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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Story Archives » The Lion And The Hawks - A New Story of Ancient Egypt
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Topic Subject:The Lion And The Hawks - A New Story of Ancient Egypt
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Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-02-00 22:14 ET (US)         
TYPE: High Adventure.
TONE: Dramatic with humorous sequences. Nothing silly.
FORMAT: One or more paragraphs per post.
CONDITIONS: Moderate violence is acceptable. No gross violence. Strong character development is encouraged.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

ALEXANDER (THE GREAT): King of Macedonia
ANKHU: Egyptian, 18, former brick-making slave of the Persians; one of Alexander's Hawks; best friend and companion to Khumnhotep; enamored with Zhuo, a very young married woman of Tyre.
BASTAVAR: Persian Satrap, father of Farida; rules Egypt under the Persian king Darius III.
CHOMBYSES: Persian Magistrate in Asia Minor - now Chief Administrator of Halicarnassus under Alexander; in love with Redsenet.
EKREM: Chombyses' Captain of the Guards; mixed heritage - mother was Carian, father was Egyptian; betrothed to Sutaijha.
FARIDA: Persian princess, daughter of Satrap; served by Henutsen, the slave girl.
HENUTSEN: Egyptian, almost 17, sister of Khumnhotep, Sutaijha and Redsenet; slave to the Persian princess; her husband is Maatkare.
KHUMNHOTEP: Noble-born Egyptian, 18, former brick-making slave of the Persians; one of Alexander's Hawks. Older brother to Henutsen.
MAATKARE: Husband of Henutsen; disappeared during the revolt and rediscovered alive in Caria.
PERSEUS: Commander of the phalanx unit in Alexander's army to which Khumnhotep and Ankhu once belonged.
REDSENET: Egyptian, about 24 years old, older sister of Sutaijha, Henutsen and Khumnhotep and now their guardian. Herbalist, spiritualist, mystic; healer of Egyptian slaves and subtley false healer of Persians; in love with Chombyses.
SUTAIJHA: Egyptian, 16, youngest sister of Redsenet, Henutsen and Khumnhotep; helper to Redsenet; betrothed to Ekrem.
ZHUO: Tyrean wife of Tyrean man; given up by family in payment of debt; attracted to Ankhu, and suspected by a cruel, possessive husband who she does not love.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-30-2000).]

AuthorReplies:
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-09-00 21:35 ET (US)     176 / 183       
It had been only a few days since Alexander had departed for Siwah and the Oracle. As was her usual way, Farida left her father's home to visit with Khumnhotep and be at his side as the day progressed. She was not at home that day when without warning the door to their home was burst in by a Persian boot. His two Egyptian servants were murdered before Bastavar's eyes and then the cloaked invaders advanced on him.

He pulled out his knife and flung it at the nearest figure. It found its target and the man fell... but there were too many. Soon the former Satrap was spreadeagled across a table, Persian hands holding him down. "WHO ARE YOU?!" Bastavar cried out in frustration and fear. "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?!" The back of a hand across his face nearly brought tears to his eyes; and did bring the acrid taste of blood to his mouth from his cut upper lip.

"You don't know?" came the answer in a voice somewhat familiar. "Have you forgotten me already? How conveniently you forget me and your promises when Alexander comes to visit... WHERE IS FARIDA!"

"Farida... Why do you seek Farida? Who are you?"

"Weak tool of the Macedonians... She was promised to me... You made that promise!"

Bastavar's eyes opened in recognition and surprise. "Elodar!"

"Yes, Elodar!" He pulled back the cloth hiding his face. "Where is she, Bastavar?! I will have the daughter you promised to me."

"NOT SO LONG AS I LIVE, ELODAR! I'LL TELL YOU NOTHING! Bastavar spit blood into the now exposed face of Elodar. The former Captain wiped the spittle from his face and pulled out his sword.

"I believe you, Bastavar... So I won't waste any more time on you." He raised his sword and prepared to strike the helpless former Satrap.

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 10-10-00 21:25 ET (US)     177 / 183       
The home of the Oracle in Siwah was plain. You would not distinguish it from the other houses surrounding it. But that was the outside. Inside was a different matter. Alexander entered on his own and saw that the lighting was unnatural. There was no apparent way of what created the lighting in the house. Around a female he could see a glow around her, it was that of a light purple colour. She had on a pure white cloak, with the hood down. He could see her face and she looked to be about his age and she was very beautiful. Around her feet swirled a cloud of smoke. She motioned him to have a seat by a stole that was near her.

