Night was falling when my son Aaron strode to the fore and began to speak. And a hush fell, and there was a silence beyond my expectation. And Aaron quoted from the Book.
He now sent messages to Balaam
“Look a people has come out of Egypt
Look, they cover the earth as far as the eye can see.
And now do come please: do curse this people.
For they are mightier than I am.
Perhaps I may be able to strike them
and I may drive them out of the land.”
“And even as Moab warned and enlisted the aid of the other tribes of Israel, so does Yelsig seek to destroy us and all our works. And as is proven by his works, he doth need their following.
“And I say unto you. There will be a time of testing! And it is not that we honor the Lord when times are easy, that leads to salvation. You are exalted amongst all the tribes of Soessossin and the children of the Lord. Beware! The fall from grace, it is a mark of those who have failed to heed His Word.
“Look up to the hills. You can see those who watch us. You know of their displeasure, their anger and idolatry. Yelsig…as leader of all the tribes…will not permit you to worship in your own manner. This is an abomination and it will not stand!”
The tribe of Agorah had gathered in their multitude in order to hear my son Aaron speak This was to be expected for the Agorah had accepted the word and they were ready to give up their old ways.
The Yelsig, and the four other Soessossin tribes, were another story entirely. We had made only a few converts in all of those other tribes but they had not yet heard me nor the more powerful and commanding voice when my son would speak. It should have made no difference as their telepathic sense ought to have transferred the message we proclaimed as from out own voices. But that sense seemed only to convey the literal meaning of the words and not the spiritual force behind them. In time I knew that Aaron must travel to all the nations of Canaan that they might hear and come to know the Lord‘s will.
I was at first unable to understand, and indeed I resented, how easily Aaron seemed to bring in converts. I would gladly bear my own witness, talking loudly with all the skill and fervor I possessed, proclaiming the Word. And I would gather in but a handful. Aaron would pass amongst them, and speaking quietly admonish them, and telling stories and using parables, point out the error of their ways. The Soessossins would gather round him in rapt attention. And when he left there were few that did not take to his teachings and accept the truth of the Word.
The Yelsig clan was the disruptive influence. Holding on to the badge of power made them think that their link to the Guardians overrode all else. Yelsig himself did not appear in the lands of the Agorah, though in the beginning he sent watchers and emissaries. When only half returned, the others joining with the Agorah, or where converted becoming disciples to the other nations, Yelsig stopped that practice and declared us. and those following in our steps pariahs. Yelsig issued a warning to the other clans that contact with us was no longer permitted and actively set about to prevent the spread of what he considered a disease.
“You are sure it is not too early for this step my son? Once we start there will be no going back.” I pointed this out. “We risk thinking our time frame is the Lord’s.”
“Father, it is never too early to baptize and accept into communion the faithful. I see a time of trouble ahead and many shall lose their faith and many shall perish. Those who remain faithful must be able to enter the Lords Kingdom when called.”
His sense of surety was such that I came to complete agreement and Aaron and I took turns leading the Soessossins one by one into the water down stream from our camp. We blessed them and let them know they were now clear of their original sin. Brother Edwards had located, in the next valley, a herd of bison like brutes, they must be similar to the alchelo that we had heard about but not seen prior to leaving Liberty City. Edwards had spent a day and slaughtered over a hundred of them getting our earliest converts cleaning and delivering the meat to our campsite.
Two days later three thousand Soessossins were in the natural amphitheatre. Up in the hills overlooking those clustered below were several small groups from some of the other tribes.
“You want I should run them outta’ here,” Cotton Edwards asked.
“Leave them be. We will not be the first to initiate violence in this matter”
“Sure. Just askin’.”
My wife Miriam and Sister Helen had baked sheets of unleavened bread. They had spent days doing all that they could. We had no wine nor even a fruit drink for a substitute but Brother Edwards had saved the blood when he cleaned the alchelos and that would be a better test and truer to form and also show the commitment of those who would partake in this, our first communion.
Aram and Hosham, Ephraim and Joseph, my son Aaron and Jacob, went amongst them and served the host. That took almost four hours, and when they were finished we took a break from the religious ceremonies and fed them all. I saw and sensed that a strange thing was happening. A number of Soessossins went to the pots and vessels holding the remainder of the communion drink. Still others went to eat not the cooked meat but that which was not. I think they were beginning to be affected in a similar manner as the weakest amongst humans are affected by alcohol.
They finished off all such materials rapidly and those that had partaken went amongst the rest and they touched together their heads, one to another. The gathered crowd soon became much noisier and restless than any I had seen before.
Cotton Edwards lounged offside from the main gathering. He was smoking a cigar rolled from the leafy sprouts of a local plant. It had taken a while but he finally found something that gave a good buzz. Just a little hallucinogenic but the best he could manage. ‘Coulda’ been worse‘.
“Come on over here honey,” he said to his wife Sister Helen.
She hesitated for a moment then complied out of duty. Edwards gathered her up close and looking over the assemblage said. “Bet that ol’ husband you left behind in Liberty City never treated you like what I do, They ain‘t got a clue in Liberty City but mark my words their in for a mighty big comeuppance one of these days. Let‘s you and me celebrate in advance.”
Helen shut down. She was doing that more and more lately, and remembered nothing of what transpired when she awoke the next morning.
“It is time that I go my father,” Aaron said to me shortly after sunrise and all but of few of the Soessossins had left. “I shall leave later today and seek out the other tribes and do the Lords work.”
“You don’t plan on going alone my son—or do you?”
“At mothers request I will take Hosham and Brother Edwards with me. I have already spoken to Brother Edwards about this and he is of a mind for a change and this experience should serve him well. As you can imagine father; he wished to take Sister Helen along, but her condition is such as to make that impossible. He grumbled some but the chance for some excitement and new scenery overcame his reluctance.”
“How long might you be gone for?”
“It think it will be a journey of several months or more, but I shall have a communicator with me in case of need. I am sure the normal communications between the various tribes will enable you to follow my progress in large part. I will say goodbye to mother and Ruth and we shall all pray together when Edwards and I are finished packing.”
With that my son Aaron went to complete his preparations and later that afternoon left our camp. Brother Edwards and a heavily laden Hosham went with him.