As in, the following piece is to be a prologue to a much larger collection of pieces. I would defer posting this until I've actually started on the following pieces, but then the time to perform this has come (by this THURSDAY, I should have this piece ready), so I need feedback! I'd prefer the feedback to touch on three points specifically: 1) Any editorial mistakes, such as errors in grammar, or points that are too unclear or ambiguous -- but there are sections which are consciously ambiguous (and, in one case, unfinished), but I'll just respond appropriately to those. 2) Any issues with the themes and myths, particularly things which seem too tricky, inconsistent, or offensive -- but again, some of those have been consciously done, but still, comments would be considered. 3) Any slips in the diction -- I want it to sound as consistent as possible, but even if I've read this to myself a good number of times, I'm still generally unsure about this: obviously, the diction and presentation of the points is meant to be somewhat Jacobean, so pointing that out as a slip would be very much ignored, but things like rhythm are universal. And yes, much, but not all, of this basically comes from the Bible, particularly the King James Version, the English Standard Version, and the King James Version as edited in accordance with the Septuagint (found here: http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/zot.htm ); most of the other embellishments come from non-scholarly readings of the Quran, the Midrash, and bits of various other folk tales. This is NOT meant to supplant scripture, nor is this meant to present an alternate reading of the scriptures: this, as I said, is just a prologue for a vaster story, being the prologue to that story because a lot of the themes and myths in this prologue effectively recur in the main plot; that is, this is all for literature, not for theology. Anyways, here it is. 1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2) Now the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Then the LORD created the heavens and the earth: he Said, "Let there be light", and there was light. And God found that the light was good: and he divided between the light and the darkness, Calling the light "Day" and the darkness "Night"; and there was evening, and there was morning: the first day. 3-i) And for the following five days, he created the rest of the earth. 3-ii) He Said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, dividing the waters above from the waters below"; and Heaven was made. 3-iii) He Said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let dry land appear; and let this land bring forth grasses and mosses, each yielding seed, and shrubs and trees, each yielding fruit, all according to their own kinds"; and the Earth, the Seas, and the Herbs were made. 3-iv) He Said, "Let there be lights in the firmament dividing the day and night, giving light upon the earth; and let them be for signs and seasons, for days and years"; and the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars were made. 3-v) He Said, "Let the waters and heavens swarm with swarms of living creatures, all according to their own kinds"; and the Fish and the Fowl were made. 3-vi) He Said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures, all according to their own kinds, four-footed and two-footed, wild and tame, great and small, tall and creeping"; and all the Beasts were made. 3-vii) Then, on the seventh day, he rested: and he found that his creation was good. 4) And all was made by the Word, the Word God spoke, the Word that was God. 5) And from the waters and the earth came forth man, whom the LORD God shaped with his own hands in his own likeness: and he breathed the breath of life in him, and Said, "Behold, I give you the Herbs and the Beasts, and the Fish and the Fowl: go forth and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, give names unto all my gifts, and have dominion over the Seas, the Earth, the Heavens, and the Stars"; male and female made he them, male and female commanded he them. 6-i) Now the LORD God made three women. 6-ii) The first was formed by the Word of God, and she was the true companion of man; her name was Desire. But Adam saw her creation in his waking: and he found Disgust in her flesh, and Disease in her blood, and Destruction in her bones: and he scorned her. And she left the garden in Despair: she was a Virgin, who soon found refuge in the Dreams of man, preserving her youth and beauty forever. 6-iii) The second was formed from every inch of flesh and blood and bone of Adam as he slept, and her name was Lilith. She saw herself as the true equal of man: but God knew that she could not cover him to receive his seed, for thus their fruit would be corrupted; so he exiled her from the garden. And she became the Mother of the Lilin, the demons of the night. 6-iv) The third was formed from the rib of Adam as he slept, and she was named Eve. And man and woman left the garden together, after they disobeyed the LORD; and man died toiling, as woman grew old. And Eve became a Bearer of Wisdom. 7) So man and woman lived in the garden of Eden without shame. And the LORD God commanded man to eat of all the trees in the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: he said, "In the day that you eat of this tree, you shall surely die". And man gave the Law to woman. 8-i) But a woman's heart is filled with desire, and her womb contains all the demons of the earth: and a Serpent greeted her, who was a child of Lilith, and said, "Eat of this tree, and you shall not surely die: for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil". And Eve ate of this tree, and Adam followed her: and they found that its seeds were sour and the color of blood. 8-ii) And their eyes were opened, and they saw that they were naked, and they were filled with shame. 9-i) And the LORD God said, "Behold, man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil: and now, before he puts forth his hand, and eats also of the tree of life--". 9-ii) And man and woman were filled with shame, so they covered themselves as they awoke, sewing fig leaves for breeches. 9-iii) And man was cursed to toil for his meat for the rest of his life, as woman was cursed to behold all the wisdom of the earth, yet still be below man. And the serpent also was cursed: and the shadow of death loomed over all three of them, over man and woman and beast alike. And they were expelled; and fiery Passions were placed at the gates of the garden, to keep the way. 10) So man and woman passed from the garden of Eden into the barren wilderness. And Adam covered Eve his wife: and she bare Cain the firstborn, a tiller of the earth, then Abel, a keeper of sheep. And the sons of man offered the first of their fruits to God: and he smelled the burning of the flesh, and he saw the boiling of the blood, and he heard the cracking of the bone; and he found that Abel's offering was good. 11-i) And Cain was filled with woe. And he said unto his brother, "Let us go out into the plain": and it came to pass, when they were in the plain, that he slew him. And the LORD God said unto Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" And he said, "I know not: am I my brother's keeper?" But God heard the voice of Abel's blood, as the mouth of the earth received it: and the Word of God went out onto Cain, drawing a curse and a mark upon his forehead. And Cain journeyed to the land of Nod, east of Eden, where he wed Lilith his mother, and became the father of the Lilin, the demons of the night, who inherited his curse and his mark. 11-ii) And the curse of Cain was thus, that the earth should never bear fruit for him or his children, and groaning and moaning should he be upon the earth; and the mark of Cain was thus, that anyone who slays him should receive vengeance sevenfold, and anyone who slays his sons should receive it seventy and sevenfold. 