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Revision as of 18:30, 22 October 2019

By that evening the shock of what had happened to them faded. None of the Brown Beards, if any had survived, crawled up to the plateau to renew their attack. So the three sons of Lael began to dispute which one of they would take up Lael's office of high priest and chief.

Jemuel sank to his knees and said, "O living God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, if you will, make known what man of us shall be high priest and hear your voice on the Day of Atonement." And in reply the graven sphinx decorating the cover of the Ark rotated to face Rosh.

Elam pondered this silently for a time, then said to his younger brother, "God favors you to be the High Priest, that is plain, and so the oracles of God shall be committed to you. But think you strangers will never again attempt to take from us the Ark of the Covenant?"

Rosh shook his head. "Our father Lael was a great prophet and while he was yet alive it was the will of God that the office of high priest and the office of judge should be in the grasp of one man. Yet even our father led us only where the Ark itself marked the way."

Let the offices of priest and judge be carried out by two sons of Lael according to our temperament. I will set foot on the path marked out by the oracle of God, spoken or otherwise, but in all other things, beloved brother, I shall obey as though you were our father.

Then Rosh removed he the cover of the Ark of the Covenant with his bare hands, yet Chokhmah did not smite him. And Rosh took he the White Scroll of Lael to record all the things leading to the death of his father, and wrote that Elam had become their judge and chieftain.

And it came to pass that the Ark led the Remnant west from the Wall of God to the Shaula Wood, but they were tracked by an officer of Belphegor's Extraordinary Force named Derash with a small platoon of lesser soldiers who had been taken to Haaretz by fold-door in pairs.

And Derash gave battle to the Remnant, and brought Elam into captivity, but his nephilim could not seize the Ark, for Rosh had hidden it within a tent that was not discernible from the thirteen identical tents of the people. And men of the Remnant drove the attackers off.

Derash put Elam to the most refined torment, but che learned naught of the movements of the Remnant as they were led by Chokhmah himself by means of the Ark. And Jemuel and Rosh led a war party from among the people to assail the camp of Derash and release their brother.

Elam put Derash to the sword in vengeance for his pain, and slew he also Hovan son of Bron the chieftain of Eniph. Jemuel's party wounded four others, but the unscathed jan and men were scattered into the depths of Shaula Wood and none save Telan Blackseed returned again.

Telan knew no one less than Lord Belphegor sent Derash on his errand, and Telan knew also that Belphegor would demand his own life in recompense should he flee with the faithless others after the errand of Derash failed. Therefore he sought Bron, Hovan's father, in Eniph.

But the Ark of the Covenant led the Remnant through a land of rolling ridges and scattered trees between Adjara and Lake Enkaa, then west between Mount Naratha and Mount Linan, and there the graven gold Director began to spin, and Elam called their wanderings to a halt.

Not many days after Lael’s death in the new colony in Haaretz, about sixteen years after the migration from Judah, Elam and Lemuel were angry with Rosh for the admonitions of their father that came out of Rosh’s mouth at regular intervals. The old man 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.

Rosh’s older brothers eventually sought to take his life because they would not have their younger brother rule over them. Before they could carry out this deed, however, Rosh fled into the wilderness with all that would go with him. Rosh took his own family, and also Zethan and his family, and Timon with his family, and Jared his younger brother who was born on Barbelo, and also the sisters of Rosh.

The Benjaminites however remained in the land of Shedal near Glenah Wood. This was the fertile place that Lael’s group had first settled and farmed after crossing to Barbelo from Earth.

A great religious controversy was born in the parting of Rosh that would result in much bloodshed. For Rosh took the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the White Scroll, and the Ark also possessed a kind of director, which was one of the two decorative cherubim on the golden lid of the box. This director pointed to the way they should go and began to spin when they should halt.

The people in Rosh’s group descended from the broad upland around Shedal southwest to Thalury. When they arrived at a point on the coast where much fish could be obtained, the pointer angel on the Ark began to spin in contentment. Rosh called this area Suhair.

