Erlos (Book Three: Angel Brother)


God Feeds the Ravens
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Book Three: Angel Brother
Chapter Fourteen of Erlos

At the age of sixty-one Hamish El Tyrone, the governor of Quod province in Llozd, still had most of his hair, though it was grey now. He was an unremarkable looking man in height and build, with tired eyes and a belly that protruded slightly.

El Tyrone was in his library where below his open window human beings competed for space in the dusty streets and markets of the town with braying donkeys and with oxen and camels, and with carts and barrows, and dogs and chickens amidst a din of voices and shouting of the merchants.

He was writing at his desk when he was disturbed by a loud knocking on the door. His library was private. It was not his office. After a third bout of knocking, Hamish, irritated, opened the door to a Ukonaai rider with dusty boots.

"What is it?" Hamish asked.

“I bring a letter from the Emperor,” the rider said.

"Give it to me."

The rider reached into his bag and passed into El Tyrone’s hand a bulky letter, sealed with wax. El Tyrone carefully inspected the Emperor’s seal then dropped the letter onto his desk as if unwilling to touch it with anything but his eyes.

The rider remained standing. El Tyrone sighed. He dropped a few coins into the rider’s hand, at which the rider nodded and left without closing the door.

Hamish got up again, shaking his head, and shut the door.

He went and sat down again and looked at the letter for quite a long time before reaching for it. He used an expensive ivory paper-knife to break Mykros’ seal and then leaned back in his chair to read the document.

The contents, as expected, ordered new taxes and made other demands -- including a death warrant. The subject of the death warrant was an Aazyrian – a simple shepherd. A reward was offered for his capture and execution by the governor.

There was a further reward offered for a green stone that the shepherd was believed to be carrying. The penalty for anyone who sheltered the shepherd, was death

In fact, Mykros had learned about the Urinda stone and had decided to change his mind about Sorac: one able to come by such a powerful artifact ought not perhaps to be so lightly considered – and besides that, why should not Mykros have the stone for himself? Mykros lived with one foot in the spirit world of ghosts and demons.

Hamish El Tyrone read the letter a third time. He sighed. More taxes. He took off his reading glasses and rubbed his eyes. The pressure of his knuckles caused zig-zag patterns behind his eyelids. He shuffled the pages together and stuffed them back into the envelope, then fiddled in his pocket for a key. He unlocked the top drawer of the desk with it and dropped the letter into the drawer and went downstairs to join his wife for tea.

“You're tired," Clarissa said, as her smooth hands tipped the silver teapot: "Would you prefer we skip the theatre tonight?”

El Tyrone accepted a cup from his wife. “No I just have get some new edicts circulated,” he said. “It won’t take long.”

“Food taxes?”

“A death warrant, too.”

“The people know they’re not your edicts or taxes,” she said.

“Do they?” El Tyrone, stirred his tea: “Anyway, I despise myself.”

“Don’t talk like that, Hamish.”

“We must leave soon, Clarissa.”

“You will do what is right.” She sipped from a thin china cup: “You are my husband, and I will follow you.”

He finished his tea and stood up: “I’ll be done as soon as I can.”

He paused at the door. He turned with his fingers on the handle of the door: "I love you."

"And I love you too, Hamish darling."

Much had changed in Llozd, too, since the days of the King Dumarion Ben of Aazyr. Now each man lived for himself. The old Llozdian patterns of free trade had long ago broken down since Aazyr’s daily free caravans had ceased to arrive. Now everything in Llozd had a price, and a large percentage of that price went to Mykros as tax.

Dusk came warm over the city of Quod, its flat white roofs and open buildings suited to arid clime. It was still a beautiful city, thought El Tyrone, in spite of ugly changes in the hearts of men. He spent the next two hours dictating to scribes and sending out couriers to announce the new tax laws and to warn against sheltering the Aazyrian shepherd, should he be found, while making public the reward offered for his capture.

But Hamish carefully avoided saying anything about the green stone.

The sky was dark outside the open window when he had finished what he had to do. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and massaged his temples with the tips of his fingers.


As it had fallen to Eldrinda Benkilte to lead the vortexian crossings, so now it fell to Justin Leobin of Victoria City to execute Erlos’ judgment and sentence upon Bueloess.

All the weight was laid on him. There was silence as he weighed the issue. In that silence Erlos knew that the angels of Cephanti were with Justin Leobin bringing wisdom to bear on the choice facing him – as his mind reached out to Bueloess, seeking any spark of light with which he might negotiate, but finding only a deadly hatred that attacked his mind with awful images of pain.

What Justin Leobin discovered there was far beyond the limits of his tolerance, and would disturb his sleep with nightmares for the rest of his long life. Though he struggled to maintain his thought-probe so that the event could be properly recorded on the Aksh Tapes for future generations, the horror of the contact was so unbearable that he could maintain it only for short periods before having to withdraw his mind to rest, while his body shuddered and his clothes were soaked in sweat.

At last he spoke.

“Does Eloih create evil?” he quietly asked: “What is evil in the sight of Eloih? Upon the great plains of Aazyr the lion must hunt the antelope, or starve. For one to live, the other must die. A child knows these things. So -- what is evil?

''Erlos knows only this: that evil is what threatens the safety its own world, and the life of its children. Eloih alone knows why these things must be, according to His own eternal purpose.

''So what then is this ancient serpent Bueloess that in its terrible hunger must feed on other worlds, and seeks now to devour both Erlos and Aelutia in order to sustain itself?

''Does Erlos sin today if Erlos take the life of this ancient serpent, to save its own people and the people of Aelutia, and the lives of countless others yet unborn upon both Erlos and Aelutia?''

His calm eyes moved around the room, from face to face.

''This is the choice that today falls upon Erlos," he said: "For how can Erlos destroy Bueloess’ power-base, yet leave the world-foundation upon which the ancient fortress stands?"

''We know there can be no such solution," he said: "For that would be to kill the serpent but leave behind a serpent’s egg, from which in time a new Bueloess will one day grow. Our duty is not only to ourselves and to Aelutia, but also to the ten thousand worlds ravaged by Bueloess, and to another hundred thousand future worlds.

“Erlos cannot avoid its duty today, nor venture any compromise with what we now see before us. There is no shred of mitigation.”

He paused again: ''Therefore before passing Erlos' judgement upon Bueloess, Victoria City requests Spectra and Astra Cities to speak, if they have mitigation.''

“Spectra finds none,” said Mycyl.

“Astra finds none,” Eldrinda said.

Now Justin Leobin passed sentence:

“We, Erlos, judge the world of Bueloess to be a peril to the greater whole, of which Erlos is a part. Therefore, by Erlos’ own power -- and by the power bestowed on Erlos by Cephanti, Angel Chieftan of the Arc, whose Badge Erlos wears today – shall Erlos fulfil its duty to utterly and for evermore destroy this planet which is the foundation of the fortress of Bueloess power.”

Bueloess reaction was to send out swarms of fighters, like wasps from a disturbed nest. But they were blinded by the light of Erlos and the pathetic resistance was quickly annihilated without a single Erlotian casualty.

A terrible silence followed, as the three Erlotian Cities burned brightly in the darkness, drawing power for their weapon, and Bueloess was made to quail within his fortress and blinded by the light of Erlos.

Erlos had always possessed their sound weapon but, like the vortexian capability of their cities, they had never before used it.

Certain now of his course, Leobin held The Three locked as a triangle of power.

At first the mountains of Bueloess began to shake, and then to crack and splinter. More and more powerful became the waves of sound, penetrating ever deeper into the heart of the planet, as mountains fell into deep fissures and eruptions of hot magma plumed hundreds of miles into the atmosphere.

Still the vibrations grew.

The crust of the planet began to convulse and then to tear. Still deeper penetrated the terrible sound as the violence of planet waves increased like storm waves on the ocean until, with a final and terrible explosion, the planet Bueloess shattered into fragments, and was no more.

The Erlotians had lost not a single fighter.


Back on the planet of Aleutia the jungle was starting to darken as Tyl and Sorac and Toache followed the kradok and began to descend into what appeared to be a crater -- a natural amphitheatre in the lubyar jungle. The kradok, Kym Myaan, was walking on the new artificial foot that Toache had carved for him from wood, as Kierien's magical ointment combined with his own strong animal constitution helped him recover quickly from his wound.

The sky was nearly dark above the forest canopy of trees when they reached the bottom of the crater. Kym Myaan led them to a narrow gap between two boulders that concealed a fissure leading downwards into a cave from which, in the gathering darkness, there emerged a faint blue glow.

Little wonder no man had ever found the home of the legendary kradok deep in the lubyar jungle -- or thought Tyl with a shiver -- that none had lived to tell.

''I'll go down first,'' Sorac said.

''Be careful,'' she said.

She watched him squeeze his way between the boulders and follow the kradok down into the mouth of the cave, then there was silence for a while and then Sorac's voice echoed up. “There's a pool down here. A beautiful blue pool,” he called. ''Come down carefully because it's slippery in places.''

She squeezed her way down between the two boulders. A short, steep climb bought her out onto a wide, gently sloping surface of water-smoothed limestone that sloped further on downward to where a silent blue pool seemed to be lit from within by the strange blue light.

