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Not many days after Lael’s death in the new colony in Haaretz, about sixteen years after the migration from Judah, Elam and Lemuel grow angry with Rosh. The admonitions of their dead father still come out of Rosh’s mouth at regular intervals. The old man is dead, may he rest in peace, but here is little Rosh spouting Laelisms as though the old man somehow lived on through his third son.

Rosh’s older brothers seek to take his life because they will not have their younger brother rule over them. Before they can carry out this foul deed, however, Rosh flees into the wilderness with all who are willing to go with him. Rosh takes his own family, and also Zethan and his family, and Timon with his family, and Jared his younger brother who was the first Laelite born on Barbelo, and also the sisters of Rosh.

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

A great religious controversy is born in the parting of Rosh that would result in much bloodshed. For Rosh takes the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the White Scroll, and the Ark also possesses a kind of compass or director, which is one of the two decorative cherubim on the golden lid of the box. This director points to the way they should go and begins to spin when they should halt.

The people in Rosh’s group descend from the broad upland around Shedal southwest to the great sea Thalury. When they arrive at a point on the coast where much fish can be obtained, the pointer angel on the Ark begins to spin in contentment. Rosh names this area Suhair.

They plant seed on the gentle slopes inland from shore and raise flocks of animals on the golden hills that rise north and east of the sea. Rosh also makes many blades of bronze, “Lest by any means the Elamites should come upon us and destroy us.”

As Chokhmah had foreseen, many people come from elsewhere in Haaretz to approach the Ark of the Covenant. They come to speak directly to Chokhmah and also to receive his commands. Some of these pilgrims are commanded by Chokhmah to remain among the people under Rosh and mingle their blood with them.

Then one day it becomes the turn for Rosh’s brother Jared to write in the White Scroll that preserves their history, because Rosh has grown old and he sees that he will soon die. After the death of Rosh some of the Roshites journey up the coast to the place where it forms a narrow strait with the Isle they called Elendal lying off-shore, and some of these people mingle with the indigenous peoples along the way. Most of the native nephilim of the area are Gold Beards of the House of Sala, and they make their homes along the seashore. But Jared and most of the Roshites push ever on until they reach a large river that pours from the east directly into the strait. There the Roshites found a settlement called Akamar.

The White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant passes down from Jared to his son Jachin, then to his grandson Omar and also to his great-grandson Abidan. And when Abidan has grown old and feeble, it is deemed by the people that Akamar has 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 Elamites, King Baruch establishes 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 Roshites called their new homeland with it’s many islands and bays.

King Baruch has a son named Mered, and the king makes certain his son receives a good education. Mered meticulously studies the laws and histories recorded on the White Scoll, and Baruch tells his son that the scroll is the only thing keeping the Roshites from dwindling in unbelief like the Elamites on the plateau to the east.

Then comes the time when King Baruch wants to go into retirement. He tells his son to gather the people together outside of the city so he can make the announcement. But that will be just a formality. Baruch gives his son the actual reins of power immediately. Additionally he passes on to Mered the Ark of the Covenant.

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

The king speaks of his life in service to the people, and how he even labors with his own hands that the people would not be unduly burdened with taxes. Yet he does not bring this up to boast, only to affirm that he had really been in the service of Chokhmah all along. The King says he serves Chokhmah by serving his fellow human beings. And he also says that he only brings this to their mind to remind them that if he, their king, labored so much to serve the people, then how much more the people ought to labor to serve one another.

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

During the short span after his speech and before Baruch dies a detachment of Roshites return 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, goes to the king of the Elamites, King Arieh, and persuades him to let them stay in the land. Arieh gives them the land of Glenah after commanding the Elamites already dwelling in that land to depart. The people under Peresh live peacefully for twelve years, but King Arieh has deceived them and intends later to take the goods they produce by force.

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

Upon his death Captain Peresh bequeaths the land surrounding Glenah to his son Parnach and declares him to be a full king. But after a time King Parnach proves to be an evil man who taxes 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. With a wicked king to lead them, the people fall into wickedness as well.

The prophet Rekem of the tribe of Gad comes west to preach repentance to Parnach’s people, but he is imprisoned by the very people he preaches to. Rekem is taken in chains before King Parnach and his false priests. There Rekem delivers his final message and is executed by fire. As he is dying he prophesies that Parnach will suffer death in a similar manner.

One of the priests of Parnach, a young man named Neriah, believes Rekem’s words and pleads with the king to spare the prophet’s life. Neriah is cast out and forced to hide so that the servants of the king cannot kill him.

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

King Parnach’s evil and his oppression of the people continues. He even attempts to assail Neriah and his followers during a sermon. Neriah and his disciples then leave the vicinity of Glenah by secret ways in the forest to the east and the king’s army is unable to follow them. Neriah leads his people to a land hidden in the heart of Glenah Wood, where they prosper.

A small group of Parnach’s people become angry with him, including a man named Jaanai who swears to kill the king. They skirmish, and when Parnach sees that he is about to lose he flees to a tower. From the top of the tower he sees that an army of Elamites is about to attack and he convinces Jaanai to spare him so that he can lead the people to safety.

Parnach and his people flee, but they are unable to escape the Elamites. Parnach orders the men to leave their wives and children behind. Some do, while others do not. The families that remain intact are captured by the Elamites and marched back to Glenah, where they are taxed one half of all they own and one half of everything they produce. The Elamites then make Parnach’s son, Raddai, the king.

Those men who abandoned their families and stayed with Parnach soon regret their choice. They turn on Parnach and all his priests and burn them to death, fulfilling the prophesy of Rekem. The men then return to Glenah by stealth, determined to find out what had happened to their families and to avenge them or die with them. So they join Raddai’s people and no harm done. But Raddai, after a number of attempts to cast off the Elamite yoke, has to accept that he will serve only as a tributary king.

Years later King Mered, the son of Baruch, sends sixteen men led by his son Dishon to discover the fate of Captain Peresh and his followers. Dishon soon discovers the people of Raddai at Glenah and aids them all in escaping from the Elamites to Menkal in the west.