They planted seed on the gentle slopes inland from shore and raised flocks of animals on the golden hills that rose north and east of the sea. Rosh also made many blades of bronze, “Lest by any means the Benjaminites should come upon us and destroy us.”

As El Shaddai had foreseen, many people came from elsewhere in Haaretz to approach the Ark of the Covenant. They came to speak directly to El Shaddai and also to receive her commands. Some of these pilgrims were commanded by El Shaddai to remain among the people under Rosh and mingle their blood with the Judahites.

Then one day it became the turn for Rosh’s brother Jared to write in the White Scroll that preserved their history, because Rosh had grown old and he saw that he would soon die. After the death of Rosh some of the Judahites journeyed up the coast until it formed a narrow strait with the Isle they called Elendal lying off-shore. Some of the Judahites mingled with the indigenous peoples along the way. Most of the native people of the area were Gold Beards of the House of Sala, and they made their homes along the seashore. But Jared and most of the people pushed ever on until they reached a large river that poured from the east directly into the strait. There the Judahites founded a settlement called Akamar.

The White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant passed down from Jared to his son Jachin, then to his grandson Omar and also to his great-grandson Abidan. And when Abidan had grown old and feeble, it was deemed by the people that Akamar had grown large and strong enough that Abidan’s son Baruch should be acclaimed a king.

With his mighty deeds, and wisdom, with the help of prophets from elsewhere in Haaretz, and by slaying hundreds of Benjaminites, King Baruch established peace in his land. For the rest of the king’s life, there would be peace in the kingdom of Menkal, which was what the Judahites called their homeland with it’s many islands and bays.

King Baruch had a son named Mered, and the king made certain his son received a good education. Mered meticulously studied the laws and histories recorded on the White Scoll, and Baruch told his son that the scroll was the only thing keeping the Judahites from dwindling in unbelief like the Benjaminites on the plateau to the east.

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. Baruch gave his son the actual reins of power immediately. Additionally he passed on to Mered the Ark of the Covenant.

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

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 burdened with taxes. Yet he did not bring this up to boast, only to affirm that he had really been in the service of El Shaddai all along. The King said he served El Shaddai by serving his fellow human beings. And he also said that he only brought this to their mind to remind them that if he, their king, labored much to serve the people, then how much more the people ought to labor to serve one another.

Then Baruch told the people he could no longer be their teacher or their king because he was very close to going the way of all flesh. It was only by the sustaining power of El Shaddai that he was even able to stand there and speak to them without instantly collapsing. He concluded his speech by declaring that his son Mered was already king and ruler over all the people of Menkal.

During the short span after his speech and before Baruch died a detachment of Judahites returned to the plateau east of Menkal for a reconnaissance-in-force of the land they had first settled.

Captain Peresh, the leader of the expedition, went to the king of the Benjaminites, King Arieh, and persuaded him to let them stay in the land. Arieh gave them the land of Glenah after commanding the Benjaminites in that land to depart. The people under Peresh lived peacefully for twelve years, but King Arieh had deceived them and intended later to take the goods they produced by force.

At first the Benjaminites made small spoiling raids, but soon a major battle was fought with the Judahites emerging victorious. Ten years of cold peace followed, until the death of king Arieh, when Arieh’s son King Gruen tried to drive the Judahites out of the land. But the Benjaminites were once again defeated, because Captain Peresh had sent spies to discover the disposition of the Benjaminites and made his preparations accordingly. As part of those preparations, the women, children, and old and infirm were taken to safety.

Upon his death Captain Peresh bequeathed the land surrounding Glenah to his son Parnach and declared him to be a full king. But after a time King Parnach proved to be an evil man who taxed his people heavily, spending the money on riotous living, including a spacious palace and a tall tower to spy out the lands of both Glenah and Shedal. He even encouraged the people to immerse themselves in the same sins that he did.

