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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Story Archives » The Lion And The Hawks - A New Story of Ancient Egypt
Topic Subject:The Lion And The Hawks - A New Story of Ancient Egypt
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Civis Romanus
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.


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).]

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-06-00 22:35 ET (US)     26 / 183       
Redsenet was standing in front of the doorway when Henutsen entered. As soon as she knew that Henutsen saw her, she made the signal that indicated that there are guards near by. She couldn't see them, but she could feel their eyes upon her. This would make things a little bit tricky to discuss the escape plan. She decided that she would stay behind along with Henutsen now that she was being watched by guards like a hawk. They would notice her missing instantly. Which was why Henutsen was staying behind as well, her absence would have been noticed by the princess instantly also. The other three would be going along with two other.
Civis Romanus
posted 08-07-00 11:17 ET (US)     27 / 183       
Ish: Ankhu has no focus writer and is a major character. May I suggest you adopt this character as your own for this story. One other comment, I think the writers intend for "magic" to have a very small role in this story. The herbalist Redsenet's "powers" are more founded in wisdom, logic and skills with herbs as opposed to spell casting. Hope you'll join us.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-07-2000).]

posted 08-07-00 21:14 ET (US)     28 / 183       
I dont think we would mind a little magic as wisewomen in any culture are noted as having some magical skills. Didnt I already mention this in a previous post?
posted 08-08-00 21:26 ET (US)     29 / 183       
Redsenet and Henutsen sat down at the little table in the corner of the room, out of any direct sight of a window.

Redsenet began to talk, telling Henutsen stories of their lives when their mother was alive.

All the while she was talking, she was writing a note to Henutsen, telling her of the plan that was being laid in place for the others to escape.

Henutsen nodded her understanding, and Redsenet continued with her stories.

She then got up and went over to the fire, and threw the papyrus that she was writing on into the fire. They both watched as the flames consumed the note.

Redsenet then took a long stick handy, and stirred up the ashes, and then placed more kindling on the flames, so as to obliterate any trace of the treachery that was being hatched.

She then embraced her younger sister, and they moved about the house, making preparations for the ceremony they were to attend that night..........

Civis Romanus
posted 08-08-00 22:27 ET (US)     30 / 183       
Sethraven: Magic is not excluded from this story.

The desert sun that for centuries had shined on Egypt now lay low on the horizon slowly waiting for the right time to sink and shine no more that day. Shadows lengthened in consort with the setting sun as the procession preceeding and postceeding the body of the dead nobleman made its way by Persian guards posted to hold back the people and hold in the processionals.

Four black-robed figures followed the elevated dais on which lay the nobleman's body, the father of the black robed figures who followed. This was the beginning of the Ceremony of the Opening of the Mouth. The robed figures would remain in their robes until first light the next day, bodies covered, faces covered. A fifth robed figure followed the four, but this figure was robed in grey. Only a very close friend could be honored this way and Ankhu was such a friend. He would be expected to join the others - Redsenet, Henutsen, Khumnhotep and Sutaija - in the all night vigil in Redsenet's hut that would conclude the ceremony.

Except, they would not all five be there. Redsenet and Henutsen, yes... but the other three would be replaced by surrogates so that Khumnhotep, Sutaija and Ankhu could make good their escape into the night right under the despicable noses of their Persian masters. Their only fear... how observant would the Persian guards be when the switch is made? How long before the three would be discovered as missing? Would the Persians believe Redsenet's and Henutsen's story of their death and burial in the desert? Many worries, indeed... but worries that were far outweighed by the promise and joy of expected freedom.

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

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-09-00 00:02 ET (US)     31 / 183       
Following behind the five robed figures were the other relatives of the deceased nobleman named Petamenhotep. The females of these relatives wailed and tore their cloths and hair to show their grief.

When they reached the burial chamber they placed the dais upright with their father, against a heap of sand. Then Khumnhotep proceeded towards his father. He would be the human representative of Horus vindicating his father, the human representative of Osiris. Redsenet and Henutsen were the human representatives of Isis and Nephthys mourning for the dead Osiris. Khumnhotep touched the mouth, eyes and nose with the various implements that Sutaijha had gathered. This was done in order to restore the senses and enable the ba to return. Then Sutaijha and Ankhu proceeded forward to offer the deceased food, drink and incense. This offering would strengthen the ka of the deceased and it then could eventually reunite with the ba.