Once safe in Menkal, however, Neriah’s son Neriah the Younger and the sons of King Mered grow filled with zeal for a strict adherence to Yahweh as the only God. They persecute Neriah the Elder and his movement is first called the People of Binah at this time. But soon prophets from Hamar, fellow children of Israel, appear among them and demand they lay off Neriah the Elder. The foreign prophets are sufficiently persuasive that Neriah the younger and the sons of King Merad themselves became full converts to Binah.

King Mered’s two sons Dishon and Ginath refuse to accept the crown from their dying father, who insists that his sons renounce their Binah heresy before ascending to the throne. And so, without willing heirs, King Mered is 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 becomes the first Republic to exist on Barbelo.

Neriah the Younger, now a convert to Binah, becomes the first elected chief magistrate of the Judahites. King Mered gives to him the White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant, and King Mered soon passes away, on the same day that Neriah the Elder dies.

Dishon (with his wife Hatita) and Ginath (with his wife Junia) then undertake a mission to the east to preach Binah to the Elamites. Dishon and his wife are taken captive in Shedal, where they become servants of Prince Lamoni. There Dishon miraculously preserves the king’s flocks from predators and Prince Lamoni becomes a convert to Binah soon thereafter. Eventually even Lamoni’s father King Sarfael is converted to the People of Binah, he and his entire household. Then King Sarfael decrees religious freedom for all Elamites. Many people in the lands of Shedal, Glenah, and the cities within Glenah Wood all convert, and they began to call themselves Dishonites. After that, King Sarfael dies.

The unconverted Elamites prepare to make war against the apostates, but the Dishonites are so filled with remorse over the Roshite blood the Elamites have historically shed they are pacifist to the point of declining to even defend themselves. When the hard-core Elamites see the prone state of their prey they abort their attack, and many even convert to the People of Binah on the strength of the passive witness of their intended victims.

To the west, in Menkal, a merchant named Eliada tries to restore the kingship laid down by Mered, with himself as king, naturally. The people vote nay but his followers continue to regard him as king. After that, the Eliadaites wage war to seat their king by force, but a loyalist army soundly defeats them. Neriah the Younger personally slays Eliada.

Neriah then nominated a magistrate named Micah to replace him as chief magistrate, and this is confirmed by the people. Neriah has stepped down from the top job because he sees the people, much like Eliada, are becoming increasingly wicked, proud, disdainful of outsiders and neglectful toward the poor. Neriah fears the whole House of Rosh is on a path to self-destruction.

So after he resigns his post as chief magistrate Neriah begins traveling from city to city to preach directly to the Roshites.

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

After a renewed persecution by the unconverted Elamites, Dishon lead the Dishonites west to Menkal, where they are given land in the southern part of Elendal Island from a large stock of empty land that Chief Magistrate Micah always keeps on hand for just such emergencies. But General Rufus of the Elamites has tracked the missing Dishonites west. In the lower vale of the Menkal River the general gives battle against the Roshites but Captain Eshton of Akamar leads the Roshites to victory against the Elamite attackers.

When he has grown very old Neriah gives the White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant to his son, Rabsaris, for Chief Magistrate Micah is not a convert to Binah, and Neriah has not chosen to give the sacred relics to the man who has replaced him as leader of the people. Then Neriah is taken in slow stages by Issacharite priests to the Pool of Binah, where he is permitted to see the Land We Know before he dies. And his body is never found anywhere in Haaretz or Earth.

Micah promotes Captain Eshton and makes him the commanding general over all the Roshite armed forces in the face of an impeding general war with the Elamites. A large force of Elamites has gathered together at Grand Mound, led by General Azza and this force includes many Roshite dissenters who worship Chokhmah alone. The Elamite army attacks the Roshites in the land of Suhair and the battle rages north toward Akamar, ending on the banks of the Menkal River just south of the city. In the battle General Eshton’s forces protect themselves with finely molded body armor for the very first time in Barbelon history.

After winning the initial clash General Eshton sends spies east to the Great Plateau to investigate the Elamites’ weak points, and he moves his force by hidden animal tracks, known only to sympathetic locals, to surround the enemy. Then General Eshton marches forth under his Manifest of Freedom, a standard that he raises to rally the Roshites 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 Elamites to do it. General Eshton is so angry with the dissenters, who are led by a man named Paulus, that he tears his cloak and writes upon it, “In memory of Binah, our freedom, our peace, our wives, and our children.”

With these words he rallies the Roshites to defend their families and their liberty, chasing away the Elamites and the Roshite militias loyal to Paulus in the process. Any Roshite dissenters who manage to survive are put to death by Eshton. The Elamites are scattered to the east. Then Eshton raises the Manifest of Freedom upon every Roshite tower.

Soon there are many more such towers, for Eshton erects a fortified line of cities on the edge of the slope that forms the border between the Roshites and the Elamites. After that the Roshites greatly prosper, while the Elamites steadily diminish until they became little more than scattered bands of highway robbers. As the years wear on the borders of Menkal are gradually extended east to encompass Glenah Wood and they are extended south to a line between Mount Narutha and the mouth of the river Sabik. And it is said there never was a happier time, before or since, on any world, among any of the children of Israel.

After the city of Salem is throughly sub-divided and ruled absolutely, High Lord Patriarch Kirodiel Gerash and Lord Israel take the balance of their forces and sail over the Western Sea, then march to the place where the northern and southern ice come together, one of three such frozen barriers on Barbelo. There they divide their forces, leaving some to rebuild the garrison and ice stores that were so thoroughly annihilated by the avatar of Chokhmah when Princess Khondiel assailed them.
Then Kirodiel leads the army down into the West Lands, and it is the first such invasion by the forces of family Gerash against any other House since before the Great Deluge.

When the army of House Gerash is come nigh to the shoreline in the West Lands a full division of troops from the House of Bellon confronts them. The division was mobilized when Haziel presented aerial intelligence of the invasion to King Arman. And though House Gerash had overwhelming numbers on the field, Lord Kirodiel did not signal them to attack. The white flags of parley-truce were unfurled, and the High Lord Patriarch came forth together with Lord Israel to speak to the commander of the Bellon force.

Israel says to hym, “Thaumiel himself it is who stands against you. Do not hinder the faithful of the House of Gerash. Do not send your sons to thwart the justice of the Army of God, for on the Plain of Judgment they shall be consumed like dry grass! Yield up this Haziel interloper. Abandon your false deity Chokhmah and turn back to your first love, Thaumiel the All-Merciful, or the fire of his indignation shall devour your young!”

