Chapter 11: The Banquet: Sharing the Gospels
As Hannibal and his team sat down at the table with Nicodemus after getting their dinner, Nicodemus educated them on the history of the people of Arionath. Full of curiosity, Hannibal and his team asked many questions. Nicodemus, Joshua, and the elders of Arionath sitting at the table with them endeavored to fill their curiosity. An hour and a half passed and most of those in the dining hall finished eating and went about their business, leaving only a small handful of listeners sitting around Nicodemus, Joshua, and four elders as they continued to enlighten Hannibal and his team about life in the great caverns. Naomi sat beside Hannibal quietly, listening to the questions and answers.
Another two hours passed as they discussed all manner of topics, including where Hannibal and his team came from. Hannibal told them of Tiamat and the people of the surface. He shared with them in some detail about his life and how he was led to Arionath and Amacia, including his days in the occult and his subsequent deliverance from it. Moreover, he included what he and his team endured at the hands of the Zinzera in the Circle of Hammunaptra, feeling it important because of the nature of Xabalba and the Circle of Hammunaptra. Hannibal also included the bizarre circumstances of him finding the secret cave. After finishing a basic outline of his life, including the gaining of seven extra people to his team, Nicodemus sat back and sighed. Hannibal’s account burned deep in his spirit. By now, twilight had fallen outside and the chandeliers had brightened to counter the growing darkness. “That explains something I was meaning to ask you about,” Nicodemus said after a few moments. “When the Ancient of Days cast out the devil from Naomi, I heard you call it by name and I heard you say that it thought it would never see you again. You knew him by name because he was one of those devils that were cast out of you all those years ago. Is this right?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” Hannibal replied humbly. “That was a despicable, sordid episode of my life that, even if I wanted to forget it, which I do…I can’t. I have those memories as a constant reminder of where the Lord brought me from. I acquired Dagos in a witchcraft duel when the first assassin they sent after me came. Dagos is a very powerful demon principality. When I acquired him, my psychic power increased three fold. From him, I received the ability to make myself invisible; however, that power came with a terrible price. Every time I would invoke that power, I would be violently ill for two weeks afterwards. Dagos’ favorite thing is to torment people with disease. He would take you down to just above death and leave you there for weeks on end without letting you die. The more pain he can inflict, the better he likes it.”
“My God in heaven!” Naomi cried, grabbing Hannibal’s hand in hers and clenching it. “You have it exactly right. That’s exactly what that thing would do to me! That fiend would put me in mortal agony for weeks on end and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. The only relief I got was the continual prayer by Nicodemus and the elders when the thing would afflict me. Only that would diminish the intensity of the attack.”
Hannibal smiled at her and said, “He’ll not bother you any longer. But there is one thing you do have to do in order to keep him out. You need to allow our God to fill you with His spirit. Otherwise, the demon will return with seven more powerful than he is and they’ll go back into you. You definitely don’t want that.”
“No! No, I don’t!” Naomi agreed emphatically. “How can this be accomplished? I don’t want that thing anywhere near me ever again!”
“That’s a start, sister.” Hannibal replied pleasantly. He turned to Nathanael and asked, “Could you go get my Bible, Nathanael? It’s in the top drawer of the dresser in our room.”
Nathanael nodded and said, “Sure. I’ll be back in a minute.” He got up and went out of the dining hall on the errand.
“While Nathanael is getting my Bible, let me fill you in on it,” Hannibal said. At that point, he began to explain the Bible and how it came to be, what was in it, and what an important part of his life it was. By time Nathanael returned with Hannibal’s Bible, which had miraculously survived the battles he had been part of, Hannibal had given them a rough outline of what the Bible was all about. Once Nathanael handed the Bible to Hannibal, he started in on an old-fashioned salvation message. Time suddenly had no meaning to the group as the anointing fell upon Hannibal while he preached the gospel of salvation with boldness to not just Nicodemus and his people, but to his own team and himself. Three and a half more hours passed as he preached. Everyone that heard the message for the first time posed all kinds of questions, including Nicodemus. Moreover, they responded very favorably to the message. As Hannibal preached the message, he tempered it with the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, which tells of the second coming of Jesus and His subsequent set up of His government to rule over all the Earth in righteousness and holiness. Three and a half hours into the preaching, the Holy Spirit prompted Hannibal not to overwhelm them with too much at once. Therefore, he concluded his preaching with the following statement: “Now that you have the basic message of the gospel of salvation and the Kingdom, I hope that you all will take it to heart and do whatever it takes to be ready for His coming. What I’ve just shared with you is but a very brief outline of what’s really going on. This little book here has everything I’ve said in it and more. The whole plan is laid out here. There is more…much more to know and once you embrace it, you’ll never be the same.”
