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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:
Fortuna
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 01:00 ET (US)     51 / 183       
I think we almost forgot about the escape...
There is also some confusion about the identity of the captain of the Persian ship: is he the Satrap's son (post #49) or a new unrelated character (post #50)?

______________________________________

Redsenet and Henutsen were beginning to worry about their own fate. The escape had occurred several days earlier, and yet no one had noticed anything amiss. That is, if one dismissed the Princess' obscure words the other day...

______________________________________

As he watched over the slaves at the construction site, the Persian guard tried to imagine a plausible explanation for the previous days' events.

At first, he had honestly believed that the three missing slaves had spent the night of the Vigil with Redsenet. Not seeing Henutsen in the fields the next afternoon, he had spent an uneventful day.

The following day, everything had changed. Answering to questions from his colleagues, he had lied without thinking, explaining that the two male slaves were working at another construction site for a few days and that the girl was feeling too sick to carry water. The guard had not acted out of kindnesss, but rather out of pure selfishness. He was much too interested in Henutsen to report an event which could result in her death; but now, after considering his own fate, he doubted his earlier motives. After all, there were so many Egyptian girls around. Was this one really worth the risk?

A more pressing question now occupied his thoughts: how long would the deception last?

[This message has been edited by Fortuna (edited 08-12-2000).]

JW
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 06:30 ET (US)     52 / 183       
I don't know why but this thread is somehow reminding me of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis...

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-12-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-12-00 08:08 ET (US)     53 / 183       
There's also another issue too, why would a warship be caring private cargo? With post #50 the story line for Sutaijha, Khumnhotep and Anku are 2 days behind.

Yes how long would this deception last? Pishkar did not want to be the guard to bring the news to the satrap. The last guards that brought news of escaped slaves to the satrap were never seen again. There were rumours that they were sent as part payment to the King Darius III, as workers. He did not want to be stripped of his title and pay, and become nothing more than a slave himself.

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-12-2000).]

JW
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 09:02 ET (US)     54 / 183       
I think there're too many 'guards' in this story. Bastavar's guards, Chombyses's guards, street guards, personal guards, guard's guards... We should start giving names to the prominent ones, like the guard who fancies Henutsen. How about 'Pishkar'? It means 'zealous in duty' according to avesta.org/znames.htm.
SethsRaven, perhaps you can edit your paragraph to make it sound like the amulet appeared to Redsenet magically, as if the gods favor the Egyptians or something...
Everyone, do you want the ship to be warship or trading ship? Also who is the captain? Farida's brother?

"Something will happen soon..." Redsenet said slowly.

Henutsen and Redsenet were in the apothecary. They were stirring potions and discussing the possible significance of the medallion.

"What do you mean?" Henutsen asked eagerly. She would give anything - anything at all - to know something about the three Egyptians, and she had learnt to trust Redsenet's premonitions.

Suddenly, a desperate hope rose within her: They have found Maatkare, her husband! Her mind wandered off, and to her horror, she realised that she could no longer picture Maatkare's face properly. It had been too long.

Redsenet was nearly in a trance. Her hands, which had previously been stirring a pot full of nasty-smelling stuff, suddenly stopped moving, and her eyes were closed.

Henutsen froze, and was careful not to move or make a sound. It was a prophetic moment for Redsenet, and she did not want to disturb the magic.

"Ankhu and Khmunhotep are in a mist... a dark shadowy mist, that they cannot get out of. But they're alive and well too, yes... they are the hawks, and the lions have them in their paws..."

Redsenet seemed to be talking in her dreams. Henutsen felt a chill running down her spine. She wanted to scream. She glanced at the lucky amulet, and to her surprise, found it glittering the colours of the rainbow. It could be a trick of light, or it could be something else...

Redsenet continued.

"Sutaijha brings a blessing from the gods, in the form of a man... Sutaijha has blessed us... the blessing is coming now, sailing with the wind..."

THEY'VE FOUND MAATKARE! Henutsen's desperate hope leapt and out possessed the entire realm of Henutsen's mind. It is Maatkare. It has to be Maatkare, Maatkare is alive!

Redsenet's voice dropped low and soft.

"It could be Maatkare, (she can read my mind! Henutsen thought) or it could be... a Carian and Egyptian, Carian outside, Egyptian inside... The delivrance of Egypt is nigh..."

What is she talking about? Henutsen wondered.

"Danger lurks beyond... the blessing brings great danger... Beware... Beware... B E W A R E........."

Suddenly the door broke open noisily and a messenger boy came in. He said quickly, "The Great Pishkar wants to see you, ma'am. No idea what it's about but it sure sounds important."

"Oh, Henutsen, we must go and see what it is."

"But Redsenet, what about the stuff you just said? The blessing, the danger..." Henutsen's eyes stared.

"Blessing? Danger? What do you mean? Did I say that? Weren't we stirring potions just now?" Redsenet looked puzzled.

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-13-2000).]

Fortuna
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 15:04 ET (US)     55 / 183       
I'm hopeless with giving names to characters, but you're all doing a great job at it. Thanks

After a hard day's work supervising slaves, Pishkar headed to the Senet House. The setting sun made long shadows in the narrow streets but the guard knew his way in the maze of the city. Stepping inside the drinking estabishment, he ordered beer.

