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In the wake of Queen Lilith's parley with Samael the status of the Fallen Angels was left dangling.  They could not return east of the frontier, nor would King Metatron receive them before speaking to Lilith hymself.  They made their encampment on fallow land and waited.
In the aftermath of Chokhmah's mating when Binah had been conceived, Lilith and har daughter Leliel accompanied Michael straightaway to Rumbek inside the avatar of Chokhmah.  They left before Samael came to full awareness and did not wish to witness hyz wrath when hy did.
When they were come before King Metatron hy demanded to know why they were in exile. 
Michael said, "I spoke truth to the House of Gerash. But they hated the truth because it was like a bright light, and that light threatened to reveal the dark things they do in secret."
And Metatron asked, "What is truth?"
Michael said in reply, "Your Majesty, we know truth when our mind conforms with the way things are."
"What do you ask of me, Lord Michael? Shall I put my armies at your command? Shall I use force to protect the purity of your truth?"
Michael said, "Nay, Your Majesty.  If what I teach is so very fragile that I must seek allies to shield it from contamination, then what I have cannot be the truth. Only the warriors of Samael fight to convert others to their truth and wage holy war against other truths."

"They fight because what they call truth is too weak to sell itself to all who seek the truth with sincerity. Since they are certain they already possess the truth, they refuse to investigate reality, and delight in self-deception."

""Then what is the most sincere truth?"

"I reveal this to you now Your Majesty. The most sincere truth is just this
King Metatron accepted this silently.   
Michael went on.  "And yet, Your Majesty, here is another truth

Samael will never reduce you to vassalage directly, by assailing you with an army. Queen Lilith saw to that, and elohim cannot break the bindings of the smallest concession. Yet nothing prevents hym from equipping your enemies with arms, both within Magodon and without.

"Then what is your counsel Lord Michael?"" said the king.

""I will bring Queen Aurra and King Uriel hither with the aim of forging some unity between the kingdoms of heaven. But I know of a certainty that Samael and Israel will resist for it would strike Adan's commerce."

