Khondiel is a scrubby urchin who has risen to the very top of the Fallen Angels gang because no matter what trouble sha gets into, sha never seems to actually get into trouble. This is mostly a matter of har connections. Sha is, after all, also the daughter of King Melchiyahu and the sister of Prince Melchizedek.
In the country outside of Salem the prophetess Haziel brings a new doctrine to the people, and knowledge of Chokhmah begins to take root in the land, yet it does not rise to the level of worship. Haziel preaches to the yin of the city who are har primary audience, but many yeng come to listen also. And since it is a large gathering of people, Khondiel’s Fallen Angels show up as well, but their focus is on picking pockets.
But all of them (even the members of Khondiel’s gang) are astonished at Haziel’s teachings, for many of them run contrary to what the people have always been taught to believe about the gods. Haziel confirms the divine origin of har doctrine by healing the sick using knowledge of the bodies of the world-dwellers that Chokhmah has obtained through long study. Khondiel witnesses Haziel healing many people with medicines prepared from fireweed and the bark of vogul trees, and sha speaks of Haziel to her father the King, but it is more than Khondiel’s words that impress him. For hyz daughter has suddenly stopped dressing like yeng, and is seen much more frequently inside the walls of his castle, even during night time.
Thaumiel hears tidings of Haziel (he does not yet know that Chokhmah is walking among the people in the body of a yin) and he commands his servant Zadkiel, a nobleman of Family Gerash, to appear before his fearsome black avatar.
THAUMIEL: You alone have done all things according to my will. Therefore I name you the Voice of Thaumiel. Go unto the people of Salem in the uttermost west of the Middle Lands and preach what I will tell you.
Zadkiel is forced to travel the entire distance to the city of Salem on horseback, for the avatar of Mastema is not configured to provide life-sup-
port for any passengers like the avatar of Chokhmah is, which often moves Haziel about Barbelo, even to the West and East Lands. Thaumiel is not remotely interested in the comfort and convenience of his slaves. Soon after Zadkiel arrives outside the city hy begins to preach.
ZADKIEL: Thus says Thaumiel, ‘Chokhmah! My wife! For your bride price I created all things, land and sea, beasts and growing things. But this I have against you, that you have accepted all the praise for your healings, and your followers do not recognize me as the power and ultimate source behind all such healings. And you allowed your followers to believe that you are like me, having no beginning, and also no ending. Because you permit your followers to believe I did not create you I appoint a day when you will no longer exist. Behold, I make you mortal and cast you out of the paradise of Anabas. For only the uncreated can never be unmade. Therefore I now unmake you, that all Creation shall know it is I alone who is the uncreated Creator.’
And this preaching confuses many of the people, because Haziel has already told them that Chokhmah is the daughter of Thaumiel, not his mate. But Zadkiel continues to dig Thaumiel’s hole deeper.
ZADKIEL: ‘Thus says Thaumiel, ‘Haziel! Daughter of Jophiel the glassblower, you have instructed the people about Chokhmah and have served her well in your own way. But this I have against you, that you claim the spirit of Chokhmah rests within you, and that you are united with her in body and soul. Because you do not affirm your station as a commoner who carries only human blood, behold! I have pronounced the penalty of death upon you. You are doomed to die, for perpetrating the lie that you are a demi-goddess. But to the people of the city of Salem no judgment rests on you, unless you persist in holding Haziel to be a prophetess and continue to worship Chokhmah as divine; for I, Thaumiel, am the only true God. There is no other.’
King Melchiyahu hears that this Zadkiel interloper has pronounced the death penalty on Haziel and this offends hyz sovereignty to no end. Hy commands that Zadkiel appear before the throne to give an explanation. And when hy answers the summons, Zadkiel counsels that King Melchiyahu hymself move against Haziel and immediately put har under arrest. But the King is reluctant to agree on account of the popularity of Haziel among many, even among hyz own kin. At this, Zadkiel grows angry, and insists that the King comply, for hy comes in the name of Thaumiel himself.
MELCHIYAHU: On that point I have only your word, but know that I was made king of this city by the Gerash High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel, and by the laws of our House the giving of the scepter is without repentance. An errant king may only be held to account to the Patriarch by war.
ZADKIEL: Consider the alternative, Sire. Yin-centered rituals and devotions! Haziel is cutting at the very heart of god theory!
But King Melchiyahu is a far more practical yang and he commands Zadkiel to lay out the real danger.
