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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:
Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-14-00 21:00 ET (US)     151 / 183       
That evening King Alexander's men decided that they should throw a celebration for themselves. They had discovered stashes of wine and beer. All of which were brought to the camp for consumption. There were a lot of bragging and cheering. The more drunk soldiers went so far as to taunt the Island Tyreans that were being held as prisoners, even the women and children were prisoners.

Among the celebrants were Khumnhotep, Ankhu, Maatkare and Ekrem. They were all slightly drunk, when Henutsen and Sutaijha came to gather up Maatkare and Ekrem. Ankhu decided that he would go and visit Zhuo at Redsenet's tent. All three staggered away. Leaving Khumnhotep alone. The wine was starting to take hold of him. He started to talk to himself about how beautiful and how much he loved Princess Farida. But there was no one around paying attention to his ramblings, so he decided to go into his tent and dream about him and the Princess.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-17-00 12:19 ET (US)     152 / 183       
Thanks MRed and Rosenetka. Glad you liked it. Well, I'm back again... so on with the adventure!

Bodies were piled on stacked wood then set to flame, staining the day with choking smoke and the nights with brightly flickering light. Redsenet pursued healing and curing wherever her skills could help or her herbs could have an effect. Alexander, absorbed with celebration and muddled by drunken stupor, was seldom seen in the days following the victory. It was left to the generals and lessor commanders to clear the city of its dead and gather up the living for judgement.

At last Alexander emerged from his tent to deal with the inhabitants of Island Tyre. A bound man, about 50 years old, was led before the remaining people of the city. Alexander spoke to them. "I am Alexander of Macedonia. I am your King. You have resisted my rule and you have been punished. You were led by such as this man, your Elders. You thirsted, you starved and then many of you died. Look now at what we found in the larder of your Elder."

Container after container of food and drink were paraded before the gathered survivors of Tyre. Meats, breads, cheeses and wine were there for all to see. Alexander continued to address the crowd. "As you see, they ate well while you and your children starved..."

Alexander bowed his head in pretended weariness. "I do not take pleasure in the killing before and in the city of Tyre. I do not wish to see you suffer or your children die of starvation." Here the King paused. "Therefore, I have decided that these foods that were hoarded by your Elders shall be yours, to give you the strength to rebuild your city, to help your children grow and to make Tyre great once more. I shall give you one more thing. I give you this last remaining Elder to do with as you see fit. Decide his fate for him as you decide what you shall do with his hoard of sustenance that he denied you during the siege."

Alexander nodded and two hoplites seized the wild-eyed elder and walked him to the crowd's edge. Alexander spoke to them once more. "From this day forth, I declare this city united under the banner of Alexander, its people free to pursue their way; their past is forgiven."

At another signal from Alexander, the Elder was shoved into the crowd, who immediately surrounded him. The Elder's voice could be heard crying for mercy, but the angered voices of the crowd drowned out the lone man's pleas. Eventually, the Elder became silent. Nothing was seen or heard from him again.

Hoplites lined up to police the crowd as the food was distributed evenly among them. Alexander watched the proceedings briefly, then motioned to his generals and to the Hawks to follow him into his tent. Once inside, he closed the flaps of the tent and said to them all. "Now, it is time to plan for the freeing of Egypt from the Persian yoke."

Khumnhotep and Ankhu listened with joy and fear. At last their homeland would be free, but would the cost of freedom be the slaughter of its people as at Tyre?

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-17-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-18-00 20:05 ET (US)     153 / 183       
Hi! Are you there?
Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-18-00 23:15 ET (US)     154 / 183       
I'm still here. Just waiting to see if they hatch a plan first or pack and head off to Egypt.
MRed94
Pleb
posted 09-18-00 23:22 ET (US)     155 / 183       
I am back, too, just waiting for a spot to charge in...
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-20-00 20:52 ET (US)     156 / 183       
It dawned on me today that you are looking for a lead in from me... Okay, here it is.

____________________________________________________________

"No violence to Egypt," said Alexander matter-of-factly. "I want no battles with Egyptians or Persians."

"But why, My King?" asked General Ptolemy. "How are we to rid the land of Persians without battle? How are we to avoid fighting with their Egyptian allies?"

"Persuasion, General Ptolemy. It must be done with persuasion. What chases the mouse into its burrow, or the small bird to cover? The cry of the hawk, methinks." Alexander turned to Khumnhotep and Ankhu. "What say you, Hawks? Can you persuade the right people to do what we want?"

Startled, the two Egyptians looked at Alexander and then at each other. "Your majesty," replied Khumnhotep. "You ask of us a task which we cannot be sure warrants your confidence in us."

"Very diplomatic..." observed Alexander. "You tell me you are unsure in the humblest way you know how without criticising the logic of the task itself. Well done, Hawk. You underestimate yourself and reaffirm that my confidence in both of you is indeed well placed."

"Your Majesty, please consider the consequences of our possible failure," countered Ankhu.

"I have," replied Alexander. "Should you fail, there is every likelihood my hawks will not fly back to me. There will be a battle and many will die. I would much prefer to join you peacefully in Egypt without any blood being spilt, yours, Egyptian or Macedonian." Alexander shrugged his shoulders. "Of course, a few Persians dropping here or there is of no particular concern..." Then he shook his head. "No, I don't want any needless bloodshed. After Tyre, I think we have had our fill of bloodshed for awhile."

"As you command, Your Majesty," said Khumnhotep and Ankhu together.

"Good. General Ptolemy, see that they are equipped for the journey. They leave at first light."

"Yes, My King." Ptolemy saluted and left with the Hawks.
Outside he placed a hand on the shoulders of each soldier. "Well, my young Egyptians. You have gained a difficult assignment. You must defeat an army without an army and only your wits for weapons." Then he smiled. "If there are only two in the whole world whose wits were strong enough I suspect it would be the two of you. I think we very well may meet next in Egypt, the two of you and I. I shall look forward to it." He slapped them both on their backs in a friendly way. "Now, let's see to your supplies, Alexander's Hawks."

Khumnhotep and Ankhu hurried along to get their supplies and to carve out a little time to tell Redsenet and the others of their mission. They will all be pleased to know Alexander does not want war in Egypt.