Then Khumnhotep recited the poem
You have gone away to live.
You have not gone away to die.
You have gone away to become akh among the akhs.1

When he was done reciting the poem the dais cariers placed Petamenhotep inside of his coffin, then placed the lid ontop. The cariers, Khumnhotep and Ankhu lowered the coffin into the sarcophagus, which was already placed inside of the burial chamber, along with the grave goods and the canopic jars. They then placed the lid of the sarcophagus on; then proceeded to fill up the burial chamber with the stones and rubble that had been gathered for this purpose.

After this, all five went to the feast along with the other mourners. It was held at the place of their aunt from their mother's side. It was during this feast that Khumnhotep, Sutaijha and Ankhu traded garments with the three surrogates, who were elderly relatives of theirs. They slipped out into the darkened streets using the confusion of the other mourners who were coming and leaving the feast. After the feast Redsenet and Henutsen along with the three surrogates went to Redsenet's place for the vigil.

"So far, so good", stated Redsenet under her breath to Henutsen. "The guards do not seem to have noticed the switch. Let us pray that they will travel far and safely before they are noticed missing."

"I pary that my husband, Maatkare is still alive, and I also pray that their paths will cross. I instructed Khumnhotep that if he should see Maatkare to tell him that I love him greatly, I miss him much and that Princess Farida treats me well." Henutsen whispered for only Redsenet to hear.

1 pg 175, Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt, Zahi Hawass

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 08-09-00 11:38 ET (US)     32 / 183       
They lived not in a walled complex, but in a city along a caravan route that paralleled the Great Sea (Mediterranean) to the north and passed through the delta of the Nile from the east. To the northeast was the Sinai, a desert too great to pass without provisions, and they had only the packs on their backs to sustain them. Not enough, they knew, to survive the heat and dryness of the Sinai. Their only escape could be by sea and so this had become their plan.

Willing captains... for a fee... would smuggle Egyptians out of Egypt and had been for years. Persians knew of the trade and had uncovered a few stowaways, but the soldiers of Persia were less than eager to disrupt the additional income brought to them by the bribes paid by smugglers. And besides, there were enough Egyptians in the land to ensure a steady supply of slaves for brick-making and other labors. The money was good and the loss was hardly felt so most Persians looked the other way so long as coin jingled in their pouches.

Before leaving the encampment, the three escapees unburied their cache of coins and then made for the small port nearby. It was a place where ships were repaired and this usually was the only reason a vessel was there. They were in luck. A ship was ready to sail and the captain was willing to accept them aboard for the usual fee. Their coins reduced but not gone, Ankhu, Sutaijha and Khumnhotep found small places in the empty hold in which to stay during the voyage that would take them to Athens.

So far so good, they thought. But they had not expected that the god of the Great Sea would pick their ship to strike with wind and wave and play with it on the open waters as if it were the god's own toy. Now they lay on a shore of Asia Minor soaked, hungry and coinless among the few remaining splintered planks of the shattered ship. Softly quiet waves were gently breaking at their feet as all three lay exhausted and nearly drowned on the warm sand of the beach.

posted 08-09-00 12:00 ET (US)     33 / 183       
The Field of Reeds glistened in the midday sun. Workers in the distance tilled the fields in lieu of their reborn masters ploughing, sowing and watering....Watering, watering...He watched a cascade of water gently fall in an arc until....

The water was cold on his face.

"Name yourself, stranger."

Ankhu rubbed his eyes, then sat up. The others followed suit, having also been splashed with water. Before them stood a tall, imposing man, his beard made up in curls. His robes were rich and carefully draped. Around him stood his attendants.

"I am Ankhu, from Egypt. These are my companions, Sutaijha and Khmunhotep. We are running away from our cruel Persian overlords." He did not, could not know where he was.

"Very well. Now I will tell you who I am. I am Chombyses of Caria, magistrate of Halicarnasuss and loyal subject of Darius III, King of Kings, the Great King, overlord of Lydia, Media, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Maurya and Egypt." He motioned to his attendants. "Bind them firmly. We are going back to the city."

