Q'aba

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The Q'aba, or Black Stone, was a holy relic of Islam, stolen away by the Ismaili in 930 and then destroyed during the Great African War which resulted in the Q'aba Jihad. This act, in destroying one of the Anchors was to be a factor in the attempted return of the <Others> and the Ice War.

In the 18th century a replacement was provided by the Daemon Sultan of Georgia but was later found to hold an horrific secret.


1633-1634 T153
Mecca, Ramadan, 1633. Thousands of the faithful are close pressed in the passages and halls leading to the court of the rock of the star. Nubians, Syrians, Indians, all races and colors are represented here as the swirling mass of humanity surges forward through the chained walkways to the great square. There, under the vast black edifice of the Qaba lies the Holy of Holies, the Black Rock that fell from the stars to mark the Ascendance of the Prophet Mohammed. Princes, kings, shepherds, all must come at least once in their lives to make the haj, the pilgrimage to the center of all Islam.

Today,as the great gates, scribed with the words of the Quran in lapis-lazuli and gold, grind wide, the backs of hundreds of the faithful heaving against the ancient cedar doors, the imams and mullahs raise their hands to the rising sun and sing the praises of Allah. The pale rays of the Arabian dawn fall across the spreading carpets that blanket the ground of the Great Square, picking out delicate blues, red and god. The vast canopy that shades the Qaba is flushed with the red of dawn as well, though by day it will show only a deep black.

The eldest of the imams strides across the thick carpets to the Stone itself, his duties to offer the first prayer of the day to the memory of the camel-merchant that reshaped the world. His beard is white and curled in rings, his eyes deep and blue. Through nigh eighty years, his step is strong and his hands steady as he parts the curtains of cloth-of-gold that shroud the inner mystery from the eyes of men.

His strangled cry of horror echoes back from the arching vaults of the surrounding palace, rippling through the packed masses of the believers in the cool dimness of the grand hall. Guards in the white turbans and red sashes of the mujhadin leap forward from their seats at the sides of the Great Gate.

At his side, as the eldest grovels before the looming mass of the Qaba, they stare in horror, lips drawn back in a grim rictus of despair. The black stone, long polished smooth from the hands and kisses of the faithful, lies still in its deepset cubicle in the side of the vast monument. Yet now it lies broken into pieces, smeared with dung and white fat. Spattered above the cubicle are words in Aramaic, cursing all Islam and the people of Mohammed to eternal fire for their sins. The chief guard, eyes pits of fear, turns from the ruin of the Holy of Holies.

"Copts", comes his broken voice, "the revenge of New Salem has come...". Yea, for the ankh and cross of the great Coptic Church is slashed in blood above the cubicle and twists of ganga lie burnt before the desecration. One of the medallions that comemorated the Lybian-Egyptian victories was brazenly displayed as well.

The days that followed at Mecca were after known as the "Hours of the Devils" for the throng of pilgrims at the gates and in the many camps around the Holy City raged and rampaged for five days and nights, slaughtering their fellows and drenching the ground with blood. As the pilgrims fled they carried the word of the defilement and the architects of that atrocity to the far corners of the Earth...

The fires of anger that flashed then throughout the Moslem world found tinder of greater and less fuel. In Syria itself the wars against the Cleansing Fire had slain well all of those who held Islam first in their hearts The Merchant Council was pressured on all sides to restore order in Mecca and ensure that no such thing occured again. So too was trade with the Copts hotly debated. As Dirgham was in the south, commanding a fleet against the infidels already, the Council was forced to close the Egyptian border and all Syrian ports to Coptic shipping.

The tribes of the interior could offer up little (their zeal having been extinguished in the great war of the Cleansing Fire as well) but the southern princes and emirs could and did, gathering a host of lances and spears like the stars in the heavens at Sana in Aden. From there they struck north and expunged the Coptic province of Yemen (from where, doubtless, the perfidious ones had organized their defiling strike) slaughtering the Lybian garrison and razing Burhine to the very stones. From thence they marched north to Madina and swore terrible oaths upon the violated shrines.

1715 - 1716 T194
The Kingdom of Georgia: Prince Khusro and lord Ibrihim, after a long and dangerous journey across the Al’Nefud, came to Mecca in Medina. With them, they bore a casket of iron bands.

After ritual ablutions and cleansing of mind and spirit, they entered into the once-sacred district of the Zam-Zam and the ruined buildings that had, long ago, housed the holy of holies. There, in a crumbling brick building that had once been covered in ten thousand glittering blue tiles, they opened the casket and drew for the rough shape of a black rock.

The priests of the shrine of the Kaba gasped in surprise, then fell down before the two men from the north. Khusro turned, holding the stone above his head. His voice, husky with dust from the desert, rang off of the shattered dome.