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-21-00 17:38 ET (US)     157 / 183       
Everyone was very pleased to hear that King Alexander did not want any blood shed in Egypt. They all were looking forward to returning back to their home land.

Except for Redsenet, she had mixed feelings. She didn't know if she should continue with the others back to Egypt, especially if there was going to be no blood shed. Or should she return to Chombyses. She thought to herself, wondering what he was doing and if he still thought about her like she thought about him. She wanted so desperately to write another letter to him, but thought it may be intersepted by the Persians and give away what King Alexander was up to.

Meanwhile at Halicarnassus....

A lone man looked out of the window of his palace out into the distance. "Are you thinking about me the same way I'm thinking about you, sweet Redsenet?"

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 09-21-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-22-00 16:19 ET (US)     158 / 183       
Two Egyptian men sat on their camels looking out over the village that had been their birthplace.

Much had changed since their days in the brick making slave camp. Here and there could be seen new buildings nearly finished and the foundations laid for the more. This development was close to the harbor and seemed to have a definitive purpose.

There were more merchant ships in the harbor than they remembered. And the docks were much more numerous and extensive. It appears, they thought, the Persians have finally understood the importance of the site and the value of the harbor. Most likely, they whispered to each other, Alexander would have noted it sooner. They laughed and turned their camels about intending to find their way to the palace of the High Priest of Egypt.

Persuasion is what Alexander said they should use. No one hated the Persians more than the priesthood of Egypt's gods. The High Priest should be the first to hear of Alexander's coming and the promises they were instructed by Alexander to convey.

But in the back of Khumnhotep's mind was a nagging question. What of Farida when this over? What of Farida? Would her's and her father's be the Persian blood that would be spilt? These thoughts troubled the Egyptian deeply.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-25-00 21:34 ET (US)     159 / 183       
ZZZZZzzzz. Let's get this rolling again.

____________________________________________________________

Khumnhotep and Ankhu stood before the High Priest of RA in the man's private chamber and told him of Alexander's plan to free Egypt.

"But what of the Pharaoh? Who shall be Pharaoh?" the High Priest asked.

"That is for you to decide," replied Ankhu.

"The last descendant of Pharaoh is dead. We have only generals left. You know the implications of this. There will be civil war. Does Alexander seek to destroy Egypt from within or from without?!"

"He does not seek to destroy Egypt at all, High Priest," answered Khumnhotep. "He seeks to cast out the Persians and re-establish a royal family to ensure the unity of Egypt. He expects only that Pharaoh will remain unshakeably allied with Alexander and do his will from time to time."

"Then maybe Alexander should become Egypt's Pharaoh," snorted the High Priest. The two Egyptian emissaries looked at each other. There was merit in the thought. Alexander was a merciless conqueror when confronted by opposition, but he kept his word and his rule was benevolent once opposition ceased. Ankhu nodded his agreement, so Khumnhotep proceeded with a new proposal.

"Would the High Priest find it acceptable if he were called upon to anoint Alexander before the image of RA as Pharaoh of Egypt? In recognition of the honor so bestowed upon him, may Alexander's promise to protect and preserve the priesthood of Egypt ease the High Priest's fear of his coming to these lands?"

The High Priest looked at the two Egyptians with surprise. Then his eyes narrowed. Trickery, no doubt. "What guarantee do you give me?" Khumnhotep considered his next action carefully. "You know my father and my family do you not? The High Priest nodded. "Then you know how important my father is to me." Again the High Priest nodded.

Khumnhotep walked to the small, sacred image of RA in the High Priest's chamber. He knelt and bowed to the image. "May RA take my father's body, casting it to the winds of the desert, and thwart his journey through the afterlife if I have failed to convey Alexander's true promise and will with respect to Egypt." Then Khumnhotep rose and faced the High Priest. "Are you convinced."

Stunned by the unusual vow, the High Priest replied, "I will think on it for two days and give you my answer the morning of the third day. Be here then. At sunrise."

At the exit from the palace of the High Priest, the two Egyptians slipped the hoods back over their faces and walked through the two large doors being held open. As they exited the portal, a lovely young Persian woman was walking up the stairs. Khumnhotep, head down, could not resist looking to see whose face accompanied such a young, lithe figure.

FARIDA! Did she see me he thought, panic racing through his mind. Quickly he lowered his face and straightaway he and Ankhu walked down the stairs and away from the palace. Their steps were hurried, but not so hurried he hoped that anyone would notice the anxiety that moved them forward.

So quickly they walked away, that Ankhu and Khumnhotep did not notice the princess stopping in her tracks and turning around to watch them walk away. Khumnhotep! It is Khumnhotep. Here? I must know why. Oh, I feel so funny... heart racing. Coolness... somewhere... inside...

She turned closing the veil about her face to hide the glowing pink of her cheeks that had been without much color only a moment before. Her mind raced with possibilities... some of which frightened rather than brought hope or joy.

Maybe the High Priest can answer my question, she thought.

____________________________________________________________

Chombyses stepped into the chariot with his driver. He gave the command and his chariot and its mounted guard began its journey to Alexander's camp in Tyre. Things were calm in his city and there was no threat from Persia. He could afford to pay his respects to Alexander and seek his advice on matters of state. And he needed no further convincing in his mind to set off and do what he truly wanted: to hold Redsenet in his arms once more.

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-26-00 19:36 ET (US)     160 / 183       
But you are such a good story teller Civis.

Redsenet was double checking her belongings. Making sure that she had all of her bottles and containers that held her herbs and tinctures. In the back ground she could hear horses on chariots arriving at the camp. She looked up to see who it may be. She blinked.

"No! It couldn't be." Her heart raced in her chest. It was Chombyses who she saw. Her legs moved her as fast as her heart was beating. "Chombyses!" The man turned to towards her, it was Chombyses. He leaped out of the chariot and ran towards her. Once she was in his arms he scooped her up towards him. They both gave each other a very passionate kiss, holding each other tightly.

Sutaijha saw the two of them in their embrace and poked Ekrem with her elbow. "Look over there at the two love birds. When I first met him, I never thought that he may end up as part of my family." The two of them smiled and continued on with their business.