And the commanding Bellon general holds forth the rolled up scroll containing hyz written orders and replies, “Behold, Great Lords of the White Beards! I have been authorized by the King to accompany Hyz Excellency the High Lord Patriarch of the House of Gerash, or the great Lord Israel if hy so chooses, or both as it may be, to the city of Rumbek for a parley, hy and any reasonably-sized force Hyz Excellency might deem to be suitable to assure hyz protection. For it may not be known to Hyz Excellency that the sovereign heads of House Sala, Antero, and Larund are also convening in the city soon to take council with the King and Lady Haziel and the Princess Khondiel in exile.”

To this parley Israel agrees. Both armies leave the field unblooded. The Bellon division returns west, taking with them Israel and a single company, but not before Israel sends hyz forces north led by Kirodiel.

Under the command of the Gerash Patriarch the army comes to a bay which is the easternmost finger of the sea. Kirodiel sets a strong perimeter to catch any Bellon spies, then hy sets hyz whole army to work building many ships of war. Swiftly a great navy is built by the united forces of the whole House of Gerash, as insurance, lest the parley in Rumbek does not go to the liking of Lord Israel, which seems a certainty.

When everything was done in preparation for the Council of Royals and there remained only the impending arrival of the great Personages, Queen Aurra’s two serving wenches Luzea Cedarbranch and Aliwe Halil attain to the astonishing situation of having nothing to do. So they remove to a small empty nook above the great hall of the airy stone castle high enough to see everything and wait for the nobles to filter in. Whimsical Luzea, who speaks only in terribly bad rhyme, utters a verse then:

I sing of final days brought by White Beard.
When noble ones rose against what they feared.
Just close your eyes to watch them meet the King.
Mark two slave women who observe unseen.

Her more wary companion Aliwe laughs a bit at this, but then she says soberly, “If they catch us here avoiding work Queen Aurra will have us flogged until the skin hangs from our back in bloody strips!”

Shrugging, Luzea only continues her recitation:

Aliwe Halil is one slave girl’s name
And Luzea Cedarbranch is her flame.
They shirk their toil in Arman’s galley.
“There’s Brogan Antero!” says Aliwe.

Indeed King Brogan Antero of Vaska arrives at the Council first, accompanied by hez daughter Kari, and they look none the worse for their flight by dragon to Rumbek. King Arman has decreed that no weapons should be brought into the council chamber, save for the Dragonthorn alone, the ceremonial blade in the possession of Kari, which she wears in a scabbard on her back.

The Count Berek Antero follows the king into the chamber arm-in-arm with hyz wife Losna. Hy rules the city of Gerazan, the major Antero city which lies furthest from the Bellon lands on the lake which is snuggled at the far west of the West Lands. Gerazan was the breadbasket of House Antero and produces such a bounty that there exists a trade with House Larund beyond the ice.

Baron Priam Antero of Jelaket enters next, but no yin accompanies hym. The baron is the son of Baroness Vandriel Antero and the late Ichor Gerash, a spy of the House of Gerash who went native rather than passing through to the East Lands and carrying out hyz assignment against the Black Beards. The Eyes of Thaumiel subsequently sent more spies to assassinate Ichor, but hyz son Priam took much better precautions, and when hy had buried his father he swore eternal conflict with House Gerash. King Arman, suitably impressed, awarded hym the mountain city of Jelaket, which breeds the best horses on Barbelo, and supports most of the military forces of house Antero.

After that Lord Israel makes an unassuming entrance, a stroll without any pomp or wasted movements that says with no mistake that hy is first and foremost a solider. He comes with a mysterious black-clad, black-haired human female he introduces as “Joy” but that is clearly an ironic name, for her black lips never smile, and her black eyes seem to show forth upon her pale white face her icy heart within. And it is rumored that this Joy is a great sorceress from Earth immersed in the martial arts who comes as both bodyguard and concubine to Israel.

Luzea Cedarbranch is too frightened by this Joy, or possibly too fascinated, or both, to utter any verse.

Israel knows the aim of this council is nothing less than the formation of a league of all the houses on Barbelo, which together would be far stronger than the house of Gerash alone. If that alliance came to be, an intolerable peace would break out between the eternally warring states, and that in turn would spark an existential crisis for the White Beards. For House Gerash has shifted over to an economy based almost entirely on supplying arms to the other houses, or attending to the needs of those who manufactured those arms. Now, overnight, the entire basis of industry in the lands ruled by House Gerash could evaporate, unless this nascent league of kingdoms was stillborn. Israel would attend to that directly.

Next the delegation from House Sala enters the council chamber. Walking at the side of Queen Aurra is the Royal Consort Duke Evandr Sala. But again Luzea has no immediate comment. She would lampoon the Queen later during the meal, to her regret.

The Queen rules from Saharad, in the center of the largest, most fertile plain on all of Barbelo. It is easy to follow the trend. Left unchecked, House Sala would simply continue to grow until it outnumbered every other great family on the planet. Israel did not intend to leave House Sala unchecked.

Following the Queen is the Countess Ayani Sala, recent widow of Aldred Sala, which (after a suitable mourning period, of course) made har the most eligible bachelorette in the Land. Many at the Council, however, note the virtual eye-lock Ayani has with Count Priam Antero. Something is happening there, and Luzea is slightly disgusted because it is such a naked display of raw heterosexuality and there has only been two weeks since Count Aldred’s death. She says:

Make room in the Sala barn of prize stallions.
The countess eyes a two leg medallion!

Following the countess is har brother-in-law, Baron Bayard Sala of Thorgrim, who is also eligible for marriage among the noble class, but it is said hyz tastes ran more to meat of the commoner female variety, which is contrary to the long tradition of the Sala clan. The Queen knows hy was probably born that way yet she would sanction no union between har son and a completely different sub-species. Of the Baron, Luzea sings:

The Baron Bayard is food for many a talebearer.
Noblewomen have no chance, he finds urchins much fairer!

There is no particular order to which delegations come into the chamber, for it has been chosen by lots, lest some think the sequence represented the opinion of King Arman of which noble one was greater. Hy only decreed that the Bellon delegation should come last.

