Draft

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  • A: When the days of mourning for the High Priest Lael of the Levites had passed, the Director on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant turned in such manner to point west from the face of the Wall of God. And Lael's third son Rosh said, 'Behold, I am constrained to go thither.'
  • B: And Elam, the chieftain of the Remnant, was compelled to follow his younger brother that he might be true to his word. Yet both he and Jemuel grew wroth with their younger brother by the day for the admonitions of their father that came out of his mouth at regular intervals.
  • C: Their father was dead, may he rest in peace, but here was little Rosh spouting Laelisms as though the old man somehow lived on through his third son. It rankled, yet neither Elam nor Jemuel dared gainsay God, who had made the Director to point to Rosh as the new High Priest.
  • D: Then Elam said to his brother Rosh, 'Behold, the very Ark of God dwells in no tent. Would you have the snow fall upon our most holy relic? Make you, therefore, curtains of fine twined linen. Adorn them with images of sphinxes, and link them with blue rings and gold clasps.'
  • E: Then Rosh and his Benjaminite wife Sela toiled through the night to carry out the commandment of their chieftain Elam, but they could not even fairly begin to fashion the curtains before it was dawn and the Remnant broke fast to prepare for that day's march north and west.
  • F: But the twenty-three people of the Remnant could only travel away from the Wall of God for a single league by reason of the rough terrain and the thick undergrowth of dangerous flora native to Heaven, and the age of Lael's widow Sariah, and the livestock they took with them.
  • G: Rosh recited from memory the White Scroll. 'Grazing your animals in another man's field, or burning his crops, is theft. The going rate for restitution for stolen oxen is five to one, and for sheep is four to one. If a thief cannot make full restitution, he becomes a slave.'
  • H: While Rosh preached Elam and Jemuel grew angry again, but Elam could not order Rosh to be silent since his words were from the mouth of the God of the Remnant and they would have held him to be exceedingly impious. But when they made camp Elam had words of his own for Rosh.
  • I: Elam said to Rosh, 'Make another tent from goats hair, to cover the tent of linen for the Ark of God, but this time the clasps are to be made from brass.' And Rosh persuaded his widowed mother Sariah to aid him and his wife in the mounting tasks, bending brass over a fire.
  • J: Late into the night did Rosh and Sela and Sariah toil, but the next day when the Remnant resumed their overland march, Rosh again recited the imperatives written in Leliel's white scroll. He said, 'If you see your neighbor's animals running astray, you shall gather them in.'
  • K: He went on to say, 'Magistrates among you shall not accept bribery from the rich, nor shall they favor the poor in their judgments. But if the people are stirred to become a mob when they perceive a judge has made his ruling unfairly, you shall not join them in doing evil.'
  • L: Elam knew it had become a test of wills. When the Remnant ate supper he said to Rosh, 'Yet a third covering for the tent shall be made of ram skins dyed red, and over this you shall lay badgers' skins.' Then Josiah and his son Tobiah left the camp to hunt through the night.
  • M: Zethan the Benjaminite and Asher, son of Jabez, killed four rams from the flocks of the Remnant for their skins, while Zehan's wife Atara prepared herbs to make the red dye, but Elam forbade his wife Serach from helping Atara, and Jemuel too held back his own wife Iscah.
  • N: When the Remnant made ready to make the next march Josiah and Tobiah returned with the badgers they had killed but there were not enough to cover the Tent of Meeting. They pledged to continue seeking more until Elam's commandment had been fulfilled. And the people moved out.
  • O: There were many imperatives in the White Scroll, and Rosh was not nearly done reciting them. 'Do not eat carrion like the vultures do. Do not cook a goat in its own mother's milk. Keep you the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering.'
  • P: And again Elam was annoyed, but now there was a smirk on his face as he contemplated the next series of hoops he would make Rosh jump through, he and any who would follow. That evening he said, 'Now to the woodwork. The boards get silver sockets and bars overlaid with gold.'
  • Q: 'You shall make a veil to divide the tent into two parts. One part shall be just ordinary holy, and the other part very holy. The Ark of God shall be left in the very holy part, but you shall make a table for showbread and candles and place them in the ordinary holy part.'
  • R: And Abner came to the aid of Rosh to cut tenons in the boards for the Tent of Meeting, and to help build the table of gopher wood overlaid with gold, with rings and staves to bear it like the Ark of the Covenant. His wife Tabitha prepared the dinnerware for the showbread.
  • S: Again the people toiled late into the night to aid Rosh as he fulfilled the endless demands of their chieftain to prepare a tent for the Ark of the Covenant worthy of the God they served. On this evening the curtains with gold clasps and images of sphinxes were completed.
  • S: During the next march Rosh said, 'Kidnapping men and women to become slaves shall be punished by death. Maiming a slave shall be cause to set the slave free. If an animal kills a man and it was known to be aggressive in the past both the animal and the owner shall die.'
  • U: Jemuel discerned that Rosh had burned through the hundreds of precepts in the White Scroll, and had turned like a great wheel. Rosh was reciting them all over again. So he set his own mind working on more tasks to set for Rosh as a deterrent to his insufferable preaching.
  • CHB: Gabriel and Remiel appear within a fold door. The Remnant mistakes them for Keter and Daat, fire arrows, deflected by Remiel
  • CHC: Gabriel says they come in the name of Chokhmah to aid the Remnant
  • CHD: Gabriel and Remiel bring warm fresh bread,two small loaves for adults, one loaf for children, add butter. A child honks Gabriel's horn. "Don't."
  • CHE: In the ninth hour the Remnant will be attacked. Gabriel and Remiel prepar the Remnant to receive the attack
  • CHF: The attack arrives, but the ark is hidden in one of thirteen identical tents, they cannot find it. The attackers take massive losses
  • CHG: A clever whip encircles the feet of the leader, Elam, and binds to itself. He is dragged behind a horse. The attackers fight a rearguard action to allow Belphegor to escape with hyz prize.
  • CHH: Gabriel and Remiel pursuade Jemuel and Rosh to wait before counter-attacking, to permit a simultaneous assault with a better chance of succeeding.
  • CHI: Elam is hung by his thumbs. He cannot reveal the movements of the Ark,since it is directed by Chokhmah himself.
  • CHJ: His thumbs fall out of their sockets, first one, then the other. His continuous screams alert the Remnant to his location. They Remnant surround the glade in the woods.
  • CHK: The Remnant emerge from the woods at three honks of Gabriel's horn, slay nearly all the surviving attackers.
  • CHL: Elam is cut down by Jemuel, only Belphegor and Malphas survive the onslaught.
  • CHM: Remiel and Malphas square off, dance in preparation for a duel. Remiel's sword hovers in the air, turns horizontal
  • CHN: The sword flies into the chest of Malphas
  • CHO: Elam cannot hold a sword, orders Rosh to finish Belphegor
  • CHP: Gabriel countermands the order, says Belphegor is a seraph, his wounds are to be bound up, he is to be kept alive and treated well until he can depart of hyz own accord