He was thirsty and drank the beverage quickly. Another drink followed, and another... Pishkar was now beginning to see more clearly.

"It's not my fault, he thought. It's all those Egyptians... Take that girl, Henutsen, she's pretty enough. I don't know why she is so uncooperative with me. It's all her fault really...."

- Another beer, he shouted.

"I've only seen her twice since the mysterious disappearance of her siblings. And I tought it'd be easier without her brother around, but she always picks a time when I'm watching over 50 slaves. Not that I'm expected to behave like a gentleman with Egyptian girls, but still, an audience of 50 makes our meetings less intimate..."

- More beer, he bellowed.

"And Redsenet, that witch... The old hag thinks she's the gods' personal messenger. She makes me sick (literally)."

Everything was spinning around. Pishkar drank some more. His thoughts became darker.

"Little Henutsen, why are you so mean to me? Is it because of your 'nobility'? Or because you're married? What does that have to do with me? ... It's all your fault. You shall pay, you shall pay!"

The guard was now completely inebriated. Before he collapsed to the floor, Pishkar muttered a few unintelligible words "O Great Satrap... the witch... she cast a spell... I couldn't tell you... It's her fault..."

SethsRaven
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 17:09 ET (US)     56 / 183       
There I changed it enough to make it fit with the rest of your stories. But since I make no mention of the Captain of the ship being related or not I didnt change that. And Redsenet finding the medalion fit well enough.

[This message has been edited by SethsRaven (edited 08-12-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-12-00 18:35 ET (US)     57 / 183       
Sethsraven: FYI. Redsenet and Hunetsen are to be send to Caria not Greece. This tale can be confusing at times.
I deleted my part about the captian from my post. I think Sethsraven's version will be more fun to work with. QUESTION: Would it take several days to get from Turkey to Egypt through the Mediterranean Sea? Caria is now a part of Turkey. If it would then we would need to work on getting the story line of the other three up to date with Redsenet and Henutsen. Or would it be better to work on this story line first then worry about the other after?

Redsenet and Henutsen followed the boy to the palace. In the hallway Redsenet and Princess Farida bumped into each other as they each turned the same corner. The amulet of Khumnhotep dropped from Redsenet's clothing. Farida noticed it and picked it up. She recognized it as Khumnhotep's amulet. She was just about to yell out to Redsenet that she had dropped the amulet, but something inside of her told her that she should keep it. So she strung it through one of her gold chain neclaces. It blended with the other Egyptian jewelry she was wearing.

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-12-2000).]

SethsRaven
Pleb
posted 08-12-00 19:37 ET (US)     58 / 183       
Thankyou Rosenetka, I have changed my text to match.
JW
Pleb
posted 08-13-00 09:02 ET (US)     59 / 183       
Summary:
Day 1: Start of story. Ankhu and Khmunhotep makes bricks. Pishkar tries to harass Henutsen.
Day 2: Opening of mouth. Redsenet gets into trouble. Escape occurs on this night.
Day 3: Farida says that Henutsen's brother is hard to find.
Day 4: The three Egyptians are shipwrecked.
Day 5: Ankhu and Khmunhotep leave for Greece. Ekrem meets Sutaijha. Sutaijha asks Chombyses to send for Redsenet.
Day 6: Rumours reach Egypt that the ship sunk. Farida is suspicious of Henutsen.
Day 7: Carian ship arrives at Egypt. Redsenet finds medallion. Ankhu and Khmunhotep presumably are in Greece already.
Day 8: Satrap sends for Redsenet. Farida keeps medallion. Pishkar goes to Senet House and drinks. Sutaijha and Ekrem share their secrets.
Day 10: Redsenet should arrive at Caria by now.
Day 12: Marriage of Sutaijha and Ekrem scheduled on this day.
My assumption is that it take 2-3 days to get from Caria to Egypt.
Oh yes, one more desperate question: Where are all the locations of these places? The capital of Caria is Halicarnassus, while the capital of Macedonia is Pella, but what about the Egyptian city that is not a walled complex, found along a coastal trade route, has a decent harbour, and houses a Satrap?

-Wait a minute, Ekrem, what are you trying to make me do here?

-I know that you're an Egyptian true to your motherland, Sutaijha. Why can't you open your heart to me?

Sutaijha looked at Ekrem suspiciously. She wanted to believe that Ekrem is loyal to Egypt, but she had to be careful. She could get herself killed - for all she knew, Ekrem could be a Carian spy. He spoke fluent Carian and Persian, and only the gods could know where his loyalties lay.

-I am an Egyptian, Sutaijha. Why can't you see that? I'm organising a slave revolt. Aren't you at least going to acknowledge that?

-But why should I believe you?

-Because we are both true to the Two Lands, and the barbaric peoples of the Red Land will not subjugate the people of the pharaohs, of Horus, of the Ennead.

-Now don't start feeding this to me, Ekrem.

Ekrem was exasperated. It was hopeless. There was no way he could convince Sutaijha. Yet, there was a twinkle in Sutaijha's eyes, that showed a desperation - a desperation to trust Ekrem, a desperation that has been overcome by the forces of fear, an instinctive fear that only an enslaved people would know.

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-13-2000).]