So at this time Lady Haziel enters, accompanied only by Khondiel in har best Fallen Angel dress uniform. Khondiel has dolled harself up, and wears another headband Haziel has given har with a brilliant pure white light set in the center of it. Many of the delegates marvel at this light, but Haziel tells them later sha is working to bring about a time on both worlds when such things would be mere trinkets, and an entrance such as made by Khondiel just now would be seen as totally ridiculous.

After Talishi and Khondiel are seated at the table the Black Beard delegation arrives. The first royal peer to enter is stalwart King Garund Larund of Peshast, at the foot of Mount Tureth in the highlands that separates the lands of House Larund from Haaretz, far below the Wall of God. And though this astonishing face of rock was an invincible barrier to large armies moving east or west, there remains a single path, known only to the Black Beards, which ascends the face of the wall like a narrow ramp. Thus in small companies House Larund often skirmished with House Sala or raided the children of Israel in Haaretz. Luzea sang to Aliwe:

Hy rules hillside Peshast where you were born.
The Queen greets hym without a trace of scorn.
Yet their bitter clash of arms claimed har son
And is fresh in the minds of everyone.

The King is followed by the stout and yangly Count Raddai Larund of the city of Belen, with hyz wife the Lady Irus on hyz arm. This count rules the chief city of a province with a wide variety of rich veins of ore honeycombing the hills near the place where the ice forms a barrier to House Antero. Luzea sings:

Belen the source of much copper and gold
Guarded by the might of Raddai the Bold.

The stylish Baron Kadir Larund follows next, but hy travels only with aides. His city of Locotin, well up the valley of the River Bandar, is endowed with a verdant forest of gopher wood, a type of lumber that is found neither on Earth nor on Barbelo, but is a hybrid of trees from the two worlds, and was used by many ships in the Great Deluge, for it is flexible enough not to be destroyed by expanding ice. But many other valuable goods are made from gopher wood. It is easy to cut and work, and the entire city of Locotin is constructed of gopher wood set in the branches of giant living gopher trees. Of Baron Kadir, Luzea sings:

Locotin the arboreal city
Even the Baron lives high in a tree.

And the Larund delegation takes their seats along one edge of the large six-sided table made, appropriately enough, of gopher wood. Then at last the hosts of the council, the Brown Beards of House Bellon, make their entrance. King Arman Bellon, duke of the city of Rumbek, enters then.

Fishers circle Sealiah in a ring
With all of them subject to Arman King.

King Garand is followed by Count Zelus Bellon of the city of Mandakar, who comes to the Council with hyz beautiful human wife Tamar from the land of Haaretz. Mandakar, which lies on the west shore of the fertile island of Sealiah, is the city that feeds the Brown Beards. Luzea sings:

The more food they grow in Zelus’ valley
The more we toil in Arman’s galley!

The Count is followed by the Baron Kerresh of Elketz, who proceeds at a stately pace with hyz wife Ainia at his side. Elketz lies at the center of the range lands of the Magodon Peninsula, where cattle are sold by the head or by the herd and driven alive to parts throughout the land to be slaughtered. Luzea sings:

Watch your step Baron, when ready to roam,
We just caught a whiff, reminder of home!

When everyone has been seated Queen Aurra Sala stands up to say, “In the name of our God Chokhmah, and in the name of Thaumiel Lord of Barbelo, I welcome all of you here, and I especially offer much thanksgiving to King Arman Bellon for hosting our Council in this beautiful city. The issue before us is nothing less than the question: will there be enduring peace on Barbelo? Therefore I dedicate this Council, the first such gathering in the history of our world, to the memory of my recently slain son, Aldred Sala. I implore that each one of you endeavor to find a way to make Aldred’s otherwise useless death meaningful in some lasting way.” And after speaking those words she takes her seat to allow the Council to truly begin.

Before Haziel would let the Boda return to Earth, sha said Jerry had to figure out how the Golden Gift worked. So the Boda was stuck in the Land We Know until he did, but Haziel made a number of instruments and tools available to him that wouldn’t even be invented on Earth for many decades

Jerry set up a sodium “fountain” with a laser trap, which was one of Haziel’s favorite toys. This used a laser tuned just below the natural emission lines of sodium atoms to supercool them to the point where individual atoms could be seen by the naked eye. And Jerry also had a little contraption that would activate the Golden Gift remotely, without directly squeezing it with his hand.

It isn’t their small size that makes atoms invisible (the eye only sees the individual photons they cast off anyway) it is their rapid motion. At room temperature, atoms in a gas buzz around faster than a speeding bullet. With a laser trap like the one in Haziel’s lab they can be slowed to just a few inches per second, or even slower.

Haziel’s apparatus works because under the laws of quantum mechanics the laser frequency isn’t high enough to cause the atom to immediately re-emit the light after absorbing it, so the sodium atom makes up the deficit with the energy of its own motion, fires a photon in the direction it is moving, and recoils. Eventually the sodium atoms grow so cold a person can actually see a fountain of bright yellow dots rising in the vacuum and falling back under their own gravity.

The biggest part of the apparatus is the vacuum chamber and the pump. Jerry sets up the Golden Gift inside so its purple beam would intersect the sodium fountain. When he is ready, he tells Robyn to watch.

Sure enough, the yellow dots passing through the beam disappear, but almost seven seconds later they reappear again in the same position they would have been if they hadn’t been struck by the beam. It is as though the Golden Gift merely made the atoms invisible, but the effect wears off in seven seconds.

“Now watch this,” Jerry says. He turns off the Golden Gift, and presses a button to cause a glass ceiling to slide into place in the middle of the fountain, just above where the black beam is aligned. The sodium atoms in the fountain strike the glass and bounce off (or adhere to the glass in some cases) but they go no higher.

“Okay,” Robyn says, following everything he is doing with great interest.

Jerry turns the Golden Gift back on. After the sodium atoms pass through the black beam they no longer bounce off or adhere to the glass, but pass right through. It is obvious the Golden Gift isn’t just making the atoms invisible for seven seconds, but it wis allowing them to slip through the glass as if it isn’t there.

“I call this effect ‘phantomization,’” Jerry says. “The Golden Gift makes whatever the beam touches into phantom particles for 6.8 seconds. During that time, the particles continue on their way, right through solid walls or even through each other, interacting only with gravity.”

“So why does that kill people?” Robyn asks?