She could not make out where the colour came from. The water itself seemed to glow. Toache had followed her down and they all stood gazing at the lovely pool.

Grey limestone cliffs rose around the mirror-still water to huge heights that opened at the top to a small circle of darkening sky. All was lit with the strange blue radiance. From within the pouch around Sorac's waist the Urinda stone shone with light and when he took the stone out of the pouch, it glowed with the same light that came from the pool, but much brighter.

“It will light the way,” said Tyl. Somehow, she was not afraid.

“Kym will lead,” Toache said.

There were a great many dark cave entrances in the limestone walls around them. Now the kradok led them into labyrinthine darkness as by the light of the Urinda stone they walked like dreamers through huge cathedral-like caves glittering with crystals and along narrow, precarious ledges above black chasms that fell away to dark, unknown depths.

Tyl felt herself tiny beneath magnificent archways and pillars. Delicately folded lace curtains of limestone hung suspended from the roofs of the caves. Priceless gems shone in the walls amidst colossal and contorted natural stone formations that reared and twisted high and huge around her, into the darkness above. As Kym Myaan led them further into the deep of the earth, water dripped from ancient underground cliffs where the fall of a pebble created resounding echoes.

She was no longer weary or hungry but was instead filled with a sense of wonder, though watchful and aware in every sense. She and her companions walked carefully for hours beside a black underground lake, still as a mirror, whose silent waters Kym Myaan warned them not to disturb, lest they arouse leviathan who dwelt within its depths.

In the womb of the earth she had no fear, while the light of the Urinda stone surrounded her. From time to time, within the dark and twisting tunnels, the party encountered other kradoks, but the kradoks would not enter within the aura of the stone.

Kym Myaan warned the other kradoks off with a roar that dislodging loose stalactites from the roof to fall tinkling around them before reverberating away to final silence in the depths of the caverns -- at which the other kradoks slipped silently back into the darkness, allowing the party to pass on unmolested along their way.

But now Tyl and her companions began to feel themselves surrounded by dark entities -- grey shifting forms with glowing orange eyes. The strange little creatures chattered all around them, just beyond the light of the Urinda stone.

The noisy little creatures became more numerous until at last one of them came forward from the others and, communicating through Kym Myaan, asked them to follow.

“No,'' Sorac said: ''We will not go with you.”

More chattering ensued, until eventually the creature said, “We have seen the light of your stone from the world above. We are the Urda and we wish you no harm. Our king, asks that you come to him – for his child is dying and he begs you to use your stone to heal his child.”

So they followed the Urda down into the deepest bowels of the earth, along narrow ledges around dark sulphurous pits and above fast flowing rivers of molten rock that sparked and flamed, casting their own shadows as grotesque dancing forms high above them.

For hours they walked, wondering every step, until they emerged into a great hall wherein huge sombre monoliths engraved with ancient runes were dwarfed beneath enormous, towering statues of man-like beings with horns and tails and who wore dark, spiky armour and were armed with strange jagged weapons.

Here Tyl and her companions came at last before the enormous black throne that was engraved with the same unknown runes, and on which sat the little king of the Urda.

The crowd of the Urda fell upon their faces before their king as the party remained standing within the protective aura of the Urinda stone. Now the strange little king came down from his dark throne and prostrated himself before Sorac.

“I am Baalt,” said the little king: “I see your light, and beg your name.”

“I am Sorac of Aazyr,'' Sorac replied: “But do not bow. No being shall prostrate himself before me.”

Baalt replied: “Within these halls of the Urda are jewels and gold more than the greatest kingdom upon your world above has ever known. And you may have them them all if only you bring your light from above before my son, for it alone will heal him.”

The shepherd glanced around at his companions.

“Keep your treasure, and take us to the child,” he said.

Baalt led them to the dying child, and when the child saw the light of the Urinda stone he was at once well. Baalt again threw himself at Sorac’s feet sobbing and crying his gratitude, but Sorac knelt down beside him.

''It is not the light we carry that has healed your darling, Baalt, but the power of Eloih and the faith of your own good heart that has done it. Bow to none but Eloih,” he said: "For today we have in you encountered a truly great king.”


So it was that the Aazyrian shepherd and his companions eventually emerged from the caves, blinking in the unaccustomed light, upon the mountains which were the natural border of Llozd.

Some 20 miles to the south, to their right, a big river snaked towards them along the foot of the mountains that divided Llozd from Kaarth before flowing out across the arid plain, like a fertile green ribbon winding through dry scrubland.

Here they left Kym Myaan, parting from Toache with sorrow on both sides, and accepting Sorac’s gift of his bow.

Now Sorac, Tyl and Toache came on foot to a small Llozdian town at the foot of the mountains. The countryside was parched, with only a short dry covering of dusty sheep grass and some resilient bush. They found accommodation at an inn, the gold which the shepherd had received from the girl disciple by the roadside now at last finding a use.

The innkeeper was a hairy, big-bellied man with a thick black moustache and a bald patch in the middle of his head. He showed them to the room and then returned to his wife in the hot kitchen where she was cooking up a sausage and potato stew in a big pot on an iron stove.

The sturdy woman managed the inn herself when her was drunk, which was often, gambling with dice and cards in games with rough frontiersmen that sometimes turned ugly.

Her husband had been playing dice on the porch when she had shouted at him from the kitchen to admit the three travellers, and she now looked up from stirring the pot with a big wooden spoon and raised her eyebrows enquiringly.

“They are from Aazyr,” he said: “They have paid with gold, though they are in need of a wash and change of clothing. They want to buy horses in the morning and then continue on to wherever it is they’re going on horseback.”

“Are they respectable?” she asked him.

“They are ragged with long travel but well-spoken enough -- and they have money,” her husband replied.

“I want to see them first,” she said.

She stumped up to the room.

“You seem all right, I suppose,” she said to the three companions, speaking the Aazyrian language with difficulty: “Did my husband did show you where you can bathe -- down the passage? Afterwards I will call you to eat."

The woman returned to her husband in the kitchen where he was adding pepper to the pot. She slapped his hand away.

“There’s a reward for him,” she said.

“What are you talking about?”

“There is a reward offered for that man.”

“What man?”

“The Aazyrian. The one who just arrived! The governor is offering a reward.”

“Then we must call the militia to arrest him,” he said.

“And the militia will claim the reward? No – it is you who must arrest him!” she said.

“Are you mad, woman? Have you seen the size of that one with him?”

“It’s a lot of money,” she said.

“It isn’t worth dying for.”

“Well whatever we do must be done soon before anyone else learns he’s here,'' she said. ''The punishment for keeping him is death.”

They pondered the problem for a while. It was she who solved it: “We’ll have to find something to put in their food to knock them out.”

“What would I do without you, woman?” he said.

So it was, when Tyl and Toache woke from their drugged sleep, Sorac was gone.

(end of chapter fourteen)
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God Feeds the Ravens
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Chapter Fifteen

Auldrius Benkilte of Erlos raised her arms.

“Victory is ours!” she called out: “Erlos declares seven days of holiday and celebration!”

The echoes of cheering reached to them inside the great hall from the people of Astra who, like the rest of Erlos’ population in all their thousands of millions, were watching the victory address on screens.

“Let this day forever be remembered by all future generations of Erlos. But let our rejoicing not cause us to forget what we still have to do,'' said Auldrius.

“This is a time of great joy for all of us, and rightly so, for Erlos has destroyed an ancient evil, and now the world of Aelutia becomes just one of ten thousand worlds of our new Erlotian Empire.

''But our thoughts at this time should also be humble ones -- for in our celebration we should not forget that Erlos has destroyed a world.

“Erlos has acted as an arm of Eloih, in concert with Cephanti's angels, and now we rejoice, as surely the angels too rejoice in our victory,'' she said: “But we have also incurred upon ourselves a mighty debt.

''Perhaps the angels are able to create new worlds for those they must destroy,” she said: “But we are but men, not angels.

“Today Erlos' power is very great – but let us not forget what we have done. We have destroyed a world! The question is: how may we expiate this heavy debt we have incurred upon ourselves?''

She paused, and Erlos waited on her words.

“Now we must work to try to rebuild the hundred thousand worlds that Bueloess has cast to ruin,'' she said: "We must try. Erlos cannot truly rejoice while the worlds of our new empire lie in ruin.”

Music swelled around her as she stood, with arms upraised.


Now that the holiday was over and a meeting of the Council of Seven was due to start.

When all the formal greetings had been exchanged and all the leaders and the captains of the Seven Cities had taken their places, Auldrius and her brother, Eldrinda Benkilte, both wearing the blue of Solastra State, took up their places beneath the rising firebird crest of Astra City.

“We are going to be very busy learning about these worlds of our new empire,” Auldrius said: “As you know most are badly damaged – many reduced to lifeless husks -- robbed by Bueloess of their lithos.

“But because Bueloess has left countless lithos vehicles now drifting leaderless and abandoned around space, my brother Eldrinda has come up with what may be a workable plan to restore the lost lithos to at least some of these worlds.