To this King Metatron gave hyz hearty assent. Hy welcomed Michael and Queen Lilith. A place was found for the Fallen Angels to make encampment on the large island of Sealiah east of Rumbek, where they set about to demobilize and order a village with the aid of the locals.
Then Michael's first disciple Lilith began to teach their new friends and neighbors among the Brown Beards, individually and in small groups, the doctrines of those who embrace Chokhmah. But Michael hymself refused to teach lest the king imagine hy was spreading a cult.
During the exile in Babylon scribes and priests successfully maintained a continuous tribal identity for their people by meticulously maintaining the genealogies and histories of the Jewish people. They wished to avoid what happened to the tribes of the northern kingdom.
After Cyrus the Great the emperor of Persia conquered the Babylonians he instituted a policy of repatriating the Jews back to Palestine. The first parties he sent began the task of rebuilding the temple of Yahweh. Many Jews in exile regarded Cyrus to be appointed by God.
Later Ezra led a second group of Babylonian Jews to Jerusalem.  He compiled a scroll called the Torah from a set of older source documents including copies of the missing White Scroll of Leliel, and he also instituted fundamentalist restrictions against intermarriage.
Decades later Nehemiah, a Jewish servant of the successor to Cyrus named Artaxerxes, was sent to Jerusalem to become the governor. This third group of Jews returning from exile was tasked to complete the temple, repair the royal palace, and rebuild the walls of the city.
Governor Nehemiah lent official weight to Ezra's prohibition of Jewish men marrying "strange" wives. But when the temple was complete older Jews wept with sorrow, for the second temple was a pathetic shadow of the glory that had been the original temple-palace complex.
Philip II, king of Macedon, conquered the Thebans and Athenians at Chaeronea and brought all of Greece except Sparta under Macedonian rule. When he died his twenty year-old son Alexander succeeded him. Alexander freed all the Greeks living in Asia Minor from Persian rule.
For the next twelve years Alexander forged the largest empire the world had ever known up to that time. After defeating King Darius at Issus, Alexander subdued Egypt and founded the city of Alexandria. In the following year the entire Levant fell under his domination. 
Alexander reached as far as the east bank of the Indus River, but he died young and left no heir. Upon his death his generals, called the Diadochi, divided the empire between themselves and became rivals. The Diadochi put on royal crowns, and so did their sons after them.
Ptolemy I Soter was one of these Diadochi generals.  After Alexander died he claimed Egypt for himself and defended the city of Alexandria from the other generals. He also founded the Library of Alexandria and became the first king of the Macedonian Dynasty of Ptolemies. 
Ptolemy II Philadelphus succeeded him and brought Alexandria to its peak of power and influence. The Pharos lighthouse was constructed during his reign. Ptolemy III Euergetes extended the Ptolemaic Empire to embrace Palestine, Asia Minor, and the islands of the Aegean. 
After his death the Ptolemaic empire in Egypt gradually began to decline. A rival Diadochi named Seleucus I Nicator founded a similar empire centered in Asia Minor that ruled the lands conquered by Alexander from Thrace to India and the Ptolemies weakened even further. 
Palestine fell under the rule of the Selucid Dynasty. At that time many Jews began to adopt the ways of the Greeks who dominated them. They tried to cover evidence of their circumcision and built gymnasiums where they could participate in athletic activities in the nude. 
The Hellenized Jews no longer observed the hundreds of mitzvot specified by the Code of Moshe. With the enthusiastic support of these secular Jews the  Syro-Macedonian king Antiochus IV Ephiphanes declared Judaism abolished and rededicated the temple in Jerusalem to Zeus.
But the priest Mattathias instigated acts to deter Jews from sacrificing to Zeus. Those who were caught breaking the precepts of the Law were killed, and boys were forcibly circumcised. The book of Daniel was circulated purporting to have predicted the temple desecration.
Eventually the campaign of terror based out of hiding places in the desert became a full-scale revolution to return to the fundamentalist doctrines originally instituted by Ezra.  And upon the death of Mattathias his son Judas Maccabeus took over leadership of the revolt. 
Judas Maccabeus defeated Apollonius and Seron, and turned back Lysias who came with half of the army of King Antiochus IV Ephiphanes. And he re-purified the temple in Jerusalem after the abomination. But he was killed on the field of battle confronting governor Bacchides.
Jonathan Apphus, the fifth son of Mattathias, then led the revolt. He renewed the struggle against Bacchides, defeated Apollonius, then became the high priest of the Jews. Jonathan was taken prisoner and killed after an invitation to meet Trypho for peace negotiations.
Simon Thassi, the brother of Jonathan, then assumed leadership of the Jews. A king in all but name, Simon was also the high priest, as were his son and grandson after him. He obtained independence for Judea from Demetrius II, then battled Antiochus VII and defeated him. 
But Simon together with two of his sons were betrayed and killed by the governor of Jericho, one Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, at a banquet in his own home. Ptolemy also tried to murder John Hyrcanus I, another son of Simon who was not present at the banquet, but he failed.
John rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and under his reign as ethnarch, not quite king, Judah prospered much. Aristobulus I Judah, son of John Hyrcanus, annexed the territory of Iturea to Judah. During his reign a curious belief that would have major ramifications took root.
An admixture of Greek and Jewish ideas held that everyone who had been born, lived, and died would be raised to life again in a simultaneous general resurrection to witness the power and sovereignty of God, and after that spectacle all life would come to a violent end.
Alexander Jannaeus, brother of Aristobulus, was the first high priest of the House of Mattathias to call himself King, thus founding the Hasmonean Dynasty. He lived by the sword, and so died by the sword. Under his reign the movement of the Pharisees came into existence.
