Outlines of Retrostar Chronicles



Scenario I, Scenario II, Scenario III

Scenario I, Sophia Bers, a Moscow court physician's daughter is engaged to a dissolute, young count (later known to the world as the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy) and her unforgiving reaction to his innumerable adulteries and affairs provides the catalyst to a series of Chaos Theory events that, like dominoes, winds through one country after another until the Titanic (which is in part a product of Sophia Bers' unforgiving response to her fiance's lifestyle and is inextricably linked to her destiny) is launched on its fatal maiden voyage. Scenario II, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a Lakota Sioux Indian boy with degenerative Cerebral Palsy conveys a warning about the future (a future that has already begun eight decades previously with a certain White Star liner in ANNO 1912). Scenario III, Sophia and Lev, the engaged couple in Scenario I, pay a special visit on a staretz, holy man of prophetic gifts, residing in the a Kremlin monastery and through him gain knowledge of the disasters (also the coming renaissance of the spirit) that will befall Holy Russia.

Chronicle One, ANNO STELLAE (Year of the Star) 1912 Part 1. The Belfast Colossus Irish ship builders Harland and Woolf construct the world’s biggest and most luxurious ship for the White Star Line (a subsidiary of the IMC, a Pierpont Morgan combine). The captains of industry are justly proud. With this behemoth and two like it they aim to play the winning card in the game of transatlantic commerce and passenger traffic. The murder of Marty Yeager, a temporary laborer, on board the ship is covered up by a crew of workmen who follow a bullying foreman like dogs on a leash. Just before launch the body is hidden in the forepeak, and the gang retires to a pub to forget the incident. But the crime is not the sort that could be covered up indefinitely. The corpse begins to transmit a radio signal, a distress call, which becomes so powerful it leaves the planet far behind and draws a response from deep space, from a crafty and enormously powerful rogue or “retro-star” that was already alerted by a previous transmission using the same call letters.

2. Night of the Tornnarsuk An Inuk tribesman camps on the Humboldt Glacier, Greenland’s largest, where it meets the sea at Kane Basin. An otherwise ordinary evening is interrupted by a star that falls from the sky as he watches. The Inuk is amused as it shrinks down to a spark, and he tries to catch it in his hand. The next thing he knows he is tumbling away, his clothes badly scorched or on fire. Astonished, he tries to make sense of the incident. What is this thing fallen from the stars? He tries to follow it and ends up on a falling, newly calved iceberg plummeting ten thousand feet into the icy inferno of Kane Basin.

3. “What, have we hit anything?” After outfitting and some trial tests, the fashionable, brand-new White Star liner steams from Britain with over 2,000 passengers, including top political figures, renowned artists, John Jacob Astor and his pregnant bride, and the cream of Anglo-American society. Nearing the New World, only 400 miles off Newfoundland, the ship is met by a free-swimming iceberg that moves like it has a mind of its own.

4. Pursuit Captain MacAdoo, retired from Standard Oil and doing personal research into strange phenomena of the sea, happens to sight the iceberg as it heads against the current toward the on-coming liner. He radios the ship with a warning, but he is ignored and the ship and iceberg converge. In the last minutes before collision, the iceberg is sighted by the ship’s lookout and the liner turns to avoid it. It is a close brush, the ship and the iceberg passing within a space of several hundred yards. Captain MacAdoo maneuvers his small steam yacht along the liner’s side where the passing iceberg might have caused damage. He finds none and reports it to the bridge. Leaving, he continues on after the retreating iceberg, which is now proceeding north, back toward its point of origin, Northwest Greenland. Nothing is seen or heard of him again--not for centuries.

5. Mystery Stone A star that fell from the sky over Northwest Greenland and calved an iceberg was the same that re-locates to Britain after the sinking of the White Star liner off Newfoundland. Looking like a jewel, it drops onto a popular beach on the Isle of Man and is taken away by a rock hound and widow of modest, independent means, Mrs. Victoria Cuthbertson. With the stone in her possession, her character and life change radically. Her quest for power grows to the point she not only becomes the world’s richest women but seeks great political position. Then a vessel in her brain bursts and she spends her remaining years a vegetable in a nursing home.

Chronicle Two, ANNO STELLAE 1918 Visions from Space An Austrian corporal on the German Western Front encounters a red-flaming star and experiences visions that he later applies to Germany with terrible consequences to the whole world.

Chronicle Three, ANNO STELLAE 1924

Part 1. The East Gate Ancient Egyptians believed Paradise lay in the West, yet in the Hebrew scriptures the Garden of Eden was said to have an eastern approach, out of which the first man and woman were driven. To Harold Carter, stumbling down a newly, mysteriously excavated entrance to a lost tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, it truly seems he has found the gate to lost innocence and beauty as he peers through a hole he poked in the outer sealed door. What was that horrific red flash he had seen moments before and the tremendous cloud of dust that flew up around it? He has run and almost broken his neck in his haste to follow the fiery light, only to find the greatest trove of treasure and splendor from Pharaonic times the world had ever seen--Tutankhamun’s tomb.

2. Carter’s Pill;

3. Carter’s Royal Sphinx Turkish Cigarettes The archeologist discovers that fame comes with a stiff price. Everyone knows him now, and he cannot escape drawing attention. His fame also inflames the suspicions of a former employer and now a colleague, Professor Theodore Davis. He and Lady Evelyn Herbert pounce on him as he is excavating a mysterious shaft that opened up by the flank of the Sphinx just after another sighting of the “Red Mystery Light.” It fares ill for them, as Carter is in no mood to let them stop him. They end up immured in the chambers--together with artifacts that seem to be survivals of the lost island-continent of Atlantis. Carter seals over the excavation, determined to tell no one of what he found, nor of the whereabouts of Davis and Lady Herbert. From that point on his troubles increase dramatically. He isn’t killed by them, but he is definitely haunted. As for the Atlantean “archives” deep beneath the Sphinx, Carter proves he can keep a secret, especially since he fears his reputation would be ruined and his Tutankhamun Tomb eclipsed if the archives were ever discovered. And--except for a tiny pill-shaped communicating device that allows him to speak to anyone he wishes to, regardless of the distance, and hear their responses--there is no incriminating evidence. This item, however, gets him into considerable trouble with a young English lady on the train from Cairo to Asyut. It was the same artifact from Tutankhamun’s tomb that first ignited the suspicions of Lord Carnarvon’s daughter when she heard from Mehmet that he had taken it.

4. G-EAOU An international aeroplane contest worth 10,000 pounds converges with mysterious flare-like eruptions from the Sphinx, and a Vickers Vimy with the registration lettering G-EAOU and crew end up on Mars--a freeze-dried museum exhibit for future space explorers to puzzle over.

Chronicle Four, ANNO STELLAE 1939

Part 1. The Polar King The Polar King, an important piece of American scientific and technological know-how, the first ATV of millions to come, breaks down repeatedly on its maiden run from Chicago to Boston, where it is scheduled to be delivered to Admiral Byrd for his South Pole expedition. Its creator, the renowned Dr. Poulett, is later killed in a mysterious crash of the Great Northern express with an unknown object on the track. A total disappointment at the time, the Polar King is abandoned in Antarctica, but centuries later the Polar King plays its chief role.

2. Convergence in Tinsel Town The filming of the MGM epic, Messiah, starring Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer, is interrupted by the sudden emergence of a real Egyptian pyramid on the set. It’s a pyramid as the ancients knew, complete with solid gold apex and a casing of gleaming, white Tura limestone. The reddish gold shone like fire in the California sunshine, just as it had to ancient Greek tourists, who named the structures pyramids--for “fire in the middle.” Everyone thinks it is some colossal joke of Sam Goldwyn’s. Rather than deny it he capitalizes on the tremendous publicity the pyramid generates to promote his next major film, Cleopatra, starring Claudette Colbert (The “Sphinx” of the Silver Screen, Garbo, declining the role, which she says is too vulgar).

Chronicle Five, ANNO STELLAE 1967 Part 1. “Act of God” The U.S. aircraft carrier, Ticonderoga, loses a Skyhawk trainer carrying an H-bomb, and minutes later the carrier itself founders, capsizing and sinking into the deep ocean off the Azores--twin catastrophes never really explained to the American people.

2. Letter to ANNO STELLAE 5931 Perhaps the Big Apple’s most massive ego in a city known for them, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses is mightily involved setting up the New York World’s Fair, set to open 1969. A janitor in his offices nearly disposes of the letters from school students that Westinghouse intends to put in the Time Capsule, then substitutes his son’s letter for the winning submission--never guessing his act would have repercussions spanning the ages from the 20th Century to the 60th.

3. The River of Time’s End Dr. Bruno Hartung, a University of Chicago professor, following a secret line of research in his field of Archeoastronomy, is electrified when he finds an exploration team has located a Mayan observatory in Panama where no Mayan ruins had been thought to exist. The site is not on the mainland itself but a small, rain-washed, tropical island, Isla de los Reyes (Island of the Kings), located in the Gulf of Panama off the west coast of Panama. Since this is the first appearance of the paper (and it has not yet been published in an archeology magazine), he has an excellent chance of being second on the scene. The paper includes rubbings and photographs of significant glyphs. The one that calls the quiet-living professor forth from his desk in Chicago concerns the cut-off date of the death of the Sun and stars and the extinction of human life on the planet, according to the Mayan calendar, which at Palenque, a Classic Mayan site near other major Mayan centers in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, was supposed to be ANNO 2012. The Isla de los Reyes date is of later provenance than the well-known one at Palenque, but the event has been moved back considerably, to the early part of the 20th Century. If genuine, there may be other clues on the site Bruno suspects may shed light on the reasons a clique of ancient Mayan astronomers moved the date back so significantly. Realizing it might be his last chance to seize the day in Archeoastronomy, Bruno takes out a great deal of life insurance and departs, without telling anyone, not even his wife, where he is headed. What he does find on the island initially more than rewards the effort to get there. However, getting off the island safe and mentally sound proves beyond his capability after the mountain observatory turns into a dynamo of incredible power, which in turns sets off a fatal landslide.

Chronicle Six, ANNO STELLAE 1969 Part 1. The Chevy Chase Inscription The heraldic bird of Cornwall, United Kingdom, is the black, raven-like clough. Congregating in vast flocks on the Cornish coasts, attention is drawn from the whole U.K. not only because of the numbers involved, but because the clough is a landbird, not a seabird. Then the flocks disappear in the night and later are found dead, drowned in the sea by an apparent mass suicide. The experts are unable to explain what happened. But an odd bit of verse establishing a link to the lost land of “Lyonnesse” under the sea appears in the papers, echoed in the even more ominous prophetic lines inscribed centuries before in Cornwall’s oldest seaside castle on the islet of Mount St. Michael. Could the birds have been searching for a homeland sunk ages before beneath the sea? Was that homeland the mythical Lyonnesse, or, some would say, Atlantis? What change had overcome their natural fear of the water? And why did the Mt. St. Michael “Chevy Chase Inscription” say the Sun of Cornwall would die when the cloughs perished from the land?

2. A Different Drum;

3. Signature of the Drum Like the mavericks of Texan ranch country, the Basques of Spain’s Pyrennes mountains were determined to go their own way, regardless of the world, and had done so since time immemorial. Their country, Eskual Herria, though ruled over by Spain, is considered possibly the oldest in Europe. No one knows the origin of the Basques. Their blood type mystifies biologists, since it is shared by no other people on earth. Their language is equally singular, without even a distant relative. Everything about their identity, including their customs, is wrapped in mystery, linking them, some people speculate, to lost Atlantis. One important tradition concerns the common wood dove that migrates from Africa to Scandinavia via the Pyrennes every year. The spring dove-hunting season comes and the Basques gather to net the birds, but few if any appear. Then a son of a leading industrialist goes to bed and begins to expire for no apparent reason. His frantic mother at last succeeds in bringing in leading physicians from America--NASA astrophysicians, in fact--since money in a family and society where little is spent has accumulated in large amounts. The scientist-doctors uncover a strange fact in the case. The young man is transmitting a radio signal. The effort, unknown to himself, is killing him slowly. It is the same signal being transmitted somehow from a point in the North Atlantic four hundred miles off Newfoundland where a great White Star liner sank in the spring of ANNO 1912.

