Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Short fiction: The Far Sea

The Far Sea

The young prince sat uncomfortably on the ibis feather pillow. It was affording him no protection from the hard stone floor of the palace. This room without windows had long been the apartment of Huatepec, high priest of Ra. Ramses looked again at the strange metal flower that gave light. He thought back to the death of his brother, Struck down as he had stepped from the chariot of beaten gold. The prince turned back to the high priest.
'The death of your brother was to be expected, my prince,' said Huatepec.
'The metal it was built from, the sacred metal of Ra, you see.'
'Why?' asked Ramses.
The old priest struggled with a large object of odd manufacture, moving it to the table.
'See here,' said Huatepec.
The young prince rose and moved to gaze upon the strange thing. There, on close inspection, Ramses found that the object was made of metal, silver in nature. It had not the feel of silver and consisted of many sheets, beaten to perfection in shape and thickness yet there were no indications that it had ever been beaten. The first was carved in an array of pictures that showed no work of carving. Some images he had seen carved on temple walls yet others were unfamiliar to him.
'What is this?' asked Ramses. The old priest lifted aside the first four metal sheets.
'These are the workings of Ra. Behold!' Huatepec pointed to an image. It almost resembled a djed.
'It looks like a djed,' said Ramses.
'Yes. You are correct, my prince,' said Huatepec.
'The djed is marked with the two main symbols of Ra, indicating its manufacture; and Set, indicating that it nay invite death if handled without the proper tools,' Huatepec paused.
'Here, the small, third symbol indicates that the panels may only be handled safely by reaching through the metal ankh while wearing sandals.' The priest waited for the boy to gain full view of it. 'How does the metal kill?' asked Ramses.
'The light of Ra gives it a power. The gods did not pass on the true nature of the power. Only that it is used with care. '
'You see the great panels of the djed are separated from the earth by these stacked pots are made from a fired clay and encased in molten sand.'
'Just as the bubble and small djed in the light-flower?' asked Ramses.
'Yes,' answered Huatepec.
'The difference is that while the large djed takes it's power from Ra, the clay pot beneath the light-flower contains a combination of two metals which is suspended in a liquid.'
, 'Then they are a different power?' Ramses struggled with the thought.
'No. They are the same energies. The energy is life.'
The priest moved the sheet to reveal the next. The picture was of the dead being passed beneath a djed.
'Here, when people have died, we link them to the earth and the djed at that place where the heart is. Sometimes it is possible to give back the energy of life to the body that has none.' Huatepec paused.
'Where ever the sun shines, there is life,' he spoke softly.
The young prince amazed at the prospect of giving life to the dead.
'What about my brother?' asked the Prince.
'Yes. We did this on the day of his death but he was beyond restoration. Perhaps he had been without the energy of life too long.' Huatepec moved the sheet aside.
'Now we begin. This section describes the island of Atlan across the sea where the gods did dwell. They knew of this land and a great land in the west. Their power reached across the world. They made ships to sail the leavens and flew as the bird flew' the priest trailed off.
'There. Do you see the Symbol of Ra in alignment with these others?' asked Huatepec.
'Yes. What does it mean?'
'They mark an alignment of the heavens that occurred long ago.' Huatepec reached for a bowl of sand.
'Understand that each grain marks the time that the Nile floods and the growing season begins.' Huatepec withdrew fifteen grains from the bowl and placed them in the prince's hand.
'You have lived for this many seasons,' said the high priest as he returned the grains to the bowl.
'Now we continue.' the prince stared at the bowl of sand.
'The gods, of whom you are descended, ruled with great power for things that are now forgotten were known as you know of the horse and chariot.'
'What things?' queried Ramses.
'The light-flower, the djed, restoring life, the secret of flight you must learn to listen my prince.
Your father has expressed these very same concerns about you. '
'Now there arose a degenerate culture in the east who sought to rival the power of the gods. The gods wielded the weapon of power. Thrown from the flying ships, it would destroy whole cities in a storm of fire and create great sickness in a rain of ash.'
'Investigations by the merchant classes have revealed that these people would bathe in a river to wash off the poisoned ash. This bathing in rivers has become a ritual of religion within the remnants of their culture.'
'Then the gods failed to destroy them,' said Ramses.
'No my Prince. The gods destroyed what they had become in the hope that it would show them the true path to enlightenment. They, being a degenerate culture, lave failed to achieve the expectations of the gods.'
'The rule of the gods reached far into the east and then cataclysm struck the realm of the gods and it was swallowed by the sea. The gods ascended to the heavens while the realm of the gods was lost to the few who remained.'
'So there is nothing left but these memories?' asked Ramses.
'No. There are ruins in some places, and it is said that some escaped destruction and journeyed to the lands in the west,' ended Huatepec.
'Now my prince, you must return to the learning of numbers.'
Ramses slid aside the last sheet of metal. There, a script and an image of a snake with wings.
'Huatepec? What does this say?' asked Ramses. The old priest turned and spoke softly.
'This is the beginning of the gods before they knew they were gods. They worshiped beautiful black snakes with black feather wings which, in flight, would reveal all the colours of the world. Realizing that they were gods, they slew the false gods, destroying all trace.'
'Why did they destroy them?' asked Ramses.
'To be free,' whispered Huatepec, returning the metal sheets to their place.
'Now my prince, numbers'. Ramses struggled again with the Ibis feather pillow.
'Huatepec,' said Ramses.
'Yes my prince?' answered the priest.
'One day we must cross the far sea and reclaim the places of the gods.'
‘Yes my prince. One day.’ Replied Huatepec, as he counted out a number of stones from a bowl.

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