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, 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 har 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 says, “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-support for any passengers like the avatar of Chokmhah 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.
When Zadkiel arrives outside the city hy begins to preach. “Thus says Thaumiel, ‘Chokhmah! My wife! For your bride price I created all things, land and sea, beasts and 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. Hy says, “’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 answeres 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.
King Melchiyahu says, “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 says to hym, “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 asks Zadkiel to lay out the real danger.
Zadkiel says, “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 says, “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.”
“Then will you move against this Haziel yin, Sire?”
The King notes that the idiot failed to discern hyz sarcastic snark. “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 har 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.