4. Miracle at Project M With the biggest block research grant from Congress ever awarded, Stanford University builds the most powerful atom-smasher in the world, the project named “M” for “Monster.” Two miles long, the building houses power-accelerating klystons and copper pipe through which electrons are fired at targets of various elements. In a trial run everything works perfectly until something in the subatomic realm smashes back at the Monster, destroying it just after two different types of quarks in the atom’s nucleus were successfully identified.

Chronicle Seven, ANNO STELLAE 1985 Part 1. “Switched Off?” The giant neutrino detector tank and laboratory deep in a mine under Lake Erie has been created expressly for the purpose of detecting neutrinos, highly elusive and nearly massless particles produced by nuclear reaction within the Sun’s core. When it fails to do so, this fact is successfully covered up until an inspector, Ms. Virginia Cargill, arrives from the governing body, Ohio University. Attempted murder of Ms. Cargill, a drowning of her attacker, and other mayhem occur as the facts are forcibly brought into the open--destroying the career of the neutrino project director and confounding the world scientific community. For the first time, astrophysicists must face the evidence that says the Sun’s nuclear power plant has shut down--the reason for the absence of neutrinos. Dr. Tan of the Smithsonian Institute, expert on things solar, gives the Sun and Solar System three to four hundred years life expectancy, if that.

2. Epitaph for a Lost Ship The world has not forgotten the ill-fated White Star liner that sank in the North Atlantic so long ago. It was touted unsinkable, and for that reason no one quite trusted science and technology after that. With state-of-the-art research craft and instruments, deep sea exploration teams from America, France, Britain and Japan made valiant attempts to locate the ship. At last a team of American oceanographers from the renowned Nag’s Head Institute of Oceanography succeeds in the task. They find the ship, identified by a cocktail glass commemorating the maiden voyage, lying at the head of a canyon leading downward into the abyss. Currents continually sweep the bottom at that point, keeping sediment away, so that the vessel, though broken in two parts, is exposed to the keel and appears remarkably preserved and free of marine growth. After extensive photographs are taken, the oceanographers lay a bronze plaque on the site in the hopes the Dead will rest in peace. But it is not to be. A storm of questions is stirred up world-wide after no fatal 300-foot-long gash is found on the liner’s hull--the damage an iceberg was supposed to have caused that sent the world’s greatest ship to the sea bottom just two years before the outbreak of the First World War.

Chronicle Eight, ANNO STELLAE 1986 Part 1. “Roll Program.” (Challenger) After the phenomenal success of the Apollo Moon Mission of the 1970s, NASA’s chief hopes for the future of U.S. space exploration are riding on the space shuttle program. For nearly a year, however, a scheduled launch of STS 51-L has had to be scrubbed, again and again. One delay is caused by adding the highly popular “Teacher in Space Program,” using the option to send one or more non-astronaut specialists aloft. But the window of opportunity is rapidly closing on the delay-plagued mission. Finally, in the last week before the enormously expensive payload is rendered obsolete--satellites and tracking craft intended to study Halley’s Comet--the word comes down from top NASA management to forget the possible failure of the O-rings’ seals due to the cold and roll the program. Though the morning of the launch is so cold and icy that the launch is postponed, further tests are aborted and the booster rockets are fired. The space shuttle is released and for the next minute the crowd of spectators and astronauts’ families watch the greatest show on earth as America’s pride and joy soars into the bright, blue sky. Then something unbelievable and heart-breaking happens--the Challenger with seven souls aboard flies apart in a million pieces.

2. STS 51-L Sequence of Main Events A catastrophe of this magnitude stuns not only America but the world. It has been filmed at every point by numerous NASA tracking cameras. Second by second, the launch events were routinely recorded for later review. Photographed, a red flash occurs near the O-ring seals shortly after ignition of the booster rockets, then a puff of smoke.

3. Dear Mr. President: The president’s commission examines the tragedy of the shuttle explosion, including the question of cold temperatures critically compromising the O-ring seals. They also looked into the reputed failure of higher management to listen to the engineers who were very concerned by tests that showed erosion of the rings while firing the booster rockets under stress of cold temperatures. Seeing no evidence that the mission had been sabotaged by outside enemy agents, the commission recommends that the shuttle space program be facilitated and safeguarded by certain changes in management review boards, as well as a thorough overhaul or substitution of the O-rings with other fail-safe devices. No mention is made of the odd red-flash and almost immediate puff of smoke occurring at an O-ring seal during launch.

Chronicle Nine, ANNO STELLAE 1987 Part 1. Black Tuesday II The first Black Tuesday occurred when Constantinople fell to the Turks in ANNO 1543 (which at the time was the equivalent of handing Washington, D.C. over to the Soviets in the midst of the Cold War). The second is the day a maverick astronomer harking from the swamps of Mississippi, Hanno Spackle, going to his observatory on top a mountain in Peru, sights a supernova in the Magellanic Clouds with his naked eye. The other astronomers are elated at this chance of a lifetime to study a supernova through all its phases. Supernovas are quite common events but rarely seen on earth. Although his sighting gains him instant fame, Spackle seems to think there is nothing particularly good in the event.

2. Spackle in the Sky with Diamonds Hal Ventura, astronomer-friend of Hanno Spackle at Cerro Gordo in Peru, has a nagging hunch Spackle is withholding prime information from the scientific community. He is right, as it turns out. Spackle knew about the star that produced the supernova, SN 1987A, for some years--ever since he was awarded his doctorate at Ole Miss, in fact. Earning his degree with a dissertation less than a sentence long--the name of the star he discovered--he “failed” to publish the fact and so years later other astronomers erroneously laid claim to the star. Now, when the star dies and produces the greatest supernova explosion since the Middle Ages, the truth of the matter comes out and Spackle’s claim to a place among the stars is indisputable. What else does Spackle know? What else is he hiding? Ventura wonders, with good cause. He tries to cajole Spackle into self-revelation but fails spectacularly.

3. Tempest in a Teapot Though everyone knows by now Dr. Spackle discovered the star, Spackle -68% 202, he refuses to publicly acknowledge it by publishing in the star catalog. Just as mystified as other astronomers, Hal Ventura won’t give up and tries to pump Spackle for information--any will help. Spackle concedes nothing. The furor over the star producing the supernova is a mere tempest in a tea kettle, as far as he is concerned. But Ventura isn’t sure it matters so little to Spackle. After all, the star is turning out to be--like its discoverer--one of a kind.

4. Mouse or Lion? Spackle -68% 202 was a Main Sequence star before the supernova. That doesn’t compute with astrophysicists and astronomers, since Main Sequence stars, like the Earth’s Sun, are too small to produce supernovas. Nova, yes, but a supernova? Lasting only ten million years, the star blew up although it still had three or four billion years supply left of hydrogen, the basic fuel of stars. Obviously, some unknown factor entered in to the equation, turning a mouse into a roaring lion.

5. “Now you see it...” Astronomers Dr. Kasab and his graduate assistant are the first to observe a strange, red eruption speeding away from the supernova, SN 1987A. Dr. Kasab calls it the “Mystery Spot, ” for there is no scientific explanation as yet for it. They are just beginning to track it when it vanishes. Giving up the Mystery Spot, Dr. Kasab goes to bed, but his assistant works on through the night on the photographs. He startles his superior with some calculations in the morning, that give the Mystery Spot’s trajectory. Dr. Kasab immediately enlists the assistant in a vow of secrecy, for if the calculations are correct Earth is targeted. And, at the velocity the Spot disappeared when it was last observed, it is clear the Mystery Spot has already contacted the target.

6. Skylab II: the Year of Sol Skylabs serve as Earth-orbiting astronomical observatories, satellite deployment and retrieval stations, and gravity-free laboratories. The first that NASA put up via the shuttle was the agency’s valiant attempt to keep U.S. space exploration alive and well, with ample congressional funding. Skylab’s low orbit decayed, however, and Earth was treated to a fiery spectacle as it burned up in the atmosphere after a brief mission. The second was put in higher orbit and meant to last much longer. Dr. Tan’s epochal warning about the possible demise of the Sun had galvanized the scientific community, and he was chosen head of the official “Year of Sol” --an international effort to gain new knowledge of the Sun. Astronaut Simkins, on board Skylab II, is delegated some of the activities of that investigation--when he could get to them, that is. The lab is plagued with minor breakdowns of equipment from the start, and Simkins is good at fixing things. He is kept so busy repairing Skylab that he comes close to neglecting his major responsibilities--solar observation, with comet-counting thrown in. The others astronauts are asleep when a tired Simkins mans the solar observation monitors. He is first to witness the immense solar flare develop on the Sun and then speed off into space, toward the planets. It stops when it encounters Jupiter, but in the meantime Skylab II is reduced to a smoldering clinker whirling forever round Earth--a terrible , undeniable confirmation of Dr. Tan’s somber prediction concerning the Sun, in that it was changing radically, leaving a Solar System at the mercy of those changes.

7. Enigma of the Gleba The solar realm has been turned upside down with the neutrino scandal and the frying of Skylab II. The oceans are next, oceanographers and marine biologists soon discover. Minute organisms, zooplankton, are found to behave strangely. Though physically incapable of maintaining their course for more than fifty feet at a time, they’re swimming against the Gulf Stream current, southward, as if they are instinctively fleeing some terrible menace in the North. It is a species of zooplankton, the Gleba, under study by Dr. Packdredge and her team of marine biologists and divers, that first alerts the world to a phenomenal change in planktonic behavior and the possibility that a major shift in oceanic climate is happening.

8. Catamaran and Mouse Nag’s Head Institute of Oceanography has long been at the forefront of deep-sea exploration. Its latest venture enlists Dr. Zapatepac, who gained fame by his discovery of the doomed White Star liner at the bottom of the North Atlantic. With two assistants he descends in Minnie Mouse, a submersible, to examine the Mid-Atlantic Ridge of volcanism, but personality conflicts between his assistants doom the venture just as they are following the most exciting lead--a red-shining, mystery object that flies into a crevasse.

9. Last of the Great American Icons Chad Atkins, Smithsonian Magazine editor, takes his wife and daughter to the Mount Rushmore Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Intending to write an article debunking the memorial as the brainstorm of a demented bigot and racist, he is affected in spite of himself. A violent storm does not prevent him from seeing the presidents, and when he does he also encounters the strangest thing he has ever seen--a little red starlike object that exhibits strange, cinematic behaviors. It is enough to send him back to Washington, D.C. with his mouth clenched shut.

Chronicle Ten, ANNO STELLAE 1994 Part 1. “And so if he sign rosebud. It just a game.”; 2. “A lot of ‘mind games,’ yeah?” CP patient Gabriel Tall Chief, a Lakota Indian youth from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, is transferred from a Minneapolis general hospital to Holland House, a residential nursing-home and hospice. Unable to leave his bed, “non-ambulatory” with “total care needs,” Gabriel yet maintains a lifestyle unique to himself, playing classic video games and creating messages on reader boards that confound the busy nursing staff. Mute, he manages to overcome that disability too with his own system of “eye signs.” Open and closing his eyes, one or singly in different sequences, he manipulates an entire alphabetic language of his own creation. What is he trying to communicate to the world with the reader boards and his eye language? The staff, not to mention the Department of Social and Health Services ( DSHS), has too much work and no time to investigate the question. The event that reveals something--that there is more afoot in this CP patient than meets the eye is, not his death, which is expected in a degenerative disease, but the response. Holland House sends out word of his imminent passing to the immediate family. Incredibly, within an hour they show up, together with representatives from tribes all over North America who ordinarily could not have known. Gabriel’s last message by eye confirms the boy’s special role in the destiny of Earth as its unofficial chronicler.