[This message has been edited by Xeno51 (edited 08-09-2000).]

posted 08-09-00 19:36 ET (US)     34 / 183       
Bastavar woke up in a foul mood. Those Egyptians were so noisy, even in their time of mourning. Complicated people with their elaborate religious ceremonies... That headache would not go away. The governor sent for Redsenet. She always had special herbs to soothe away pain.

Redsenet was quite surprised to see the guards come for her so early. Surely, she thought, the escape would not be discovered until the sun was high in the sky...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Palace...

Henutsen rose at dawn as she did every day. She felt restless. Nevertheless, she tended to her duties, offering water to the thirsty workers in the field. Later, she attended to the Princess' needs as usual. However, Farida had a worried look on her face.

- I have learned from reliable sources...

The Princess stopped in mid-sentence to observe the effect on the young girl. Henutsen tried to look midly interested. She knew that the Princess relied upon spies for most of the information she acquired. Some Egyptian slaves were willing to supply information in exchange for an easier life.

- ... that your brother is difficult to find this morning, the Princess finished.

Henutsen grew pale. She felt uncertain of the best approach to use. Should she beg for mercy or deny any knowledge of the affair? She tried to say something but she remained speechless. The Princess made the choice easier.

- Henutsen, she continued, I wish you no harm. Remember that.

With a gesture, she dismissed the slave girl. Farida then turned around and gazed at the Egyptian plains. Her thoughts were trying to reach into the future. "Remember that, when your family rules this land again, little Henutsen. For then, my family will go back to Persia in disgrace..."

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-09-00 21:46 ET (US)     35 / 183       
"Hag. The satrap Bastavar requires your presence to rid a headache.", snarled one of the palace guards.

"Okay, wait a moment while I get some herbs for his headache. She gathered up different herbs for the different types of headaches that are posible. I'm ready now." she said aloud. To herself she thought, "My brother, sister and Ankhu have not been discovered missing yet. This is good. Means that when they are discovered, their chances to reach Greece will be greater." She followed the palace guards.

[This message has been edited by Rosenetka (edited 08-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 08-10-00 16:12 ET (US)     36 / 183       
Bound and in rags, the trio of shipwrecked Egyptian youths found themselves standing before the magistrate Chombyses in his palace Receiving Hall. Guards on three sides commanded by the Captain of the Guards pushed them forward to stand closer to the magistrate's chair as he addressed them.

"Why have you sought to escape from Egypt? And I suggest you tell the truth or your lives will be short indeed," warned Chombyses.

Kumnhotep answered for the three. "We are slaves and seek our freedom, nothing more, nothing less."

"It seems you were known to the captain of the ship and other sailors who survived... Oh, you didn't know. We found them on a beach further south. The captain says he came from the same city as you and knew of your father. So two of you are of noble birth in Egypt, is that right?"

"Yes, magistrate."

"I gathered as much. The captain said he overheard you speaking Greek from time to time, practising as it were, or so he surmised."

"That is true. My father saw that I was taught Greek since our family was a family of traders and Greek was the language we spoke in matters of trade."

The magistrate Chombyses leaned forward in his chair. "Not Persian?"

"No, magistrate. We traded with Greeks long before Persians made Egypt their land."

"Your name is Khumnhotep is it not?" asked Chombyses. The youth nodded. "And the girl is Sutaijha, your sister?" Khumnhotep nodded again. "Well, Egyptian, it is normally our practice to put all runaway slaves to death... but there is a way to avoid this."

For the first time Ankhu spoke. "Take my life magistrate and let the girl live! This escape was not her doing. We forced her to come!"

Sutaijha protested as loud as her voice could carry. "No, he is just trying to save me. I told them to do this or I would kill myself! Let them live, magistrate, take my life!"

Khumnhoptep was aghast. "Sister! What are you saying! That is not true, Magistrate. She lies to save us and sacrifice herself!"

Chombyses ended the discord, "SILENCE - ALL OF YOU!" Startled, the Egyptians ceased to speak. The magistrate continued. "Each of you seem to be very interested in sacrificing yourselves for the others. Hmmmmm... I have an alternative idea. I need spies to tell me the movements of the Child Warrior of Macedonia. I have been advised that Alexander accepts Egyptians into his army. We have spies in the area but none inside his army. You become my spies and your sister lives in comfort until your mission is ended, then you will all three be freed. You decline my offer and all three of you will die. You fail this mission, and your sister's life is forfeit. Is your choice clear?"

