Enddome

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After Shy Bear, with many affirmations by Inge, convinced Mark Lange that he really did know his daughter from years spent with her in the “spirit world” the attention turned from him to the girl. The waterproof backpack she wore was opened. The Scroll of Lael was removed and unrolled to reveal the Hebrew letters written thereupon.

“They taught me how to read this,” she revealed, and when Mark asked who “they” were she recited a bare outline of the Elohim, the B’nei Elohim, and the world of Barbelo. But both she and Shy Bear kept the explanations short, because one of the most important things they learned in the Academy was how to keep their mouths shut.

Although Inge and Shy Bear could teach all of the settlers many things, Mark Lange was a pastor and nothing more, so he was the one who taught from scripture. When Inge finished translating the scroll and it was bound into a volume with books, chapters, and verses, becoming a sort of sequel to the Bible called the Endomion, Mark would have much more scripture to teach from.

In the meantime Shy Bear, traveling with the pilgrims, discovered that three of his warriors had been killed by the Northern Raiders on the north bank of the river, and the People had come out to prepare their bodies. At the bidding of Pastor Mark, the pilgrims accompanied Shy Bear and the People as they bore the bodies to the summit of End Dome in honor, and a man from each family of the whites was permitted to help carry the three biers of alder branches.

On the summit, pastor Mark offered prayers in the usual Christian funeral service, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”, but instead of burning the bodies, Shy Bear used the Golden Gift to consume them entire.

And so it was that the whites were struck speechless by a display of the power of God made manifest. When Mark could find his voice again, he said, “This is a sign! God has brought us together, white man and red man alike, in this land of His choosing flowing with milk and honey. Here we will remain, red and white, each supporting and defending the other!”

The next morning there was a mass baptism of the People in the cold silty waters of the Green River, three times using total immersion, since they were from the Dunker tradition, and not sprinklers like the hell-bound Lutherans.

So a new faith movement was born, the End Dome Church, with a White Wing and a Red Wing, which in the words of the former Pastor (now Prophet) Mark Lange, “Two lungs by which the united People of the Creator draw new breath.” And the Golden Gift was at the heart of their devotion.

Shy Bear was made the Apostle of the Church, with the promise that he would be elevated to Prophet upon the death of Mark Lange. The doctrine of matrimonial consanguinity, or cousin-marriage, prevented any joining between the two sides, salving the settler’s horror at any potential race-mixing.

Later the rumor of gold was heard tell in the Green River Gorge, and the newly platted town of Franklin swelled with an influx of men hungry for the shiny yellow stuff. Most of the prospectors struck out, but some of these stayed behind in Franklin as fresh converts to the End Dome Church.

After the rail line went through connecting Issaquah to the territorial capital at Olympia, it was easy for cousins of the new converts to make their way west to new lives as wives of the former prospectors. When the Washington territory entered the Union as a state in 1889 the End Dome Church had grown large enough and influential enough to ensure the state government did not outlaw cousin-marriage for years to come.

Gradually the tabernacle on the summit of End Dome was expanded into the vast white wooden edifice of the End Dome Temple. When it was completed many secondary tabernacles had been established throughout the US and Europe, but all End Dome funerals still took place at the original site.

Chief Shy Bear died at age sixty-six from smoke inhalation in a poorly-prepared sweat lodge, with four other men losing their lives as well, a tragic sign that knowledge of the old ways was slowly being degraded and lost. He lay in state in the temple sanctuary for thirty days. Many Endomites scattered across the country journeyed by train and even by the new horseless carriages to pay their last respects.

Also attending the funeral were four Menkalese men who had come to Franklin by way of the Sacred Pool. They bore on staves what they claimed was the authentic Ark of the Covenant spoken of in the Hebrew scriptures, and they said to Prophet Mark that it was to be hidden under the altar of the temple, and that only the Prophet, the Apostle, and such deacons as they could trust were to know of its existence.

When Prophet Mark Lange committed the Chief’s body directly into the hands of God it was a sight that few but the oldest members present had ever seen, for the Church had grown beyond the dreams of her founders. And the Prophet named a young deacon from the Red Wing of the Church named Peter Two Feathers to become the new Apostle and replace Chief Shy Bear.

After the Great War broke out in Europe many End Dome tabernacles in France and the Low Countries were destroyed by stray shells, or even shelled deliberately perhaps. At the bidding of the Prophet, a special collection was taken up across the US to bring succor in the wartime mission field.

With these funds in hand, Prophet Lange boarded the steam liner Reina Regenta in Seattle with about a quarter-million dollars in gold bullion to aid the faithful in those nations torn by the conflict. The war was the first truly industrial war in the history of the Earth, raging across much of the world, and it resembled in many ways the Techno War that had broken out on Barbelo some number of years before.

Survivors of the voyage of Reina Regenta through the Panama Canal and across the Atlantic told of the divine patience of Prophet Lange as he was dogged day and night by a Seattle newspaper reporter on board named Rupert Keller, who obviously had a beef with the End Dome “cult”.

When the ship was in the frigid waters almost precisely in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, far from any help, she took two torpedoes from a German U-boat. Reina Regenta listed sharply to the side, drowning half of her lifeboats. Frantically, the lifeboats on her port side were laden with passengers and released but there were not enough of these for everyone and no chance of raising the floundering ones on the starboard side.

Women and children went first, and then old men were allowed to board. The elderly Mark Lange was placed in the last lifeboat, but before it was lowered to the sea he spied a despairing Rupert Keller standing on the deck of the doomed ship. The Prophet bounded out of his place and offered his seat to the reporter. “Happy birthday, son,” he said with a gentle smile.

Lange was not without fear, for all living things fear death as part of their natural defense mechanism, but he was encouraged by his memories of the Golden Gift and the Ark of the Covenant, physical evidence of the existence of God which he had been so fortunate to witness. It was a God whose only Son had actually spoken to Inge and Shy Bear face to face, not merely in prayer. And Mark spread his encouragement around to the rest of the doomed passengers. In this way he made their passing a little bit easier.

There was just enough time for the last lifeboat to get away before the ship rolled completely over and took everyone aboard down to the uncharted depths of the Atlantic ocean.

The Prophet’s kind gesture was totally wasted on Keller. He proceeded to give a newspaper account of the disaster which included the Prophet kicking little girls off a lifeboat to make room for his gold bullion, resulting in the sinking of the lifeboat, the death of Lange, and the death of everyone with him. Indeed, Keller said the presence of the gold was the reason the ship was torpedoed by the Central Powers in the first place, lest it aid the cause of the Triple Entente. Only a handful of survivors brought the true tale to the Church elders in Franklin, but that was to no avail.

Keller’s widely published lies did their damage to the popular imagination of the American people. Many former supporters soured on the religion, and the growth of the End Dome Church slowed to a crawl. Shortly after that, by popular referendum, the state of Washington banned marriages between first cousins and the first serious persecution of Endomites began.

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