The prophet Rekem of the tribe of Gad came west to preach repentance to Parnach’s people, but he was imprisoned by the very people he preached to. Rekem was taken in chains 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.

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 could not kill him.

Neriah taught the words of Rekem to more of the people, and many believed him. He also became a great prophet and religious leader among the rest of the Judahites in Menkal later in his life. Hence, Rekem was successful in his prophetic mission although he died a martyr and only one single man believed his teachings while he lived.

King Parnach’s evil and his oppression of the people continued. He even attempted to assail Neriah and his followers during a sermon. Neriah and his disciples then left the vicinity of Glenah by secret ways in the forest to the east and the king’s army was unable to follow them. Neriah led his people to a land hidden in the heart of Glenah Wood, where they prospered.

A small group of Parnach’s people 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 that an army of Benjaminites was about to attack and convinced Jaanai to spare him so that he could lead the people to safety.

Parnach and his people fled, but they were unable to escape the Benjaminites. Parnach ordered the men to leave their wives and children behind. Some did, while others did not. They were captured by the Benjaminites and returned to Glenah, where they were taxed one half of all they owned and one half of everything they produced. The Benjaminites then made Parnach’s son, Raddai, the king.

Those who abandoned their families and stayed with Parnach soon regretted their choice. They turned on Parnach and burned the man to death, fulfilling the prophesy of Rekem, while Parnach’s priests ran away and hid in the fringes of Glenah Wood. The men of Glenah then returned, determined to find out what had happened to their families and to avenge them or die with them. So they joined Raddai’s people. But Raddai, after a number of attempts to cast off the Benjaminite yoke, had to accept that he would serve only as a tributary king.

Years later King Mered, the son of Baruch, sent sixteen men led by his son Dishon to discover the fate of Captain Peresh and his followers. Dishon soon discovered the people of Raddai at Glenah and the people of Neriah hidden in the forest and aided them all in escaping from the Benjaminites to Menkal in the west.

Once safe in Menkal, however, Neriah’s son Neriah the younger and the sons of King Mered grew filled with zeal for a strict application of the Code of Moshe. They persecuted Neriah the elder and his movement was called the People of Bat-El briefly, but after a time prophets from Hamar appeared and ordered them to lay off Neriah the Elder. The foreign prophets were sufficiently persuasive that Neriah the younger and the sons of King Merad themselves became full converts to Bat-El.

King Mered’s two sons Dishon and Ginath refused to accept the crown from their dying father, who insisted that his sons renounce their Bat-El heresy before ascending to the throne. And so, effectively without living heirs, King Mered was forced to establish a system of popularly elected magistrates to rule Menkal instead of a king. Higher magistrates could overrule lower magistrates, but a council of lower magistrates could impeach the Chief magistrate.

In this way Menkal became the first Republic to exist on Barbelo.

Neriah the Younger, a convert to Bat-El, became the first elected chief magistrate of the Judahites. King Mered gave to him the White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant, and he died at roughly the same time that Neriah the Elder died.

Dishon (with his wife Hatita) and Ginath (with his wife Junia) then undertook a mission to the east to preach Bat-El to the Benjaminites. Dishon and his wife were taken captive in Shedal, where they became servants of Prince Lamoni. There Dishon miraculously preserved the king’s flocks from predators and Prince Lamoni became a convert to Bat-El soon thereafter. Eventually even Lamoni’s father King Sarfael was converted to the People of Bat-El, he and his entire household. Then King Sarfael decreed religious freedom for all Benjaminites. Many people in the lands of Shedal, Glenah, and the cities within Glenah Wood all converted, and they began to call themselves Dishonites. After that, King Sarfael died.

