My name is Ethan Keaton Pitney.  I have been asked to record what I saw after I vanished from the sight of the Heavenly Host.  I must warn you, however, that even now I cannot completely remember it all, nor understand it completely.  So much has happened.

            I escaped the wrath of the demon prince Azazel through prayer and the grace of God, whose angels descended from Heaven to rescue my love, Mara, and me.  I was sent on while they did battle with an army of demons.  I did not want to leave her, but I had no place in such a battle as I was without a weapon.  And my destiny called me elsewhere.

            I walked across a snowy plain, huddling in my cloak for warmth.  My feet crunched in the snow, my breath steamed from my mouth.  I pressed on despite the cold, for how long I do not know.  I remember the stars winking into existence above me, spinning in their celestial dance as I strode across the tundra.  The night seemed endless, as if I walked through time and space.  Perhaps that seems like some addled rambling, but I had walked through a desert where seven years passed without me knowing.  The realm I wandered through had different rules than the reality most people know.

            I remember taking a class in university on the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, and our professor told us that in English, when Moses saw the burning bush, it says he was at a mountain “west of the wilderness.”  But our professor told us that in Hebrew, the words come closer to “behind the wilderness.”  How do you go behind something like a desert?  You can go behind a tree or a rock, but not an entire place like that.  He thought perhaps it meant Moses wandered into a different plane of reality.

            I don’t know about Moses, but I’m quite sure that I have.

            The night grew dark, and the stars became difficult to see.  I knew that this meant dawn was approaching, as “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”  I quickened my pace, striding across the landscape.  Something inside me was pushing me forward, as if I knew that I was getting closer.

            For years I had been searching for a cross from a dream, a vision.  I did not know why, only that it was necessary for something else to happen.  I had been separated from my family and friends, exposed to myriad dangers, and survived them all through sheer tenacity.  And now I sensed that the journey was nearing its completion.

            I saw a light in the north, and broke into a run towards it.  I felt my pulse quicken, the breath of my body tensing within me, pushing me forward.  I flew across the snowy ground, my cloak flapping behind me.  I was smiling, laughing, as I grew ever closer.  I could see it now, the cross on the horizon, resting in a cluster of rocks, white light shining forth.

            I fell to my knees before it, filled with an awe and reverence like nothing I had never experienced before.  I have felt blessed by the Hand of God before, in times of prayer and at my baptism, but this was like that feeling doubled and redoubled.  I prayed as I knelt, asking God for His blessing and guidance, so that I would know what to do from here, that I might be worthy of His trust in me.

            I felt compelled to sit up, and did so, gazing into the pure white light emanating from the cross.  My hands seemed to rise of their own accord, and I closed my hands around it.  I felt a surge of energy, as if I had been struck by lightning, the air humming with force and it seemed like there were voices, a choir that shouted with joy for a moment before I was filled with sights and sounds that threatened to shake my sanity.

            I felt myself filled with information, with vision and truth.  I saw so much that even now I cannot comprehend it all, and only after reflection could I put pieces of impressions together as coherent wholes.  I felt every cell in my body trembling with the force of the spiritual energy entering me from the cross, shaking me to my core.  I held on for all I was worth, knowing that this was why I was here and that I had to take on as much as I could handle, that I had to let myself be vulnerable before God, allow Him to change me and transform me so that I could be His servant.  It was like holding onto live wires, wrestling a thunderbolt, riding a storm.

            I felt myself filled with light and sound, and then there was a blast of wind that blew me free from my kneeling position, throwing me into the air.  I fell to the snow in a heap, and all was black.  I do not know how long I lay there, for even after I regained consciousness, I lay still, trying to find myself amongst the visions running through my brain.  For a time they prevented me from thinking, from having an identity of my own.  I lay huddled in my cloak, gibbering like an infant, unable to move.

            I held the cross in my arms, huddled against my chest like a security blanket or a teddy bear, a keepsake to protect me from the darkness.  I could feel it warm against me, and I believe that it kept me from starving somehow, as if I was fed by its presence.  I was comforted, soothed, healed.  Gradually I came back to myself, the awareness that I was Ethan Keaton Pitney and I had work to do.  But before I tell you of that, let me tell you what I saw.

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