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1 CHY: In the middle of the clearing between the thirteen tents of the Remnant a fold-door appeared, bend- ing light in the way that made them appear to be a perfect sphere of crystal. Two tall figures were seen within, and they remained even as the fold-door itself ceased to ex- ist.

2 CHZ: The men of the Remnant had never allowed their vigilance to lapse in the slightest amount since the attack that cost the life of Lael. Jabez and Rimon let fly with arrows, but these were a clean miss. Zethan fired one of his own, and it too missed, but he saw why it was so.

3 CIA: Zethan's arrow had flown true, but in the instant before it struck the taller of the two strang- ers it was knocked aside as though by an invisible hand. The less tall- er stranger, the nephil, said in halting Hebrew, 'Hold! We are come in the name of the God of your fa- thers!'

4 CIB: The archers ceased firing and the people gathered more closely around the two strangers. Both were swart like the Adanites, yet one was a nephil, a rarity in the House of Gerash. Che stood a head taller than the Laelites and had no beard. To the women che looked to be a boy.

5 CIC: The men of the Remnant noted the hips of the nephil were a bit too wide for a young man, and che had small breasts under hez strange raiment. Che looked to them to be a young woman, rather, but with hair cropped short. It was said the ne- philim never needed to cut their hair.

6 CID: The other stranger was a beardless angel who nevertheless appeared to be older than hyz nephil companion, though he might in truth have been a decade younger. 'I am Remiel,' said hy. 'I am come with my kinsjen Gabriel to bear aid to the refugees gathered by Lael of Adjara.'

7 CIE: 'Lael my father is dead,' answered Rosh, 'yet we have read what he has written in the White Scroll of Leliel, how a servant of God named Gabriel Shybear made the will of God known to him in Adjara to gather a remnant of the fallen kingdom of Judah and travel to this place.'

8 CIF: 'I am che who met Lael,' said Gabriel, and the people of the Rem- nant thought it would be impossible to say if hez voice was that of a man or a woman. When Gabriel spoke it was after a lengthy pause, as though che listened to an inner voice and only repeated what che heard.

9 CIG: 'I am the eldest son of Lael,' said Elam, lest the newcomers think Rosh spoke for them. 'Whereso- ever the Ark of God itself would have us go, we do go, yet in all other matters I lead the Remnant.' 'And that is well,' answered Remiel. 'If you would have us depart, so be it.'

10 CIH: 'But the death of your fa- ther Lael is hateful to our God and your God. We have been charged to thwart a force of angels led by Daat himself in the flesh, the seraph Belphegor, who would seize the Tab- let of Abraham's Covenant after hyz lackeys have already tried and failed.'

11 CII: 'God would have willing servants,' said Gabriel, 'not un- willing thralls. But God also knows that in the ninth hour of this very day you will be assailed. Look to the B'nei Elohim as your chieftains for a short time, and we swear the people of the Remnant will be pre- served.'

12 CIJ: Elam's impulse was to reject the aid of the B'nei Elohim and rely on his own strength, but again he saw how his followers would take it to be a great impiety, so he was constrained. 'Let it be as you have said,' he allowed, 'and God grant that it is for a short time indeed.'

13 CIK: Gabriel was sufficiently pleased with that answer that che broke out into a smile and reached into hez pack for a small leather pouch. Che said, 'In the other world, they call me The Magician.' Che inverted the pouch to show there was nothing inside, then restored it again.

14 CIL: Then Gabriel reached inside hez little leather pouch and with- drew a small loaf of warm bread. Che split it open and offered it to Remiel, who had seated hymzelf on the ground. Remiel applied a dash of butter to the bread with a knife, and gave it to the first willing hand.

15 CIM: The Laelites were delighted by the miracle. Gabriel and Remiel repeated the 'sign' until everyone had eaten their fill. They were all tired of the fare of salted cuts of lamb they had eaten as they had skirted for many leagues north under the precipice of the Wall of God.

16 CIN: When all the people had eat- en Remiel put away the butter and his knife. Hy stood up, and catching the eye of Elam, asked, 'Where is the Ark of the Covenant?' Hyz eye followed the line formed by Elam's outstretched arm to the most beauti- ful and elaborate tent of the Rem- nant.

17 CIP: Remiel and Gabriel saw it was twice as large as any of the other tents of the people, with cur- tains of fine linen overlaid with multicolored animal pelts, walls of fine wood with many gold and brass accoutrements, and even a jewel- adorned wooden table set up at the entrance.

18 CIQ: Gabriel said, 'God did not command you to make such a tent for the Ark, nor did such even enter his thoughts.' 'Do we in truth serve the same God?' Elam asked hem. 'The God of our fathers is a holy God. What is more holy than the tablet made by the very hand of our God?'

19 CIR: 'Yes, our God is holy. Holy means entirely other. Our God is a living God, yet his life is wholly different than our life. Do you think God has forgotten this, and you must remind him with an elabo- rate tent for what is little more than a document commemorating a covenant?'

20 CIS: Elam grew visibly angry. 'What you call little more than a document is how God converses with our high priest, and it seemed good to our forefathers to carry the Tab- let of the Covenant in an Ark cov- ered in gold rather than a saddle- bag, and they also built a Tent of Meeting.'

21 CIT: 'And that tent became a tem- ple of stone after time, which raised the Tablet by degrees into itself a kind of god. Daat, too, thinks this way, and when Belphegor comes to this camp looking for the Ark you will have made hyz problem much smaller to keep it inside such a tent.'

22 CIU: 'Hide the Ark, then, in one of your own tents, that Belphegor must search each one in turn, and that under fire.' Elam knew he must comply or be held faithless. He said to his brother Rosh, 'Move the Ark and the table to my own tent, and my goods to the Tent of Meeting.'

23 CIV: After the people aided Rosh in carrying out the new commandment of their chieftain to move the Ark of God into Elam's tent, Remiel said, 'I see that some of the women among you are with child. Send all of the women into Shaula Wood with your flocks. They shall not fight.'

24 CIW: In the noon hour the women of the Remnant gathered their live- stock and made ready to drive the animals into the forest, but they lingered, perhaps, more than to the liking of Remiel and Gabriel, since neither they nor their men knew the nature of the enemy that was coming.

25 CIX: Gabriel told Sariah, the widow of Lael, 'Go under God's pro- tection, and take the flocks by whatever paths you may find in the forest, and do not turn about. Pause only when it is dark or when you are come again to the other side of Shaula Wood, where the men will await you.'