The unconverted Benjaminites prepared to make war against the apostates, but the Dishonites were so filled with remorse over the Judahite blood the Benjaminites had historically shed they were pacifists to the point of declining to even defend themselves. When the hard-core Benjaminites saw the prone state of their prey they aborted their attack, and many even converted to the People of Bat-El on the strength of the passive witness of their intended victims.

To the west, in Menkal, a merchant named Eliada tried to restore the kingship, with himself as king, naturally. The people voted nay but his followers continued to regard him as king. After that, the Eliadaites waged war to seat their king by force, but the Judahite army soundly defeated them. Neriah the Younger personally slew Eliada.

Neriah then nominated a magistrate named Micah to replace him as chief magistrate, and this was confirmed by the people. Neriah had stepped down from the top job because he had observed that the people, much like Eliada, were becoming increasingly wicked, proud, disdainful of outsiders and neglectful toward the poor. Neriah feared the whole House of Judah was on a path to self-destruction. So after he resigned his post as chief magistrate Neriah began traveling from city to city to preach directly to the Judahites.

Neriah began to teach in the heart of the city of Akamar, where his call for social justice was well received the poor, but his message was rejected out of hand by the wealthy and powerful of the capital city. Neriah then moved on to the cities of Difda and Sukai, with very much the same reception. From Difda he traveled by ship across the strait to the seaside city of Suhair, whose leading citizens proved even more hardened than those of the previous three cities.

After a renewed persecution by the unconverted Benjaminites, Dishon led the Dishonites west to Menkal, where they were given land in the southern part of Elendal Island from a large stock of empty land that Chief Magistrate Micah always kept on hand for just such an emergency. But General Rufus of the Benjaminites had tracked the missing Dishonites west. In the lower vale of the Menkal River the general gave battle against the Judahites but Captain Eshton of Akamar led the Judahites to victory against the Benjaminite attackers.

When he had grown very old Neriah gave the White Scroll and Ark of the Covenant to his son, Rabsaris, for Chief Magistrate Micah was not a convert to Bat-El, and Neriah had not chosen to give the sacred relics to the man who had replaced him as leader of the people. Then Neriah was taken in slow stages by Issacharite priests to the Pool of Bat-El, where he was permitted to see the other world before he died. And his body was never found anywhere in Haaretz.

Micah promoted Captain Eshton and made him the commanding general over all the Judahite armed forces in the face of an impeding general war with the Benjaminites. A large force of Benjaminites had gathered together at Grand Mound, led by General Azza and this force including many Judahite dissenters who worshiped El Shaddai alone. The Benjaminite army attacked the Judahites in the land of Suhair and the battle raged north toward Akamar, ending on the banks of the Menkal River just south of the city. In the battle General Eshton’s forces protected themselves with finely molded body armor for the very first time in Barbelo history.

After winning the initial clash General Eshton sent spies east to the Great Plateau to investigate the Benjaminites’ weak points, and he moved his force by hidden animal tracks, known only to sympathetic locals, to surround the enemy.

General Eshton marched forth under his Manifest of Freedom, a standard that he raised to rally the Judahites to defend their liberties from the group of dissenters who wanted to establish their leader as a king and who were even willing to ally themselves with the hated Benjamites to do it. General 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.

With these words he rallied the Judahites to defend their families and their liberty, chasing away the Benjaminites and the Judahite militias loyal to Paulus in the process. Any Judahite dissenters who managed to survive were put to death by Eshton. The Benjaminites were scattered to the east. Then Eshton raised the Manifest of Freedom upon every Judahite tower.

Soon there were many more such towers, for Eshton erected a fortified line of cities on the edge of the slope that formed the border between the Judahites and the Benjaminites. After that the Judahites greatly prospered, while the Benjaminites steadily diminished until they became little more than scattered bands of highway robbers. As the years wore on the borders of Menkal were gradually extended east to encompass Glenah Wood and they were extended south to a line between Mount Narutha and the mouth of the river Sabik. And it was said there never was a happier time, before or since, among any of the people of the tribe of Judah.

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