"You came for answers and you do not believe I am the Oracle that you have heard of because I look young." It was a statement more than a question. "Looks are deceiving."

"Yes, I have. I have two questions." Now he believed she was the Oracle because she knew about his doubts about her.

"You want to know if you are the son of Zeus and if you are a God."

Alexander was shocked briefly, but then realized with whom he was dealing with and then realized that it should not have been a shock for her to know what his questions were. "Yes that is correct."

The woman then went into a trance and stared straight through Alexander. This unnerved him a little bit. Then she started to chant words that he could not understand. He could hear voices, they sounded like whispers. The swirl of smoke grew larger and the room started to get cold. This lasted for a couple of minutes, then the woman came out of her trance and the smoke shrank and the room started to warm up.

"Yes. The answer to both of your questions is yes. You may leave now."

Alexander left the house and was greeted by his men. They wanted to know if the Oracle answered his questions. He told his men that she had.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-10-00 22:24 ET (US)     178 / 183       
Khumnhotep felt uneasy that day. Not even Farida's arrival at his quarters did much to lift the feeling of pending unknown events that haunted him. As a precaution he gave orders that his Egyptian auxiliaries were to follow a special plan he and Ankhu had devised. It was a plan designed to lure an enemy into the village and ensure that an enemy never left alive. He hoped he had given orders that by the next day would seem unnecessary.
____________________________________________________________

Just before Elodar walked through the door and out of Bastavar's home he stopped and turned to admire his handiwork. Two servants on the floor dead; one former Satrap of Egypt swiftly dispatched and breathing no more. So much for the traitor, Bastavar. No one knew of their coming or of their attack. It had been a good day so far.

One of Elodar's men rode up on a horse. "Captain! I've just come from the village! The way is clear! That fool of an Egyptian sent his auxiliaries away!"

"How do you know this, Bantu?"

"I rode through the entire village, right up to his quarters, and no one wearing a Macedonian uniform or carrying a sword could be seen. I wasn't challenged or questioned by anyone. They are gone, Elodar. The way is clear! And one thing more. I saw Farida enter the Egyptian's quarters."

"Nonetheless, Bantu, we will be careful," cautioned Elodar. "We ride, but we enter the village in small numbers. Just three or four at a time. It will take us extra time to do this, but before sundown we should be in position to strike. If the auxiliaries return, we will be scattered and can flee. They cannot capture us all. You all know your part of the plan. Ride now... Ride for Persia... For Darius... For the wealth you'll take from this village!" For the woman promised to me, thought Elodar silently.

The men cheered and rode off, all except Bantu and Elodar. They would be the last to enter.

____________________________________________________________

Khumnhotep finished his long, warm, welcoming kiss placed on Farida's willing lips. She pulled back and smiled at him. Then she looked across the room at the empty jugs. "Out of water again?" she said with admonishment. "What would you do if I weren't around to bring water? Why you'd dry out like a prune, no doubt. Well... we can't have that can we. Just think what it would do to your kisses. No, we can't have that at all."

She lightly walked over to the table and picked up two jugs, one in each hand. "Oh, and if I feel like it, which I do, I think I'll stop in and see how Sutaijha and Ekrem are doing. Maybe Henutsen and Maatkare, too. So if you get thirsty, lazy man, there's a jug there you can fill if you want to."
Without further word, she gaily walked out of Khumnhotep's quarters and towards the general direction of the spring and the domiciles of Khumnhotep's sisters.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-11-00 23:15 ET (US)     179 / 183       
Disguised Persians in Alexandria idled near their horses waiting for the appointed time... Soon... Very soon... Almost over... Just a moment more... The signal... Do you see it? No... Well, maybe... YES! There it is.

A red-colored arrow rose into the sky and fell to earth. Instantly, the Persians leaped on their horses, unsheathed their weapons and rushed towards their targets.

Men cried warnings; women screamed and children cried in fear. Twenty-three Persians began riding and hacking their way to their target - the place where Farida was expected to be. She was not there. Instead, they dragged out the only person they found - Khumnhotep.