3. Kamamoto’s Mind Game Toshigawa Kamamoto is Japan Science and Technology Center’s star oceanographer and designer, and he is working with his own pricey brainchild, Kaiko, a Remotely-Controlled Vehicle (ROV) for deep-sea exploration costing 400 million yen. Despite a red-glowing object that circles the ROV and then vanishes, everything functions as designed and the mission involving analysis of the sea bottom in the Challenger Deep, seven miles down in an oceanic trench, is completed without mishap. Retrieving the dual ROV submersibles that make up Kaiko from seven miles down, Kamamoto views the screens in the command ship anchored above the dive site. 5,752 feet from the surface he is startled to see a complication: an American , UCLA’s ALACE (Autonomous Legrangian Circulation Explorer). Designed to record declining oceanic temperatures, the torpedo-shaped research robot, he knew, was designed for 3,300 feet at the maximum. Anything greater would cause the ALACE to explode. Anxious to move the ascending ROV out of the explosion zone, Kamamoto and the command ship staff are horrified to see yet two more highly explosive ALACEs blocking Kaiko’s escape route.

4. Butterfly’s StartUp A butterfly enters the equation, inadvertently contributed by a Microsoft systems engineer in Bellevue, Washington. Translated by a scanner into a games program, the butterfly will ultimately become a rep for Dr. Pikkard’s Cray and Wargame--a virtual reality butterfly-commando.

Chronicle Eleven, ANNO STELLAE 1996 1. Flyby of the Blue Centaur In any case of any incipient disaster, there are bound to be some “Don’t Rock the Boat People.” The case of the comet, Chiron the Blue Centaur, was different from the start. Absolutely nobody dared question the danger after a routine flyby of the comet changed to that of actual convergence with the Earth. With the photographs in hand, it was not a matter of possibility or probability but certainty the Earth will be destroyed if something isn’t done. For that reason Commander Centioli was yanked from an orbiting shuttle mission and rushed to an emergency conference of generals and expert consultants to deal with the threat. As NASA’s top shuttle commander, Centioli’s advice is needed before the plan to deploy nuclear missiles against Chiron is implemented. Uwe Hantsbo is present among the civilian experts on hand, but he differs from them by a quantum leap or two. Not only was the founder of the famed ICARUS Project, organizing a collegiate think-tank or asteroid and planetesimal study group while an undergraduate, but he guided it to respectability among those in charge of the nation’s space exploration and defense systems. The work done by his group was ground-breaking, and every strategy since owed Hantsbo a tremendous debt of having been there first back when nobody in power thought comets, asteroids, and other flotsam and jetsam of space any real threat to Earth despite some rather close flybys in the 20th Century. Hantsbo draws Centioli aside during a break and attempt to enlist him in a plan of his own, since Hantsbo believes the general’s plan won’t fly. Centioli, though reluctant to put his career and reputation on line, sees that Hantsbo is more likely to save the Earth and eventually cooperates. Since the comet is too close by now to safely deflect, Hantsbo has Centioli move Earth--just a fraction will do. Antarctica is sacrificed, temporarily, tsunami overwhelm many port cities after hasty evacuations, and the only penguins left reside in zoos, but the planet appears to be saved for the duration of the 20th Century. Commander Centioli? Having gone over the heads of all his commanders, he thinks it best not to show his face for awhile and goes into hiding.

2. Hantsbo’s Main Chance What could a guy with a special talent for meddling in issues of planetary significance do after the Blue Centaur flyby? Uwe Hantsbo had no intention of retiring into obscurity like Centioli was obliged to do. With little fanfare, Hantsbo followed a private line of research that promised big dividends. With a knack for computer hacking, he has penetrated files of the National Reconaissance Agency, a secret CIA-directed intelligence gathering group that investigated UFO phenomena world-wide. Following the decades of contacts the NRA has had with “Atlanteans,” extraterrestrial intelligences that claimed to have been former residents of the planet, Hantsbo sets up a contact between them and himself, intending to make the record public once he gathered his data.

Chronicle Twelve, ANNO STELLAE 2024 A Question of Any The question whether or no Canada should be broken up into sovereign states was rendered moot by--not politics or even severe, economical distress-but weather. Increasing cold from lowering global temperatures forced the breakup of the Western Hemisphere’s largest country--an event that is but the first of a great many such to come as the Sun warms and the Earth, paradoxically, chills out.

Chronicle Thirteen, ANNO STELLAE 2113 Part 1. A Childish Phase Whatever the alien achieved with Victoria Cuthbertson, Herr Schickelgruber, and other subjects has only been a warm-up. Now into a world and Solar System that show unmistakable signs of unraveling, Lord and Lady Chillingsworth bring a brilliant child who when grown will try to fix everything. They experience no unusual trouble with little Marcus until he is old enough to have pets. A sudden change in temperament and behavior occurs. a streak of cruelty develops to the point where the concerned parents decide it is best to ignore it, utterly, and let time and tender, loving indulgence take care of it.

2. Reformed When the cruel streak in Master Marcus Chillingsworth does not fade away with time, the alarmed parents are forced to place him in a corrective institution for “problem youth.” Set in Scotland’s wilds--truly wild now amidst a setting of re-emergent glaciers--the school succeeds by isolating the young Chillingsworth from his scientific hobbies, the ones that seem to bring out his worst, sadistic side. After months of this rigorous schooling, he appears reformed and quite normal, so both parents and headmaster are pleased. Problem is solved, or so it seems.

Chronicle Fourteen, ANNO STELLAE 2145 Part 1. Fresh Ice Despite losses of significant pieces of advanced hardware (aiding the process all along has been a consistent cover-up of facts by individuals and agencies afraid of losing jobs, reputations, and careers), the world continues to develop technology until the 22nd Century. By then a Crystal Age has produced great domed cities, flying spheroids, geosynchronous food factories, and a Cold War between the Arab Bloc and the West. Years after Master Chillingsworth was judged to be reformed, he meets with Ansgar Nilsson, a former classmate from Eton days, at a London club to discuss his contributing to the alum fund drive. Chillingsworth startles and alarms Nilsson with news that he has developed a sure-fire way to produce world peace. He has invented an “ultimate weapon” in his laboratory over in the Cotswolds. Horrified, Nilsson accepts an invitation to go see it. Chillingsworth assures Nilsson that only a weapon such as his will advert the threat of a Third World War fought between the united Arab bloc and the West. He also has a world government in the works, which the belligerents will heartily agree to once they see his weapon--Chillingsworth says.

2. The Ultimate Weapon Marcus Chillingsworth has finally perfected his childhood project, a latter-day “mensbane.” It is a “thought-weapon,” or TW. The TW is programmed to instantly read any human target’s thoughts and, if they are proved to be those of a “thought-deviant,” or TD, the TW automatically fires a killing laser beam at the TD’s brain. Nilsson is appalled since Chillingsworth fully intends to confront the world with his invention. He aims to force the issue of a world government, the objective being to save and reform the world according to his Grand Design.

3. The Unstoppable Chill Nilsson meets again with Chillingsworth at the club. On the verge of major break-throughs on all fronts of his Master Plan for the world, Chillingsworth never looked better. He is disappointed when Nilsson refuses to see things his way, since he had hopes of using Nilsson in creating and operating his brave new world. Leaving the club, Nilsson is intercepted by Chillingsworth’s aged father, Lord Chillingsworth. The old man wants to know whether Nilsson can stop his son. Lord Chillingsworth and his wife are in despair over what their son has become. Confessing there is nothing he can do, Nilsson continues home to Holland, but instead of putting the matter from his mind admidst his judicial and domestic duties, he broods on what he has seen in the Cotswolds. He broods so much his moods begin to threaten relations with his wife and family.

4. Nils the Red His marriage falling apart, Nilsson takes leave from work to regroup psychologically and emotionally on an uninhabited island off the coast of Norway, his native land. Tusen Kuen, “Thousand Cows,” is his choice. Once thriving, it supported a dairy and village. That was until 1913, when radical shifts in weather forced the island’s abandonment. Now it’s perfect for his purposes. A small charter takes him out and drops him off with sleeping gear, food, and little else. The boat returns the next day, since that is as long as most retreats last--the conditions being so severe on Tusen Kuen. Nilsson lands at Bergen and goes directly to Oslo and the Norwegian Nobel Committee Center. He feels compelled to study in the library, find anything he can on political science and weapons development. Instead he gets CD-Rom Astronomy, with the file of Dr. Spackle, the discoverer of both SN 1987A and the star, Spackle -685 202. Thinking it must be a glitch in the system, he becomes interested in the file and reads it anyway. Thus he learns of a stellar snake in the bush, a “Mystery Spot,” that invaded Earth, according to Spackle, in 1912. The astronomer also states that the Mystery Spot was the cause of SN 1987A, though he says nobody would believe it. He also attributes the explosion of certain galaxies to it as well. The file closes abruptly, but gives Nilsson much to think about when he returns to his island refuge to complete his stay. After a time he returns to the Hague.

Chronicle Fifteen, ANNO STELLAE 2146 Part 1. Head #41 Nilsson has been demonized completely by this time. The demon, of course, is Chillingsworth. Nilsson’s obsession has sabotaged his marriage and alienated him from his children. He enlists his high position as World Court judge against Chillingsworth. He attempts to organize the elite against Chillingsworth and discredit his ideas and Grand Design. The upper classes do not agree with Nilsson’s accusations, however, as they see nothing but good in Chillingsworth’s program. Nilsson despairs, then hits on a way to fight the enemy. He decides to enlist common people and university students in the cause of freedom. Wolfreda his private secretary is his first recruit. It is then he chances on the manual for his resistance movement, written by Major Wicklow, a former government spy and trainer of espionage teams.

2. Plots and Counterplots Nilsson’s secret terrorist organization gets underway. He draws mainly from the student population, for he finds students are most receptive to the idea of individual freedom and the necessary sacrifice that must be made to win it back. The opposing player in this game is not caught sleeping. Chillingsworth manages to obtain lists of Nilsson’s supporters, and by the millions they are rounded up and put in “re-education centers” for thought-deviants. On the other hand, Chillingsworth’s passwords, which fall into the hands of Nilsson, are used against him with great effectiveness. It is tit for tat from the very beginning of this undeclared World War III.

Chronicle Sixteen, ANNO STELLAE 2155 Part 1. “First Citizen” The event Ansgar Nilsson had delayed as long as he could--Chillingsworth’s accession to the world throne, or “President of the World Union”--took place in the Hall of Mirrors, of the Palace of Versailles near Paris. Now Senior Judge of the World Court, Nilsson is seated on the platform with other high dignitaries. Chillingsworth, the whole world watching, appears and is crowned. Everyone except Nilsson is over-joyed, since the world credits Chillingsworth with establishing world peace and order. Chillingsworth begins his acceptance speech, but he is interrupted by what appears to be a bomb threat. It turns out to be a false alarm and the inauguration continues. Chillingsworth, however, is interrupted once again when Nilsson attempts to put a bat mask on. This is too much for the security chief in charge of the proceedings, and Nilsson, World Court Supreme Judge that he is, is hustled off the platform. Out of sight of the cameras, he is roughed up, then thrown to the ground. Since Chillingsworth is detained at the moment speaking to the world, he cannot render a decision on Nilsson’s case. The security chief is obliged to let him go for the moment.

2. Red-Bladed II Her valiant sister Red-Bladed, as one of the founding organizers of Nilsson’s espionage and terrorist organization, the Ibsen Revival Army, was also one of the first apprehended and executed by Chillingsworth. The younger sister steps in the shoes of the dead sister and serves just as courageously. Having fled to Paris, she is available to help Nilsson. Her expert training at penetrating security cordons pays off once again. She rescues him from the courtyard where he has been beaten and left to lie in the open. She delivers him back to Holland safely, where he slowly revives into a semblance of his old self. But he is in dark despair at first. His assassination attempt at the Palace of Versailles failed miserably, and many IRA people were captured and executed. Someone in his own organization has fed Chillingsworth the names and locations of his agents at a critical time in the assassination timetable. Back at his office, Mrs. van de Geroot is hauled on the carpet. She has been detected as Chillingsworth’s chief mole. She tries to implicate Nilsson’s wife Ditti before she is dragged away to her doom.

