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.Mesopotamians also believed that the stars and planets in the heavens were interchangeable with the gods in a mystical union of being.Thus the term “heavenly host” carried a double meaning reference to both the stars in the heavens and the assembly of gods.The study of the heavenly host, and their movement through the heavens was ultimately religious devotion.Urnanna had appointed Terah head sorcerer because of his vast knowledge of heavenly secrets.But Terah was also a strong asset because he had been very amenable to the king’s wishes.Terah sought to please Urnanna at all costs.This was why Urnanna was concerned as he led Nimrod and Marduk to meet Terah up the long ramp of steps that approached the Great Ziggurat’s temple of Nanna at the top.He suspected Nimrod was interested in building his own institution of magicians and sorcerers and Urnanna was about to lose his treasured Terah.Either that or lose his head.They entered the temple at the top.It was a white marble structure lined with pillars and hosting an exquisite black obsidian idol of the moon god Nanna before an altar in the center of the temple.Over in the corner Terah was engrossed in reading an astrolabe, a mathematical text of astronomical observations and calculations.Rather, he was apparently reading the astrolabe, because he had fallen asleep in his reading position and was currently snoring away, oblivious to his new visitors.Urnanna cleared his throat loudly and Terah snapped awake.He noticed the king and stood with a bow.“My lord,” Terah blurted.“Terah, you need to go home and get some rest,” said Urnanna.“You cannot live, eat, and sleep in the temple.You have a family and a life.”“Yes, your eminence,” said Terah.And then he noticed the very large hooded muscleman, and the king looking closely at the statue of Nanna.Urnanna announced, “Terah, meet King Nimrod, your suzerain.”“Your high majesty,” said Terah and bowed again.Nimrod did not look at Terah, but continued to examine the idol as he spoke.“You have quite the reputation for a diversity of talents,” said Nimrod.“At your service, my king,” said Terah.Urnanna winced.That was most likely indeed going to happen.Nimrod said, “You may leave us, Urnanna.”Urnanna bowed and left the temple for the stairway descent.It was humiliating to be ordered around like a servant.But he knew that any show of pride or independence would result in punishment, if not instant death by the blade of Nimrod himself.Once Urnanna was gone, Nimrod returned to his examination of the idol and said, “You have crafted an amazing likeness out of this black obsidian.”“Thank you, my lord,” said Terah.Nimrod said, “Your terra cotta house idols are known all over Mesopotamia.One could say you have cornered the marketplace with your expertise.”“I pray my excellence honors the gods,” Terah replied.“How are your skills with coarse stone?” asked Nimrod.“Sedimentary or igneous rock.”“Competent, your majesty.”Nimrod said, “How would you like to have your own institute of astrologers, sorcerers, and magi?”Terah said, “Well, I, uh – that would be – an undeserved honor, my lord.”Nimrod continued, “I want you to be my head sorcerer, Prince of the Heavenly Host.You would be fully supplied with everything you need and would answer only to me.”Terah could not think of what to say, so he repeated himself, “I am at your service, my king.”He paused and added, “Shall I gather my wife and belongings to return with you to the north?”“Not yet,” said Nimrod.“Your first duty will be to accomplish a secret task for me down here and then travel up to Babylon at an arranged time in the near future.”“As you wish, my lord,” said Terah.Nimrod asked him, “What would be the stone that has the largest deposit nearest Ur, and the best balance between hardness and speed for sculpting?”Terah thought for a moment.“I would have to say your best bet is limestone.It is the perfect medium between gypsum and granite.There is a significant region of it just west of here not too far into the desert.”Nimrod said, “Good.I want you to establish a guarded quarry there.Keep it out of sight of the cities.I have hired dozens of stonecutters from the Zagros and the Levant to provide you their services.They will arrive this week.”“I do not understand, my king,” said Terah.“What would you like me to make out of the stone?”Nimrod was looking again at the idol.“An army of limestone golemim.Stone Ones in the form of soldiers.Ten thousand strong.”Terah gulped.“Forgive me, my lord, but I still do not understand.Of what use will this ‘army’ of statues be to you? And how will I transport them all upriver?”“You will not have to transport them,” said Nimrod.“They will march up to Babylon for my command.”Terah was too shocked to ask the obvious question.Nimrod walked up to him and pulled out a battered piece of parchment paper and handed it to Terah.He read it.“This is highly sophisticated sorcery,” said Terah.“That is why I wanted the best sorcerer I could find,” said Nimrod.“Its purpose is to animate the non-living.Where did you get it?”“I stumbled across it on a journey I had long ago.” Then Nimrod added as an after thought, “In another life.”It was indeed another life.For Nimrod had been the infamous Gilgamesh, king of Uruk before he changed his identity and his life.He had stumbled upon the animated Stone Ones while seeking his great great grandfather, Noah the Faraway, now remembered as Utnahpishtim.The written spell, placed into the mouth of a golem, brought it to life as a slave to do the bidding of its master.These Stone Ones had no life, no breath, just animation.So they could not be killed and were almost impossible to stop [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]