"I missed you so much. You were all I could think of every night since you left. The letter you send me brought great joy to my heart. My son also misses you." He gave her another kiss.

"I missed you too. Words can not describe how I feel right now." The two of them just stood there holding each other in their arms.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-26-00 22:27 ET (US)     161 / 183       
Awww goshhh, Rosenetka. Gee whizz...

____________________________________________________________

"Hmmmmm. Methinks you came here for other reasons than to see your King."

Chombyses and Redsenet broke off their embrace to turn and see... ALEXANDER! Both bowed immediately, carefully rearranging garments to hide the creases brought on by their embrace.

Alexander laughed. "No matter, I'm sure you would have gotten around to me sometime. Have supper with me, City Administrator. Tonight, when the sun sets. I shall look forward to your arrival."

Chombyses bowed. "I shall be honored, My King." Alexander turned and left. Chombyses watched him depart and then turned his full attention to Redsenet once more.

____________________________________________________________

"But High Priest, I know that was Khumnhotep I saw," persisted Farida. "Why has he returned? Doesn't he know the penalty my father has set for runaway slaves?"

The High Priest looked at the princess with sad eyes. "Young Princess Farida... Do you love your father?"

Farida took a step back in surprise. "Why yes, of course I do. I mean... he is my father! High Priest, why do you ask such a thing?"

The High Priest put every measure of conviction he could into what he said next. "Because, beautiful, young daughter of a Persian Governor, your father will die when Alexander arrives... if your father tries to confront and obstruct the Macedonian."

"My father? How?! The Empire is great. Egyptians will join with us and defeat the soldiers of Alexander!"

"You are mistaken, Farida. The people of this land will stand by the wayside and watch the Persians fall. You and your father will fall with them. The Persian Empire cares only for its homeland now. Darius cannot direct his army to do anything else. Egypt will fall to Alexander, Farida; and your father will die. I do not wish that upon you, nor the calamity that will befall this land when Alexander attacks. If you love your father, tell him to leave this land and flee to Damascus; or prepare to kneel before Alexander and do his bidding... Yes, it was Khumnhotep you saw. He brought us this message. Harm him not, Farida; or allow your father to harm him. He is the voice of Alexander. Harm him and you will bring down the wrath of the Macedonian upon your house."

Farida stood stunned. Khumnhotep and Alexander? How has this happened? She could not find words to respond, but for these few. "I... I understand, High Priest. I understand."

Tears pressed at the edges of her eyes. She could no longer suppress them. She turned and rushed from the chamber and left behind the palace of the High Priest. By the time she reached her own manor, there were no more tears to shed. She was left only with the misery of her thoughts and the sting of the High Priest's warning.

____________________________________________________________

"But I must see her Ankhu!" cried Khumnhotep. "She doesn't know the danger she is in. I've seen Alexander's wrath. You have as well. It must not happen here. I must warn her of the danger of opposing him!"

Ankhu shook his head. "You are a fool, Khumnhotep. She will see that you are arrested and executed. She is Persian!"

Khumnhotep ignored his friend's warning. "I don't believe you. She will not do such a thing. Farida has always been kind to my family even when her father was not. It was the revolt and what my father did that changed things. Why... one time she... Well, I was younger then and didn't understand. Now I do..." His voice trailed off as he remembered how once before the revolt when his father had responded to Farida's father's call and brought him along (not the first time, but one of many); Farida drew him into an empty hallway. She seemed to be walking very closely to him, sneaking side glances at him through veiled eyes; then suddenly she stopped. She surprised him with a warm, moist, unexpected kiss on his cheek, then she ran off down the hall giggling. He stood there surprised and confused, not knowing what to do...

Farida had been kind to them even when they became slaves by taking his sister into her manor as a servant instead of allowing her to become a grain thresher. She convinced her father to allow Redsenet to practice healing and Sutaijha to be her assistant. There was more... But no matter, he was convinced.

"I will see her tonight, Ankhu. I have decided."

His friend knew the folly of trying to change Khumnhotep's mind once it was set on a path. He decided to follow him to be sure he came to no harm. It was all he could do under the circumstances. But he said nothing of this to Khumnhotep. Ankhu would do this secretly.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-26-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-27-00 16:08 ET (US)     162 / 183       
As Farida slipped away from her father's chamber that evening she looked back once more. Bastavar sat wearily in his chair with the back of his head laying on the chair's upright back. He looked at the ceiling thinking on the words she spoke to him. Alexander is coming to Egypt. The people of Egypt will welcome the Macedonian and cast out the Persians. Darius will not support him or defend Egypt.

Darius? Bastavar read the dispatches. He knew Darius was incapable of defending any lands south of the Persian homeland. The "great" king had already proven himself incapable of defeating Alexander on any land. These Macedonians, these Greeks... Xerxes could not defeat them and neither could any of the bearers of the name of Darius. Bastavar knew he was on his own. His decisions would determine the fate of himself, his daughter and the Persians in Egypt. The matter weighed heavily on his mind throughout the night.

Near the window into Farida's room was the roof of a single story wing. The roof of the wing and the window was connected by a trellis. Khumnhotep, wearing dark clothes, crouched at the edge of the roof waiting for the guard to leave the garden just below. He left. Khumnhotep placed a foot on the trellis testing for strength. It would hold, he decided. He placed his other foot on an opening farther up, then climbed the trellis opening by opening until he could see into Farida's room. She was there.

The breeze must be stronger tonight, Farida thought, as she combed her hair with an ivory backed brush. The sound of bushy leaves shifting about on the trellis was her mind's indicator of the strength of the evening's desert breeze. She did not see the shadowy shape of the intruder slip into her room through the window.

One or two more strokes... there, just about done... IN THE MIRROR! BEHIND ME! WHO IS IT?! Her mind screamed in alarm, but her throat was paralyzed with terror. She could not scream. The intruder spoke.

"Farida, please do not cry out. It is Khumnhotep. I mean you no harm!" The Egyptian drew down the cover over his head revealing his face. It was indeed Khumnhotep. Terror subsided in Farida, to be replaced by anger and growing hatred. She stood, turned and faced the Egyptian. Her hand felt the surface of the table behind her while Farida steadily maintained eye contact with Khumnhotep's own darkly colored eyes. He must not suspect what I am doing a deep place in her mind kept thinking.