CHQ: Elam ignores Gabriel, orders Jemuel to finish Belphegor, which he does CHR: Gabriel curses Elam and Jemuel, acknowledges that Rosh must obey Elam, but none of their sons will rule the Remnant CHS: The people will come to call themselves Roshites CHT: Gabriel and Remiel depart by fold-door


El Shaddai sent a curse upon the land such that when any of the soldiers of the Saiph League set objects down at night, in the morning they were found to have disappeared. Blackseed said the missing goods were not a sign of the power of El Shaddai, but indicated only thieves. So everyone started keeping their worldly goods and weapons on their own person, but the invaders were steadily impoverished even as they looted Nath. And it came to pass that Baron Nahaliel Kerresh came out of Linan and gave battle to Blackseed, who was driven to the wilderness of Shikah. And the Baron waylaid the greater part of the army of Blackseed because they were exceedingly drunken. Then seeing his foes flee before him, the Baron went nigh to the city of Mizal and plundered the encampments of the invaders. And King Garand gave battle for three days. Lord Blackseed fought with his back to the water. In the battle Blackseed smote upon King Garand with many wounds. The king fainted from the loss of blood and was carried away. Battle casualties were so high on both sides that Blackseed ordered his army not to pursue the armies of King Garand as they withdrew again to the city of Hadal. And it came to pass that Telan Blackseed wrote an epistle to King Garand that he ought to surrender his forces for the sake of the lives of his people. But the king answered nay. And it came to pass that Blackseed wrote another epistle to King Garand that if he gave himself up, and renounced his crown, he would spare the lives of the people. And the king answered nay. And it came to pass that Blackseed wrote a third epistle to King Garand, saying, Behold, with me are six thousand staters of silver, and all these I will give thee if thou wilt renounce thy throne and step down. King Garand refused to yield even to the sore temptation of the silver offered by Blackseed, which was enough to buy two and forty thousand measures of barley or seven hundred head of cattle. And this money had not been taken by the curse of the land, for it had been carried on the person of each person loyal to Telan Blackseed. Yet it could not be used to buy provisions in Nath, for the war campaign had run well into the harvest season, and many crops rotted in the fields while the farmers fought for the king, and the cattle had been slaughtered. It was truly worthless. So King Garand replied, May El Shaddai the true and living God curse your money.