"Yes, magistrate."

"You have until tomorrow morning to consider this choice. Captain, see to it they are fed, clothed and housed in this palace; but guard them closely. They may not leave their room without full escort."

The Captain of the Guards saluted and turned the prisoners about pushing them out of the door to the hall. They were guided down the hallway into a large room with high, unscalable windows, but otherwise furnished as would be a typical guest room. Their bindings were removed and they were free to move about the room; but the double door was closed and bolted from the outside. Ankhu knew this as he tried to open the doors, could not and received a guard's gruff warning in response. The three Egyptians sat down on the carpeted floor to discuss the choices given to them by Chombyses.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-10-2000).]

posted 08-10-00 16:14 ET (US)     37 / 183       
As they walked toward the governor's house, the guard was trailing slightly behind Redsenet.

Redsenet was ignoring him, and thinking all the while.

Soon she began to realize that he wasn't right behind her anymore.

She turned to look for him, and saw him sitting by the well, looking decidedly green. She walked back over by him.

"What is the matter?" she asked him.

"All of a sudden, I started feeling really bad, and I haven't a clue as to why," he remarked.

"Well, it has been very warm today, and the humidity IS rather high." Redsenet commented.

She was thinking to herself.....He SHOULDN"T have called me a hag...............

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-10-00 17:38 ET (US)     38 / 183       
Nice touch MRed94.

"This is your chance for freedom, Khumnhotep and Ankhu." Sutaijha raised her hand to silence their protests. "I can look after myself, do not worry about me. The freedom of our people is worth more than my own life."

The two knew what she was instructing them to do. They were to falsely except the mission but not actually spy.

They were given clean cloths to change into. Shortly after that food was delivered to their room. They ate the food. But to Khumnhotep and Ankhu, the food did not have any taste to it. The idea of leaving Sutaijha behind to be killed if they did not spy for Chombyses, did not sit well with them.

Sutaijha had a plan.

Civis Romanus
posted 08-10-00 21:36 ET (US)     39 / 183       
I want to take just a moment to complement all of you on how well this story is being structured, being written and how well you are all working together. Thanks!


Sutaijha kept her plan to herself for the moment thinking it best her brother and Ankhu knew as little as possible. That way they would not reveal her plan should they be interrogated 'the Persian way'. Instead she told them once more that she would be safe. After all, isn't the magistrate treating them all reasonably well this very moment? So long as they cooperate (or seem to be cooperating), she insisted, they will all be safe.

The two young men couldn't come up with a compelling argument against Sutaijha so they agreed to do as she recommended. Nonetheless, they slept uneasily that night knowing that in the morning they would have to accept the magistrate's offer and leave Sutaijha behind.



Chombyses looked the three Egyptians over noting that they were now properly clothed, cleaned, groomed and reasonably well fed. His eyes paused a little longer on Sutaijha as he noted that freshened up she was certainly not an unattractive young girl... well, for an Egyptian anyway.

"Have you decided?" asked the magistrate.

The two young men hesitated. It was Sutaijha who spoke up in their place. "We have, magistrate. I will stay. They will spy out the Macedonian camp where they find it and give you the information you need."

"Excellent!" exclaimed Chombyses. "I had every expectation you would accept this part of my offer, and I have not been disappointed. He smiled at the irony of his words. "Regardless, I assure you that no harm will come to Sutaijha in this palace if you do as I bid. And yes, you will all be free to leave when your mission is completed. I say this on my honor as a Persian." This gave all three Egyptians very little comfort, but they knew the die was cast.

The magistrate continued. "Think of it this way, my three foundlings, you belong to the Lion now, the Winged Lion of Persia; and one of you is the songbird who's song will call to you until the mission is done. And you two are the hawks who will seek your prey and then return to where the songbird sings freeing her with what you learn... Ahhhh! I do so like metaphors." The magistrate leaned back in his chair very pleased with himself. "The Lion and the Hawks, how very creative," he said to no one in particular.