Khumnhotep stepped forward just as Farida's searching hand found the slender knife she kept there for opening messages. He paid no attention, but smoothly surrounded her with his arms, tilting her back, then kissing her passionately on the lips. She offered no resistance, but out of his eyesight brought up her arm and hand bearing the slender knife. She raised her hand to bring the knife sharply down on Khumnhotep's back..........................

Deep within her, something changed. Farida felt it, an almost physical thing, like a lock opening. All strength left her arms. The fingers of her hand holding the knife replaced grip with looseness. The knife slipped from her hand and fell to the floor. She brought up both arms to encircle him and to her complete surprise kissed him back with more passion than she ever new possible.

Breathless, she finally released him and they both stepped back. Then the tears flowed freely from her eyes, down her cheeks and to the carpeted floor at their feet. "Why, Khumnhotep, why do you threaten the life of my father?! I have not treated you or your family harshly despite what your father did. I have tried to help where I could in every way open to me! Why do wish to see us both dead?!"

Emotions were running rampant in conflict with logic and the young woman was beside herself, or so it seemed to Khumnhotep. "No Farida, I wish no such thing. You have it all wrong. Please let me explain...

J W
Pleb
posted 09-28-00 00:16 ET (US)     163 / 183       
"I do not wish to see you dead Farida. You don't understand - Alexander slaughters all that opposes him, and I don't want you to be slaughtered. I don't want you dead."

Farida looked sharply at Khumnhotep.

"And why is that?"

"Because... because..."

But she never knew the answer. Footsteps echoed down the corridor outside, coming closer and closer. Farida and Khumnhotep looked at each other in horror.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-28-00 11:26 ET (US)     164 / 183       
The door to her chamber opened and two guards entered. They saw Khumnhotep with Farida and drew their swords immediately, prepared to attack and kill the unwanted visitor.

"Arrest him! He's a spy!" cried Farida. So shocked by Farida's order, Khumnhotep didn't have the presence of mind to draw his own sword to defend himself. Staring in disbelief at his beloved Farida, he is stripped of his weapon and his hands bound by the guards.

"Take him to my father," ordered the princess. "Do not harm him; he shall be of great value to my father. Go, now!"
Khumnhotep looks back at her with saddened eyes as he is roughly pulled from the room by the guards.

Tears flowed anew from Farida's eyes. "Forgive me, my love," she whispered.

The guards pushed Khumnhotep from the building housing Farida's room and into the garden. A small, solitary figure watched their movement from the dark. Ankhu thought to himself. I warned the fool she could not be trusted. Now look at him. He thought hard on what he should do. An idea began to form in his troubled mind. He will be killed if I try to rescue him by sword, he concluded. The High Priest... yes, the High Priest.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-28-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-28-00 20:30 ET (US)     165 / 183       
Ankhu reached the High Priest. Trying to catch his breath. "Khumnhotep has been arrested at the palace."

"What? How did this happen? How did you escape from being arrested?"

"He went to Princess Farida's room. I know that was a silly thing for him to do. I do not know what he was thinking. I followed him without his knowledge. The palace gruards came into her room and Princess Farida had him arrested."

"Princess Farida did that?" The High Priest seemed puzzled by this news.

"Anyway, you must convince the Satrap Bastavar to let him go. If I do not return back to Alexander's camp with him. I will convince Alexander that the Persians are readying themselves for a battle against him. This will anger Alexander and there will be many who will die. I believe that you will be able to do what I ask of you."

The High Priest understood Ankhu very well.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-29-00 16:00 ET (US)     166 / 183       
Farida thought long and hard about what she would say, then left her chambers to join her father, the Satrap, in his council room where she knew Khumnhotep would be brought.

She arrived there to see her father sitting on his elevated chair; two guards standing close to Khumnhotep; the Captain of the Guards standing nearby and Khumnhotep on his knees before the Satrap, his head forced down by the strong arm of one of the guards so that the Egyptian could only stare at the ground when forced to answer the Satrap's questions.

Farida entered the room and to everyone's great surprise burst out in uncharacteristically direct speech, "FATHER! What are you doing to him?! Stop it, this instant! Do you want Alexander's wrath to descend upon us?"

The Captain snorted. "Alexander's wrath, indeed! That is nothing for a Persian to fear. How dare you speak to your father like that in this room!"

Bastavar turned his attention away from his daughter and to the Captain. "I will remind you Captain Elodar, my daughter's conduct is my business. I am aware of your expectations with regard to my daughter and yourself. Do not presume the time has come for you and Farida. And yes, the wrath of Alexander is indeed something to be considered. You have heard the news from Tyre, have you not?"

The Captain lowered his eyes and head in pretended contrition. "Yes, Satrap. I forget myself." But quickly enough his eyes slid sideways to leer at Farida. She noticed and felt skin crawl at various places on her body.

Bastavar returned his attention to his daughter. "You have something to say, Princess Farida? You may speak to us now."

Farida spoke, head bowed. "Yes father, I do. Khumnhotep is not a spy..."

"But daughter, you said... and they arrested him... what do you mean not a spy?" the Satrap sputtered in surprise and at a loss for logical words.

"Father, you know your command that should any man be found in my chambers he would be killed where he was found."

"Yes, I know my own commands, daughter."

"Then you should understand in Khumnhotep's case I could not let the guards execute your command and Khumnhotep too, right there, in my chamber, without his having a chance to speak to you."

Khumnhotep felt extremely uncomfortable pressed to the floor as he was, but the pain wained as he began to understand Farida more clearly. "Clever girl," he muttered to himself. Then it dawned on him. Maybe she loved him afterall.

"He is a messenger, father. He was trying to warn me about Alexander, and warn you through me."

"If he has a message or a warning for me, let him deliver it personally. Let him rise and then unbind him." The guards responded to the command instantly, the Captain frowning but saying nothing.

Khumnhotep rubbed his wrists and hands to encourage circulation to return and soothe them. He straightened up to his full heighth, which Farida noticed seemed taller than when she saw him last during his final days as a slave.