Chronicle Seventeen, ANNO STELLAE 2165 Part 1. More Crowns for the Emperor The decade after the “inauguration” proved most painful to the IRA. Green-uniformed World Union goons with thought-weapons have been deployed world-wide. Nations are a thing of the past. All the countries are provinces under a world government headed by Chillingsworth. His two world capitals are New York City and London, but he prefers London as his place of residence. With peace and order, things go well for him at first. In recognition of his achievements, the world community awards him every honor and medal in the book. Seemingly a Renaissance Man, he wins all five Nobel Prizes too. By no means ready to concede Chillingsworth the world, though Chillingsworth is in firm control of it, Nilsson prepares to make the Nobel Prize venue as uncomfortable as possible for the Nobel laureate. He tries to capture the emperor, but fails. Oslo is destroyed in the failed attempt.

2. Convergence of Kings Nilsson is all the more determined after Oslo to get Chillingsworth. Chillingsworth was whisked away from Oslo, just as the geo-dome was collapsing on the city. Thinking it wise to take a leave of absence, Chillingsworth heads for Jupiter, to the gas-plant that orbits the King of Planets. About 1,000 miles long, with thousands of workers and staff, it has all the amenities, and is supposed immune to disturbance from the IRA. Just as Chillingsworth settles in at the presidential suite, Nilsson pounces. Chillingsworth is captured at last, and is executed with one of his own thought-weapons which Nilsson has re-programmed. Unfortunately, Chillingsworth’s DNA turns out wrong in a match with the known specimen, and Nilsson realizes it is only another clone. The Jupiter station’s orbit has decayed, and Nilsson escapes with his men and watches the station break up and fall into the Great Red Spot. He has been fooled royally, and returns to Earth in a rage. Will he ever trap the real Chillingsworth? He cannot give up trying, however, since he is utterly consumed with hate for the man, locking him into a personal vendetta that for him overshadows the far greater crisis the world is facing from an unknown destroyer.

Chronicle 18, ANNO STELLAE 2170 Part 1. Convergence in Greece Meanwhile, the alien that could smash an atom-smasher, moves against the entire world infrastructure. No longer content to pick off certain significant pieces of hardware, it shows by what happens to the world that a flash-point has occurred in the destiny of the Earth. Why should the little country of Greece be the venue of the world holocaust? Though once the hub of Western Civilization, that had not been the case for thousands of years. A most insignificant province in Chillingsworth’s World Union, Greece, nevertheless, produced a superlative wine. Obscurity has always been the alien’s stock in trade. So, appropriately, Greece falls as its first victim. And it is at the vineyard and winery of the country’s finest vintner that the intruder begins its deadly work. From the hapless Greeks the unknown contagion quickly spreads to the wide world and precipitates the utter collapse of the Crystal Age and the tragic slide back into previous eras.

2. Marching Trees; 3. Workin’ for the Man; 4. First the Foie Gras, Then...; 5. Old is In, New is Out; 6. Another Domecraft is Scratched!; 7. Homecoming to Chillingsworth-opolis!; 8. A Mongolian Interruption; 9. Bisbee on Alert!; 10. Chillingsworth’s Zombie; 11. Crisis Control at the Olde Guildhall; 12. “Sorry, folks, no Tube today”; 13. Visions and Portents; 14. Last Breakfast at the Chillingsworthies; 15. Fleeing Birds, Floundering Fishes; 16. Chillingsworth’s Contingency Plan; 17. Chillingsworth’s Personal Test; 18. Black Death II; 19. Our Lady of the Angels--Vacancy; 20. Palms, More Palms, and Fire Jaguars; 21. “What, has the plumbing been hit too?”; 22. “Hull bloody world’s fallin’ apart!”; 23. Final ESCape; 24. 19.9999999999999...Chthonic Complications; 25. The Arctic Fox; 26. Seemingly Doomed; 27. Death of the Rose; 28. Counterclockwise; 29. Birdman of Our Lady’s; 30. Cause: Unknown

Chronicle Nineteen, A.S. 2171... 1. Hermon’s Folly; 2. Crazy John from Ivujivik

Chronicle Twenty, A.S. 2251 1. Ice and Fire; 2. Singer of the Stone

Chronicle 21, A.S. 2382 1. A Plain Dutch Boy; 2. The Good Ship Argo; 3. A Mill Worker!; 4. Shafted

Chronicle 22, A.S. 2390-91 1. “Work, woman!”; 2. Wooden Wings; 3. The Big Little Apple

Chronicle 23, A.S. 2392 1. Leamis’s Good Turn; 2. The Mountain Climbed!; 3. The Contract; 4. Dendrochronology--the Professor’s Folly; 5. Just What the Doctor Ordered; 6. Decline in a Dutch Paradise?; 7. Vent and Rip; 8. The Perfect Getaway; 9. “A river flowed out of Eden...”; 10. “Discoverer of Lost Atlantis”; 11. Cave of Cannibals; 12. Visitors to Earth; 13. The Mary Celeste Avenger; 14. “We three kings of Orient are...”; 15. The Paper Chase; 16. Outings with Anne; 17. The Kilpaison Female Temperament; 18. King of Ellis; 19. The Break; 20. The Treasure Room; 21. The Professor’s Wargame; 22. The Gray Fox Speaketh; 23. “Was it in his contract?”; 24. A Dream and a Face; 25. Atlantis--will she ever come?; 26. Four Cents Saved, Four Cents Earned; 27. “Whoa! Bridge! Everybody down!”; 28. Rebirth of the Atlantis

Chronicle 24, A.S. 2393 1. Convergence in Wioteheka Wi; 2. Fool’s Day; 3. A Good Deal; 4. Losers, Weepers; 5. Fritz the Farmer; 6. Cloaks and Daggers; 7. Escape of Department 13; 8. No Ordinary Day; 9. The Tramp; 10. Dr. Pikkard’s Papers; 11. Van Donkt to the Rescue; 12. A Charmed Life?; 13. Black Tuesday III; 14. Fritz, Lotti, the Domine, and Plenty of Nothin’; 15. Choices; 16. Dead Man’s Cheque; 17. Star of Jamaica; 18. The Trouble with Wednesday II; 19. Battle of the Atlantis; 20. “Ship up!”; 21. Reunion Admidst the Stars; 22. “Nach Palestine, Reno nicht!”; 23. The Open Porthole; 24. “Ship down!”; 25. Ship Across!; 26. Taken for a Ride; 27. The Mystery Ride; 28. Second Thoughts; 29. Visitations in the Night; 30. Angels!; 31. A New Olson?; 32. “Who will stop it?”; 33. Hodgkins the Magnificent; 34. “I’ve failed!”; 35. The Plain People; 36. Victory, Cloud and Avalanche; 37. Pieter and the Blue Centaur

Chronicle 25, A.S. 2415 Breath of the Red Star

Chronicle 26, A.S. 2433 Star Song

Chronicle 27, A.S. 2444 1. Three “Pearls”; 2. The Dragon and the Dragoman; 3. Farewells; 4. The Liverpool Express; 5. The Sphinx and Lady Anne; 6. Letter of Marque; 7. The Enchanted Islands; 8. The Compleat Angler; 9. Anne’s Discovery; 10. Pluto’s Ball; 11. Deliverance; 12. The Reverend’s Journey; 13. Nemesis III; 14. The Devil Man’s Medicine; 15. La Calaca; 16. The Mail Bag from La Boca; 17. Change of Administration

Chronicle 28, A.S. 2457 1. Diana’s Expedition; 2. Dr. Celman and the Papers; 3. The New Atlantis; 4. Artiste with a Gun; 5. The Captain’s Cross; 6. Artiste at Work!; 7. The Scarlet Woman; 8. Madmen and Savages; 9. Island of the Moon; 10. Jaguars, and Glyphs; 11. Day One; 12. Day Two; 13. Day Three; 14. Papadoc; 15. Dzong kunu!; 16. The Shrine in the Square; 17. Celman’s Escape; 18. John Canoe’s Discovery; 19. The Fatal Asterisk; 20. Convergence on the Lago Negro; 21. Homecoming in 3C 295.

Chronicle 29, A.S. 2458 1. Much Ado About a Key; 2. Much Ado About Moons

Chronicle 30, A.S. 2460 Terra 2, Alpha Centauri

Chronicle 31, A. S. 4130 The Blue Chair

Chronicle 32, A.S. 4133 The Sixth Hour

Chronicle 33, A.S. 4146 The Dreaded Day

Chronicle 34, A.S. 4148 1. “Have you ever heard such nonsense?”; 2. The Power of Life and Death; 3. Thirty Silver Pieces; 4. A True Diplomat!

Chronicle 35, A.S. 4149 1. A Dish of Rue; 2. “God go with you, dear Auntie!”; 3. One Major Hindrance; 4. Higher Ground; 5. The Trial

Chronicle 36, A.S. 4150 1. Street Women; 2. The Golden Bowl; 3. The Miracle; 4. Noahdiah’s Daughter; 5. The Widow’s Mites; 6. Convergence on the Viaduct; 7. Tower Ghosts; 8. The Lustration; 9. Falling Towers

Chronicle 37, A. S. 5909 The Tower of Eder

Chronicle 38, A.S. 5913 The Road to Enaim Judah separated his flocks from that of his father’s at Hebron and went down to the heathen village of Chezib to live. Invited by the friendly mix of Ken’anites and Adullamites, he settled in ahouse and took a Ken’anite wife, though this was strictly forbidden by patriarchal and divine law. She soon gave him three sons, but she hated the Hebrew practice of covenantal circumcision, thinking it mutilation, and would not allow Judah to have inflict the rite on the first-born, nor on the son that followed. As soon as the eldest was old enough, Judah married him off to keep him from entering the Chillelu and Hibishu rites on the village’s high place. His eldest son Er did not give up the rites, however, and, before he could become a male cult prostitute in service to Hibishu, suddenly died.

Chronicle 39, A.S. 5918 1. The Many-Colored Robe; 2. The Pit of Dothan; 3. Twenty Pieces of Silver; 4. The Iron Collar; 5. The Wilderness of Shur; 6. Visions of the Night; 7. The Beak of Nebel; 8. City of the Moon; 9. The Cobra’s Den; 10. Thief in the Night; 11. A Fruitful Bough 5. Carrying myrrh, balm, various spices, and Joseph (a not very valuable Israelite slave), the Ishmaelite caravan travels down to Mizraim. The Way of Shur takes the Ishmaelites toward Mizraim’s eastern border. Meshullam, the caravan leader, releases Joseph from all his fetters except the iron collar of slavedom. He knows the youth will not be running homeward, not when his own brethren sold him into slavery. Abdullah the Runt is delighted to lord it over anybody and treats the new slave unmercifully. He calls himself the Prince of Gilead, describing his harem and gold palace back home, and relates high-lights from his wide experience of women and trips around the world. Meshullam has reason to treat the captaive respectfully. Not only was he divinely instructed to go to Dothan, but in the night he has a has a meeting with Almighty God and he was told to sell Joseph in Nathasta, City of the Moon. Seeing the finger of God on this young man’s life and destiny, Meshullam takes a royal robe belonging to the King of Hazir and puts it on the startled slave.

Meshullam’s brothers, from Hadad to Abdullah the Runt, are horrified when they find their slave wearing Hazir’s royal robe. They would have beat him without mercy for his impudence, but Meshullam explains this is no ordinary slave. he tells them Joseph needs to appear princely if they expect to obtain the highest price. The Runt, however, is concerned that the robe might be soiled wioth dust, and he offers Joseph a ride to Mizraim on a camel. After Abdullah is chased by an eraged she-camel and rescued by his brothers, the caravan continues on to Mizraim, to enter Customs at the border. Meanwhile, Abdullah has Joseph ride a donkey and tells him tales of the glories of Mizraim. Nearing the border they see first evidences of those glories that Joseph found heard to believe from Abdullah’s account. Caravans from all parts of the earth are converging on the border, or leaving the country, goods sold and money in the caravaneers’ money chests. Despite initial excitement, Abdullah and Joseph have a long wait in the Customs House compound. Despised by the Mizraimites, who call them “sand ramblers” after a certain rambling desert weed, the Ishmaelites are place far down on the list. To pass the time, Abdullah and Joseph race around the compound and then climb a neighboring tomb. Their youthful pastimes are cut short. It is their turn to come before the inspectors. Joseph is given his first personal exposure to the most ancient ancient and cunning race of Atlantis--a people who rule the greatest and richest country in the world, and who, understandably, look down upon everybody else. Summoned into the Customs Hall, they are given a glimpse of the mighty power of Mixraim and also its hatred of change and foreign ways.