Finally, Hannibal leaned back in silence and looked into Nicodemus’ face, seeing tears streamed down his cheek. After a few moments, Nicodemus said in a choked, emotional tone, “The Ancient of Days is truly merciful. He has sent us His messenger with His word of salvation. Truly, you are the hand of the Almighty. I repent in sackcloth and ashes and fully embrace His son as my Lord and Savior. The whole time you preached, my heart and soul burned within me and rejoiced at the hearing of the truth. This is a message that must be heard by all. Can you do this again?”
“Nicodemus, my precious brother and friend, I can do this as many times as it takes,” Hannibal said with a pleasant smile. “The Lord has been so good to me and us; however, you already know that only His people…His remnant are going to hear and heed. To those, it is a message of salvation. To the rest, it is a message of condemnation. For it is written in the book that whosoever doesn’t believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – Yashua, which is his name in Hebrew, is condemned already. Yes, I can do it as many times as necessary. There are many things that must be preached in relation to this message to. Whenever you want me to preach, just ask. I’ll always have time for you.”
“Thank you and all praises be unto our God!” Nicodemus beamed. “Sabbath is in a two days. Do you think you could share His message then?”
“Of course,” Hannibal replied with a smile. “That’s why I’m apparently here.” He then turned to Naomi, who sobbed uncontrollably with joy at the hearing of such precious gems of truth. “That’s how you keep Dagos from coming back with his friends,” Hannibal declared, “Let Jesus rule and reign in your heart. Invite Him in, embrace Him, and love Him like He is your one and only. He stands at the door and knocks. He or she that opens unto Him will He come in unto and sup with you. Do you believe these words?”
Without hesitation and with childlike faith, Naomi answered forcefully, “Yes! Yes, I believe! I believe!”
At that, Hannibal placed his hand on her head and prayed, “Oh, merciful Father in heaven, I pray for Naomi here that you will forgive her sin and purge and subdue her iniquity. Come in unto her, Father, cleanse, and fill her with your Spirit. Give her peace and rest from her burdens. I ask and pray this in the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, Amen.” Everyone said amen as Hannibal looked her in the eye, saying, “Remember my words earlier. Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If you do these two things, it will be well with you for in those two commands are all the others.”
Naomi latched onto his arm again and hugged it. “Thank you and all praise be unto the Lord our God for His mercy and forgiveness. I will do as I’m told because I love Him,” she beamed.
“That’s the spirit,” Hannibal replied joyously. “Let the joy of the Lord rule in your heart. And that goes for everyone, me included. Everything that I’ve said goes for me too, especially me after my shameful rebellious response to the prophecy earlier. The Word of God is a two-edged sword. It cuts both ways. May it remove the rebellion from my mind and soul. I don’t want to fall back into that Darkness He dragged me out of.”
“I’m sure He’ll preserve you, my friend, and honor your request since He’s surely here in this place tonight,” Nicodemus declared. “Look, it’s almost ten in the evening. Time has fled away from us because of His presence.”
“It sure has,” Nathanael agreed. “I don’t know about the rest of you but I completely lost track of time.” A mumble of agreement arose from those present.
“I think it’s time for us to retire to our quarters and ponder this precious gem of truth you have provided for us,” Nicodemus stated. “We need to ponder it and keep it close lest the thief come and snatch it away.”
“Well said, brother. Well said indeed,” Selina agreed. “This truth is a treasure more precious that all the gold and jewels in the world.”
Nicodemus shook his head in agreement and asked, “How can we ever thank you for bringing us such a precious truth?”
Hannibal smiled warmly. “Don’t thank me, but thank the Lord who brought me here,” he declared. “Besides, we’re all part of the same body. No thanks are necessary.”