Xeno51
Pleb
posted 08-13-00 11:53 ET (US)     60 / 183       
Let's clear up the matter of the sea captain - Fortuna got confused between the Greek captain of the trading ship which K & A are on, and the Persian captain of the guard in Caria.

Why do people talk about Redsenet and Henutsen going to Caria, if the characters haven't mentioned that at all?

[This message has been edited by Xeno51 (edited 08-13-2000).]

Fortuna
Pleb
posted 08-13-00 13:14 ET (US)     61 / 183       
Xeno51, although it's hard to tell with all the edited posts, the matter (identity of the sea captain only) has already been cleared up. The statement I made earlier (post #51) has no meaning anymore (see Rosenetka's comments in post #57). No more confusion.
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-13-00 16:34 ET (US)     62 / 183       
It would be best to introduce no new "twists" to the plot for the time being as it will lead to further confusion. I recommend that you play out the plot as it exists today and begin the direct transfer of Redsenet and Henutsen to Caria to tend to the magistrate's son. Guide two parallel activities only, i.e. the "hawks" travel to Ionia and the ladies' excursion to Caria. Overly complicate the plot and you will lose your direction and your audience.

Another suggestion. In these collaborations with so many different and independent writers at work it is best to not become too timeline oriented. For example, the post containing the deadline of 7 days to report back from Alexander's camp should not have been stated this way. It should have been stated only that the "hawks" were to report their findings when contacted by Chombyses outside spy in the area. Remember, we are not publishing these commercially so we can be more generic with time. The reader will understand that time passes and create the perception of a timeline in his/her mind without requiring quantitative accuracy. In short, set no deadlines or dates that would constrain other writers or the plot.

Lastly, naming characters is appropriate if they play primary or secondary roles. However, when the character exists to merely move the story along do not become overly engaged in giving the character an identity or name. You will notice that while I used the captain of the shipwrecked cargo ship to reveal the identity of the three Egyptians, I made no attempt to give the captain a name or substance. He was a "throwaway" character, a tool to advance the story; he was neither a primary nor secondary character. The captain who carried the scroll to Egypt is the same character type, a throwaway. It isn't important who he is related to or what his name might be. Use him and lose him.

JW: You ask a good question about the unwalled city.
Here's a hint. It becomes the site of the great city founded and built by Alexander and the Ptolemies and is named after him. Remember, the Egyptians were not a great sea faring people in those days and had little insight into what was indeed a valuable sea harbor or port. Their expertise was navigating the Nile. The Persians and Greeks on the other hand... That is why the Satrap is there, but in only 10 or 11 years of rule little has been done by the Persians to take advantage of the area. They were preoccupied with the Greek threat, of course.

One last note: It is okay to have primary characters introduce an event as if it already happened. This is one way to escape unnecessary detail. See how I do this below.
Hope all of this helps to clear the fog.

BTW, Every concern posted below is well considered and indicative that you are all treating this story with great interest and commitment. And I'd like to think it's a lot of fun, too. Don't be concerned about the tiny errors. No one is grading you, least of all me.

CIVIS ROMANUS


____________________________________________________________

Henutsen nearly danced as she walked the empty path by the docks with Redsenet, both heading back to the herbalist's hut. The younger girl had already collected her things from the Satrap's mansion in anticipation of adding them to Redsenet's for their sea journey that would begin at first light tomorrow. Indeed, there at the end of a far extension to the dock was the very vessel they would sail, the one that brought the message to the Satrap earlier.

No one was in sight. Only singing and music coming from the vessel suggested anyone was on or about the docks. "Isn't it wonderful, Sister!" exclaimed Henutsen. All three are alive and found in Caria! Soon we will see Sutaijha and our brother, and Ankhu too!"

Redsenet was pleased to know they were alive, but more realistic in her views. "They are escaped slaves in the hands of Persian subjects, Henutsen. It is indeed good to know they live, but we don't know the circumstances. We must keep this in mind."

"Yes, of course, Sister. I understand. But its wonderful anyway! I just can't help feeling all will turn out perfectly for us..."

Her statement was interrupted by a sudden movement in a nearby shadow. A man... staggering into the dim moonlight from the shadows. He stank of beer and vomit. Bloodshot eyes beheld the two women whose path he obstructed with his much larger body. Speech slurred he said, "Pishkar, you lucky soul, two at once for the taking on this fine night."

He lunged forward and grasped the younger of the two, stifling her cries with a strong left hand. Redsenet fought with fists and nails to drive the man away from her sister. Pishkar struck Redsenet with his right hand sending her to the ground severely dazed. He returned his hand to its hold on Henutsen and began to tear at the cloth that covered her head and shoulders. Henutsen's face was revealed and even through beer clouded eyes, Pishkar recognized who it was that struggled in his grasp.

"Fate blesses me tonight, it is you, the water girl!" and a smile spread across his yellow stained teeth. Pishkar threw Henutsen to the ground and fell on her pressing his lips to her face with abandon.

Suddenly, his mind exploded in a brilliant flash of white light, then faded to grey and finally to black and within Pishkar's brain thought occurred no more. His limp body pressed hard on Henutsen's slighter frame. Nonetheless, with the last of her strength, she pushed him off only to look upwards and see standing above her... her sister Redsenet holding a piece of driftwood with both hands like a club.

Redsenet threw the wood away and knelt down by the prone man. "Is he...?" asked Henutsen. "Yes. He won't bother anyone ever again," replied Redsenet.