“He believes it will be possible to tow these abandoned lithos craft and to hurl them into the atmospheres of nearby worlds starved of it -- where they will burn up as meteorites and scatter the metal.”

“It’s a brilliant idea,” responded Thalia.

“However,” she inquired gravely, “B'retza City must ask Eldrinda if this process of restoration is likely to lead him outward in the direction of this blue world of his? Or am I wrong?”

Eldrinda's quick smile did not reach his eyes.

“I will most definitely be out there exploring our new empire,” he replied.

“But this blue planet of yours lies outside of the Empire, I believe?” Thalia replied, with a smile.

Eldrinda nodded, girding himself to battle Thalia on the subject.

“Of course I intend to visit the planet I have spent my life studying, now that the war is over,'' he said.

“And you have surely earned the right to do so,” Thalia agreed.

B’retza City stood with B’rahma City at the top of Erlos' higher triangle of power, above Astra City. B’retza City's population of 1674 million souls lived in 9 city states, each with their own leaders and voting systems, and which together carried 10 votes on Erlos Council balance of 60 votes. Bretza's throne was of ruby, and its crest was a warrior queen standing on a chariot.

B'retza worked to regulate the powerful energies that came from B'rahma City, and then reflect them down to Astra City, which reflected the energy down to Spectra and Victoria Cities, and on downward to Diana City, so that each Erlotian was able to receive that energy according to his own capacity to do so. B’retza City's energy, like that of all the other Erlotian cities, functioned on four main levels.

"However,'' continued Thalia, ''although B'retza requests the most beloved Eldrinda Benkilte, in whom B'retza has all confidence, not to take offence at B'retza's need for reassurance – the long term effects of the ceisorundra virus have never been properly studied. No-one but Eldrinda has ever lived to survive it with his mind intact.

''Therefore before giving Eldrinda its vote to proceed, B'retza City must require from him an assurance that his own personal interest in this blue planet of his, will never be allowed to interfere with the interests of Erlos as a whole?''

“Of course. You are invited by all means to keep an eye on me," Eldrinda said, and this time his smile was genuine.

Thalia looked around to her eight captains: "B'retza City votes in favour of this proposed restoration of lithos.''

The other cities all voted with B’retza.


The governor, El Tyrone, looked up across his desk to study the weary shepherd standing before him. He rang a bell and when a servant entered Hamish ordered coffee and sandwiches.

“What is your name?”

“I am Sorac, of Aazyr.”

“You do not deny it? You don’t look like a dangerous brigand to me. I think I know a villain when I see one.”

At this point the steward arrived with the sandwiches and coffee.

"Are you hungry, Sorac of Aazyr?” Hamish asked.

He spoke quite good Aazyrian with a Llozdian accent. The word came out as ‘oongry. Sorac was indeed ‘oongry, after a two day journey tied in a cart from the northern border of Llozd. El Tyrone got up and came around the desk and cut the ropes binding Sorac's wrists.

"Eat," he said.

.Sorac put need before pride and wolfed one.

“Where is the green stone?” Hamish asked him.

Sorac ignored the question.

“You will be wise to talk to me,” the governor advised: “Mykros has already sentenced you to death. For what crime is that, I wonder? Did you steal the stone?”

Their eyes met, but the shepherd made no reply.

“Eat. Eat!" said El Tyrone: "They're for you. for you. Will you have sugar with your coffee?”

Without waiting for a reply he spooned sugar into the Aazyrian’s cup and pushed it across the desk to him.

"Tell me your story."

Sorac's inner guidance told him he could trust this man. He drank the coffee and he ate the sandwiches, while telling his story in a quiet, even voice.

Hamish listened to the long tale without saying a word.

“We will see each other again tomorrow, Sorac of Aazyr.”

He rang to summon the captain of the guard, whom he trusted as a close friend.

“Please keep this fellow under wraps for now. He needs a clean cell with a window. Make sure he gets a good supper, a hot bath, and a good set of clothes.”

His dark eyes looked hard into Sorac’s for a second.

“His name is Solarhunti.”

As Sorac was being led out, Hamish said after him: “I will need the stone, Solarhunti. It may save your life.”


Eldrinda knew ten thousand worlds, their slow majestic turning. He knew the minds of worlds. He heard the voice of Cephanti, great Angel Chieftain of the Arc, commanding gods of worlds and angels:

Erlos, awake! As cometh now to thee the dawn, and life and strength -- so cometh now thy task of restoration, which shall replace that of destruction. And now, Oh Erlos, let it be known by all thy mighty cities and all thy people, and by all Aelutia and her people -- that there can be no return.


Later that night Hamish El Tyrone sought out a reference to the Urinda Stone in his library. Opening a book titled ‘Myths and Legends of Aelutia’ he read a short passage:

‘In the beginning was the Void, and the void gave birth to the One. The One gave birth to Heaven, and Heaven gave birth to Earth. Between Heaven and Earth, Light came into being, and from Light, Darkness was born.

'Light and Darkness between them gave birth to Fire, which came to the earth as lightning. Fire gave birth to Water. Rain fell and Life was born. Life gave birth to Joy, and oceans and rivers divided the regions of the earth.

‘Long ago, when the air and water were still mixed, there dwelt upon Aelutia a race of giants who were called the Urinda. The giants lived in a world of dreams that was to them the 'real' world, and the still forming 'real' world of nature was to them a dream.

‘The dream world of the Urinda was constantly changing, but by the mixing of their individual dreams, the natural 'real' world began to assume concrete physical reality as the air and the water began to separate. The reality of the natural/physical world is more firmly fixed now than in the time of the Urinda, but dreams still help shape the world, and the air and water are still mixed, to a degree.

At first each of the Urinda giants was content to live in its own dream, but as the air and water continued to separate, the Urinda began to war with one another, each one wishing to inhabit the reality of his own dream.

‘They began to form groups, and the groups came together as tribes and armies. For centuries the Urinda battled, while the natural world took shape from their conflict. Fire and water do not mix, but each one needs the other for nature to exist.

'The greater wheel of Spirit turns the lesser wheel of nature, and is not turned by it. So the Urinda battled, until the last one had perished, and the Urinda Stone is said to contain all that was left of their dreams.

‘It is said to have come down through time as a most potent amulet against any force seeking to undo the natural order, which is the legacy of the Urinda giants.’

It was late when Hamish El Tyrone locked his library and went to bed.


Erlos now began restoring lithos to the huge disconnected ruin of Bueloess’ old Empire by towing space hulks and dropping them to burn up into the planetary atmospheres of the ruined planets.

Heated to many thousands of degrees by the pressures of re-entry, the lithos found hydrogen and oxygen, exploding in a huge, reverberating reaction to become a vapour that slowly settled to the planetary surfaces.

Now as new powers and alliances formed within the new Erlotian Empire, as worlds that had been gutted by Bueloess began to heal and learned to laugh and dance again, Erlos decided to give self-governance to each world, connected in a trade empire.


Most cases that came before Hamish El Tyrone were a relatively simple matter of judgment and sentencing. At times he formed emotional sympathy with the accused, but he did not allow it to affect his judgment. El Tyrone still regarded a man as innocent until proven guilty under Llozdian law.

The Aazyrian shepherd, if his story was true, was indeed guilty of the capital crime of plotting against the Emperor who now controlled all Aazyr and Llozd. Hamish El Tyrone had issued execution orders before, and seen them carried out, and now he sent for the shepherd to be bought before him.

“I am forced to order your death,” said Hamish.

Sorac hung his head. He had failed.

“Now listen, and listen carefully my young friend, to everything that I am going to say,” continued Hamish.

“I am going to instruct my captain to carry out the sentence. Only he and I will witness your execution. And only he and I -- and of course yourself -- will know that the corpse that leaves here tomorrow in a wooden box will in fact be a sack of sand.

“But,” he added, “I cannot save your life unless you give me the stone. Mykros wants it. If I cannot produce the stone, Mykros will pursue the matter. Do you understand me, Sorac of Aazyr?”

Sorac handed over the stone, with shaking fingers. Hamish locked it in the top drawer of his desk.

“You may retrieve this from the Emperor later,” he said: “But you will have to wait many years for that, I’m afraid. You must now to become a slave. Your name will be Solarhunti from this day.”

“Solarhunti, the Sleeper. It is a good name,” Sorac said.

“And a slave you must remain, until I have left Llozd and established myself elsewhere and am certain that my wife and I will be safe,” continued El Tyrone.

“That is going to take time. I am the governor of a province. I can’t just up and leave. If Mykros learns you are alive he will execute sentence of death upon me -- as well as on yourself. We will owe our lives to one another if I do this.

"You must make no attempt to escape until you receive word from me. You must not reveal your true identity. You must make no attempt to contact your old companions, who will believe you are dead. You must wait, Solarhunti, for however long it takes, until you hear from me. Give me your word. That is all that I require.”

“I will do it,” Sorac said.

“Then your life, and my own, will be safe for now,” said Hamish. “My captain can be trusted. But no-one else. A conspiracy of three is danger enough.

“You must understand that you are going to spend many years in slavery on the emerald mines? Mykros will kill us both if this plan fails.”