“Because the atoms in a human body are vibrating very fast. They are moving up to a mile a second. When they are phantomized they move off on their last known course and speed. If we were doing this at home, half of them would fly into the crust of the Earth and the other half would fly into the sky, until the seven seconds are up. The Golden Gift doesn’t make things disappear, it only scatters their atoms into to sphere about fourteen miles across.”

“What else have you learned?” Robyn asks her husband, beaming with pride.

“That once a sodium atom has passed through the beam once, it cannot be phantomized again. Even if it passes through the beam again it won’t disappear, and it will just bounce off the glass.”

“So now you know exactly what the Golden Gift does, but you don’t know how it does it.”

“That’s right. But if you give me a little more time to gnaw on it, I’m sure I can figure it out.”

Hunky and Dory fill in the waiting time with that perennial favorite, lesbian sex. During the third week as the bump on her head approached maximum size, Dory said, “I have to come right out and tell you, Hunky. I’m no longer a practicing homosexual.”

Hunky looks a little worried for a moment. “Why do you say that?”

Dory smiles and said, “Because now I’m so damn good at it!”

And that was before Dory tried Robyn’s trick of changing her subjective experience of time. In Robyn’s case, she sped herself up to make the empty hours of the clinic go more quickly. In Hunky and Dory’s case they slowed themselves down by a factor of five or even a hundred to make their orgasm and even the good stuff leading up to it seem to last that much longer. This alone took everything to a whole new level, but that was nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what the Purple Cable would do for them a week later.
One morning the girls wake up to find Dory’s nano bud has sprung open, revealing the same fifty-five pins that appeared on Robyn, Hunky, and the church mouse they found. Now they attach themselves together with the Purple Cable and discover what they take to calling the Sharing.
“Come on, Hunky,” Dory said, “This will work a hell of a lot better without your jeans.”
Tentatively, Dory peels them down her lover’s legs and lets Hunky kick them the rest of the way off. “Beautiful!” she gasps, and with the Purple Cable hooked up Hunky knows Dory believes that to be absolutely true. There can be no deception. Even with her knees somewhat apart Hunky’s muscular thighs touch together, but that is exactly the way Dory wants them to be.

Dory kisses Hunky’s legs and inner thighs gently, then kisses her tummy along the top of her cotton panties, and at each step she does exactly what Hunky wanted done to herself. In a way, being hooked up to Dory, Hunky was doing it to herself. Then Dory kisses Hunky through her white underwear directly on her damp sex. She savors the smell of her, and because there can be nothing hidden with the Purple Cable, Hunky knows that Dory really does love the smell of her, simply by sharing the experience and enjoying it herself.

Dory uses her teeth to slide Hunky’s undies down off her ankles and then Hunky reverses herself, taking the sixty-nine position. Her solid thighs are splayed over Dory’s face, so what to do? Dory begins to kiss them. She licks the two creases where Hunky’s legs join together, and finally she nuzzles the textured lips of Hunky’s slightly parted slit.

But with the Purple Cable, Hunky also literally is Dory, and she thinks that it is herself who is somehow on bottom doing the licking. When she is licking Dory it feels like she is licking herself. And Dory also feels she is somehow also on top licking her original self.

So with the Purple Cable there is no border between her own sensations as ‘Dory’ licking and being licked, and her sensations as Dory-being-Hunky licking and being licked. And there was no border between Hunky’s sensations as Hunky licking and being licked, and Hunky’s sensations as Hunky-being-Dory licking and being licked. It becomes a swirling stew of identities where Hunky and Dory are being mixed up into each other, lost in each other, until their names actually floated free of the identities they were attached to.

They jam their faces tighter into each other’s pulsing hips and thighs. Their body image literally becomes one as they simultaneously clamber into each other and at the same time are clambered into. The pleasure is continuous and climbs inexorably upward. The instant feedback of the Purple Cable seems to synchronize them. They rise in tension together, and their last fully voluntary act is to decouple their consciousness from their bodies, so they could savor what was happening at a rate five times slower than what was coming up their spinal cord.

Then there is a gasp. “Oh honey,” Dory says. It is all she can manage to say. There’s a separation. She is Dory now, her name has returned to her. She is having her orgasm and her mind automatically and selfishly gathers every scrap of pleasure to burn leaving little to share.

The intensity of her sweet burning wells up and goes absolutely right off the dial. Dory arches her back and every muscle in her body locks up for a moment. There’s no breathing, no thought, and her eyes stare at a white nothing. Then she bends her head back into the blankets and commences thrashing and moaning as every nerve ending in her toes, her fingers, her face, and her scalp begin to fire with white hot signals of ecstasy. The pleasure feels like it is scrubbing every cell in her body.

But catching just the periphery of Dory’s white-hot supernova immediately triggers the other identity to have a climax of her own. In that instant she is Hunky again. And all the pleasure she’d experienced up to that moment had given her no clue that there was capacity for much, much more. So Hunky’s joy goes right off the charts too.

Then with stately precision their bodies synchronize together and move from the eye-crossing, toe-pointing ecstatic phase of their orgasm to the meaty part that squeezes out all the pooled blood from their hips. But since they are also cruising at a time reduction factor of five their automatic 0.8 second orgasmic contractions seem to happen every four seconds. Their pelvic muscles open up and clamp down, gather and squeeze, each contraction is like a separate orgasm in its own right. This goes on and on for two minutes. The pleasure is beyond belief, approaching the infinite. It fills every shred of their being even as the the waves began to subside. They come down slowly together, caressing, snuggling each other, utterly tuned to each other, and tapering off with the same perfect attentiveness that defined this new kind of lovemaking. When they are finished they can’t even say “Wow.” Hunky and Dory would live almost forever, and for that entire time, all the time, they would have this Sharing.

An hour or two after that Robyn and Jerry come looking for them. Hunky holds up the Purple Cable and said, “Robyn, you gotta try this thing!”

Jerry Shy Bear solves the secret of the Golden Gift just after his nano bud breaks open, but before he has the time to do the Sharing with Robyn. He makes the announcement to the girls, and Dory lets Haziel know. And so, sitting on a little grassy knoll in the shape of the letter C, Robyn, Hunky and Dory gather there together with Haziel to listen to what Jerry has to say.

