Then we pulled away from Ho’reb and went marching
through all that great and fear-inspiring wilderness
which you might have seen,
by way of the mountainous region of the Amorites,
just as Jehovah our God had commanded us;
and we eventually came to Ka’desh-bar’nea.
We first went to meet with the Tulari. It was a journey of nine days though in the past it would have taken much longer, perhaps twice as long. Our dietary changes, most particularly our eating of meat for the first time in memory was changing our physiology. I had added 20 percent in weight and my stamina had increased at least as much. It was the same for all of the Agorah and all of our senses elsewise seemed enhanced.
We made skin water bags, and insomuch as we carried them, they let us cut across and not follow the traditional routes which in the past always caused us to remain within a day’s march of water. We did not need to stop for rest and to feed and forage when we could be proceeding towards our destination.
Ephraim, Aram, and Jacob have joined us. All except the aged and infirm, and the young of the Agorah, are armed with a new innovation, shorter spears meant for throwing, of these we each carry ten or more. We also have a throwing stick. A grooved slat about three feet long onto which we may place the end and the body of our spears and using the handle fashioned into the rear end hurl those spears with much more force, and over twice the distance, than we had ever been able manage before.
As we march I can not say that I understand all that the prophet Aaron speaks of—and I find much of Brother Edwards’s behavior at odds with the teachings. Yet I see ever more clearly that all Aaron speaks of, concerning the prophesies, must come to pass. When I first spoke of Aaron as being a prophet he chided me and bade me to desist. He does not see himself that which is so plain to the rest of us.
On the second day I said to Aaron. “If you would permit us to carry you and Brother Edwards we could proceed much faster.”
“Sounds good to me,” Brother Edwards said at once.
“I do not wish to be a burden,” Aaron said.
“It must by need speed the work of the Lord,” I replied. And thus we proceeded, switching the riders between us at first, but in time as our strength continued to increase this was no longer necessary.
The Prophet Aaron instructed that all of our meat be cooked before eating and that we might drink blood only ceremonially. He told us that this was proper under the dietary laws. Cooking greatly reduced the effect of the spiritual essence upon us.
Brother Edwards was not of the same opinion. “The Young fella’ means well,” Edwards said when Aaron was out of hearing. “But he ain’t been around much yet and what he don’t know won’t hurt him.”
When hunting with Edwards Aram and Jacob would each eat small amounts of the uncooked meat when the cleaning was done. Ephraim and I refrained though we did not mention anything about this to the Prophet.
For two days we traveled through the lands of the Tulari. We had been spotted and observed though none came to us. In the past this would have been unthinkable behavior but times were changing. We entered the plain on the ninth day and there spread before us was the encampment.
“They are almost here,” the watcher said, to Tulari, head of all the Tulari, “it is as Yelsig predicted.”
“Gather the elders and we will go forth.”
Aaron would later say that that which lay before us looked nothing like a settlement but instead like a herd, a vast conglomeration, orderly and geometric, and the few buildings, used for storage or ritual, was easily mistaken for natural mounds or features. We were less than 400 yards away from the outskirts when Tulari, leader of the Tulari, at last came out to meet us. He was accompanied by the elders of his tribe and following them came many others wanting to hear and see what would transpire.
“You are not welcome here,” Tulari said, halting ten yards away, not getting close enough for mind to mind contact. “Come no closer and leave our lands. Yelsig has informed us of what you do and what you intend and it is not our way. You seek to change, even to overthrow, what you do not understand. You have already made slaves and beasts of burden out of the Agorah as I see they carry you upon their backs. We would never do the same for it is wrong to be so subservient to mere mortals.”
The Prophet Aaron dismounted then spoke, “They act not as mindless beasts but as bearers speeding the Lords message.”
“That is your message, a message to and for humans. It is not one that is meant for the tribes lead by the Yelsig. I can see the changes in Hosham and the others. They are no longer of us. They no longer look like us nor even do they think in our manner.”
Brother Edwards by this time had slid down from off the back of Jacob, who had been carrying him, and was standing watching carefully, his rifle in hand pointing at the ground in front of us. Aaron the Prophet took no notice of this fact so far as I could see. Tulari and his tribe’s elders were armed with the long lance like weapons that were the standard protection against predators.
“It is the decision of the tribe that you depart at once and not contaminate our ways or the land which gives us life.”
Then Aaron answered Tulari, leader of the Tulari, “The Lord Jehovah has commanded that I come here to you as Moses was sent unto the Amorites at Ka’desh-bar’nea. And here I shall stand and deliver his word and all that accept will join with us and become one of us. And all that do not hear and do not accept will be lost in his sight.”
And Aaron, with a voice both pure and strong began, “For in the beginning God created the heavens and earths.”
“Drive them away and out of our land!” commanded Tulari. And the elders lowered their lances till they pointed at us. And they took one step forwards. Then—.
Crack! Crack! And two of the elders slumped to the ground. Aaron turned and looked at Edwards with horror. Crack! Crack! And two more fell.
“Stop!” Yelled the Prophet Aaron, “Stop, this is not the way.”
Crack! came the sound once more, and another Tulari buckled and fell, and then most of those gathered broke and ran away. Edwards calmly reloaded as he watched them disperse.
“Well kid, I figure this is kinda like the Spaniards and the Aztecs and I just had my Cortes moment. They don’t look to be much trouble now do they? Right docile now I’d say, so let’s just gather up a few; and we could start with the ones who look to be in shock and didn’t run and… Snap out of it kid, don‘t you go into shock too. This is your moment and times a’wastin’.”
The ways of the Lord are mysterious and sometimes harsh but by nightfall we had our first converts amongst the Tulari.