26 CIY: When their wives had depart- ed, and even the sounds of the ani- mals trodding through the forest could no longer be heard, the men who had been left behind were in- structed by Gabriel. 'Your foe num- bers eight mounted yeng of Haaretz led by Belphegor and hyz lieutenant, Malphas.'

27 CIZ: Elam made a noise of deri- sion. 'We slew seven Brown Beards on the face of the Wall of God, and that without any warning of their attack.' 'It was a valiant deed, but you lost your father in that fight. God has laid upon me that not one man or woman of you more should die.'

28 CJA: 'These are eight pikeyeng,' Remiel added. 'Your swords will be of no avail until they are unhorsed. And Gabriel did not number Belphegor and Malphas with the eight, as they are from Magodon and not the Saiph League. So the ones who will come against you number ten in all.'

29 CJB: 'When last enemies came seeking the Ark,' said Jemuel, 'they learned we have archers among the Remnant,' said Jemuel. 'These yeng and the horses they ride are well protected from your darts,' replied Gabriel. Can your archers hit the open face of a foe at full gallop?'

30 CJC When Jemuel could not answer, an arrow flew from the quiver of Ze- than to Remiel's hand. Hy said, 'God did not send the B'nei Elohim merely to pull forty loaves from a small pouch. There is no cause for de- spair, but tell me, how many bows are found among the whole Remnant?'

31 CJD: This Jemuel could answer. 'There would be found among the men who followed Lael four bows of good make, and two others.' When he saw astonishment on the face of both Gabriel and Remiel he went on to say, 'Mark you, there are only four among us who are skilled in the bow.'

32 CJE: 'This will not be a problem,' said Remiel, yet hyz face said otherwise. 'The important thing is to get your darts in the air and flying toward the enemy, and I will take it from there. Give the two bows that are less good, therefore, to men of you who bear only swords.'

33 CJF: 'Alas!' said Zethon, one of the archers of the Remnant, with his hand against his face. 'The problem is not the bows, but the arrows. We had cast some of our fallen enemies over a precipice, whether living or dead, without removing the shots we had fired from their flesh.'

34 CJG: 'Do not be afraid,' said Gabriel. 'Bring to me every arrow possessed by the men of the Remnant.' Then Gabriel reached into hez little leather bag, with a dif- ferent hand this time, and withdrew another small loaf of bread, as warm as the others had been, for Tobiah to eat.

35 CJH: What che did was considered to be supernatural magic by the men of Haaretz, but Gabriel knew the secret of it. Che knew it was en- tirely natural, as all things must needs be. The bag was only to con- ceal the way hez hand seemed to dis- appear, which could disturb some watchers.

36 CJI: Jabez returned to Gabriel with a bundle of arrows. 'We have sixteen, no more,' he said, 'some are good, and some are hardly fit to be used. Our hope when we reached this forest was to make more, but now you say there is no time.' Ga- briel received the arrows to inspect them.

37 CJJ: Remiel looked over hez shoulder to help examine them. 'Get rid of the ones with black feathers at a minimum, Cousin Gabe. I can't do much with those.' Gabriel re- plied, 'I don't like this pair ei- ther, Cousin Remy.' Discarding all those, che had but eleven acceptable arrows.'

38 CJK: Then Gabriel put the bundle of eleven arrows into hez little pouch of skin, which seemed far too small to accept them, to the wonder of the same men who had recently eaten their fill of bread from the same pouch. Che reached in with another hand and pulled them out again.

39 CJL: This che did again two more times, until he had three identical bundles of eleven arrows each, which che gave to Jabez. And Gabriel said to him, 'Who are the three other men among you skilled with the bow?' Zethan, Rimon, and Asher came for- ward and were similarly equipped.

40 CJM: Then Gabriel said to Elam, 'As the chieftain of these men you must choose which two shall lay aside their swords and take up the bow instead for the fight that will soon overtake you.' Elam named his brothers Rosh and Jemuel. Gabriel gave them the three and thirty ar- rows.

41 CJN: Remiel said, 'When the sig- nal is given to fight, the archers must fire their arrows at the foe as quickly as possible, without delay- ing overmuch to take aim. The rest of you must hurl stones at them as you can. I counsel collecting piles of stones outside your tents now.'

42 CJO: Rosh asked, 'What then shall be your signal to fight?' 'Three blasts of my horn,' said Gabriel. You must all be waiting inside your tents before the ninth hour.' Young Asher's hand reached out to squeeze the black rubber bulb of Gabriel's horn, but che said, 'Don't.'

43 CJP: 'I for one will not skulk inside my tent,' said Elam. 'I will meet these horseyeng on my feet with a sword in my hand.' 'That is well,' said Remiel. 'Both Gabriel and my- self shall stand with you. Belphegor is one of the Holy Ones and custom demands a suitable reception.'

44 CJQ: So Elam and Gabriel and Remiel stood as the third hour past noon arrived. The warriors riding with Belphegor arrived at the camp of the Remnant even as Chokhmah had foreseen, with both yeng and beast arrayed for battle under heavy lay- ers of black leather and polished brass.

45 CJR: Belphegor was at once heart- ened 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.

46 CJS: Gabriel went on to say, 'I regret we must receive you with cau- tion, 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 the protection of the B'nei Elohim.'

47 CJT: '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 cove- nant between Chokhmah and Keter, and they have nothing to do with you.'

48 CJU: 'Nevertheless,' replied Bel- phegor, 'I will take the relics, 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 protection of his Extraordinary Force. I beg you to reconsider.'

49 CJV: 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 im- pact. They charged the Tent of Meet- ing.

50 CJW: 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 as- sault.

51 CJX: 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.

52 CJY: Then Eisheth cast away the ruined pike and drew hyz blade to engage Gabriel, striking down at hem from horseback. Belphegor and Mal- phas rode forward and used their pikes to uncover the Tent of Meeting by casting away the curtain and skins, but the Ark of God was not seen.

53 CJZ: 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 from Tot- uro named Morax. Hy fell from hyz horse.

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

55 CKB: 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 Onoske- lis. In pain the horse collided with Eisheth's mount and both yeng were whisked unwilling from the field.

56 CKC: 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 pro- jectiles at hym with a tiny fold- door temporarily under hyz control.

57 CKD: Orobas braced hyz pike against hyz saddle. Hy was so intent on skewering Abner that hy was com- pletely 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 hym- self.

58 CKE: Belphegor guessed the Lael- ites 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 again came up with nothing. The air in the clear- ing grew thicker with arrows and stones.