Then his expression changed noticeably. "Now here's what you "hawks" are to do..."

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-10-2000).]

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-10-00 23:44 ET (US)     40 / 183       
You are welcome Civic Romanus. Have a question: isn't Chombyses Carian not Persian....or am i mistaken? Just a piece of info: the king of Caria was Pixodarus who shared his powers with the satrap Orontobates. Orontobates was a son-in-law of Darius III.
posted 08-11-00 00:20 ET (US)     41 / 183       
Thanks for the compliments, Civis. I'm glad to see you like it. Had you planned that "Lion and Hawks" metaphor from the beginning? I was wondering where you got that title... BTW, your posts are always so well written, and full of surprises!
posted 08-11-00 09:17 ET (US)     42 / 183       
Perhaps Nedsenet isn't that young after all. I mean, during that time, people lived shorter, so the real productive age was the teens, and by the time you reach the twenties you're rather wizened already. Alexander was only in the teens(I think) when he lead his army across the Middle East. Even the guard who called Nedsenet 'hag' could be, say, eighteen or nineteen.

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-11-2000).]

posted 08-11-00 09:21 ET (US)     43 / 183       
Rosenetka, although I said Chombyses was Carian, he is a representative of the King, so he's ne of "them". That he may not be of Aryan ethnic origin doesn't matter.

Quietly Redsenet unpacked the herbs and slowly sprinkled them into a pot on a brazier in the centre of the guardroom. When it was ready, she covered it with a cloth and took it to Bastavar. "Inhale, o satrap, she said, holding the pot to his nose. He inhaled, and at once the pain subsided. "Now drink," she commanded, and the headache disapppeared without trace. After that mischievious moment previously, she had quickly resumed her normal plain, serious self.
"I feel much better," declared Bastavar, looking pleased with both himself and the herbalist. "You can go now, wise woman. Bastavar is satisfied with you."

How do we bring these two threads together?

"This plan has been waiting precisely for this occasion," said Chombyses.He took from a shelf an official scroll from Susa, come one month earlier. "In 480 BC, Xerxes the King's ancestor crossed into Greece by building a bridge across the Hellespont, where Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace almost touch. The Macedonians know that, so you will go another way. Tomorrow you will board a covered cart, bound for a location in Ionia. We have informers aplenty in that subversive region, and troops too, so don't try anything. You will board a ship - its location will be given to you - claiming to be runaway Egyptian slaves going to join Alexander's army - which is true enough. Those eager Greek fools will greet you with open arms. Once you have arrived, one final contact will give you your instructions - by word of mouth, of course. Those are your orders. Failure-" he snapped the scroll shut- "will not be tolerated.You know what that means," he said, and pointed towards the cells.

posted 08-11-00 09:54 ET (US)     44 / 183       
As Khmunhotep and Ankhu listened to Chombyses rapidly firing off instructions about what to do, where to go, and who to assassinate if things went too wrong, (frequently saying happily, "Brilliant plan isn't it? I thought it up all by myself. Tells you something about lions doesn't it?") Henutsen brought Farida water to cool off from a hot, dry Egyptian day.

Farida seemed restless today. Even before Henutsen gave her the water, she began to make conversation.

"Do you know that yet another Greek trade ship has sunk? It left port just - oh yes, just after the Opening of Mouth of your father's- and swiftly expired in the Great Green Sea. Tells you something about Greeks nowadays. Call themselves Sea People and can't even steer a ship properly. What do you think, Henutsen?"

Henutsen almost dropped the water she was carrying. Greek ship? Just after the Opening of Mouth? What about Sutaijha, or Khmunhotep, or Ankhu? Were they ... DEAD? She stood there, eyes wide open, her heart sinking horribly.

"Are you alright Henutsen?" Farida asked concernedly. Then, suddenly, she had a very strange look on her face, and looked as if she was about to ask something, but didn't. Her eyes darted over Henutsen's face very swiftly, as if she was trying to read Henutsen's expression.

Henutsen quickly regained her composure. She feigned a smile, and gave the water to Farida. "It's perfectly fine. I just had a spell of dizziness. Must be the heat."

"Oh, alright then," Farida said, but she didn't look very convinced. Casting one last suspicious glance at Henutsen, she told her out of the room.

