2 Terah am Shem
The Harbormaster's shouted orders, through that cursed megaphone, had Sebu simmering. His absolute refusal to come aboard to negotiate, and his uncanny ability to completely ignore all communications emanating from arriving ships, served merely to escalate Sebu's foul mood. As the tug's twin banks of oars, rowed by tiered crews of huge slaves, had steadily pulled them past the empty stone pier towards the neighboring wharf packed with vessels of all shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Sebu had begun to bellow across the water.
Pointedly ignoring all of Sebu's commands, entreaties, and threats, the Harbormaster had seen them snugged to the bustling dock, in the only berth visible on the enormous wooden structure, that jutted into the slow moving Ufratu River. As the tug slowly pulled away, the Harbormaster began to organize the remaining craft in Sebu's convoy. Sebu angrily turned away from the rail of the deck commandeered by his giant bodyguards.
"How dare they refuse me access to the private pier!"
"The Grand Vizier of Babel, brother to King Nimrod, and Heir to the Throne of Shin'ar," he sputtered, as he stormed to the ladder leading to the main deck.
"A Noble of House Ham, forced to conduct his business amongst hundreds of common merchants! Nahore will surely pay for this insult! House Shem goes too far this time!" He hurried across the main deck to the just lowered gangway.
"Clear our portage!" He leaned against the rail, as he scornfully eyed the crowded but orderly wharf.
He and his Gibbor'im escort began to disembark, the group of giant warriors beating and clubbing an empty perimeter directly in front of their ship. As Sebu took a position on the wharf at the base of the gangway, he abruptly halted his rant. His dark skin took on an ashen hue, as beads of sweat formed across his brow. Slowly he turned to look up river, fear evident in his eyes. His jaw dropped, momentarily stunned, he stood staring in disbelief. The river was filled from side to side and as far as the eye could see. Terah am Shem, son of Nahore, had arrived! His vast fleet dominated the horizon to the north. It was evident by Sebu's look of deep foreboding, that along with the "Gifts to the Padishah" taxes, tithes, and tribute, something else approached.
Sebu, a Magi of the Gibbor'im Tribe, had only twice before encountered a burgeoning power of this magnitude. The first being Anab, patriarch of the Anak'im, High Counselor of the Council of the Nephil'im. As a pure descendant of the Eloh'im, he possessed their ancient knowledge and was surely the most powerful sorcerer he had ever endured. Sebu had spent his one and only time accompanying Nimrod at Council, avoiding the slightest scrutiny from that terrifying archimage. The second he had experienced while in Ur. Sebu had come in passing contact with Shem, the founder of the Great House, and High Mage of the Chaldean School. Shem had possessed a mastery nearly rivaling that of Anab, though not so terrifying and searching. This power he was sensing now, though as immense as the other two, had a wild, uncontrolled quality, making him all the more unsettled.
Where had House Shem dug up another master mage of this magnitude? Emerging from his initial shock, he began to calculate. He must identify this new arrival who wielded so much power. Nimrod must be informed immediately, and surely the Council as well!
As the first raft, logs of cedar and cypress sewn together and to be sold later as raw lumber, made contact with the empty pier. Sebu gathered his robes and began to make his way up the crowded wharf. His Gibbor'im bodyguard fanned out before him, as they made use of their immense strength and huge sheathed swords to clear the way. Sebu strode, eyes never leaving the silken pavilion erected on a platform of milled planks perched atop the huge raft. The crowd scattered in panic before the cordon of violent giants. Oblivious, Sebu made his way to the reserved pier.