Sorac nodded.

“Then from this moment, you and I will owe our lives to one another, Solarhunti.”

“Why do you trust me?” Sorac asked him.

Hamish considered for a moment. “Because I believe you are the H’zaan, the son of Dumarion Ben of Aazyr, and that in you alone lies Aazyr’s hope,” he said.

“Then I have but one request of you,” Sorac said.

“Let me hear it.”

“My woman? My mind will never rest unless I know that she is safe,” the shepherd said.

“Your mind may be at rest,” said Hamish: "I will ensure that Tyl and Toache return safely to their village in the Forest lands, though they cannot know you are alive."

“Thank you.”

“Life on the mines is a hard one,” warned El Tyrone. “But you are young and strong. If you survive you will emerge stronger to continue your quest, as Eloih may decide. Perhaps one day you and I will meet again under different circumstances, Solarhunti.”


Erlos had defeated Bueloess, and now Now Ildries Ameira's strength of hatred towards Eldrinda Benkilte became overpowering and Ildries was determined to destroy Eldrinda at any cost.

By now Ildries had long since ceased to be of interest to anyone but himself. But this made him no less dangerous. His thoughts were black and confused. Obsession was tipping over into full blown madness. In Ildries' mind, the idea that he had lived for had now died with Bueloess’ defeat.

So now he returned to live hidden in Diana City, with a darkness and tenacity of mind to destroy Eldrinda Benkilte, who had forgotten about him altogether and was enthusiastically engaged in exploring, and restoring lithos to, the furthest reaches of the Erlotian Empire.

Ildries Ameira realized his opportunity when he learned that Eldrinda Benkilte was at last going to explore the vortex of the blue planet which had never been raided by Bueloess for its lithos -- located as it was just beyond the rim of the old Bueloetian Empire, as was Aelutia itself

The mission to the blue planet was to be one of exploration only, as far as Erlos was concerned, and it would be the furthest journey into the innerspace that Erlos had attempted to date. But the innerspace made nonsense of time and space anyway. Obviously the restoration of lithos remained Erlos’ priority, but all agreed that now was time at last to give Eldrinda Benkilte a shot at his beloved blue planet.

B’retza City had agreed to lead the mission. Spectra and Centura Cities would make up the triangle of power that was necessary for innerspace vortexian crossings. Eldrinda Benkilte would be resident in B’retza City for the trip. Sumadji would accompany him although Sumadji’s wife Ai would stay behind with Astra City, with their young daughter.

Ildries made up his mind to be aboard.

Ildries Ameira's problem now became one of how best to hide in Spectra City. He knew Spectra well because he had been born there, but Ildries knew he would find no allies there, not even amongst his own family.

Since leaving Aelutia he had been hiding out in Diana City. But Spectra was a different proposition altogether. Spectra was much 'brighter' than Diana.

The city of Spectra was huge and beautiful, its population of 1480 million divided into eight states, four above and four below, ever changing position in a figure of eight movement like the rising and falling serpents of Spectra’s crest.

Ildries knew he would have to be very careful that his presence did not cause any disturbance in these lines of force, and lead to his discovery. But whatever the reasons behind Spectra City’s being chosen for Eldrinda Benkilte’s mission to the blue planet, it was a decision that had for once worked in Ildries’ favour.

It would have been impossible for Ildries to conceal himself for long upon Victoria City -- Spectra's closest partner. He would certainly not have been able to stay hidden for even a day on B'retza City -- and not even for a moment upon Centura City.

But he believed that with care and trickery he would be up to the task of concealing himself on Spectra City for long enough to carry out his plan. And whatever happened after that wasn't going to matter anyway.

(end of chapter fifteen)
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God Feeds the Ravens
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Chapter Sixteen

Many years had passed since Erlos had defeated Bueloess and now all the Erlotian Cities, with the exception of Diana City, were experienced in making vortexian crossings.

Erlos was beginning to see a reward for its efforts at capturing Bueloess’ abandoned lithos spacecraft and restoring lithos to the worlds from where it had once come. As the metal was reabsorbed, Erlos began to see the sprouting of new life, in whatever form it took, on the worlds of its new empire.

The idea was working. They were successful. They could afford to do some exploration for its own sake within the vortex of the blue planet -- and perhaps to learn more about the strange fold in the fabric of timespace existing in that region.

So now at last Eldrinda Benkilte was going to be able to fulfil his lifelong dream of riding an atmosphere craft down to the surface of the blue world.

Of all the many worlds that Erlos had encountered only the blue world appeared to have an atmosphere, gravity, temperature, surface structure and climatic range that would sustain Erlotian life. In fact its makeup was so similar to Aelutia's own that the blue planet looked a lot like 'home' to them.

Eldrinda and Sumadji's plan was to take an atmosphere craft down and land there -- and then to open the door of their atmosphere craft and take off their helmets and walk around.

B’retza, Spectra and Centura Cities would explore the vortex of the blue planet from a greater distance, invisible to any observers there upon the planet (whose technology they knew was already quite sophisticated) and ready to make up the triangle of power to take them home again through the innerspace.

Eldrinda and Sumadji were sitting in the front section of the atmosphere craft, watching the beautiful blue world as it came closer, making small adjustments to the controls and rapidly scanning the data being fed to them both by their own sensors and by the more detailed sensors of B’retza City, which was positioned behind the moon of the blue world, invisible to telescopes upon the planet.

And now the blue that had once been Eldrinda’s madness, became his reality. It was a blue beyond any power of words to describe -- a blue that seemed to come from within -- a holy, soaring blue of infinite majesty and power. Golden sunlight reflected upon white vapour of clouds.

It was the living blue of a world whose continents and oceans supported an overflowing cornucopia of life that burst and spread and jostled and grew from everywhere, from every height and every depth, in every shape and size and colour and form. The blue planet was a feast, a fountain, of life.

As they were coming down to meet the atmosphere, Sumadji reached across and shook Eldrinda’s hand.

“Congratulations, my old friend.”

“Never without you,” Eldrinda replied: “But check the oxygen.”

“There's plenty of it down there,” Sumadji joked.

“Just check the readings.”

Sumadji made his own check. “We’re using too much oxygen,” he agreed.

He jabbed at buttons, lips compressed: “There doesn’t seem to be a leak.”

They both knew that the most miniscule oxygen leak would set bells and alarms ringing all over the place. Their fascination with the approaching blue planet was put aside for a while as they checked and re-checked the readings.

There was no leak. The two Erlotians came to the same conclusion at the same moment. Their eyes locked. There was somebody else aboard the atmosphere craft with them.

“It’s Ildries,” said Eldrinda with sudden, gut wrenching certainty.

“It could be anyone,” Sumadji said: “I’ll search the storerooms.”

“No,” Eldrinda said: “It’s him.”

“Yes,” Ildries said: “It’s me.”

He was standing in the doorway with a gun in his hand.

“You’re crazy!” Sumadji’s voice came out as a rasp.

“And you're both dead,” was the thin stowaway’s response.

“That’s what I mean: kill us, what happens to you?” Sumadji tried to reason.

“Not your problem.'' said Ildries with a mocking smile.

While he was still speaking, and knowing there was nothing to lose, Sumadji dived at Ildries’ legs, keeping low so that the shot went off over his own head.

As he took Ildries down, the gun went skittering across the floor of the atmosphere craft. Eldrinda dived for it and snatched it up, and then he backed away slowly, keeping the gun pointed at Ildries.

“Surely you're not going to shoot that in here?” Ildries shook his head slowly: “You’ll break things.”

Sumadji yanked him up off the floor and cuffed his hands behind his back. The shot had smashed an instrument panel, but here appeared to be no serious damage. All vital systems on the craft were duplicated anyway, in case of failure.

“You’re coming back with us, my friend,” Sumadji said.

“Back?” said Ildries. ''Oh -- no, no, no! No, none of us are going back.''

He wrenched his neck around to spit at Sumadji’s face but missed.

“Better check your guidance system,” he said.

They were hurtling towards the atmosphere at a colossal speed that would cause them to burn up. Eldrinda sprang for the controls. He struggled to wrestle reverse thrust from the engines as they continued to plunge. Sumadji twisted Ildries’ arm up behind his back and marched him over to the door of the airlock, while Eldrinda hunched over the controls.

Sumadji pushed the button to open the inner door of the airlock. He thrust Ildries inside and pushed the button to close the door again. Sumadji looked at Eldrinda until Eldrinda had to raise his head from the controls. They kept eye contact for three full seconds and then Eldrinda nodded fiercely, once.

Sumadji pushed the button to open the outer door of the airlock.

Space rushed in and Ildries was drawn slowly away from the rim of the saucer-shaped atmosphere craft, his clothes shredding as he spun dwindling away. The sunlight reflected brightly from his body until he was just a shining speck -- then nothing.

He was gone.

Ildries was dead.


Slaves went where they were pushed. They were beaten and starved. They did what they were told to do. Slaves were not men; they were not even animals. Animals are expensive to replace. Slaves were units of production, nothing more. Slaves were things. They were disposable and easily replaced.

