Volume 8
Son of Samson and the Tears of Jehovah




Volume 7: Son of Samson and the Sword of Revenge



"I have unfinished business in Jabneel"
Branan, bidding Sidon and Saphira farewell[src]

Plot SummaryEdit

Chapter 1: "The Bride of Urakabar"Edit

Riding across the valley of Sorek on his way to visit his mother in Timnah, Branan is assaulted by a heavily turbaned youth, who turns out to be none other than his half sister Zarah. Ecstatic at seeing her beloved brother, Zarah congratulates him for his single-handed rout of the Philistine army back at Shiloh. When Branan tries to correct her false perception of his victory being single-handed, a spice merchant named Urakabar shows up and invites the pair to join him for the midday meal.

Before the food is served, Urakabar declares that he is traveling to Jabneel to attend a slave auction to bid on a beautiful girl named Saphira. Betraying his shock at the news, Branan asks how it is possible that a wealthy socialite like Saphira could end up on the auction block. Urakabar explains that, with staggering hypocrisy, the infamously treacherous Delilah sold her own daughter into slavery as punishment for some sort of betrayal.

When Urakabar beats his slave for spilling a beverage at lunch, Branan and Zarah have their fill of Urakabar's obnoxiousness and tie him up before heading out to Jabneel to rescue Saphira from the slave market. Two days later, the muscular siblings reach the city gate of Jabneel and get accosted by Sidon, who is now completely unrecognizable as a beggar. Zarah grabs Sidon's arm and knocks him out before he can lay a hand on Branan.

Sidon regains consciousness, and Zarah demands to know why he attacked her brother. With deep bitterness, Sidon fumes that because he was stripped of his commission in the Philistine army and because Branan's mercenaries burnt Sidon's garrison to the ground, he is now penniless. Moreover, he is furious that his own daughter will be sold into slavery that afternoon for helping Branan escape Delilah's prison. Touched by Sidon's plight, Branan and Zarah vow to rescue Saphira and reunite her with her father that very night.

Chapter 2: "Going Once, Twice ... Sold!"Edit

Lord Pathrus visits Delilah at her palace in Jabneel and offers her a large reward if she is able to capture Branan. During their conversation, Delilah recounts the story of her relationship with Samson - how she betrayed him for both wealth and status among her people.

Deciding that Branan is too well known in Jabneel to mix with people in the marketplace, Zarah scouts out the slave auction by herself. At the auction, Zarah encounters Abu, who tells her that the auction for Saphira will commence in two hours. Zarah returns to Branan with the information and finds him disguised as a wealthy Phoenician merchant so he can attend the auction later. Zarah cuts some hair off Uzal's tail for Branan's fake mustache to complete the look.

Saphira, meanwhile manages to flirt her way out of the slave cage where she is being held prisoner. When Abu catches his own man unlocking her cage, she wraps her chains around the guard's neck and threatens to choke him to death. Abu calmly responds that doing so would do her no good, as she'd just have to get past Abu's sentries standing behind him. Realizing the truth of Abu's words, Saphira releases the soldier and returns to her cage.

Minutes later, Abu drags Saphira out onto the auction block and begins the bidding for the Jewel of Jabneel at one hundred shekels. Masquerading as a wealthy Phoenician, Branan bids a thousand shekels on Saphira and wins the auction. Fortunately, Saphira recognizes Branan through his disguise and walks quietly away with him and Abu to the latter's tent to finalize the transaction.

When a servant complains to Branan that his camel has been disturbing the other animals at the livestock pen, Branan feigns a desire to sell Uzal and invites Abu to examine the animal's teeth. On cue, Uzal spits cud right into Abu's face, allowing Branan time to toss Saphira up in the air to Zarah, who is waiting on a balcony above the street to catch the girl. When Abu opens his eyes, Branan lies that Saphira ran away when Abu wasn't looking and tells him that their deal is now off.

Chapter 3: "Repentance and Reprisal"Edit

Delilah's servant Zimra arrives at Abu's tent later that night and demands Deliliah's cut for the sale of her daughter Saphira at the slave market. When Abu explains that there has been a slight complication with the payment for Saphira's auction, Zimra warns Abu that he has until tomorrow to come up with the payment, or Delilah will send over one of her bodyguards to pay him a visit.