“You truly are a humble man, Hannibal Smith. And after hearing your testimony of where you came from, I can see clearly how the Ancient of Days has groomed you for this job since birth,” Nicodemus replied. “Well, thank you anyway. Tomorrow, we’ll show you around and help to familiarize you and your people with our people.”
“That sounds good,” Hannibal said. “There is much I would like to see here and maybe while that is going on, I could tell you all more about the gospel.”
“Yes, that would be great,” Nicodemus replied. “Just so you know, breakfast is served here an hour after daybreak. You can find either me or Joshua here at that time.”
Hannibal nodded. “Sure thing,” he replied. “Hopefully, we’ll be fully recuperated from the beating the download gave us by then. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m so tired I can hardly stay awake. I don’t see how I was able to preach with such fire and conviction for so long. I was still fairly weak from the download when we came down here.”
“The Lord turned your weakness into strength,” Harry said. “He did it to show His power.”
“Yes, that seems to pretty much sum it up,” Nicodemus agreed, flashing a smile. “I’ll pray for your complete recovery from the download.”
“Thanks, we appreciate that,” Hannibal replied.
At that, Nicodemus rose from his seat and everyone followed suit. He quickly looked around at his people and nodded. The small crowd that had stayed with them the whole time dispersed. “I guess I’ll see you in the morning. Have a good night’s sleep. If you oversleep, don’t worry about it. You and your team are our guests,” he added.
Hannibal reached out his hand to Nicodemus, who received it. “Thank you for having us,” Hannibal said humbly. “We’ll make an effort to help out in any way we can.”
Nicodemus nodded. “You have already done so much for us,” he declared. “But if you want, I’m sure we could find something to occupy you and your team while you’re with us. Isn’t that right, Joshua?”
Joshua nodded and said, “Sure can. There is always something to do around here. I’m sure we could find something for them to do.”
“Very good,” Hannibal said, pleased with the news. “I’ll see you in the morning then.” Nicodemus nodded and the group split up. Nicodemus and his people went to their residences and Hannibal and his team went to their quarters. While they walked to the quarters, Cracko, Thomas, Jonathan, Ned, Sam, Morrison and Arabella talked amongst themselves about what they had just been witness to. They marveled at the deliverance of Naomi and the power and authority that Hannibal demonstrated in bringing forth the gospel. They also marveled at how long he was able to keep it up for, knowing what kind of condition the download had left him and Selina in. Hannibal and Selina walked silently, arm in arm with Harry and Nathanael following close behind. Once they reached the corridor in the keep where their quarters were, Hannibal stopped and turned to his team as they were about to go into their respective quarters. He spoke specifically to those who joined his team after their arrival in Argentina. “I hope that you heard what I said this evening. Take it to heart and when you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You know where I am,” he stated.
Thomas nodded. “Okay,” he replied. “You can be sure that we’ll take you up on that for I don’t know about the others, but I have many questions that I would like you to answer when you have the time.” The others mumbled an agreement to Thomas’ statement. “But I think we’re good for now. I need to digest what I’ve seen and heard tonight,” Thomas added.
“Yeah, me too,” Sam agreed. “That was some demonstration this afternoon with the devil. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that devils are real.”
“Sure did,” Ned agreed. “I’ve never seen a demon physically like we did today. I hope I never have to deal with one like that.”
Hannibal smiled at them and said, “Just remember…if demons are real, so are angels. You saw a demon this afternoon. For every demon, there is an angel to counter him. Angels are just as real and just as powerful. The Light always dispels darkness. We’re in the middle of spiritual Armageddon. There’s a war on the spiritual plane in this place that’s unlike anything on the face of the Earth. The Lord and Satan are ready to have at it in the final fight to show who is God. But fear not. The Angels of the Lord camp about those who fear and obey Him. Think on it and ponder the events of today. Ask the Lord for understanding. Repent of any wicked way you may find in you. He glories in repentance. Well, I guess I’ve done run my mouth long enough today. Good night.”
As he finished, Jonathan walked up, looked Hannibal in the eye, and then hugged him, to the surprise of his friends. “Thank you for caring, Hannibal,” he said humbly. “Thank you for being patient with us.”
“Aww, it was nothing,” Hannibal replied. “You’re my friends. I would die for you if necessary…all of you.” Within seconds, the whole team gathered around and a group hug commenced with Hannibal and Selina in the center.
