TC1D

TC1D-TRIAL

Even as Thaumiel aids Chokhmah to establish a covenant people on Earth, he implacably opposes her doing the same thing on Barbelo. For years Haziel, the nephilim avatar of Chokhmah, has been safeguarded in the city of Salem by King Melchiyahu, even as Thaumiel positions an army to take Haziel by force (or kill har in the effort), but now Melchiyahu is dead and hyz son Melchizedek has returned from Earth to become king. Thaumiel has stayed his attack, waiting to see what the new king will do.

Haziel wishes to bring matters to a head, and sha wishes to do so without bringing harm to the city of Salem, so sha counsels Melchizedek to turn har over to Thaumiel’s mouthpiece Zadkiel. Things would have been difficult for Melchizedek if hyz sister (and Haziel’s closest disciple) Princess Khondiel had been present to protect har good friend and teacher. But Haziel has sent Khondiel and all har Fallen Angels away to bring a collection of food to a hungry village far from Salem, and this provides a narrow window of opportunity for King Melchizedek to send Haziel outside the city gates and invite Zadkiel and the Eyes of Thaumiel to scoop har up.

Haziel is placed naked in a cubical wooden cage and taken by cart to the city of Thaumiel. There after many humiliations sha is put through a public trial to incriminate harself by har own words so there would be no doubt among the people that har teachings blasphemed Thaumiel, the god of House Gerash.

The voice of Thaumiel, Lord Zadkiel, serves as the prosecutor, while Princess Khondiel, through a special waiver in the law of the city forbidding women to work and to speak, serves in her defense. High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel Gerash himself serves as judge, jury, and executioner.

The charge is insurrection. Specifically, Haziel is accused of inciting infidelity to Thaumiel. As in any theocracy, to sin against god is exactly equivalent to breaking the law.

The ordeal wears on for days as Zadkiel attempts to trip Haziel up with riddle-words, but hy is dealing with an advanced composite being, both eloah and nephilim, and Haziel has a suitable answer at every turn. Haziel alone, even before har possession by Chokhmah, would have been able to handle hym. Zadkiel is too stupid to realize hy is being soundly beaten in an intellectual sense by Haziel’s rhetoric. But Haziel suspects that none of this will matter in the end. The outcome of the trial is surely fixed.

Zadkiel turns to the words of Haziel’s famous Sunset Discourse in Salem, which has been preserved as scripture in a growing collection of scrolls called the Buron. Hy zeros in on something that even Melchiyahu had wondered about.

ZADKIEL
I find it interesting that you always say sha who embraces Chokhmah meaning yin, and obviously excluding yeng. Do you imply that all yin are your disciples, and no yeng can be?

HAZIEL
Sadly, no, the patriarchal mind-set is not confined to your gender. By these things you shall know a yin is not my disciple Sha is caught up in every fad and does not affirm har uniqueness. Sha grows annoyed at situations sha cannot help, and so sha is perpetually angry. Controversies that divide the people and stir up the disciples attract har. Assuredly, no yin who does these things can call harself Chokhmah’s follower. And any yang who does not do these things may be on the path to considering hymself Chokhmah’s follower.

ZADKIEL
And yet, contrary to the Code of Thaumiel you employ your disciples at labor, and even call them Fallen Angels, which some say is really an army of females. An army of females! Such a ridiculous contradiction has never existed in all of the history of our world.

HAZIEL
The army of a patriarch gathers the wealth and scatters the people. The Fallen Angels scatter the wealth and gather the people.

ZADKIEL
So you espouse income redistributionism?

HAZIEL
I espouse only giving yen work that draws them together in service of their sisters. There is no overlap with the work of yeng.

ZADKIEL
Sisters, sisters, sisters! Where do yeng fit into your schemes, Haziel?

HAZIEL
Just as nephilim were called out of the lower animals to have a closer relationship with the elohim, Chokhmah has called the Fallen Angels out of the nephilim that they may unite and nourish other yin and one another.”

ZADKIEL
Do you mean lesbian separatism? I point out that such a thing is considered completely unnatural by all our ancient traditions, even if the commandments of Thaumiel make no mention of it.

HAZIEL
It is natural to stink. It is our frequent bathing and use of perfumes that are unnatural. No one suggests turning back the clock on personal hygiene. To the Fallen Angels, the word unnatural simply means not on the level of animals.

Zadkiel runs completely out of arguments. He tells the judge there are no further questions. The judge orders a recess before the defense can begin.