Just then, the door to the council room opened to admit the High Priest and the young man known to the Satrap and Farida as Ankhu. Khumnhotep turned and bowed to the High Priest. Ankhu looked at him with questioning eyes. Khumnhotep eased his fears immediately. "I am well, Captain Ankhu. No need for alarm."

Khumnhotep glanced at Farida and smiled. Farida smiled in return, then hid her face with her veil hoping no one had noticed. Too late... all in the room noticed. Ankhu was puzzled (hadn't she just had his friend arrested?). Bastavar, who knew his daughter best, was beginning to see something he hadn't ever anticipated. Captain Elodar's expression changed from puzzlement to something more sinister as he realized that the connection between the two was not purely political.

Captain Ankhu? Bastavar noted the form of address but responded with a voice painted with sarcasm. "Welcome, High Priest and Captain Ankhu. And how, pray tell, shall we address you escaped slave?" Khumnhotep understood the reason for sarcasm. There was a modicum of fear detectable in Bastavar's voice. "I am a Captain in the Army of Alexander. I may be addressed as Captain Khumnhotep, if you please, Satrap Bastavar." Khumnhotep bowed diplomatically despite the pains here and there from his rough treatment at the hands of the guards.

The Satrap studied the young Egyptian more carefully than before. This is not the same boy who became a slave because of his father's failures. This is a confident young man standing before me, a Captain... And there is a strange look in my daughter's eyes. Can it be?

Captain Elodar needed no such analysis. Trained to decide quickly, he made his decision. Khumnhotep would die, by Elodar's hand if necessary. Time would present the opportunity. Elodar would be ready.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-29-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-29-00 22:31 ET (US)     167 / 183       
"My Lord Alexander bids me to tell you to yield your chair to him and he promises no bloodshed or reprisals. He does not wish to release his soldiers against Egypt."

Bastavar's expression never changed. "What of the Persians in Egypt?"

"They must leave."

"Without exception?"

"There is room for exception, but not for the soldiers of Darius."

"But there are Persians here who are not soldiers and wish to stay in this land in peace." Bastavar unconsciously looked at his daughter. Khumnhotep noticed the glance but pretended he had not. Elodar noticed immediately.

"They must show good reason for their stay and pledge their fealty to Alexander."

Bastavar looked across the room to Ankhu and the High Priest. "What does the High Priest of Egypt say to this?"

The High Priest looked about the room as all eyes turned to him. "The god RA has spoken to us with signs and portents. We have seen hawks attack the lion. It is the lion who flees. The people of Egypt revere the hawk, not the lion. They rejoice in the lion's flight from the hawks. We priests are the servants of RA and serve the people of Egypt as well. The High Priest of RA speaks only what the god RA reveals and the people of Egypt say. The Lion must flee." Khumnhotep had his answer. The High Priest would make Alexander Pharaoh upon his arrival.

"Then the Satrap of Egypt shall not oppose the Macedonian," concluded Bastavar.

"I DON'T ACCEPT HIS EGYPTIAN NONSENSE!" cried Captain Elodar. "Alexander is no god! He is mortal and can be defeated! Our duty is to confront the Macedonian and defeat him!"

The two guards turned to face their Captain. They were lifelong friends who had heard of the slaughter at Tyre... they all knew what confrontation and defeat meant. Their wives were Egyptians. They both had children. They had no desire to leave this land, its riches and its beauty behind. Both removed their helmets as one and cast them onto the ground. "Elodar, we are no longer your soldiers."

Elodar's face turned crimson. He advanced on the two with a murderous look in his eye. The guards knew his ability with sword and knife and were frightened to their cores, but Alexander was more frightful to them than Elodar. They backed away, but would not retract their words. It was Farida who interceded by stepping between Elodar and the two guards.

"ELODAR!" Leave them alone! They have wives and children here! What kind of man are you to revel in death and destruction or to bring it down upon the innocent!"

Elodar in a fury laid hands on Farida and drew her to within inches of his face purple with rage. Bastavar leaped to his feet. "ELODAR! Let her go, I command you!"

"Be silent, weakling! You are nothing and shall be nothing when I and Darius finish with you! And you, Farida, you will..." But he never finished. One strong hand grasped him by the back of his uniform and spun him around so quickly he let go of Farida and dropped her to the ground. Khumnhotep's other hand grasped the surprised Captain and with both hands Khumnhotep threw him across the room. Elodar sprawled on the floor, but like a cat quickly leapt to his feet, curved sword drawn.

One of the guards called Khumnhotep's name. Keeping one eye on Elodar, Khumnhotep saw the guard draw his own sword and throw it to him. In one swift move Khumnhotep caught the sword and turned to face Elodar.

Lying on the floor where she fell from Elodar's painful grip, Farida knew instinctively that both men would fight to the death. Let it not be Khumnhotep who dies, she pleaded in her heart and soul. Let it not be Khumnhotep.

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 09-30-00 09:27 ET (US)     168 / 183       
"Arrrgh!" Captain Elodar doubled over in pain.

"ENOUGH!" Satrap Bastavar shouted out. "You Captain Elodar are arrested. I am not a weakling. Soldiers arrest him and put in the cells, and get a doctor to look after his wound."

Everybody in the room was looking at Satrap Bastaver. "What? You honestly thought I went around without a weapon of some sort on my person? I may be aging but I can still throw a dagger and hit my target."

Turning his attention to Khumnhotep. "And you Captain Khumnhotep and Captain Ankhu return back to your Macedonian and tell him that I will not oppose him. When he arrives in Egypt and if he finds any Persians willing to fight him, they are not doing so under my orders. I will spread the orders of letting him enter into Egypt in peace. He may do as he pleases with those one. But those of us who do not, I ask that he leave us in peace and allow us to either leave or remain here in Egypt."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-02-00 22:30 ET (US)     169 / 183       
Khumnhotep walked over and reached down to give Farida a hand to help her gain her feet. Demurely she grasped the end of her veil and pulled it across her face to hide all but her eyes. Yet while her face was covered her eyes revealed her concentration, for they never once left Khumnhotep's eyes as he helped her to her feet.

The slight crinkling at the corners of her eyes could easily betray the smile hidden by the veil that curved her mouth at the touch of his hand. The slight motion outward of the veil could betray that she had spoken to him as she stood closely for just a moment when she was on her feet once more. "I love you... forgive me." But no one heard, saw or noticed... except Khumnhotep.