ZADKIEL: The danger is two-fold, Sire. First is the Patriarch’s over-reliance on income from pilgrims to the temple of Thaumiel. We, that is Thaumiel (Peace Be Upon Him), could lose a third of the revenue base overnight! The second and truly frightening part is the long-term danger of actually destroying the sacrifice-atonement system. Our entire religious structure is based on the proven fact that Thaumiel’s aim is not too good. As long as someone is punished, never mind who, Thaumiel is happy. But now this Haziel comes along saying even the gods are to be judged according to an objective scale of good and evil!
MELCHIYAHU: I see where you are going, Lord Zadkiel. Instead of merely atoning for our crimes, we might have to start actually being nice to one another.
ZADKIEL: Then will you move against this Haziel yin, Sire?
The King notes that the idiot failed to discern hyz sarcastic snark.
MELCHIYAHU: Not in haste, self-described Voice of Thaumiel. My daughter Princess Khondiel admires this new prophetess, which gladdens my heart in a way I cannot tell. I will invite Haziel to an audience and judge for myself whether her teachings are dangerous to the peace of my realm. As for yourself, Lord Zadkiel, get thee hence from my city and return to the capital. Messengers will be sent with word of my decision, yea or nay.
After the audience with Zadkiel, King Melchiyahu sends hyz daughter as a messenger to Haziel to say that hy would have the prophetess visit the court to teach what sha would, if sha was willing. Yet it was to be no sovereign command or decree.
Haziel agrees to come, if the encounter is open for any of the people to witness if they chose. So King Gordiel prepares to receive Haziel in an open-air gallery outside of the palace itself, with much seating for spectators, for this is where the king often entertains visiting nobles with exhibitions of personal combat. Khondiel comes also, dressed for once like an actual princess.
These are the words Haziel speaks to the people of Salem and their king as the orange sun sinks below the horizon. In after-years this sermon becomes known as the Sunset Discourse:
HAZIEL: Chokhmah is a lamp whose light is these words. The darker your thoughts, the further from Chokhmah you go. Sha who is far from Chokhmah is no better off than hy who denies Chokhmah.
HAZIEL: Celebrities are known by many nephilim and are called famous, but sha who embraces Chokhmah sets an example by har deeds and is called influential.
HAZIEL: Yeng are said to be superior to the animals because they can control their own environment, but sha who embraces Chokhmah can control har own behavior.
HAZIEL: The wealthy accumulate many riches but cannot keep all of them safe. Sha who embraces Chokhmah has few desires, and so holds on to all that sha has.
HAZIEL: Thieves take from those who do not have enough to supplement their own bounty, but sha who embraces Chokhmah diminishes the overflowing to enrich the impoverished.
HAZIEL: The moralist sits back in judgment of the causes of a tragedy, but sha who embraces Chokhmah is too busy mercifully addressing the needs at hand to render judgment.
HAZIEL: The judge demands to see evidence of good in others, but sha who embraces Chokhmah does good in this moment, and does not live for yesterday or for tomorrow.
HAZIEL: A strong yang can do hy wills to do, but hy cannot determine what hy wills. Sha who embraces Chokhmah makes har own awareness of injustice the determinant of har actions.
HAZIEL: The boastful put their riches and knowledge on parade, but sha who embraces Chokhmah does not tell all that sha has, nor all that sha can do.
HAZIEL: The proud would rather break than bend in pliable humility and admit error, but sha who embraces Chokhmah considers those who point out har faults as her greatest teachers.
HAZIEL: Traditionalists would teach an old thing before cultivating a new thing, but sha who embraces Chokhmah finds that creativity is the coin to buy har way.
HAZIEL: Leaders examine who speaks rather than listen to what is said, but sha who embraces Chokhmah knows that half of a conversation is listening.
HAZIEL: Warriors retaliate for suffering an indignity by committing yet another indignity, but sha who embraces Chokhmah knows the greatest revenge is not to be like hym who did the injury. The greatest conqueror is sha who has conquered harself.
Haziel finishes delivering the Sunset Discourse and heals many of the people who came to hear har speak. After that King Melchiyahu bids Haziel to visit the throne room for a semi-private talk. Haziel enters the castle and draws near to the throne.
MELCHIYAHU: Lady Haziel, when you repeatedly say, sha who embraces Chokhmah do you mean to say that no yang can become your disciple?
HAZIEL: Not at all, Your Majesty. When I speak in those terms, I wish to convey an image. As a rule, yin are much gentler than yeng. A yang that admires Chokhmah will have a gentle heart, like a yin, because hy sees others around hym as another I yet hy will retain his strength and hyz male nephilim nature, as hy rightly should.