"What will we do? They'll surely find him here come sun up. All of the slaves, us too, will be questioned.

Redsenet thought quickly. "We must hide him."

"But where?"

"There, in the water. Quick, fetch rocks."

Redsenet untied the Persian's armor and waist belts then loaded his belly and chest region with stones. She refastened the belts above and below the stones locking the stones in a pocket made between the man's skin and outer clothes. "Take his right arm," she said to her sister. Henutsen obeyed without comment. Redsenet took his left arm and together they dragged, pulled the dead man onto the dock until they were sure the water below was deep enough. They dragged him to the edge of the wood planked dock and rolled him over the side.

SPLASH!

The loudness of the sound frightened the two women and they quickly looked around to see if anyone heard. Music, laughter and talk still came from the docked vessel and no one was visible in any direction on the dock or path. There was nothing further for them to do but hurry home and prepare to sail on the morrow. So that is what they did.

THE NEXT DAY:

The wind filled the sail sooner than usual much to the relief of the rowers who expected to row most of the day as was usually the case. Two women, herbs and belongings stowed below, watched the dock and shore shrink from sight as the vessel found its way into the open sea. Only when walking the dock to the ship and now, as they left Egypt behind, did the two women briefly glance at the spot in the sea where the body of Pishkar now rested. Both times they quickly glanced away. Some things were better forgotten as quickly as possible. This was one of those things.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-14-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-13-00 20:03 ET (US)     63 / 183       
A messenger came running into the main gathering room of Chombyses palace. Out of breath, "The warship, that was sent to the Egyptian city Raqote to get the healer and her assistant, has been spotted in the horizon Magistrate."

Chombyses jumped out of his seat and ordered to have two litters prepared now. He wanted to go down to the docks and meet this healer that he had heard through rumours and as well as from Sutaijha. He had great hopes that she would be the one to heal his ill son. The litters were ready and he was carried to the docks on one of them. The canopy on the litters were made of fine silk and decorated with jewels and gold thread. Each of the two litters had two poles holding them, at both ends of each pole were knobs made of solid gold with jewels embedded into them. The wood was stained of a rich deep black that was polished to the point of being able to see your reflection in them.

The warship finally docked. This was the first time that Henutsen had been on a ship. Henutsen was very thankful that Redsenet brought with her herbs for nauseau. She was looking forward to stepping on solid ground, even if it was soil in the Persian Empire. They were escorted by the captain, who stood his distance from them.

"That's what you get for being so nosey. I told you to stay out of my chest box. But would you listen? Noooo." Redsenet said to the captain as she walked down the ship's ramp, with a smile on her face. Henutsen following behind, almost stepping on her heals.

"Here is the healer and her assistant you asked to have brought to you, Magistrate."

Chombyses took a very long look at both Redsenet and Henutsen. Even for Egyptians they are both lovely to look at he thought to himself. He had heard rumours that the great healer from Egypt was ugly, a hag, a witch. "Are you sure you brought the correct women?" Looking at the captain. Turned to Redsenet and Henutsen, "What are the names of your sister and brother?"

"Sutaijha is the name of our sister and Khumnhotep is the name of our brother." stated Redsenet. "Why do you ask?"

"You must be the healer?"

"Yes."

"Come with me and I will show you two to my son that I want you to heal." Chombyses said aloud, but to himself, "I must learn never to believe in rumours again. This healer is beautiful, more so than her sister that is here. The other one is also beautiful, but lacks the look of confedence."

When they arrived at the litters, Chombyses looked at Redsenet, "You, come sit with me to my palace. I wish to get to know you better." With a smile he reached out his hand for Redsenet to hold, as she climbed into the litter. Henutsen climbed into the other one, after she saw Redsenet climb into the litter with Chombyses.

"What is he up to, and why did he want to know the names of Sutaijha and Khumnhotep? Does he have them held captive here?" Redsenet asked herself.

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-17-2000).]

JW
Pleb
posted 08-14-00 05:16 ET (US)     64 / 183       
"Can we meet them now?" Henutsen asked eagerly. Her heart leapt at the very thought of meeting the three Egyptians again.

"Err...no." Chombyses said. "I have... taken them on a tour. They won't be back in a few days. They're seeing the Mausoleum down in the city."

"Wow! Can I go and see that too?"

"Yes, but only after my son is healed. That's why you were called here, you see."

Henutsen accepted that. Redsenet, however, was suspicious. Something was wrong with the magistrate's explanation. But what was it?

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-14-00 10:55 ET (US)     65 / 183       
Khumnhotep's and Ankhu's trip from Ionia to Greece was uneventful. The ship they were on had docked a few days ago. They made some money helping out the dock workers, while they were waiting for further instructions,which they had not received yet. With the money they made, they decided that they would visit a pub near by to cool off from the hot sun. They sat at a table for two and ordered for some bear. They both commented to each other that they hope the bear here is as good as it is back at their home.

Ankhu waved his hand infront of Khumnhotep's face. "Wake up friend. What, or should I say who, are you thinking about?" he asked with a grin.

Khumnhotep shook his head and just replied with, "Home." Then he noticed that their bears had arrived already. While drinking their bears, they talked, joked and teased each other, all the while hoping that they would be contacted soon. They both felt uncomfortable just waiting.

