Inv. SRS/tl-30474

Given to the Collector in 1893 by the Last Guardian
Origin: Ethiopia, date unknown


An extremely rare tabot (tablet of laws) written in Ge'ez (an Ethiopian liturgical language derived from Aramaic) from an undated Ark of the Covenant. Ethiopian grimoires, Venetian coin.
Various items collected for the purpose of invoking the power of the tablet.
Bits of earth used a poultice have an extraordinary ability to promote healing.


Story recounted by the Last of the Guardians of the Tabot:

Somewhere on Lake Tana, Ethiopia, early 1629 (Timkat period)

The guardian sliced through the crowd gathering before the entrance to the church and entered the Maqdas - the Holy of Holies - alone.
Only a priest - a dabtara - was allowed to go this far into this holy place... or a thief!
The sprawled lifeless body must have once been a thief. The dabtara turned him onto his back. It was a white man, probably an adventurer or a Jesuit, one of those cursed bunch which King Susneyos had allowed to occupy the country.
The dabtara saw the box spilled on the ground. It was open and empty. The thief's accomplice had fled with his booty. The priest grew pale; his prophetic nightmare had come to pass. The trap had only eliminated the Jesuit; at least he had paid the price! He searched the corpse, looking for a clue that would allow him to recover the stolen relic before something happened.
a fold of cloth he found a large silver coin featuring the image of a winged lion placing its paw on an open book. Some ships bore this symbol, and his book of spells - his grimoire - would help him follow the trail. He would prepare for a very long and painful voyage across the seas. The future of humanity was at stake.

The Venetian Republic, 24 April 1629

Michel Pisani was hurrying across the Ponte della Paglia towards the Wharf of the Slavonians. A multitude of stalls offered spices, fabrics and an infinity of coloured and perfumed merchandise from China, the Orient, Persia, Ethiopia and the Ottoman Empire. He definitely did not want to miss his supplier of foreign medicaments, and he urgently needed some red clay, an essential ingredient in intestinal anti-inflammatory remedies, poultices for treating rheumatism and other potions of great use to an alchemist. His reputation as a highly talented apothecary had always depended on the extremely high quality of the products he used. His interest in the cabbala, magic and certain realms of forbidden knowledge sometimes prompted him to frequent the city's Jewish ghetto, but for the time being his only concern was to find his usual supplier, Juan Cortose, a Maltese.
A moment later, he spied Cortose at his stall attending to a few customers.
When it was his turn to be served, the vendor grimaced in annoyance:
"Ah, Signor Pisani! I am terribly sorry but I have just sold nearly all of my clay to an envoy from Signor Morosini; all I have left are these two terra cotta tablets. You can grind them up and use them in your medical remedies. High-quality clay is becoming very rare and expensive... ", he added, smiling at the thought of the profits to be made.
Michel Pisani paid a silver ducat and had the tablets wrapped up. He made a few other purchases at the market and then returned home.