"I do," he whispered back without so much as moving head or lips. And his eyes sparkled with hidden lights that danced with a message that Farida would see and understand. She was content with what she saw.

Bastavar looked on pretending not to notice; but the wily administrator was not blind to the circumstances. Well Farida, you are full of surprises; and today you gave me the biggest surprise of all, he thought to himself.

____________________________________________________________

Metal plates coated in gold were struck by padded sticks to elicit a resounding "GONNNGGG" announcing the arrival of Alexander of Macedonia. Trumpeters lifted long necked, keyless trumpets to blow a brass tribute to the conqueror of the Eastern Mediterranean. Alexander rode his white stallion through the main gate to the city, under construction, that rested astride a recently recognized great natural harbor.

Behind Alexander rode his generals, most notably Ptolemy. Behind them came mounted infantry interspersed with rank upon rank of foot soldiers arranged in marching order. Outlying soldiers eyed the crowds of cheering Egyptians warily watching for the least sign of possible ill intent. They saw none that day. The parade of Macedonians, Greeks and Egyptian auxiliaries continued until all of the men Alexander wanted to garrison the city were inside its gates.

Khumnhotep and Ankhu were among the officers who accompanied Alexander up the steps of the Satrap's building to meet Bastavar within the building's great hall. Alexander strode into the hall, helmet removed, revealing his remarkable blond locks and piercing eyes. His white and gold armor nearly blinded the onlookers with its lustre and reflected light.

Bastavar rose to greet Alexander. The Macedonian simply stared at the Persian Satrap and made no motion of acknowledgement or recognition. Fear found a little corner in Bastavar's mind and began to work its way to the forefront. The Satrap did what he could to suppress it by initiating the welcome on his own.

"The people of Egypt welcome King Alexander of Macedonia."

Alexander looked at him without smiling. "Since when do you speak for the Egyptian people, Persian?"

Bastavar was taken aback, but maintained his troubled calm. "Until someone else steps forward who can do so confident of their support and allegiance. I am told it may well be you."

Alexander examined the man before him. Typical Persian, overweight, soft appearing. But he did answer directly and with thought. Maybe this is not the weakling others have claimed him to be. The Hawks don't think so. Maybe I shouldn't either. "We shall see," replied Alexander. "Have you dismissed your soldiers and directed them to leave this land?"

"I have done all that you have requested as told to me by your two messengers. But some Persians have decided to stay, not as soldiers, but as subjects to the ruler of Egypt. They have pledged to lay their weapons down unless called upon to serve as soldiers in the service of Alexander. Yet, there are a few who have neither lain down their swords nor left Egypt. These bands of brigands stir up trouble in the countryside. I have no soldiers to stop them. I must call on Macedonians to do this."

Alexander was not angered by this information. "I expected as much as these things have already been told to me. You have complied with what I have asked Satrap. I sense you can do no more. I find no fault in you, Bastavar of Persia; you and your family will be safe in these lands as I have promised. You will be comfortably housed and given land to grow food upon. Your family shall not starve nor be pursued so long as you maintain allegiance to me. Am I clear on these issues?"

"You are clear. And if I may be of service in the future..." Alexander interrupted him immediately speaking matter-of-factly.

"That is to be seen, is it not."

Just then, Farida entered the great hall dressed in the finest Persian gown and personal accoutrements at her disposal. The conversation ended immediately as Alexander's attention was drawn exclusively to the young woman. Without hesitation, Bastavar introduced his daughter. "King Alexander of Macedonia, may I present my daughter, the Princess Farida."

Ah... so this is Farida, thought Alexander. Now I understand my hawk's passion for a return to this land and to this place in particular. The King surprised all in the Hall by bowing in recognition of the princess's arrival. Farida responded by elegantly lowering one knee to the floor and slowly bowing her head. She waited for the King to ask her to rise...

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 10-03-00 20:05 ET (US)     170 / 183       
"You may rise Princess Farida." Looking at her and commenting to himself. "I do not blame my hawk Khumnhotep for having feelings towards this beautiful woman."

Princess Farida got up off of her knee and looked at King Alexander while sneaking a look at Khumnhotep. A desire inside of her made her want Khumnhotep close by.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-03-00 21:57 ET (US)     171 / 183       
Khumnhotep watched Farida perform her duties as a princess and daughter of the Satrap before Alexander. Her glance towards him told him who she would have preferred by her side if it were possible. Protocol prevented it; that is, until the master of protocol for the moment changed both of their expectations.

"Captain Khumnhotep..." commanded Alexander. "To my side, please."

Khumnhotep looked at Ankhu with a puzzled expression. Ankhu whispered to him. "Go ahead, man. Do as he commands." Thus urged by his friend, Khumnhotep walked to Alexander's side and stood at respectful attention. "Yes, Sire," he said.

Alexander looked at Farida. "Is this the young man I understand has captured your fancy, Daughter of Bastavar?"

Farida's eyes opened wide. Khumnhotep's mouth opened to protest, but slammed shut again for he didn't know what to say. She looked at the startled Egyptian for the merest fraction of a second, made up her mind, then answered. "Yes, King Alexander. He is the young man."

"Bastavar of Persia and now Egypt," Alexander addressed the former Satrap. "Would you be willing to give your daughter's hand in marriage to this young Egyptian, one of my two talented hawks, a noble Egyptian and an officer in the Army of Alexander?" Farida looked pleadingly to her father. Khumnhotep hoped the perspiration on his forehead wasn't particularly noticeable and that the rivulets running down his back did not badly moisten the cloth of his uniform.

"Is it my King's command?" asked Bastavar.

"No, Bastavar. It is your loyal and loving daughter's hitherto unspoken request. I ask it for her," replied Alexander. Farida looked back at Alexander. Looks of hope and fear radiated from her eyes. What a remarkable man he is, she thought; this man who always keeps his promises, whether benevolent or malevolent. To do this for me and for Khumnhotep... Why take such interest in us after having conquered a nation? Her question would remain unanswered; but Alexander's question would be answered soon enough.

"I, Bastavar, Father of Farida, freely give my daughter's hand in marriage to Khumnhotep, Captain in the Army of Alexander."