The first thing he does is officially return the Golden Gift to Haziel. Jerry’s gesture is important, one that sha has eagerly awaited for many years. By handing it back, Jerry is saying he has penetrated its mysteries.

“There are two realities, ladies,” he begins. “The first one is our everyday world up here on this scale, where things change smoothly. The second one the sub-microscopic world where things act with little discrete jumps. Down there things behave in ways that go totally against common sense, and we usually never see it. But sometimes the strangeness of that quantum behavior is magnified up to our level.

“Like superconductivity?” Robyn suggests.

“Correct. We’ve known for thirty-five years that if we get a loop of wire cold enough, resistance falls to zero. An electric current will actually flow around inside it forever. Also if you get liquid helium cold enough, it will become super-fluid. Viscosity, which is the gooey property of syrup and ketchup, literally falls to zero. Start the stuff swirling around inside a beaker and it will never stop moving.”

“How does that really work, Jerry?” Dory asked. She remembers the concept vaguely from the excellent private school operated by the Church of Green Dome.

“That part is still not very clear, even today. The electrons in the loop, or the helium in the beaker, join up in pairs which talk to each other somehow, instantly, no matter how far apart they get. When one electron or helium atom zigs, the other one zags, and the result is no net resistance to their flow.”

“Isn’t that perpetual motion?” Hunky accuses. She knows that is the goal of almost every crackpot garage tinkerer these days.

“You’re right to be wary of that, Hunky. In a way, yes it is, but it’s not very useful. You see, there’s no net profit of energy, and in fact it takes energy just to keep everything cold enough for superconductivity or superfluity to even work at all.”

“So it’s like a wheel with no friction,” Dory suggests. “It spins forever if you leave it alone, but if you try to draw power off it, it just spins down to a stop.”

“Exactly! Now, here’s what I did with Haziel’s collection of toys. I fired tangled pairs of electrons from a super-conducting ring at tangled pairs of super-fluid liquid helium atoms in a little glass lens, and I got tangled pairs of light bouncing off it, in the form of twinned photons of ultraviolet light.”

“So it combines every form of super-blank-ity-blank-blank!” Dory says.

“Yes! One of the twin photons corkscrews right, the other one left, and if they hit a target atom it doesn’t know what to do so it just sort of stands up at right angles to our universe, and for lack of a better term I’ll say it’s ‘phantomized.’ Does everyone sort of follow me so far?”

The girls all grunt in the affirmative.

He points to the end of the clearing, about a hundred yards away, where he has prepared a science project containing some water and his own working copy of the Golden Gift. Several colored wires led away from it, to a small wooden box held in Jerry’s hand.

He says, “Now picture the water inside a glass sphere as a bunch of very tiny ping pong balls bouncing off each other as well as bouncing off the inside of the glass. This gives you a pressure to the water, a certain resistance to being squeezed. But if you fire a phantom ray at it, all of a sudden the Ping-Pong balls start traveling straight through each other and only bounce off the glass.”

Jerry flips a switch on his hand-held wooden box. This turns on his copy of the Golden Gift mounted inside, but there is no visual indication that anything is happening to the sphere of water.

Dory says, “I’ll take your word for it.”

Jerry smiled. “You won’t have to just take my word for it, in just a few more seconds. He flips another switch. Inside the science project relays click and valves open. “I am now pouring more water into the glass ball. Quite a bit more water, in fact. In the phantom state, water molecules can exist superimposed right over the top of each other, occupying the same space at the same time.”

“So now the sphere can accept almost any amount of additional phantom water,” Robyn puts in.

“At least until the phantom ray is turned off.”

Jerry flips another switch on his box. Seven seconds later there is a silent fireball that felt like it would singe their eyebrows off, followed an instant later by the sound of an explosion so loud, so huge, they are sure Yeshua is on his way to chew them out. But there is no black powder, no evidence for Yeshua to find at all except a big crater.

Jerry tells them, “Water isn’t normally compressible, so it re-expands violently to seek its normal density, and if there is any resistance to that, it gets very hot. It gives off far more energy than it takes to phantomize the water in the first place.”

“So there’s a hidden source of great power,” Robyn says.

“Yes, and there indeed is the principle of a phantom compression engine that could soon be running cars and airplanes literally from tap water. No more reliance on gasoline. We can rig homes with hot water heaters and furnaces that run basically for free. I haven’t even begun to imagine all the possibilities.”

Hunky has something to ask. “Jerry, you say the phantomizer beam makes water molecules stand up at right angles to our three dimensions. I can’t even imagine in what direction that is.”

“And I can’t even point in that direction, Hunky. All I can say is that instead of lying flat in the present ‘now’ they stand up in time and become say, a few seconds ‘thick.’ Does that make sense?”

“I think so. It’s sort of like the way a hundred coins lying flat on a table will cover a wide area, but if you stand them on end and they’ll pack tight into a single roll.”

“But if the phantom water is moving through itself,” Dory asks, seeing a glaring flaw in the theory, “how come it doesn’t move straight through the glass also?”

“Because I’ve prepared the glass by supercooling some raw glass so it doesn’t go anywhere, phantomizing the glob, re-heating it, blowing it into a sphere, and annealing it slowly in an oven. Phantomization, it turns out, is a one-shot deal. Every particle that is made into a phantom has something like a little mailbox flag that remains up forever, and nothing will coax that particle to stand up ever again. It is the only exception to the rule that particles are identical on the most fundamental level.”

“So a power plant using phantom compressed water in a closed loop will never work,” Robyn notes.

“Correct, Robyn. Only water which has never been phantomized before will work, and after that it is useless for power and fit only for drinking or washing. But a hundred years from now, even with the whole world using this process, only a tiny fraction of one percent of Earth’s sea water will have their little ‘mailbox flags’ up.”

“How does the Golden Gift maintain a supercooled state?” she asks.

“Reverse thermocouple. If you put two dissimilar metals together and heat one side of them, they’re like a battery, they give you electricity. But if you put electricity into them, they separate into hot and cold sides. Then you can air-cool the hot side, phantomize that hot air, and it keeps going down in temps.”

“Just one more technical question, Jerry. Where does the Golden Gift get the electric power to do all of this?”

“If you supercool some wire and pre-phantomize it just like my glass, it won’t disappear when it is phantomized again, because of the mailbox flags I spoke about. But any electrons that wander into that wire while it’s being phantomized will disappear. The wire develops a constant positive charge. So you get current flow, and depending on how you coil the wire, it’s greater than the power required to operate the Golden Gift.”