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-15-2000).]

Fortuna
Pleb
posted 08-14-00 12:26 ET (US)     66 / 183       
The Great Satrap was sitting in his throne in the Great Hall. He could see the temple construction in the distance. What a great sight to behold.

Then he saw his advisor come into the room. Too late to escape. The advisor had seen him too...

- Good morning, O Great Bastavar, I have come to get your approval on the quarterly report. First of all, your idea of a tax on cargo ships is working out well. Money is flowing in the coffers. King Darius will be pleased.

- It was your idea.

- Well, maybe it was... Anyway, to continue with the slave report, you'll be happy to know that the last plague resulted in a 33% decrease in the number of unproductive slaves. Many elderly and only a few children fell victim. In addition, a number of children have turned 12 and have become full-time workers.

Bastavar looked towards the temple once again. How could King Darius send such a boring man to spy on him? He turned his attention to the advisor once more.

- Our safety report is also very encouraging. We only lost 53 slaves this last month. That's a 28% decrease for the year. Continuing with our military report, ...

The advisor was quite excited as he delivered the report to the Governor. However, none of his enthusiasm could be heard in his monotonous voice. Bastavar was so bored that he was beginning to fall asleep. He no longer heard the dull and tedious presentation.

- ... seen drunk, the advisor finished.

- What? Bastavar said as he stared at the advisor, as if surprised to still find him in the room.

- I said he was probably drunk.

- Oh, well, then punish the drunkard!

- That would be difficult." The advisor was slightly annoyed. "As I just said, the guard, Pishkar, I believe, hasn't been seen in several days. His superiors believe that he fell in the harbor.

- Punish his superiors then." Turning away, Bastavar almost shouted for joy. "Farida, my daughter, I was expecting you.

- But father, I never...

- No need to apologize, my dear, my advisor was just finishing." The Governor turned back as he was heading to the courtyard. "Dispatch that report to King Darius immediately."

In the meantime...

Khumnhotep and Ankhu were soon contacted by a recruiting soldier. They were told to meet at the fort in the next few minutes. Leaving their glasses half full, they left in a hurry, thinking it may not be wise to disappoint the general on their very first day. While waiting for the general to arrive at the fort, they noticed that soldiers of many different races were present.

The Greek general appeared to his troops, who were assembled neatly on the fort grounds. He looked at them, and saw a disparate group of people: Egyptians, Greeks, and other ethnicities, all willing, he thought, to fight for the Greek empire. They were trained now, ready to fight, and he thought he would give them a word of warning...

He spoke slowly, in a deep voice.

- I want you all to be aware... that any attempt to betray the trust of the Greek army will be punished by death. Whoever is caught leaking information to the enemy will be executed immediately. I hope this is clear to all of you. That said, may you conquer your enemy for the glory of Greece!

The general stepped down from his podium. His message had had the intended effect. Silence had come down on the fort, and the soldiers felt a little uneasy... Among them, Khumnhotep and Ankhu thought to themselves: "Not only do we have to betray the Greeks against our will, but we risk our lives for it as well... is this really better than our life as slaves?", they pondered...

Meanwhile in the Carian palace...

- Magistrate, your envoy has arrived, the guard said.

- Good, Chombyses replied. Send him in... I do hope he has good news.

The envoy was a rather tall man, slightly tanned, with deep, dark, determined eyes. He looked young, probably no more than 22. He addressed the Magistrate regarding matters of diplomacy. After a few minutes, Chombyses decided to brag about his new recruits, as he usually did...

- You'll be happy to know that I've acquired two new recruits who will spy for me in the Alexander's army. Chombyses was pretty proud of this, and he said it in a joyful voice. The envoy wasn't too surprised, as every time he was sent to see the Magistrate, the latter spoke to him of his new "recruits" as he called them.

Out of pure curiosity, and to make conversation, the envoy asked:

- What are their names?

- I think one is named Khumnhotep and the other is his friend Ankhu. Good men, those two, ready to serve my interests. I think they'll do well... Of course, he said, amused, they don't really have a choice, do they?? He laughed... Turning to the envoy, he added: "Why do you ask, Maatkare?"

- Oh, it's nothing, really, Maatkare replied, trying to get the words out of his throat. He had suddently grown paler, and felt very sick to his stomach. "Just that I need to know who my contacts will be when I bring back the information to you, Magistrate." He tried terribly hard to smile, but only a very faint smile lit up his face.

"How is it", he thought, "that I have to come all the way to Caria to hear news of my wife?... this is indeed a happy day for me. Khumnhotep and Ankhu will definitely tell me about Henutset. I do hope she is well... I must see Khumnhotep and Ankhu quickly". Having said goodbye to the Magistrate, Maatkare turned around and left in a hurry, trying to slow his pace down a little to avoid raising suspicion. "What will she say", he thought, "when I tell her I've been forced to become a Persian envoy?". Little did he know that his wife was even closer than he thought...

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-14-00 13:47 ET (US)     67 / 183       
Chombyses had left Redsenet and Henutsen, with a few of his personal guards, alone with his son. He looked to be no more than 8 years of age. Redsenet took out a jar containing dried chamomile leaves from her chest box, while Henutsen wipped away the boy's sweat.

