The towering, gilded pillars of the afterworld were a beauteous sight to behold; ornamented at their capitals by golden acanthus leaves and, along the length of each column, by swirling arabesques of silver and bronze and inlaid with all the precious gems of the earth; diamonds and emeralds, rubies and sapphires, all glimmering in the ethereal light of a heavenly sun.
“It is more beautiful than I ever could have conceived it”, remarked Jural, stroking one of the pillars.
“You are mistaken, my comrade”, said one of the white robed and grey bearded guardians of that eternal realm, approaching him with a walking staff in hand, “The pillars are only there to represent all that the spirit must leave behind or pass beyond; the material spleandours, for they have no meaning in the spirit world. Only the gold and jewels of wisdom have worth in the world beyond”.
“That sounds wonderful and truly noble”, replied Jural, “But I cannot enter your spirit realm just yet, because I have unfinished duties upon the earth”.
The kindly old guardian nodded and smiled, “I know. Your heart shows everything to me. You are worried about your daughter Calabella. Worried that she may be in danger”.
Jural frowned, looking down into the swirling mists below his feet and seeing his daughters sweet, beaming face.
“I was tricked”, he said, “Foully deceived, a long time ago. I fell in love with a woman called Molygar. She looked more beautiful to me than any woman could ever look and, somehow, entranced me into marrying her but no sooner had I made my vows and placed the sacred ring upon her finger when she showed me her true face and those of her children. They were a family of Samphyres, demon made monsters. It was they who gave me all my worldly wealth. Molygars power that made every business venture which I entered into a success until I was a richer man than any king or emperor; the most respected man in my town but the most woebegone man in the world”.
“And then you met the mother of Calabella, a worker in the fields upon your estate”, said the heavenly guardian, “And you fell deeply in love with her”.
Jural nodded, realizing that there was nothing he could tell the old guardian that he did not already know and then the old man touched the white flower in Jurals lapel and the rose turned to gold.
“May this golden rose protect you, Jural”, said the guardian, “And help you to protect your daughter with all the blessings of heaven”.