Pharisee means "Separated One". They opposed the Hasmonean innovation of combining the kingship with the high priesthood in one man. They also believed that all of the dead would be raised to life once again, but they denied it would be followed by a pointless apocalypse.
The Pharisees built new synagogues in every Jewish city and town.  There men could study the Torah under the tutelage of like-minded scribes, who were called Sopherim, and also offer messianic blessings and prayers for the return of the House of David to power in Israel.
After that, Queen Alexandra, wife of Aristobulus, enjoyed a benevolent reign of nine years. Since Jewish priests could only be male, during Alexandra's reign a high priest was chosen from the landed aristocracy of Judea. This elite group was also known as the Sadducees. 
The policy of the Sadducees was to avoid rebellion at all costs, even to watering-down Jewish traditions with Hellenistic and Roman ideas. The willingness to accommodate with the world was much criticized by the Pharisees. Were Jews not the chosen ones of the Lord of all?
King Aristobulus II, the son of Alexander Jannaeus, reigned until the intervention of Pompey after his conquest of Syria. The Romans were the up and coming thing.  King Hyrcanus II was named ethnarch of the Jews and elevated over his brother but Pompey was the real king.
Officially Pompey maintained the Hasmonean Dynasty on the Judean throne, but only as clients. King Antigonus, son of Aristobulus II, was decapitated by a pretender to the throne named Herod who was favored by Marcus Antonius and Queen Cleopatra after they defeated Pompey. 
Mark Antony, acting in his role of triumvir, subsequently declared Herod king of the Jews.  Then King Herod conquered Joppa and Medeba and captured Jerusalem after a seige of three months. He occupied Samaria and made the second temple even more glorious than the first.
In Egypt the last Pharaoh was Ptolemy XV Caesarion, son of Gaius Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Following the suicide of his mother in the wake of her defeat at the battle of Actium Caesarion was executed by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius and Egypt was simply annexed by Rome. 
In the waning years of the reign of Herod a day laborer named Yosef, son of Heli, married an even younger maiden named Miriam in the village of Nazareth. As with most such marriages in that time and place, the union was arranged by the families of both Yosef and Miriam. 
Yosef became apprenticed to a craftsman skilled in cutting stone, and after years of being little more than a slave to him, Yosef picked up the rudiments of the art. Assisting his master on work in the nearby city of Sepphoris he fulfilled his period of apprenticeship. 
Yosef and Miriam have a  daughter named Salome and also after her sons named Yeshua, Shimon and Yosef Jr., who is nicknamed Yosy. The three boys in turn are apprenticed to their own father when he strikes out on his own, and in this way the family is just able to survive.
But being a stonecutter  is very difficult and dangerous work that kills Yosef before he is even thirty-five years of age. Under the Kinsman Redeemer clause of the Law of Moshe, the brother of Yosef, Alphaeus, is required to marry Yosef's widow and adopt all his children. 
After that the neighbors sometimes call Yosef's brother  Clophas, which means "replacement" and the nickname sticks. Clophas has sons of his own named Yakob and Yudah and also a daughter named Miriam. After the wedding the cousins all become step-siblings of Yosef's kids. 
With the enlargement of the family, especially with Yakob being a grown man in his own right with his own source of income as a scribe, Yeshua no longer must continue in the harsh livelihood   of his dead father Yosef to ensure the well-being of his mother and  siblings.
Yeshua departed the house of his mother and step-father and traveled toward the Jordan River. There an Essene prophet named Yohanan proclaimed a baptism of  repentance for the forgiveness of sins without recourse to the priests or killing animals at the Jerusalem temple. 
People from both sides of the Jordan River go to Yohanan to confess their sins and be baptized of him. Yohanan has gathered three men to be his disciples. They are named Philip, Bartholomew, and Thomas. After a time Simon the Canaanite and Judah Iscariot also follow him.
These five disciples aid Yohanan in his ministry by acting  as screeners, letting through to the baptism of Yohanan only those   who they judge to approach with a sincere intention of repentance. At these  baptisms Yohanan preaches that the Day of the Lord is immanent.
This means a day when  Yahweh judges with holy violence all the nations of the Earth who are currently ruling with power. He underscores the urgency of repentance and baptism so people can meet the end of human rule with a pure heart and accept the direct rule of Yahweh.
But the priests and Sadducees and ethnarchs and Roman overlords alike all believe that Yohanan is really just seeding the  whole region with people who will be anxious for the coming of a new  theocratic ruler who will reorder the laws of the land to favor the destitute.
When Yeshua arrives from Galilee to find Yohanan at the river's edge and be baptized by him, Bartholomew and Judah Iscariot interview the young man and let him pass through to be dunked into  the river. But a curious thing happens after Yeshua is pushed  under the water.
 A deep green glow suffused the river, and Yohanan lost Yeshua. It was entirely beyond his experience. Then Yohanan panicked, and started splashing around in the water looking for the man. The river was wide but it was only waist deep, and Yeshua was nowhere to be found.
When everything  was done in preparation for the Council of Royals, there remained  only the impending arrival of the Great Personages. Queen Aurra's serving wench, an ambi named Luzea, attained to the astonishing  situation of having nothing to do and removed to a nook.
Luzea was perched above the great hall of Metatron's airy castle high enough to see all the nobles when they paraded in to be seated. Che was joined by Gabriel then and they shared a sweet kiss. They had been together for only a few days, but for as many wonderful nights.
For Luzea the wild affair had been entirely bewildering.  Gabriel seemed to know everything about hem, and in bed there was not a single wasted move. It was as though they had been married for a lifetime, and Gabriel returned to the very beginning to start all over again.
Whimsical Luzea, who spoke only in terribly bad rhyme, uttered a verse then