Before Chombyses had left them, Redsenet had requested that some boiling water be prepared for her, so that she would be able to make a tea for the boy. She placed a spoon full of chamomile leaves into a cup and poured some boiled water into it. She then took out a jar of syrup, made of honey; powdered calendula and fresh garlic wraped in linen.

"Help me sister, the tea is ready now for the child." Together they raised the boy to a sitting position and Redsenet held the cup to the boys lips for him to sip. After the boy sipped the last of the tea, Redsenet started onto the next item for him to take. She crushed a clove of garlic. Poured some syrup and hot water into the now empty cup, put the crushed garlic and a spoonful of powdered calendula, mixed the ingredients together. With Henutsen holding up the boy still, Redsenet proceeded to spoon feed the boy the mixture she just made. The boy enjoyed the flavour, so did not mind consuming the mixture. Henutsen laid him back down after the last spoon was taken.

"What was the tea and the syrup mixture for?" Henutsen asked.

"The tea was to calm his stomach down, and the syrup was to help his system to fight what is making him sick and cleanse his blood. We'll need to give him some more of the syrup mixture every couple of hours for awhile still, and maybe some of the tea. The tea will also help him sleep better."

"What do you think the illness is?"

"He ate something that was not good. Whether it be from food or drink that had gone bad, or from eating a poisonous plant or berries, I do not know. It is a good sign that he is able to still swallow. This tells me that we are not too late to save him. This news should please the magistrate."

Embarrassingly Redsenet found Chombyses pleasant looking, especialy when he smiled at her.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-14-00 16:26 ET (US)     68 / 183       
"You two idiots!" bellowed the phalanx commander. "Would you run your own comrades through with those spears? Who trained you anyway?"

"Nobody, S...S...Sir," stammered Khumnhotep.

"That's true, Sir," added Ankhu.

"Where did you come from then yesterday, the egg?" countered the commander.

Ankhu gulped. "Uh, no Sir, we are new recruits, Egyptians."

"Ohhhh, well that explains everything then. GET OUT OF FORMATION THIS INSTANT!"

Khumnhotep and Ankhu both pointed their spears in the safest direction they could, carefully avoiding others in the formation.

The commander motioned to a subordinate standing nearby. "Croeses, train these two as we march. Train them till they drop. Then pick them up and train them some more. They will become hoplites or they'll end up like stones in the road. You two understand me!?"

"Yes, Sir," the two Egyptians answered together. The commander walked away mumbling something about "Egyptians... sand-bound thinkers and military mistakes."

Croeses looked the two young men over through his one good eye, not the one scarred and patched. The gleam in his one good eye made both wary. The soldier broke into a near toothless grin. "Ah yes, a challenge I dare say. This should be quite some fun..." And so the lessons began: spear and sword, shield and spear, sheild and sword. And again, spear and sword, shield and spear, shield and sword... And again... and again... and again... and again...

crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch... Sandaled feet strike the ground in rhythmic meter. Armored men bearing spears stride shoulder to shoulder, spirits high, expectations higher. The men of Alexander sing as they march.

Clash of sword
Thrust of spear,
Weaker foes will
Know great fear.

Runaway now,
Don't wait till then,
It'll be too late,
We're Alexander's men.

Khumnhotep and Ankhu, side by side in the center of their unit, were singing at the top of their lungs. They had done well had these two youngsters. They had every right to sing, thought Croeses. They learned quickly and had learned everything he had taught them. Their skills were sharp, but were these two young men prepared for battle? Soon they will find out, thought Croeses. Very soon.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-14-2000).]

JW
Pleb
posted 08-15-00 07:43 ET (US)     69 / 183       
The General's face was grim. As the soldiers stood before him, swaying faintly under the hot sun, he spoke. His words struck fear into the heart of every man. They were going to war.

"Alexander, our great King of all Kings, the Destroyer of Persians, has instilled fear into the heart of Darius. The recent victory at Granicus opens up a route for the heaven appointed armies of Macedonia and Greece to attack Persian-held Asia Minor."

"Since the earliest days, the time of the Iliad and Odyssey, Asia Minor was a Greek land. Many of the cities there - Ephesus, Miletus, Halicarnassus, Rhodes - were among the greatest cities of the Greek nation. However, the barbarians from the east, the Persians, have held on to these places for the last century. Our fellow Greeks are being enslaved, tortured, killed as beasts and livestock. They are suffering."

"But that will end. In a month, you will witness history being made, a history that will be remembered by our descendants. General Alexander will be known as Alexander the Great two thousand years hence for his heroic conquests of Persia. And Asia Minor will be Greek again."

"You must be prepared to give your life for the Macedonian Empire! Be you Greek, or Macedonian, or Phoenician, or Egyptian, you are now the men of Alexander. You will live for him, and die for him."

A drum rolled and a horn sounded. A banner was raised, and all men pledged allegiance to Alexander and Macedonia. In three days time they would be marching onto Caria. Ankhu and Khmunhotep were worried. What if their fellow soldiers looted the palace and killed Sutaijha? They didn't know about Redsenet and Henutsen, who, once captured and discovered to be serving under the Persians, would surely be executed.

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-15-2000).]

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-15-00 09:44 ET (US)     70 / 183       
They were feeding the child another batch of syrup mix, when Chombyses entered the room. "How is my son, Farshad doing?", with concern in his voice.