“Thank you for bringing us along,” Morrison said a smile on his face after the group hug broke up and the team headed for their various quarters.
“See you guys in the morning,” Hannibal called out.
They responded with good nights and within seconds, only Hannibal, Selina, Morrison, and Arabella were left in the corridor. Arabella stood beside Morrison, who added, “This is truly turning into an adventure of epic proportions. I’m glad that the Lord allowed me to come along.”
“It isn’t over yet…not by a long shot,” Hannibal declared. “Just wait, you haven’t seen anything yet.” He looked at the two of them and noticed something he hadn’t before; how Arabella had attached herself to Morrison. Looking into Arabella’s eyes, Hannibal, to his surprise, could sense her thoughts and feelings at a very basic level. He sensed that she loved Morrison deeply with a love that he knew all too well: the same love that Selina had for him. He then looked into Morrison’s face, sensing a protective air about him toward her and a love for her that could not be denied. “You love her, don’t you, John,” Hannibal suddenly asked.
The statement took Morrison by surprise. He tucked his head in a sheepish manner as he looked around to make sure they were alone. Hannibal saw the reaction and said, “Before you answer that, come in so we can talk in private.” Selina smiled slightly as she opened the door and they all went into Hannibal’s quarters. After closing the door, Hannibal plopped down on the edge of the bed and said to them, “Have a seat.” Selina went to the bathroom as Morrison and Arabella sat down in chairs that had been left by the bed. Hannibal looked at them as they briefly looked at each other, and then to him. “Well?” he asked.
Morrison fidgeted, finally saying, “Yes, Hannibal. I can’t deny it. I love her more than my own life. She’s precious to me. She’s saved my life more times than I can count.”
“You’ve known each other for a long time, haven’t you?” Hannibal queried.
“Yes,” Morrison answered as he held Arabella’s hand. “We’ve been close friends since we were children.” Morrison laughed as a memory of their childhood emerged, saying, “What do you make of that? When we first met as kids, I thought the idea of having her as a friend was ludicrous. The thought of loving her was absolutely out of the question.” He turned to her and said, “I remember when I first saw you. You were an angel: perfect, beautiful. How could such a goddess even look at someone like me? But children’s fancies are often fickle. Little did I know at the time that you were an outcast in school, like me. We found each other that year and even though we have not always been together, I always knew that you’d be my friend and be there for me. Now look at what’s happened. I’ve found myself madly in love with you.”
Arabella sat there in shock at the revelation, knowing deep in her heart that not only what he said was true, but also that she, to her amazement, felt the same way about him. Tears began to well up as Hannibal asked her, “How about you? Do you love him back?”
For a moment, Arabella didn’t reply, and then she nodded. “Yes,” she replied in a choked, emotional tone. “I do. I love him.”
As she spoke, Selina came back in the room and sat down beside Hannibal. She looked Arabella in the eye and sensed her love for Morrison. “You two have been through much, haven’t you?” Selina asked.
Morrison nodded and replied, “Yes, we have.”
An unexpected knock came to the door and Hannibal went to answer it. Upon opening the door, he saw Nicodemus standing there. He stepped out into the corridor, closing the door behind him as Selina talked with Arabella and Morrison. “What brings you to these parts this time of night, Nicodemus?” he asked.
“Are they in there?” Nicodemus asked.
“Who?” Hannibal asked innocently.
“John and Arabella,” Nicodemus replied.
“Why yes,” Hannibal said. “I was just talking to them. I felt that I needed to find out how they felt toward each other. They’ve been very close since we left the airfield. John has become increasingly protective of her since our first encounter with the Emperor’s troops outside of Solomon’s Passage. Why do you ask?”
“I was just about to turn in for the evening when the Ancient of Days spoke to me about them,” Nicodemus said.
Hannibal’s eyebrow rose with interest. “Is that so? What did the Lord say?” he asked.
Nicodemus rubbed the side of his face and said plainly, “He said that Arabella is John’s wife. They need to be married.”
A broad smile crossed Hannibal’s face and he lifted his head to the ceiling in vindication and cried, “I knew it! Oh, the Lord is so good! That was the exactly what the Lord had put in my spirit.” Suddenly, it hit him that the message had hit him the same time it had hit Nicodemus and he asked, “When did the Lord speak?”