59 CKF: 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 unconscious. Hy fell off hyz mount at the feet of Josiah, who let out hyz life's blood. With three dead and two missing Belphegor had enough.

60 CKG: 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 and Elam was dragged behind Belphegor's horse as his tormentor bent the handle around hyz saddle- horn.

61 CKH: Malphas signaled with a ban- ner 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 af- ter them to save their chieftain.

62 CKI: 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 or- dered the men to remove the covers of Elam's tent from the holy relic.

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

64 CKK: 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.

65 CKL: 'But what of my brother Elam?' asked Rosh. 'Belphegor will not kill him right away,' Gabriel replied. 'though Elam might, per- haps, come to wish he would. But we will remedy that shortly. Belphegor is greatly mistaken if hy thinks hy can beat anything useful out of Elam.'

66 CKM: Then Gabriel and Remiel led the Remnant through Shaula Wood, forming a fence of men lest Belphe- gor's force doubled back to assail the Laelites carrying the Ark. Rosh stated his fear they would go astray in the thick forest and find they had somehow overshot Belphegor's yeng.

67 CKN: Gabriel replied, 'Your God and mine has charged both myself and Remiel that not another man or woman gathered by Lael should die at the hands of Belphegor, nor to die at the hands of one of hyz thralls. And have you not seen the hand of God in all that has happened today?'

68 CKO: 'Orobas, Surgat and Ukobach are all in place, Lord Belphegor,' Malphas told hym after having seen to their disposition hymself. 'They will raise the alarm at the first sign of the humans.' 'And Onoskelis and Eisheth? Have they returned?' Malphas replied in the negative.'

69 CKP: 'If you encounter those two yeng again, Malphas, I trust they will meet an interesting end?' 'Yeng of the Saiph League can be perfid- ious, Lord,' said hy, 'but their demise shall certainly teach other would-be hirelings with a sword what they must reap by such incompetence.'

70 CKQ: Belphegor turned hyz atten- tion to the interesting thing hy had going on hymself. Elam was suspended from a tree, with the frayed ends of two ropes twisted around the base of his thumbs. There was no hope of slipping out, as his thumbs had be- come two bloated purple bulbs.

71 CKR: Elam had never felt agony remotely like it before. His back and legs were lashed to a straight log, and this log and all his body weight was suspended by two slender points. He already told Belphegor the Ark was in his tent, and had described his tent to the finest detail.

72 CKS: Belphegor said, 'That is no help to me. Your brothers must have moved the Ark by now. I need to know where it is going so I can arrange a suitable greeting' Elam desperately tried to explain how there was no telling where the Ark went but he couldn't put the words together.

73 CKT: Belphegor raised an eyebrow. 'You are a strong man, Elam, but your suffering must be at the limit of your endurance. I assure you this torment can be pushed far beyond your endurance, yet endure it you must.' Hy displayed a stone carried in something like a cradle of rope.

74 CKU: The stone seemed to focus the mind of Elam. He said, 'There's an image on the turns of itself...God steers the Ark...' Bel- phegor thought about that. Yes, Chokhmah might have done such a thing to protect the tablet. Good, it took at least four Laelites out of play.'

75 CKV: It was time to bring things to a head, Belphegor thought. Hy draped the stone and its net of rope around a stubby branch on the log strapped to Elam's back and the ad- ded weight pulled one of the man's thumbs out of its socket, then another. Elam began to scream con- tinuously.

76 CKW: Elam's screams steered the men of the Remnant through Shaula Wood to the place where he was being tormented and they ran into Belphe- gor's picket of yeng. Their shouts of warning went unheard by reason of the noise made by Elam. Remiel used hyz talent to shred their cloaks.

77 CKX: A wad of cloak wound up in Ukobach's mouth. Surgat and Orobas found sections of their cloaks wrap- ping around their heads to both make them blind and stifle any further cries. This was utterly beyond their experience and effectively sliced the three of them from the fight.

78 CKY: 'There is no cause to slay these three yeng,' said Remiel. 'You can release them later, one at a time. Let them make their way home to the Saiph League, where their tongues may wag. It will be a gener- ation, I think, before any come against the Remnant gathered by Lael.'

79 CKZ: Gabriel left Abner, Asa, Josiah and Tobiah to bind the three yeng under guard and take them west toward their camp. Only Rosh and Jemuel remained with Gabriel and Remiel to advance on their enemy. Elam's every anguished scream weighed heavily on the heart of his brothers.

80 CLA: They were all relieved to find only Belphegor and Malphas with Elam. Even Gabriel expected two more. Cut the man down!' hy said in the old Semitic little changed in Heaven which men from Earth under- stood no longer. Belphegor hefted hyz blade and replied, 'As you wish.'

81 CLB: Rosh saw that Belphegor was about to pierce Elam rather than cut him free, so he loosed an arrow at hyz back, center of mass. The range was so short he could not avoid striking a vital organ, but this didn't suit Remiel, who bent the arrow higher, toward a shoulder blade.

82 CLC: Belphegor was not mortally wounded but in hyz shock and pain hy released hyz blade and fell to the forest floor. Malphas moved closer to hyz lord, shifting the line of hyz own blade between Gabriel and Remiel. Hy said, 'Servants of Chokh- mah and Binah you name yourself.'

83 CLD: Malphas went on to say some- thing about the B'nei Elohim hiding behind the humans they claimed they had come to protect, the usual gar- bage to make either Gabriel or Remi- el angry enough to fight. Gabriel wasn't having any and frankly che could barely hear hym over the screams.

84 CLE: Gabriel could feel Remiel's power tugging on his sword, so it was just a matter of letting go and watching it bury itself into the chest of Malphas with no fanfare. Belphegor saw it. 'Disappointed?' Gabriel asked. 'The point is to get Elam down from that tree, not jerk off.'

85 CLF: Jemuel and Rosh advanced beyond Malphas' dying body to cut their elder brother from the tree. As they did they grew sickened by how the weight of the stone and the log and Elam's own weight, plus the swelling induced by the torment, had deformed his hand, possibly for life.

86 CLG: Remiel knelt over Belphegor and held the arrow where it entered hyz back rock-steady with hyz talent while he bent the shaft with hyz hand. Belphegor was not suffering pain from the wound anymore. Hy shared the same internal remedy for unnecessary pain as any B'nei Elo- him.