Despite the endless novelty and beauty of the Mizraimite Eden spereading before Joseph’s astonished eyes, he realizes with a sickening jolt that Mizraim is now his country, and he is not only a slave in it but a “sand rambler” in Mizraimite eyes. No one could be lower than that in Mizraim! The Ishmaelites take him to the capital in the Delta, a Hyksos city called Avaris. But they do not stay long, for Avaris trades with the Keftuians and is full of their goods. There can be little or no competition with such sophisticated, manufactured goods. Nathasta, City of the Moon, is their next stop. Joseph’s place of sale is an auction block of red granite in the Temple market-place. Potiphar, the commander of the Hyksos king’s royal bodyguard, passes through on a diplomatic mission and sees an unusually handsome “sand rambler.” Joseph is bought and taken to Potiphar’s estate to serve in his household. Unwittingly, Joseph is the cause of further hostility and war between Hyksos-ruled Avaris and Mizraimite-ruled Ibbatha, a royal city still powerful enough to resist the foreign Hyksos king and even support a Mizraimite pretender to the stolen throne.

Petepheres, a royal-blooded architect-priest at the Temple of Nathasta, had a high window over-looking the market. He recognizes Lord Potiphar’s chariot corps. He understands the volatile politics of divided Mizraim all too well but prefers to keepcompletelyout of public affairs and political intrigues. His wife has died from a painful, consuming illness, and he too is succumbing slowly to the same disease. Asenath, his brilliant, young daughter, has put aside dolls and girlfriends. She studies hard to be the son he never had, not realizing that her royal blood and unsurpassed beauty, after Petepheres’s death, will make her a valuable pawn in the power politics her father despises. Jizra, Potiphar’s chief charioteer, is given charge of Joseph on the trip to Avaris. A black -skinned Nubian, he tells Joseph how he was enslaved by the Ibbathans and later rescued fromt he quarry by Lord Potiphar on one of his northern raids into Ibbathan territory. Joseph is gratified to find a friend in Jizra, but he recoils from the Nubian’s violent hatred for Ibbatha.

Going to the palace, Potiphar has an immediate, private meeting with the king, Per-aa Khian, whom the Ibbathans called the Usurper. Potiphar informs Khian that Ibbatha has refused tribute--a bold-faced lie, for he has embezzled the tribute money, a king’s ransom, to buy Joseph. Khian, a foreigner who was obliged to employ Mizraimites like Potiphar to administer his kingdom, is infuriated and intends further maneuvers to reduce Ibbatha to submission. Very pleased with his ruse, Potiphar goes home to his wife, Zenobia, a beautiful but restless noblewoman, who is pleased tohear there will be war with Ibbatha butnot so pleaseds that he will share Potiphar’s bed any longer. After all, Potiphar is a mere commoner in her estimation, a royal butcher by trade before his promotion to bodyguard commander, and she is an ambassador’s daughter who married him only for his money. 10. Joseph spends his first nhight in a back room of Potiphar’s mansion, shivering on some bare reeds thrown on the floor. He wonders if his father will try to find him. But he recalls that his brothers are liars and no one will tell the old man the truth. he remembers his suffering in tghe pit but is thankful it was dry--unseasonably dry, he reflected, at that time of year. At the same time Joseph is thinking of and yearning for home, far away in Ken’an in a tent of ring-straked goathair spread beneath Mamre’s oaks, Joseph’s aged father sorrows over his lost Favorite.

Joseph cannot sleep and hears his name whispered through a window set high in the wall. The housekeeper who shares the room is fast asleep and does not stir when Joseph slips out the door and finds his way into the garden. Joseph’s stealthy caller is Abdullah, who brings Joseph his purchase price--the iron ingots cast from fallen stars. Abdullah also urges Joseph to flee with him,a nd they wil hide him inside saddle-blankets on the back of a camel when they leave Mizraim. Abdullah, it turns out, has been sent by Meshullam . He has come in over the wall on Potiphar’s estate, a very risky enterprise, since if he is caught he may be killed on the spot. It is a wonderful reunion for both, but Joseph declines to escape. Abdullah thinks Joseph a fool not to flee his cruel Mizraimite taskmasters, and he leaves by the garden wall after stripping Potiphar’s prize pomegranate tree. At the crack of dawn, Joseph’s supervisor, the housekeeper-cook, introduces him to his duties in the house. Because he is a sand rambler, Joseph is made to do the lowest, most despised tasks--washing the feet of guests who come to call on Lord Potiphar and his wife, as well as carrying chamberpots from the house to dump in the canal. Unusually conscientious and intelligent for a slave, he wins early approval and is entrusted with house-cleaning along with other servants. The head houskeeper loses charge of Joseph when he is turned over to the exalted Estate Steward and Overseer, Nu. Under the strict, churlish, but capable old man he receives training in accounting, mathematics, and writings so he can assist the overseer in the administration of the entire estate from house to fields and workshops.

When everything that Joseph the overseer’s assistant touches turns to gold, Nu determines to set him in his place when he dies (Very old, Nu dies, his body quickly removed on Potiphar’s orders and thrown the canal’s crocodiles. His wretched end foreseen, Nu has written to instruct Joseph to see to the proper burial ofhis body, but the writing is snatched out of sight by the jealous housekeeper.) Nu carefully instructs the young man in “Maat,” the divine, unchanging Order of Mizraim. After a series of rigorous tests which Joseph passes, Nu is fully satisfied he has the right man for the job. After being made by Nu to clean poultry pens and push dung-carts to the fields, Joseph is astonished one day when Nu’s gilded staff of office is put in his hand and everyone waits upon his word as though he were Lord Potiphar or the Per-aa himself. Joseph has not yet got used to the staff when household servants rush to him for judgment in a household crisis. A thief has been caught in the act. Ramoseh, who assisted the housekeeper-cook when he was not doing over chores, is hauled before Joseph for punishment. He has been seen eating Lady Zenobia’s honey-cakes--a terrible offense in that society. Ramoseh knows the penalty but does not plead for mercy, as he thinks Joseph has good reason to grant it. Joseph, however, orders the thief’s right hand stricken off, though Mizraimite law did not always go that far and might sometimes be satisfied with a severe beating. Later, when Ramoseh has recovered enough to return to chores he could manage, such as carrying chamberpots to the canal, he goes and confronts Joseph. “Why did you order my hand taken?” the slave cries to the young, astonished overseer. “You knew I helped you with the dungcart when you fell exhausted and slept on the road to the fields!” Thrown off balance, because he did not know Ramoseh had helped him, Joseph could not find words for some time. The upshot is that Joseph repents of his hard judgment and pledges to be Ramoseh’s friend and right hand for life. This was more than even Ramoseh hoped to gain, and he goes away a happier man despite his terrible loss. And Joseph proves true to his word, raising the lowly, handicapped Ramoseh to the position of companion and assistant-overseer. From then on it is Ramoseh who speaks for Joseph, from then on defending Joseph whenever the past incident is discussed by the servants.

As overseer, Joseph comes into direct contact with Lord Potiphar and Lady Zenobia, for now there is none higher in position to Steward Joseph on the big estate. Everything he does prospers so greatly that Potiphar cannot help notice, saying it must be be Joseph’s god that has favored him in a foreign land. Wealth pours into the treasure chests in Joseph’s keeping, and he even purchases a sea-going ship to transport the estate’s overflowing produce directly to lucrative markets in Keftiu, the island realm in the Great Sea. Several years of Joseph’s exile passes in this way, and the revenue that Joseph’s wise care produces so enriches Potiphar that he rises to great wealth only exceeded by that of Per-aa Khian. Unknown to Potiphar, the grapevines that Joseph planted beside the garden walls flourish to the point where fruit hangs over into the street so that anyone can enjoy it. Passers-by are so refreshed by the remarkable, good taste of the grapes that they call at the gate to commend the estate’s master and owner for his vines and generosity, a frequent occurrence that spreads Potiphar’s name as a good man to far countries.

Chronicle 40, A.S. 5920 Woes

Chronicle 41, A.S. 5923 Joseph the Steward!

Chronicle 42, A.S. 5926 1. War!; 2. The Gold Harp; 3. Daughter of the Desert; 4. The Voice of the Pomegranate; 5. The Scorpion’s Sting; 6. Sleepless in Paradise; 7. The Road to Babelen; 8. The King and the Prophetess; 9. Angel of Death; 10. The Gray Dove; 11. Horsemen in Pairs

2. Back when old Nu was still testing his assistant’s moral fiber against every temptation he could devise, he had enlisted the services of Assah, the youngest andmost lovely of the household slave-girls. Sent to Joseph with a tray of wine and rich foods, Assah came attired in a most becoming gown and a lotus tied to her forehead by a gold ribbon. As she had secretly hoped, Joseph takes only the food and will have nothing more to do with her. Ashamed by the use Nu had made of her, Assah has much more of the same treatment to regret at the hands of her mistress, Lady Zenobia. Because of her fresh beauty and charm, Assah is assigned to serve noblewomen at Zenobia’s frequent parties. One great lady, the Grand Taty’s official wife, gives her a gold harp and teaches her some pleasant love songs. From then on Assah is a favorite at Zenobia’s gatherings. But Potiphar’s wife is proud, aware of her aging beauty, and grows envious of the attention Assah excites and, turning vindictive, gives her to the men present. What has been her glory, her gold harp, now turns to the emblem of her horror and degradation. Having watched Joseph’s rise from the lowest slavery to eminence as overseer of Lord Potiphar’s domain, seeing that he never seeks the favors of any of the servant women, Assah is increasingly attracted to Joseph’s god, a deity that does not seem to demand the things Mizraimite gods demanded. Sickened by her life, unable to free herself, she turns to Joseph’s god for refuge.