MELCHIYAHU: Thank you for explaining that, Lady Haziel. For it seems to me that for many years my own daughter had a fierce heart, yet in recent days sha has come to admire your teachings, and it has gentled har. This gladdens me.
HAZIEL: The King is aware that one in six nephilim are born with a preference to use the left hand, Haziel says, and at first both the King and the Princess are puzzled by this apparent non sequitur. But Haziel continues. This is not a matter of choice, there is an element of chance that is a part of every birth, otherwise all of our sons would look exactly alike, and of our daughters would also be identical. Allow me to demonstrate.
And Haziel thrusts first har left hand into a nearby jar of assorted dried fruits, then har right hand. Sha opens both hands to show the King.
HAZIEL: If you count the number of fruits I have in each hand, and their kinds, you will see they are not exactly the same sets. This is similar to what happens with every birth as well. And yet, because left-handers are a minority, our culture traditionally ascribes their preference to evil. We speak of the left hand of the damned and there are many charlatans who profess to change this preference to the so-called normal one.
Haziel returns the delicacies to the jar, but retains one to eat. Then Khondiel and her father realize exactly what Haziel is speaking about. Haziel has been oblique, to avoid offending them in front of the courtiers.
MELCHIYAHU: There are other desires that must have the same random cause as left and right hand orientation. There can be no moral culpability for any of these inclinations. We should love these nephilim without condition!
KHONDIEL: (beaming): Thank you, my father and King.
HAZIEL: Princess Khondiel, you are who you are. Good for you! Lucky you! Never try to undo that and live a lie because someone says your ancestors would not approve.
Prince Melchizedek, the son of the King and newly returned from Earth, is moved to speak.
MELCHIZEDEK: Lady Haziel, never have I known a yin with such wisdom and grace. Who are you? How did you come to know such things?
HAZIEL (drawing near to hym): Who am I? Prince Melchizedek, years ago you were commanded by your father the King to travel to the other world and find a human candidate for a student of Chokhmah according to precise specifications that came from Thaumiel himself, but ultimately from Chokh-
MELCHIZEDEK: What? How do you know this?
MELCHIYAHU: My son found a man on Earth by the name of Abram, but he re-
fused to accept the offer. Abrams’ loyalty to his own fathers well-being exceeded any loyalty to what was, to him, an unknown god. My son found no other matches, and he has only recently returned.
Haziel causes a large bubble to appear in the throne room, touching the floor but taller than any yang. Through it, from every angle, the members of the King’s audience can see Harran on distant Earth. Gasps of shock and surprise are heard. Even the heat of the desert seeps from the bubble to filter into the King’s chamber.
HAZIEL: Prince Melchizedek, know that Terah, the father of Abram, is dead. Return to Earth at once and fulfill the task as your father once commanded you.
Melchizedek looks from Haziel to hyz father and has naught to say.
HAZIEL: Make haste, and think not to take anything that you think you will need, for I myself will provide them for you.
MELCHIYAHU: Proceed as Lady Haziel commands, son, only accept Guriel and Iofiel here as your new subordinates, for Zophiel and Kemuel have reached early yenghood, and I have released them from their service to you.”
The name Iofiel means Beauty of God, and Guriel means Whelp of God.Together with Melchizedek they enter the bubble, and as soon as they do, the bubble is gone.
The question of Haziel’s identity has been answered in a spectacular fashion. The king hymself approaches har and bows to har on one knee. Haziel bids hym to rise.
HAZIEL: Yes, I am the holy one you call Chokhmah, but for my part I call you my Students, not my Servants. I am quite different from Thaumiel in this respect.
Hearing this, the King rises.
MELCHIYAHU: My daughter has expressed to me her strong desire to become your leading student, Lady Haziel, or Chokhmah if you wish.
HAZIEL: Call me Haziel, please, Your Majesty. I have not yet formally gathered disciples to myself, and if I did, it would be a far greater commitment than a few hours a day away from this castle. Sha might be asked to travel to the other lands of Barbelo, or perhaps even to the other world where har brother has just now returned in the sight of everyone here. Would you, Princess Khondiel, be willing to part with your father for years, decades, perhaps even for half a lifetime? Consider hyz age. It might be the case that you would part from hym and never be reunited.
KHONDIEL: I am willing to do so, Lady Haziel, and more, I would put my Fallen Angels entirely at your disposal.
MELCHIYAHU: Take Princess Khondiel to learn at your side, Lady Haziel. I beg this of you, for I deem that you will return to me a daughter who is more fit to be called a Princess of this city.