KHONDIEL
(in private) I think I can handle this Zadkiel fellow just fine, but why do I have to? I saw how you simply conjured up a bubble and sent my brother to Earth. Why not conjure up another bubble and walk out of here?

HAZIEL
You don’t understand, Khondiel. On Barbelo, Thaumiel controls the position of his endpoint of the fold-line absolutely. I told him I was ready to send Melchizedek back to Earth immediately and the bubble appeared.

KHONDIEL
Thaumiel does as you bid?

HAZIEL
In that project on Earth we are united.But in this trial here on Barbelo we most certainly are not. Do not be afraid, Khondiel. I am confident that you will do well.

Although sha is not trained to act as a legal advocate, Princess Khondiel has been a good student of Haziel, and har spirited defense would have been more than adequate to secure Haziel’s release in any other court on any world.

At first sha focuses on the fact that the Code of Thaumiel had come well after Haziel began to teach, spitting Zadkiel’s own words back at hym when hy first began to preach in Salem. Khondiel concluded that clearly the Code of Thaumiel had come after Haziel’s ministry had taken root on Barbelo, and might even have been introduced purely in reaction to her teachings.

KHONDIEL
At no time in our history have we ever condemned a person for committing actions that were made illegal after the offense. And even if that is to be the case in this instance, there is still the question of jurisdiction. Haziel was apprehended just outside the walls of Salem, in lands ruled absolutely by my brother King Melchizedek. It is said the scepter is given to a king without repentance, short of war, of which there has been none, which in turn makes this trial itself illegal.

All these objections and many more are allowed to spool out until Judge Kirodiel grows tired of each one in turn and instructs the princess to move on to har next one. The unfairness of the situation begins to grind Khondiel down, but Haziel takes it all calmly. The important thing is not so much the outcome, which is certainly predetermined, but that the people in the courtroom see the injustice of the whole thing.

As the defense of Haziel draws to a close, Khondiel puts Haziel on the stand and swears har to veracity.

KHONDIEL
Lady Haziel, despite all the evidence we have heard for the charge of impiety toward Thaumiel, you still maintain your innocence. How can this be?

HAZIEL
For most wives on Barbelo it is not a powerful decision to stay married, because har only alternative is to starve. In the same way, it cannot be a powerful decision to worship Thaumiel anywhere in the Middle Land, because the alternative is a trial and execution.

KHONDIEL
So my Lady, you contend that any piety which is compelled by law is invalid?

HAZIEL
Precisely. Such piety is as phony as the love found in many, if not most, patriarchal marriages, as I indicated. How much more vital is the love of two people who are utterly free to stay or to part, yet who still choose to stay together! Does that sound risky? Living dangerously is the very thing that lends excitement and significance to our lives. Only with conflict can we flare with incentive to create a new destiny.

ZADKIEL
(in cross-questioning) New destiny? Doesn’t that go against everything we have been taught about the inexorable workings of fate?”

HAZIEL
Thaumiel once told Chokhmah that to take fate into ones own hands was to rise beyond good and evil. In reality, a rock and a tree are beyond good and evil, and so is everyone suborned to the laws of cause and chance. Rocks, trees, and people who are not permitted, or refuse, to make a choice are amoral. Not immoral, mind you, but amoral. The entire field of ethics simply doesn’t apply to them.

ZADKIEL
So you don’t think High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel Gerash ought to legislate morality?

HAZIEL
Not that he ought not legislate morality to but that he literally cannot. Its a logical absurdity, like a three-sided rectangle.

Zadkiel stands down.

KHONDIEL
The defense rests.

The trial wraps up with a judgment entirely against Haziel, to no one’s surprise except perhaps Princess Khondiel, who was allowed to pay one final visit to har client in the dungeons beneath the Temple of Thaumiel before the sentence is to be carried out.

The first few minutes are spent in a wordless embrace, as best as can be managed through intervening iron bars. Then Khondiel glances around, assuring herself that their attorney-client privilege of private counsel, no matter how brief, is still inviolate.

KHONDIEL
Guilty! And a sentence of death. I cant believe it Haziel. So what’s your plan?

HAZIEL
Plan? There is no plan. Look around you Khondiel! Look at this security.

Haziel reaches through the bars again to touch her friend’s face.

HAZIEL
They’ve been planning this thing for years. And that trial? It all stinks of Thaumiel moving behind the scenes. He wants something from me. It only remains for Thaumiel to lay it all out in the open. He has another much easier way to communicate with me but he refuses to use it.

