- Iscariot: Chapter 1 – In which we meet Pontius Pilate and learn about an obscure Goddess.
- Iscariot: Chapter 2 – In which we meet Jesus of Nazareth, his brother James, Simon the Zealot, and Donny, one of King Herod’s slaves
- Iscariot: Chapter 3 – In which Judas splits a bottle of wine with Mary Magdalene, daughter in law of the almighty.
- Iscariot: Chapter 4 – In which we learn that Jesus is not scared of lightning. Also Kelsey, the formerly barren lady from Chapter 2, has become fertile and now it’s a whole thing.
- Iscariot: Chapter 5 – In which we learn that just because you have love for all things, doesn’t mean you can’t get annoyed by certain peoples antics.
- Iscariot: Chapter 6 – In which Menahem asks, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Menahem.”
- Iscariot: Chapter 7 – In which Pontius Pilate learns who King Herod is and what King Herod do.
- Iscariot: Chapter 8 – In which we meet Martha, wife of Judas, and she’s a delight.
- Iscariot: Chapter 9 – In which we meet the remaining apostles at the Passover feast.
- Iscariot: Chapter 10 – In which Pontius Pilate reminisces about the good ol’ days.
- Iscariot: Chapter 11 – In which there’s a bit of exposition until the angel Lucifer shows up and has a brief chat with Judas.
- Iscariot: Chapter 12 – In which we are made aware of the political situation in Rome.
- Iscariot: Chapter 13 – In which the Passion of the Devil.
- Iscariot: Chapter 14 – In which we meet the rice goddess Inari and a fox named Mrs. Noodles.
- Iscariot: Chapter 15 – In which Mary, Martha, and Kelsey meet a Behemoth and the story passes the Bechdel test.
- Iscariot: Chapter 16 – In which Judas and Jesus travel through India and learn about road building.
- Iscariot: Chapter 17 – In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.
- Iscariot: Chapter 18 – In which crucifixion shmoosifixion. Jesus and Judas are back, baby!
- Iscariot: Chapter 19 – In which we extrapolate upon the Ascension a little bit.
- Iscariot: Chapter 20 – In which Judas and Mary have a pre dinner drink, and we leave them there.
There was a period of time where if you used Comic Sans you were derided as being worse than Satan. It was the first time that I recall the entire internet all getting up in arms about something of such little consequence. Maybe there was an aspy calligraphist somewhere with actual beef for the font but I refuse to believe that anybody else cared until everyone cared.
They did the same thing with the literally/figuratively debate until the OED said, “Denizens of the Earth realm, shut up and heed me. Literally can mean figuratively. I AM THE OED! MASTER OF WORDS!”
Bereft of that, I’ve noticed those same people now harp on whichever side of the “could/couldn’t care less” expression they feel is correct. (Both are fine, btw, but feel free to engage in a lively debate in the comments section.) And these people have the gall. The GALL to actually preface their complaints by saying, “This is a pet peeve of mine.” And I’m all, “No it isn’t. You just hopped on a really boring bandwagon.”
That brings us to our lord Jesus. In the bible, Jesus is doing his thing and walking around, losing sandals, riding donkeys in accordance with prophecy, etc. And everyone’s sort of fine with him until out of nowhere, they’re not. Suddenly the whole of Judea was a mob of people who really want to see the guy dead. Pilate, according to Luke 23, never wanted to kill the guy for knocking over a few tables. (Though based on what we know of Romans at the time, I’m skeptical of that.) Pilate on more than one occasion was like, “Steady on, chaps. He’s not that bad.”
The multitude demurred. They insisted that, in fact, this guy seems like the type to use Comic Sans on a wedding invitation. Dude needs to go.
So the burning question in my mind is this. Where the hell did this particular group think idea come from? I contend that the seeds were planted during the following meeting described herein.
In which Pontius Pilate learns who King Herod is and what King Herod do.
The meeting between the Prelate Pontius Pilate and King Herod hadn’t been going well.
When you’ve been in the army for as long as the Prelate, you find that you’ve met all sorts of soldiers. Some joined the ranks in order to move up the societal ladder as it was one of the very few ways a person born of nothing could do so. Others did it for the money, which was a steady salary and truthfully just showing up with a large enough army was usually enough to make an enemy back down. Safe isn’t the right word, exactly, but a lot of soldiering was just waiting around.
And it should be noted that there are a lot of men who feel a responsibility to their country. They want to protect it from actual threats. Were it not for the military, a horde of people would come through your town, declare it theirs, rape and pillage everyone and burn the place to the ground. It wasn’t a day to day thing but it most definitely happened.
But nobody did that to Rome because doing that to Rome or its holdings meant a very brutal retaliation which would leave everyone of the horde dead and if there were any survivors, they’d be tortured in the town square for an afternoon of amusement.
