Gilgamesh Immortal (Chronicles of the Nephilim) (2 page)

She made his favorite meal: Steak from a steer’s flank, fresh bread, onions and fruit, topped off with a
gourd of wine. He was a simple man with simple needs and easily pleased.

When Noah stumbled into their tent from a day in the fields, her spirit deflated. He had been drinking, and more heavily than usual.
He could barely stand up and almost took down the whole table of food when he caught himself from falling to the ground.

He saw the food, looked up at Emzara, and blurted out, “You are so
— gorgia — gorgiaya — gorge...” He was trying to say the word
gorgeous
.

Emzara started to cry. She
did not know what else she could do, what else she could be for him.

Noah noticed her tears and gurgled, “Oh,
do not worry, I may be jrunk, but I can still get it… I can still get it, uh, get it going. Do not you worry, you little love angel, you.”

Noah started to tear off his clothes, which made him stumble more. He finished off
his gourd of wine and threw it to the ground.

Emzara walked over to the bed and sat down with deep sadness.

Noah’s garments ripped as he struggled to get them off. At last he stepped out of this last tunic, stumbled and fell to the ground completely naked and mumbling incoherently.

And then he passed out.

Emzara broke down weeping and cried out to Elohim, “Lord, bring me back my hero. Give him back his hope.”

A rustling sound drew her attention to the entrance
of the tent. She looked up to see Ham step inside and close the flap.

“Ham ben Noah, your father is naked in shame.
Leave this moment.”

But Ham did not leave. He walked over to Noah and looked down on him with disgust.

“Is this my father?” he said.

“I told you to leave this moment. You shame his name,” she barked.


I
shame
him
?” he responded. “No, mother, he shames himself. He shames the family name. He shames the clans, the future. He shames his god.”

“How dare you!” she said, standing angrily, ready to throw him out with her own hands.

Ham slithered over to her and stood inches away from her face. She tried to stand up to him, to counter his defiance with her own. But he was too powerful. His reptilian glare chilled her. She shrunk inside and sat down on the bed, defeated. She could not look him in the face any longer.

“What have I birthed? Have I so completely failed Elohim?”

He kneeled down to her level. “No. You did the best you could. Maybe it was Elohim who failed you.”

She looked at him with shock and slapped him hard across the face without hesitation. “How dare you question Elohim’s purpose. I do not understand his ways, but he is true to his promise.”

Ham smirked and stood back up, glaring at her. He gestured to Noah, still on the floor unconscious. “I find
that
a promise unworthy of praise. And I, for one, will no longer sit back and let a floundering drunkard lead the only lot of humanity into the waters of the Abyss.” Ham gestured again toward Noah, “If
that
is Elohim’s promise, then I will not submit to such deplorable petulance. I will make my own promises. I will take the reins of power. I will be the new patriarch.”

Emzara looked up in terror at Ham. His eyes had become like a predator’s on prey. She knew exactly what he intended to do next and it was an abomination.

Ham grabbed her dress in his hands and ripped it from her body.

 

Shem and Japheth had been looking for their brother Ham. He had not worked the herds all day and they were a bit angry with his increasing irresponsibility. It seemed that he was acting more like an entitled king than a servant leader of the people of Elohim. Unable to find him, they decided to go to their father’s tent and see if their parents knew his whereabouts. When they approached Noah’s tent, they saw Ham exiting and fixing his tunic. He gave them a leering look and walked right up to them.

“Ham,
we have been looking for you,” said Shem, always the elder brother with a tendency to chastise.

“Well, you have found me,” said Ham. But his countenance was disturbing to both Shem and Japheth.

Then they heard the weeping inside the tent.

“Is that mother crying?” asked Japheth.

“Where is father?” added Shem without pause.

“Drunk on the ground, where else?” said Ham.

Shem knew that there was something deadly wrong. “What have you done, brother?” he said.

Ham responded with a diabolical casualness, “I have uncovered father’s nakedness. The child’s name shall be Canaan.”

The words ripped into Shem and Japheth like a dagger. The meaning of the cultural idiom “uncovering a man’s nakedness” was the sexual violation of his wife. In a patriarchal society it was the ultimate humiliation and usurpation of his authority. Ham had engaged in maternal incest and had therefore contested his father’s tribal power.

Without delay, Shem and Japheth raced to the tent and tore back the flap. Noah was passed out on the ground as Ham had said, and Emzara was naked and brutally battered on the bed, weeping into the pillow.

Before they could see her nakedness, the brothers averted their eyes and grabbed one of Noah’s cloaks laying on the floor where he dropped it. They walked backwards with the garment on their shoulders toward their mother and covered her — they covered their father’s nakedness.

 

When Noah had become sober and learned what Ham had done to him, he called for the elders of the community. As defrauded patriarch, Noah no longer had the authority he once wielded. But the crime could never take away his election by Elohim. And so he stood before the tribe and pronounced a curse. But it was not a curse on Ham, it was a curse on his offspring. Noah had discovered that what Ham had done to Emzara included unspeakable unnatural acts that could only find their origin in the demonic revelations of the Watchers.


