6 April 2015, 11:45 am

Flower petals snow
Bamboo chattering greetings
Water wind whispers

Birds call their kindreds
Maples reach to the ripples
Fish swim anciently

The path beckons me
To where the lowest branch laughs
Where vines turn and twist

Soft colors float by
Songs decorate the spring clouds
I rest in heaven

My Irrational Faith

I know that my redeemer lives. This knowledge is born of my faith, and my faith comes from my personal spiritual experiences. My experiences are repeatable for myself: therefore, to me, they are scientific proof. To anyone else, they will mean nothing unless that anyone else has his own corresponding spiritual experiences.

Whoever searches for a reason for faith in external proofs is a fool that does not understand faith. What, would such a searcher have the same demands for evidence were someone to profess love for that person? Is not the unspeakable bond of the heart sufficient? If not, love can never be in the life of that person. And, since faith is love, so goes faith.

But open a heart to love, and it opens to faith. There are things about love for which I have no reasons, but only trust, and that trust is sufficient even if irrational. When I allow this irrational, unproven faith into my life, I find that my heart fills and then spills over with joy and love. When this faith guides my heart and my actions, I seek to do good and to serve others. Would I subject such goodness and service to withering doubts to drain my desire to do them? Or would I be better for it if I kept my faith, nurtured it, purified myself that my faith would become more perfect?

For this I know: were there nothing to have faith in, there would be no restraint on the soul. Our world groans under the oppression of the faithless, the sociopaths that will murder to get gain. Would we have no faith, no love, to keep their numbers from including the whole of the human race, descended into an orgy of shouting, murder, shrieking, and tortured lusts? For that is the logical conclusion of the logical elimination of faith and love – every man prospering according to his own strength, preying on others lest he himself become prey. There is no rational reason to be otherwise, save as part of some calculated evil that requires patience to unfold. I will mock any philosophy that purports a reason to avoid sociopathy if that philosophy does not make an appeal to the irrational.

And that irrational is the faith and love we rightly associate with the divine. It is that which elevates the soul and promises us, one and all, that observation of a higher law is justified. It is that which motivates sinners to change their hearts and minds and to desire no more to sin. It is that which consoles in time of grief, it is that which elevates in time of depression. It is the only thing that can save us.

I believe that Jesus made no cold calculation before he submitted to the awful trials of his atoning sacrifice. No, he made that decision with the warmth of faith and love. He did not know what was on the other side of that bitter cup when he assented to drink of it. He trusted that it was the right thing to do, because he had faith in the Father, whom he loved perfectly.

May I know a day of such perfect faith and love in my own life: that is my prayer.

The Crisis of What Might Have Been

Have I done all that I could have done?

That question haunts lives. That question leads to rash decisions to change everything. That question is the root of the life crisis, whenever it may happen. It is in resolving that question that we either find peace or our undoing.

Popular culture has given us a strange view of success, seeing it as an end in and of itself. The “happily every after” formulaic ending dismisses all future storms and trials and gives the erroneous impression that should one perform similar feats in one’s life, the same formulaic, dismissive ending awaits.

History, however, shows that there are no endings in a life, other than the actual ending of life. No amount of prior success can cause one to gloss candidly over a current struggle. Ronald Reagan attained fame as an actor and became a president beloved and revered by many – yet, he faced a battle with Alzheimer’s as his life drew to a close. A harsh, cold winter to close out a life that knew a brilliant summer and fall. Abraham Lincoln never gave up in his political struggles and became elected president – twice – and then his life ended in an agonizing day of pain following a fatal gunshot wound. Helen Keller learned how to communicate, a triumph for sure, but her struggle for workers’ rights goes largely ignored.

Success is all in how one chooses to measure success. There are the false standards of the world that only measure to a point and then ignore subsequent pains. Then there are standards we can choose in our own hearts. I prefer the latter.