Prelate Pilate believed in the military. He believed in protecting Rome and the Romans. From the gladiators in the pits, to the children watching those gladiators occasionally be eviscerated. He felt that most of the people in the military were good chaps. Men who were just doing a job and trying their best to make everything as safe for the civilians as one could.
That said, he’d been in the military long enough to know that there were also bad seeds. People who joined for the looting. People who joined because they liked legally killing or raping their fellow humans. They were few and far between, but they were there. Pontius had a pretty strict policy of dealing with men under his command who behaved in such a way.
He removed them from the army with extreme prejudice, in front of the other soldiers, and got on with the rest of his day. He’d met these people and he knew how dangerous they were.
King Herod reminded him of the type he’d normally have to hang. It was a shame that killing him wasn’t an option, but such is the way of the world. Pontius hated this man. Unfortunately there was nothing to do but sit around and listen to his insane ramblings. As stated above. The meeting wasn’t going well.
“Donny. Tell this bitch who I am,” Herod said, waving in the direction of Pontius and Marcus.
“This here is the King,” Donny explained.
“Exactly,” Herod continued, “Now tell him what I do.”
“You run the Bronze Age,” Donny stated.
“Damn right, I run the Bronze Age,” Herod said with manic look in his eyes.
“Oh?” Pilate asked.
“Yeah. Donny, tell this man about my chariot,” he commanded.
“It’s a pretty chariot, sir,” Donny said.
“That’s right, Donny. My chariot so pretty that all the horses in this kingdom are lining up to pull it. I got hero’s cults all over this land. You ever heard of Akko?”
“I don’t believe so, no,” Pilate said, sighing.
“I got a hero cult there. I got one in Damascus. One in Petra and they send gold to me.”
“Everyone should have nice things.”
“It’s a long ass trip. Damascus to Petra, but they all know me. I run the Aegean trade network. I run it. And you Romans. Y’all can conquer the whole world, but you can’t beat me. Because I’m a double sided dagger. I’ll cut anyone comes up here.”
“Fascinating,” Pontius said. “Well, this has all been wonderful Mr…”
“King!” Donny screamed.
“My apologies, err…King Herod. It seems as if you have everything and everyone you need for a wonderful life. However, you are the one who organized this meeting, so with the deepest respect, I feel that I must ask you what, in fact, you actually want.”
Herod had a crazed look in his eyes and began whispering something frantically to Donny who then approached where Pontius was seated.
“My master worries about a usurper,” Donny whispered.
“Well unfortunately for your master, Emperor Tiberius has ordered that Rome stay out of the local politics of Judea. All I can do is keep the peace. So if this ‘usurper’ isn’t doing anything but attempting to also be a king, there’s nothing Rome can do to help you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m very busy,” Pontius arose and began making his way to the exit.
“No! No, No, No!” Herod screamed.
Pontius took a deep breath and stared at Herod. The man looked as if he was about to start weeping.
“You have to help me. Please? You have to help or the usurper is going to be the king.” The man began actively weeping at this point and his nose started running. “He doesn’t even have any hero cults. He’s just a teacher. He can’t run things like I do.”
Huge wet tears were streaming down Herod’s face while Pontius and Marcus stood there, stone faced as he went on.
“If you let him depose me, people are going to think I’m a bad leader!”
Suddenly the crying stopped and the madness took back over. Herod continued, “I won’t let it happen. I demand that you do something about him! You have to kill this Jesus guy and all of his friends.”
“Look, your Highness. I’d love to help. I really would. But you have to give me something here. There’s a lot of paperwork which goes into things like this and I can’t go back to Rome and say that I just took out a person for no reason. And let’s be honest. In this day and age? You don’t even have to give me a big reason, but I still need something. Give me a legitimate reason for why this guy is dangerous to the country as a whole. If you do that, an official request for help from the military will be reviewed. Until that happens, however, you’re on your own. You’ve got guards. Go get the guy yourself. I’ll turn the other way and ignore it.”
“But I can’t do that, yo. If I go kill him, everyone will be mad at me. If the Romans do it, however…It’s like. Then everyone will be mad at you. Which means I can keep being King!”
“Yes, well. As that may be, I’m sorry, but that’s not a good enough reason. Marcus? We’re leaving. Good day your highness.” The Romans stood up and began shuffling towards the exit.
Herod called Donny back to his side and whispered something else.
Donny then hurriedly approached the Romans.
“Wait! My master wishes to inform you that in addition to usurping and preaching heresy, this man’s followers are also the one’s responsible for all of the graffiti which has appeared around the city of late. We’ve also heard that he plans to burn down the temple.”
Pilate stopped walking. “You have proof of this?”
“Oh I got proof. I got spies tell me things,” Herod said. “All this graffiti is about Romans going back to Rome and taking their Roman coins with them, right. And this…temple desecration he’s planning. If there’s no temple, there won’t be anything to protect. So the Romans will leave. That’s his plan and you must stop him. That there is sedition.”
Pilate cursed under his breath. He turned around and unhappily said, “Show me your proof, King Herod.”