E3

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E3 - COUNCIL

Wazol, Hamar, center of the lumber industry in the Land We Know and Treehouse City.

When everything was done in preparation for the Council of Royals and there remained only the impending arrival of the great Personages, Queen Firegem's two serving wenches Luzea Cedarbranch and Aliwe Halil found themselves in the astonishing situation of having nothing to do. So they removed to a small empty nook above the great hall of the airy stone Firegem Castle high enough to see everything and waited for the nobles to filter in. Whimsical Luzea, who spoke only in poetry, uttered a verse then:

I sing of last days and kingless Saiph.

When noble ones rise up against its fief.

Just close your eyes to watch them meet the Queen.

Mark two slave women who observe unseen.

Her more wary companion Aliwe laughed a bit at this, but then she said soberly, If they catch us here avoiding work the Queen will have us flogged until the skin hangs from our back in bloody strips. Both women had lived lives of questionable worth on Earth and found themselves as slaves in this Purgatory after they died, clocks reset to age twenty or so, resolved to make amends. Shrugging, Luzea only continued her recitation:

Aliwe Halil is one slave girl's name

And Luzea Cedarbranch is her flame.

They shirk their toil in the Queen's galley.

"There's Arman Sunshield!" said Aliwe.

Indeed the first royal peer to enter was stalwart King Arman Sunshield of Hamar, where the Holy Mountain lies, and also the Sacred Pool of Yeshua. He ruled over the part of the Land We Know that, like Nath also in the west, was settled by colonists from Judah after it fell to Nebuchadnezzar II. But for many centuries Hamar had grown asunder from their brothers in Nath, for the Hamaris embraced a goddess named Bat-El they believed was the daughter of El Shaddai, while the men of Nath worshiped El Shaddai alone and held the other elohim to be dark spirits subjugated to him.

King Sunshield ruled Hamar from the city of Menkant, which wrapped around an excellent harbor and was the center of the fishing trade in the Land We Know. To this Council he traveled with his advisors alone and brought no near kin, for he was quite angry. Luzea Cedarbranch uttered:

Fishers sail around the Land in a ring

With all of them subject to Arman King.

The King was followed by the stout and manly Count Raddai Nerio of the city of Rasal, with his wife the Lady Irus on his arm. He ruled the chief city of a province with a wide variety of rich veins of ore honeycombing the hills on both sides of a narrow river valley. Luzea said:

Rasal the source of much copper and gold

Guarded by the might of Raddai the Bold.

The dapper Baron Elketz Kadir followed next, and he too traveled only with aides. His province of Hamar was endowed with a verdant forest of gopher wood, a type of lumber that was found neither on Earth nor on Gorpai, but was a hybrid of the two, and was used by many ships in the Second Deluge, for it was flexible enough not to be destroyed by expanding ice. But many other valuable goods were made from gopher wood, for it was easy to cut and work, and the entire city of Wazol was constructed of gopher wood set in the branches of giant living gopher trees. Of Elketz Kadir, Luzea said:

Wazol the great arboreal city,

Even the Baron lives high in a tree.

And the Hamari delegation took their seats along one edge of a large five-sided table made, appropriately enough, of gopher wood.

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