The Covenant of the Rainbow

Red Sky in the Morning is the first book in my new series, The Covenant of the Rainbow. You can read a description here and the first chapter here. You can get it here.

The series takes its name from the organization that lies at the heart of the stories. Adrian is a member, and Beverly becomes one. The upcoming books will center around its eight leaders. The Covenant of the Rainbow is an eight-thousand-year-old secret society of psychics dedicated to defending Earth against alien invasion. It’s also known as HBQ, short for the original Hebrew version of its name, Ha Beriyt Qeshet. But where did that name come from, and what does it mean? Find out in the following excerpt.

As part of Beverly’s initiation into the Covenant, she’s watched three recorded Memories. They contain an account of humanity’s first encounter with the alien Seraphim. As this passage begins, Adrian is telepathically showing Beverly the concluding portion of the third Memory:


The view shifted to the shore of the sea near Noh’s family’s new home. The eight who had fought and defeated the Seraphim stood in a ring, hands clasped, heads bowed. In the sky, shafts of light from the setting sun pierced dark clouds, setting a rainbow arching over the far horizon. I crafted my Memories, as Gabeel taught me, into a form that will endure, and entrusted them to each of the others. We Eight made a solemn vow to each other and to God. God placed his bow in the heavens, and we took it for the sign of our Covenant. Never again will the waters rise and floods destroy the people of this world. We will pass on our knowledge to our successors, down through the ages. When the Seraphim return and seek again to take the Earth for their own, we will stand ready to stop them.

* * *

Beverly blinked and swallowed as the Memory faded from her vision. She looked down at Adrian’s hands clasping hers, then up into his eyes. She wanted to say something, to tell him that now she truly understood, but she couldn’t find the words. She looked away.

From behind her came Rabbi Sensei’s voice. “I hope I’m not intruding. But I wished to be present when you finished the Memory in case you had any questions.”

Adrian’s brow creased, but Beverly twisted around in relief. “Oh, no. I’m glad you came. Although—it’s so overwhelming. I don’t know what to say.”

Rabbi Sensei pulled up a chair and seated himself so the three of them made a rough triangle. “Many have that reaction on their first viewing.”

Beverly wrapped her arms around herself, shivering. “So Gabeel is out there somewhere in his ship? Do you think he’s really going to come back?”

Adrian nodded. “We’ve been watching for him, as well as monitoring the astronomers who scan for comets and asteroids. So far there’s been no sign of his ship orbiting back into the inner Solar System. There’s plenty of time, though. Assuming he still lives; it’s always possible his life support might have malfunctioned at some point. None of the people in the Covenant with precognitive gifts have seen him yet.”

Beverly nodded slowly. She kept thinking back over everything she’d seen, gradually digesting it. “So that’s what a soul bond can do, huh? Wow.” She glanced at Adrian, then down.

Rabbi Sensei smiled with a touch of wry humor. “It seems that bonding souls is an ability unique to humans. Nothing is specifically stated, but Gabeel and the rest appear surprised when Noh and Nama first create theirs.”

“Yeah.” Images of the battle flashed across Beverly’s mind’s eye. “I didn’t expect things to get so… violent. The way Noh and the rest just start killing the Seraphim, without hesitation, without remorse. I mean, I know it was that or let bunches of humans die, but still…” She swallowed. “I guess that’s what we’re going to have to do. What you expect me to do.”

Adrian’s voice was gentle. “We intend to seek some sort of truce with the Seraphim. But as you saw, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll be willing to negotiate. So yes, we’ll probably end up fighting them. It’s going to be the same generation of Seraphim that Noh faced, after all. They’ve been in suspended animation all this time. They haven’t had generations to learn and grow and change like we have.”

Rabbi Sensei pulled a palm-sized gold medallion from his pocket. He turned it in his fingers for a moment, studying it, then passed it to Beverly. Engraved on its surface was the image of a bow and arrow, the arrow nocked and ready to shoot, the bow drawn into a deep half-circle. The bow was inlaid with narrow bands of colored gemstones: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

“In modern American culture the rainbow has come to represent many things. Most see it as something pretty and insubstantial: rainbows and butterflies and unicorns. Some use it to symbolize the unity of all the many varieties of humankind. In the Jewish faith and those that spring from it, the rainbow is remembered as the sign of God’s promise that the flood will never come again.”

His voice grew deep and resonant. “But what most fail to understand is that a bow is first and foremost an instrument of death. We of the Covenant of the Rainbow know our purpose. We are the weapon in the hand of God, the arrow aimed at the heart of the enemy.”

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