Farida heard the shouts, screams and crying and ran out of Sutaijha's dwelling to see what was the matter. She saw a group of riders in the distance bearing down on the building where Khumnhotep lived. She cried out for Ekrem, but it wasn't necessary. He had followed behind her as she rushed through the door and into the street.

Ekrem recognized one of the riders. "Persians!" he cried out. "Get back inside, Farida!" Then he dashed off to follow the plan put in place by Khumnhotep.

Other Egyptian men were now running about, taking up positions here and there on the roofs of the buildings. Two strange horsemen galloped down the street where Farida stood.

"FARIDA!" shouted the rider. She turned only to see the shoulder of a suddenly stopping horse and a man's strong arm reach down to grab her. Trapped in the arm and lifted to the front of the saddle before the rider, she turned her head and in horror realized who it was who held her.

"NO Elodar! Let me go!"

"Never, Farida!" And Elodar galloped forward with Bantu at his side to join his men before the house of Khumnhotep.

Khumnhotep's house was so located at the confluence of three streets that only by one of these three streets could anyone leave the town once they entered. Buildings bordered the streets on all sides. So focussed on Farida was Elodar that he didn't see the Egyptians who now stood on the roofs with bows drawn. As he galloped forward towards his men, he didn't see the small phalanx's of Egyptians form in the streets behind him blocking with pointed spears and sharpened swords any possibility of escape.

When he reined in his horse, Elodar saw Khumnhotep held in check by two of his Persians; but then the voice he heard wasn't Khumnhotep's at all. It was familiar, but unexpected.

"Throw down your weapons, Persians and live!" Ankhu repeated his order, "I say again Persians, throw down your weapons! You cannot escape!"

Startled, Elodar looked around him, as did his men. Four of his men, filled with bloodlust rather than good sense, spurred their horses and tried to gallop up one of the streets. They promptly sprouted arrows from their chests, gasped and fell from their horses into the dirt of the street.

"Release the woman and the Captain!" shouted Ankhu. He stood on the roof of a nearby building with two archers at his side. Elodar could see him clearly... so could two others of his men. One carried a bow with an arrow pressed against its string. In one swift move of his arms and hands he lifted the bow and let loose the arrow straight at Ankhu. It struck the Captain on the uppermost edge of his shoulder doing little more than tearing cloth, but causing the Egyptian to drop to his knees in defense.

Without command, the air suddenly filled with arrows. Persians fell left and right, dying or wounded. "STOP!" ordered a distressed Ankhu. "You may hurt Farida or the Captain! STOP I SAY!" The Egyptian auxiliaries heard and obeyed immediately.

The remaining Persians dropped their weapons and dismounted, except Elodar. He looked down at Bantu, who lay on the ground an arrow through his throat. He pressed the knife in his hand more firmly against Farida's side making clear and visible what he held there. "She dies unless you let me go!

The Persians holding Khumnhotep looked at Elodar in surprise. "Captain? What of us?"

Elodar looked at them with contempt. "I came here for the girl. You came here for plunder. I have what I want. Your problems are your own."

The two Persians looked at each other as waves of anger passed over their faces. They released Khumnhotep. Said one of the Persians to Elodar, "Then let this Egyptian be your problem instead of ours." They stepped back and Khumnhotep was free to confront Elodar. Only the threat to Farida held the Egyptian in check.

Farida had one free hand. While Elodar was distracted by his two rebellious men, she cautiously reached into her silk belt with her left hand and withdrew the long pointed needle that held the material together around her waist. The knife was pressed to her right side. Her left hand held the needle. Elodar was looking to his right at Khumnhotep. She brought the needle down from just above the horse into the creature's shoulder.

The horse whinnied in pain and reared up. Surprised by the horse's sudden movement, Elodar could not prevent his knife hand from flying backwards and away from Farida as he struggled to maintain his seat. Both he and the girl were thrown from the horse as it reached the zenith of its leap and returned to its front two hoofs. The horse immediately galloped away leaving Farida and Elodar in the dirt of the street before Khumnhotep's home.

Dazed, but aware of his exposure, Elodar scrambled to his feet and drew his own sword searching around him for Farida. Khumnhotep, meanwhile, had run forward to place himself between Elodar and the fallen Farida. Before the somewhat dazed Persian could react, Khumnhotep stood before him brandishing a curved sword dropped to the ground earlier by one of Elodar's men. The Persians held their breath looking warily at the Egyptians closing in around them yet fascinated by the pending battle unveiling before their eyes.

