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
Bits of earth used a poultice have an extraordinary ability to promote
Story recounted by the Last of the Guardians of the Tabot:
Somewhere on Lake Tana, Ethiopia, early 1629 (Timkat
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.
In 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
A moment later, he spied Cortose at his stall attending to a few
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
"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
He picked up an ancient grimoire written in Ge'ez , the Ethiopian
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 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
"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
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
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
Mankind does not have much time left.
Wait and pray.