KHONDIEL
What if you’re wrong? Granted, that’s not very often, but if you are wrong then I say we fall back to my plan.

HAZIEL
(narrowing har eyes) Khondiel, don’t do anything stupid. Better yet, don’t do anything at all.

They are interrupted by Khondiel’s escorting guard, a kind but unswervingly loyal yang.

GUARD
I’m sorry, that’s all the time I am permitted to give you.

Hy takes Khondiel by the arm and gently but insistently steers her out of the chamber.

HAZIEL
(calling out after har) Khondiel! Just drop it, do you hear me?

But then Haziel sighs, knowing the princess all too well.

After Khondiel is escorted away Haziel’s next visitor is the prophet Zadkiel, who comes down into the dungeon and moves very close to Haziel’s cell to look directly into her eyes. Hy studies har quietly for a long time.

ZADKIEL
Thaumiel sends his regards . . . Chokhmah.

HAZIEL
What gave it away?

ZADKIEL
In the court transcript Thaumiel could not help but notice you used for your defense certain private conversations known only to himself and Chokhmah. But that is not the only thing. The Lord Thaumiel has also learned, after the fact, that you put on something of a conjuring act just before he sent the fold-door to Salem to whisk Melchizedek away. Only Chokhmah could have timed things so.

HAZIEL
Point conceded. If you have spoken to Thaumiel then you already know only too well I can choose to end my own life at any time. No threat of death or torment can make me do his bidding, let alone the bidding of one of his slaves.

ZADKIEL
Oh, a martyr is the last thing we want, Haziel. Unfortunately, your friend Princess Khondiel has har mind quite made up. Do you really think the Eyes of Thaumiel are unaware of the preparations sha has made to rescue you?

Haziel frowns at this, for sha harself is in the dark as to Khondiel’s plan.

HAZIEL
What does sha have in mind?

ZADKIEL
You will be proud when you see it unroll. Fallen Angel commandos! Guards taken out with a head twist. Secret disguises and safe houses from here to the edge of the city. But as you’ve probably surmised just now, its a trap. That way we catch Khondiel red-handed, scoop up key Fallen Angels, and crush your whole movement over the span of a single night. Then you yourself are to be broken and braided on the wheel with no one left to rally around your rotting corpse.

HAZIEL
Khondiel may be young and female, but don’t underestimate anyone who has spent three years under my wing. And don’t sell Khondiel’s Fallen Angels short either.

ZADKIEL
Well as it happens the Lord Thaumiel has a far better plan that will save the lives of Khondiel and all of her Fallen Angels, and it doesn’t require you to do physically do anything except refrain from terminating your own life. If you agree, your sentence of death will be set aside and Khondiel has no reason to carry out her suicide run. Instead, we shall parade you captive in a cage through every city, town, and village in the Middle Land.

Haziel knows that it would have precisely the opposite effect, but takes the opportunity to bluff.

HAZIEL
No! That would have the effect of discrediting me and everything that I have taught. I refuse.

ZADKIEL
Haziel, you must not refuse, because the alternative is Khondiel, remember? Har plan?

Haziel sighs, and makes a show of hanging har head.

HAZIEL
So no End of Cycle? Is that all Mastema requires?

ZADKIEL
No, the Lord requires just one other thing from you, and that is the secret of merging with a living avatar, as you have done with the body of this glassblower’s daughter.

HAZIEL
I can give him the secret, but I cannot be responsible if he abuses it. He risks dissolution.

ZADKIEL
Let the Lord Thaumiel judge if that is true.

In the end Haziel has to accept the humiliation because it really is the only alternative open to her. She has no fear of execution or torture. If her body is destroyed she would live on for many lifetimes of yin as the star Sol. For Haziel was no longer solely nephilim, and Chokhmah was no longer solely an eloah, but both were a single hybrid being. However Haziel did have an intense fear that har friends would attempt to rescue her from execution, and knowing the efficiency of the Eyes of Thaumiel it would mean certain capture and a slow and bitter death for Khondiel and all the Fallen Angels sha led.

So Haziel agrees not to commit suicide. Sha agrees to give Thaumiel the procedure for taking possession of a world-dweller. And he claims the body of none less than High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel Gerash, and thus comes to rule the house of the White Beards directly.

From the moment sha is ejected from the city Khondiel never ceases plotting to get Haziel free of Zadkiel’s bondage.

