There was once a world similar to our own yet different in many ways. In this world there were no independent nations, only one great kingdom named Affabel. Though this kingdom spanned the entire known world, it had a single capital city from which all leadership was administered. It was called The Great City of Affabel.

This enchanted city was presided over by a remarkable king named Jalyn. King Jalyn was adored and greatly admired by his subjects. He exuded a depth of love that seemed inexhaustible. He was strong and wise, yet at the same time was kind and possessed a great sense of humor. Though his manner was regal, Jalyn was also personable. To be with him was to find oneself encompassed in an atmosphere of goodness. His presence raised every aspect of life to a higher level. His vision and foresight were astounding, and he had an uncanny ability to see beyond the actions of people into the motives of their hearts.

Jalyn’s father, who founded Affabel, was known as the Founding King Father. Once order had been established, he turned all leadership of the kingdom over to his son. The residents of the great city helped administrate the rule of Jalyn in the outlying territories of the kingdom. This was accomplished through a hierarchical system of authority and leadership in the ruling city.

The city was enormous, with a landmass of approximately two hundred square miles. It was so well planned that even though it was densely populated, it never felt overcrowded. It was a composite of suburbs, town residences, and villas. Located in the flatlands, which lay toward the western end of Affabel, were the modest homes of the laborers. (Their modest homes would be considered extravagant in our world.) Even though their jobs were labor intensive, these residents were thankful just to inhabit the king’s city.

The mountainous terrains of the northern and southern borders were home to the artisans. These were the ones skilled in the creative arts of music, writing, artwork, and design. These homes had beautiful vistas and were more expansive than those of the laborers. The most inviting section of the city was the eastern district, which contained an abundance of beautiful villas. This area was known as the Regal Center. This large neighborhood is where the king resided and spent most of his time. It was also home to those who worked closest to the king; here his administration and co-leaders socialized and worked together.

The Regal Center was poised like a jewel on a cliff overlooking the shores of the Great Sea. A constant gentle breeze blew up from the azure ocean and refreshed the city. These waters were fringed by the most pristine white beaches, which were surpassed in beauty only by the royal gardens. The gardens wove throughout the Regal Center, adding color and vibrancy at every turn. This was without doubt the most desirable place of residency in Affabel. Each home was exceeded in elegance only by the king’s royal palace.

In the midst of Affabel stood the tree of life. Only the king’s subjects were privileged to partake of its wondrous fruit. The fruit was not merely delicious and lovely to behold; it also had within its fragrant flesh the power of the miraculous.

To the west of Affabel’s flatlands lay the Outer Wilderness, which stretched for almost sixty miles to the Great River Adonga. Once you crossed the Adonga, you would find yourself in another part of the kingdom, which was called Endel. At birth, the children of the citizens of Affabel were brought immediately to the province of Endel. Before their first week had passed, they were entrusted to the care of the king’s nurses.

Once these young citizens—or Endelites—were five years of age, they were brought to the School of Endel where they received training for a period of ten years. There they learned the ways of Affabel and of the great King Jalyn.

Only the king’s nurses and the teachers had enjoyed the opportunity to meet Jalyn. Every five years or so, he would visit Endel in secret to share his heart for the school and the children. He never made his presence known to all, but even so, his goodness was evident in every aspect of Endel.

The ten years in the School of Endel were to prepare students for the life ahead of them. At the age of fifteen, they would have a short season to apply all they had been taught. In this span of time they would be entrusted with portions of wealth and responsibility. How they stewarded their young lives and resources determined how and where they would spend the rest of their lives, which in their world totaled one hundred and fifty years. Though the season of testing was exactly five years, none of the students were aware of its duration. All they were told was it would not exceed ten years. At the end of this time, each would appear before the king to give account of their life choices.

This span of testing determined the students’ allegiances. Those who followed the ordinances of Jalyn with their words and actions acknowledged his leadership. They were admitted as residents of Affabel. Their choices secured rewards for them accordingly.

If, however, the students rebelled and lived only for themselves during the season of testing, they were exiled to the land of Lone. Lone was a desert land of utter darkness where loneliness and hopelessness reigned.

There the rebellious ones suffered torment and imprisonment for the duration of their lives. The first person banished to this desolation was Dagon, who became the founding dark lord of Lone. Though he had rebelled against Jalyn many years before, his influence lingered in the land of Endel. Inhabitants of Endel who acknowledged Jalyn’s lordship broke free of the dark power of Dagon. However, those who refused to serve Jalyn remained under this fallen lord’s sway.

To isolate any further infiltration of darkness in his kingdom, the great King Jalyn was compelled to establish a decree to protect both the integrity and the social infrastructure of Affabel. All who followed in the way of Dagon and refused to acknowledge Jalyn as king by word and action would be banished for the remainder of their lives to the land of Lone.

So begins our story. We will follow the lives of five students of Endel. Their names are as follows: Independent, Deceived, Faint Heart, Selfish, and Charity.

This is a segment of Affabel—a part of Driven by Eternity. To read more or listen to the full story, get the book and audio theater for a special price here.