So what standards do I select? Moral ones. If I can live my life and keep my soul intact, if I can shine it up after it’s taken some damages, if I can get clean and sober and stay clean and sober, then I am succeeding. If I can help other people, if I can be kind, if I can be a good person where I am, then I am a success.

What might have been different in my life? Lots of things. Would I be more successful by worldly standards with different choices? Certainly. Would I have been more successful by my own moral standards? No, and quite possibly I would have had need to jettison those moral standards in order to rationalize what I might have done to attain worldly success.

Successful lives, according to worldly standards, are typically a result of blind luck or criminal intent. Success from my standard can be found in finding joy in small moments and in being kind to people who won’t do anything for me in return. With the wrong view of life, it is possible to be completely bored with a fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower and with the right view, to be completely satisfied with watching an ant make his rounds.

I’ve seen no-talents fall blindly into success and geniuses forced to keep their day jobs. I’ve seen criminals praised for their business acumen and truly talented individuals completely ignored as they quietly heal lives. Asking what might have been indicates a yearning for the world and its fickle treasures. Being at peace with decisions made, even if those decisions could have been better, is the key to being at peace with one’s life, which I consider to be success.

Changes are still possible in any life. But choose those changes carefully. Peace and happiness are more important than money and power. True success is intrinsic and the crisis of what might have been is resolved successfully in finding the peace of the just and charitable soul.

25 March 2015, 12:05 PM

I have had moments in my life
That now are real and solid dreams
Moments of repeated stillness
The same breeze, differently flavored
The same leaves, differently colored
My eyes dreaming along with
The moment.
Heaven is made of the peace of
Those moments.

Not of This World

There are many things wrong in the world, all of them because of humans. It’s not even all the humans doing the things that make the world a harsh, unfair, imperfect place. Relatively few people are involved in the destruction of things for their own benefit: very few are involved in murdering the world and those who live in it for their gain. The rest of humanity is doing just fine, or would be doing just fine, were it not for the consumers and destroyers of the world.

There is no restriction on who will or will not be evil: men may choose for themselves if they will follow a path of self-sacrificing love or of prideful hate. There is a consequence in every choice, and those who choose evil will discover to their horror what an illusion they chased after. Wealth and power are illusions. There is no way we can truly own anything, although there are ways we can deprive others. There is no way we can have true power without love, although we can compel others with hate. In the world to come, we will have everything we need and want nothing more, so there will be no ownership. In the world to come, others will be glad to do anything we ask, and we will be glad to do the same for others, so there will be no power.

If there is power, it will be love, and not the power of the world. If there is ownership, it will be our own minds, souls, and the consequences of our choices which we cannot give away, ever, so there will be no ownership of the world. Those who cling to this world in this life will find it hard or even impossible to be loving, for clinging to the world is evil. It is the service of evil to demand everything for the self. Those who can let go of the world in this life will find it hard or even impossible to be hateful, for letting go of the world is love. It is the service of love to offer everything of the self unto others.

I do not want the wealth or power of this world. I want the love that is not of this world.

Faith, Works, Repentance, and Worthiness

I am a Christian. That means I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he made an intercession on behalf of humanity to allow them a path of salvation. As the Son of God, he could make an infinite atonement, while we as mortals can only make insufficient finite payments for the wrong we have done. Therefore, our return to where we came from is conditional not upon our own efforts, but our ability to satisfy the terms that Jesus laid down.

His terms are stated simply: we are to have faith in him and his sacrifice; we are to set aside actions and thoughts that do not show love to others or ourselves; we are to follow him; we are to endure to the end. There is no free ride at any point, just as there was no point in Jesus’ mortal existence that suddenly became easy for him. Faith demands of us that we accept unseen evidence and rely instead upon love to guide our beliefs. Setting aside the unloving actions involves arduous processes of repentance, which involve not just leaving behind those evils, but fending off repeated temptations to return to them. Following Jesus involves doing the work that he would do if he were here, and it is not the play of children, but the work of a loving brother, giving support to people that suffer alongside us. Enduring to the end is painful – avoiding the pain is not endurance. We cannot cheat any of those processes, if we want Jesus to be able to say to us that we have lived as he wished us to live.