Cursed be Canaan,” said Noah. “A slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers. Blessed be Yahweh, the god of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. May Elohim enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his slave.”

It was a shock to the elders. Noah had used the covenant name of
Elohim in his curse: Yahweh. As Patriarch he had the authority to do so, but it was rarely engaged. And why did he curse the son instead of the father? Canaan was not the offender, Ham was. Should a son suffer the wages of a father’s sin? Does Elohim visit the iniquity of a man upon his succeeding generations?

What Noah had done was not personal vendetta. It was an act of protection for the sacred and social
identity of the family and the community. Without moral taboo, civilization would fall faster than it could rise.

The community’s response illustrated the power of internal evil to divide and conquer a people.
Ham’s heinous act caused a rift in the clans. The sons of Shem supported the call for judgment upon Ham, nothing less than his life for the violation of his parents’ sacred honor. Japheth and his tribes considered it wicked, but not worthy of the penalty of death. Banishment or exile, but not death. Yahweh’s covenant with Noah after the Flood included the justice of a life for a life. If any man would shed another man’s blood, by man should his blood be shed. The desecration of man as the image of God marked the rejection of the Creator and the beginning of the end of civilization. But did this crime rise to the level of shedding blood? They could not agree.

Ham
prepared his sons to leave for the south and west with future hopes of sea exploration of distant lands. In a sense, he was already exiling himself and perhaps the issue was moot. He had made claim to tribal patriarch and then planned to leave the tribe. What drove a man to such levels of depravity? It seemed more an act of ultimate defiance of authority than of claiming it.

Ham’s actions started an avalanche of reactions with far reaching repercussions. The elders conferred at length and c
ame to the conclusion that it was time for all of them to spread out over the Land of the Two Rivers. This event was the catalyst for something they should have done to begin with. Only fear had kept them from fulfilling Elohim’s command to be fruitful and multiply
and fill the earth
.

The sons of Shem settled the central and eastern region of Mesopotamia and the sons of Japheth migrated to the northern reaches. They rebuilt the new cities on the ruins of the old, changing names as language changed. Erech became known as Uruk and the land of Shinar became Sumer.

Noah and Emzara waited until Canaan was born before they left him in the hands of his brothers. They then travelled down the Euphrates to the Southern Sea and departed for the magical island of Dilmun. It was known as the Land of the Living that resided where the sun rises at the mouth of the rivers and it soon inspired a host of legends about the gateway to the underworld. For Noah and Emzara it was their attempt to start a new life away from the shame. Since their family had spread to cover the known lands, the only place they would be untouched by their painful memory would be a distant unknown location. He became known as Noah the Faraway or Utnapishtim the Distant.

And so the sons of Noah spread out along the river basin and multiplied. But the diffusion would only serve to delay the inevitable, for what is in the heart of man goes with him wherever he goes.

As generations passed, the memory of Noah faded into legend and lore, and the rightful lordship of Elohim over the earth was too soon replaced again by the old gods of the pantheon. Everyone had forgotten the past. Everyone had forgotten who they were. Everyone had forgotten Elohim. They had become futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. They exchanged the truth of Elohim for a lie. They worshipped and served the creature and creation in place of the Creator.

And Elohim gave them over to their depravity.

 

 

Chapter 1

The great feline
moved through the tall grass of the plain. It crouched low, muscles tensed and senses alert to every sound and smell. Unusually large, the size of seven men, it inched forward in the stealth of predatorial approach through the wavy brush. This uncanny skill in the kill had already brought long life to the wily hunter. Its mane was kingly, its musculature lean and taught, its claws and teeth, protracted and sharp.

And it smelled blood.

At the end of the grassy area near the river’s edge the daunting cat froze. It saw a group of several humans in a clearing cleaning the carcasses of animal prey hanging from the trees. Twenty gazelles, some wild boar, and a dozen ibexes dangled enticingly from the low limbs. A feast for the king of beasts.

But the great lion was not looking at the fresh meat. It stared at the large figure laying the animals onto a cart for transportation. He was clearly the alpha male, towering above the others. He was mighty
, picking up the bodies of the animals with muscular ease. He sported a full but manicured beard of dark hair and wore a chignon cloth band around his head that kept his long locks from obstructing his view. A tunic draped his waist, with a naked torso and an animal skin draped on his shoulders like a small cape. If the predator had been human it would have been struck by the charisma and handsomeness of the Hunter.

But the predator was not human. What it saw was a challenging guardian keeping the lion from its meal.

Strangely, the beast had no fear of the Hunter. Though this one was extraordinarily large, the lion had killed many men which accounted for its ability to stay alive for so long. Fear would not stop it from seeking prey, but it was a necessary element that produced increased strength and heightened awareness for battle with such a foe. But this time, it was as if it had a spell on the beast. It was preparing to kill, but with the lack of fear that might accompany the killing of an animal on the plain.

