By the Burning River
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I am merely a humble beggar, sampling from the table of Jacqueline Carey, who must dwell with the angels she writes about. I gain no profit from this work beyond the joy I had in writing it.
Author's Notes: So, this was inspired by the recent discussion in Cereus House on why is the symbol of House L'Envers a burning river, which seems more appropriate to the scions of Kushiel. The muses must have been with me on this one, because it cannot have taken more than an hour – I just went ahead, opened the Talmudic Encyclopedia on 'River of Fire', opened the sources it gave me, started combining it in my head with what I knew of Naamah from the Kushiel Series, and this just flowed out of me. So. The verse quoted is indeed from Daniel VII, 9-10. The parts about the river coming from the sweat of the hosts before the Lord, the River purifying the good people and punishing the wicked in hell, and the part about the Milky Way being the River are all from various Talmudic Sources. The recognizable stuff is from the Kushiel Series (Shrine and River of Naamah, etc), and the rest is what I made up by combining it all.
Dedicated to all those who discuss the Kushiel Series with me, with thanks to all. As always, feedback is solicited and appreciated.
And the symbol of House L'Envers is the Burning River. For as it was said by Daniel "His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him." The sages say that this fiery stream, this burning river, issues from the sweat of the hosts surrounding the Lord. And in the lore of House L'Envers, it is written that when Naamah stood by the Lord, she was ever the source. For it was her sweat, created by the heat of her lovemaking, which began the stream into which all the sweat of the angels gathered. And from this river, Angels are renewed and born.
And this river goes from before the Lord, and streams through the realms of Paradise, among which are the Gardens, and Eden, and Terre D'Ange That Lies Beyond. And in it all sadness is washed away, and the soul purified, and vigor restored, and passion rekindled, so that those who are but touched by a drop of it have their youth renewed, and are blessed by Naamah.
But when this river leaves the realms of Paradise, it flows into the keeping of Kushiel, the Punisher of God, Lord of the Portals. For it enters his realm, the realm of suffering, where he punishes the sinners. And to the sinners, it appears as it truly is, a wellspring of good and grace. But when they touch it or drink from it, they are scalded and burned, and it is worse punishment than even what Kushiel would do; for they are hurt, but they are left with the aftertaste of what the river truly, the heavenly joy of paradise; and thus do they often begin repenting, wishing for a true taste of the Burning River.
Naamah left the presence of the Lord, and wandered on Earth, following Elua; but the Lord would not have stopped the River, and he set it in the sky, in the form of stars, which we call the Milky Way; and whenever the stars would see Naamah making love at night, they would drain of her sweat the liquid they needed for the River to continue in flowing. And when Elua and his companions came at last to what would be Terre D'Ange, Naamah lay with Elua where today her Shrine lies. And beneath that land flowed a river. And when the sweat from their love fell onto the earth, it mixed with the river; and the River rose, for Elua's mother that is Earth willed it to be so, for his joy and love. So from then on, the river flowed aboveground, rising at Naamah's Shrine; and so it was named Naamah's River.
So it was; and when Naamah was to leave with Elua to Terre D'Ange That Lies Beyond, she instructed her children, and named her eldest son (who married Kushiel's daughter), who would found the House of L'Envers her heir. And in her honor, and in honor of his wife, he made the Burning River the symbol of their House. For it was the True River of Naamah, which gives her pleasure to all who deserve it; yet it was also her hope for the sinners, who were loved by Kushiel, and repented due to it.