87 CLH: Remiel and Gabriel gently rolled Belphegor until hy was face up, then helped hym to sit up. 'For- give the touch, Lord Belphegor,' said Gabriel. 'It pains B'nei Elohim to see a seraph in such straits, no matter what unfortunate disagree- ments might exist between we and you.'

88 CLI: Remiel dropped to hyz knees to put hyz eyes on something of a level with those of Belphegor. Hy said, 'Your mistake, if you will forgive the presumption, Lord, is that you do not think Chokhmah to be warlike. But the B'nei Elohim are Chokhmah's answer to the Eyes of Keter.'

89 CLJ: When Elam was free of his bonds he gave a shout of rage and pawed at the blade sticking out of the corpse of Malphas with useless hands. 'I'll kill hym! Look what hy did to me!' 'Hy is of the seraphim,' said Gabriel. 'You will get on your knees even as you see we have done.'

90 CLK: Elam saw Rosh with a bow and said, 'You swore to obey me as though I were our father. String an arrow, therefore, and finish this one named Belphegor.' 'Your brother agreed to follow me' said Gabriel, 'and I forbid it! Killing war cap- tives is hateful to the B'nei Elo- him.'

91 CLL: Rosh paused as he weighed his obligations for a time, then threw down his bow and sank to hyz knees before the seated Belphegor even as Gabriel and Remiel had done. Disgusted, Elam turned to Jemuel and said, 'Brother, as you love me, kill this angel who put me to torment.'

92 CLM: Jemuel made his choice with far less hesitation than Rosh and extended his blade. Gabriel and Remiel rose to their feet between him and Belphegor and Remiel said, 'Jemuel! How fortunate you are God has charged that none of the Remnant shall die, or you would be dying now.'

93 CLN: 'Listen to none of their lies,' Elam told him. 'They have not the Ark. The will of God is unknown to them.' 'For one day in every year the high priest among you hears the oracles of God,' said Gabriel. 'How much more so do we who dwell in the presence of God know his mind!'

94 CLO: Elam hissed 'Do it!' Jemuel moved toward the captive with his blade arched to decapitate hym. And Remiel, without touching the man, twisted the blade out of his hand and hurled it out of reach. 'We have no power of our own but that which is given by God,' Remiel told him.'

95 CLP: 'Now you are disarmed by that same power, Jemuel. Do you hold yourself answered that killing the Lord Belphegor is not the will of our God?' And neither Jemuel nor Elam made reply, but they kept their place, as Gabriel and Remiel were still armed and stood fast against them.

96 CLQ: Gabriel was angered almost beyond speech. Che said, 'I thought to leave Lord Belphegor in your keeping, to be treated well until such time when hy could leave of hyz own power, but I see the faithful- ness of Lael was not passed to his sons. We will take the Lord our- selves.

97 CLR: 'A curse lies upon you, Jem- uel, for you would do a thing to make the name of our God a reproach among elohim and angels and nephilim and men. On the shoulder of Mount Naratha the sword of your foes shall go through the camp, and you shall be cut down in the flower of youth.

98 CLS: 'And you shall remember this doom, and beg Elam to steer the Rem- nant far from Mount Naratha where the Ark wills not to go, but pesti- lence and famine and the threat of enemies shall drive the people thither, where you shall perish be- fore your sons take wives to them- selves.

99 CLT: 'Also a curse lies on you, Elam, for you ordered your wounded captive be slain out of hand, which thing is hateful to God, whether the captive be a seraph or one of the ishim. You crave to lead the Rem- nant, yet you shall be driven into Eliath Wood to wander for a genera- tion.

101 CLU: 'There you shall yearn to be free yet your enemies shall hem you in, and you shall die never see- ing the sons of your sons, and the third son of Lael shall lead the Remnant to a land which is choice above all other lands in Haaretz, and the people shall be known by his name.'

102 CLV: Then Gabriel and Remiel, who would have preferred to leave the Remnant with friendly farewells rather than angry curses, knelt once again close to Belphegor. A fold- door materialized to port the three of them to Nyduly Wood in Hamar, leaving only a round hole in the ground.

103 Rosh took his father's Codex, as well as the white spherical compass called the Artifact, which pointed in the direction they should go, or set to spinning when they should halt. They descended the Yakama Riv- er to the place where it joined a larger river, and then journeyed further down- stream.

104 When they arrived at an island of the Great River a few miles above a large set of waterfalls, where much fish could be obtained, the Artifact pointer began to spin in contentment. The people called the island Kasawi. But the whole vale of the Great River they called the land of Rosh, and they called themselves the people of Rosh. So they were the Roshites.

105 They planted seed on Kasawi and the nearby shores, and raised flocks of animals on the golden hills that rose north and south of the river. Rosh also made many blades of bronze, "...lest by any means the people who were now called Elamites should come upon us and destroy us..."

106 In 545 BCE it was the turn for Rosh's brother Jared to write in the Codex that preserved the annals of the colonists, because Rosh had grown old and he saw that he was soon to die. The people were so hap- py with King Rosh that they wanted to call the next king Rosh II, and then Rosh III, and so on. Jared wrote that all the Jaredites, Jose- phites, and Zethanites, etc. were called Roshites together with the actual Roshites, and opposed to them were all the colonists who remained behind in Cornucopia, who began to call themselves Elamites.

107 Some of the Roshites went all the way down the Great River until it reached the sea. They mingled with the indigenous peoples along the way, and made their homes along the river and seashore, ever pushing on, until the coastline wrapped back in upon itself to nestle against the mountains which formed a bulwark against the Elamites of Cornucopia. Here, on saltwater near the lowest pass in the mountains, the Roshites founded a settlement called Alki.

108 The Codex and the Artifact passed down from Jared to his son Jachin, then to his grandson Omar and his great grandson Abidan. After that the heirlooms went to Abidan's brother Cheran, then to Cheran's son Dathan and his grandson Boel. With Boel, Lael's seed failed at last. The Codex and Artifact were given to King Baruch of Alki in 130 BC.

109 With his mighty deeds, and wis- dom, with the help of the prophets, and by slaying thousands of Ela- mites, King Baruch established peace in his land. These were the salad days for King Baruch. For the rest of his life, there would be peace in his kingdom on the shores of the Whulge, which was what the Roshites called the waters of their homeland, a great tongue of the Western Sea with many bays and inlets.

110 The king had a son named Mered. King Baruch made sure his son re- ceived a good education. Mered stud- ied also the Codex of Lael and the prophesies recorded on them.

