Valiant) Ah don’t be too hard on him, lad.

(Dart turns back to Paul and Faith who have started leave for the Palace)

Dart:   Hey! (they turn) I wish you God’s blessing—whatever happens.

Paul:  (smiles)   Thanks Dart.

Dart:   You’re welcomed, Brother.

(They turn about and go their separate ways. After Dart is out of earshot Faith brings up the thought both she and Paul are thinking.)

Faith:   I wonder how she will receive us this time.

Paul:   Hm.

Scene #3

(We hear the door to a jail cell slamming shut. The reason is obvious: Paul and Faith have been put in jail.)

Faith:   Well, that answers that!

Paul:   Indeed!

Elihu:   You are strange prisoners.

(Elihu locks the door as he talks.)

Paul:   Why do you say that?

Elihu:   Most people I put in here would be cursing and demanding they be set free on cause of their innocence.

Paul:   But we are innocent. Truth will be proven.

Elihu:   That is what I mean, you are too patient!

Paul:   Time and experience have taught me that, general.

Elihu:   That’s another thing! You act like this isn’t your first stay in prison—like it’s familiar to you.

Paul:   Unfortunately it is.

Elihu:   So you have been to prison before.

Faith:  But as you can see we’ve been released a number of times as well.

Elihu:   Yes! That’s why I’m glad to be going back to the Emperor. I won’t have to deal with you nut cases!

(He turns and heads down the hall.)

Faith:   (laughs) Bye Elihu!

Paul:   (calls) Give my regards to Shishak on your way out![JDB9]

Elihu:   (over his shoulder) It will be done! [JDB10]

Faith:   Look at the size of those chains on our cell door. Samson himself couldn’t crack them!

Paul:   They fear we’ll escape again. But I don’t think Valiant is in the mood for another rescue mission. (Reflects a moment) And I don’t blame him.

Faith:   Hm. Has he always resented you?

Paul:   Nah it started after I married you.

Faith:   Thanks a lot! (teasing)

Paul:   No really! I’m his little brother so I could have embarrassed him more times than I’ll ever know.

Faith:   Hmph.

Paul:   You understand those things, don’t you?

Faith:   Well…I think my sisters and I embarrassed ourselves together most of the time. I’m not the eldest, you know.

Paul:   But you have an older brother.

Faith:   Mm-hm.

Paul:   Was he embarrassed by you?

Faith:   Let me ask you this, did Nyssa ever embarrass you?

Paul:   Ugh. Don’t ask that!

Faith:   See? You and Jehu are pretty much alike.

Paul:  I’m not sure I follow your reasoning.

Faith:   Jehu wouldn’t either.

Paul:   Is that how we’re alike? (teasing)

(Faith says nothing.)

Paul:   What is it?

Faith:   Our boy and girl. I wonder how they’re doing.

Paul:   Oh, you aren’t thinking about Caluvaar said, are you?

Faith:   (sighs) I can face many things, but losing our children is one thing I’m not sure about.

Paul:   I think it was you that once told me, “You never know for sure until you’re there for sure….”

Paul/Faith:   “…And for sure we know that’s sure!”

Faith:   I can’t believe you remember that! We were like nine!

Paul:   Nine and a half to be precise.

Faith:  Oh please!

Paul:   You were very specific—nine and a half!

Faith:   That was when I cared about such things.

Paul:   I didn’t see you again for another five years, but I always remembered that moment. We were talking about what the future held for us as children of Guides and what might happen if we were tortured.

Faith:   Oh my! I remember you had wild ideas!

Paul:   I lived in fear is what it was.

Faith:   And now?

Paul:   Now? I’ve learned that no matter what happens it’s not about me, it’s about God and His glory.

Faith:   Amen![JDB11]

Scene #4

Rachael:   Mother, are you sure this is part of Michael’s plan?

Amos:   Rachael, have you learned nothing from our experience?

Rachael:   I was asking Mother, Amos!

Marianna:   Well actually I was about to ask the same thing—In a different way.

Rachael:   Honestly, Mom! Paul and Faith got out only to be put into jail again and we’re stuck here in the palace under heavy guard!

Marianna:   They got out? How did you hear that?

Asahel:   Oh you were sleeping and some servants were talking over in the kitchen. He said they got out but they were captured almost immediately.

Marianna:   That doesn’t make sense. (thinks) They must have let themselves get captured.

Rachael:   I think our guards could get them no matter how good they are.

Marianna:   Not based on what I saw. Nyssa could have escaped, but she remained here; and she told me plainly she’s not as good as her brother.

Amos:   I see.

Asahel:  That doesn’t make sense! Why let themselves get knocked around when they can make their enemies pay?!

