A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.

–Nathaniel Hawthorne

Genesis, Chapter 14

The First Wars

Sarai roamed the fields and valleys and hills away from the cities. Lot sent messages, with increasing rarity, of his success and their prosperity. The cities grew larger, and the fields grew smaller. Lot traded his herds and household for a mansion in a city, and soon he was made mayor in service to a new king.

Wars waged between the rulers of the cities, as they fought over shrinking space and growing trade. Alliances were formed and then broken. They played elaborate games of trust and mistrust. They had created an art of deception that made it look safe and reasonable to be civilized, and any who helped them profited immensely. All who opposed them became their enemies. Lot was wise and kind and made friends as others made enemies. He danced around the Nimrod games his peers played for life and death.

In the latest war, the rulers of the city Lot was living in, Sodom, lost a terrible battle. The victors were not content with winning. They rode through the cities and slaughtering, kidnapping, raping, and looting the people. Almost every leader and general fled. Nearly ever man and woman with the power to protect the people they forced to live under their laws.

Lot was the only one who stood up to the soldiers. Not even his king could be found. His neighbors hid, and alone in the street he faced down the soldiers. They were covered in blood and dirt, hauling wagons filled with valuable baubles, slaughtered animals, and bruised women and children. Alone in the street, he had nothing except faith that God would protect him. The soldiers laughed at his confidence, and stole him away for ransom. But first, they took everything of value in his home, and burned it down.

Blood and Magic

Sarai got word of Lot’s capture from a survivor and friend of Lot’s. She told Abram: “I will assemble an army. You will lead them. Get our nephew back. The Elohim are protecting us.”

Sarai poured wet clay onto the ground, and animated them into human form. With Abram leading them, they quickly found the soldiers camp. They had exhausted themselves in riot, and slept deeply. Drunk on their own power, not a guard was sober enough to notice the small army.

Abram surrounded the camp with the golems. He slaughtered the kidnappers as they slept or dozed at watch. As each golem killed a warrior, it ceased moving. Abram had plenty of them. He did not stop until there were no survivors among the kidnappers, not even the victorious kings. Only the kidnapped citizens were left alive, looking the clay rubble and blood strewn camp from the shadows and bondage.

Abram not only rescued Lot and his possessions, and the other hostages, but also found much of what was taken from the city, riches, food, and people made into slaves and playthings.

The Good, the Bad, the Angry

Abram returned to Sodom and found Lot’s king, returning from the hills. The king’s priest gave Abram the sign of the Elyon, an ancient, almost unknown, chief God of the Elohim, and said: “Blessings from Elyon who delivered your enemies to you. You are strong with Elyon’s power.” The priest’s eyes shone as if they had seen the Gods directly.

Abram bowed with deep respect, and gave him a tithe of thanks. The king looked affronted being second place to his own servant.

The King of Sodom intervened and said: “No, please, you need not give us anything. The fact that you helped us is enough. You can keep all that you won. Just return the people to me, keep all the coin and valuables with my thanks. You have done us….”

The king was caught off guard, noticing that Abram was ignoring him and saying to the priest: “I do not understand why you live among these people, but I honor your devotion to Elyon and the Elohim, The God Most High, thank you for your generosity and kindness.”

Abram turned to the king, ready to meet his anger and power: “You are no better than those I killed. You are a coward. I will not keep anything that was once yours. You will never be able to claim that I owe you a single grain. I will return everything that was yours. I even have included payment you for the food we’ve eaten. Our relationship begins and ends on this day. My kin may choose to be among you, but you have no faith in your heart except for violence and material things. If we ever meet in battle, remember that I already know you have destroyed yourself with your ways.”

Abram spit on the ground and never saw the king of Sodom alive again.

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