But it seems to be a fact of life that no matter how harsh and degraded the conditions into which a human being is forced, he will somehow adjust to them. How a person deals with harsh conditions derives from his own inner qualities, and so perhaps in this sense Sorac's previous life of simple poverty and meagre diet became an asset to him.

His hands blistered and bled and he was forced to drag himself up again exhausted as if he had not slept at all from the lice-infested board onto which it seemed to him that he had fallen into unconscious sleep only minutes ago after the previous day's beatings and labour -- only to have to work again, until his hands hardened with calouses and the small ration of food and sleep became his normality.

Solarhunti was self-effacing and quiet-spoken, asking nothing of any man, eating what was given him without complaint. Solarhunti generally as far as possible was at peace with everyone, though having little patience with fools.

He appeared to need nothing at all. He was free in himself. His spirit seemed to move through other dimensions, while his body laboured within the narrow and suffocating tunnels of the emerald mine. He was strong in himself. His will would never be broken.

Outside the high barred prison window that he could see through from his bed, there grew a moonflower tree, its thick waxy petals glowing almost, in the dark. At night, when the moon was bright in the clear desert sky, he could see the moonflower tree, and beyond it the rocky desert mountains.

The seasons turned. The moon waxed and waned. New wretched gangs of men arrived in chains to replace the weekly turnover of those who had died, but the the mountains and the moonflower always stayed the same.

He remembered the mountains of Aazyr where he had grown up as a shepherd boy. He knew secret valleys where no-one ever entered. He knew a flat stone plateau carpeted with tiny pink and blue flowers, where someone in ancient times had erected a cairn of stones on top of which the same lizard seemed always to be standing motionless, in exactly the same place.

He knew forests of gnarled and twisted trees, cool and quiet. He knew the wind, warm and fragrant with summer scent of mountain herbs. He knew great natural castles of stone, and heights where he could stand looking down at swallows in flight as clouds closed like mist around him -- and when the clouds lifted, the grasslands of Aazyr rolled and swelled far below him like a great golden sea to the horizon.

Solarhunti never bothered to complain. He knew it was his fate as years spun out on the great Aazyrian wheel of time. He expected nothing, needed little. He owed not a breath. His body was imprisoned, but his spirit was always free. His mind was always still.

When others spoke, he listened quietly. Sometimes he shared his words. He could not be bought. Like a tortoise he could retreat into his own strong shell. He became a magi of the spirit. He found gold in his own heart, diamonds in his own tears. Solarhunti knew how to wait.

Gravity draws all life down to the centre of the earth. From a crack in the damp stone floor of the prison, a weed pushed bravely up toward the stars. A meteorite shower rained burning stars like sparks outside the window.

Dawn came like ash.


Tyl returned to the village by the lake and it was there she gave birth to Sorac's son. She named him Jac -- a tempestuous, red-haired boy with his mother’s green eyes. From the youngest age even before he could speak, Jac became accustomed to the sign language of Toache, the Bear – for Toache was never far from Tyl.

Tyl worked at whatever tasks came her way, her heart always breaking for Sorac. Dew in the morning. Small creatures in the grass. The peace of nature. She could only do what her intuition told her. In summer she bathed under a clear, cold waterfall on the mountainside. Somehow she felt Sorac was still alive, but she could not allow herself to live the rest of her life by that belief.

Tyl and Toache had known each other since childhood and it was perhaps natural that the trust between them should develop into a quiet and secure love. They did not marry, but young Jac grew up accepting and respecting big, dumb Toache as his father, though Toache himself never allowed the boy to call him that.

Both Toache and Tyl were careful to make sure that the quick tempered, self-willed boy should never forget who his true father had been, and that he should grow up with an awareness of the responsibility of his true heritage.

Jac, with his reddish hair and restless, impatient nature belying the hot rages he would learn to have to control, reminded Tyl little of his father. But the royal blood of Aazyr was rich in his veins – the Aazyr he would learn to love with all his blood and bone and flesh, absorbing it from his mother and from Toache, and from anyone else who had stories and legends to tell.


Sumadji’s eyes fixed upon those of his friend as the realization of impending death came between them: “Maybe we can fix it?”

Eldrinda’s eyes were red around the rims with exhaustion: “There's no time for that, Sumadji!''

“Perhaps I can still find a way to fly this thing,'' Sumadji said.

“No, it’s all shutting down,'' Eldrinda's s mouth was very dry: ''Look – shields, navigation, power -- he’s sabotaged the mainframe. We must get to the rebirth chamber now!''

Erlotian atmosphere craft were all equipped with a 'lifeboat' device to be employed only in the most extreme emergency, as in the case where the craft was going to crash or make forced landing on an alien world.

This device was called the rebirth chamber.

Because an Erlotian would be unable to survive long upon any of the vast majority of worlds that he would ever encounter, the rebirth chamber was a device that would select for him the foetus of an unborn member of the highest life form on that alien planet -- the deformed or defective foetus of a body that would otherwise be born dead.

The strange science of Erlos would then be able to transfer the essential essence of the doomed occupant of the atmosphere craft into that foetus, to bring the foetus to life, and thereby enable him to be born by natural process on the alien world and to live and grow there as a member of the highest life form on that world -- although in a deformed or mentally defective body -- until Erlos could rescue him.

”You go.'' Sumadji didn't look up from where he was working quickly and grimly at the controls: ''I’ll follow you.”

Eldrinda stood with his hand on the handle of the door.

''You must come now,'' he said.

'If I can get us safely down we'll be able to survive there,'' Sumadji said.

''Come now,'' Eldrinda pleaded. Alarms were howling and lights were flashing red: ''We’re going to burn up, Sumadji.''


Eldrinda knew his friend too well to believe words would persuade him now. He thought of trying to wrestle Sumadji physically to the rebirth chamber, but Sumadji read his thoughts. He shook his head, not looking up from the controls: ''Don't try it.''

''Please! Come!''


Eldrinda shook his head in frustration. He opened the door of the cabin and left, leaving the door open behind him.

He ran quickly down a short corridor before throwing open another door that revealed a spiral metal stairway that wound its way down a steep shaft into the lower section of the atmosphere craft, as the lights went out.

Clinging grimly to the railing in pitch darkness Eldrinda swayed his way down the steep shaft and his head was banged repeatedly against the metal stairway as the atmosphere craft bucked violently from Sumadji's desperate efforts to slow its plunging descent into the atmosphere of the blue world.

Eldrinda entered the rebirth chamber. He went to one of the modules and got in. He lay down there and the top slid silently shut over him.

Sumadji worked what was left of the flight system with all his enormous skill as a pilot.

Hitting the upper atmosphere at the shallowest possible angle, he bounced down through it in a series of sideways steps that jolted him against his harness and bought blood from his nose.

Grimly he worked to control overslip – wiping the blood from his face with the back of his hand -- using the scarce remaining power of the engines in spurts against the increasing density of the atmosphere, carefully judging how much power the disintegrating drives were able to give to prevent the craft from burning-up as the surface of the planet rushed up to meet it.

He nearly made it.


From the Diary of Hamish El Tyrone:

Oh how I wish Clarissa could be with me now. My heart breaks when I remember her pain, and I pray even if the world ends, that she will always know how much I love her.

Is it for man to even try to understand? What is happiness? Perhaps it's just a chemical in the brain. But how can a person be happy when the one he loves the most is suffering?

The older I become, the less I try to understand. Eloih alone knows these things. It is enough to live the day. And so I lost my beloved Clarissa, my darling wife. She was, and still is, the other half of me. Even writing these words, seems trivial, but writing is all I have left now.

What started first as a slight stiffness in her tongue developed into an illness that doctors could not cure. Soon she could no longer speak. She had to write me notes. She was a brave woman. Before long she was living on liquids only, and ever stronger doses of laudanum for sleep and relief, while her beloved body wasted away to nothing.

She was as light as a child, my beloved, darling wife of more than forty years, when at last, with that final, oh so final, sigh, she died in my arms -- brave, uncomplaining to the end. Oh my darling – you are still close to me as breathing.

She is buried in the little churchyard, under a magnolia tree beneath the ancient stone tower of the old church she loved so much, knowing the name of every shrub and tree and flower she encountered. I still dare not think about the aching sadness inside me, somewhere in inner darkness, covered deep within. It is too tender. I dare not touch, or even look at it.

Now I had to breathe for myself alone, who always breathed for two, and it now became clear to me that the time had come to leave Aazyr, and flee across the sea to Marana.

Now he strong years of my life have lived themselves, How swiftly seven years had passed since the day that my eyes first met those of Sorac and I knew beyond shred of doubt that I was looking into the eyes of the H’zaan of Aazyr.

Now that I was able to leave Llozd for Marana, at last it became possible for me to arrange his escape from the emerald mines of Llozd.


So it was one night that Solarhunti the Sleeper was roused by a prison guard, and led to the prison gates and a bag of gold was thrust into his hand before the gates slammed shut behind him, leaving him free on the outside, and soon he was bound on horseback for the desert town of Quaath.

The land became steadily more desolate as he travelled westward. He travelled through small towns and settlements, avoiding inns like the plague and paying for what he needed without answering questions.