Telan Blackseed personally led the Army of the Republic in many boats across the lower reaches of the River Sabik, taking the town of Sadl Ferry in Menkal by surprise. Rynet Wood, however, just a few miles inland, remained undigested. Saiph League troops completely encircled the forest and were beginning to fight their way in, but a fair fraction of Blackseed's forces camped on a wide prairie between the forest and the roads to Melak to prevent Queen Firegem from aiding the refugees hiding among the trees, as well as to prevent the refugees from fleeing to Alodra. The balance of Blackseed's forces came to grips with King Stronghammer's infantry on the Horse Plains between Rynet and Suhair along a broad front. Both sides dug in and erected earthworks with elaborate trenches to protect themselves from bowshot, for soldiers on both sides realized that on the flat battleground there was absolutely no cover. Thus the unfolding war threatened grind to a standstill and become a contest of attrition. That it did not do so could be attributed solely to Demonstroke, commanded by Joy, who used the dragon to provide "air support". Menkalese troops who thought themselves cozy and safe in fortifications soon found the very lumber they used to build their bulwarks were the target of liquid fire from the dragon's mouth. So it was that Blackseed, using judicious air strikes, slowly pushed Stronghammer back and seized the town of Rynet itself. King Brogan Stronghammer dispatched a horseback courier to Queen Firegem in Atria begging for aid in the name of their new Union of Kingdoms. Che said Blackseed's left flank was "in the air" along the Menkal-Alodra border, 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. 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, 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. Stronghammer replied that Blackseed had played his hand brilliantly, and it was now just a matter of time before he exported his revolution across the entirety of the Land We Know, one kingdom at a time. 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 Stronghammer take hez petition to Binah. 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. 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 concerning the shrine there was something very special planned. 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. And Belial, as he had done for these last eight hundred years, possessed the body of the current Gerash patriarch, Abaddon, and styled himself an Emperor. With him came his brightest flag officer, Field Marshal Ithuriel, who (it was said, when out of earshot of Abaddon and his spies) rivaled Binah herself in his intellect. With the Saiph League troops arrayed around the Temple of Binah, only Emperor Abaddon, Ithuriel, and a small cadre of the most elite Eyes of Belial warriors entered therein


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. Men, women, and even their children 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. 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 (that El Shaddai was actually female was not widely known), but his hope was in vain, because 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. Telan Blackseed was not willing to smite the Temple of El Shaddai, just as he feared to smite the Temple of Binah, and Belial in the guise of Emperor Abaddon was angered by his reluctance to do so. Abaddon himself rallied the people 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. As the people surrounded the temple, a death squad of five powerful men chosen by Abaddon and armed with weapons gleaned from Binah's workshop at Proxima stood forth. 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. Atol Ratrunner caused dark storm clouds to pile up over the temple, to hurl lightning bolts at the archers in the highest parapets. Derian Elderwood caused strong whirlwinds to rage about the death squad, protecting them from other archers and horsemen. Torr Stonespear caused the temple doors to splinter before the death squad, one by one, until they reached the chambers of the High Priest and slew him unarmed. 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. Abaddon was eager to take possession 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 Binah often spoke from their avatars. It sat in the center of the room suspended above the floor by two staves on four pillars. But something was amiss. Abaddon only felt 17% of his own weight. 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. They dropped them to the deck. Emperor Abaddon, you are under arrest for war crimes, and, uh...trespassing, Lilith said, and simultaneously 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. The wormhole thing was an interesting trick. Hello Binah, he said, and offered no further resistance

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