As Maatkare and Ekrem left their positions to pull the unconscious girl to safety they heard Khumnhotep speak to Elodar through clenched teeth and tightened jaw muscles, the Egyptian's right hand gripping the Persian sword tightly and with purpose. "Now," said Khumnhotep. "We shall finish this."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-12-00 16:33 ET (US)     180 / 183       
I toyed with the idea of letting the suspense ride until Monday, but didn't have the heart to make you wait that long.

____________________________________________________________

"You will allow me to remove my cloak, will you not?" asked Elodar. "This should make it fair for us both." His Persian face hid the trickery forming in his mind. Khumnhotep suspected greatly but felt compelled to permit Elodar's request.

Elodar smoothly shifted the sword in his right hand to his left hand and with his free hand removed his cloak. On the front of Elodar's shirt Khumnhotep could see for the first time the dyed image of the Persian Lion some artist had drawn on it.

Elodar continued the movement of removing his cloak by again shifting the sword, returning it to his right hand as he pulled his left arm completely out of the cloak, aided by the fingers of his right hand. Now the cloak was free and held in his left hand. Elodar smiled disarmingly... and in one swift move swung the cloak over his head tossing it at Khumnhotep.

In its flight the cloak billowed open and threatened to engulf the Egyptian in its folds, thus blinding him and
inhibiting movement of his sword hand if only for a brief moment. Thinking advantage was gained, Elodar charged the distracted Egyptian.

But Khumnhotep saw the ploy in just barely enough time to dodge the cloak and bring his sword up defensively. Elodar's first blow was checked by the edge of Khumnhotep's sword staggering the Egyptian backwards. The second blow came soon after the first. This too Khumnhotep parried; but this too caused him to stagger backwards once more.

BRANG! BRANG! BRANG! BRANG! Metal blade clashed with metal blade as blow after blow rained down on the harried Egyptian. Khumnhotep stepped backwards time after time as Elodar vented pent up rage through the sword in his hand. The Egyptian's heart was racing as his body responded to the physical stress forced upon it.

Then Khumnhotep noticed the beginning of a change in Elodar's sword strokes. They came less often and with less force. The Persian's breathing became increasingly labored. His advances were no less determined but far less aggressive. Khumnhotep deduced correctly that the Persian was tiring. After sustained minutes of this assault, Elodar stopped, his sword held in front of him with both hands, but with his breathing erratic and very labored.

Khumnhotep, generally defending in a stooped position with his sword raised to receive and parry the blows now stood up straight and brought his sword up before him mirroring the Persian's posture. Then the Egyptian advanced.

Blow after blow rained down on Elodar's sword. This time it was the Persian who staggered backwards under another's assault. Back again... Back once more... Back, nearly tripping... back, nearly falling. Hands weakening, arms feel like dead weight, thought Elodar as perspiration poured down his face and body. He slyly stepped back this time before Khumnhotep could bring his sword down.

The Egyptian staggered as his sword met nothing but air. Elodar jumped to the side and swung his sword horizontally at Khumnhotep's exposed belly. The Persian's curved sword was made for such a stroke and it struck home... but not deeply. Elodar had jumped too far to the side and his sword stroke was too short to cause mortal damage.

The burning in his side told Khumnhotep that the stroke had not been without effect. He felt moisture of a different sort form there as he stepped back to maintain control and prevent the shock of the blow from clouding his mind. He looked down just briefly at the growing red stain on the side of his shirt.

Farida had regained consciousness in the arms of Maatkare in time to see Elodar's blow strike Khumnhotep. She dared not cry out for fear of distracting her Egyptian, but she could not prevent the sharp intake of breath and the tears from flooding her eyes. The sobs that came she could stifle only with the knuckles of a clenched fist pressed firmly against her mouth. To her horror, the battle continued on.

Elodar advanced to strike Khumnhotep once more. The Egyptian saw the attack coming and this time swung his sword with all of his might at Elodar's descending blade.

BRANG!

Elodar's sword flew from his hands. He was disarmed. There was only one choice. The Persian charged Khumnhotep before he could raise his sword again and tackled him around the middle of his body. This sent both men flying to the ground, with Khumnhotep feeling seering pain from the deep cut in his side. The force of the impact caused Khumnhotep to lose his sword.

