Immediately after Dov was revealed to be the heir apparent to the vast Stellar Empire, he was transported to the dwarf planet Arideen by his eternal adversary Serphentine. He was left there for a period of forty standard days with no rations and no shelter in order to contemplate all of the ramifications of his state.
At the end of that time, Serphentine arrived to confront the weakened Prince Dov. The brilliant illumination offered by the dense galactic cluster provided the dramatic backdrop to their encounter on the barren plains of a rock that was just barely larger than an asteroid.
“I am well aware of your abilities young Prince and equally aware of your hunger and thirst. If you really are heir to the Great King, prove it. Command the sand and rock to be your food and drink. I enjoy a good magic show.”
Dov was sitting on the very rocks Serphentine intended to see turned into a banquet. He looked up from his humble position at the tall, dark, and exquisitely handsome noble standing over him.
“I live for the word of the Great King and only at his word will I break my fast, not yours.”
Serphentine expected some show of resistance at first, but didn’t believe the Prince, dressed in forty days of filth that flowed over his frail thin frame like a ragged blanket, could truly put up a fight.
“Behold!” Serphentine teleported the both of them to the High Castle on the highest hill of the Spectacular Capital City, hundreds of stories above the streets of the commoners.
“It is said that the true heir of the Great King will command his Flying Legions. Leap from the tallest tower of the High Castle and call to them to lift you up ere you plunge to your death.”
Dov, still seated and bent forward in the same pose he held when on the plains of Arideen, looked up at his ancient foe, this time with a faint smile on his face. Then he chuckled.
“Don’t you think this test is ridiculous? I have nothing to prove to you.”
Now becoming frustrated at Dov’s show of defiance, Serphentine activated his transporter once again and took the emaciated but undefeated Dov to the eternal night side of Pinnacle, from where the entire Stellar Empire in all its glory could be seen in a single panorama of breathtaking grandeur.
“You will rule all this one day Prince Dov, but why wait? You know what has to happen to you before you finally take the Throne. You are well aware of the prophecies that tell of your immense suffering between now and your final ascension.
“Behold young Dov! The Empire is magnificent. Deny your father the Great King and swear undying allegiance to me, for I have the power to give you all this at once, without you having to shed even a single drop of blood.”
Dov was not just hungry, he was starving. He could go for great lengths of time without food or water, but even he was nearly at the end of his endurance. He was dressed in rags and covered in filth. Worse than that, he knew Serphentine was right. If his father the Great King was to have his way, Dov would suffer and suffer horribly for an uncertain length of time until he was freed to assume the Throne over the Empire.
Young Prince Dov dreaded the days ahead. Oh, there would be glory too, he was great even now, though he hardly looked the part. Many would rally to his side in the good times and many would abandon him during the bad. He would have to be separated from his people in his sufferings and they would only have their faith in him and in the ancient prophecies that he would leave them in pain and blood and return in tremendous glory and power.
He knew that Serphentine did have the power to give him the Empire now. Together, they could overthrow the Great King, the Liege of the High Castle. Many of the things his father did were a mystery to Dov, even though Dov and the King were as one.
All he had to do was to follow the dark noble standing above him and he would be free of all that, free of the pain and suffering that would never have to occur. Dov could be King. But Dov would not be the Emperor. Dark Serphentine was reserving that title for himself. Dov would be the leader in the public light but Serphentine would rule from the shadows. Serphentine would ever be standing over Dov, which was never what the prophecies said nor what his father intended.
And worst of all, Serphentine would make slaves of all the common people in the Empire and Dov would have sworn to let him do it, all for the sake of escaping a little pain and blood.
“Leave me, you evil adversary! Begone! I serve none but the Great King and whatever he asks of me, it is right and just. Better I suffer for a little while than to let you make eternal slaves of all the people of the Empire!”
“Very well, you fool. You’ve earned your fate. If you think I’ll ever let one such as you ascend the Azure Throne, you are sadly mistaken.”
Then sensing the approach of the King’s Legions, Serphentine teleported away, to where, no one could say. And the King’s Legions ministered to young Prince Dov and cared for him. Today, he had proved himself worthy of one day becoming the Great King, and it would not be the last time.
Inspired by the Temptations of Messiah from Matthew 4:1-11.