HAZIEL: In that event, Your Majesty, I will take Khondiel to be my first disciple.
Sha bows deeply, a goddess paying homage to a king, and the audience is concluded.
King Melchiyahu arranges for Haziel to spend the night in the castle. The next morning Haziel summons har avatar once more to the city of Salem, and sha takes Khondiel in a suborbital flight to har abode in distant Anshar, but ever the two remain chaste, and sleep separately one from the other.
Years after Prince Melchizedek first visited the crossroads town of Harran, Old Man Terah, father of Abram, can still sometimes be seen moving around inside his idol shop near the towns central market square. His well-to-do son has done much to keep his fathers body and soul together, but Terah is very feeble now, and he works in his shop only very slowly. One night as he is working late he is startled by a sudden sharp pain in his head, stands up, and drops his chisel. He collapses to the floor of his shop with a fatal stroke, but this is witnessed by no one. Only in the morning is his body discovered.
Sheep and cattle roam the grasslands a number of leagues away from Harran. Abram is walking in the field with his flocks when a messenger runs up to him and speaks. Abram looks alarmed and turns to follow the messenger back to the place where Abram has set up his tent.
A few days later Terah’s body is lowered into a tomb in Harran as many others look on. Stones are moved into place over Terah’s body. Abram speaks to the people gathered there.
ABRAM: My father is dead. Nothing remains now to tie me to Harran.I will now take my wife, my son Isaac, all the livestock we have raised, and also as many of you who agree to remain under my employ. Spread the word to those of our people who are not here. We will leave this place forever. As much as I loved my father this town is sick with false gods.
ISAAC (the young son of Abram): Where will we go, father?”
ABRAM: We will journey by the road southwest, to the land of Canaan. I have come to believe the true God wills that we should dwell there. When it was revealed to me I could not obey this divine will before because my father could not travel very far, and he could not survive without me. But now he is gone.
Then Abram takes his extraordinarily beautiful wife Sarai, his son Isaac, all the livestock they have raised, and all the people from Harran who agree to remain under Abrams leadership, and they travel southwest to the land of Canaan, which lies beyond the winding river that begins on the snows of Mount Hermon and ends in the Salt Sea.
A number of days after Abram and his people have left, Prince Melchizedek reaches the town of Harran with his two servants. They see Terah’s idol shop is empty. Melchizedek inquires of the townspeople about Terah and Abram.Soon they too are on the road south and west, following Abram and his herds. It is not difficult to find him, because his business has a wide geographical footprint, made even wider by the drought.
At Sechem, Melchizedek and his yeng approach Abram at the center of his flock. When Abram sees them he approaches, bows reverently.
ABRAM: You see? I obeyed the call of God after all!
MELCHIZEDEK: I am Melchizedek. I was sent by the one you seek with your innermost heart, none other than the Most High God. And yet I swear to you Abram that God also needs you. And God has said, `I will give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abram to be their inheritance forever.’
Then Abram is suddenly moved by a religious impulse all his own. He claps his hands once and turns to his servants.
ABRAM: Bring to me the best animals in my flock.
Then Abram, aided by other servants, constructs an altar of stones. His servants kill the animals and lay them on Abram’s altar.
ABRAM: In the name of Chokhmah, the most high God of heaven and Earth. Then he sets fire to the animals and makes a burnt offering in the presence of Melchizedek and Iofiel and Guriel.
Melchizedek and Abram go for a walk, and when it is night, Melchizedek asks Abram to look at the stars and see if he can count them.
MELCHIZEDEK: So shall your descendants be.
There are only about six thousand stars visible to the unaided human eye but Abram immediately gets the point. Chokhmah agrees to reward Abram with countless progeny and help them thrive in the land of Canaan.Abram agrees to worship only Chokhmah as God and trust that she would always do what she said she would do. That is the basis of the first covenant between the elohim and human beings, the first contract made between the divine and the mortal on something like an equal basis.
On Barbelo Thaumiel never concludes a similar covenant, for he considers the nephilim there to be nothing more than his servants. Slaves obey or they are punished, they didn’t make covenants with gods.
Abram is the head of a large nomadic clan and possesses great riches. He is already living in the golden age as far as he is concerned. Abram does not pine away for salvation or an afterlife. Abram has already lived a full and blessed life here. He accepts that he is mortal like everything else in the world, from mayflies to olive trees, and the only thing left that Chokhmah can promise him is that his name and his blood would be carried into a future without limit by a people who would live in the land he has ventured to reach.