"Good Magistrate. He will recover, it may take a few days. But he will recover. He ate something that was not good."

"Can I assist you, or do you still require your assistant to be present?"

"You may assist me if you wish."

Chombyses snapped his fingers and ordered one of the guards to escort Henutsen to the room assigned to her. "Go with him, he will take you to your room." He said sternly as he looked at Henutsen. She followed the guard out of the boy's room. Chombyses looked at Redsenet, "What can I do to help?"

"You can hold him up in a sitting position, while I spoon feed him." Chombyses walked over to the other side of the bed from Redsenet and sat down. He lifted his son up to a sitting position with gentlemess and care. He brushed his hand over his son's forehead.

"His fever has gone down. You are a great healer. I'm glad that I listened to Su." He stopped abruptly before he completed Sutaijha's name. He didn't want it be known that their sister was here, just yet. He was hoping that Redsenet didn't notice that he hadn't completed the name. He quickly then asked, "Why are you not married?"

"Excuse me?"

"Why are you not married? It's a simple question." He was pleased that Redsenet hadn't noticed.

She paused feeding and thought about it for a brief moment, "I don't know. It's just how it has worked out for me. Of course things might have been different if the Persians hadn't attacked us to become a part of their empire." She said the last part in a sarcastic voice. "Why do you ask? Where's your wife?"

"Just curious. My wife died during child birth, along with the baby." He was trying his very best to hold back a tear that was trying to escape from his eye. Redsenet noticed, but decided it would probably be in her best interest to pretend that she hadn't noticed. Then silence fell between them. Their attentions concentrated towards the boy, Chombyses cradling him and Redsenet spoon feeding him.

"Papa. Papa." Chombyses's heart leaped with joy in hearing his son speak, he hugged him in his arms and he could no longer control the tears. They ran down his face and into his beard. "My son. My son. It brings me great joy to hear your voice again."

"Papa, where am I? Who is she?"

"You are in your room, my son. You were very ill, and this lady is here to heal you." He then lay his son down and reached across the bed and grabbed Redsenet and pulled her towards him. He then gave her a kiss on her lips. Then released her. "Thank you. You have brought my son back from death's grip. I owe you. I will tell you a secret that I have been keeping from you. Your sister, Sutaijha, is here. Your brother and his friend have been send out to work as spies for me in the Greek army. Your sister suggested that I call for you to heal my son. In exchange of your success that I am to give the three of you free passage to were ever you choose." A plan had just surfaced in his mind, he continued. "I had arranged to have Sutaijha marry Ekrem, captain of my personal guards, haven't decided yet if I will cancel this arrangement or not yet."

"My sister is here and you are forceing her to marry one of your people? And what threats did you give my brother and Ankhu to become spies for you?" Redsenet spoke with anger and disgust in her voice. "If you think you can bargain with me, you're wrong. Your son is not completely over his illness just yet. Keep that in mind."

Chombyses thought to himself, "She is strong minded. I must find a way to convince her to stay here." He was confident that he would be able to do it. He then snapped his fingers and ordered a guard to escort Redsenet to Sutaijha's room, and to another one to escort Henutsen there also. He stayed behind to watch his son go back to sleep.

Xeno51
Pleb
posted 08-15-00 11:37 ET (US)     71 / 183       

Rosenetka, K & A were travelling from Ionia. They are in Greece now.
They were lucky to have a camp at all. In the days of the Greek city-states the all-hoplite armies had had to make their own arrangements. But Alexander's new composite army required careful planning. Logistics, or potholes, had placed the unwilling spies at the edge of the camp, where the plain ended in a rocky escarpment with one narrow pass winding down to the coast, ten miles away.

Two hours after curfew, a dim circle of light began to circle their little makeshift tent. Eventually the circle made its way to the entrance and flooded the tent with light. When Khmunhotep and Ankhu had finished rubbing their eyes they saw a face behind the lamp. It was a Greek all right, somewhat shabby from living rough, but otherwise like any other small tradesman. The political upheavals in Athens, and and thereby its demes, had created enough disillusionment to supply Susa with a few informers.

He crawled in and sat down, shielding the light, fearful as he was of discovery. "Who are you?" Khmunhotep inevitably demanded with irritation.

"You two are Egyptians? Where from?"

"From the Pers-"

"Ssh!" he hissed. "Whisper! What news?"

"Supposing we don't tell you?" snapped Khmunhotep.

"Supposing I tell the strategos that you are spies?" He had dealt with this sort of thing before.

"We've got to co-operate, for now," Ankhu said, in Egyptian. Then in halting Greek,"We march for the coast in three days' time. We will attack Caria." Suddenly he thought about Sutaijha. When Chombyses got to hear of this, would he flee, taking her with him? Would he leave her to face the Macedon army? Would he....He looked at his companion and suddenly realised that he was thinking the same thing. But it was too late. The Greek had already gone, and outside the circle of light sped joltingly away from the camp, down a path and was soon swallowed by the black night, unseen by anyone else.

Rosenetka
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-15-00 12:03 ET (US)     72 / 183       
Thanks Xeno51. I wasn't sure about that, but I had faith that my fellow authors would correct me.
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-15-00 16:32 ET (US)     73 / 183       
From the deep shadows of a nearby tree Croeses watched the Greek stranger leave the tent of Khumnhotep and Ankhu. He turned about and swiftly found his commander telling him what he observed...