But we have that faith to sustain us. God is love, and faith is an expression of that love, that trust, that belief that, yes, there is something unseen that is nevertheless there. Faith is an expression that that something unseen is calling to us, in words of tender, caring love, for us to return to that love from whence we came. That love is perfect and we must be ourselves perfect to return to it. As we live, we cannot avoid imperfections. We need a way to rid ourselves of those imperfections, and Jesus provides that way. He allows us to make imperfect payment for our sins, he allows us to attempt to repent and fail, so long as we continue to try to keep repenting. He encourages us to express our faith, our love, through the works that he would do. This is what is meant by “faith without works is dead.” Faith is an expression of love, and true love demands true action. I cannot tell my family that I love them and do nothing. Love requires that I help them, that I sacrifice for them, that I mourn with those who mourn, that I bear one another’s burdens.

My works are not a replacement for my repentance. Neither is my repentance a replacement for my works. Both are parts of the love I feel. Together, the two add up to measure my worthiness. Worthiness itself is not a negative judgment, but a measure of the peace in one’s soul. Lack of work and a pile of sins prevent us from feeling peace. We gain peace when we make sacrifices for others. We gain peace when we leave behind the things that keep us from loving others and ourselves, which are our sins. The more peace we feel in our hearts, the more worthy we are of the blessings of Jesus.

But Jesus does not ever want our lack of worthiness to keep us from turning to him and giving him a chance to bless our lives. He never wants our lack of worthiness to make us give up on starting to do the hard work of faith, repentance, commitment to his path, and enduring to the end.

That is why we start with faith, because faith is love. If we start with that faith, that love of God, we then accept that we can be loved, and that love can transform. Why does love conquer all? Because God is love. But true love is no magic wand or sprinkle of pixie dust: true love is hard-working, toiling, cheerfully sacrificing, and eternally enduring.

May we all increase the peace in our lives by helping others and leaving behind our sins. May we place our faith in Jesus, and let us allow him to show us what he can do for us when we give our lives over to him in trusting, loving faith.

Millennial Dreams

Last night and the night before, I had dreams of things yet to come. The night before last, I was with all my family and we celebrated as we held and played with Jarom, who died in 2001 before he turned 3. But we were all there, together, and there was great joy. In my dream, I heard a voice say that even for just one day, such a gathering is a great blessing, but that it will one day be forever. I knew this to be true, and I woke up feeling wonderful. Last night, I dreamed that all my family was together and we were celebrating the wedding anniversary of my wife’s parents, who died many years ago. I knew her father before he passed and he was a wonderful man: I never knew her mother. Even so, both were there, and we were having a great occasion. I woke from that dream feeling wonderful, for it was another harbinger of the great millennial day to come.

It is not the first time I have dreamt of a thing to come: I have had dreams of a game I would one day play, a place I would one day work, and of a trip I would one day take. In each dream, I was taught that I can receive messages about things yet to come through my dreams. I do not claim to have a power all my own in that regard. I claim instead that these dreams are of divine origin, and they are sent in order to help me to proclaim good news to my family and friends.

For in those little dreams, I was prepared to receive the truth of bigger dreams. When I was 13, I had a very real vision of the woman who is now my wife of 28 years. I have had other interactions with the deceased in my dreams, and also with the yet-to-be-born, all in my family. The dead of my family do not haunt me: they send me messages of joy and comfort and of the good days without end that are yet to come. The dead of my family do not harm me: they give me help and strength. The dead of my family are still my family, and they will always be my family even if they will not always be dead.

Hundreds of years ago, an ancestor of mine had a dream of a day yet to come, when the truth of God would be restored upon the earth and that, through that truth, families would be restored. Such a restoration has come to pass, and the visions of this day now point to the fullest restoration of all. For after there is a restoration of truth, there comes a restoration of lives and then a restoration of loves. That is the resurrection. That is the dawning of the great millennial day to come.