They rolled on the ground, each trying to gain advantage over the other. The pain in Khumnhotep's side inhibited his use of his right arm. Elodar saw his opportunity. He pressed Khumnhotep to the ground, using his greater weight and size then reached under his shirt with his left hand. He pulled out an object that flashed in the day's sun.

Farida stared in greater horror than before. It was Maatkare who shouted the warning, "Khumnhotep, he has a knife!" But the Egyptian had already seen it. Just as Elodar raised the blade to give his adversary a mortal stabbing, Khumnhotep reached up and grasped the Persian's knife hand.

They struggled anew. Elodar clenched his teeth as he put all of his weight behind the knife in his hand. "It... is... over... Egyptian!" he hissed amidst the strain of trying to force the knife downwards. Khumnhotep answered with a sudden shift of his body to the side. This leveraged Elodar to the left and permitted the Persian's knife stroke to fall harmlessly onto the soil, not Khumnhotep's chest, with Elodar falling onto the handle of his own knife. In another motion, the Egyptian rolled his body over Elodar's causing the Persian to role with him, still joined. They rolled twice more, the blade of the knife disappearing between them.

Suddenly there was a groan and the movement of both men ceased. They lay there tangled in disheveled clothes hiding who was who except for differences in cloth color. There was far more red in the cloth of both than before. Farida and the Egyptians held their breath, as did the Persians. One of these two men would not rise again.

Elodar's left hand moved, the knife that was in it now gone. He slowly raised his arm then lowered it again. He grasped a handful of dirt then let it fall through his fingers. They could not see his face. Then they heard another groan. Elodar's hand stiffened then relaxed and moved no more.

Khumnhotep slowly brought his arms down and pushed himself off of Elodar's prone and lifeless body. The handle of the knife could be seen protruding from where it had entered Elodar and delivered a mortal wound. The blade was buried deep in the side of the hand dyed Persian Lion and even more deeply into the chest of Elodar.

Farida regained her feet and ran to Khumnhotep. He rolled over just as she reached his side. She fell on him, tears flowing down her cheeks. Khumnhotep winced in pain. "Easy, woman, easy," he protested. But Farida was not disuaded and hugged him even more fiercely. It was Sutaijha and Henutsen who finally drew her away so that Redsenet could tend to her brother. Ankhu and the Egyptian auxiliaries, meanwhile, promptly attended to the captured Persians. The brigands would be made to wait for the judgement of Alexander. Ankhu and the others expected that judgement to be swift and predictable. These Persians' days were numbered and exceedingly short.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-17-00 21:01 ET (US)     181 / 183       
Had some trouble connecting to the internet. However, back again.

Days later Khumnhotep was sitting in a chair with his back to the door being attended to by Farida. Light flooded the small building through the open door as the young woman redressed his wound in the way taught to her by Redsenet. He was healing, but the process was slow as the wound was deep. Twinges of pain radiated from his side as his movements pulled on the healing skin trying to cover his wound. Redsenet's salves helped, but not completely nor quickly.

Farida had moments when the joy of seeing Khumnhotep alive and healing were overwhelmed by a resurgence of sorrow at the loss of her father. It had been just yesterday that her father's body had been sent skywards consumed by the fires of a pyre. Khumnhotep and the others had been there with her to add support during the difficult day. She was grateful for their help and especially grateful Khumnhotep was able to be there as well.

She wrapped the final length of binding around Khumnhotep's side and secured it with a carefully formed knot just as all light coming from the door was suddenly extinguished by someone standing just inside. Startled by the sudden loss of light they both turned to see what had happened.

Reflecting light from the edges of his white body armor, his golden hair illuminated from behind, there stood Alexander just returned from his journey to the Oracle. Behind him stood Ankhu and Ptolemy. At the door but outside were members of his personal guard.

Farida immediately went to one knee, her head bowed respectfully. Khumnhotep made as if to rise from his chair, turned the wrong way and felt a searing pain shoot up his ribs to his shoulders and down the upper part of his leg. Perspiration popped out on his forehead, the room spinned a little and his face contorted involuntarily. Suddenly, a hand was at his elbow. "Sit, Hawk. Your wings are not ready for flight today." It was Alexander who had steadied him and said these words.

"I'm sorry, Majesty, for not being able to greet you as a subject should," replied Khumnhotep. Alexander smiled then beckoned Farida to rise, which she did immediately and again began attending to Khumnhotep.