“About fifteen minutes ago,” Nicodemus answered.
“My Lord in heaven…that’s the same time it hit me. We had just left the dining hall when it hit,” Hannibal breathed in amazement. “But why did you come now? Couldn’t it have waited until the morning?”
Nicodemus shook his head and said, “No, the Ancient of Days told me to come immediately and I’ve gotten into do what He says when He says.”
“I heard that,” Hannibal replied. “That’s the only way to do it. Well, in that case, come on in. We can tell them together.” Hannibal opened the door and allowed Nicodemus to enter before him. Everyone turned to see the pair come in.
“Nicodemus, what’re you doing here?” Morrison asked.
“I’m about our Almighty’s business, as always,” Nicodemus said pleasantly as Hannibal sat next to Selina. Nicodemus stood off to one side between Hannibal and Selina and Morrison and Arabella.
“What did you find out, princess?” Hannibal asked Selina merely as a formality because of his telepathic contact to her.
“Well, it’s my humble opinion that they should’ve been married long ago. There have been many things that have prevented it, but in my expert opinion, they’re already mated. All that’s needed is the formality of a marriage,” Selina replied.
Hannibal looked at them and asked them bluntly, “Is this true?”
Morrison nodded humbly and said, “Yes, I should’ve married her long ago.”
“Well, why don’t you ask her now?” Hannibal suggested. “All she can say is no.”
Morrison looked at her with a pleading, almost fearful look. “Arabella, I know I’m not the best of men and I don’t have any money or lands or things to give you,” he admitted. “All I have is what you see here, flaws and all. I lay everything before you, even my soul. Will you marry me?”
Arabella suddenly broke down into sobs and cried, “Of course I will! I didn’t think you would ever do it!” At that, she threw her arms around his neck and showered him with kisses.
Nicodemus smiled, as did Hannibal and Selina. “Well, Nicodemus, why don’t you tell them what the Lord’s business was that brought you here so late this evening,” Hannibal said.
“The Ancient of Days sent me here to you personally,” Nicodemus said to Morrison and Arabella. “He told me about fifteen minutes ago that you two should be married. Your marriage is His will. You two have been mated since before the foundations of the Earth, just like Hannibal and Selina are.”
Morrison and Arabella looked at each other in shock and amazement at the news. “That’s why I asked you two to come in a few minutes ago,” Hannibal said sheepishly. “When we were walking back from the dining hall, the Lord dropped it into my spirit that you two were mates and should be married. He apparently told me the same time He told Nicodemus. I was just as surprised at it as you were. That was why I asked you what I did.”
Arabella covered her mouth in surprise as Morrison ran his hand through his hair. “My God! She really is my perfect mate,” he said humbly. “God has chosen her for me. How can I say no? He is the great God of the universe. I must believe that He knows what I need.”
“That He does,” Hannibal said. “There’s one thing I would suggest though, now that you’re going to be married. I think it would be a good idea if you and Arabella followed Selina and I’s example and not consummate the marriage until we are done with the job we have to do. The situation we are in is a very bad one with the Emperor and all. Of course, it is only a suggestion, unlike my marriage where it was a condition of the union. The Lord didn’t put any conditions on it, did He, Nicodemus?”
“No, He didn’t,” Nicodemus replied. “But the suggestion Hannibal has made is a good one and I tend to agree with him on it. This is not a good place to bring a child into the world. If you could just wait a little while, you may find yourself in a much better situation where you can properly start a family.”
Morrison and Arabella looked at each other, and then looked at Nicodemus. “That sounds like good advice,” Arabella replied. “I can wait if you can, John.”
Morrison nodded. “I believe that’s good advice as well,” he agreed. “We’ll wait until the job is done, whatever our job here is.”
Nicodemus was pleased by the answer, as was Hannibal. “In that case, we have a wedding to prepare,” Nicodemus chimed. “The Ancient of Days is pleased with what has happened here. This should be a wedding to remember. This will be the first wedding of this kind in almost twelve thousand cycles.”
“You mean that the Lord has not been choosing mates down here?” Selina asked.