I have had many dreams come true, and these all have a certain character to them. Without fail, dreams of that type are the ones to come true. When I have dreams of the same type of days yet to come, I know they will come to pass. I have no way to prove that to anyone else but to say that I have dreamed a dream, and it was wonderful. It was of a day I wish to greet with joy, and it is a reason to choose life over death, to choose to not smoke, to not drink, to not view pornography, to not sin. It is a reason to choose to study the scriptures, to pray often, to seek to stand in holy places, to become even as a little child.

Families can be together forever, and the gatherings will be holy, blessed, wonderful, and joyful. Seek always the truth that binds together with the greatest love and submit to that truth in order to receive its blessings. Be as a little child, and you will see your fathers and mothers before you as well as your children after you for all eternity. This is what becoming like God truly means: God has His family around him for all eternity, and to be in the same condition is to share in the inheritance of God. This I write in the name of the Son of God, who makes all this possible with his atoning sacrifice, Amen.

A Trillion-Dollar Gamble

The high-paying US jobs from the shale oil boom are evaporating as the price of petroleum decreases. The boom can’t be sustained without crude around $75-$80/barrel. The Saudis are pumping the stuff like nobody’s business. They’re not going to stop. Major oil companies and US economic growth are going to take a big hit. If anything will reverse that possibility, it will have to come from outside Saudi Arabia.

China won’t help: it’s sliding into recession. Europe is sliding, as well. Global oil demand is not on the rise, or even holding steady. Fixing the price of oil requires addressing the supply side of things.

Saudi Arabia is at the peak of its power so long as its borders and insides remain calm. With ISIS on its north, the Shi’a in Yemen on its south, plenty of pop-eyed nutcases ready to put the ruling family to the sword on the inside, and an ailing monarch with an unclear path of succession. Four different things that could possibly give way and apply substantial pressure on the Saudi kingdom – as well as upward pressure on the price of oil.

Are any worth the risk of provoking? Ask this question from the point of view of someone that cares only for short-term profits, not lives or long-term geopolitical concerns. That’s how corporations run themselves.

Dynastic intrigues would be the easiest to provoke, but would one be able to guarantee an outcome? Not an outcome in which things work out well for the Saudis, but where the price of oil goes back through the roof. There’s a chance that the royal family is of an accord about keeping up their production. The price boost, therefore, would need a different prime mover.

Popular uprising against the royal family? Easy enough to start, provided the rebels get some really good weapons. That’s not likely, unless the Saudi army splits in two. That itself isn’t likely. Move on, then.

The Shi’a threat from Yemen and Iraq would be seen as an extension of Iranian power, and that could provoke an Israeli nuclear strike. We’re looking for a price spike, not a general war that could go global all too easily. Scratch the Shi’a threat.

That leaves ISIS. It’s easy to get them weapons: just make a shipment to “moderate Syrians” and once they defect to ISIS, their gear goes with them. In the months that the USA has been bombing ISIS, they’ve increased the territory under their control. Honestly, it seems to me as if ISIS, for all its beheadings and breathings out of threats against the USA, is nevertheless serving US interests in the region. Israel attacks Assad, not ISIS. Israel is worried about Shi’a expansion, not ISIS. Yes, ISIS was blunted a bit in Iraq, but only after the government there basically begged for US support. Was that the plan, to have ISIS threaten to go all the way, in order to press the Iraqi government closer to the US camp?

If so, then ISIS is at the ready to threaten Saudi Arabia, ready to press them hard enough to get them to see things from a US perspective. They’ll do the work for the oil companies that the US Army can’t do.

Zombie Apocalypse Fantasies and the Desire for Community

How do people survive when times are hard? How do people survive in conditions of grinding poverty? They form communities or, rather, they live on in already-existing communities. Bereft of electronics, reliable supplies of food, without ready access to clean water, people survive through communal structures – families, neighbors, co-religionists – pooling their resources, skills, and luck to support each other.

