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Thursday, May 14, 2009

A short story - continued part 17

Lilitu in her cave by the Red Sea was incanting evil. As usual Lilitu was consumed and subsumed by serpents within and without her. This was the mother goddess in her true form and hideous to behold. She was the womb of poison that kills and never gives life. Her breasts with coiled serpents held not mother's milk but poisoned gall. She was the counterfeit to Eve that Satan had constructed as a female golem. This was the consort to Asmodeus. She was incanting for the servants of Aêšmi-daeva Síyáh-Chál, the maiden of the black pit, and her half brother Ha’dad al-Dagon, to come to them to assist them in the war upon Belle and Shafiq. It was Belle more than anyone that both Lilitu and Aêšmi hated the most. For Belle was love and beauty and decency and honor and mercy and truth telling and most of all, not one bit proud, but humble of heart. These qualities of Belle’s infuriated both Lilitu and Aêšmi. Lilitu wanted more than anything for Aêšmi to assume the shape of Belle, and in the presence of the real Belle, destroy Shafiq and thereby crush Belle’s heart.

* * *

Abdul-Alim Nur al Din, the mighty malak of God was invisible and distant in the sky above Aêšmi and Ha’dad and their hordes gathering to them on the forlorn desert place they encamped. Howls from demons were heard in that place. Mortal men dared not go near. Abdul the watcher of God, stood as sentinel to see all they did and to act to protect Princess Belle always.

* * *

Shafiq and Belle had conferred with Ra'idah and Rashida for many hours to prepare for the counsel they would attend together.

Ra'idah with Rashida by her side, was instructing the special guard of fifteen of the Daughters of Astarte that Rashida had picked on Ra'idah’s order. “You are to accompany Belle wherever she goes and always to protect her, but take special care to look out for Shafiq as well. It is to Shafiq that Aêšmi poses the special threat.” Abdul had privately counselled Ra'idah on this and many points. These warriors that Rashida had picked were the most stalwart and invincible in battle. The never asked nor gave quarter of their demonic foes. If faced with mortals, they could be forgiving, but only if it was deserved. They, with all of the Daughters of Astarte, had been instructed as to what they would face at the counsel, the need to raise men to the cause of Shafiq and Belle, to guard Belle, especially in her speech, and to keep an eye on the traitors which would be at the counsel.

When morning came they all were prepared and departed from Sippar for the counsel that would be held upon the walled hill of the standing stones.

When they arrived at the gate to the walled hill, Shafiq rode Numair forward and with Numair standing before the gate said, “It is Prince Shafiq and Princess Belle with guard and troops, open and grant us entry.” The gate, which was not well kept, creaked open and they entered. They rode straight to the counsel hill top and in the center of the courtyard dismounted, and Belle escorted by Shafiq went to the dais in the center to speak.

Then the lady, Belle an elegant lady, for she was pure of soul and gentle of heart, grieved and angered by the wrongs she saw, spoke out. She described in detail the wrongs she had seen. Speaking of this, she said, “… and house after house where I stopped and asked of the gentle people that lived there, what had happened, they relayed to me the same history: that the tax collectors, you who are gathered here among the rest of those attending this counsel, had stolen from them and opened all gates to the hordes from the North and South and West to invade and pillage this land. You tax collectors are the agents of the evil doers, and even more vile than they are.”

Terrible threats were levied against her by agents of the evil-doers. They were seen, with no turning back for them, as the traitors they were. She blanched not at all. She continued her speech declaring, “ Now it is time to go to battle against the hordes from hell and take back our land,” for she knew her crusade was just. She had a coterie of female athlete warriors to go with her into battle, the phalange de Astarte-Ishtar.

All men of good conscience and love of wisdom in support of the noble lady and her heroines and her noble consort, Prince Shafiq, pledged loyalty to go before them to battle the foe. Raising himself up, Shafiq commanded the traitors to be ejected and counted as enemies from that time on saying, “meet us in battle as honorable foes if you can, for as foes do we count you and nothing else.” The traitors were thrust out unceremoniously. They ran, just as unceremoniously.

A mighty archangel from God had been sent to help them in this holy war. He was standing watch over the hordes they would battle.

The forces for good were arrayed, as were those of evil also. Two opposing camps were gathered. Only one would emerge the victor.

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