Draft63

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CHAPTER 63

Elam and Gabriel and Remiel stood alone in the camp of the Remnant as the third hour past noon arrived. The warriors riding with Belphegor arrived at the camp of the Remnant as Chokhmah had foreseen, with both yeng and beast arrayed for battle under heavy layers of black leather and polished brass.

Belphegor was at once heartened that only three withstood hym, but also dismayed that hy could not see the Ark of the Covenant sitting upon the pillars of stone as it was when hy saw it last under the eaves of the Wall of God. One of the three, a nephil, hailed hym by name.

Gabriel went on to say, "I regret we must receive you with caution, not the adoration that is due to one of the Holy Ones, but you come against these refugees girded for war. After the death of their high priest Chokhmah placed them under B'nei Elohim protection."

"I am not come against this rabble," Belphegor said, "only the relic they carry about with them."

"If you mean the Ark, Lord, and the tablet contained within, these are the artifacts bound up with a covenant between Chokhmah and Keter, and they have nothing to do with you."

"Nevertheless," replied Belphegor, "I will take the relic, and whether these people live depends entirely on how difficult they make it for me."

"My Lord, as I said, Chokhmah has placed this group under the protec- tion of his Extraordinary Force. I beg you to reconsider."

Belphegor replied with a furious shout and the pikes hy and hyz yeng bore, each twice the height of even the tallest yang, went from the vertical to the horizontal and were braced against fittings on their saddles to distribute the impact. They charged the Tent of Meeting.

Elam, Gabriel, and Remiel dove out of the way as four of the pikes caught the coverings of the tent and lifted them away to reveal that nothing was inside. Gabriel sounded hez horn in the call for the men of the Remnant to emerge from their own tents and answer the assault.

Eisheth from Zuben Well tried to ram the sharpened point of hyz pike into Elam's midsection but Remiel made the tip to bend until it snapped off into a blunt splintered end. Elam was only knocked to the ground, and Eisheth was left holding a long cane of little heft or use. Then Eisheth cast away the ruined pike and drew hyz blade to en- gage Gabriel, striking down at hem from horseback.

Belphegor and Malphas rode forward and used their pikes to uncover the Tent of Meeting by casting away the curtain and skins, but the Ark was not seen.

Zethan, Rimon, and Asher fired their arrows simultaneously. With hyz talent as a B'nei Elohim, and standing well away from them, Remiel took one of the arrows, it didn't matter which, and accelerated it into the face of a yang named Morax. Hy fell from hyz horse.

Zagan came to the aid of Eisheth, raising hyz pike to skewer Gabriel, as hy deemed the nephil to be the leader of the humans. But hy took an arrow under hyz raised arm from Jabez and was unhorsed. Josiah drew his blade across Zagan's neck under hyz chin and hy bled out.

Many stones were in the air striking the protected flanks of the horses and yeng, but one thrown by Abner was guided by Remiel into the eye of the steed ridden by Onoskelis. In pain the horse collided with Eisheth's mount and both yeng were whisked unwilling from the field.

Jemuel's tent was overturned in another failed attempt to find the Ark. There were eleven remaining and the nest of hornets was quite furious now. Belphegor still had no inkling that Remiel was guiding projectiles at hym with a tiny fold-door temporarily under hyz con- trol.

Orobas braced hyz pike against hyz saddle. Hy was so intent on skewer- ing Abner that hy was caught off-guard when the pole seemed to slide forward on its own power out of hyz hands and into the air, missing Abner by inches. Hy withdrew hyz sword to defend hymself.

Belphegor guessed the Laelites must have hidden the Ark in their most homely tent in a clever play of operational deception. Hy and Malphas assailed Asher's tent with their pikes but came up with nothing. The air in the clearing grew thicker with arrows and stones.

A rock hurled by Tobiah was guided by Remiel into the face of Danjal, a mercenary from Eniph, striking with enough force to make him uncon- scious. Hy fell at the feet of Josiah, who let out hyz life's blood. With three dead and two missing Belphegor had enough.

The thong of a stickywhip curled around the legs of Elam, the human Belphegor had seen standing outside the Tent of Meeting with the B'nei Elohim. The whip adhered to itself. Elam was dragged behind Belphe- gor's horse as his tormentor bent the handle around hyz saddlehorn.

Malphas signaled with a banner and the five yeng began to ride east. Another stickywhip wrapped around Elam and he was lifted from the ground suspended between the horses of Belphegor and Orobas. The men of the Remnant began to run after them to save their chieftain.

Gabriel sounded hez horn to capture their attention and shouted, "Hold! You'll never catch them and we must protect the Ark of God!"

The Laelites realized che was right and broke off their chase. Remiel ordered the men to remove the covers of Elam's tent from the holy rel- ic.

Gabriel said to them, "Your enemy has sought cover in the trees along the border of Shaula Wood. Your arrows will be of little use there. I counsel that your archers bear the Ark north and west deep into the Wood on the track of your women and animals. God himself will show you the way with the Director."

This sounded good to Jemuel, so he ordered Zethan, Jabez, Rimon, and Asher to carry the Ark with the two staves which fit through the rings on the corners. The four men obeyed at once, not questioning that Lael's second son was their natural leader in the absence of Elam.

"But what of my brother Elam?" asked Rosh.

"Belphegor will not kill him right away," Gabriel replied. "though Elam might, perhaps, come to wish he would. We will remedy that short- ly. Belphegor greatly errs if hy thinks hy can beat anything useful out of Elam."

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