"I sing of final days brought by Black Beard.

When noble ones rose against what they feared.

Just close your eyes to watch them meet the king.

Mark two slave jen who observe all unseen."

Actually although Luzea and Gabriel were both nephilim, only Gabriel was a jen, Luzea an ambe. The difference had to do with the order of their two organs of joining, which were, in their case, complimentary, more evidence to Luzea that che had found hez sexual soul mate.
Gabriel said to hem, "If they catch you here avoiding work Queen Aurra will have you flogged until the skin hangs from your back in bloody strips!"
Luzea seemed unconcerned and shrugged. Che saw the procession was beginning and continued to improvise verse on the fly.
 Che said

"Now Gabriel is one slave nephil's name

And Luzea Cedarbranch is hez flame.

They shirk toil in Metatron's castle

As Uriel walks before his vassal."

Indeed King Uriel of House Bellon arrived at the Council first accompanied by hez daughter Princess Dafla. They looked none the worse after their flight on the dragon Demonstroke to the city of Rumbek. King Metatron forbade all weapons from the council chamber save for the Dragonthorn alone, the diamond blade in the possession of Dafla, which she wore in a scabbard on her back.
The ophan Jegeduel Bellon followed the king into the chamber arm-in-arm with hyz 
Following alone was Hashmal Phanuel, ruler of Atria west of the Wall of God.  Luzea said

"Che rules Haaretz where Gabriel was born.

The Queen treats hem without a trace of scorn.

Yet their bitter clash of arms claimed her son

And is fresh in the minds of everyone."

Samael made an unassuming entrance with no pomp and no wasted movements, in a walk that said without mistake that hy was first and foremost a soldier. Hy entered with a somber black-clad, black-haired ambi hy later introduced as Joy. a name that meant nothing in Semitic.
Even in Joy's native tongue it an ironic name. Hez black lips never smiled, and hez black eyes seem to show forth hez icy heart within. It was rumored this Joy was a great sorcerez from  Earth who came as both bodyguard  and concubine to Samael, yet Michael knew hem not.
Gabriel took note that Luzea was too frightened by this Joy,  or possibly too fascinated, or both, to utter any verse.
Samael knew the real aim of the council was the formation of a league in heaven which together would be far stronger than the House of Gerash alone. 
If the alliance came to be, an intolerable  peace would break out between the reliably warring states. That in turn would spark a truly existential crisis for Adan, which had long shifted over to an economy based almost entirely on supplying arms to the other kingdoms.
Overnight lucrative weaponscraft in the lands ruled by Family Gerash would evaporate unless this nascent league of kingdoms that King Metatron sought to assemble was stillborn. Lord Samael would attend to that directly, and Joy would certainly have a major role to play.
Next the delegation from Rimmon entered the council chamber. Walking beside Queen Aurra was the Royal Consort Duke Evandr. Titles for human nobility differed from the titles of nephilim or angels. Luzea, silent now, would lampoon hez queen later, and come to regret it.
The queen ruled from Saharad on the most fertile plain  in all of heaven. Left unchecked, the humans would simply multiply until they outnumbered everyone else in heaven. And all of House Sala followed Chokhmah alone.  But Samael did not intend to leave Rimmon unchecked.
Following the Queen was the Countess Ayani, the recently widowed wife of Aldred Firegem, which made her the most eligible bachelorette in heaven. But many at the Council noted the continuous eye-lock Ayani had with the ophan Eremiel, who was already standing at the table.
Something was obviously happening there, and Luzea was slightly disgusted  because there had only been two weeks since Count Aldred's death. In Saharad the people were still mourning. Che said

"Make room in the barn of prize stallions.