Robyn says, “This discovery of yours will only make us rich if we retain control of it.”

“Who better than the Boda to keep this secret? They could threaten to torture us with fire and we wouldn’t blab it, because as Haziel has assured us, we who have been Changed can choose to die at any moment by an act of pure willpower.”

“Can you put the guts of your phantomizer in a box that will eat itself if anyone tries to open it?”

“I see where you’re going, honey,” Jerry says. “Of course I can. A lead-lined box so no one can scan it with x-rays. We’ll rig it to self-destruct if they try to use sonic imaging too. No reverse engineering like I just did with the Golden Gift. We can have a total monopoly.”

Haziel smiles. She has accomplished her goal. The planet-dweller did all of this by himself, without access to any of the lore of the elohim, using intruments other planet-dwellers farther up Jerry’s own timeline had devised. She says the Boda is free to return to Earth any time they wish to go.

On that final evening Jerry and Robyn use the Purple Cable at last, and join in the kind of wild wacky fun that Hunky and Dory have discovered. Jerry Shy Bear goes down on his wife while they are connected together with the Purple Cable, and he becomes the first man to know what a female orgasm is like, directly, from her end. And it isn’t that much different, truth be told.

Jerry has his work cut out from him because Robyn’s body has been changed. She’s a nephilim yin now, with two pussies that he has to keep happy.

After pleasing his lady’s first pussy orally he enters her other’un and Robyn becomes the first
woman to know what a surging male orgasm is like, directly, from his end. Again, not so different. But in years to come other women would Share with Robyn or with their own fellows and they would come to know what she knew.

The sensation of being Robyn as Jerry pushes into her echoes in Jerry’s own mind, and it seems to sit well with him, especially when he shares Robyn’s second orgasm, this time from penetration. In this Sharing Jerry cannot hide his memory of his sex with Aaron Anton, because it had been comparable.

Robyn is not greatly outraged. In conversations with Haziel she was made well aware of the root cause of homosexuality in planet-dwellers. She knew there was not enough information density in human DNA to code for the exact wiring layout of the brain. There were simple basic rules that neurons follow in the womb when they grow and start hooking up their neighbors, but randomness plays a role. In the case of both handedness and sexual preference (which are independent, of course), this chaos resolves in the form of a bifurcated butterfly pattern with left-handedness and same sex attraction forming a lobe with somewhat less probability of occurring than the other. Fifteen percent of humans resolve as lefties. Eight percent of male humans and five percent of female humans resolve with same-sex attraction.

“You owe me a freebie, Jerry.”

“That little tryst was before we got married! And it was for a greater cause.”

“I get one free homosexual dalliance,” she insists, and he grudgingly accepts, but he says he would be happier about it if he could at least watch. And Robyn snorts, because there is little chance of that happening.

The whole tribe of Judah is frogmarched off to Babylon. The people don’t even bother to sing lamentations to Yahwah because they know him as essentially just a local tribal god who can’t hear them wailing so far away from the Holy Land. Over the next fifty years, scribes and priests transform the people’s understanding of God radically. God becomes global. The Babylonians are seen as merely agents of God sent to punish the Jews for this or that ritual defect. When Cyrus the Great, emperor of Persia, conquers the Babylonians in turn he institutes a policy of repatriating the Jews back to Palestine. The first parties he sends begin the task of rebuilding the temple of Yahweh. Because of this many Jews come to regard Cyrus to be appointed by God.

Later Ezra leads a second group of Babylonian Jews to Jerusalem to reestablish the Code of Moshe. He compiles and redacts the Torah from a number of preexisting source documents including copies of the missing White Scroll, and he institutes very exclusive fundamentalist doctrines including a ban on Jews marrying Gentiles. Decades later Nehemiah, a Jewish servant of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, is sent to Jerusalem with a third group of Jews to complete the temple, repair the royal palace, and rebuild the walls of the city.

Philip II, king of Macedon, conquers the Thebans and Athenians at Chaeronea and brings all of Greece except Sparta under Macedonian rule. When he dies his twenty year-old son Alexander succeeds him and frees all the Greeks in Asia Minor from Persian rule. For the next twelve years, Alexander forges the largest empire the world had ever known up to that time.

After defeating Darius at Issus, Alexander subdues Egypt and establishes the city of Alexandria. The following year all of Palestine falls under his domination. But Alexander leaves no heir and upon his death his generals, called the Diadochi, divide the empire between themselves and became rivals. The Diadochi put on royal crowns, and so do their sons after them.

Ptolemy I Soter, one of the Diadochi, claims Egypt for himself and defends Alexandria from the other generals. He also founds the Library of Alexandria and becomes the first Egyptian king of the Macedonian Dynasty of Ptolemies. Ptolemy II Philadelphus succeeds him and brings Alexandria to its peak of power and influence. The Pharos lighthouse is constructed during his reign. Ptolemy III Euergetes extends the Ptolemaic Empire to embrace Palestine, Asia Minor, and the islands of the Aegean. But after his death the Ptolemaic empire gradually begins to decline.

A rival Diadochi named Seleucus I Nicator creates a similar empire centered in Asia Minor that rules the lands conquered by Alexander from Thrace to India. As the Ptolemies weaken, Palestine gradually falls under the rule of this Selucid Dynasty.

At that time many Jews begin to adopt the ways of the Greek gentiles who dominate them. They try to cover the marks of their circumcision and build gymnasiums where they can participate in athletic activities in the nude. They no longer observe any of the ordinances of the Code of Moshe. With some support of these secularized Jews, Antiochus IV Ephiphanes declares Judaism abolished, and dedicates the temple in Jerusalem to Zeus.

Many of the Jews are ready and willing to abandon their old religion and accept the ideas of the Syro-Macedonian king. But the priest Mattathias commits terrorist acts to deter Hellenized Jews from sacrificing to Zeus. Jews who are caught breaking the precepts of the Law are killed, and boys are forcibly circumcised. Eventually this campaign, which is based out of hiding places in the desert outside of the cities, becomes a full-scale revolution to return to the fundamentalist doctrines instituted by Ezra.