Far in the west of the lands claimed by family Gerash, on the Western Sea at the mouth of the river Dashok lies the city of Salem. Many yen from the city of Thaumiel remove to there, and some of these join Princess Khondiel’s Fallen Angels, a fierce army of female warriors that is utterly without precedent on Barbelo. Many yeng go to Salem as well, those who believe all nephilim are on a level, and yen should never be treated as mere property. Salem, then, is a “liberal” city, home to those who are disgusted and horrified at the sight of Haziel being paraded naked in a wooden cage across the chilly Middle Lands of Barbelo.

As Salem fills up with the enemies of Thaumiel, the prophet Zadkiel surrounds the city with many Eyes of Thaumiel in their black livery, and they turn back anyone who is not native to that city and try to enter. Princess Khondiel has rallied all in the Middle Lands who are sympathetic to Haziel and are willing to make the journey to Salem. But now the time is come for har to try to enter the city harself, yet sha cannot not travel openly, for the blockade is pursued with vigor.

But one of the farmers who lives nigh to the city conceals Khondiel within a wooden box and drives to the lines of the Eyes of Thaumiel who ring the city. There no wagons are permitted to pass. But the farmer and three sturdy dirks in hyz employ take the box off the wagon and bear it themselves toward the city using two poles threaded through brass rings on the side of the box while another yang drives the wagon back to the farm. Yet they are not alone, for many other farmers must resort to the same expedient to move their goods into the city.

One of the Eyes of Thaumiel grows suspicious and barks to the yeng carrying Khondiel.

EYE
What yang of you be the loadmaster?

The three dirks let the box fall and edge fearfully away from oldest among them.

SIBIEL
This shipment be mine, lord. I am Sibiel, a farmer of the valley of Odargas.

EYE
Dost thou make vouchsafement for the goods thou bearest?

SIBIEL
I do, milord.”

EYE
Yet I would see therein.

Sibiel suddenly looks crestfallen. Resigned, hy tells the dirks to open the box. Haziel’s closest disciple Khondiel tumbles out, dazed by the sudden change from darkness to the light of day. The other three laborers feign outrage at the smuggling attempt in an effort to save their own skins.

EYE
Stand ye apart from Sibiel, all who value your lives, for contrary to the will of Thaumiel hy bearest aid to the fugitive sister of King Melchizedek to enter Salem.

But Khondiel is not cowed by the pretensions of this so-called Eye of Thaumiel. Sha curses hym in a loud voice.

KHONDIEL
May Chokhmah send down fire from heaven and smite thee and all thy companions!

At first the farmers from Odargas think the princess is joking, but immediately after sha speaks, brilliant orange bolts of fire shoot down from the clear sky. So bright and hot is this fire that the yeng think their own eyebrows have been burnt off. The fire from the sky vaporizes twelve Eyes of Thaumiel in a single simultaneous targeted strike, leaving only smoking grease spots where the yeng once had stood.

In fine, Chokhmah sent fire down from heaven and smote the Eye of Thaumiel and all hyz companions.

And Princess Khondiel, after thanking Sibiel and hyz farm hands and paying them well, advances to the ferry to cross to Salem unmolested.

But the priesthood soon notices the missing Eyes of Thaumiel, and the true story is wrung out from witnesses by torment and threats of torment. The priests learn that bolts of fire from the sky killed a dozen Eyes of Thaumiel. And when Kirodiel hears what happened hy knows the attack was direct interference from Chokhmah, the first such meddling that hyz daughter has dared to do with her avatar on Barbelo.

Thaumiel speaks to his prophet Zadkiel that evening in the part of the castle where he parks his own flying avatar.

KIRODIEL
I am confronted with a pair of dilemmas. Just as I, Thaumiel, have taken possession of this male body and go by the name Kirodiel, so has the eloah Chokhmah taken possession of that yin’s body and goes by the name of Haziel. And yet I have commanded you to preach that I am the only god, and that other gods do not exist.

ZADKIEL
And you may trust, Lord, that as your prophet I will foster and maintain that belief among the people.

KIRODIEL
You must take the utmost care where Haziel is concerned, for sha is indeed Chokhmah, one of the elohim, despite my propaganda to the contrary, which you at least would do well not to believe. The cage is necessary, because I am trying to discredit Haziel as a nephil, and…for other reasons. The people must not come to believe this yin named Haziel is in union with an eloah.