3. Zenobia’s father had been an ambassador for many years in Ken’an, representing Mizraim to the King of Hazir. Unlike Mizraimite girls her age, she grew up accustomed to the brilliant colors, sights, and sounds of a trade-entrepot that drew caravans from all the East. Contaminating her blood, the East eventually provokes her to do the unthinkable--committing the mortal Mizraimite sin of transgressing Ma’at, or Mizraimite right and order. She thinks and acts Easter, not Mizraimite, and is dismayed when her father is recalled unexpectedly back to Mizraim. The Hyksos has invaded the Delta of Mizraim, and so they hurry southwesterly to save their estate and house in the capital, Abad. They arrive to find it burned, a pile of smoking ruins. The Per-aa has been slain and his palace, treasures, and harem taken by Hyksos generals. At first yung Zenobia is very angry. She has puts back on the sheer white linen she is supposed to wear as a Mizraimite, and all for nothing! It is not long before her anger turns to terror, for she sees they have nothing left after the sack of Abad, not even a chariot to call their own, so that they have to walk the streets with commoners. Reduced to poverty, they wander for some time in the rubble and confusion of wartime until her father finds employment in their enemy’s government consular house. In quick rotation, one Hyksos general after another holds supreme power, but none can govern the country whose language they do not speak, and so her father’s services are passed from one administration after another. Finally, her father dies and Khian’s star begins rising like the star that heralds each new year, for he uses more and more Mizraimites in his administration, increasing his own power by this cunning division of the nation’s loyalties. With Khian rises an equally ruthless man, Potiphar the Royal Butcher. Though Mizraimite, he is not above profiting by connections with the royal power, Hyksos or Mizraimite. Appointed Captain of the Royal Bodyguard, which means much money and power, Potiphar’s name is on everyone’s lips, and so Zenobia comes to hear of him. Spurned by Mizraimite noblemen because of her foreign ways and tastes, Zenobia turns to Potiphar, though he is a commoner. With his money and position she determines to make a brilliant showing at the court, even though it is Hyksos and foreign. And everything goes her way for a while, as Potiphar prospers and she has more and more money to spend on jewels, gowns, garden pavilions, a boat, and parties. Khian’s war with Ibbatha,however, does not go as well as she has hoped. Her husband’s fortunes, at least at court, begin to wane as the Ibbathans wrest one city after another from Hyksos control. Increasingly, Zenobia’s friends, at first over-awed by her Eastern-style extravagance, begin to find fault with her foreign ways and pull away from her parties. She even offends her Hyksos lady-friends by advising them how to act more Mizraimite without being so obvious at it. A barren woman, with her charms steadily diminishing, Zenobia still has the money to appear beautiful and alluring, even if she knows her days are numbered. Soon she will hold no attraction for a man, and Potiphar might throw her aside permanently for Assah or some plaything from the inns off Avaris. “Let him fill his arms with another!” she vows. Until then, as a noblewoman, she feels herself entitled to all the amusement that she can still find in life. It is in this restless, seeking, somewhat threatened frame of mind that one day she looks upon her handsome and able overseer, Joseph, and sees him with new eyes. Zenobia sets out to seduce Joseph, employing considerable arts to make herself more beautiful than any woman he had ever looked upon. Thinking it a simple matter, she thinks she might simply call him to her rooms and send her maid out. That should be all the hint Joseph needed to take advantage of what she offered. She knows that Potiphar, who drinks himself into stupors every day, will keep to his rooms and not disturb them. So after she has Assah bathe and perfume her, she sends the maid to Joseph. Assah soon returns saying Lord Potiphar has collapsed on the floor when he tried to get out of bed. Forced to give up her plan, she goes to see Potiphar and finds he is already much better. Joseph is busy attending to him, and so Zenobia has to wait for another opportunity. Later, Potiphar is called out awayf rom the hosue to a festival in the city. Zenobia goes directly to Joseph with a request for some stored jewelry. Joseph seems to guess her intent, for he pushes the bracelets and jewels at her and hurries off into the garden. Knowing her overseer’s round of duties, Zenobia plots to waylay him. Gowned in sheer linen dyed to match her green eyes, she leaves one breast exposed in the latest style and goes to find him. Joseph is gathering lotus with his men in one of the pools. Delighted, Zenobia watches the naked Joseph for a while until he grows aware of the men’s quiet laughter and he spins around. Zenobia tells him he is wanted in her rooms to move a couch closer to the window, then she leaves him to finish his work. Again, Joseph severely disappoints her by fleeing her chambers when she makes her proposition. Later, she sends wod for him to come to her. As a slave he is forced to obey her summons, but there is no forcing him to go any further, she finds. “By no means!” he tells her. “My master trusts me and has put everything under my charge. Even he is not greater in this house than I am! He has not refused me anything I wanted, except you his wife. How then can I betray his trust, do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Zenobia is amazed at his outburst. She sees no reason why Ma’at, properly understood in regard to her high-born position, should forbid occasional dalliance, so she has no idea what Joseph is talking about when he mentions wickedness and sin in connection with love between an inferior commoner and a noblewoman. Such a thing is done all the time, she reflects, and nothing is said against the practice. But Joseph has scrupled to elude her too many times. She decides to take him by force if necessary. She goes to his room when he is alone working on estate accounts and seizes him before he can get away. Joseph twists out of her grasp and she is left with only his loin cloth. Enraged, Zenobia goes back to her suite and begins to shriek like a woman who has been brutally assaulted. Joseph flies into the garden. When his mistress begins to cry out publicly, he knows he is ruined. And soon he sees Potiphar’s wife come out of the house, still crying for evryone to come and hear what has happened to her. To the excited slaves that crowd around her, Zenobia made accusation against Joseph, charging him with attempted rape--a violation of Ma’at that carries the death penalty. Waving the tell-tale loincloth, the lady retires wailing into the house to await Lord Potiphar’s return. Alerted by servants, he goes directly to Zenobia. Proving difficult to convince, the cynical Potiphar is treated to a spectacle as Zenobia uncovers bruised breasts as evidence of Joseph’s assault on her virtue. Soon Joseph is brought for judgement to the master, still naked and bleeding from the gashes of Zenobia’s long nails. Everyone fully expects Potiphar to believe the report and draw his military sword and put an immediate end to the culprit, but insteads he orders him taken alive to the prison adjacent to the palace. Lord Potiphar personally conducts the accused overseer to the waiting chariot and they speed away. Zenobia is left with her servants, who all know she is the guilty party, not Joseph, having watched her strategems develop from the first. Furthermore, it is Zenobia who has proved impetuous and transgressed Ma’at to a fatal degree when she publicly accuses a man everyone knew was innocent. If she had said nothing, the matter of a noblewoman seeking to take pleasure with a willing servant was slight enough in that indulgent society to be overlooked and ultimately forgotten. But she has not done what was wise or convenient. Having lived too long in foreign parts perhaps to know how far she might go in Mizraimite society, she had chosen to destroy a good man everyone liked and respected. So the disgrace she tries to heap on Joseph falls instead on her own head. Blackened irremediably in the eyes of her servants, feeling all her vital energy draining away, Zenobia declined to come down to see Joseph depart with her husband. She could not bear the accusing expressions she encountered on all sides and her heart and lungs felt like they were being squeezed to a stop. You are a dead woman! the eyes of the servants plainly said. A dead woman! The weight of that judgment was like a pyramid’s, and just as inescapable as if one had dropped on her. Totally unnerved by what had happened, her Mizraimite self turning against her too with a vengeance, she abandoned the last shred of her dignity and fled the house, running into the garden and trying to stir up the deadly scorpions and snakes she knew lived in cracks in the garden walls. As with love, death, when summoned, refused to come to her. Like a child, her mind and spirit shattered, she made no protest and allowed herself to be led back into the house by her maid Assah, the only servant that did not loathe to touch her. But in the night after the episode with Joseph her hair turned deathly white, the color she had always hated. Thus her mind and spirit were crushed, so that she could do nothing but sit in bed from morning to evening. All who heard of her illness outside the house took it as a sign she was cursed of the gods for some particularly monstrous act in defiance of the gods--a bit of gossip that could not be stopped once it became known that Potiphar did not intend to execute her accused assailant.

Vultures circled thesky over the house when Potiphar finally returned home after delivering Joseph to prison. For some reason, the crocodiles in the canal had gone mad and turned on each other. The carnage, of course, drew the vultures, and soon the whole city was abuzz about the ill omen that hung over Potiphar’s household. with no further to go in public life, enjoying all the wealth he ever wanted, Potiphar cared little what people thought or said about the circling vultures and the disgraceful matter of his wife and his steward. He went to his rooms and would see no one. The estate was put in the hands of Potiphar’s valet, a poor choice as it turned out, since he immediatgely beghan to lord it over his fellow servants and let the estate’s excellent administration quickly run down while he spent his days with the best food and drink. Lady Zenobia remained secluded in her rooms, attended by the loyal Assah she had once mistreated. Potiphar never asked about his wife, who was acknowledged mad by everyone but Assah. The broken woman could hardly be persuaded to eat, and ony Assah could get her to do anything for herself to keep life going. Everyone in the house who knew the truth expected her to die from her offense against Ma’at and her false dealing with Joseph, but Assah alone would not heart of it and continued to bathe Zenobia and ply her with tempting food and drink. With an inept and corrupt overseer, the estate went to rack and ruin, but Lord Potiphar did not know of it, keeping to his rooms and drinking as long as consciousness held out. Strangely, it was Zenobia who began to recover first, while Potiphar continued to sink in cynicism and lethargy. One day Assah left Zenobia for a moment, returning to find her gone. She was in the garden again, and the terrified Assah calmed down when she found her alive and well. “I was trying to find Joseph,” Zenobia said to her. “I wanted to tell him my secret.” Not knowing what the foolish woman meant, Assah led her back to her rooms, but Zenobia would not be put off. “Because I was wrong,” she explained. “I harmed him, and I was unjust.” Zenobia began to weep as Assah stared at her. Never had the lady wept, to her knowledge. “I have prayed to his invisible god,” Zenobia continued. “I have called upon his name, as I heard Joseph do many times. I have--” After that Zenobia steadily improved, though her hair remained the same color as the sacred vulture. She continued to seek knowledge of Joseph’s God from Assah, and the maid was hard put for answers. News came of Joseph’s appointment by the jailor to prison steward. Guileless, childlike

Zenobia astonished everyone by showing her pleasure. “He is guiltless,” confessed Zenobia to Assah one day, though the household had always known it. Roused by the good report of Joseph, Lord Potiphar forsook his wine-soaked couch. He stumbled from the house and took a chariot to see for himself. On return, he saw with open eyes what had happened to the estate at the hands of the valet. Soon the wretch was stripped of his fine clothes and steward’s staff and driven out to the fields, to be thrashed by the slaves he had beaten and starved. Ramoseh, the former thief who had reformed and was like a brother to Joseph, won the appointment to overseer. The estate was returned to productivity and order under his management, though some workers died, attacked by snakes and scorptions as they worked to clear the jungle of weeds and thorns from the neglected fields and gardens. Meanwhile, Zenobia continued improving, day by day, though her personality was changed and she would never revert to the proud beauty she had been.

7. Jobab the Edomite had been the wealthiest and happiest man in the East, until he suffered many misfortunes, losing seven sons and three daughters, as well as all his flocks and herds, to seemingly natural and manmade disasters. Afterwards, Jobab’s friend Bildad joined with other friends of the Edomite chieftain and went to comfort him on the outskirts of his city. Though at first inclined to commiserate with him, the nature of the man’s downfall seemed to invite some sort of moral and spiritual stock-taking, and who would be better equipped than Jobab’s friends, all men of learning and moral repute. Considering his case led them to hold him responsible for his troubles, evem though they knew they were on rather shaky ground when they started accusing so high-minded and blameless a man as Jobab. Jobab defended himself, knowing he had lived righteously and had not allowed his children to do as they pleased, without regard to God. Yet Bildad and the others, having once taken that tack, continued to accuse Jobab. They held he must have done some wicked thing to have suffered such terrible retribution. Misfortune, Bildad declared, came only to those who sinned against the Almighty. If Jobab were truly blameless, none of his misfortunes would have happened to him. Interrupting the comforters’ accusations, a whirwind stood up in the desert and approached the potsherd dump where Jobab had gone to sit out his misery--for he was additionally afflicted with boils and needed the potsherds to scrape his oozing,, suppurating body. Bildad joined the others on their faces as the whirwind towered over them, threatened them with instant death. Then a voice came out of the wind, plainly the voice of the Almighty, charging the comforters with speaking wrongfully of Him and His servant Jobab. Instantly, beyond question, the righteousness of Jobab was vindicated, by the very lips of God!

Years afterwards, Bildad lost sleep as he lay with the tormenting memories of that terrifying event. He knew for sure he and his colleagues would have died on the spot if Jobab had not taken their money, bought some bulls, and sacrificed them. But it was really Jobab’s earnest prayer that saved them, Bildad reflected. Never had he heard a man plead so fervently for his friends to the angry Almighty. The moment Jobab ceased praying the whirlwind went away, disappearing just as quickly as it had appeared. Yet Bildad, for one, was never the same. Tortured by what he had said and done to Jobab, he did what anhy shuhite of his tribe could do very well. He put his thoughts to oral song, and the song grew to such a size and was so interesting that people began to ask him to sing it at their gatherings. Bildad, though preferring solitude after the experience with Jobab, complied at first. His fame quickly spread. Everyone wanted to hear the Shuhite minstrel’s new song. But Bildad had been ruined for fameto delight him now. Once he had been a prodigy among his wives, and they were pleased to think it should long remain so. But after Jobab and the whirwind Bildad’s natural vigor was spent and nothing came of his love-making. Edomites were well-known for it, and everyone knew that their sap remained green well into old age. But that sort of thing held no savor to Bildad any longer. He spent twice as much time in the desert wilderness away from the camp, praying and seeking God’s face, as he did in his own tents with his wives. Everyone talked about him and considered his standoffish behavior very strange, but he was their chieftain, and they could do nothing but complain. Reluctant to lash back at boorish behavior, Bildad bore the remarks and complaints and kept more and more apart from his kind.