Ayani eyes two leg medallions!"

Ayani's city of Locotin was near a forest of gopher wood, a type of lumber that was found neither on Earth nor natively in heaven. It was a hybrid of trees from both worlds, used by ships in the Great Deluge, for it is flexible enough not to be destroyed by expanding ice.
But many other valuable goods were made from gopher wood. It was ridiculously easy to cut and work. The entire city of Locotin, in fact, was constructed of structures made of gopher wood set in the branches of giant living gopher wood trees in the hills bordering Gerazan.
Following Ayani was her kinsman Baron Balthazar of Thorgram, who was also eligible for marriage, but it was said his tastes ran more to nephilim than human. When his dalliances annoyed his mother she would send him abroad, and by now he knew heaven better than all others.
Luzea said

"Balthazar is food for many a talebearer.

Women have no chance, he finds ambis much fairer!"

The delegations came into the chamber ordered by lots, lest some thought the sequence represented the opinion of King Metatron of which noble one was the greater. 
Hy only decreed that the Bellon delegation must arrive last. So Michael entered, together with Lilith in har best Fallen Angel  dress uniform. Sha had dolled harself up and wore another headband Michael had given har set with a brilliant gem radiating pure white light.
Many of the delegates expressed marvel at Lilith's headband, but Michael told them later hy was working to bring about a time in heaven and Earth when such a light would be a mere trinket, and an entrance such as made by Lilith would be taken to be absolutely ludicrous.
After Michael and Lilith took their seats at the table the Brown Beard delegation arrived. The first royal peer to enter was the cherub Metatron, ruler of the city of Rumbek. Luzea said to Gabriel

"Fishers circle Sealiah in a ring

All of them subject to Metatron King."

Everyone had been preceded by Ophan Eremiel of the city of Mandakar, which lay on the west shore of the fertile island of Sealiah and fed most Bellonites. Hy finally took his seat and Luzea said

"The more food from Eremiel's valley

The more toil in Metatron's galley!"

Gadreel of Elketz entered at a stately pace with hyz Ainia at his side. That city lay in cattle country where the animals were driven throughout Magodon to be slaughtered. Luzea said

"Watch your step Gadreel when ready to roam,

I just caught a whiff, reminder of home!"

The final entrants were the stout and yangly Hashmal Uzziel of Peshast, with hyz wife the Lady Irus on hyz arm. Hyz city sat astride rich veins of ore and a trade bottleneck.  Luzea said

"Peshast the source of much copper and gold,

Guarded by mighty Uzziel the Bold."

As Uzziel and Irus took their seats at the table in the council chamber the nineteen tall and  ornate chairs around the great pentagon of dark and polished gopher wood were filled. The vertices of a pentagram of gold inlay pointed at the greatest noble in each delegation.
On the table before King Metatron lay a bronze bell and hammer.  Hy stood up and struck the bell, and the clear, sweet tone brought the low murmuring of the gathered delegates to an immediate hush.  Hy said, "In the name of Keter and Daat, lords of heaven, I welcome you."

You have all come to council by means as diverse as the lands you rule. Lord Michael and Queen Lilith took ship with Eremiel from Mandakar. Baron Balthazar Firegem rode hither from Elketz with the hashmal Gadreel and Lady Ainia. I have heard Lady Joy comes from Earth.

Lord Samael has come in an instant, neither by ship nor horse, in the manner unique to the seraphim. The hashmal Raddai, Lady Irus, Queen Aurra, and Duke Evandr all flew through the void within the avatar of Chokhmah. King Uriel and hez daughter Dafla arrived by dragon!

Now respecting this convocation," King Metatron went on, "it is certain that the like has never taken place in the long history of heaven, yet suchlike is long outstanding, I deem, for the question before us is nothing less than lasting peace in heaven, yea or nay?

Not a one here can be unaware that Queen Aurra Firegem and Duke Evandr have come to us at a time when they are still suffering deep grief. The life of their son Aldred was latterly taken on the field, and first it came to my mind to dedicate this council to his memory.

So instead of telling each other soothing yet empty words, let us resolve to find a way to make Count Aldred Firegem's otherwise useless death meaningful in a lasting way.

And with that, King Metatron seated hymself and rang the bell once more.  The council had opened.
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