Palestine 1929

"What is that…weaponry?" Shoshanna asked with wide eyes.

"The Shield of David," Zadok answered vaguely. But his eyes burned with an intensity that belied his calm expression.

Nathan fidgeted uneasily.

"The heirloom, you know, was created in David's honor. Look, children, at these emblems. Peace and prosperity. Tokens of David's reign."

"Who is he talking about?" Shoshanna whispered to Nathan. "King David, his promised heir to come, or David our brother?"

Nathan dared not venture a guess.

"They murdered him." Zadok's teeth flashed, reflecting the fire of his eyes. "They killed the hope of Israel . There is no future for Palestine now. David's Shield is only an empty memory, a lost glory that might have been..."

Shoshanna pressed her hand against her mouth and rushed from the room. Nathan stayed with his father, unwilling to leave him in this state. Yet the oppressive power of the shield mingling with the unnatural brightness of his father's eyes overcame him. He also fled, finding Shoshanna huddled in the corner of the garden.

"I'm so frightened," she confided. "Father talks about our brother as though he is the David who will deliver us from our enemies!"

"Father always set a great store by David. He probably doesn't realize what he is saying. His mind is still not well."

"I hope you are right, because...oh, Nathan! Did you see the way our father looked at that dreadful, graven image? He worships it. We will be cursed for this iniquity!"

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