After becoming known as a man of prayer, he was increasingly sought out in cases of bad sickness, in places where reports of miracles and healings had spread beyond the Shuhite townships and camps. One day he was praying at his usual place in the wilderness when the Almighty acted. Babelen’s king had just sent an imnperial courier to him, demanding that he come to the palace and pray for him, since he had an illness that defied the best doctors and astrologers of his realm. Bildad wanted to refuse the wicked tyrant, but his people were not so far from Babelen that they could escape the king’s wrath. In his anguish he turned to the Almighty for an answer, and in amazement he saw it given--a burning shaft of green light, blazing eastward toward Babelen. The light was in the shape of a curved scythe, of the sort reapers used to cut grass and also various grain crops. Bildad set off for Babelen. On the way, he was met by a caravan that wished to join his--small as his was. Bildad could not refuse his friend Jobab’s daughter, the Princess Kezia. Jobab had died by this time, but Kezia his youngest remembered Bildad, and now she was asking to attend his going to the capital of the Amorites. Evenso, it was had for Bildad to accede to her request, since he wanted to go inconspicuously, taking only a few donkeys and a man-servant. But Kezia’s entourage would attract much attention. As befitting her rank and wealth, her caravan was enormous. But then many man-servants and maid-servants were needed in order for a maiden princess to travel safely in that part of the world. Bildad and Kezia had not gone very far when the vanguard of the Hittite army, moving south to attack Babelen, found them. The Hittite ruler, Mursilis, had a reason for sparing their lives. He met with the two and instructed them in how they would be useful to him. He would not molest them and let them go to Babelen, but once in the city they were to take charge of the daughter of the king the moment she was captured. They would take her back with them to Hauran. At Hauran his ambassador would take the maiden to his capital to be given to one of his sons.

The Hittites left, and Bildad and Kezia continued in the dusty wake of the army. Babelen was still not taken when they arrived at the gates, The great city was filled to bursting with pilgrims celebrating the New Year’s Festival, and so big a city as Babelen had no fear of being conquered, though the Hittite army encircled the walls and was battering at the main gates. The Babelites knew their walls, if not their gates, were impregnable, and so they continued to celebrate, and business went on as usual in this greatest metropolis of the civilized world. Allowed to enter as pilgrims, Bildad and Kezia and her Edomites wer given a place to camp in a large, open territory along the wall. News of their arrival reached the king--as news of any significance would. The Festival was advancing to its climax, when the king would leave the palace in procession and drive in his chariot to the main templed set on a multi-stage mountain of fired, colored brick. Eluding her Babelite guards, Kezia went into the city. She was almost imemdiatelyh swept up in the great procession of the king, and there was nothing she could do but be carried along int he surging crowd to the chief temple. Bildad, answering the royal summons, had previously gone to the king, prayed, and witnessed the monarch arised miraculously from his sickbed, though a short time before he had been suffering hideously from a diseased bowel. For all his trouble, Bildad was thrown in prison, since he had dared to cast scorn on the gods of Babelen and even prophesy their imminent overthrow.

8. Realizing that mighty Babelen would fall after all, Kezia was determined to elude her guards and go to the palace to seek our her missing friend Bildad. She was immediately swept into the grand procession mivong toward the mount of the chief temple. The Amorite king had gone ahead of the crowds to consort with a beautiful priestess on the mount, in the god’s shrine on the topmost stage. Carried inconspicuously to the unsuspecting city in boats and rafts, the Hittites managed to break into the city from the riverside, not by the main gate of Shibbar where their chief efforts were diverting the king’s attention. The king of Babelen had just renewed the fertility of the land with a young priestess when the Hittites began to slaughter the Babelites. The city was thrown into mass confusion. Brigades of soldiers rushed here and there, chariots corps turned about with conflicting orders thrown at them, and no one could make sense of the situation. Where was the enemy striking from? He was everywhere, that was all they could see. Kezia, seeing that the Hittites were in the main temple square and that mighty Babelen, the impregnable citadel-city, had fallen, climbed the temple mount. To her astonishmen, as soon as she touched her foot on each level, words broke from her lips, words of doom and judgment she could not restrain. In this way she reached the top whee a blue-painted shrine stood four hundred feet above the city. The shrine was thronged with fear-crazed priests, all trying to get in.

There was a mass, frantic snapping of fingers as they sought to awake the god to the grave danger they were in. Spell-bound, Kezia was watching this grotesque scene when a man came up to her, a nobleman by his appearance. He spoke some things that mystified her though it wasn’t his language that confused her. He also made it known to her he was the king the Hittites were seeking to slay, and that she was to take his crown and signet-ring and throw them in the river, lest they fall into the hands of his enemies. Concerned with her friend Bildad, Kezia consented, and the king showed her a secret way of escape, leading down into the temple’s interior and connecting with a tunnel to the palace. Kezia left the king to his deserved fate and eventually found herself coming up into the murky light of a storeroom beneath the palace. A Hittite would have slain her on the spot but he recognized her Edomite robe. Giving her safe-conduct, he led her to the incarcerated Bildad, and Bildad was set free. Together, they climbed up into the main part of the palace and were met by Mursilis, who just then was exulting in his great victory. Faithful to her word, Kezia said nothing to Mursilis of the things she was carrying in her robe, and they were allowed to pass out of the palace to go to their camp to await the Babelite princess. Instead, they went directly to the river, where Kezia threw in the crown and signet. On return to their camp, they saved a Babelite mother and her young son from a Hittite soldier. Scorched by fire and smoke in the burning city, they reached camp. The Edomites and the old Shuhite then fled the city as it was given completely over to sack, rape, leveling of the walls and buildings, and fire--the Four Horsemen of the Hittite apocalypse.

Chronicle 43, A.S. 5927 1. Rising Waters; 2. The Death of Heaphes; 3. More Falling Gods; 4. Into the Pit; 5. “Will you and your god slay him too?”

1. Finally, the fields were cleared in time for thefinal inundation of the Ioteru, and the sowing of barley and wheat was done as soon as the rich, nourishing waters receded from the land. After the busy seed-time ramoseh was more free from supervision so that Lady Zenobia could send him to the prison to inquire about Joseph. “God has prospered my master in prison!” Ramoseh exclaimed to his startled mistress. But there was more. “Even great lords from the court, the Masgeh and Opeh, have favored him with their dreams!” Now these two Mizraimite officials were, next to the Grand Taty, highest in the land. Falling into disfavor, they had been sent by Khian to prison until their sentences were sent down to the jailor. In the meantime, they waited to hear if they woudl be restored to royal favor or executed. But days went by and they dreamed strange dreams that only Joseph, with the reputation for it, could interpret. Even Potiphar became interested, and he called Ramoseh for a close account of the affair. He was more taken with Joseph’s doings these days than by all the disasters currently plaguing Khian and the Hyksos cause. He was somewhat amused when Zenobia informed him that she too had dreamed, though she had no interpretation. She had dreamed she saw the mighty head of a god roll into the sea and then reappear on a distant shore, rolling up and over the land until it came to another god like itself, which it struck in pieces, and so on, until every god in the world was destroyed. Machitha, traditional seat of the Per-aa of the Two Kingdoms, fell to the enemy. This left only Nathasta and Avaris and some Delta land to Hyksos control. Close on the heels of this calamity fell another. Khian’s huge and ruinously expensive house of eternity, under construction on the Ioteru’s west shore, exploded after a cloud-burst in the night. It was three-quarters completed when thousands of highly-skilled workmen and laborers threw away tools and ran in shrieking terror down the earthen ramps. At a distance the men stood trembling as the house of eternity groaned with terrible sighs, expelling giant stones until finally the sides gave way altogether in a tremendous roar that was heard in Avaris as thunderclaps heralding the death of the world. Terrified people all rushed into the streets to listen to the world’s death throes, and in the distance to the west they saw a column of red dust tower up and stretch in a coiling serpentine motion toward heaven, later drifting over sea-going shipping as far as Keftiu to the north.

When the nation recovered enough to go back inside houses and places of business or pleasure, they all knew Khian was doomed. Potiphar, taking to his rooms, had known it for some time. It was only Joseph’s rise inprison that now interested him, particularly when he heard the outcome of his interpretations--the Masgeh, as Joseph said would happen, was reinstated as Chief Cupbearer at Khian’s right hand. The Opeh, never to lift a pastry to the king’s lips again, was impaled and hung in a tree outside the palace gate, exactly as Joseph had said. Hearing of Joseph’s success in so unpromising a place as a prison, Zenobia recovered even more and called for Joseph’s ship to be outfitted for a pleasure cruise on the river. Potiphar heard and would not prevent it, thinking to humor her. He let her have the ship, though he had planned to use it for their escape when the city fell to the Ibbathans, as it certainly must within a short time. Potiphar knew his wife’s plan was to take a sea voyage, though she said she only wanted the ship for a river outing. It was very clear to him what she was about when he saw the amount of provisions and furniture being carried aboard. Jars of food, chests of clothes and money, and many other things were taken to the ship under Ramoseh’s careful direction. Finally, just when the Ibbathans hammered at the outskirts of Avaris’s defenses, Zenobia was ready to embark. She told Potiphar in his rooms the reason for her cruise. “Joseph is innocent,” she said, “when I am gone will he [Potiphar] not order his release?” She added that her journey would last only a few days. Potiphar nodded and let her go. He was certain she meant to return to her beloved Hazir, which meant he probably would never see her again.

Later, while drinking, he had a vision of her. He looked up and distinctly thought he saw the beautiful woman he had once known and married. It was a ravishing form with perfectly-chiseled features and hair arranged as she would have had it. But Zenobia was gone. This had to be a phantom. He had seen her ship on the canal, heading seaward. The vision faded as he continued to drink. He grew more of a cynic as he drowned himself in the wine. The beautiful, treacherous,a nd troublesome woman was gone from his life, he reflected. A dream of a wife was Zenobia, a true wife she had never been, he was thinking as his chin dropped toward his silver cup. Yet he was not so far gone as yet as to realize he felt something tug at him, something that could be called regret.

2. Ships carrying refugees arrived at Avaris, telling of Keftiu’s sudden destruction, with the collapse of all its palaces and cities. Khian, hard pressed by the Ibbathans, had more than enough trouble ofhis own to think about and refused to see the Keftiuan ambassador. Zenobia’s ship was caught by a storm at sea and was swwamping when Ramoseh ordered some bread jars emptied so that the men could use them to bale out the water. Swept far off course, they found Fair Havens, a small harbor along the south shore of Keftiu. After they made camp above the shore, a band of wild orphans, their parents lying dead in the ruined cities, gathered on the shore to eat the bread floating in on the wdaves. Soon another group of Keftiuans made an appearance--royalty and nobility fleeing the Mycenaeans that were just then raiding the ruined capital of Knossos. On way from the allied royal palace of Phaistos where the Keftiuans had resucued one of their number, they saw the Mizraimite ship while it was yet at sea. Hoping it was Mizraim’s response to their ambassador, they ventured down to the shore and began eating the bread like the famished children who ran off the moment Zenobia and her people showed themselves. Zenobia had seen Keftiuans before, as her father the diplomat had entertained their haughty ambassadors many times at Hazir,a nd she had seen them at Khian’s court as well, bearing rich gifts in order to win trade concessions. She was astonished to discover that these were not mere noblemen and noblewomen but the tattered and starving remants of the royal court of Knossos. Their leader was the Minos himself, a king whose name was held too sacred to be given out publicly because he, like Mizraim’s per-aa, was worshiped as a god. Given aid by Zenobia, the Keftiuans decided to return to the capital, for they knew the Mycenaeans would find little left to steal and would soon return to their ships. The Mizraimites accompanied the king back to Knossos, and he showed Zenobia the devastation caused by the recent shaking of the sea and mountains. “Heaphes our chief god has died,” the king declared. “Go and see yourself what has happened to him and our other gods.” Could a deathless god die? Zenobia wondered. She had to see if this really could be the case with the Keftiuan god. Since the king and his court determined to remain at Knossos, Zenobia and Assah returned to the anchorage at Fair Havens. On the way they stopped at a temple of Heaphes and went inside. The priests had all fled in the Great Shaking, and since then it had been looted. But the god was still there, though he lay in pieces ont he floor, his mighty head broken off in his fall, and his crown was missing. Under Ramoseh’s able direction, they again set said for Tyre on the coast of Ken’an after leaving supplies of bread for the wild children Zenobia had a mind to save if she could. Unseen by the Mizraimites, a second raid took place on the same temple they had visited. The Mycenaeans, mainly for sport, sent the head of Heaphes tumbling down a steep slope leading to the sea. It bounded with such violence it cleared the shore and landed in the water.