Nicodemus shook his head sadly and said, “I’m afraid not. The Almighty hasn’t spoken to us in this manner for a long, long time. It was only with the discovery of the ancient prophecies here in the last eighty cycles that He has again started dealing with us directly. He hasn’t personally chosen mates in our land for over twelve thousand cycles; basically since the Kragonar. However, that’s changed now too. It’s another sign of the end of our bondage under the Emperor.”
“So you all have been in what I will call a dark age up until here relatively recently,” Hannibal reasoned. “The Lord kept quiet and allowed the evil of Amacia to fester.”
“Yes,” Nicodemus answered. “But in His own time, He began to speak to us, just in time to prepare us for the coming of His man…you. Now His man is here and I praise Him for it every hour. But enough talk. It’s getting late. I’ll see you all in the morning.” He then said to Morrison and Arabella, “Continue to act the way you have up until now. As of now, only those in this room know of your marriage. I’ll make an announcement during the dinner tomorrow evening to let everyone know. Keep it to yourself until then.” Morrison and Arabella nodded that they would and Nicodemus bowed slightly to everyone, saying, “So I will take leave of you. Peace be unto you.”
“Peace be unto you too,” Hannibal said as Nicodemus walked out of the room. Morrison and Arabella rose and followed Nicodemus out. “See you in the morning,” Hannibal said.
“See you in the morning,” Arabella answered with a smile as she walked out with Morrison, latched onto his arm. They closed the door as they left, leaving Hannibal and Selina alone. She slid over and wrapped an arm around him.
“You’ve had a long day,” Selina observed as she rubbed his lower back with her hand.
“Does it show that much?” Hannibal asked.
“Yeah, it does. Besides, I can feel your weariness. Let’s go to bed,” she said, rising to get her nightclothes.
“You’re right,” Hannibal agreed, following her lead. “I’m beat.”
Hannibal changed into the pajama shorts and a short-sleeved button-up shirt before making use of the bathroom. By time he came out of the bathroom, Selina had changed into a nightgown found in her new wardrobe and was brushing her hair as she sat on the edge of the bed. She’d already turned the blankets down. When Hannibal saw her in a thigh-length shimmering black nightgown with spaghetti straps and trimmed with lace on its plunging neckline, his heart skipped a beat as he cringed at her beauty. Before he could say anything, Selina cast an alluring glance to him. “Like what you see, don’t you?” she purred seductively.
Hannibal walked to the bed with a smile, shaking his head. “I can’t help it,” he admitted. “Just when I think you can’t get any more beautiful, you do. That’s an amazing nightgown. It really suits you and makes you so hot.”
“Why thank you, Hannibal,” Selina replied warmly as she sat her hairbrush on the nightstand next to the bed. “I’m glad I please you.” She stood up and put her arms around his neck as they stood by the bed. He gently wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close. Looking him in the eye, Selina touched her forehead to his. “Just being near you makes all the pain and horrors we’ve endured coming to this place bearable. I love you,” she declared, kissing him gently on the lips afterwards.
“I love you too,” Hannibal whispered lovingly. “I cannot imagine a life without you now. You save me from myself and continue to do so every day. Thank you so much and all glory be to the Lord who brought us together.”
“Amen,” Selina replied. “Now come…lay with me, husband.” She drew him onto the bed and they settled in, cuddling with one another. Within minutes, Selina purred softly as she lay against Hannibal’s side. “Can I ask you something?” she queried.
“Sure,” Hannibal replied.
“You engaged your gift with John and Arabella didn’t you?” Selina asked.
“Yes, I did,” Hannibal replied. “I did it without realizing it. I was just suddenly aware of their thoughts and feelings on a very basic level. I did it without even trying. The telepathic ability seems to be expanding somehow. It’s disconcerting.”
“Shhh; don’t worry with it, my prince. In time, the Lord will teach you to use it properly,” Selina purred. “Until then, you have me to learn from.”
“I’m glad one of us knows how to use the telepathy properly,” Hannibal replied as she purred. “Just don’t let me do something stupid.”
“You have my word on that,” Selina declared. “Now just relax and let the worries of the day fade away. Sleep, my prince…sleep.” Her voice became almost hypnotic to Hannibal, lulling him to sleep as the lights dimmed and went out twenty seconds later. By time the lights were out, Hannibal lay asleep and Selina dropped off to sleep a couple of minutes later. All remained quiet in the keep and in the city of Kaal Bek, even though evil stirred in shadows.