A3

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A3 - AVATAR

White-haired Talishi of the House of Gerash

The avatar of Binah made landfall near the pavilion during the height of Hellberry Days when the grassy Commons outside of the walled section of the city of Aramel was thronged with yeng and yen. The brief but furious growing season on Gorpai had offered up a record harvest and there was much cause to rejoice, but the unprecedented sight and ear-splitting sound of a fat white pillar as tall as a tree, descending on five columns of roaring fire brought the celebration to an abrupt end as the people scattered in utter panic.

The first dweller of Aramel to return to the vicinity of the pavilion was not a yang of the warrior caste, nor one of the elders on the city's ruling council, but a young yin maiden who still lived in the household of her father, a modestly well-to-do glassblower. She proved to be more valiant than any of the yeng who ran away, for curiosity overcame her fear. And Binah was selecting for curiosity.

The courageous yin saw how the object had five articulated arms with many joints, and between each joint was mounted smaller arms of identical make, and so on, like the progression of the structure of a tree from trunk to branches to twigs to leaf buds. The five arm trunks inverted to become legs, and the avatar of Binah settled to The ground. Fire ceased from the bells at the bottom of the five lesser pillars wrapped around the main pillar. The blast of the descent uprooted the light fabric of the pavilion tent and blew it far away. But the yin stood her ground at a discreet distance. She was curious about the intruder, but not stupid, and not eager to be burned.

A loud voice rang out from the avatar of Binah, saying, Yin of the House of Gerash, if you are willing, draw near to me.

The yin obeyed. She saw how by resting on the five legs the central pillar of the avatar of Binah remained about waist high above the ground. From underneath the central pillar a round hatch dropped open on a hinge to nearly touch the scorched grass of The Commons under it. Come up here, the loud voice said.

The brave yin squatted and squeezed between two of the outer pillars to look up inside the hatch. The central pillar was hollow. There was much light within, as well as many ribs embedded in the tunnel wall forming circular edges with sufficient space to rest the side of her feet or accept the grip of her hands. She obeyed the voice and crawled inside. While she climbed inside the central pillar the voice obtained her name. I am Talishi, daughter of Jophiel the glassblower, she said. The hatch below her closed of its own accord, and this too was marked by Talishi. The top of the central pillar flared out into a larger space with a seat and many windows, giving Talishi a commanding view of the grounds. Even now, only a handful of people dared to draw near.

Do not be afraid, Talishi, the voice told her. I am Binah, one of the Holy Ones co-eval with Belial. I have many things to tell you and many things to show you, if you can bear them, but only with your freely-given consent. If you stay, your life will never be the same again. If you go, then you can resume your life as before, and no harm done.

And Talishi replied, I will stay, Lord. In the mythology Talishi had been taught, Binah was the son of the Most High God.

Binah said, There are ropes laying about where you sit. Use them to make yourself secure. This is not to hold you captive, Talishi. You will see the reason for the ropes very soon.

When Talishi finished wrapping herself in the cords and making the knot snug, she announced this fact to Binah. And immediately the five smaller pillars around the central pillar ignited in flame again.

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