The soft breeze carried the musk of the sweaty Hunter’s scent to the lion’s nostrils. It licked its lips with hunger. It crouched low to the ground waiting for its moment to pounce.

The Hunter threw a gazelle on the pile of others in the cart. The four other men with him were servants. All the animals they were cleaning and preparing were victims of the Hunter’s skills. He was a mighty giant whose sport was a way of distracting his restless spirit.

He also had preternatural senses.
Those senses kicked in and he stopped what he was doing. He sensed that he was being watched. No, that he was being preyed upon.

The Hunter
looked and saw the men cleaning the animals from the trees, oblivious to their impending doom. He looked at the brush mere cubits away from him. But then he glanced behind him. He set his spear beside the cart and pulled his dagger and axe. In front, and behind,
there were two of them
.

No, wait. Three.
It was an ambush.

He was about to yell out a warning, but he never had the chance.

The lions attacked.

The lion that was watching the Hunter leaped out of its hiding and covered the short distance in a mere
couple of strides. The other two lions, one, an equally large male, the other a smaller but meaner female, surprised the men in the rear. They ripped them to shreds with relative ease.

But the Hunter was ready. And he was very good. His fear had spiked his strength and he caught the giant beast in the belly with his blade as it pounced on him. His other arm caught the fangs and claws of the monster in his copper forearm band. He pulled the dagger upward and sliced open the lion’s underside, spilling its intestines on the ground. The lion howled in pain and released its grip. The Hunter rolled on top of the lion, raising his axe high. It would take a few more moments before the lion would be dead so he was not taking any chances. He swung down and buried the axe head in the lion’s brain. It went limp.

The other lions had finished off the four servants and turned to face the Hunter. Their mouths and claws dripped blood. The big one stayed back, sizing up its prey. The smaller female was not so cautious. She moved forward, eyes mad with rage. She was smaller than her male companions but she was clearly more vicious and experienced. Without a bulky mane to get in her way, she was streamlined for killing. And her mate was dead. She was going to maul this large human and lick its bones.

But the Hunter was not merely a human. He was also part god. And he had been wanting to rid the land of these menaces that had killed too many people of his city for too long.

The lioness spared no moment for reflection on the Hunter’s heritage. It jumped at him. The Hunter ducked and the lioness rolled on the ground in a pile of fangs, claws, and dust, hitting its head on a tree. The Hunter only had his dagger, so he moved over to the cart and grabbed his spear.

D
izzy from the head injury, the lioness tried to shake off unconsciousness. A patch of skin and hair above the eyebrow had been ripped off by the harsh bark of the tree. Blood dripped down into its blinking eye.

The Hunter raised his spear to lance it, but he felt the approach of the other lion from his rear.

He turned. The lion was already in the air.

The Hunter barely got the spear point up as the lion came crashing down upon him.

The spear ran right through its jaw and up through its brain, skewering the great beast’s skull and killing it instantly. The shaft broke under the weight of the monster and the Hunter was thrown to the ground.

He got up as quickly as he had fallen because he knew that the worst of the fight was yet to come. Once the female had gotten back its senses, it was more ferocious than its companions.

But as he glanced around, he saw the lioness escaping into the brush. The head wound must have been bad after all. And then he noticed that his animal skins had come off his body in the fray. This lioness was a vicious killer, but she was also an intelligent killer. And when her fear came back, so too did her senses. She would not fight with the disadvantage of a bleeding, dizzying wound against so mighty a hunter. So she left to live another day. To kill another day.

The Hunter dusted himself off
and sighed at the death of his servants. It was not sentiment for their lives that moved him. He would have to bury them, finish the cleaning, and bring everything back to the city himself.

He checked
the animal skins draped on his shoulders. They had been a special gift from his mother, a goddess who had assured him they bore the magical property of removing the natural fear of animals toward the wearer. It allowed him to get closer to his prey for easier kill before they bounded away. And they also threw off the senses of predators like lions.

He was a mighty
hunter, a powerful warrior, but he was not stupid. Victory was superior to honor. If wearing a magic pelt gave him advantage, then so be it. Glory would only be increased by survival, not defeat. He was victor and that is what mattered most.

 

The Hunter approached the entrance of the vast walled city. He led the cart alone through the sevenfold gate before entering the public area. He even helped the donkeys to pull their overloaded cargo of animal flesh with his mighty strength. On the top of that load were the bodies of two immense lions. The sound of trumpets announced his presence, and he was heralded in the streets by a cheering crowd.

He approached
his palace entrance and was welcomed by a smiling queen mother and high-priestess of Shamash, the goddess Ninsun.

She crowed with pride to the Hunter, “Welcome back, Scion of Uruk,
Wild Bull on the Rampage, one third mortal and two thirds divine!”

The crowd cheered again.

The Hunter smiled at the grandiose exaltation. It was formal, but it was appropriate. He was Gilgamesh, Lord and King of Uruk.

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