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The Book of Nod: The Babylonian Cuneiform Tablets

It was a cold night indeed, cast over, with no stars nor moon to be seen above, when a stranger with no name knocked at the gates to our stronghold in Alexandria, which is known to no-one save our brethren in the Mnemosyne. The stranger did not identify himself, but he put a box of cedar wood in the hands of the brother who opened the door for him, a wooden box with an ornate lock on its front. Then the stranger turned around and disappeared the way he had come - clandestinely.

The lock, while a piece of art in itself, was not difficult to pick. Within, we found, each wrapped in a piece of red shimmering samite, five clay tablets. The tablets were old - subsequent C-14 testing (oh, the wonders of modern technology!) placed them at the time of the old Babylonian period, the day and age of Hammurabi.

Oh, but what was written on them! The words were far older than that, the text a mere copy of an older text which was written in the long forgotten tongue of Sumeria. None but our brethren have insight into that language, and what mortal historians would not give to possess such knowledge.

I myself was given the task of translating the tablets, being as they were part and parcel of my field of studies. It was obvious from the exquisite style and certain idiosyncrasies of the cuneiform symbols that they had all been written by the same person. Yet, inconsistencies of style and vocabulary put each single tablet apart from the others. Each had been written by a different author originally, and each at a different time. At first, whole passages of the text, as it slowly disclosed itself to me, seemed familiar and consistent with later, widely known and published texts. But delving deeper into its mystery, the text took on a greater, more sinister meaning. Some of the narrative elements were plainly wrong, contrary to all that was known. Some references were obscure and had to remain obscure to any mortal eye - but they were oh so clear and threatening to a kindred eye!

The following is the complete translation of these wonderfully preserved clay tablets; indeed, someone had taken great pains to keep them from disintegrating, and they must have been handled with utmost care from the time of their conception until today.

I will not annotate the translation as yet - let it stand undisturbed by scholarly musings and open to interpretation by our brethren who will see for themselves what kinds of ancient wisdom they teach. They may well constitute the oldest part of what we call the Book of Nod - and one of the most disturbing.

I: The Tablet of the First

I sing of the first
Servants of the fallen
Servants of the children
Keepers of the holy names

I sing of the first
Who made sacrifices to the fallen
Who sacrificed their enemies
Who sacrificed cattle
Who sacrificed prisoners
Who sacrificed slaves
Who sacrificed themselves

I sing of the first
Who disgraced Abzu's eye
Who disturbed Abzu's rest
Who incurred Abzu's wrath
Abzu appeared to them
The fallen did not help
Abzu appeared to them
The children did not help
Abzu appeared to them
The holy names did not help
Abzu slew the first
Threw them into the abyss
To the dead flesh of their victims

I sing of the first
Beaten and dismembered
Waiting in the abyss
When Abzu shed blood and tears
When he saw what he had done
His blood and his tears
Into the abyss

I sing of the first
They drank Abzu's blood
They drank Abzu's tears
They were created anew
Three of them were created anew
And Abzu took them unto himself

I sing of the first
Three arose
Three wrestled each other
Three parted company
Andramelech awoke
Nergal awoke
The crone awoke
They parted company
Andramelech flew from the sun
Nergal searched the sun
The crone took to the sun

I sing of the greatest among the first
I sing of the lord of pestilence
I sing of the lord of flies
I sing of Nergal
Searching the sun
And finding the dark

I sing of the city of Nergal
I sing of the beautiful city
I sing of the wonderful city
I sing of the city of Nergal
And of its fall
Nergal called the name
Nergal called the holy name
And the name called back
Nergal sacrificed the city
Nergal sacrificed the dwellers in the city
Nergal sacrificed the life of the city
But the fallen one slept
But the child slept
But the name went unheard

I sing of the gods
The gods were wrathful
The gods were angry

The gods heard the noise
The noise of the dying city
The call of Nergal
The echo of the name
The gods arose
And cast Nergal down
And burned the city
And destroyed the city
And drowned the city
And all within

I sing of the fall of Nergal
The fall into the dark
The fall into the dust
The fall into the stale water
He fell through the seven gates
Unheeded by the guardians
He fell before the throne of the queen
Ereshkigal, queen of the night
Ereshkigal, queen of the dead
Ereshkigal, empress of the darkness

I sing of Ereshkigal
The queen of the night
The queen of the dead
The empress of the darkness
And the fallen god
Nergal stood before the throne
The throne of Ereshkigal
And he saw her beauty
And he saw her wonderful body
And they made love
Seven days and seven nights
They made love
But Nergal arose again
And Ereshkigal cried
Ereshkigal pleaded
Ereshkigal cursed
If Nergal did not return to her
She would send out the dead
She would send out the dead
And make the dead outnumber the living
And make the dead destroy the living
And make the dead devour the living
This was her curse

II: The Tablet of the Lost

We are the lost
From a time before time
From a world before the world
From a realm beyond the stars
From the time when Anu walked the earth
Accompanied by the shining angels
We survived the first war
Between the powers of the gods
We saw the anger of the old ones
Dark angels walked the earth
Dark angels arose from the abyss