The days led him deeper into the furnace desert lands where the night sky was a blazing canopy of stars that glittered and glowed to the huge horizon. Sometimes at night the sky clouded over and there were flashes in the huge black clouds, and thunder shook the desert sky, but seldom enough rain to wet his hair.

There were times when the thunder broke more fiercely, and rain fell in a brief drenching torrent, but the sun dried it quickly away, as he rode towards the desert of the Naar, from where to journey to reach the mountains of H’zaar Trith which were the gateway to the sacred land of Coreyan.

The desert was cold at night, with icy winds.

Sorac walked upon the desert sands, guided by some inner sense towards H’zaar Trith, the sacred land. By day the sun hummed in the sky. Sometimes an eagle circled upward into azure, rising slowly into a huge and silent world of air.

The shepherd walked eastward alone. The white dunes groaned beneath his feet.

All through the days he walked up one dune and down the next, his footsteps extending in a line for miles behind him.

Towards evening the sun became a crimson ball that quickly sank into the earth while the sky flamed and flared and died to indigo, and his lengthening shadow followed him on stilted legs as one by one the stars came out to fill the desert crown of night, in the desert where there is only sky.

His mind began to stray to waking dreams. He journeyed on beneath the stars as later, from the black and blasted earth, a yellow moon was born that rose to light the desert floor on which he was a moving speck. His mind reeled backward through the years, remembering his life.

Nothing escaped his perfect memory. Dawn came and soon the sky was alive with colour of day and the first rays of the rising sun burnished with gold the tops of low hills, now visible upon the horizon.

The magnificence of morning gave him strength. But he was weeping. He tried to understand the sadness of the morning as a wave of heat rushed across the sand. The sun burned high in a cathedral sky as later he began to climb and the endless white dunes gave way to a rocky moraine and he journeyed upward into the hills, toward the smell of water.

It was a little shallow pool, fed from underground, surrounded by dry scrub and a few stunted trees that managed to root from cracks in the rock, trailing their limbs close to the water. He approached the waterhole in the gathering dusk. He drank and immersed himself in the pool, and then he slept for a night and day, and then he drank and bathed again, trying to absorb as much water as he could.

When evening came, he journeyed on.

Soon the rocky shrapnel gave way once more to sand and the steep white dunes grew higher as he progressed ever eastward.

Dawn unrolled a pastel curtain of day.

The sun whitened as it rose, like an iron in the fire, driving before it the chill armies of night. Heat struck like a fist. But the shepherd had known the terms before entering the bargain. White birds wheeled up against the sky.

Night came again, then day, then night. A hundred-thousand memories and a hundred-thousand footsteps lay behind him to be covered by the quick desert wind. He journeyed on.

Seven days passed.

From time to time he passed the bones of creatures, and once the white bones of a man, half -buried in the drifting sand.

For thirty-nine days and forty nights he journeyed onward through the Naar, while the groaning dunes sang a desert song of parting. The wind covered his footsteps. His store of memories was exhausted now. His body moved itself.

His mind was gone.

He journeyed on within the womb of the desert and the womb of the night. Huge lights blazed around him, whirling and passing. He journeyed silent in the wind as owl-eyed and marble hard the moon cast cold, uncaring light onto the wasteland that surrounded him.

He looked down from high above the earth onto a white road that merged with an eternal future, somehow suspended above the opalescent, swirling tide of time where all flesh was bound to death by gravity.

He was no longer thinking now, lost somewhere between dream and reality where images hovered, half-formed, ready either to become concrete reality, or else to dissipate again back into the shifting matrix from which they were beginning to take shape.

He journeyed onward in a tunnel through the night. Crystals glowed in the walls of the tunnel. The crystals were parts of his own life. Then there was nothing, no tunnel even, just a hole. There was no past, no future; just the desert, the desert, and the desert.

Day came. The burning sun hummed in the sky. It was the hum of weariness and thirst. The hard white sun was cruel master of the Naar. Night came. Then day. The sun and moon spun in the sky.

The sun died molten on the face of the earth. The sky flamed and burned away again to glittering arched darkness.

Quiet night of quiet stars.

It happened in the coldest, darkest hour before the dawn when the moon was below the horizon.

In one single instant it seemed to Sorac that the night was filled with blazing light -- a light far brighter than the sun. Joy flooded into him and through him. Joy purified his good flesh and his white bones, and filled his muscles with new strength.

Suddenly he understood. Every part was now quite clear. His exhaustion dropped away. He was not thirsty anymore. The light sustained him. He needed nothing else.

He had arrived.

He stood beneath the soaring portals of H’zaar Trith where clear cascading mountain streams fell from dark cliffs, through vine entangled undergrowth, and vanished into thirsty sands beyond, as lost and empty, naked and alone, the shepherd boy at last came home.

No past or future now defiled the heart that thundered in his chest.

His heart contained infinity: the sun, the stars, the dying earth -- the soul of all things everywhere. He was the rivers and the trees, the moon, the mountains and the sky -- the heart of beast and heart of man; there was no longer any gulf between him and the great expanding All.

H’zaar Trith could not refuse its own.

(end of chapter sixteen)


God Feeds the Ravens
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Book Three: Angel Brother
Chapter Seventeen

Douglas Perry, was born with a part of the back of his skull missing. The back of his head looked strangely caved in. His eyes were small black pebbles that glittered with intensity. It was the intensity of a brave spirit limited by a deficient physiology. He was a quiet person. There was an air of melancholy about him. It was not self-pity, but I never saw Douglas smile.

His parents had provided a home for him at a private institution for adults with autistic and other mental difficulties on a care-farm outside the small, dry town of Malmsbury near Cape Town. I know little about his parents or his early life though it was clear he loved them and they were concerned about his wellbeing during his short adult life on this world, while he waited for Erlos to rescue him.

At the time, I was writing an article about the institution for a local magazine. Douglas meanwhile, was looking for someone to write his story – the story of Eldrinda Benkilte of Erlos.

The farm with its plain lifestyle wasn’t a bad place. The residents worked in the fields growing much of what they ate together at a communal table. There was the usual drab institutional TV lounge with old magazines, playing cards and board games. There was a common-room where they could play table tennis and a darts. There was a small library for those who could read, and there was a chapel.

Douglas’s own room contained a narrow bed, a cupboard and a hard backed chair. There was a single bookshelf, a cheap transistor radio, and a cheap pine desk with a portable typewriter on it. Such was his world. It was a few square meters he could call his own. He was often tired and distant in thought and he suffered terrible headaches but he never showed any sign of boredom or lack of respect toward the mentally damaged people with whom he lived.

I promised him to see what I could do, and he lent me some of his notes to take home. I visited him from time to time over the next few years. In the age before computers we stayed in touch with letters and phone calls until one day he phoned to tell me that we would not see each other again. He told me that Erlos was coming to take him home, and wished me good luck with writing the story. Shortly after that, he died.

Unfortunately many of his letters have gone missing as a result of the many changes and movements in my own life over the intervening decades, but his original writings and documents that have survived are included in an appendix at the end of this book.


From the Letters of Douglas Perry:

You asked me for more details about the Exchange Empire.

This attack on Bueloess was such a success that soon afterwards Auldrius found herself with an empire of a hundred thousand planets. This was a sticky situation, but my sister thought of a perfect solution: she granted each planet self-government. Each planet would rule itself.

Under Auldrius are seven counsellors. Each one is answerable to the H'rothl, for the portion of the Empire that is under their care.

But in one respect the planets are still interdependent. That is with trade. Each of the 100 000 planets relies on the others for certain necessities and other amenities. So it was eventually decided that they should keep their trade links open. So a trade empire was set up and each planet elected an ambassador.

There would be a union of two thousand main planets. Each of these planets would elect an Extremec councillor. The other planets would have their own elected trade consultants and ambassadors who would meet holographically with their respective Extremec councillor, who would in turn meet with an Emprial councillor -- who in turn would report to Auldrius once a year.

Erlos sees to it that no planet cheats the others. Galactic trade cruisers escorted by shuttle craft travel from planet to planet, discharging cargo. The shuttle craft take it down and return with other articles of cargo

That is all for now.

Don’t worry to send your manuscript yet as I will be going home for 5 weeks next week. So I give you that amount of time to work on this information that I have sent you.

Good luck for the new year and a merry Christmas.

Lots of love
Eldrinda Benkilte


I am Sumadji.

Listen to me.

Up to now I have encouraged you to convey the sense of what I have told you in your own words, without even mentioning my name. But now I request you to just write down my words.

Eldrinda Benkilte was re-born as Douglas Perry on your world.

The rebirth chamber chose for Eldrinda the damaged foetus of a member of the highest life form on your world. A foetus that would otherwise have been stillborn -- the foetus of the body of Douglas Perry. And so Eldrinda Benkilte was re-born on your world into the body of Douglas Perry.

Eldrinda lived on your world for 27 years in the body of Douglas Perry while he waited until Erlos could return with the technology needed to locate and rescue him. This new technology was needed because of the strange 'twist' or fold, in the vortexian matrix in which your planet is located -- a fold that Erlos still cannot properly explain.