12) And Adam covered his wife again: and she bare Seth, who inherited the earth. And Seth married his mother, Eve, and fathered all the children of men, who inherited the earth after him. And from the line of Seth came Noah, the comfort of mankind; ten generations passed between Adam and Noah. 13) Now Noah lived in an age of heroes, when the Passions of God descended unto the earth, and mingled their spirits with those of men. And they found that the daughters of Cain were fair, forgetting how the wickedness of their hearts had multiplied: and they took them wives of all whom they chose. And the wickedness of men also corrupted the souls of these sons of God. So the LORD God regretted his creation: and he said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth". 14) But Noah found grace before the LORD, for he was a just man, perfect in his generation: he walked with God, and followed the laws of his father, Lamech, and married unto the clan of his grandfather, Methuselah; and his wife was named Naameh, and she bare him four sons: Ham, Yam, Shem, and Japheth. So God declared his will unto Noah, and commanded him to make an ark of squared timber, covered with pitch within and without: and he said, "With you I shall establish my covenant: and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons' wives. And of all the beasts of the earth, two and two of every sort shall you bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you: they shall each be male and female. And you shall take unto you of all food that you shall eat; you shall gather it, and it shall be food for you, and for your beasts." And Noah gave this Law to his sons. 15) Thus did Noah and his sons: but Yam, who had married unto the clan of Cain, refused to follow his father, and he and his wife resolved to climb the foot of God instead. And when the ark was built, Noah and his household entered it: but mingling with the beasts were the Lilin, who had disguised themselves as serpents tame and wild, and swallows small and great. For seven days they entered the ark; and on the seventh day they rested, and the LORD God shut the doors of the ark: and he said, "The time of every man is before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them: behold! I shall utterly destroy them, and the earth." 16) And the Word of God released the waters of the heavens and the earth. 17) For forty days and forty nights the windows of the heavens were opened, and the fountains of the earth overflowed; and the waters of death mingled with the waters of life: and the waters swelled and swelled, so that all the surface of the earth was covered, even the tops of the mountains: and Yam and his brethren and all the beasts of the earth were drowned, while Noah and his household held fast in the ark. And the bodies of all living things floated on the face of the waters, then smoked and bloated with rot, then sank again into the seas, upon the wet earth, and even unto the depths beneath the earth: and the waters were raised a hundred and fifty days. 18-i) But God remembered Noah and his household, and the waters of death were removed from the waters of life; and the waters were drained, so that the tops of the mountains could be seen: and the ark rested upon the bones of Yam. And Ham covered his wife, as hope filled him: and she bare him a son, Canaan. 18-ii) And Noah released the raven, to witness the temperament of the heavens; and when the raven found that the heavens were clear, the swallows followed, the swallows that were the children of Lilith. 19-i) Then Noah released the dove three times, to see if the waters were drained from the face of the earth. 19-ii) On her first course, she found no rest, so she returned. 19-iii) On her second course, she found little rest, so she returned, but with an olive leaf in her mouth. 19-iv) On her third course, she found rest, so her mate followed her, and they rested. 20) So the LORD God released Noah and his household from the ark. And Noah built an altar unto him: and he took the firstlings of the beasts, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And God savored the spectacle, and found that Noah's offering was good; and he said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth: behold! I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and with every living creature in your household, to every beast of the earth: never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." Then a bow of many colors graced the heavens, the token of the covenant. 21) Now the sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Ham, and Shem, and Japheth: and Ham was the father of Canaan, who was the firstborn of the ark. 22-i) And Noah had become a husbandman, a tiller of the earth and a planter of vineyards, while his sons kept the beasts. And he pressed wines, and aged them, and offered them to the LORD, for he found that they were sweet and the color of blood. And he drank of the wine: and in his drunkenness, he slept naked in his tent. Ham the father of Canaan saw him, and told his brothers so, and covered his father as he slept; but Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his son had done to him. And he cursed his son, giving him death and depriving him of his inheritance. 22-ii) And a swallow told Canaan of his grandfather's judgement; and he took for his own the bones of Yam, then he ground them up, and painted the mark of Cain on his forehead; so Canaan was protected, even as he became the servant of servants unto his brethren. 23-i) Then unto the sons of Noah were given many generations, fulfilling part of the covenant; and these sons of sons were of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the mountains, that they found the plain. 23-ii) And they dwelt there, and said to one another, "Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly, and use lime for mortar; now go to, and let us build a city and a tower, whose top may rival the foot of God; and let us make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth." 23-iii) And the LORD God came down to see the city and the tower; and he said, "Behold, the people are one, and they all have one language; now, nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 23-iv) So God, and the Word of God, the Word God spoke, the Word that was God, went down, and scattered man abroad upon the face of the earth; and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there God created Discord; and the plain was filled with serpents. 24) And from the line of Ham came the masters of Africa; and from the line of Shem came the masters of Asia; and from the line of Japheth came the masters of Europe.