Upon the death of Mattathias, his third son Judas Maccabeus takes over leadership of the revolt. He defeats Apollonius and Seron, and turns back Lysias who came with half of the army of King Antiochus IV Ephiphanes. Also he repurified the temple in Jerusalem. But Judas Maccabeus is killed on the field of battle confronting governor Bacchides.

Jonathan, the fifth son of Mattathias, then takes over leadership of the revolt. He renews battle against Bacchides and defeats Apollonius. After that Jonathan becomes the high priest of the Jews. Jonathan Maccabeus is taken prisoner and killed after an false invitation to meet Trypho for peace negotiations.

Simon Maccabeus, the brother of Jonathan, then begins to lead the Jews. He too became the high priest, as did his son and grandson after him. Simon obtains independence for Judea from Demetrius II. He battles Antiochus VII and defeats him. Then Simon is betrayed and killed by Ptolemy the son of Anubus, governor of Jericho, at a banquet in the stronghold of Dok.

John Hyrcanus I, son of Simon Maccabeus, battles Ptolemy, the murderer of Simon, avenging his father’s death. He rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem and also battles Antiochus VII. Under his reign, Judah prospers much.

Aristobulus I Judah, son of John Hyrcanus, annexes the territory of Iturea to Judah. During his reign, some of the Jews begin to teach the idea that everyone who ever lived on the Earth would be raised to life again in a simultaneous general resurrection to witness to sovereignty of God, and after that, all life on earth would come to a violent end.

Alexander Jannaeus, brother of Aristobulus, is the first high priest of the House of Mattathias to call himself King, thus founding the Hasmonean Dynasty. An aggressive warrior, he dies in battle. Under his reign the movement of the Pharisees comes into existence, which means the “Separated Ones”. The Pharisees oppose the Hasmonean innovation of combining the kingship with the high priesthood in one person. They also believe that the dead would be raised again, but they deny the world will end in a final apocalypse, because that would simply be pointless.

The Pharisees build synagogues in every Jewish city and town where the people could study the Torah under the tutelage on the scribes, called Sopherim, and also offer prayers for the return of the House of David to power in the Holy Land.

After that, Queen Alexandra, wife of Aristobulus, enjoys a benevolent reign of nine years. During Queen Alexandra’s reign a high priest is chosen from the landed aristocracy of Judea. This elite group is also known as the Sadducees. Their policy is to avoid rebellion at all costs, even to the watering-down of Jewish traditions with Hellenistic and, later, Roman ideas. This policy to accommodate with the world is much criticized by the Pharisees.

King Aristobulus II, son of Alexander Jannaeus, reigns until the intervention of Pompey after his conquest of Syria for the up and coming Romans.

King Hyrcanus II, son of Alexander Jannaeus, is named ethnarch of the Jews by Pompey and elevated over his brother. Thus Pompey maintains the Hasmonean Dynasty on the throne, but only as his clients.

King Antigonus, son of Aristobulus II, is decapitated by a pretender to the throne named Herod. This Herod is favored by Marcus Antonius and Queen Cleopatra VII after they defeat Pompey. Mark Antony, acting in his role of triumvir, subsequently declares Herod king of the Jews.

King Herod conquers Joppa and Medeba and captures Jerusalem after a siege of three months. He occupies Samaria and restores the temple to its original glory.

In Egypt the last Pharaoh is Ptolemy XV Caesarion, son of Gaius Julius Caesar and Queen Cleopatra VII. Following the suicide of his mother in the wake of the battle of Actium, Caesarion is executed by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius and Egypt is annexed as a province of Rome. Herod soon becomes a client of Octavius, who is later called Caesar Augustus.

In the waning years of the reign of Herod a young day laborer named Yosef, son of Heli, marries an even younger maiden named Miriam in the village of Nazareth. As with most such marriages in that time and place, the union is arranged by the families of both Yosef and Miriam, and has more to do with money than love.

The tiny community where they live is in the land that was given to the Israelite tribe of Zebulun in the days of Yehoshua son of Nun, who had been the chief lieutenant of Moshe. Yosef becomes apprenticed to a craftsman skilled in cutting stone, and after years of being little more than a slave to him, Yosef picks up the rudiments of the art and fulfills his period of apprenticeship. During this time Yosef and Miriam have a daughter named Salome and sons named Yeshua, Shimon and Yosef Jr., who was 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 make enough to support themselves. But even with his sons helping, being a stonecutter is very difficult and dangerous work that sends Yosef to an early grave.

Under the Kinsman Redeemer clause of the Law, the brother of Yosef, a man named Alphaeus, is required to marry Yosef’s widow and adopt his children. After that the neighbors sometimes call Yosef’s brother “Clophas”, which really means “replacement”. Clophas has sons of his own named Yakob and Yudah and a daughter named Miriam. After the wedding the cousins all become step-siblings. With the sudden enlargement of the family, especially with his new brother Yakob being a grown man in his own right with his own source of income as a scribe, Yeshua does not have to continue in the harsh livelihood of Yosef to ensure the well-being of his mother and siblings. He departs the house of his mother Miriam and goes east toward the River Jordan.

An Essene prophet named Yohanan dwells in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins without recourse to the priests and the temple. And people from both sides of the Jordan River and the country all around go to Yohanan to confess their sins, and they are baptized.

Yohanan has gathered men to be his disciples named Philip, and Bartholomew, and Thomas. After a time Simon the Canaanite, and Judas 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 approach with a sincere intention of repentence. At these baptisms Yohanan preaches that the Day of the Lord is immanent, a day when Yahweh would come to judge with holy violence all the nations of the Earth now ruling with power. He underscores the urgency of repentance and baptism so that people can meet the end of human rule with a pure heart and be ready to accept the direct rule of Yahweh.

But the priests and scribes and Jewish aristocracy and kings 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. They fear Yohanan will usher in one who would completely reorder the politics of the land more in favor of the destitute.

When he is about thirty years of age Yeshua son of Yosef comes from Galilee to find Yohanan at the river and be baptized by him. Two of the five screeners interview the man and let him pass through to be dunked into the river by Yohanan. But a curious thing happens after Yeshua is pushed under the water. A green glow suffuses the river, and Yohanan loses him. Yohanan panics, and starts splashing around in the water, (which is only waist deep) looking for Yeshua, but he is nowhere to be found.