H5

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H5 - SECOND DELUGE

At times the road circling the world of Gorpai amounts to a single foot track in the ice.

Winter on Gorpai lasts for half the year. Talishi had hunkered down in Gerazan until the worst was over, then she spent the entire planting season crossing the ice bridge to the East Lands, so she knew nothing but bitter white cold for the better part of a year. But harvest time was warm, almost hot, and she was in good spirits as she journeyed from the ice to Locotin.

Belial had located one end of his fold-door tunnel in the place where the northern and southern ice sheets came together after the First Deluge. On Earth the other end was moved from Mesopotamia to Egypt. House Gerash lived inside the ice but they were sustained by grain and animal offerings from Earth. Snow melt from the Gerash ice bridge was the source of the Great river between the First and Second Deluges. This river bent and flowed east for twelve thousand air miles and thirty thousand river miles. It dropped seventeen thousand feet as it irrigated the whole of the temperate belt.

The Kulsu family claimed all the land north of the river, while the Ornis family claimed everything to the south. They tamed and cultivated the riot of native flora which emerged from the flood and grew rapidly, as though to make up for the lost time in dormancy. The brand new Great River was, however, alluvial, and changed its course from year to year, while the nephilim concept of land ownership emphasized fixed boundaries. This led to constant warfare between the two families as they fought over lands which were ever transferred from one family to the other by the whim of the river.

The northern ice sheet was the land of family Antero, who roamed over it at will. Like House Gerash, the Anteros also riddled their ice with caves, but this was to hide the bounty from their constant raids upon the farms of family Kulsu. The southern ice belonged entirely to House Sala, whose ways were very much like the Antero family, except they fed upon the farms of family Ornis. Six nephilim families, then, immersed themselves in the constant violence of their natural rivalries, while the seventh was ever vigilant to defend itself from the other six who resented the exalted status of House Gerash as a priestly people bred to teach and rule over all.

More than two thousand years passed as the nephilim were shaped in body and spirit by the savage flora of the icy world and by the struggles between the seven families. The memory of the great Deluge passed into ancient history, and then finally into mythology. Only the Gerash family remembered Belial and spoke with him and obeyed his commandments. Over time the other families rejected him and held his laws in contempt.

Binah found another large object to be on course to strike the temperate belt. The Gerash family would be safe in their icy redoubt supplied by Egyptian priests on Earth. Speaking through them, Belial commanded the Kulsu family to make an alliance with the Anteros and store enough grain and fruit in their ice caves to supply both families for a generation, likewise for Sala and Ornis. But none save House Gerash obeyed Belial.

So it came to pass that a second great icy mountain from the sky smote Gorpai in the temperate belt, and the people were unprepared. When the rains began to fall, the sea-faring Bellon and Larund families boarded their ships, but they did not have enough time to fully stock them with supplies, In their hunger the ships raided one another, Bellon against Larund, and later as their bellies rumbled it was Bellon against Bellon and Larund against Larund. By the time the rains stopped only a mere handful of ships on both sides were victorious and fully stocked. The Kulsu and Ornis families who farmed the irrigated flats of Gorpai were completely wiped out; every yang, yin, dirk, doll and every one of their food animals perished. Families Antero and Sala survived on the ice, but they experienced a severe die-back because the farms of their host families were completely under ice for twenty-five years. And when it was all over, Gorpai was completely transformed yet once more. Belial's mountain stood free of ice again, but the great planetary ice sheets were only three hundred miles apart now, and touched each other in three places, creating three separate Lands.

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