And we did battle the unfaithful as was ordained
upon a great plain:
And even as the Prophet was laid low,
we remained under the Lords protection;
and we came back to the lands of the Agorah,
bearing testimony to the miracle of our survival.
Aaron felt a rough shaking and heard the waking up sounds coming from the camps of the Agorah and Tulari as he awoke himself, and opening his eyes saw Edwards squatting besides him in the pale morning light.
“Better get a move on it kid. The rest of the Tulari are back and I think they got a plan.”
Now, coming fully alert, Aaron could see on the low range of hills to the east, silhouetted against the eastern sky, the dark figures, spaced like the slats in a picket fence, hundreds of locals, spears pointing upwards as thin dark lines.
“I woulda’ thought they learned their lesson yesterday but guess not,” Edwards said calmly. Either the man had no nerves at all or was a very good actor or both. “Get packed up, we’re outta’ here before they do something we might regret.”
The couple of dozen Tulari who had been converted the night before, along with Hosham, Ephraim, Jacob, and Aram of the Agorah, had little or nothing to pack and were now fully awake and watching the hills in silence.
Aaron looked again to the hilltops and the silhouettes were no longer visible. He reached into his pack and pulled out then concentrated on looking through a pair of binoculars. He could barely make out the shapes below the crests, shapes that merged into the background but became clearer as they approached. Scanning a full 360 degrees he could see they were surrounded.
“Get a move on it kid,” Edwards said taking his place on the back of Jacob a few feet away while Hosham knelt to make it easier for Aaron to mount.
“I shall not!” Aaron replied. “What you—what we—did last night was wrong and we must try to make amends. We will wait here and I will ask for forgiveness and pray for guidance from our God. If the Lord wishes it so we will come to no harm.”
“Get mounted Aaron!” Edwards said speaking loudly for the first time. “You’re too young to be a martyr and the rest of us aren’t ready to die yet either, just in case the ‘Lord’ happens to be busy.”
“No! I shall stay and deal with this here and now! The Lord our God does not desert the faithful.” Seeing Edwards glare and sensing the uncertainty of the Tulari and Agorah Aaron added, “The rest of you may stay here but I will go out to meet with them.”
With a move so fast that all Aaron saw was the blur of motion, Edwards swung his rifle and the stock struck a glancing blow across the top of Aarons head. “Load him up, we move out now. We’re heading back the way we came. Agorah up front, Tulari on the sides. Now! Move it!”
They set out at a slow trot towards thin line of Tulari closing off the gap in the hills leading away from the plains. The rest of the Tulari, surrounding them from a distance a mile or so, immediately broke into a full charge. Several of the Agorah started moving faster as well.
“Keep your speed down,” Edwards ordered, “you’ll need to keep going once we break through the line.”
Edwards rifle was responsible for most of the death. I saw little of what I had learned about human emotion in his visage. But if it were not for the throwing spears of the Agorah in front, and the delaying tactics of the Tulari on the flanks, we could not have broken through. The inexperience of the force against us was the deciding factor.
Had they massed a larger force at the bottleneck leading out of the plain we could not have forced passage. As it was half of the Tulari with us were slain and Jacob of the Agorah was left behind on the blood soaked plain along with the bodies of near a hundred of those blocking our way. Much later I thought of the story of Cain and Able.
Once out of the trap the wisdom of not charging. but a slower and orderly withdrawal became clear. The attackers had spent much of their energy in the first chaotic minutes and could not keep up the chase long enough for those in the rear to catch up with us after the break. Even the additional burden of carrying Aaron and Edwards did not present any problem for the Agorah, as we now, had the enhanced physical ability that our new diet; the one since we began to eat meat, afforded. This was not the case yet for the Tulari who traveled with us. Four of them were slain when they dropped exhausted from the chase and stood their ground, delaying—if only briefly, those that still tried to follow.
When Aaron finally came awake at mid day there was nothing but a dust cloud behind to show that a chase was still in progress. It lasted two more days and nights before the inability to carry water and the lack of other supplies put an end to it. We still sped on at our best pace but did manage now and again to stop for sleep.
My son returned to our land again, the land of the Agorah, much sooner than I had expected. After giving thanks he explained to me what had happened, and the reason for the same, thusly: “When we awoke the morning after the first conversions of Tulari it was my intention to find other members of the tribe and bring the Word to them also.”
My son then explained to me about all of the rest that happened. And even as he spoke of the death and flight from the Tulari we could hear the noises coming from Brother Edwards’ and Sister Helen’s tent. And I could see that Aaron was becoming agitated and angry. Thankfully, Sister Martha was away and in the fields at this time.
“Be still my son, there has been enough trouble and ill will. If we are to survive and hold on to our purpose even Edwards, as the Lord has already shown, had a role to play. It is our place to question but not to judge. That is reserved for a higher power.
“We have photos of the interior showing water and fertile land of which none of the idolaters know. We must make haste and go forth unto that land and preserve first and then increase our strength even as Moses did wander in the desert in obedience to God we will do the same. We will send missionaries to the other tribes and we will increase our number. When the Lord commands; that is when we end our exile and we will again reclaim what is ours…and his.”
And we set out unto the desert, human and Agorah, and Tulari, old and young alike. And the tribe grew strong in the wilderness. And we sent out missionaries to work amongst our enemies. And we planed for our return.