"The proper greeting can wait. I am here to see how fares a loyal subject who has served me well," said Alexander.

"I am honored to have the Pharaoh of Egypt in my home." So saying, Khumnhotep managed a bow of his head that ended at his shoulders. He could bend no further. "I am healing, Majesty, thanks to the carefull attention of Farida and my sisters."

"I can see that, Captain. It is good you are healing, for I have work for you."

"Your Majesty? Are we to leave for Darius' capital so soon."

"No Hawk, your days of flying in distant lands are over."

"But, Sire! I can still be of service to you! It is only a matter of a little time and I will be healed and then..."

"Silence, Captain... I said your days of flying in distant lands are over, not that you cannot be of service, you and Captain Ankhu, that is. As a matter of fact I need you both more than ever... Only, it is in Egypt that I need you.

"Sire?" responded a surprised Ankhu.

Alexander turned about so that he could speak to both at the same time. "Captain Khumnhotep, I have need of a City Administrator who will grow and govern this city that bears my name. And the City Administrator will need a Captain of the Guard. Captain Khumnhotep, I ask you to become that City Administrator... And Captain Ankhu, I ask you to be that Captain of the Guard your friend will need. Will you do these things for me?"

Khumnhotep and Ankhu looked at each other in silent communication. They knew the answer in each other's mind almost as quickly as the glance they exchanged. Answering together they said, "We shall be honored, Sire."

"Good, it is done. Rest now, City Administrator. There will be time enough tomorrow to talk." Before Khumnhotep could rise, Alexander walked through the door and out of the building, Ptolemy and Ankhu following closely behind. Khumnhotep heard voices outside and then cheering as Alexander mounted his white stallion and rode with his private guard to his army's camp beyond the village that would become Alexandria.

"FARIDA, OUCH! That hurts!" exclaimed Khumnhotep. "Sorry, my Love," said Farida when she realized the impulsive hug she gave Khumnhotep after Alexander left was hurting him more than pleasing him on this occasion. That's all right, she thought. There will be time later for hugs and other things when he heals and they are married.

"And speaking of marriage," she said out loud.

Khumnhotep looked at her puzzled. "I wasn't speaking of marriage."

"Oh yes you were," she countered. And so began the day's discussion of their plans for ceremony and life afterwards, with certain amendments now that Khumnhotep's future was revealed to them both. The ceremony would be only a few days hence. The High Priest and King, uh... Pharaoh Alexander would preside.

____________________________________________________________

Hey Rosenetka. Are you there?

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-17-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-23-00 16:20 ET (US)     182 / 183       
It's time to finish this story, don't you think?

____________________________________________________________

Pharaoh Alexander sat on his throne holding the symbols of Pharaoh in his hands and wearing the dual crown of Upper and Lower Egypt on his head. Near him stood the High Priest. Behind Alexander stood General Ptolemy. Steps reached down to the ground six feet below the elevated platform.

People crowded behind the two rows of Egyptian and Macedonian soldiers, one row on each side of a broad path leading from the center of the village to the foot of the elevated platform.

In the near distance, Alexander, the High Priest and Ptolemy could see approaching them the procession that would include the women he would wed to their chosen mates that day. The slow, steady beat of drums heralded their approach as well as marked each step the women took. Brump... brump... brump... brump.

As the eldest of the children of the Egyptian noble, Redsenet preceeded the others. She was followed by Henutsen and then by Sutaija. Farida was followed by Zhuo. Henutsen? But wasn't her husband here now, found in the North? The crowd whispered questions and answers. Yes, but Pharaoh wishes to reaffirm and bless their marriage. Oh, I see, said others in the crowd.

The men waited at the foot of the platform. Chombyses for his Redsenet; Maatkare for his Henutsen; Ekrem for his Sutaija; Khumnhotep for his Farida; and Ankhu for his Zhuo.
Those on the platform waited for them all.

The women finally took their places by the side of their men. The ceremonies began. Fragrant wreaths of flowers were placed over the joined hands of each couple. Grains of wheat were placed in the hands of each person. Wine was poured and held by the attendants, one attendant and goblet to a couple.

The High Priest stepped forward. "The god Amon, also called Zeus, and his Son on this land, Pharoah Alexander, King of Egypt, Macedonia and all lands East, look down upon your joining with favor. You shall be blessed by their hand, through their eternal servant, I, who am called High Priest of this land. These are your vows unto them and unto yourselves..."