But surround a man with technology, and he becomes more and more isolated physically from his world. Not only does the technology place distance between him and his fellow men, but the technology also reduces his need to reach out to his fellow men for day-to-day survival. The lack of regular personal contact with family, neighbors, and co-religionists results in a certain kind of loneliness that manifests itself as a homesickness for human interaction.

Enter the zombie apocalypse sort of fiction. The plot is straightforward: it’s the end of the world as we know it, and all that stuff of technology is gone, possibly for good. In this fantasy, humans must band together to defeat whatever forces caused the apocalypse. Right now, zombies are all en vogue, but nuclear warfare and Martian invasions served as fitting backdrops for stories of human family reunions brought about via horrific disasters.

If one notices, however, people living in conditions of grinding poverty don’t really have an interest in zombie apocalypses. Those kinds of events, like hurricanes and earthquakes and dictators propped up by multinational corporations, can be survived, but life would be less harsh without them. People involved in helping others survive also don’t really spend a lot of thought being entertained by wondering about big “what ifs”. They’re getting that human interaction through volunteering to help out friends, neighbors, and co-religionists.

Human poverty can manifest in so many ways. There is physical poverty, sure, but there is also poverty of the spirit and of the soul. Leaving our comfort behind in order to become part of a community to deal with poverty allows us to deal with the very real calamities that exist on a person by person basis, and to experience that human togetherness that technology has removed from our experience.

The Nah’wadass Sourcebook: The Sack of the Great Library

When a sudden storm drove a group of fruit-pickers into a cave for shelter, they had no idea that they were to discover a Nah’wadass document cache from the Late Decline period. When historians then found this document in that cache, they realized that a far greater source of documents would never be found. We have since discovered additional documents regarding the destruction of the Great Library of Wedemetess. Although that city was no longer the capital of the Nah’wadass nation, we know that Wedemetess retained a symbolic importance throughout the Decline periods. The loss of the Great Library, therefore, had to be of signal importance, communicating to one and all in the Nah’wadass nation that, without question, the remnants of the nation were not going to be regenerating lost glories.

The reference to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse would place this document confidently around 1250 years after the earliest known Nah’Wadass writings. The author’s tone and style indicate that he was at least a Scribe-Master and possibly even a Scribe-King, quite likely in hiding, seeking shelter from the political and cultural storm that drove him to that cave.

In the third year of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, a great contention arose among the people. A famine had begun and the plague from the south was in its second year. And though there was peace on our frontiers, the Kinnikanhi being sore defeated, the Shizrek being recipients of our tribute, and the Ouliloulaei nearly dead to a man from the plague they brought from the south, the people turned upon themselves to visit agony, woe, and the shedding of blood to get gain. Truly, they did murder to get gain, forming this band of bandits or that in order to gain violent rulership over their neighbors or to protect themselves from rivals.

Among these bands of bandits, there were two main parties, those that acclaimed the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, cousin of the Law-King, and those that acclaimed the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, whose brother was the murdered Law-King who did precede the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Both of the Merchant-Kings who led the parties promised great riches to their followers, should they prevail, and they did struggle one with another mightily. Those who had no stomach for murder, they did then make their slaves. And thus was the nation plunged into riot and bloodshed over riches.

For the Merchant-Kings themselves had once been as brothers, and they had unified in their use of secret murders to destroy those that opposed them in trade and commerce. But they did have the thirst of greed, and no green under the snows could satisfy them. All had to be in their grasp and they did have no hope for the future save in what they could lay their own hands upon. They could not be content to be two rivers, flowing in parallel: they demanded that they be as honored as oceans.

They and their followers held no respect for neither Masters nor Kings, save those of the Merchant order. Even the Soldier-Masters and Soldier-Kings did they disparage, for the few in number of that order that did serve to keep peace were dedicated to the service along the borders, and the ones who kept peace in the cities and in the provinces they did overwhelm with their many bands of bandits. And so peace that should have been the nation’s by right by way of battle, tribute, and plague, did depart from the land, and the lamentations of the meek and humble did pour from their hearts.