Venice, late summer 1629

The oppressive heat beat down upon the inhabitants of Venice like a deluge of molten lead. Michel Pisani was amazed to find that all the remedies he concocted using the clay from the tablets were miraculous in their healing powers. Infinitely more effective than usual, the gravest sores and infections disappeared miraculously upon the slightest contact with the clay. He had never seen anything like it and he realised that he could make a fortune with the amount of tablet he had left. A servant interrupted his reverie to inform him that a visitor was demanding to be seen even thought he had not made an appointment. "It's a Moor", the servant added.
An enormous black man, dressed in white, was shown into the small room.
"I am Shamael," he said in broken Italian. "You have something that belongs to me."
Michel Pisani knew immediately what he was talking about.
"How did you get here?," the apothecary asked.
"The Maltese vendor who stole it from me was very talkative before he died", replied the dabtara unkindly. "Now give me the sellats, the tablets."
Overcome by the power of the guardian, the Venetian fetched the tablet - or at least what remained of it.
"How could you destroy this object? Did you not have the slightest idea of what it is? You, a Christian, didn't even guess? Do you know what you have done?"
The Venetian said he did not.
"Well, let's let the tablet tell us itself," the dabtara said.
He picked up an ancient grimoire written in Ge'ez , the Ethiopian litu
rgical language, and opened it to the page of magic squares. He asked the apothecary for a Bible in Latin and had him choose four numbers from the magic square. The total was 34. Michel Pisani opened the Bible to Exodus 34 and read:
"And the Lord said unto Moses: Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest."
Pisani was appalled. The magnitude of his sacrilege was immeasurable.
The dabtara continued:
"What you have done forces me to reveal the following!
When the Hebrew people fled Egypt, led by Moses, and after their passage through the Bitter Lakes, thanks to the astronomical knowledge of their leader, they reached the Sinai desert. Leaving his tribe for 40 days and 40 nights, Moses spoke with God on Mount Sinai. The Lord (or the Entity present in the cloud), told him that Man was divine and destined to direct creation. When he had proven that he had earned the responsibility, he would have his place among the stars. But if he failed in this trial, then he was destined for certain destruction."
"In testimony of the Divine Alliance, proof of God's confidence, 10 'commandments' - ten keys - were handed down to allow him to live eternally in the Garden of Eden once he had triumphed in his trial."
"The members of Moses' tribe, the Levites of the Kehat clan, would become the guardians of the Alliance. But if the pact was betrayed, then God's vengeance would be merciless.
When Moses came back down from Mount Sinai, his face was so illuminated that he had to cover it with a veil. During the episode involving the Golden Calf, Moses, in a fit of rage, smashed the Tables of the Law so that they would not fall into the wrong hands, and had 3,000 ungodly individuals massacred. Then, using secret science of the time which he had acquired from the Egyptians, he had the most impregnable chest built that had ever been conceived: the Ark of the Covenant. He then returned to Mount Sinai and came back with a second set of Tables, which were locked up in the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant proved to be an appalling weapon, using lightning to annihilate the enemies of the Hebrews. It brought down the walls of Jericho, destroyed armies and allowed immediate contact with God. Like most sacred relics, it was consulted as an oracle. Any careless person who approached the Ark without being prepared for it - like Aaron's two sons - were struck down by lightning or leprosy."
"During the 6th century BC, the Hebrews lost the Ark because they were no longer worthy of it. The Levite priests, after more than 1,000 years of travelling and wandering, brought it to Ethiopia."
"In the 6th century AD, nine 'saints' came from Byzantium, evangelised along the Tigris and translated the Tables into Ge'ez, a liturgical language more understandable than Aramaic, which is now extinct. Ge'ez, a Semitic language, is derived directly from Aramaic. Nine translators guaranteed the authenticity and accuracy of the translation. These new Tables were fashioned in the same substance as the originals: red clay, out of which - it is said - God fashioned the first man. An infinitely magical substance with strange powers, these new Tables were just as authentic as the previous ones. The clay itself was one of the secrets of the Covenant. The Ark travelled much from one hiding place to another, because many unworthy kings and power-hungry petty potentates tried to seize them. To escape the covetousness of Imam Ahmed ibn Ibrahim (Gragn), who invaded Ethiopia, the Ark was hidden on the island of Daga Estifanos
, itself concealed on Lake Tana. "
"I was the last guardian of the Ark."
"Over the centuries, the power of the Ark had weakened greatly and a thief had managed to steal its contents. Only his accomplice was destroyed by the deadly chest. I was hoping to arrive in time to stop the worst, but your thoughtlessness means that mankind has lost all hope of one day achieving divinity.
We are all cursed because you broke the Covenant. I cannot do anything to you; your punishment will be to become the guardian of what remains of the Table. You and your descendents if you have any; but your people are condemned. A figure from the magic square will determine the punishment."

The black death - the plague - was drawn.
The dabtara affixed his seal and then, forcing Michel Pisani to accompany him, he left Venice. He was never seen again.

The great plague of 1630 was the deadliest ever known. It killed 50,000 inhabitants of Venice, one third of the population, and city never recovered. Its decline had begun.

In 1632, the son of the Ethiopian king, Susneyos, expelled the Jesuits from his country, after his father had abdicated. The fall of his kingdom, known as once having been the kingdom of Father Jean, was inevitable.
According to tradition, the the sellats are contained in the tabot (the Ark) in Axum, but this is hardly a certainty.
I cannot explain to you how I acquired this relic, but its reappearance heralds - in the Apocalypse of Saint John, the parousia, the Second Coming of Christ.
Revelation 11:19: "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."

Mankind does not have much time left.

Wait and pray.