Alexander looked at Khumnhotep who still stood there speechless. "Well, speak up Hawk, what do you say?!"

Khumnhotep fought for words, but finally they came. "I am honored beyond all words," he said. Then Khumnhotep bowed from the waist as deeply as he could. From his bow he glanced at Farida and saw the tears in her eyes. He knew instinctively these were tears of joy.

"We shall talk again, Bastavar," said Alexander. "Please remain in your home until matters are settled here. Whatever you want shall be made available to you. I think you and your daughter shall be very busy indeed... planning for the wedding." Alexander turned to Khumnhotep and the others who entered the building with him. "Come, we have work to do." They followed him out of the hall and to the encampment within the city already being organized by his soldiers.

With the city and land surrounding it secure, messages went forth to bring the others to Egypt. The reunion was rich in revelry: Ankhu and Zhuo, Henutsen and Maatkare, Sutaijha and Ekrem, Khumnhotep and Farida. Redsenet arrived last, on the arm of Chombyses, who came to reassure Bastavar of Alexander's intentions and to see to his friend's well being; for though Alexander was well intentioned, he could be distracted by the possibility of conquest and the press of time.

But Alexander knew what he must do next... The High Priest waited in his palace for the inevitable arrival of the golden haired conqueror. It was not a question of when Alexander would be anointed Pharaoh. It had been merely a question of how and where... The High Priest had thought it out thoroughly. First, a sacrifice by Alexander to Apis; and then in Memphis the High Priest would place the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt on the head of Alexander, the first non-Egyptian Pharaoh of this ancient land.

____________________________________________________________
Rosenetka: Thanks for your posts. Would you like to describe the Sacrifice and Coronation Ceremony? If so, please go right ahead.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-03-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 10-04-00 16:46 ET (US)     172 / 183       
Well here goes. Some of the items mentioned are done in an actual coronation, but I added to it and deleted some things that are done.

An agreement was made with Bastavar for the replacement of the grain in storage at his city, that would be used for the sacrifice to Apis, the sacred bull in Memphis. The grain had been placed onto boats and was transported to the city of Memphis, were Apis was and were the coronation ceremonies would be held. Word had spread to the city and the people were readying themselves for the ceremonies and festivities, as well as to see their future new pharaoh.

The boats docked and were unloaded of the grain. The grain was carried to the temple of Amon were Apis was kept and cared for. It would be Alexander who would let the sacred bull lose into the yard to feed on the grain.

When it came time to let Apis lose the crowd was large. Alexander was wearing his best clean uniform for the occasion. The high priest raised his hand to signal the crowd to silence. The crowd silenced in anticipation of the release. It was believed that if Apis went straight to the grain and left the proposed pharaoh be, then the proposed pharaoh would be a great leader. Alexander walked up to the gate that separated him from the sacred bull. He took a deep breath and unlatched the gate and stepped aside to allow the sacred bull clear view of the grain. When he swung open the gate, he caught his breath. The sacred bull had a white triangle shape marking on his forehead. And draped on the sacred bulls back was a very elaborately decorated golden robe. From the bull's ears dangled gold earrings. Placed between the horns was a solar disk with a cobra rising in front of it, both made of gold. The bull's hooves were also painted gold. The reflection from the sun off the solar disk caused Alexander to raise his hands up to his eyes to shield them. The bull saw the grain and Alexander, he just snorted at the later and headed straight towards the grain. The crowd cheered loudly. Alexander sighed a sigh of relief.

"Amon has spoken. He has chosen Alexander, King of Macedonia to be our new King and Pharaoh." The high priest spoke to the crowd. The crowd cheered even louder.

Then Alexander was escorted by the priests of Amon to the steps of the temple. Once there they placed the white crown of Upper Egypt on his head. The crowd cheered. Then they placed the red wicker basket crown of Lower Egypt over the white crown. The crowd cheered again.

"We now pronounce Alexander, King of Macedonia to be our new Pharaoh, Lord of the Two Lands and Son of Re." He spoke to the crowd trying to be heard over their cheering. Alexander raised his right hand up into the air. Then one of the priests brought over a stake to the high priest. The high priest walked to the grounds and placed the stake into it. The stake was entwined the Lotus and the Papyrus symbols of upper and lower Egypt. And on the stake a cartouch with Alexander's name was worked in with gold, turquoise, lapis lazuli and carnelian. Then the crook and the flail where placed into the hands of Alexander. He then was led into a procession around the walls of the city of Memphis. The procession ended at the Nomarch's palace that was situated inside of the city.

The people were very pleased on how well the coronation went. The festivities continued on into the night and would continue for several days more. The whole time that the sacrifice and coronation ceremony was being carried out, Khumnhotep and Princess Farida held each other's hand. Bastavar surprised himself by being pleased with the match.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-06-00 22:21 ET (US)     173 / 183       
In the days following the ceremony, Alexander began to grow increasingly impatient and uneasy. Something was troubling him. Usually when this happened, wine flowed freely. In these days and nights wine flowed more freely than usual.

"YES! I shall... No, it is not wise... Mother, I... but when, Mother, when... (groan) (mumbling). THE KING! (mumbling) Not my father? Not my father? (groan) The serpent... MOTHER! The serpent! (silence)...

Ptolemy sat across from his drunken king and shook his head.
He makes no sense. Even in this fertile land with its fine buildings and great wealth, its industrious people and... and, oh yes, its beautiful women... Even here he cannot find peace. Will he ever, this great conqueror... Will he ever find peace?

Ptolemy sadly called for one of the Macedonian guards to help him with the wine sodden young ruler. Together they placed him on his bed to sleep off the effects of the wine.
Just as he was about to leave the chamber Ptolemy looked back and said out loud, "My King, this is a fine and prosperous land. I could spend my life here given the choice. Why can't you find such peace?"

Alexander didn't answer. He didn't hear. Wine filled his mind and trouble filled his soul.

____________________________________________________________

Ptolemy found himself once more in Alexander's chamber the next day facing a fully awake, sober young King with determination in his eyes and command in his voice.

"General, I believe this land to be secure and capable of self governance. I shall ensure it stays that way by selecting only the finest among its people to govern the cities and provinces I have drawn on this map. In a few days we shall leave this area and travel north by northwest and then south by southwest. Then we shall return to Memphis."