We are descendants of the wanderers of the night
We suvived the time
When Abzu ruled the world
When his power destroyed the generations
We survived on the mountaintops
We survived underneath the mountains
We spoke to the scorpions
We made a covenant with the scorpions
And were betrayed

Tiamat gave her word
Never to attack us again
Not with water
Nor with wind
But the gods are forgetful
Under the sea of our mother
Under the sea of the earth
Under the world they lie sleeping
The wrathful gods
Dead but sleeping
The fallen god
Dead but sleeping
And his name is called

He who wakes him
Is subject to the wrath of the gods
Is subject to the vengeance of the gods
The seven glorious gods
The seven glorious cities
Their wrath will be cast upon him
Him and his world
An old wrath
An old vengeance

Our time is a time of war
Our days are battles
Each hour is a life
Lost to the outer
To those from the outside
They built abattoirs
Food for the children of Tiamat
And the blood of the weakest here
Is libation to Tiamat
Queen of the corpse-eaters
Bringer of pain
To call her
Pour the red water of life
On a stone
Split by the sword
Which killed eleven men
So that the strike be heard
And Tiamat rise from her slumber
From her slumber in the caverns
Beneath the earth

But nobody speaks to her
For it is death
To speak the final prayer

They lie in the caverns of earth
They are seven
They are thirteen
They are thirty
Theirs are legion
They are unknown
They have no names
Not in heaven
Not on the earth
They ride across the mountain of sundown
And they cry on the mountain of sunrise
They crawl through the caverns of earth
They wait for the sacrifice
They are the children of the night
They are the children of the darkness

The servants will be masters again
The servants want to be masters again
They use the power of the names
A new name is spoken
A new realm is formed
But the name will fall
The fifty names will fall
They will be a curse
They will spread abhorrence
They will be forgotten

One will come
One will return
One will speak the name
One will soil the name
The name will fall before the one

The war will flare up
The one will start the war
War in the name of the mightiest
A war against the gods
The end is in darkness

The gods will win
The gods will lose
The gods will be forgotten
The gods will be no more

Their servants will die
Their servants will be hunted
Their servants will hunt mankind
Their servants will rule the night
They will rule again
But they will never be gods again
They must never be gods again
So that the world may exist
And the gods may sleep

III: The Tablet of Creation

When the heaven bore no name
When the earth bore no name
When Apsu, creator, united
His waters with those of Tiamat
When no gods had been named
When no gods knew their fate
The gods were born from them

Lahmu and Lahamu were born
Their names were spoken
They grew for times
In age and form

They created Anshar and Kishar
They were brothers
They were greater than those
Who preceeded them
They extended the days
They extended the years
They extended the ages
They served Apsu
They served Tiamat
They served Lahmu and Lahamu

Before the other gods were called by name
Before the other gods knew their fate
The brothers served the elder ones
And did their work
Anshar was good in the eyes of the gods
Kishar was evil in the eyes of the gods
The gods loved Anshar
The gods loved Anshar's gifts
The gods loved Anshar's deeds
The gods hated Kishar
The gods hated Kishar's gifts
The gods hated Kishar's deeds

Kishar arose
Raging Kishar arose
Raging Kishar turned against his brother
Raging he slew his brother

The gods were abhorred by this deed
They cursed Kishar
They marked Kishar
They exiled their flesh
They exiled it from the waters
Kishar walked in solitude

Kishar stole Anshar's heart
Kishar stole Anshar's blood
Kishar stole Anshar's eye
From these he formed animals
To give to him solace in his solitude

Tiamat shed tears
Tiamat shed salty tears
For among the gods
She alone loved Kishar
She alone loved Kishar more than Anshar
Tiamat followed Kishar into the land
Which Kishar traversed
She searched for him for days
She searched for him for years
She searched for him for ages

Tiamat found Kishar among the animals
Kishar lived among the animals
Kishar lived alone among the animals
She went near him
Tiamat went near him
And she gave solace to Kishar
And she awakened Kishar's blood
And she taught him the power of the blood
And she taught him the bond of the blood
And she taught him the curse of the blood
And Kishar learned

When Tiamat left Kishar
Kishar knew the power of the blood
Kishar knew the bond of the blood
Kishar knew the curse of the blood

Kishar turned towards the animals
He called the animals to himself
And he chose those animals
Who were dearest to him
And he gave them his blood
They shared the power of the blood
They shared the bond of the blood
They shared the curse of the blood
Together they departed

Kishar took rocks
And piled them up
Piled them up to become a wall
Kishar built a city
Kishar built a mighty city
In which he lived
In which his children lived
In which they ruled mankind

Kishar spoke to his children
He spoke to the children of his children
About the gods
They wanted to become like them
They wanted to become like unto the gods
And they called themselves gods
They showed themselves to mankind as gods
And they accepted their sacrifice