The rest of the day passed terribly. Throughout the day Henutsen was attacked by pangs of worry and fear, and she could not do anything properly - indeed, her vision swam with every step she took.

When Henutsen got leave for the afternoon, she went to the docks and checked the ships leaving the docks during that fateful night, and, sure enough, there was only one ship that night, which meant that the three escaped Egyptians were on the doomed, the sunken ship.

As soon as Henutsen knew that, she began running for Redsenet's apothecary. Redsenet will make it alright, she told herself. Redsenet will tell her the fates of the three Egyptians. Redsenet will save them. Redsenet is a seer, a prophet, a wise woman. Redsenet will keep cool, keep logical, and she would know what to do.

Suddenly, as her legs carried swiftly along that road - that road to the apothecary which she knew so well - the road on which she, Khmunhotep, Sutaijha, Ankhu, Maatkare, and Redsenet played when they were small, the road where she and Maatkare first fell in love, the road with so many joyful - and painful - memories, Henutsen felt her body quiver. She began to cry, and tears wetted the path where once all of them made footfall in a time without tears, without pain, only with compassion and happiness.

[This message has been edited by JW (edited 08-11-2000).]

posted 08-11-00 10:03 ET (US)     45 / 183       
Rosenetka, I hope this doesn't take away from your idea of Sutaijha's plan... Let me know.

As Khumnhotep and Ankhu were leaving, Sutaijha remained in the Great Hall, while Chombyses sat in his throne. He was looking intently at Sutaijha's sad face, and thought he could also detect a rebellious spirit as she looked away.

- Well, he said, I told those two Egyptians you would be safe. He paused for a while, then started to speak slowly as if to give importance to each word. "And you will be. You... and your husband.

The words had come as a blow to Sutaijha, who suddenly grew pale.

- Have you not heard?, she said. I am widowed.

Chombyses looked at her with a wry, ironic smile. He was truly enjoying this.

- Were, my dear... Were... Within seven days, you will be married.

Sutaijha suddenly felt the last of the strength had left her. Surely, she thought, this man must have a heart. She thought she would appeal to him.

- Please, Magistrate, she pleaded, in respect for my husband's memory... As she was getting agitated, two guards seized her, and kept her still.

Chombyses looked coldly at Sutaijha.

- I want you to become a good wife to the captain of my personal guard. You will give him many children, for the greater glory of the Persian Empire. The wedding will take place in seven days. Your opinion is not important.

Sutaijha had calmed down and looked resigned. Seeing this, the guards let go of her. She came closer to the throne, and spoke slowly.

- Then I'll kill myself, she said, looking determined. She briefly thought of all the potent concoctions she had learned to use as Redsenet's assistant.

- Ha! Chombyses replied, getting restless. You won't get a chance! I will have you watched closely. Chombyses turned around, as if he were thinking, and silence descended upon the Great Hall. Then, he turned toward Sutaijha again, and smiled.

- However, as a gesture of goodwill, I am ... willing, to have you meet your groom tonight.

Little did Sutaijha know that the captain of the Magistrate's personal guard and her future husband was Egyptian-born. His mother was, however, Carian. The captain of the guard did not like the Persian oppressive rule any more than Sutaijha did, and was secretly planning a revolt with the slaves.

[This message has been edited by Fortuna (edited 08-11-2000).]

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-11-00 12:51 ET (US)     46 / 183       
I love it Fortuna. I didn't have a plan myself, other than a vague idea that she would escape somehow. I was hoping someone would be able to come up with a good one.

After Henutsen regained herself she continued towards Redsenet's place. She stormed into Redsenet's place, franticaly looking for her. Redsenet was still on her way from the palace. When Redsenet arrived at her place she saw Henutsen in a panic. "What's wrong? Did that construction site guard do anything to you?" As she ran towards Henutsen.

"No! It's worse. The ship. The ship, it sank. Tell me everything is alright. Please tell me everything is alright." Sobing and her voice almost screaching.

"Everything is alright. I had no dreams about them dying. Everything is alright, Henutsen. They are still alive. I can feel it in my bones. They most likely swam to shore and are safe. Do not worry my little sister. Everything is alright. How did you hear about this?" holding Henutsen in her arms all the while.