120 He also learned the historical writings in the Codex, which were the only way the Roshites knew the commandments of El Shaddai given to Moses. Baruch told his son that the Codex was the only thing keeping the Roshites from dwindling in unbelief.

121 Then came the time when King Baruch wanted to go into retirement He told his son to gather the people together outside of the city so he could make the announcement. But that would be just a formality. Ba- ruch gave his son the actual reins of power immediately. Additionally he passed on to Mered the codex of Rosh, and the Compass Ball, or Arti- fact, which was made by Binah him- self.

122 In the morning the people ar- ranged themselves around the temple in tents, with each family separated one from another. The door of each tent faced the city so they could stay in the tent yet hear the words of King Baruch as he spoke from a specially-constructed tower.

123 The king spoke of his life in service to the people, and how he even labored with his own hands that the people would not be unduly bur- dened with taxes. Yet he did not bring this up to boast, only to af- firm that he has really been in the service of El Shaddai. The King served El Shaddai by serving his fellow human beings.

124 He brought this to their mind as an example. If he, their king, la- bored to serve the people, then the people ought to labor to serve one another. And if he, their earthly king, merited any thanks from the people, how much more did El Shaddai their heavenly king merit thanks from them.

125 Yet, Baruch said, if the people served El Shaddai with all their power, they would still remain, quite frankly, unprofitable serv- ants, because El Shaddai actually caused them to exist from instant to instant. So the only thing El Shad- dai really required from them in return for creating the people and keeping them alive was for them to simply keep his commandments.

126 Baruch told the people he could no longer be their teacher nor their king because he was very close to going the way of all flesh. It was only by the power of El Shaddai that he was able to stand there and speak to them without collapsing. He de- clared that his son Mered was to be king and ruler over them.

127 King Baruch died soon after his speech. During that brief time, be- fore he died, an army of Roshites returned to the vale of Rosh to pos- sess the land of their inheritance.

128 Captain Peresh, the leader of this expedition, went to the king of the Elamites, King Elam, and per- suaded him to let them stay in the land. Elam gave them the land of Entiat, after commanding the Ela- mites in that land to depart. The people of Peresh lived peacefully for twelve years, but King Elam had deceived them and intended later to take the goods they produced by force.

129 At first the Elamites made small spoiling raids, but soon a major battle was fought, with the Roshites victorious. Ten years of cold peace followed, until the death of king Elam, when Elam's son tried to drive the Roshites out of the land, but the Elamites were once again defeat- ed, because Captain Peresh had sent spies to the land of Kittitas to discover the disposition of the Ela- mites and made his preparations ac- cordingly. As part of those prepara- tions, the women, children, and old and infirm were taken to safety.

130 Upon his death Captain Peresh conferred the land to his son Parn- ach, and declared him a full king.

131 King Parnach proved to be an evil man who taxed his people heavi- ly, spend- ing the money on riotous living, including a spacious palace and a tall tower to spy out the lands of Entiat and Kittitas. He even encouraged the people to im- merse themselves in the same sins that he did.

132 The prophet Rekem was sent di- rectly from the Land We Know to preach repent- ance to Parnach's people, but he was imprisoned by the very people he preached to, and tak- en before King Parnach and his false priests. There Rekem delivered his final message and was executed by fire. As he was dying he prophesied that Parnach would suffer death in a similar manner.

133 One of the priests of Parnach, a young man named Neriah, believed Rekem's words and pleaded with the king to spare the prophet's life. Neriah was cast out, and was forced to hide so that the servants of the king would not kill him.

134 Neriah taught the words of Rekem to more of the people, and many be- lieved him. He also became a great prophet and religious leader among the rest of the Roshites later in his life. Hence, Rekem was success- ful in his mission although he died a martyr and only one man believed his teachings.

135 King Parnach's evil and his op- pression of the people continued. He even attempted to assail Neriah and his followers during a sermon. Neri- ah and his disciples left the land of Entiat by secret ways in the mountains and the king's army were unable to follow them. Neriah led them to a rich land called Met'how, where they prospered.


136 A minority of Parnach's own peo- ple became angry with him, including a man named Jaanai who swore to kill the king. They fought, and when Parnach saw that he was about to lose he fled to a tower. From the top of the tower he saw an army of Elamites about to attack and con- vinced Jaanai to spare him so that he could lead the people to safety.

137 Parnach and his people fled, but they were unable to escape the Ela- mites. Parnach ordered them to leave their wives and children behind. Some did, while others did not. They were captured by the Elamites and returned to their lands, where they were taxed one half of all they owned and produced. They made Parn- ach's son, Raddai, the king.

138 Those who abandoned their fami- lies and stayed with Parnach soon regretted their choice. They turned on Parnach an burned the man to death, fulfilling the prophesy of Rekem, while Parnach's priests ran away and hid in the wilderness.

139 The men then returned, deter- mined to find out what had happened to their families and to avenge them or die with them. So they rejoined Raddai's people. But Raddai, after a number of attempts to cast off the Elamite yoke, had to accept that he would serve only as a tributary king.

140 Raddai ruled over his people in captivity for a few years. Eventual- ly, by ones and twos, they escaped and rejoined the main body of the Roshites dwelling at the Whulge. Meanwhile the priests of King Parn- ach, with stolen Elamite women, set- tled in a land they named after their ruler, Hammuel.

141 King Mered, son of Baruch, sent sixteen men, led by his son Dishon, to discover the fate of Captain Per- esh and his followers. Dishon soon discovered the people of Raddai and aided them in escaping from the Ela- mites.

142 The army of the Elamites pursued them, but they got lost, and discov- ered the land of Hammuel instead, whose people eagerly joined the Ela- mites. Together, they conquered Ner- iah's colony in Met'how. Soon after that, King Elam appointed Hammuel, the leader of the former priests of King Parnach, to officially rule the people of Neriah in Met'how. Under Hammuel the followers of Neriah were severely persecuted.

143 Like Raddai's people, the People of Bat-El who were led by Neriah quietly escaped in small groups over a long period of time, crossed west over the mountains, and joined the main body of Roshites at the Whulge.

144 Neriah's son Neriah the younger and the sons of King Mered were filled with zeal for the command- ments of El Shaddai. They persecuted Neriah the elder and his movement called the People of Bat-El for a time, but nephilim from the Land We Know appeared to them during their journey and ordered them the lay off Neriah the Elder. The nephilim was sufficiently persuasive that Neriah the younger and the sons of King Merad became full converts to Bat- El.