Eldrinda Benkilte has now returned to Erlos. They have taken him back to Erlos, where he has been reborn again as Obekallah.

His name is now Obekallah. He is still now a child and it will take some time for him to mature. But he is safe back on Erlos

He has now lived in three different bodies, with his personality intact. He is still exactly the same man. But Douglas Perry's head was deformed at the back, and the deformity obviously affected his brain. And so Eldrinda was remembering his Erlotian personality through 'layers' during his time on your world, in the body of Douglas Perry. His recollections of his Erlotian personality were patchy and dreamlike.

As Obekallah, however, he has full recollection of both his past lives.

But I did not get to the rebirth chamber in time. Because when the atmosphere craft crashed my body died before I could get to the rebirth chamber, I was not reborn into a new body on your world in the same way that Eldrinda was.

So now I do not have a body at all.

Erlos is working on a way to rescue me. I am trapped in the astral earth-surround of your world, with all the ghosts and spirits and forces it contains. But I am Erlotian. I am old in terms of your own human lifespan, and much stronger than many souls that are first parted from their human bodies on your world.

I do not say all -- or even most of them -- because there are very strong souls on your world too. But I have a very strong power of will that is trying to hold my Erlotian personality intact in the earth-surround of your world.

My will brings me onto this page. But now my time is limited, because my personality is slowly dissolving into the earth-surround of your world -- as all personalities must eventually dissolve after death of the natural body, until only the soul remains.

I am working to try to keep my personality intact until Erlos can invent a way to locate and rescue me too, and take me back home. I am a highly trained Erlotian fighter. Now my specialized Erlotian training is helping me fight to keep my personality intact -- even beyond death -- in your planet's earth-surround.

Listen to me.

I do not have a body, yet I am communicating with you now.

I have given you the writings of Hamish El Tyrone from my access to Erlos’ Aksh tapes, and Hamish has given you the story of Sorac of Aazyr. To a trained Erlotian like myself -- especially one in my present disembodied state -- the Aksh tapes are literally an open book.

Listen to me.

Erlos has destroyed a world.

Do you think that is a small thing to destroy a world -- in the universal spiral of cause and effect?

Erlos destroyed the world of Bueloess -- which shortly would have discovered your blue planet to strip it of its lithos in a process that would have destroyed most of the life forms on your world, including the human race.

While your greedy race has been going about fighting and procreating and chasing after for the great and holy god you that call money, Erlos has saved you together with other worlds like yours that are located close outside the rim of the old Bueloetian Empire.

It is true.

You did not know this was happening, yet it is wise for you to give thanks to the great spirit Eloih of all worlds, and to Cephanti the Angel Chieftain of your Arc, and to Erlos too -- for your close rescue.

And now Erlos is coming to rescue you again -- from the extinction you are bringing on your own race by your absurd behaviour toward the living planet that sustains you.

Is not the tree-of-life the symbol of life itself upon your world?

If the existence of your race on your world could be contained in the 24 hours of one day, then your own generation have destroyed half the forests on your world in only one minute of that day. When a tree loses a third of its bark, it dies; when a man loses a third of his skin, he dies. When your world has already lost half of its trees, what will happen to you?

That is the extent of your evil obsession with money and personal gain.

Fortunately Eldrinda Benkilte found you in time. He loves your world. He is close to you. Even now he speaks to the minds of many on your world – as I do – as I am speaking to your mind right now. Together we have seen so many worlds damaged by Bueloess and all much worse off than you.

We move our Erlotian Cities through vortexian innerspace by the concentrated power of mind. Do you think it is beyond our power to rescue you?

Now Obekallah is coming to teach you how to lift your cities off the surface of your planet, so that your world may renew its forests and growth. For is it not the way of Eloih to send along a helpful neighbour?

Believe me.

Whether or not you are ready, Obekallah is coming to blow away your vain sciences like fluff. He will teach you the science of vortexia. He will show you the way ahead. Obekallah must do this. Erlos must do this.

It is the most essential task that Erlos has ever had to face.

Only by saving your planet from the results of your own greedy folly is Erlos able to accomplish its own destiny and fulfil its own purpose.

Listen to me.

The vortexian dichotomy which contains your blue planet is in fact the fold that has enabled Erlos to visit Aelutia's own distant past. Earth is Aelutia's own past. The fold now enables Erlos to recreate its own past, because only by teaching you to construct orbiting cities can Erlos bring itself into existence!

Yet how can there be two separate Erlotian civilizations, one from the present and one from the past? In fact this means once Obekallah arrives and Erlos begins work here -- upon its own past -- that Erlos will never again be able to return to Aelutia.

What will Erlos do then? Where will they go?

I know this is virtually impossible to understand. But Erlos has no answers either. We have to try free our minds of all we know: you and Erlos both. Let us be one in the Great Spirit Eloih.

You must let Erlos guide and lead you, even now from within -- as now you hear my voice -- as many others upon your world now will soon begin to hear the voice of Obekallah too. For Erlos is the servant of Cephanti, angel chieftan of the new Arc into which your Earth is now moving from the old Arc of Abinarthus in its spiral journey through space and time -- and so becomes Aelutia.

And so gives birth to Erlos.

You are my writer. You are my fighter.

You do not have to seek us now. Just try to rest your mind for a while. We will come to you


From the Letters of Douglas Perry:

I promised to fill you in a bit about the seven cities, particularly Astra City, so here goes and please feel free to 'translate' into your own words for clarity if necessary:

Astra City is symbolized on Erlos by Sanfit, the Sun. It's the heart of Erlos. It's by far the largest city, with a population of 4 046 million in seven states, and carries a weight of 20 votes on Erlos' Council balance of 60 votes.

We Erlotians believe that Sanfit, on which all the other planets depend, is really just the visible 'reflexion' of the greater supernal, or spiritual, sun. This is why Astra City holds together all the other Erlotian cities.

Astra colours are blue and gold, its crest the rising firebird, its throne of topaz. Astra City stands at the bottom of the higher triangle of power, below B'ahma and B'retza cities, and at the top of the middle triangle of power, above Victoria and Spectra cities. Astra is the higher manifestation of Diana City, with which it shares a direct link-of-power.

As the central city on the Erlotian tree of life, Astra balances and harmonizes the expansive energy of B'rahma with the restrictive energy of B'retza, and the 'idea' energy of Victoria City with the 'form' energy of Spectra.

Erlotians believe that there are three higher angel cities that exist above and beyond Erlos as a 'triangle of power' in the supernal sphere, The supernal light of Eloih is said to be reflected downward towards Aelutia through the seven vessels of Erlos as if by mirrors through the three Erlotian triangles of power, losing some of its brilliance with each succeeding reflection, until within the world of Aelutia its light shines only dimly.

The first Erlotian triangle of power is formed by B'rahma and B'retza Cities at the top, with Astra City below them. Astra City balances and harmonizes their polar energies.

The second, or middle, triangle is formed by Astra City at the top with Victoria and Spectra Cities below it. Victoria is the 'vessel of force and Spectra the vessel of form, and Astra works to balance them.

The third, or lower, triangle is formed by Victoria and Spectra Cities above, with Diana City below. The force and form energies of Victoria and Spectra Cities crystallize together in Diana City 'the vessel of foundation' which expresses the underlying supernal reality -- the true reality -- of which all physical form and force is really an imperfect natural reflexion or shadow.

Centura City, also known on Erlos as D'aath, moves mysteriously between the three triangles of power. Although mostly evident within the higher triangle,

Centura is sometimes active within all three triangles at once, and is said to be able to visit even the supernal triangle of power, of the three 'higher lights', above and beyond Erlos.

There are dynastic ruling families in all the Erlotian cities which usually occupy the seats of power. Although it is not uncommon for a seat to pass out of a family for several generations, however the seats nearly always return to the dynastic families eventually.

I hope this helps a bit.
Love Douglas.

(end of chapter seventeen)


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Wow.. why do god gather so much wise and competent people around me. 🙏You are good at writing 😊🌸
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God Feeds the Ravens
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Wow.. why do god gather so much wise and competent people around me. 🙏You are good at writing 😊🌸
Thank you! :)
It's nearly finished now
I love your writing too


God Feeds the Ravens
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Chapter Eighteen

Naked the shepherd climbed the towering cliffs, he knew not for how long. His hair grew wild upon his neck; his nails were hard and broken claws.

The water that fell from the mountains of H’zaar Trith was cold upon his face and body. He climbed up on the slippery rocks, up on the watercourse, which is the shortest way up any mountain.

He climbed and climbed, until at last he felt the mud beneath his feet, and mud squelched out between his toes on the fern and bracken. Upward he climbed, as mud gave way to solid earth. He lay flat on his back upon the mountain-top, naked and alive, looking up at the sky.


The great silence of Eloih.

Wind in the trees.
Slough of a river.
Rustle of a dry bush.
Flash of a wing against the sun.

He climbed on upward, through reeds and ferns, and into grass, and then on upward into the strange valley of H’zaar Trith, where thoughts became things, which he must cross to reach the Bridge of Coreyan where stood Cebus, fierce guardian of the threshold set by the angel chieftain Mycyl, to guard the entrance to the sacred land, where lay the Sword of Light encased in ice.