Henutsen looked up at Redsenet and told her that she had heard about this from Princess Farida, in between sobs.

"Come here, I will give you something to calm you down. Okay?" She proceeded to brew a tea for Henutsen. In the back of her mind she asked herself, "Were are they?"

Civis Romanus
posted 08-11-00 16:04 ET (US)     47 / 183       
Fortuna: Actually, yes. I did have this metaphor in mind when I titled this story thread. I visualized the general plot and decided it would work. Then all I needed to do was wait for an appropriate moment to introduce the metaphor and link it to the story title. Glad you like my surprises. The fun part for me in doing these stories is finding ways to entertain with twists and unexpected events. Hope its fun for all of you too.
JW: Welcome! Great first post! Nice touch with the added emotions. Don't hesitate to do more of the same.
Rosenetka and Xeno51: Actually, I slipped up a little in my sentence construction. I meant to imply Chombyses was Carian but so strongly allied with the Persians he thought and spoke as they would, as if his Carian heritage were insignificant. I didn't do a good job of it, so it seems. Oh well.


A servant entered the Hall where Chombyses sat, approached the magistrate, bowed and whispered something in his ear. Chombyses' frown deepened and he looked down obviously thinking about something other than Sutaijha. A moistness seemed to form in the corner of his eyes and his face reddened with the effort of trying to contain his tears.

Sutaijha was less than sympathetic but curious nonetheless. "What disturbs you magistrate, that I do not approve of your choice for my 'husband' The answer was not what she expected.

"No, your protest is as nothing to me. If you must know, my only son is gravely ill. His condition has worsened. Our physicians (those incompetent fools) cannot cure him. They give me word now that he has maybe a few weeks or months to live. It is his fate to die before the year is out. And they can do nothing."

Sutaijha considered rejoicing in the prospect of harm befalling the magistrate's son, but deep within an opposite emotion took hold and then a new plan found its way into her mind. She took a chance. "Chombyses, my sister Redsenet is renowned as a healer in the land of Egypt. Our younger sister, Henutsen, is her able assistant. Call for them. I am sure the Satrap will heed your call and send them to you. Afterall, you are both noble brethren under King Darius."

Chombyses looked at her with renewed interest. "And if I do and they indeed heal my son what do you expect in return as your reward."

"For you to keep your word to the three of us and to give us safe passage to wherever we choose to go, that is all. It is really little more than before and you will have your son healthy and back with you again."

"You are so sure, are you, Egyptian girl?"

"I am sure of my sister's abilities. Your son is as good as lost unless she is given the chance."

"For your sake, foundling, I hope you are right. I shall send for this Redsenet and Henutsen. Scribe! Take this message and see that it is relayed to the Satrap Bastavar in Egypt by the fastest means possible." He turned to Sutaijha and said, "I warn you, girl, if this is a trick you and all whom you know shall pay dearly for your treachery."

Sutaijha said nothing in reply. Redsenet could heal his son, possibly... And yes, it was a trick, devious yet necessary... and full of risk.


Khumnhotep and Ankhu bounced along in a cart, uncomfortable in its crowded seats and exposed to the heat of the midday sun. The mule in front contributed little to their comfort as it filled their nostrils with its unique scent boiled from its hide by the everpresent sun.

Ankhu looked at Khumnhotep and said, "Want to trade places with Sutaijha?" Khumnhotep snorted in reply. Ionia was only a short distance away and he would rather think about that instead of his sister, the sun or the mule.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-11-2000).]

posted 08-11-00 18:21 ET (US)     48 / 183       

It was getting late in the day when they arrived; hardly a fine time for sailing. The town was a small one, but when the two Egyptians were brusquely shunted out and left alone, they hardly knew where to go. "Well, we can't do worse than go towards the sea, can we?" Ankhu pointed out. Khmunhotep followed, still moody.

As they approached the port they saw a small crowd outside a little temple. As they passed, Ankhu felt something hard press against his fingers. He raised his hand to find a roughly cut clay tablet in it, with a drawing of a small tub-shaped ship, such as were typically used for trade in these parts. The tablet was still soft and unbaked.

"Look at this," he said to Khmunhotep. "It's certainly a message."