The ceremony continued after the saying of vows. Each couple was presented with their goblet and asked to drop the grains of wheat in their hands into the goblet's aromatic red wine. The High Priest continued. "You shall now share with your beloved the seed and fruits of this land as a symbol of the sharing you have promised in your vows. Drink both of you from the same cup today as you will throughout all of the remaining days of your lives."

Each couple in turn did as they were instructed. The High Priest then concluded the ceremony. "I declare you joined as husbands and wives in the names of the gods of Egypt and in the name of Pharaoh Alexander, the Son of Amon who is also called Zeus."

The drums resumed their beating, but this time the tempo was much, much quicker, almost frenzied; and then followed by a clash of cymbols made of thin, hammered bronze. It was then that Pharaoh Alexander, himself, rose to address the crowd of Egyptian onlookers, friends and well-wishers. They all immediately kneeled and lowered their heads to show proper respect to the King of Egypt. "Rise," Alexander said. And so they did, eagerly awaiting his next words.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-23-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-23-00 22:00 ET (US)     183 / 183       
"People of this village," began Alexander. "You have witnessed the beginning of life together for these men and women, some of whom shall be living among you in the years ahead. You have also witnessed the beginning of something else, something momentous for your village."

"I have received a vision sent to me by my father, Zeus, whom you call Amon, of a great city with a great harbor. In this harbor are many ships from many lands, all trading together and with the people of this great city. There is wealth, food and happiness for all. This city of my vision is to be named Alexandria; and my father says it shall be where your village is today. All of you shall be part of this great city, but my father cautions me about this."

"Zeus, whom you call Amon, tells me that there shall be no great city bearing my name if I expect it to be built by slaves... I understand his warning. Therefore, in this great land and in this village, there shall be no slaves. I prohibit it in the name of my father, Zeus. Those who build shall be provided for by those who do not build. No one shall want for food, clothing or housing."

"I have selected from among you one I and my father trusts to see that his and my will shall be done. He is Khumnhotep, former Captain in the Army of Macedonia. His Captain shall be Ankhu. They have agreed to honor my and my father's wishes. I leave now for Persia, to end the tyranny of the Lion once and for all. These were my Hawks. Hear them and obey as if their words are mine... And your village shall become a city that the world will honor as the greatest of them all." Cheers rose from the crowd becoming louder and louder as the import of Alexander's words began to take hold and become an image in their minds of stone pillared buildings, beautiful frescoes and gilded designs built by a people free of slavery.

Even stalwart, cool thinking, unemotional Ptolemy was carried away with enthusiasm. Yes, indeed, he thought to himself. This is the land I was destined to be a part of. I shall return, he said to himself more than once. I shall return.

Khumnhotep drew Farida to himself with one arm around her slender waist. He looked at her and could see in her eyes all of the hopes she had for them and just the barest touch of uncertainty one would expect from her on a day of momentous events. He smiled at her and saw that touch of uncertainty fade from her eyes. Then he turned to the cheering Egyptians and raised his hand in acknowledgement.

As he looked over the crowd his eyes settled unexpectedly on a part of the village that seemed different than before. Was it the excitement or the sun? He could never be sure. But in the distance he beheld a golden wavering form, a structure of carved stone pillars holding up an arched roof like nothing ever before seen in this land. The door to the shimmering, ghostly building opened and he could see handcarved cases and shelves filled with tablets and scrolls, endless ranks of shelves and uncountable volumes of works by authors before and after... the greatest library of writings ever assembled.

Startled he turned to look at his Pharaoh and King. Alexander stood still with a calm, placid look on his face; but he appeared to be deep in concentration and his eyes were closed. Khumnhotep looked back to where the phantom building stood... but it was gone. He turned once more to look at Alexander. This time, Pharaoh's eyes were open and the King was looking directly at Khumnhotep. "Now, my Hawk, you share the vision... Make it so," he said in a voice only those nearby and Khumnhotep could hear. Alexander then turned about and walked down the back steps of the platform, Ptolemy following closely behind. The King mounted the white stallion being held there by his personal guard. He turned his mount to the East and motioned for his men to follow. Then Alexander and his men rode their horses away from Egypt for the land of Darius... and immortality.

THE END

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-23-2000).]

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