145 [M] When the son of Dishon, a man named Ginath, together with his wife Hatita undertook a mission to the Haaretzi and refused to ac- cept the crown from their dying fa- ther, Dishon established a system of elected magistrates to rule Menkal.

146 Higher magistrates could over- rule lower magistrates, but the Chief magistrate could himself be impeached by a council of lower mag- istrates. Neriah the Younger became the first elected chief magistrate of the Roshites as well as their chief priest.

147 King Dishon gave to him the re- cords on the codex as well as the Artifact. And then he died, at roughly the same time that Neriah the Elder died.

148 Ginath and his wife were taken captive in the land of Watlala, where he became the servant of Prince Lamoni. There, Ginath miracu- lously preserved the king's flocks.

149 Lamoni became a convert soon thereafter. Eventually even Lamoni's father King Elam was converted to the People of Bat-El, he and his entire household. The king decreed religious freedom for all Nath.

150 The people in the lands of Wat- lala and Celilo, and the city of Kittitas, all converted, and began to call themselves Anti-Rosh-Laels. After that, King Elam died.

151 The unconverted Haaretzi pre- pared to make war against the con- verts, but the Anti-Rosh-Laels were so filled with remorse over the Rosh blood the Haaretzi had historically shed they were pacifists to the point of declining to even defend themselves.

152 When the Haaretzi saw the prone state of their prey, they aborted their attack, and many even convert- ed to the People of Bat-El on the strength of the witness of their intended victims.

153 Eliada tried to restore the kingship, with himself as king, of course. The people voted nay. His followers still regarded him as king, however. After that, the Elia- daites waged war to seat their king, but they were soundly defeated by the Roshites.

154 Then they allied with the hated Haaretzi and tried again, and were defeated again. Neriah himself slew Eliada. Then the Haaretzi tried one more time, without the Eliadates, and lost yet again.

155 Neriah selected Micah to replace him as Chief magistrate (so much for the election idea put forth by King Mered), but he remained the high priest to combat something that was disturbing him about the People of Bat-El.

156 Neriah the Younger observed that the Roshites of the faith assembly were becoming increasingly wicked, proud, disdainful of outsiders and neglectful toward the poor and needy. When the unbelievers began to follow their example,

157 Neriah feared the entire people was on the path to self- destruc- tion. He resigned his post as chief magistrate and began traveling from city to city to preach to the Ro- shites.

158 He began in Whulge, where his efforts were successful. A thorough purge of the faith assembly leader- ship and membership took place, with those former insiders and leaders who refused to relinquish their pride being rejected, and their names blotted out.

159 Neriah moved on to the cities of Steilacoom and Hoquiam, where his call to humility was also well re- ceived. From Hoquiam he traveled north to the seaside city of Taho- lah, whose inhabitants proved much more hardened than those of the previous two cities.

160 Neriah led the Anti-Rosh-Lael- ites to the Whulge, where the people found their name to be too much of a mouthful. They were re-dubbed the Dishonites, and given the land of Tumwater from the large stock of empty land the Roshites always kept on hand for just such an emergency.

161 The Zethanites of Chimacum were found to practice things that per- verted the ways of Bat-El. This led Neriah to extend his missionary work to these people. While amongst them he was most successful among the poor, while his message was rejected out of hand by the wealthy and pow- erful.

162 The Zethanites who converted to Neriah's People of Bat-El were cast out of Chimacum, and they migrated to Tumwater where they were taken in by the Dishonites. After that, the unconverted Zethanites joined with the Haaretzi to make war against the Roshites.

163 The Dishonites, with their new Zethanite immigrants, evacuated to Satsop to allow the army of the Ro- shites to operate in Tumwater. After that, the Zethanites became offi- cially Haaretzi.

164 General Rufus gave battle against the Roshites. And the Ro- shites were led by Captain Eshton to victory against the Elamite attack- ers.

165 In 73 BCE Neriah gave the heir- loom records and Artifact to his son, Rabsaris. Then Neriah was taken up by the Spirit, even as Moses, and traveled by fold-door to the Land We Know.

166 Rabsaris went among the people of the Whulge preaching the gospel of the coming of Bat-El in human flesh, and appointing priests and teachers throughout all the land.

167 But controversies arose due to the people's pride and growing rich- es, and generally speaking the peo- ple would not heed the words of Rab- saris and his ministers. Captain Eshton was appointed commanding gen- eral over all the Roshite armed forces in the face of an impeding war with the Haaretzi.

168 A large force of Haaretzi were gathered together at Grand Mound, led by Azza and including many Ro- shite dissenters. The Elamite army attacked the Roshites in the land of Tumwater and the battle raged north toward the city of Alki, ending on the banks of the river Duwamish.

169 In this war, Eshton's forces protected themselves with body armor for the first time. Eshton sent abroad spies to investigate the Haa- retzi' weak points, and moved his force by hidden animal tracks known to the locals to surround the enemy.

170 Eshton marched forth under his Manifest of Freedom, a standard which he raised to rally the Ro- shites to defend their liberties from a group of dissenters who want- ed to establish their leader as a king.

171 Eshton was so angry with the dissenters, who were led by a man named Paulus, that he tore his cloak and wrote upon it, In memory of Bat- El, our freedom, our peace, our wives, and our children.

172 With these words, he rallied the Roshites to defend their families and their freedom, chasing away the Haaretzi and the Roshite militias loyal to Paulus in the process. Any dissenters that remained, Eshton put to death, and he raised up the Mani- fest of Freedom upon every Roshite tower.

173 Soon there were many more such towers, for Eshton erected a forti- fied line of cities on the highest ridges of the mountain range that formed a wall between the Roshites and the Haaretzi. From 72 to 69 BCE the Roshites prospered. It was said there never was a happier time among any of the people of Rosh.

174 West and north of the Whulge the people of Chimacum contended with the people of Sequim over possession of that land and lost miserably. After that the people of Chimacum attempted to flee to the islands northward.

175 An army of Roshites, led by Jaa- lan, overtook them in boats and de- feated them in battle. Germael be- came the third chief magistrate over the people of Rosh, having inherited the judgment-seat from his father Micah, at the end of the 24th year of the reign of the magistrates over the Roshites, or 67 BC.

176 Years later, Eshton was having some problems with a group of men who wanted to destroy the liberty of the people and replace the chief magistrate with a king, yet another incarnation of the same idea he had put down with the Paulus insurrec- tion.

