They had flown in a curving path high over the northern Ice, and the narrow yellow and blue equatorial belt that was the inhabited portion of Gorpai was now well over the horizon and out of view.
Almost the entire world of Gorpai was covered in at least a thousand feet of ice. Precipitation was greatest at the poles, where the world-glacier was miles thick. And these giant icecaps moved very slowly, grinding the surface flat.
At the narrow equatorial belt, temperatures were warm enough to melt the ice. The great glaciers of the northern and southern hemispheres came to an end and huge chunks of ice sheared off, fell to the ground, and melted, the source of water for many rivers and lakes.
In the second Great Deluge on Gorpai none of the water was transferred to Earth by wormhole, and the impacting comet added much water to Gorpai. When the habitable zone thawed again it was only three hundred miles wide, and the northern and southern ice sheets formed three bridges of ice across the equatorial zone rather than a single bridge.
A full generation of nephilim lived trapped in the ice in arks or in caves, feeding on stored provisions.
When the thaw came Gorpai had been greatly changed. The ocean was divided into three smaller seas, fed by three shorter rivers through three separate lands along the equator, walled by miles of ice cliffs on every side.
The ones who survived among family Antero and family Bellon settled in one land, while the remnants of family Sala and family Larund settled a second land.
Family Gerash, which was undiminished by the catastrophe, came out of their cities of ice and settled the third land, but there were also Gerash colonies in the other two lands.
All three families maintained supplies and caves in the ice against the next large impact. After two world-floods the remaining people of Gorpai had a renewed respect for the divine oracles of Belial.
As the twin ice packs advanced and retreated, they left behind long ridges of loose till piled in low terminal moraines. And rarely, active volcanoes formed under the ice and burned their way to the surface. Mount Anshar was one of these.
The northern ice gave way around the bulk of Mount Anshar and closed back up again many miles to the south, forming a small territory of land in the shape of a teardrop which was free of ice. And it was here that the avatar of Binah reached landfall once again.
Thermal features abounded in the land of Anshar, keeping the many lakes and ponds from freezing despite the extreme northern latitude of the place. So far was Anshar from the inhabited places along the equator that not even Family Antero had discovered it when they roamed the northern ice before the Second Deluge.
When Talishi climbed back down through the central pillar and reached the ground again, she was startled, because someone was there waiting for her.
It looked like a slender nephilim, perhaps a yin, who was encased entirely in featureless white, even the face, which remained perfectly smooth, with not even eyes to see or mouth to speak.
Yet see and speak it could still do, for it said, Welcome, Talishi. Behold the avatar of Chokhmah. And it held its arms out for inspection.
Another fish hook, Talishi said.
The avatar of Chokhmah had no means to smile, but it could make the same strange sound the avatar of Binah made when Talishi amused him.
Chokhmah pointed across the treeless landing flats to a large dwelling of glass and wood perched on a low rise. Chokhmah said, Talishi, there is only one structure in all of the land of Anshar and it belongs solely to you. Accompany me there, Talishi. We will go inside, and I will tell you many things.
The house was more glass than wood, with an outstanding view of the ever-changing fire torrents of Mount Anshar only five miles away across a pumice plain. But there was no danger of the lava engulfing the house, for a great chasm intervened.
The main living section of the house was a single room, with an alcove above the kitchen where Talishi could sleep with some degree of privacy, even if there was not a living soul anywhere for thousands of miles around.
On the main level were plush cushions and a glass table of superior make. It was all far more luxurious in terms of comfort than anything found in the most lavish palaces of Gorpai, yet the decor was simple, with a stark beauty in a minimal way. Talishi was already planning to make some changes herself.
The avatar of Chokhmah, requiring no cushion for comfort, simply seated itself on the floor to put its head on a level with Talishi's head.
Binah tells me that El Shaddai's human beings, on the world he calls Earth, are the most important finding we elohim have ever made. But for the present time Belial is fully in command of the discovery process and to Binah he is a fool. Early on Binah suspected that Belial does not really have a mandate for secrecy at all, and that Belial will drag out his research for as long as possible. But Belial cannot prevent Binah from sharing what he knows with you world-dwellers as your capacity to understand it grows. So Binah has started an independent stream of research.
And I considered how Binah could interact with the world-dwellers with his avatar, but there was a severe limitation there, because the avatar of Binah is taller than the trees of Gorpai, and it cannot move about on the surface of a world without burning everything in its path. I desired to experience Gorpai as though I were one of the nephilim, and this I told Binah.
Binah replied that he had already given this much thought, and had developed a procedure to attempt that very thing, but it would work a grievous change in the subject nephilim that could never be undone, and might for lack of a better word be called possession.
For the mind of the elohim would be joined to the mind of the nephilim, and in the joining there would emerge a new mind wrought from the twain, yet the greater portion, seven parts in ten, would reflect the elohim who possessed rather than the nephilim who was possessed.
And it would also be a physical change involving the same link that allows elohim to communicate with each other instantly across great distances, such that I would be immediately aware of whatever was experienced by the nephilim who was possessed by him, and likewise, the body of that nephilim would instantly respond to my will.
Binah suggested that to be ethical, the change ought to be made only to a nephilim who was appraised of all these things, yet remained full willing to continue.
I agreed to this, but it required an additional effort on Binah's part, after making the change possible, to seek out a nephilim on Gorpai and propose the change.
This in turn Binah agreed to do, not only to honor me, who had been his mother, but out of simple curiosity to see if his plan would work at all.
And in the meantime, Binah fashioned this temporary smaller avatar of mine that goes about on two legs like you planet-dwellers, but it is unsatisfactory, for there is no sensation apart from sight or sound.
And now, Talishi, here you are in Anshar, and it is time to make my proposal to you. I would join with a nephilim and live among the people, but the thing cannot be done out of obedience to a divine commandment, but only as the free will choice of the person who receives the call and answers, because once the joining takes place, we can never be unjoined.
And Talishi asked, If I accept this thing, what will become of me?
Chokhmah answered, You will no longer be fully yourself, but neither will I be fully myself. Instead, you will be a new person who is simultaneously both yourself and me, and we will both come to understand, as though we always knew it, everything that is known by the other.
Still Talishi hesitated, so Chokhmah said, Also, when your body dies, you shall continue to live where I am, and that life will endure so much longer than the span of nephilim life that I cannot express it using symbols that you would understand. Your culture doesn't have the mathematics.
Then Talishi was aware not only of the huge gap in her own knowledge, which was expected, but of the equally large gap in Chokhmah's knowledge, which was not expected. And she did assent to the divine proposal. But Talishi did not say "yes" to Chokhmah in return for the promise of long life, but that both she and Chokhmah, together, would come to know many things.