And the bands of bandits and the Merchant-Kings who did call them up into their service did proclaim that there was no god that we know and that there was no custom of old to restrain the actions of a man. Truly, they did proclaim that a man rose and fell according to his own strength and cunning and that life did begin at birth and that it did end at death. Truly, they did proclaim that a man would only judge himself according to whatever standard he did set for himself. Truly, they did proclaim that a man with great power and great wealth would know no judge other than himself, and that he would be truly free to do the deeds that pleased his desires.

And even though the people who did still remember the god that we know did not interfere with their murders and their enterprises, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse and the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did openly punish the thoughts of those that did remember, proclaiming that they were offended by such foolish and illogical practices. And even though the people who did still respect the customs of old did not interfere with their murders and their enterprises, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse and the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did openly punish the thoughts of those that did respect, proclaiming that they were offended by such restrictive and unenlightened practices.

And though they did murder one another openly and in the streets and in the fields, they did unite in the destruction of both rememberance and respecting. Truly, they did deny that there was green under the snows, for what was unseen to them did not exist.

(The first fragment of this document ends here. The next part was written on a different type of leather, but the hand in which it was written matches that of the first document. Historians generally agree that the two documents combine as one and that both were written by the same person, most likely at around the same time. It is possible that there was a period of time that passed between writings, but we do not know if that period was a matter of moments or of years. Nevertheless, the chronicle does seem to be continuous.)

In the days of the first growths after the thaw, the supporters of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did move to strike against the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse and did openly reject his rule. This did cause great commotion amongst their enslaved supporters, who did threaten themselves to set aside their desires for peace and to themselves kill those who had become as masters over them. The Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene then did declare that he needed no man in service to him that had rebellion in his heart, and he did move to have his bands of bandits slay those that did speak openly of the need to respect the Law-King, even if he was a corrupt and filthy Law-King, for such was the fear of the nation, that the Law-Kings they knew would be in the service of Merchant-Kings, and not in the service of the nation.

Truly, the bands of bandits did murder those who did speak openly, and this did quell the spirit of rebellion amongst those who were loathe to murder to get gain. This did then embolden the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, who did proclaim that he would make war upon the history and the traditions of the nation, and that he would send forth his men to burn the Great Library of the ancient capital, even the hill that was no more a mountain of Wedemetess. He did proclaim that his men would burn all the records that they did find that did not pertain to the order of the Merchant, for he did proclaim that there was no value in such records, other than to stir the hearts of men into disobedience to the power and wealth of those that did hold such things. Truly, one does not respect power and wealth of men when one knows of things greater than the power and wealth of men.

And as the first growths began to wither in the heat of drought, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did march his bands of bandits to the place of Wedemetess, to make war upon the whole of the place, and the people who did remain in the hill that was no more a mountain did flee, for they did not want their blood to water the ground that was soon to be level where once there was a hill and where once there was a mighty mountain, with green under its snows. Truly, they did not want their blood to water the ground that would be a barren waste, and the bands of bandits that did serve the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did march forth to a place of buildings once known as Wedemetess, where not even the spirits of ancestors would seek refuge.

But then did the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse proclaim that he needed no ancient writing to justify his power and that he would himself demand the destruction of those writings, that he would prove with his continued retention of the seat of the Law-King that all he needed to hold that power was his own strength of mind and might. And so did the bands of bandits that followed after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse make a forced march to the place of desolation once known as Wedemetess, where now not even the spirits of the ancestors of the ancestors would seek refuge.

And thus did the mobs of bandits meet in the place of sorrow once known as Wedemetess, and they did commence to make war with each other over the power to take fire, acid, and water to the records of the Great Library of Wedemetess. Truly, many of the Scribe-Masters and Scribe-Kings of the nation did take what records they could carry, and did hide them in their places of hiding, even as I have done with the records in this place. And not even a small trickle could we save of that mighty flood which did course through the halls of the Great Library.