Around him there grew green and fragrant heather as he walked through the valley alone. Clear streams flowed from ancient stone, through moss and fronds.

There was no thought in his mind.

There was only the way forward.

So came he to Coreyan, the Sacred Land.

Now of Sorac and the legend of Cebus, there are many legends, so let us be content with the one which tells us that the Bridge of Coreyan appeared to the H’zaan as a rainbow and the Guardian, Cebus, as a butterfly in shining colours of blue and gold, that sat upon his head as he crossed the rainbow bridge and so entered the land of Coreyan, where he would never need food or water again.

So the H’zaan reached the Sacred Land of Coreyan, where none but the pure of heart might enter, and none that enter ever leave – and found the Sword of Mycyl – and took the Sword to himself – and left.

To the Royal City of Aazyr he flew mounted on a winged white horse whom legend tells his name was Liere.

Standing naked in the morning upon the wide stone steps of the White Palace, with the sword of Mycyl in his hand, he loudly called to single combat the Emperor Mykros of the Ukonaai. Thunder crashed and dark clouds roiled in the sky above Aazyr as the two joined battle on the steps of the White Palace.

All day they fought and the Royal City rang with the sound of it, and when night came, they battled on. All the next day and all night the fight continued, with no rest or quarter, and now the blades of both the sword of Mycyl and of Aba Mainyus began to show scars.

For three days and nights the contest continued until at last both blades were broken, and the two men had both fallen asleep, each one standing where he had fought, leaning one upon the shoulder of the other, each snoring loudly, and each one still holding in his hand the hilt of his shattered weapon while above them unseen the angels of Cephanti sang rejoicing as they gathered up the broken souls now at last released from Aba Mainyus' grip.


Now once again the Royal City of Aazyr was resplendent with flags and flowers. By day the hills and valleys of Aazyr rang with laughter, and by night the songs of the people spiralled upward like the smoke of the incense that burned to the Great Spirit Eloih.

They bought jewels and gold, or simple offerings of fruit and flowers. No gift was too humble or too great. The people feasted at long tables beneath the ruby chandeliers in the great banqueting halls of the White Palace.

They crowded into the great hall of the White Palace to witness the coronation of the H’zaan upon the throne of his father, the King Dumarion Ben of Aazyr, where light glittered and played on all the gold and costumes of the people who were gathered there.

Sorac was just exhausted with it all.

He looked out over the great hall, at all the thousands and he was just tired.

They were all there in their parties and delegations.

At the front was his foster mother Nyla, now old, and sitting beside her were Tyl and Toache and Jac.

Behind them was the Empress Auldrius Benkilte of Erlos, wearing the royal blue of Solastra state, emblazoned in gold with the rising firebird crest of Astra City, together with the rulers of all the seven cities of Erlos, wearing their glorious ceremonial robes with the crests of their respective cities and behind them were assembled all their captains and delegations in all their colourful regalia of their various states and cities.

Sumadji's wife Ai Gail was there as captain of Astra City's Liastra state, with her young daughter Bev.

Mykros and his Ukonaai delegates were there as Aazyr’s royal guard, with all their splendid robes and jewels and ceremonial armour.

Hamish El Tyrone, had travelled all the way from his little house on the southern cape of the island of Marana to witness the coronation of the H’zaan – and the great hall was packed with other dignitaries from Erlos and from the other continents of Aelutia too, along with thousands of ordinary people from Aazyr and from Erlos.

Kym Myaan, the Child of Laughter, king of the kradoks, was there, still walking on the wooden foot Toache had made him, and so too was Baalt king of the Urda, with his chattering little son who was too excited to keep quiet or sit still.

Sorac’s head hung against his chest, exhausted, and his eyes were closed.

“Dad!” whispered Jac. “You’re sleeping!


From the Diary of Hamish El Tyrone:

Somewhere there is a small white stone, and he who swallows it lives forever. It is always there, on the far side of the mountains; it is always here, in the heart.

Burning sand, no name, no past -- the desert, the desert and the desert. Seek ye the centre? Measure the circle. Seek ye the circle? Find ye the centre.

Grandeur of vast desert sky: red sunset clouds, gold, molten purple -- indigo cathedral dome, pale crescent moon.

Footprints in the sand.

A single star falls, then another. Stars rain from space.

From time to time there comes to man a brief vision of truth, like the momentary flash of ocean or sky, quickly lost but never forgotten -- a shining corner of truth revealed as by a cloak momentarily swept aside in passing, or as the light from a passing coach that falls upon the face of a beggar by the roadside and makes him realize how filthy and wretched he has become, and gives him some comfort and hope of better, if only for an instant.

Returned immortal from Coreyan he sees no longer human faces but only the spirit within. He is beyond the hold of any human power. He has left the world of man. He does not have to eat or sleep. He is able to manifest many bodies in different places at the same time.

He might appear as a stranger, as a man, woman or child, to offer help to one in need. He can turn stones to diamonds.

He may appear at a place where some evil event is to occur, perhaps an accident or suicide, and by his presence prevent it, and then walk away, allowing his body to disappear, having completed its task of the moment.

He is not the only one. There are other immortals amongst us.

They are human beings who have conquered human death, yet they remain in the world to ease the lives of those who cannot yet understand -- who suffer and die, and who cause suffering to other creatures upon their world, thus continuing their own cycle of suffering and death, for if one part of the body is damaged, it affects the whole being.

As healing hands of Eloih are the immortal ones, pushing back sorrow and diverting streams of suffering amongst all living creatures, seeing only the living heart of each one.

Less than angels, knowing well the trials of this world, as a child may best understand how to help another child, their task is endless.

But they are always amongst us.


Sorac's eyes flickered open, making an effort to focus on his son, and suddenly he knew what he must do. For the first time in years, the ghost of a smile touched his lips.

He had slumped through the prayers and songs and speeches, sometimes glancing out from under half closed eyelids at the thousands of people who had become for him a swirling mass of light and colour, like the play of light on the surface of a river whose waters flow deep and dark and changeless and whirl against black rocks, unmoving, hard and silent.

“Dad! Are you alright?”

“I'm fine. I love you, Jac.”

“I love you too, Dad. But don't sleep!

Sorac got up from the throne and went forward to embrace his son, and they hugged each other.

“Everyone’s watching us Dad.''

''I've missed you very much, my boy''

“I missed you too,” Jac said.

“Listen Jac,'' said Sorac: ''Do you want to be king?”

“I don’t want you to die.”

“I mean, do you want to be king right now? Instead of me?”

“I don’t know what you mean?”

“Well, they haven’t put that crown on my head yet?” Sorac said.

He looked into his son’s green eyes.

“I’m not very good with people, Jac. I don't think I'm going to be a very good king. But I think you will.”

“I’m just a child, Dad!”

“You know I’ll help you, when I can,” Sorac said.

“Oh sure! When you’re around.” Jac looked into his father’s eyes: “Ok.”

“Sit down there then.'' Sorac guided the boy to the throne. “How does it feel?”

“It feels big,” said the boy.

“Don’t worry, you’ll grow into it,” Sorac said.

They were grinning at each other now.

Jac ran his hands along the arms of the throne.

“I have to go away again now,” Sorac said: “But I'll be back. You know I’ll always be back? I may go away, but I’ll always come back to you.”

“I know you will,” replied the boy.

Jac looked away and Sorac followed his gaze to find Kierien standing at his shoulder.

Kierien smiled at the boy on the throne, while the great hall buzzed with conversation, the people disarmed of formality by the love between father and son, thinking it was a game.

Kierien raised an eyebrow towards Sorac: “You’re sure?”

Sorac looked into the amethyst eyes of the sage, and then down at the bowed head of his son -- royal blood of Erlos and Aelutia both.

He nodded: ''Yes.''

Kierien turned now to address the great hall.

“You have come here today to witness the coronation of a king and so it shall be,” he said.

He beckoned to the boy. ''Kneel before the throne.''

Jac glanced at his father. Sorac nodded encouragement. Jac knelt down while Kierien extended Aazyr's rod of authority. ''Place your right hand on the rod of authority and repeat after me the coronation vows that your forefathers have written down:

''As ruler of Aazyr, and as appointed also by the Council of Elders of the Seven Cities of Erlos I vow never to touch strong drink. I vow never to surrender in battle. As ruler of Aazyr I vow before the elders of Erlos and Aazyr and before Eloih to rule justly according to the laws of Aazyr.

Jac's high unbroken voice rang out for all the thousands in the hall to hear as he repeated the vows and then Kierien anointed his head and his heart with the holy oil.

“Rise, Jac Ben of Aazyr, and take your place upon the throne,'' he said: ''May Eloih bless you and help you keep the vows that you have made today, which were witnessed by at least three people.''

He laid the crown on the boy's head.

“It’s heavy,” Jac said to his father.

“Yes. You will have to grow a strong neck,” Sorac said.

He turned and walked out through the great hall, and all the people there parted to make a way for him. He stood in front the high doors as they opened for him, and then he walked out through them and on into the mountains.

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I have a ton of appendix material


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