Apsu and Tiamat were enraged
Enraged by the gods
Enraged by the children of Kishar
And they increased
Their bodies increased
Their rage inflamed the gods
Their rage burnt the gods
And the gods turned against each other
And the waters swallowed the city

IV: The Tablet of Man

When the gods knew their names
When the gods knew their fates
They took the flesh of the dead god
They took the blood of the dead god
They took the eye of the dead god
They formed man from the body of the dead god
They breathed life into man
They gave him the flesh of the dead god
They gave him the blood of the dead god
They gave him the eye of the dead god
And they gave him the spirit of death
So his days be counted
So his years be counted
So his ages be counted

They ordered man
They ordered him to work
They gave him their tasks
They told him their wishes
Man fulfilled their wishes
He fulfilled their tasks
He fulfilled their work
He served the gods
And he prayed to them
And he sacrificed to them

The gods possessed the names
The gods possessed the gifts
The gods possessed the fate
They gave names unto the men
They gave gifts unto the men
They gave fate unto the men

600 years, less than 600 years passed
And the land grew too big
The number of men grew too big
Their clamor disturbed the gods
The gods were disturbed by their clamor
Enlil had to suffer their clamor
He spoke unto the great gods
The clamor of men is too great
I cannot sleep in that clamor
No-one can sleep in that clamor

The gods empowered Enlil
To make an end to men's clamor
Enlil sent pestilence unto the men
Enlil sent drought unto the men
Enlil sent famine unto the men
The men died
The men suffered
The men ate their daughters
The men did work no longer
For the gods

Enki spoke unto Enlil
Enki soothed the wrath of Enlil
Enki advised Enlil
Brother calm your rage
Do not let all the men die
For their work is not done
We will have to do their work again
But Enlil closed his ears
He did not hear the words of Enki
Enlil sent the flood unto the men

Enki spoke unto the wise one
Go and build a boat
Take your family and collect them
Collect them on your boat
And stay there for seven days

The wise one built a boat
He collected his family
And they stayed on the boat for seven days
While Enlil's flood roared like a bull
While the winds screamed like wild asses
The darkness was complete
There was no sun

But the waters receded
The wind died down
The darkness drew back
The sun returned
And the wise one survived

Enlil gave the names unto Enki
He gave the gifts unto Enki
He gave the fate unto Enki
And he told Enki
To carry them to the men

Enlil went to the wise one
He called him a god
Thus the first line of men ended

Enki meted out the names among the men
He meted out the gifts among the men
He meted out the fate among the men

The gods waxed the numbers of deaths
The gods waned the number of births
So the clamor of the men
Be sufferable

V: The Tablet of Doom

When the heavens above had not been named
When the earth below had not been named
When Abzu the sweet water
When Tiamat the salty water
When their waters united
The gods were begat
Lahmu and Lahamu
From them Anshar and Kishar
From them Anu
From him Enki
From him the gods

Their clamor disturbed Tiamat
Their clamor disturbed Abzu
Abzu arose to kill the gods
But Enki saw through his plan
Enki slew Abzu
And placed his body in the empty space
Laid him into the cave of heaven
But his blood screamed for Tiamat
And Tiamat arose, enraged

Tiamat created monsters
Tiamat created demons
Tiamat created dragons
And she sent them against the gods
But Enki slew the monsters
But Enki banned the demons
But Enki destroyed the dragons
Then Tiamat turned against Enki
Tiamat cast herself against Enki
But Enki wrestled her down
Enki slew her
Enki parted her body
He raised one half
And formed the sky
He lowered one half
And formed the earth
He took the flesh of the dragon Kingu
He took the blood of the dragon Kingu
He took the eye of the dragon Kingu
And formed man from them
Formed man
To serve the gods

Man served the gods
But his clamor disturbed the gods
The gods drowned the men
Only one man would live
Only one man would live forever
The new men had to die
They were not to live forever
So that their clamor
Was not to disturb the gods

The gods collected the men
They collected them in cities
To know their numbers
They left their city
And moved into the cities of men
They left their bodies
And moved into the bodies of men
They sent their bodies among them
And accepted their sacrifices

So the men work
So the men serve the gods
So the gods guard the men

But there will be a time
A horrible time
A time of pestilence
A time of war
A time of grief
A time will come
When the dead will rise
When the dead gods will rise
When the war will rage anew
When the gods will fight among themselves
And the men die

It will be a time
When the gods leave us
When the gods accept no more sacrifices
When the gods turn away
When the gods ascend to the heavens

They will leave the men
And the men will not cry
The men will not know
What they have lost
But they will know
When the gods are gone

A people will fall
A people will not see the sun again
The sun itself will turn against them
Shammash will turn against them
The gods will turn against them
For they heed the old call
For they follow the old gods
For they call the names

The battle will rage
The gods will quarrel
The men will quarrel
The people will be swallowed
But the gods will not return
No god will return
For their time has ended
Their time has passed
Their time will not return

The war will be waged
The war will be waged in silence
The men will not see it
They will no longer see the gods
But the war will not end
The war will go on

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