After Zimra leaves the tent, a sentry informs Abu that Branan has ransacked Abu's home and has set his house slaves free. Zarah and Branan, who are spying on the slaver from the rooftop of a nearby house, watch as Abu storms out of his tent, presumably to return home to assess the damage to his estate. Zarah notices that there are only three sentries guarding Abu's slave pit, then she and Branan bicker over who's going to lower whom down the side of the house to snatch one of the guards away.

They opt to settle the dispute by playing a round of Odds or Evens, which Zarah wins. Zarah then lowers Branan down by a rope and pulls him back up to the roof once he's seized one of the three guards. After stealthily dispatching the other two soldiers, Branan wrenches off the lid to Abu's slave pit and calls for Zarah to come down and help him with the prisoners. But before she has the chance to do so, she crashes through the roof of the house and into the family's dining room below.

Back at Delilah's residence, Zimra returns to inform his mistress and her guest Pathrus that Branan torched the slave market and raided Abu's home. Delilah and Pathrus run to the nearest window and observe smoke billowing from the torched slave market in the distance. They realize that Branan will be coming for the both of them soon and so prepare for an eventual confrontation with him at the palace.

After freeing Abu's slaves from their pit, Branan and Zarah meet up with Sidon on the outskirts of town and reunite him with Saphira as promised. Overwhelmed with gratitude for the rescue of his daughter, Sidon experiences an epiphany and begs forgiveness from Branan for persecuting the Hebrews and for blaming his father Samson for Delilah's infidelity. Branan forgives Sidon immediately and joyfully buries the hatchet with him.

Resolving to start a new life together with the freed slaves out west, Sidon and Saphira invite Branan to join them in their caravan. Though tempted, Branan politely declines, averring that he still has some unfinished business to take care of in Jabneel. Understanding Branan's meaning, Sidon reveals that there is a secret door into Delilah's garden patio on the northeast wall of her estate.

Chapter 4: "Unfinished Business"Edit

Armed with this tip, Branan and Zarah head over to Delilah's palace and find the secret tunnel leading to Delilah's garden of which Sidon spoke. When Branan and Zarah run into an iron barred-gate blocking their way through the tunnel, Branan summons up the strength to bend the iron bars wide enough for he and Zarah to pass through. Snickering, Zarah opens the gate by turning the unlocked latch on the door instead.

As the siblings sneak into Delilah's garden, Zarah warns Branan that they should be careful not to clang their staffs noisily against any of the ceramic pots on Delilah's patio. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Branan does, drawing dozens of alert sentries to the garden to investigate the clatter. Zarah barks at Branan to press on ahead while she keeps the guards busy.

Hunting for Delilah, Branan proceeds into the next room where Delilah is reclining and waiting for the son of Samson with Lord Pathrus and her two Rephaim bodyguards, Abnar and Adar. Branan rushes at Adar and pushes him down, then ducks quickly when Abnar stabs at Branan with a spear and gets it stuck in a pillar. While Abnar thus struggles to yank his spear out of the pillar, Branan scurries behind the giant and strikes him with a staff across the legs.

When Adar gets back up off the floor and resumes his attack, Branan hits Adar across the shins with the staff, sending Adar headfirst into another pillar. Concerned about the structural integrity of the palace with all the damage its pillars are taking, Delilah and Pathrus try to run away, but Branan hurls his staff at them, tripping them up. Abnar then rises to his feet in his mistress's defence and picks Branan up by the head to punch him.

Fortunately, Zarah rescues Branan by bringing her staff down on the back of Abnar's head and nailing him with a two-footed kick to the gut, sending him flying backward and landing him on top of Delilah. Branan, meanwhile, positions himself Samson-style between two supporting pillars and pushes out on them. As the palace begins to collapse, a chunk of debris falls on Branan's head, rendering him unconscious. Zarah manages to carry her brother out of the palace just before the building caves in on them.

The next day, Zarah asks Branan what he has learned in his quest to retrace their father's legendary deeds. Branan replies that he's realized that as great as his inherited strength is, he often fails when he depends upon it alone - and that only by following the Lord and submitting to him can anyone have complete victory in life.

As Branan and Zarah prepare once again to depart for Timnah, he teases that it will be nice to see his mother's kind face as a change from Uzal's irritable disposition. The comic series ends just the way it began - with Uzal spitting a mouthful of cud at his master.

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