Amos:   But would it help the situation? They’re not out for revenge, Asahel. They’re here for us!

Asahel:   You think?

Marianna:   I’ve been thinking about that; Mr. Great-heart could never have operated here alone. Our system of government doesn’t allow people in our position to convert that easily.

Micah:   So he had to have back up?

Amos:   I should think it’s obvious!

Marianna:   Supernatural if not human.

Adah:   It is both, Marianna.

Marianna:   Oh! Your Majesty. (bows)

Adah:   You don’t even approve of my ways! Why do you bow?

Marianna:   You are the queen; your position deserves respect.

Adah:   Yes…well I’m sure you’ve heard that Paul and Faith escaped.

Marianna:   Yes and we heard they were captured again.

Adah:   Yes…(hesitates) …That’s what we want the people to think. Get this: they came to plead for your freedom—they practically turned themselves in!

Esther:   Told you mom’s always right.

Rachael:   Rrrrr![JDB12]

Adah:   The council is considering their proposal.

Marianna:   While they wait in jail.

Adah:   That is correct. I’ll let you know when we decide what to do to you.

(She starts to leave.)

Marianna:   Adah, can I ask you a personal question?

Adah:   What is it?

Marianna:   Why are you telling me these things? You’re not required by law to confide in one who leaves the order.

Adah:   (sighs) I don’t know. I guess you could say I’m changing—been around you too much.  Your Highness.

Marianna:   Your Majesty.

(Adah turns and leaves closing the door behind her.)

Rachael:   Well! That was certainly interesting!

Marianna:   Maybe now you can see a little of what I mean?

Rachael:   (smiles) A little. Esther’s right.

Marianna:   About what?

Rachael:   You always know what you’re talking about!

Marianna:   (Laughs)

Scene #5[JDB13]

(John Saber-tooth and his chief assassin are walking at a brisk pace as they speak.)[JDB14]

John:   Alright pack it up, boys! We’re moving out.

Rima:   Sir! Aren’t you ever in a good mood?

John:   No! The only good news I’ve had in months is that little weasel, Nyssa, got her neck twisted today.

Rima:   (gasps)   They hung her?

John:   No, they performed a ritual; like something the Vanitarians[JDB15]  would do. Look the point is she’s dead and I don’t have to worry about her anymore.

Rima:   Only you do! You directed her to the city of Darkness. You forged that plea for help!

John:   And she was dumb enough to buy it. Something about always being where she’s needed.

Rima:   Sir it’s your stupidity I’m worried about!

John:   Oh?

Rima:   If her brothers ever find out you were the one that tricked her into a death trap….

John:   Nah! They wouldn’t—even if they could trace it back to me they wouldn’t harm me. They think I’m dead, remember?

Rima[JDB16] :   Yes John, but I still say…

Messenger:   Message Sir. (hands John an envelope)

John:   Message? From whom?

Messenger:   I don’t know, Sir; I got it through the network.

John:  Yes, of course. Rima, supervise the men. I’ll read this in my tent.

Rima:   John, Sir, with all due respect; I have a bad feeling about that letter. Don’t do it, whatever it says—you’ll regret it.

John:   What makes you think it’s a job offer? (glares at the messenger) What are you staring at, boy? Get going!

Messenger:  Yes sir! (he runs away scared.)

Rima:   John I…

John:  Just go Rima, I’ll let you know if you’re right.

Rima:   If you say so. (she turns starts giving orders to the men.)  Alright, knock down those tents remove all evidence of campfires! I want this place spick and span, let’s go chop chop!

(John steps inside his tent)

John:  Ah. Let’s see what we have here. (turns the letter over) Hmph! No name on the outside. Let’s see what it says….

(opens the envelop pulls out the letter and begins to read)

John:    John Saber-tooth, My name is Warcraft. You don’t know me,

John/Warcraft:   But I am writing to you because I’m told you know my two pests, Paul and Faith Great-heart, from a previous assignment.

Warcraft:   Given your experience, I think you will be better able to handle them than I can. To be honest, they’re out of my league. I almost got myself killed fighting Paul and his older brother Valiant. Speaking of Valiant he may be another problem—the whole Great-heart family is, really. As you may have guessed, they are not my real target—they were just stupid enough to get involved. My real mission is to keep Marianna from becoming a pilgrim.  I have to either keep her locked up forever or kill her. But to do that I must get rid of all interference. [JDB17]

Warcraft/John:   I require your help Saber-tooth in dealing with these cockroaches. Meet me at

John:   Adah’s palace in the city of Darkness. If you succeed there will be a substantial reward. Signed William Warcraft. (chuckle) Well….Warcraft, old buddy, you’ve got yourself a partner! Rima!

