The Book of Amasa

Jazeb gave birth to a boy. She named the boy Amasa, for he was a burden upon her and the other Ash Mothers, as they all assisted in his care. Joint care was common among the women, as they had no father to help in the upbringing when G’desh abandoned them for younger flesh.

The boy’s skin was black as petrified wood, and his eyes were red as the blood moon. Jazeb flinched when nursing, as his gums were hot as stoked coals, but she endured for she loved him.

As he got older, Amasa became curious, active, and slept little. He picked fights with the other children, though most of the children were not as old or aggressive as Amasa, and his fights were short lived. One day he fought Iakovos, the second born of G’desh. The two boys were sixteen, and Amasa took Iakovos by surprise. The fight was brief, and Iakovos went to his mother to complain. He said, “Mother, Amasa, first born, beat me in a fight, but it was not fair. Tricks are not noble, and if not for his tricks, I would have won.”

The mother of Iakovos, Tikva, the second to wed G’desh through knowing him, had a wicked heart. She wanted to know the warmth of G’desh again, but had not since he discovered her pregnancy. She schemed in her mind that having a strong son could bring G’desh back, as she worked hard to regain and retain her looks after the birth of Iakovos. The scheming woman also hated Jazeb, as she was the first to know G’desh, and though they no longer knew each other, G’desh would visit her often for soothing and council.

Tikva said, “Complain to your father. There is nothing I can do. You both know fire, and if he is willing to strike you in deceit, he could kill me with his trickery. Tell your father strength is what is right, and the larger flame consumes the smaller. Tell him if you find victory, Amasa should be outcast and you should inherit his birthright.”

Iakovos, a good son, did as he was told. G’desh looked over the settlement by Lake G’desh as the boy spoke, as if not paying attention to the youth, and this frustrated Iakovos. The long silence frustrated the boy more until he repeated the request. However, G’desh saw much of how man connived and manipulated, and he saw much of sixteen year old boys and how they were generally not so cunning due to the fire in their blood. The spirit said, “Your mother puts you up to this. Tikva wishes to gain me back, but she is a fool.”

Angered, Iavokos said, “If you will not take her back, why did you have me with her? The scriptures say a man and woman remain together.”

“All those women thought that would be how it went. Jazeb was the only one who could not see it coming. She saw me when I was gentle, kind, and loving towards man. Your mother knew I was willing to cheat on who God would say was my wife. She is an adulterer just as I am. Just as all the other women in that camp, aside from Jazeb, who swore off men after she married me.”

This frustrated the boy more and he plotted to strike down G’desh with a stone. G’desh said, “Your victory exiles Amasa, and in that Jazeb. So I ask you, what will you give in return if you lose?”

Tikva had not said anything about their loss, and so Iakovos, thinking his mother wise and discerning, did not fear their defeat. Iakovos said, “If I lose, we will suffer the same. We will be exiled.”

“You will fight him in the morning. I will inform Jazeb and Amasa. Now go to your mother and prepare yourself.”

When G’desh told Jazeb and Amasa, Jazeb wept. She cared deeply for Tikva and Iakovos and the betrayal ached in her heart. She said, “If we win, do not exile them. I love both dearly, and if they see our love, they will soften their hearts.”

“Their hearts are not hardened by men, but by God. Your kindness will not change them. Nor will Amasa lose. He trained well in fire and combat, while Iakovos spends too much time playing childish games, desiring to be allowed to live among the men. Sleep soundly, sleep deeply. Amasa still needs his energy for the fight.” Then G’desh marked his first born son, and the mark burned. When the fire went out, ash was left behind. Amasa found no amount of scrubbing removed the mark.

In the morning the two boys were brought out into a field. They both used fire to test each other, but both were immune to the burns. Then they wrestled, scorching the earth below them. As the fight prolonged, Amasa changed. His body was covered in fur made of fire. His teeth sharpened, and he grew two tusks. His fingers grew claws, while his legs became that of a goat and his feet were cloven.

Iakovos was horrified. He laid prostrate. “I beg you, forgive me and my foolishness. My brother is more powerful, and my mother is a jealous hag. Do not punish me for her schemes.”

Then Tikva stepped forward. “There are many Ash Mothers and their sons who feel the same, and we will overwhelm you.”

G’desh said, “If you stand with Tikva and Iakovos, step forward. You will all be free of my tyranny.”

A third of the people, mother and child, stepped forward. G’desh snapped a finger and flames jumped up to consume the women. He then pulled out a blade blessed by the three springs he summoned to form Lake G’desh, and used it to cut his children in half, as he knew the children could melt bronze into slag and fire could not burn them.

G’desh said, “Tikva, take your cowardly son from here. Go south until you find a sea, as I’ve found the desert gives way to poisonous water. Drink from it until you die or drown in it. I do not care.” Tikva and Iakovos fled. G’desh then said, “Amasa, you are the first of the djinn, my children, proven worthy, marked by me. It is your birthright now, and you will be able to mark others born of my blood and trained in fire.

When Amasa was 32, he blessed a dozen others with the power of the djinn. Man feared them, and G’desh feared what they would try to do to his rightful children. Amasa, seeing the dangers and becoming wise as his mother, said, “We will leave here. Those marked by me as I was marked by G’desh will join. All others will stay here with the Ash Mothers, or find a place with man.”

The Children of G’desh went south, as Tikva was ordered, though G’desh knew of a place where the water was pure. The Ash Mothers survived for sixty more years, until the final mother, Derora, died alone in the camp. Their children went and worked with the men, and these children, with their charcoal skin, would be known as the blackamoor, and they would be segregated away from the light-skinned men for as long as the desert sustained life.

With G’desh gone, man lost guidance. They scattered through the forests which surrounded Lake G’desh. God was lost to them, and they forsook wisdom, leaning on their own understanding to create many gods for what one God was responsible for. The delven, still holding to the teachings of the One True God, fled from man to avoid the corruption in their hearts.

So G’desh left with his children to found the Glass City, the delven were made nomads, and man scattered across Lake G’desh and forgot about their Lord.

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