But even as hy speaks Kirodiel is troubled, because hy knows Zadkiel has come to believe that hyz struggle against Haziel means that Chokhmah herself should be held in contempt, which is the impulse of the world-dwellers when dealing with enemies among their own order. Yet Chokhmah is an eloah like hymself, and friend or foe, hy thought the world-dwellers should give her the respect that was her due. Thaumiel would not tolerate the slightest contempt from Zadkiel in the direction of Chokhmah.

KIRODIEL
My other dilemma centers around the narrative I have constructed that yin are unwarlike, and are to be treated as mere property. Khondiel and har so-called Fallen Angels, who are without peer on Barbelo, contradict this narrative every day. They cannot be permitted to continue, and yet when it comes down to it, who is really worthy to confront them?

ZADKIEL
Surely my Lord makes a ridiculous joke.

Kirodiel continues to explain things to Zadkiel, as though hyz prophet had not interrupted at all. Hyz mouth screws up in an expression of utter disdain.

KIRODIEL
Khondiel has exactly one weakness. Khondiel’s only weakness, of course, is Haziel harself. And so I am willing to tolerate the indignity of a human incarnation of an eloah being caged like a beast, because I assure you that is the only thing staying the annihilation of this army by the Fallen Angels. Yet it is also the only thread that will assure the destruction of the Fallen Angels. Now listen carefully, and I will give you your orders.

So Kirodiel gives Zadkiel a detailed strategy, but the only thing that really stands out in Zadkiel’s mind is hyz instructions on what to do with the Salemites

KIRODIEL
Make the inhabitants of the city of Salem to be a spoil for dogs and all manner of birds, and let the will of Thaumiel be brought to fulfillment!

At dusk in the city of Salem, in the castle Brys which is built on a two ji high bluff on the north side of the mouth of the river Dashok, Khondiel presents harself for an audience with har brother King Melchizedek. Sha goes with two of har chief lieutenants who have preceded har to Salem by many days. The king has not seen hyz sister face-to-face since hy was unceremoniously dispatched back to Earth, and hy longs to embrace har as a sibling would, yet this is a formal audience, and further hy wishes to see what influence Haziel has wrought in har.

After Khondiel is announced and kneels before hym, the King tells har to rise. Then hy looks hard at Khondiel with a piercing gaze.

MELCHIZEDEK
It gladdens my heart to see you again, sister. I find the counsel of the gods has sundered them one from another. Once I was sent to the other world to serve both of them, but now as king of this city I have been forced to choose between them. And know this, Princess Khondiel I have chosen to stand with Chokhmah.

KHONDIEL
My brother the King knows that I embrace Chokhmah and all those who also embrace her. And further the King knows hyz sister is filled with unbreakable love for hym, and is loyal to a fault. Therefore, my brother and King, if you will, command me.

MELCHIZEDEK
The Eyes of Thaumiel long pressured our father to turn Haziel over to them when sha dwelt here, and now that our father is dead and Haziel taken, they also demand as prisoners the Fallen Angels who have taken refuge here in Salem. They have closely watched the approaches to my city for your own return, but now I detect almost a frenzy in their doings. The ferrymaster could tell me little. Do you know why they are acting so?

KHONDIEL
Yes I do know, brother. There was a kind of demonstration that Haziel and I arranged for the benefit of witnesses.

MELCHIZEDEK
Then you have been in contact with har?

KHONDIEL
Zadkiel is stupid and sloppy, brother. I can (and have) get in contact with Haziel at will.

MELCHIZEDEK
What happened at the ferry dock?

KHONDIEL
In a show of pretense I called upon Chokhmah to smite the Eyes of Thaumiel when they discovered me and sought to kill the kind farmer who tried to smuggle me into the city. Then fire fell from heaven and destroyed twelve Eyes of Thaumiel utterly, such that no evidence remained that they had been living nephilim only moments before. Forgive me if this has constrained your counsels, Sire, but it was the only way to break through the lines.

MELCHIZEDEK
Then it is clear that Thaumiel will now be openly at war with us, and Salem can no longer be called a sanctuary to you, nor to your Fallen Angels, nor any of the people within our walls. Soon every hand of family Gerash will be raised against us.

KHONDIEL
Then are you to command me and the Fallen Angels to leave the city at this time, dear brother?

MELCHIZEDEK
Far from it, Khondiel. I would ask you to command your Fallen Angels in league with the forces of the city, for soon the Army of Thaumiel will arrive seeking vengeance for their missing Eyes of Mastema.

And this Khondiel most eagerly agreed to do.