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Chapter 24, Part 2 (End Chapter 24)

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Ted turned the aged pages absentmindedly. He ran his hands across them as though reading them by touch. "The Book of the Blood reiterates the most important history of Oosa, the Select, and of the Oathtakers. It also includes the most critical prophecies about Oosa's future. I believe it speaks directly of events currently unfolding."

"What does it say?" Hattie asked.

"What do you know of our history?"

"Not much, I'm afraid."

He nodded. "That seems to be the way of things these days, and this book shows some of the dangers that can come of that."

He proceeded to tell the others that the history of the earth was one full of slavery, viciousness and cruelty of man to man, and of how, when the people turned from Ehyeh and His decrees, chaos reigned. He told of the origins of the Select and of the Oathtakers and how they left their former lands of oppression and moved to Oosa.

"Upon arriving in Oosa, Ehyeh chose a leader for the people: Patience. She was a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Ehyeh granted her magic to help her to lead. He also set forth the means by which that power would pass to the person who would rule after her.

"The Good One provided decrees telling how the people should live. These He inscribed into a crown, a sword, and a scepter. He gave them to Patience to use and to hand down. The three great artifacts serve as evidence of His hand on Oosa and its people.

"Upon the sword Ehyeh inscribed the truths of life and the living. A man was not to take the life of another, except to protect himself or others, or to punish one who'd wrongfully taken someone's life. In other words, murder is wrong, but not every taking of life is murder. One may take the life of another when acting in self-defense or to protect others, sometimes even on a large scale, such as in the form of warfare.

"Upon the crown He inscribed decrees regarding the fair governance of the people. They are to be free to pursue their own ways and dreams, the fruits of their labor belong to them and no one else, they may speak as they choose, and they may follow Ehyeh or not, as they choose.

"Finally, upon the scepter, Ehyeh provided the principles of fairness for those in authority. They are never to use power simply because they are able, but only when necessary. The leader is always to consider what the people want, but recognize that granting something to the many, could harm the few."

Ted paused, collecting his thoughts. "Anyway, back to Patience. At the Good One's direction, Patience established protocol regarding the responsibilities of the first through the seventh born of the Select. These were to be the means by which the Select would participate in overseeing the interests of the community.

"Patience's line lives to this day. It is the line of the first family. Before the ranking member dies, he may release his power to his offspring. If he does, that line will lead Oosa. If he does not, the position of leader will be determined by going back to that ranking member's next older sibling and his or her line." He paused to take a breath.

"So Rowena was the ranking member of the first family. If she released her power before she died, the rank would fall to her children," Hattie said.

"That's right."

"And did she release her power?"

"She did."

"Thank goodness." Hattie rubbed her head in thought. "But wait. If she released her power and something happened to her last born, wouldn't it still remain with her other children? Wouldn't the power go to Rowena's next older child?"

"Yes," Ted said, "unless . . ."

"Unless?" Faith asked.

"Unless the entire line is cut off."

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