"This we came upon in the Anvil of God. In a land without trace or track, a voice spoke out of the air, guiding us to it. It lay at the center of a perfect circle of shattered ground, fresh fallen from heaven."

Khusro paused and placed the stone in the rough-hewn cavity in the rock wall at the back of the shrine. The fit was poor, and an edge of the stone jutted out. Khusro wedged it in, cutting his finger. Heedless of the slight pain, he turned again to the priests.

"The disagreements of men long dead have divided our faith in twain," he said, "and this was not the Word of our prophet. We of the north do not desire to argue matters of faith with those of the south. This stone is a token of our faith and our gesture to you, our brothers in the Way, of reconciliation and peace."

Then all bowed before the Black Stone, restored again to its ancient and hallowed home.

1759 – 1760 T215
Tewfik: In old Mecca, the imams and mullahs who consider and debate the shari’a (the religious law) for the edification of all Muslims throughout the world, sat in grave and concerned assembly. A shepherd in the bare, dry hills above the city had come upon a book sitting on a stone exposed to the sky and – being curious – had lifted it up and carried it down to one of the learned men among the faithful.

This book held revelations of an uncompromising nature. It spoke of Mohammed and Abraham and many other figures well-known to those sitting in the hall of the al-Haram mosque with the voice of one who might have seen the prophets in the flesh.

“We must decide,” the eldest said, “what to do about this... about this arif book and what it tells. If these are the words of God revealed, then we have been mistaken in many things, while correct in others.”

An angry murmur rose from the assembled priests. The eldest shook his head, white beard jutting out.

“Do not be so quick,” old Pir said in a sharp voice, “to believe yourself righteous. We are only men, and liable to imperfection. Have you even read all that is within these pages?”

The Book was heavy in his hands.

Pir searched the faces of the imams. Many were fearful, while others – ones who had actually considered the elegant writing on the samite-white pages – seemed almost transported, as if shadow had fallen from their eyes. A few had hard, closed faces.

One of the angry men – a Syrian with a robe of silk and gold – stood up and looked about, sneering at his fellows. “Are you all mad? If we take this path, a thousand years of the Prophet’s word will be thrown into the trash, forgotten, abandoned? What kind of Paradise awaits those who turn their back upon the Lord of Heaven?” He stabbed a well-manicured hand at the Book. “This is the work of Shiatan!”

“Not so!” Replied another, younger man, a mullah from the high deserts of Al’Bayad with a robe of homespun, the dust of the desert graven into the cracks of his face. “This is the Truth!”

Pir settled back on his heels, worried and concerned, to see which road the council would travel.

The deliberations of the Ulema were interrupted only weeks later when an attack was made upon the Holy Ka’ba. Men in desert robes attempted to shatter the black stone (the Meethaaq) and cast down the pieces. The guards at the site leapt to seize the men, but it was too late – the Stone had shattered into six pieces and then – to the horror of all; a noisome black cloud rolled out of the shattered artefact and the nearest guard screamed endlessly as his body was pierced by a forest of waving tendrils, each tipped with bony mouths.

The attackers squealed in fear and most fell dead on the spot. Others were driven mad and even the guardsmen (drawn from among the most devout warriors in all Islam) quailed away. The thing from the stone boiled out, slaughtering the pilgrims in the shrone. Bullets and fire failed to pierce its amorphous skin (oh, the creature had grown fat and strong in long years of worship!). Pillars toppled – fire spread through the chambers of the mosque – a black pall spread over the city.

The senior mullahs approached the scene of devastation, hearts filled with fear – all save Pir, who held the Book in his hands – and they looked upon the loathsome thing which had crawled forth from the uttermost pit, which indeed the Daemon Sultan had long ago set in the Ka’ba to tempt and sway the faithful and draw up all their piety and turn it to evil, all of those holy men save Pir fled in horror and fear, unable to face the crawling horror which was wading in the blood of the hajji.

“Peace be upon you,” Pir called out, raising his hand against the monstrous creature and reading from the Book, “O foulness, find Allah's mercy and blessings. Peace be on us and on all righteous slaves of Allah . I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him ) is his slave and Messenger.

You, I cast out. You unclean thing. You I ban from the eyes of men, from the Sun, from the Earth itself!”

A light seemed to come into Pir’s face and the Book itself shone like gold. The afrit – what else could it be? – made a horrific screaming sound and the very rays of the sun pierced the dome of the temple and tore its immortal flesh, rendering it unto dust.

Silence fell.

Pir stepped among the ruins and drifts of ashen corpses and found the six pieces of the Black Stone. He saw it was hollow and corrupt, filled with sickly black ooze.

“We have been deceived, as by a master deceiver.”

Pir cast the broken bits of obsidian to the four quarters.

“We deny you, lord of the pit! We need no physical thing to remind us of the old covenant! We are constant, we abide, we remember – so it shall be forever!”

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