Sure enough, there at the end of the port sat exactly such a ship, with several Greek-looking types milling around it. Next to it was a Persian warship, with its huge, staring prow eye. As they approached a loud clattering was heard, and messenger on horseback appeared, galloping down the street. He stopped before the ship. "Are you the captain?" he cried to a bearded sailor resting against the rail. "No, but I'm his mate," the man replied slowly. "Tell your captain to set sail for Egypt," he told him. "Under whose authority?" the sailor asked, unmoved. "Chombyses the Magistrate! I have a message for the satrap," came the sharp reply. At this the sailor suggested he come on board.

Ankhu stared at his companion. "Hey, did you hear that? He's going toBastavar!"

"Well, we can't follow him, if that's what you're thinking."

"No, but maybe we can somehow - I don't know - tell Henutsen we're safe." He thought. But how? He dug into his pocket and pulled out a little amulet he had kept by him all his life, though its material value was negligible. While the messenger talked on deck, he went up to the horse, opened its saddle bag and - yes, there was a scroll. He stuffed the amulet in so that it was jammed tight. Then he backed away, just in time to see the messenger come back down the gangplank.

"Come on. I know it's silly really, but it's all we can do."

Khmunhotep, who had kept quiet until now, said, "But what if they do find out? Howcan that help us?"

"Well, at least it gives them a chance," Ankhu replied, "and whilethere's a chance, we can be hopeful."

They had no difficulty in presenting themselves on the correct ship; it was, as the captain between fits of giggling pointed out, taking Ionian Greek refugees to Greece to join the army, under the Persians' nose, or rather warship. Before long they had set sail.

[This message has been edited by Xeno51 (edited 08-11-2000).]

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 08-11-00 20:54 ET (US)     49 / 183       
Back at Chombyses palace, Sutaijha was waiting in the room with dread. This night Chombyses's captain of his personal guards, that Chombyses had planned to wed Sutaijha, was to meet her. She was being prepared for this meeting by some of the servants. Grooming, Carian clothing and jewelry were placed upon her. One of the servants spoke to her in Carian. The only word that she could pick out was Ekrem, she assumed that this must be the name of the captain of Chombyses's personal guards. When the servants were done with Sutaijha, they looked at her and smiled as if pleased, then left the room. She was alone, unsure of her future, yet determined to take control of it's outcome.

That night the captain of Chombyses's personal guards entered the room that Sutaijha was being held in. "Hi, my name is Ekrem." He spoke in broken egyptian. Sutaijha couldn't believe what she was seeing. He looked like an Egyptian with Carian hair and beard. "Be not afraid on me, I will not harm you."

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

posted 08-11-00 22:00 ET (US)     50 / 183       
The captain of the ship that was carrying the message to the Satrap was a nosey fellow; he often inspected private cargo, just to see what his warriors were carrying. And the message was no different. When he was alone that night in his cabin he untied the ribbon and read the message.

It was relatively unimportant to him, it contained no info to the whereabouts of treasure or other items of value. Just a command to send to egyptian girls to Caria

What did catch his eye was the medallion that the two egyptians had placed in the pouch of the guard. It sparkled in the lamp light. there were arcane letters etched around the edge of the medalion that encompassed a glowing blue gem. To the ship captian the magical properties meant little, but such a trinket could fetch him several hundred gold coins.
He wrapped it in an oily cloth and secured it in a small chest in his sea chest.

The medalion, however was not for long in the seachest in the captains cabin, it shimmered in its old tattered cloth and then then disappeared.

Several days later the ship arrived at the port and a messanger was dispatched from the ship to the Satrap's palace.

Redsenet was walking back to the palace with a pot full of water when she was nearly knocked off her feet by the Persian guard.

--Filthy Persian-- She tought to herself. She then noticed as a shiny gold object dropped from the pouch the man was carrying. She rushed over to it and grabbed it up before anyone seen it. Her heart seemed to get caught in her throat as she noticed that it was the same medalion her brother always wore. She looked into the gem and saw the blurry faces of her brother, sister, and Ankhu--and knew they were safe.
She hid the medalion under her clothes and tried not to run to the palace to tell her Henutsen that her sblings were alive...

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

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