"Majesty," said Ptolemy. "What is our destination?"

"We travel to Siwah. The Oracle of Amon is there, built by my ancestor, the Pharaoh Amasis."

"Your ancestor, Sire? But the Pharaoh Amasis was Egyptian and you are Macedonian. Your father was Philip, King of Macedonia."

Alexander put down his marking instrument and looked at Ptolemy. "Philip was not my father."

General Ptolemy stared at Alexander in surprise and confusion. "But Sire, it is recorded that..." Alexander interrupted him immediately.

"The records are wrong. I have been told so."

"By whom, Majesty? Who could be telling you such falsehoods?"

"General, would you say to me that my mother, Olympias, was a teller of falsehoods?"

"Why no, Sire, I would not," replied Ptolemy.

"Then I must accept that what she tells me of my father is correct, musn't I?"

"Yes, Sire, I suppose so."

"General Ptolemy, she has told me I am the son of Zeus himself. HE came to her in the guise of a snake before ever Philip laid hands on her. I am the result of their union."

"Then Sire, why must you go to this oracle at Siwah?"

"Because these Egyptians will not see what I see. That because they have accepted me as Pharaoh they also have accepted me as a son of their god Amon, which all Pharoahs are claimed to be. Since I am a son of Zeus as my mother declared and soon will be declared such by the oracle, then Egypt will have to accept that Amon and Zeus are one and the same. Therefore, what we teach them of the gods and Macedonia will have to be accepted since it comes through me, Pharaoh, Son of Amon, who is Zeus."

Ptolemy's mind was in a whirl. "But what if the oracle does not find you are a son of Zeus?"

"That cannot happen, General."

"Why, Sire?"

"Because I am the Son of Zeus, that is why; and my Father will not deny me. Now call my staff if you will, General... And my Hawks, too."

Stunned and having no will left to do otherwise, Ptolemy did as he was told.

The staff gathered that afternoon. Khumnhotep and Ankhu were curious as to why they were called. Their curiosity would soon be served.

Alexander stood so all could hear. "I speak of two things today. We shall travel to the west to explore and to learn. Siwah is our destination. And I seek to found a city in this land. One that will grow and prosper. Who among you knows of a place that may become what I say?"

Alexander looked about his men to see who would answer. He noticed Khumnhotep and Ankhu talking quietly to each other. "Hawks, if you have something to say, share it with all of us instead of just yourselves."

Khumnhotep gulped and stammered. "If it pleases you, Sire. We were considering our birthplace. You may find it suitable to your needs. There is fertile land, level places to build and a natural bay that could become a fine harbor. My father had ships there once, and Persians found it useful."

"Persians? That is a poor justification, Captain."

"Yes, Sire. Greeks used it before the Persians came."

"That is a better justification, Captain. You will give it an appropriate name, I expect?"

"The name could be Alexandria, Sire," offered Khumnhotep.

Alexander laughed. "A monument, I take it. Are you expecting me to begin The Journey anytime soon?"

Khumnhotep pondered. "No Sire, but I believe the Lion expects you to invade his lair soon. To do that you will leave this land. Alexandria shall be there for your return. To honor your victory, not to mourn your passing."

Alexander's smile faded. An expression of seriousness narrowed his eyes. "You are very right, Hawk. I will soon be in the Lion's lair." Then his expression changed. "Meet with my architects and show them this land while I go to Siwah."

"Yes, Sire." Khumnhotep and Ankhu left Alexander to tell their family and loved ones about their return home.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-09-00 21:02 ET (US)     174 / 183       
Khumnhotep and Ankhu stood watching the last column of Alexander's army disappear far to the West of their little village. The Pharaoh/King had been pleased with what he saw of the village that now bears his name. He, along with his Chief Architect, reviewed the plans with the people who lived there, and with the Egyptian merchants who would benefit from the fine harbor they planned. Just before he departed for the Oracle of Amon, Alexander praised their work but cautioned them.

"My Hawks, keep your ears open and eyesight sharp. There is word of trouble in the area. I charge you with protecting Alexandria until my return. For this reason I have left with you a detachment of Egyptian auxiliaries. They are not many, so use them carefully and wisely."

"Yes, Sire. We shall do our best."

"I know you will. You both always have. Until I return then, farewell Captains." Alexander then put spur to horse and galloped away to regain his position at the head of his army.

The two Captains waited for the army to disappear into the horizon then turned about to rejoin Redsenet and the others who had accompanied them to Alexandria. There was Sutaijha, and Henutsen, Maatkare and Ekrem, and little Zhuo. Bastavar had established himself in his home and farm in Alexandria along with Farida. Though not a mansion, their new home lacked for nothing just as Alexander promised. Redsenet was counting the days until her marriage to Chombyses and was at home collecting her herbs and possessions for the final move to her future husband's mansion.

A hooded figure followed the goings on of these happy residents of Alexandria. When satisfied he found his way to his mount at the edge of the village and swiftly rode a moderate distance to find the man who sought the information he possessed.

The hooded figure found him just where he expected, at an oasis a half day's ride to the south. For a bag of gold the information was passed on to the keenly attentive leader of the 25 Persian brigands camped there. The informant's mission accomplished he rode away to learn more and tell another day.

The leader considered the information and began to make his plan in the quiet of the night. He paused only once or twice to shift position to ease the periodic pain in his shoulder. The scar was tight again and the poorly healed knife wound pulled and pained more fiercely than usual. This only sharpened his interest in achieving the revenge he so badly desired.

Too bad for the Macedonians that they believed his promise to leave Egypt and return to Persia. Too bad for them that they truly thought he had departed. Too bad for Alexandria, too bad for Khumnhotep, and too, too bad for Farida. His plan was complete and satisfied him well. He smiled in silent satisfaction at what he knew the end result would be. The sweet taste of revenge would surely be his, thought Captain Elodar.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 10-09-00 21:14 ET (US)     175 / 183       
Rosenetka: The Oracle passage is yours if you'd like.

Alexander dismounted from his white stallion and on foot, entered the narrow doorway leading into the Oracle of Amon...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 10-11-2000).]

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