Sheridan had given his life to recovering ancient artifacts and manuscripts of sacred music. In the service of the Vatican, he had the privilege of sharing many of these discoveries with the world. No moment in his life felt more complete than when conducting a great choir and full orchestra, standing awash in beautiful music penned by the hands of men and played for the ears of God. His search for the rare antiquities of sacred music had taken Sheridan all around the world. All too often he found himself in desperate circumstances, clinging to a remnant of priceless music or carefully coddling an ancient instrument. In those adventurous days of his youth, Sheridan considered no risk too great and no course too dangerous in his efforts to uncover the forgotten music of an increasingly forgotten God.
Ultimately, his reckless abandon in seeking to discover the original source of all sacred music led to Sheridan’s undoing. According to a well-established tenet of Christian theology, Lucifer was not only the greatest of the archangels, he was also heaven’s chief musician. So it came as no surprise to Sheridan when he stumbled upon ancient manuscripts revealing that Lucifer had once possessed a music baton with which he had directed the chorus of heaven. These manuscripts explained that when Lucifer was cast from heaven, his baton fell to earth. After being lost for a thousand years, the baton suddenly appeared in the city of Shambhala. There the Baton of Lucifer became the Baton of Shambhala, and the green stone, set within its golden prongs became known as the Chintamani Stone.
For as long as its torch of azure light illuminated the city of Shambhala from high atop the King’s Tower, peace and prosperity endured over all the earth. But the stone’s magical allure proved an irresistible draw to those who sought to possess it for their own evil designs. So the guardians of the stone, in their unselfish wisdom, devised a plan to prevent such power from ever being in the hands of a single man. They split the stone into three pieces. Then each supernatural fragment was secretly placed in the trusted hands of a great warrior and carried to the far reaches of the earth.
The price of sacrifice was high for the kingdom of Shambhala. With the Baton of Shambhala no longer imbued with the mystical stone’s power, the ills of life once held at bay suddenly began to eat away at Shambhala’s cocoon of hidden paradise. The city’s hardy citizens held onto life for ten languishing years before the Angel of Death finally claimed the city with an undiscriminating scourge of disease.
In the ensuing centuries, the Chintamani stones became a hidden force behind the great events and powerful men of history. At times they served the good of mankind. Indeed, it was a Chintamani stone in the hands of King Solomon that provided the world with a wealth of wisdom. But more often, throughout the ages, the stones became a source of unstoppable power in the hands of such brutal empire builders as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Akbar the Great.
From time to time, one would find reports hidden in the footnotes of history or hear rumors whispered in the most privileged of inner circles, telling of the Chintamani Stone’s occasional fleeting reappearance. But eventually the Chintamani Stone’s impact on the events of mankind began to fade until their once-recognized contributions to the chronicles of history became attributed to nothing more than the elaborate exaggeration of ancient legend.
For more than a century no more had been heard of the elusive kingdom of Shambhala or the fabled Chintamani stones. That is until Sheridan wrote of his discovery in Baton of Shambhala: Source of the Lost Music of Heaven. As with many enlightened writings over the ages, the church considered the book such a threat that they quietly blocked it from publication. Then, amid calls for his excommunication, Sheridan was summarily fired from his job as the Vatican’s music curator. His invaluable contributions to the Vatican’s Music Library proved insufficient recompense for his unforgivable sin of heresy. Just as The Inquisition put Galileo under house arrest for his discovery that the earth was not the center of the universe, Sheridan’s discovery proved to be his ruin. He thought the connection he found between the Baton of Shambhala and the music of heaven would be his greatest achievement. But instead it marked the beginning of his long dark night.
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