177 While Eshton was far afield cam- paigning against the Haaretzi, these King Men drove Germael from the judgment seat. When word of this development reached Eshton he led an insurrection to rally the people to the side of magistrate Germael again.

178 Eshton killed their upstart king, Joash, and took his men pris- oner. He and Germael then proceeded to regain control of their city of Alki, which they had lost, restoring the democratic form of government there.

179 In 66 BCE Rabsaris tried to per- suade the Dishonites, not to take up arms and thereby violate the oath they made upon their conversion to faith in Bat-El. He persuaded them to remain passive observers for the duration of the war.

180 But the Dishonites had many sons who never swore to abstain from tak- ing up the sword. With no oath for- bidding them, and with the Roshites experiencing a serious manpower crunch, they were permitted to join under the leadership of Rabsaris himself.

181 Rabsaris and his band of unexpe- rienced youths marched to the land of Kitsap which lay west of the Whulge facing Alki and joined forces with Eshton to expel the last of the Haaretzi from the lands nigh to the Whulge. 182 But during the conflict, Rabsa- ris was killed, and by the terms of his written will, the office of Chief magistrate, along with the codex and the Artifact object went to his eldest son Germael.

183 After fortifying the Roshites' lands, Eshton transferred command of his armies to his son and permanent- ly retired to his own home. And less than four years later, in the 36th year of the reign of the magis- trates, or 56 BC, General Eshton, military leader of the Roshite peo- ple, died.

184 [U] In the 39th year of the reign of the magistrates, or about 53 BC, Germael died of an unexpected illness. He had not been prepared, and did not make arrangements to transfer the judgment-seat to an heir in a will. But Germael had three sons, Germael Jr., Chamuel and Carshenah, and they all wanted the seat.

185 The sons of Germael stirred up trouble among the people as they campaigned for the position. The people selected Germael Jr. by ac- claim, and Carshenah reluctantly agreed to this. But Chamuel had the backing of the minority and he sought to instigate a rebellion.

186 Before he could make much head- way, however, he was arrested and tried, convicted of sedition, and sentenced to death. The minority sent a hitman named Saul to whack Germael while he sat on the bench. The assassination was done while wearing a disguise so no one could finger Saul.

187 Men loyal to Germael gave chase, but Saul evaded them, and returned to the minority. They all swore to El Shaddai never to utter a word that Saul had murdered Germael. Still, some of the conspirators were found and sentenced to death. Carshenah was elevated to Chief mag- istrate in place of Germael.

188 He took possession of the codex and the Artifact ball. In 51 BCE the Haaretzi came against the Roshites with a mighty host led by a large man named Naarai. The political tur- moil surrounding the succession of Germael caused the city of Alki to drop it's guard somewhat.

189 Naarai slew the guards at the gates, marched inside with his whole army, slew all who opposed them and took possession of the city. Carshe- nah was personally slain by Naarai against the walls of Alki. In the terms of his will, Cershenah's son Rabsaris II inherited the judgment- seat, the codex, and the Artifact ball.

190 Naarai, fresh from his victory, prepared a second phase of his cam- paign against the lands of the Whulge at large. His next goal was the city of Mukilteo in the north of the land.

191 The Roshites in the countryside were not able to assemble themselves into a large enough force to oppose the Haaretzi, so they were picked off in detail.

192 But the bulk of the Roshite forces had removed to the border regions, forming a hard crust while leaving the heart of the land large- ly undefended. Naarai was misled by the relative ease of his drive.

193 After learning of the fall of Alki, the army rushed to intercept the Haaretzi before they came to Mukilteo. In the great battle that followed, even Naarai was slain.

194 When the Haaretzi found them- selves surrounded on every side by Roshites, and their leader slain, they surrendered. Rabsaris II re- occupied Alki, and allowed the cap- tured Elamite soldiers to depart the land in peace.

195 A secret society was founded in 52 BCE by Roshite supporters of Chamuel, an unsuccessful candidate for the position of chief magis- trate. Chamuel had been executed for treason when he refused to accept the election of his brother Germael II to the judgment seat.

196 One of his supporters, one Saul of Tonasket, assassinated Germael in retaliation. Saul and his friends swore oaths to keep the assassin's true identity a secret. a man named Merar became the leader of Saul's secret group.

197 He arranged for Saul to assassi- nate Chief magistrate Rabsaris II, promising that if he, Merar, were made chief magistrate he would ap- point the other members of the band to positions of authority.

198 Saul was apprehended and killed by one of Rabsaris' servants, and Merar and his followers, fearing the same fate, fled into the wilderness. Within 25 years, Merar's band had grown into a large criminal organi- zation known as Merar's robbers and murderers.

199 Both Roshites and Haaretzi were among its members. In 26 BCE the Merar robbers assassinated the son of Rabsaris II, Chief magistrate Asriel. The codex and Artifact fell to Asriel's son Nisroch. The Haa- retzi made every effort to eradicate the Merar robbers among them.

200 The Roshites, however, began to join the band in larger and larger numbers, until the majority of them were members. Members swore to pro- tect one another and identified each other by means of secret signs and secret words. By 24 BCE the entire Roshite government was under the control of the Merars.

201 Around 20 BC, Chief magistrate Nisroch was murdered by his brother Flauros, both of whom were members of the Merar band. The murder was announced and the culprits, the se- cret Merar society, was fingered by Nisoch's sun Caim, who inherited the position.

202 When a famine struck the area a few years later, the people believed El Shaddai was behind it, and they reacted by repenting and cracking down on the Merar bands. The society was completely eradicated, and their secret plans were buried in the earth.

203 In 12 BC, though, a group of disgruntled Roshites dug up the writings of the Merar group and reestablished the band of Merar. This time they did not infiltrate mainstream Roshite society, but rather established camps in the for- est and made periodic raids on Ro- shite and Elamite cities using hit- and- run tactics.

204 They grew in power, and by 8 BCE they had caused so much loss of property and life that the Roshites and Haaretzi actually united and jointly declared war on the Mera- rites. Meanwhile Matthias, a Elamite prophet, prophesied the destruction of the Roshites if they did not re- pent.

205 He predicted signs of Bat-El's birth and death. Rosh baptized those who believed Matthias's message. The Roshite government had officially disavowed the teaching of Bat-El to court the Haaretzi for the War on Merarites.

206 Matthias was persona non grata, but could not be harmed by arrows or stones, nor could he be taken. In disgust Matthias departed from Whulge. The Merar robbers increased in strength and threatened to de- stroy the Roshites.

