Welcome to the Middle Ground…
What is your desire?
The heat of the night is unforgiving, as always. The desert floor glows ghostly white in the glory of the planet’s silent sister high above. Deep cracks vein the parched earth, ashy gray, the color of a dying man’s face. Nothing grows here, not so much as a cactus. Nothing hunts or howls in the night, nothing. The fuzzy blur of the horizon in all directions offers no hope of escape. The only thing remotely pleasant is the faint aroma of creosote and sage carried on the wasteland’s arid breath.
This desert is a vast sea of nothing with a single point of interest. A clustering of enormous black tents floats in the distance, like lifeboats on a dead ocean. Together, they find companionship against the foreboding backdrop, offering their version of hope on this desolate corner of the Earth.
Fire pits made of bronze cauldrons, sitting on tripod bases, mark a path that beckons toward the largest tent. Just outside the entryway wafts smoky air that escapes from within, pleasantly spiced with the rich, sharp tones of tobacco and incense. The interior is too dimly lit by the guttering flames of free-standing torchieres to realize its entire cavernous expanse. Comfortable, overstuffed chairs and couches are casually placed, offering small groups privacy.
Within, a towering, slender man greets the arriving pilgrims. A top hat adorns the lengthy, dark curls framing his narrow face and small, round sunglasses. His mouth offers an eerie, yet friendly smile, framed by an encircling goatee. He wears a long-tailed coat with a blood-red vest over a black, frilled shirt. When he speaks, he makes grand, courtly gestures and offers endless courtesy. He ensures his guests find comfortable seating and served a beverage of their choice. Introducing new visitors to his waiting associates, they move through doorways to attached smaller tents for more private conversation.
Peals of laughter from beautiful people fill the air, and glasses are clinking together in agreement as the night goes on. Indeed, this is a wonderful place where connections are made, friendships forged, and lives forever changed.
This is what human eyes would see. This is all the mortal mind would apprehend. However, this tale is viewed through the immortal eyes and understanding of angels, demons, and one lone nephilim.
Now, welcome to the Middle Ground.