For I myself have seen with my own eyes the mighty halls of the Great Library of Wedemetess, and I myself have seen with my own eyes the mighty words kept in the mighty halls of the Great Library of Wedemetess, and I honor those halls and those words as I keep the traditions of old with my continued writing, and I honor those halls and those words as I remember the god that we know with my continued writing.

Truly, we are now hunted men in our nation, and our families dare not claim kinship to the Scribe-Masters and the Scribe-Kings, for fear of their own lives. I will not be a murderer of my kin, so I shall not claim them. I will not be a murderer of my ancestors, so I shall not mention the other places of hiding. I know of judges other than myself, and the writings that we place in secret places and the writings that we continue to write will keep the green under the snows that will one day endure to bear fruit once again.

But, truly, the fires did burn, the acids did dissolve, and the waters did make muddy sands, and the bands of bandits murdered each other as ferociously as they did murder the past and as ferociously as they did murder our ancestors. The Merchant-Kings that made war upon the nation did offer rewards both for the slaughter of leaders as well as the destruction of records. Great was the bounty of money paid out for those who did bring forth records for to be burned in the open, with slaves forced to watch, that they might report to their fellows that this had indeed happened and that, yet, the Merchant-Kings did rule with their wealth and their power.

And the slaves did lament that the god that we know made no miracle to save the writings, as he had made miracles to save our ancestors in days long ago. But the Speakers of Wisdom among them had no words of comfort, for the nation had long ago forgotten the traditions that must be observed as a nation for the nation to be blessed with miracles as a nation, and that only a man or a family might be so blessed with miracles of preservation, and only as that man or that family did observe the traditions necessary for preservation.

And as the dusts did blow across the lands and the famine grew even more sore, the bands of bandits that did follow after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse did declare that they had destroyed the greater part of the Great Library and that they had driven back the bands of bandits that did follow after the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, that they could destroy no more that Great Library, but that the power to be found in its destruction would be all theirs.

This did cause the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene to rage and that rage did cause him to proclaim that those who did not take up arms for to murder would no longer be slaves, but would be dead. And he did order the arming of his own slaves, and his bands of bandits did slay many who refused to take up arms, even slaying of their own number who chose to lay down their arms rather than slay those with no defense.

But, truly, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did increase many fold the size of his army, and he did lead them unto the city of ruin and fire, even the barren desolation of Wedemetess, and his army did encircle that of the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse. The army of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did raise the earth around the place of desolation, and they did fortify the earth that they had raised, that they might destroy the army of the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse through siege and starvation. They delighted that they would destroy the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse himself in the siege, for he had come unto the place of desolation that he personally would be one who murdered the ancestors in the destruction of the Great Library.

And, truly, as there was a famine in the land and little food to be had already, the bands of bandits entrapped in the desolation did soon turn upon each other, eating the flesh of the slain in order to sate their hunger. Few were the messengers that did escape the riot of violence in the desolation, and fewer still were the messengers that brought word to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse.

But word did travel to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, and he did call forth to the soldiers on the frontiers, from all the borders around the nation, and did raise a call to the slaves of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, giving them command to destroy the bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene. The soldiers from the east and the soldiers from the west did heed the call of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, for the eastern borders were quiet and the Shizrek from the west were sated with tribute. But the soldiers of the north did not heed the call, for the Kinnikanhi would not be defeated in the absence of strength. The Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did call for the head of the Soldier-King of the North Gibetemes Hararegha, but no man would heed that call, and thus did the Soldier-King of the North Gibetemes Hararegha keep peace in the lands of the northern borders.

No man did respond to the call to the soldiers of the south, so great was the plague in the lands of the southern borders. Not even the messengers sent unto those lands did return, and great was the fear that they did perish in the plague.

But, truly, the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did bring together an army of soldiers from the east and soldiers from the west and from volunteers among the slaves of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, and the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did march at the front of the army, even though a Soldier-King he was not. He did care little for the very traditions which had made him a Law-King, choosing to rule through despotic force rather than accept the legitimacy which did flow from his predecessors unto him. Such was the woe of our nation!