This chapter is either based on, or directly quotes these references: GC 633 paragraph 2; (ML 93.3) (RH, September 11, 1883 par. 13) (RH, April 10, 1894 par. 9); Conflict and Courage page 45 paragraph 4

 [JDB1]This chapter was originally written to deal with some issues I knew would be objectionable to most fans of the books, and also to deal with my personal issues with the story. It still stands for that purpose but is somewhat more refined from the original.

 [JDB2]To emphasize the hollow sense of frustration, loss, and sadness at the recent events mentioned above.

 [JDB3]A reference to PP 1 where the gardener address the narrator about the nature of the fruit in the Land of Beulah.

In this case we are delving into some tough questions of faith, and it just seemed fitting to have Mr. Great-heart help the narrator and the audience through them with his patient explanations and impeccable insight.

 [JDB4]This is actually a play on my name. For years my name has been mispronounced by various people. I won’t get into all of them, but one of the ways it was pronounced was Drawn so I thought I would apply this name to a character in my story, but in the end I applied it to the narrator/storyteller which in turn applies it to me!

 [JDB5]A reference to John Bunyan’s “Holy War” and the gates of the impregnable city Mansoul: Eargate, Eyegate, Feelgate, Nosegate, Tastegate.

 [JDB6]I used this quote in my first sermon entitled “To be a Pilgrim in the Holy Way.”

 [JDB7]This is not a reference to going to heaven right at death. It is, however, a reference to the short period of time it will seem like to the person who has died. Their time stops and the very next moment it resumes is the resurrection.

 [JDB8]A nod to Kim-Lee Patterson. Specifically to a poem she wrote called I am not afraid. Also, the subtle idea is that he was afraid at some point. I’ll deal with this idea later. For now, enjoy the poem—no copyright infringement intended, Kim. J

“I am not afraid anymore

Not since You came and took over the oars

Of my boat that was so tossed about

By the winds of sin and all my doubt

Now that I know what Your way’s all about

I can say that I’m not afraid anymore

I am not afraid anymore

Not since You came knocking on my heart’s door

Offering peace and hope and joy within

And pardon for all of my sins

Lord, through Your strength I’ll always win.

That’s why I’m not afraid anymore

I am not afraid anymore

I’ve seen what Your holy words have in store

I see a land of joy and pure delight

Where wrong is gone and all is right

The sweetest thing I’ll ever sight

Oh Lord, I’m not afraid anymore

I am not afraid anymore

I’ll go to the sick, the lame and the poor

I’ll teach them of You and all Your loving ways

I’ll show that Your way’s the one that always pays

They’ll know that You will make a way

Send me, ‘cause I’m not afraid anymore!

No….I’m not afraid of the storms that will surround me

I’m not afraid of the darts the devil throws at me

And I’m not afraid of those who will try to drag me back to the old life –

With you I know that I can make it

With you I know that I can face it

Lord, with you I know that I can stand up for the right

And that’s why I’m not afraid anymore.” – Kim-Lee Patterson

 [JDB9]Even though Elihu and Shishak are their mortal enemies, Paul and Faith always treat them with kindness.

 [JDB10]And Elihu reciprocates—as only he can do.

 [JDB11]Here, as I promised,  I deal briefly with Paul’s fears and how he overcame them. I may have reason to return to this subject again but for now, this is the sum total of it.

 [JDB12]A nod to Condra. Of course you can’t get the full impact unless you hear it.

 [JDB13]I thought it fitting for chapter five to have 5 scenes. It was always intended to be a small chapter—sort of a breather from the rest of the story—though connecting link is probably a better description.

 [JDB14]Narrator:   While things seemed to grind to a halt with the waiting our friends were doing in the City of Darkness, things were in fact just about to heat up. Not far from the city was a certain mercenary named John Saber-tooth—and he almost deserved it! He was not a bounty hunter like Warcraft, but rather a stealthy assassin who always worked in the shadows. He had already caused much trouble for Paul, Nyssa, Valiant and the other members of the Great-heart family.

 [JDB15]The people in Vanity Faire.

 [JDB16]Originally appeared in the second revision of Approaching Shady Lair.

As a matter of interest, Rima, also known as Rima the Jungle Girl, is the fictional heroine of W. H. Hudson’s 1904 novel Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest. (I only know this because I looked the name up.)

Why did I choose this name? Well, I was actually shooting for Remah—a male character, but Word didn’t recognize it. In the suggestions was “Rima.” I just went with it because I didn’t want to and another weird spelling to the Word dictionary. I had the thought of changing it later, but as you can see the name stuck! I think it fits.

 [JDB17]Even if Warcraft does get rid of the Great-heart family, Marianna will still make it out of the city.

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