Suddenly, the flaps to the Egyptians' tent were thrown open and in the dim light Khumnhotep could make out the face of his commander glaring at him. Behind him stood Croeses with his sardonic one-eyed grin... and two hoplites, fully armored and fully armed, swords drawn.

"Take them," ordered the commander. The two hoplites roughly yanked the Egyptians to their feet and shoved them out the opening of the tent and into the midst of four other fully armed hoplites. "March!" directed the commander and all six hoplites closed in and around the Egyptians making it clear they were to follow wherever the hoplites were to go. The march began with the commander and Croeses walking behind the formation of hoplites.

In the late evening light Khumnhotep and Ankhu could only barely see where they were going, but soon it became clear their destination was somewhere in the center of the camp. A large tent, twice the size of the others loomed into view as the march continued straight for its entrance. At the entrance the commander called a halt. He motioned to two hoplites to take the Egyptians into the lighted tent and they in turn followed.

A man stood facing the rear of the tent. He was reading a scroll. The Egyptians could see only the back of the man's head. He stood about 5' 10" tall, strongly built with stout legs. Whether by intent or naturally, his hair curled in all directions. It was golden yellow in color. He turned to face them. It was Alexander, King of Macedonia and Greece. "Yes, Perseus, what is it?"

The two Egyptians held their breath while the commander saluted. "My Lord, I bring you two Persian spies."

Alexander lowered the scroll he was reading. His intense, piercing eyes examined every nuance in the faces of the two accused soldiers. "Spies you say? How do you know this?"

"My aide saw a Greek known to be a Persian collaborator leaving their tent this night."

Alexander turned to Khumnhotep and Ankhu. "Is this true?"

Khumnhotep's mind worked feverishly trying to construct an explanation. Finally he gave up. The truth would have to do. "Yes, My Lord, a Greek did visit us this night."

"Was he seeking information for the Persians?"

"Yes, My Lord."

Alexander continued to question them. "What did you tell him."

"That we would attack in Asia Minor and that Caria was our first target."

"You are Egyptian are you not?" Ankhu nodded. "Why have you chosen to spy for Persians? Are they not hated in your country?"

"My Lord," said Khumnhotep, "my sister is held hostage under threat of death by the magistrate of Caria if we do not spy for him. We do not do this of our own free will. We wish to be rid of the Persians, but my sister's life is precious to me and so I must act as a spy to save her life."

"And you?" asked Alexander looking at Ankhu.

"I am his friend."

"Such love and such loyalty," commented Alexander. "These, Perseus, are the things that make a country and its people strong. You have done well to bring them to me, but not for the reasons you think."

"But, My Lord... I... I don't understand." stammered the commander.

"You will, Commander Perseus, in only a moment. Bring me chairs for these two if you would," said Alexander to the two hoplites standing guard over the prisoners. "Please, Commander take this seat. Soon matters will be much clearer to you."

Ramesses
Pleb
posted 08-15-00 20:57 ET (US)     74 / 183       
this has to be the quickest growing story thread i've ever seen, you miss tons when you are out for just a week and a half

"destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation" -Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-16-00 11:40 ET (US)     75 / 183       
"Commander Perseus," began Alexander. "As I vowed when first we landed across the Hellespont, when I cast my spear and it stuck in the ground of the shore, the lands of Darius would be won by the spear. But as great as the army of Macedonia is, it is not without its limits. The spear shall win great victories, but a bloodless victory is the best of all. Even now there are agents working for me in Caria and all of the cities along the coast to deliver to this army all of these cities without bloodshed. In this way we conserve our strength for the final battle with Darius. Because, Commander, there will be a final battle and it is then the army will need every spear it can muster."

"Yes, Sire. But how do these two Egyptians fit in?"

"We shall see." Alexander addressed the two friends. "Your
names are Khumnhotep and Ankhu, are they not?"

"Yes, Sire," they answered together. "But how did you know?"

"That is not important. But the next question is. On the graves of your ancestors, will you serve me without question?"

The two Egyptians looked at each other and wordless agreement was reached. There were matters at hand that transended even the safety of his sister. "Yes, Sire," they again answered together.

"You ask for nothing in return?" questioned Alexander.

"No Sire. We serve Alexander for Egypt's sake."

Alexander glanced at Perseus and smiled then he turned to the two Egyptians. "I grant you this reward. Continue to serve me as I command, in all things, and your sister shall not come to harm when we take Caria. Her name is Sutaijha is it not?"

"MY LORD! How did you know?!" asked Khumnhotep surprised beyond belief.

"Again, that is not your concern. She will be safe, that is all you need to know. Now leave us." The Egyptians rose from their chairs, saluted and left for their tent.

"Sire, they are so young. Can you put so much faith in them?"

Alexander looked at Perseus and laughed with amusement. "Perseus, I am but one year and a few months older than those two. Would you say the same about me?"

Perseus turned white and gulped, but Alexander's amiable laugh put him at reasonable ease. Nonetheless, Perseus was content to leave Alexander's tent as quickly as possible, breathing deeply in relief once he gained the area outside and 20 steps beyond.

Meanwhile, in Caria...

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