When the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse appeared on the high ridge of Itememe, which oversees the whole of the land around the desolation of Wedemetess, they did raise high their standards and called aloud to their fellows still alive, who did respond with a shout of their own, though it was weak in strength and number. The bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene were thrown into disarray at the sight of the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, and they knew not whether they should maintain their siege or deploy in strength to face the bands of bandits encircled or the army on the high ridge.

The Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene then gave the order to fall upon the band of bandits in the desolation of Wedemetess, giving the call to destroy them, then to retreat in the face of the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Truly, his men did rush over the mounds of earth that they had raised around the desolation of Wedemetess, and they did make savage battle upon the weakened bands of bandits that followed after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, putting them to death by the ten, and by the hundred, and by the thousand.

At the sight of this, the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did order his army to rush to the rescue of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, but truly did his army loathe the men that they were ordered to rescue. As the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse stood, shouting at the army which he had raised, the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas, drew his sword and smote the leg of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Truly, the men of the army cheered the smiting of the despot, and the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas removed the mask and the robes of the Law-King and Weketem Rindasse was a Law-King no more.

The Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas called for any Law-Master that might be in the ranks of the volunteers, and one stepped forward. The Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas did hand over the mask and the robes of the Law-King to the Law-Master Kepemess Harakamos and gave him a charge to rise to the stature necessary to truly honor the title of Law-King one day. But, truly, on this day, the nation had no Law-King. Only three times had this disaster befallen the nation, and this was the fourth, as the forces of the warring Merchant-Kings destroyed each other in the desolation of Wedemetess.

And so, the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas ordered the army to march slowly to the desolation of Wedemetess, to destroy the abominations of the Merchant-Kings.

But, in the meantime, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse had fallen to the arms of the bands of bandits that followed the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene. As the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene held high the head of the slain Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene on the tip of a spear, he pointed to the descending army, marching from the high ridge of Itememe, and called to the bands of bandits that now had no more leader, proclaiming that they would be slaughtered no more if they would go up to battle against the descending army. Truly he did proclaim that if they fought for their freedom and lived, they would be numbered among his own forces. But they were made to march at the front of the forces of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, which did cause them to fight with a sore desperation.

As the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas observed the cessation of slaughter in the desolation of Wedemetess, he did order the army to return to the crest of the ridge, as the army was small in number compared to the mobs of bands of bandits. Truly, they had hoped for the bands of bandits to destroy each other before facing them in battle, but now they faced them united in their desperation and greater numbers.

When the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene saw that the army had retreated, he ordered his bands of bandits to first complete the destruction of the Great Library, for that was the delight of his plan, to block the source of the tradition which he did revolt against.

As the bands of bandits under the rule of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene toppled the stone and burned the wood of the Great Library of Wedemetess, they dared not move from their crest, lest the bands of bandits overtake them in their march and overwhelm them with their greater numbers.

After the destruction of the Great Library was complete and all its documents destroyed with fire and with acid and with water, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene saw that he could not prevail against the army on the high ridge of Itememe, and that truly that army could not prevail against him in the field. He marched his men back to the capital, from where they would make slaves of those that had served under the slain Merchant-King as well as those that had served under his cousin, the Law-King that was no more.

As the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas saw the bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene leave the desolation of Wedemetess, he made an offer to the volunteers that had marched with him. They could choose between returning to the eastern borders or the western borders in the escort of the soldiers returning to those regions, or they could go to the north or the south and fare as they might. None desired to return to the lands that would be under the rule of a Merchant-King who had forgotten both the god we know and the traditions that guide us.

Our nation is now divided: with the south yet lost in plague, the borders of the west, north, and east no longer respecting the center, and the center ruled by the bandits of the Merchant-King.

I was a witness to these events and I did receive reports from others who witnessed them, so I know this record is true. Truly, this is true and may my ancestors be pleased with the work I have done in their honor.