207 Wars and contentions existed throughout the land. In 15 AD Ar- mans, leader of the Merar robbers, sent a message to Caim II, the new chief magistrate, demanding the sur- render of the Roshites. In 17 AD the Roshites gathered in the lands nigh to the Whulge.

208 They brought sufficient supplies to withstand seven years of siege. In 18 AD the Merar robbers took pos- session of the abandoned Roshite lands, but they could not subsist without plundering the Roshites. They attacked the Roshites and were driven back. Armans was slain.

209 In 21 AD Ertrael, the new leader of the robbers, laid siege to the Roshite fortifications, but the siege was more damaging to the rob- bers than to the Roshites. Ertrael determined to withdraw. Ahiel, lead- er of the Roshite armies, knowing their weakness, attacked the robbers and defeated them. Ertrael was hanged.

210 In 26 AD after the remnants of the robber band were hunted to ex- tinction, the Roshites returned to their former lands, and the Roshites prospered again for a time. But in 29 AD contentions over power and wealth arise. The people became wicked.

211 Secret combinations arose once more, seeking to murder the prophets and to overthrow the government. In 30 AD Caim III, son of Caim II, be- came chief magistrate. Caim III was murdered and the government was overthrown. The people divided into tribes, every man according to his kindred and friends.

212 The secret societies gathered into a single tribe led by a man named Asiel, and fled into the land northward, beyond Mukilteo. A man named Rosh came forward and took possession of the codex and the Ar- tifact ball in the chaos that fol- lowed the death of Caim III, and no one challenged him for these heir- looms.

213 But the office of Chief magis- trate was left vacant, and consid- ered defunct. The reign of magis- trates over the Roshites had come to an ignoble end.

214 King Brogan Stronghammer dis- patched a horseback courier to Queen Firegem in Atria begging for aid in the name of their new Union of King- doms. Che said Blackseed's left flank was "in the air" along the Menkal-Alodra border.

215 Therefore if sha attacked from northeast from Melak and burned Blackseed's boats, sha could raise calamity in the Republic rear and starve the enemy, forcing Blackseed to call off the invasion.

216 The Queen sent the Menkalese messenger back to Akamar with the reply that sha had done precisely that very thing without waiting for a plea from King Stronghammer

217 But every Alodran company that set a toe over the border, without exception, was wiped out in detail from the air by Demonstroke. Yet the dragon did not attack into Alodra itself. So now if the Queen ordered the relief attempts to continue, sha faced a mutinous army.

218 Stronghammer replied that Black- seed had played his hand brilliant- ly, and it was now just a matter of time before he exported his revolu- tion across the entirety of the Land We Know, one kingdom at a time.

219 Again che begged the Queen for any relief sha could muster. In har final message sha said sha would take it directly to Chokhmah in the Temple, and suggested that Strong- hammer take hez petition to Binah.

220 For it was the gods themselves who established the political order in the Land We Know, and assuredly they would not roll over for this contemptuous upstart. But by the time this message reached the King, Suhair had already fallen, and the way to the Temple of Binah was cut off.

221 And the forces of the Saiph League won through to the very threshold of the Temple of Binah, yet none dared to go in, not even Lord Blackseed himself, for concern- ing the shrine there was something very special planned. 222 Then Belial rode forth on a black steed, and the truth was in the open now, that Lord Blackseed was nothing more than a sockpuppet with Belial's hand rammed up his ass.

223 All the people in the Saiph League were mobilized for war. A third of them were despoiling the Kingdom of Menkal. A third of them remained home to guard against a counterstroke from Alodra. And a third were arrayed for battle before the Temple of El Shaddai in Nath.

224 Men, women, and even their chil- dren were all armed with weapons and wore armor. But on the morning the final battle was to take place, the people loyal to Telan Blackseed awoke to find even the money many of them were holding on their person was now gone.

225 It dawned on them that they could not keep their own property on account of the bewitched land, and there rose up a great lamentation. Then King Garand came forth and prayed the people would turn back to El Shaddai and receive his blessings again

226 But his hope was in vain, be- cause they were not sorrowful for their sins, only sorrowful for their lost property. And they said, Let El Shaddai return to us our missing silver and gold, and then we will serve him.

227 Telan Blackseed was not willing to smite the Temple of El Shaddai, just as he feared to smite the Tem- ple of Binah, and Belial in the guise of Emperor Abaddon was angered by his reluctance to do so.

228 Abaddon himself rallied the peo- ple to loot the gold of the Temple of El Shaddai, and set the roof on fire, and tear the walls down stone by stone. And the crowd drew near, but Yeshua and Talishi had come to witness the desecration, and these elohim they touched not.

229 As the people surrounded the temple, a death squad of five power- ful men chosen by Abaddon and armed with weapons gleaned from Binah's workshop at Proxima stood forth.

230 Thrand Pikebreaker caused stones to move and fill the moat, which gave the death squad access to the wall of the temple. Magar Hardlash cut a hole in the thick stone wall with a copy of the Golden Gift to allow the death squad to enter.

231 Atol Ratrunner caused dark storm clouds to pile up over the temple, to hurl lightning bolts at the arch- ers in the highest parapets. Derian Elderwood caused strong whirlwinds to rage about the death squad, pro- tecting them from other archers and horsemen.

232 Torr Stonespear caused the tem- ple doors to splinter before the death squad, one by one, until they reached the chambers of the High Priest and slew him unarmed.

233 Their task complete, they stood at attention as Emperor Abaddon and two nephilim guards of the House of Gerash proceeded into the heart of the Temple in the wake of the death squad.

234 Abaddon was eager to take pos- session of the Ark of the Covenant, the only artifact associated with the very aloof El Shaddai. She had used the Ark to communicate with her high priest, much as Belial and Bi- nah often spoke from their avatars.

235 It sat in the center of the room suspended above the floor by two staves on four pillars. But some- thing was amiss. Abaddon only felt 17% of his own weight.

236 The passage back to the Land We Know transformed into a blank wall in Taurus City, and Abaddon knew he had been duped. Wormhole. Abaddon and his guards were disarmed by the simple expedient of having Jerry set their weapons glowing orange-hot.

237 They dropped them to the deck. Emperor Abaddon, you are under ar- rest for war crimes, and, uh...tres- passing, Lilith said, and simultane- ously he heard Binah speak these same words directly to him, mind-to- mind, so he knew without any mistake exactly whom he was dealing with.

238 The wormhole thing was an inter- esting trick. Hello Binah, he said, and offered no further resistance

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