3. Tyre, towering on its offshore island, was a beautiful city from the water. The Mizraimites soon found it was a foul place, with open, running sewers choked with swine and children. And the poor! Hordes of men and women had no work, and above their misery rose a lofty palace that aped those of Mizraim though it could not boast wide, processional thoroughfares bordered with flowers and the statuary of gods. Tyre’s king was also divine, considered a god, and the god-king was in the midst of a week of festival, so he refused to see the Mizramite lady petitioner, however important. Potiphar’s wife, however, could not forget the starvation and despair in Keftiu, so she pressed her case past officials in the palace, to the very throne. The king, for a large sum of electrum and her father’s emerald signet, reluctantly granted her request, agreeing to send a ship full of grain to Keftiu. Given the name of a caravan leader who could take her to Hazir, Zenobia left the king and went directly to the caravaneer--an old crafty Ishmaelite trader, Meshullam by name. He was just then about to depart Tyre when the Tyrian charge d’ affairs fromt he palace hurried up to him with the king’s letter. Disgusted by the thought of Mizraimite ladies boarding his properly all-male concern, the Ishmaelite only allowed them to accompany him after payment of much electrum. Meshullam’s caravan left for Hazir. They had not gone very far when he overheard the Mizraimites referring to the”God of Joseph” in nightly prayers anbd blessings. Giving h imself no rest, the old trader continued to spy on them by giving them a word-trained bird that could record conversations. The bird, however, proved too noisy and obnoxious in speech to please Zenobia’s tastes and he was soon setting outside her tent. The next morning, relenting, she allowed Assah to retrieve the cold, shivering bird. Unknown to them, it had already learned the blessing of Joseph they always used before retiring. Hearing that his bird informant had been rejected, too impatient to wait any longer, Meshullam went directly to the horse’s nouth for information. He asked the Mizraimites face to face how it was they spoke of a new god, this “God of Joseph.” The Mizraimites told him about Joseph, how as a young slave he had come into their household and been prospered by his god, until he was made overseer of the entire estate. Afte that he fell into disfavor, being accused a crime, and was imprisoned, though innocent. At this point the account was being given by the maid, while her mistress looked most uneasy. Keeping his thoughts to himself, Meshullam retired to his own tent with the remarkable news. Joseph! Was it the same? If so, he must be dealing with Potiphar’s wife and maid! He had wondered why these two obviously well-provided-for women were travelling so far from their own country. Could it be it had to do with Joseph’s imprisonment? At at rate, his thoughts turned back to business. Hazir was on the horizon, ands he had the robe filled with charms (a substitute for the one he had given to Joseph on the trip down), ready to deliver to the king. After Zenobia gave Ramoseh and her other men-servants their freedom, the caravan reached Hazir without trouble. Glad to be rid of the “Scribe Bird,” Meshullam gave it to Abdullah to deliver to the priests of the moon-god in their temple,while Meshullam went about other business. Zenobia and Assah were left to do as they pleased, and they too went into town.

The ladies had not been in the city long when they came to the Temple of the Moon-god and saw a bright-feathered bird flit by and people running about in confusion and crying out. They heard that the moon-god, after uttering the strangest mixture of religious exhortation and brothel endearments, had suddenly toppled to the floor. There for all to see the god lay outstretched, a trunk without arms and legs, even its head broken off. Priests blamed the word-trained bird that had uttered blasphemies. He had interrupted the solemn child-sacrifice and cursed the lofty conference of assembled kings, declaring the name of the “God of Joseph” through the very mouth of the moon-god, so that now the entire priesthood was running about outside the sanctuary trying to track the feathered malefactor down. Everything the King of Hazir had been attempting to do in the gathering of neighboring rulers against Jacob’s Hebrews and god was cast into disarray. Not liking anything she saw in Hazir--for it had changed much from the time of her childhood--Zenobia returned with Assah to the caravan, and Zenobia was of a mind not to stay on but accompany the caravan on its journey to Gilead. It took much money to persuade the suspicious Meshullam, who was preoccupied by the trouble the bird had stirred up in the city. Finally, he agreed to taking the women further, for he was anxious to leave Hazir as soon as possible and head directly home. When Meshullam decied he could not wait any longer for the missing Abdullah, they set out on the road, leving him to catch up as soon as he could. Since all Meshullam’s goods had been sold, his donkeys and camels moved swiftly to quit the city before its authorities got wind of their leaving. The trader knew the infuriated king would soon be tracing the bird to its point of origin with a chariot corps and expert archers. But before the citadel tower of Hazir had sunk completely fromsight they saw a tiny,r in-straked figure running through the crowd at the city gates. Above followed a bright spot of color. Meshullam called the caravan to a halt. The bird that had caused all the trouble was flying above Abdullah, tied with a long cord, when the runt reached his brothers. Still crying “Woe to the god of Hazir!”, it was quickly reeled in by Abdullah, and then off he and the caravan went at a smart clip-clop while it was still possible to get away with their lives.

4. Fleeing an unexpeced attack of the Mycenaeans, the Minos of Keftiu and his court tried to excape by fleeing into the caves beneath the ruins of the palace. Storage rooms, long abandoned, connected to caves and passages that ran interminably into the earth, and some, used as dungeons in past eras, were heaped with the bones of criminals expired in their chains. There was no hope left to them, and the Minos finally turned back to face the pursuers. Daedalus the Crown Prince was for pressing on into the labyrinth of subterranean tunnels and chambers. Overruled, he was commanded to flee, but the king himself refused to go any further. Daedalus, weeping, left his father and the court to their fate. He had not gone far when he heard the Mycenaeans fall on his people, putting them to the sword. Flinging himself into the depths, he was thoroughly exhausted and lost when a strange being, whom he took to be a dead soul, or shade, from the Underworld, came to his rescue. The shade gave him real food and drink, a place to bathe and rest, and new clothes. After resting and eating something, Daedalus was sent on his way, and he continued to wander deep in the earth, hoping to find a way back out to the surface. Instead he reached the Underworld, a dread place where the Dead were kept, known rather vaguely to his people in ancient accounts, but seldom seen and discribed by living men. Daedalus was appalled by its vastness, the terrible heat and fire that seemed to consume the plains and pits. Yet he discovered it had many inhabitants, souls of the Dead, once alive as himself but now doomed to endure a torment seemingly without end. The Dauphin discovered his newly slain father in the Underworld, but the Minos was unable to return with him to the living world above. Vowing to come back to rescue his father, Daedalus fled the beastly jailors of the Underworld that came to slay the intruder. Not knowing whether he dream the experience or not, Daedalus awoke later in a cave on the earth’s surface. he wondered if he had gone mad, except that he looked at his strange clothes and other items given to him by the kindly shade before he reached the Underworld.

Discovered by a pack of wild children, Daedalus let himself be led to their hut, an abandoned farmhouse take over by the orphans. Since he was in need of them, he accepted their care, and when he had recovered from his ordeal in the Underworld he tried to teach them how to better themselves and forego some of their ignorant and uncivilized ways. At first things went well in his little school of manners. He also taught a ship-building course--ships being the staff of life to Minoan civilization. The stronger boys helped the Dauphin cut down olive trees for the boards they needed to build a seagoing boat. Gathering tools from workshops in the ruined palaces, Daedalus set to work with some assistance from his wild troop. Their food, gleaned from the countryside, was almost exhausted when a Tyrian ship arrived with a load of grain. While the sailors dispensed jars of grain, Daedalus asked how it was that they would take no money, and they told of a rich Mizraimite woman who had heard of their trouble and had paid for everything. “Why tell us that? Why not charge us anyway and profit yourself twice?” They stared at him without answering, obviously offended. Finally, the captain replied with a sneer. “That is how you Keftuians did things in the past. But you forget not all men are as you! Besides, you have no money! What would we get from you in exchange for this grain? A little bag of uncured olives, a leg of sheep, some goat’s milk?” His face burning, the Dauphin turned away, unable to defend himself against the rightness of the captain’s words.

The Tyrians departed after obtaining information from Daedalus where other Keftiuans might still be living, and Daedalus returned chastened to his building project. A drought was settling ont he country, and he knew he must get away to Mizraim before they ran completely out of the Tyrian grain. Launching the boat, they had just cleared the bar at the mouth of the harbor when they met an in-coming Mycenaean warship and raider. The Mycenaean pursued them, and they were being overtaken when the Dauphin decided to steer directly onshore, despite the protests of the wild children. The little ship broke up on the rocks, but they reached safety, and the Mhycenaeans turned away toward the mainland.

5. Not long after Er’s death, Judah gave his second son Onan to his brother’s young widow, so that the levirate law of his people might be satisfied that entitled the dead Er to the sons that Onan could produce with his brother’s widow. Refusing at first, Onan finally gave in to Judah, but he continued with the wild rites on the high place, intending to follow Er’s example secretly. Onan suddenly fell dead. Judah’s wife was no lover of Judah’s foreign, invisible god. Holding Judah and his god responsible for the deaths of her sons, Rizpah refused all comfort and sank into madness. One day Judah found her dead in the cemetery adjoining the high place, her breast deeply pierced by a knife in her hand.

Chronicle 44, A.S. 5929 1. Signet, Cord, and Staff; 2. Joseph’s Prison; 3. “Forbidden Vases”; 4. Judah’s Return; 5. Two Prodigals; 6. Zenobia’s Return; 7. A Ring of Red and Black; 8. The Lowest Pit 1. Having prospered and become a rich man in Chezib, but afraid that Shelah his third son would soon go the fatal way of his brothers, Judah refused to give him to his brother’s wife Tamar, who knew the levirate law and was just as determined to have him. Without a husband, she knew she would die a wretchedly poor widow, or do as others did--become a Chillelu cult-prostitute in service to worshipers of Chillelu and Hibishu. Without supporting husband or son, she had no rights to the inheritances of Er and Onan and must return to her father’s house an unwanted pauper (perhaps her third option). When Tamar heard that Judah that Judah had gone up to the slaughter of goats in the village of Timnah, she resolved to gain her rights by Judah, since he had unlawfully kept back Shelah from her. Disguised as a Chillelu-harlot, she met him on the road as he traveled back to Chezib. The father-in-law unwittingly lay with his daughter-in-law and she conceived. She returned to Chezib, his staff and signet held in pledge for a payment of a kid goat. Going back to Timnah for the goat, he was there that Judah heard his daughter-in-law had played the harlot and become pregnant. Chezibites dragged her up to Timnah where Judah tarried with the dissolute Hireh, both enjoying the easy favors of the local women. Judah condemned her to death by burning, but Tamar still had the signet an staff, and she declared they belonged to the man who had impregnated her. When she threw them down at Judah’s feet, everyone had a good look at them, and many recognized them as Judah’s. There was no denying it.

Triumphant Tamar returned to Chezib, fully established in her rights as the wife of Er now that she was going to bear a son in his name by his own father. A broken man, Judah confessed his dishonest treatment of Tamar, his defrauding her of her right to Shelah--which was, after all, the law of his own people as well as Tamar’s Hittite brethren. The people, even Hireh his long-time friend and buddy, shook their heads and their heels at him and would have nothing more to do with him.

2. In the days before Joseph interpreted the dreams of the Masgeh and Opeh, Potiphar received a message from Khian at home, calling in question his mysterious ailment and ordering him to muster his military ability and experience at the beleaguered palace. This was the Per-aa’s second summons in a year. “Not another goose-chase to Kush!” Potiphar cursed, as he was drived by chariot to the royal hall. He could not forget the last trip. Khian had sent him to tour the remaining royal gold mines and sepets in his control, and afterwards, to keep them from profiting the Ibbathans, kill all the prison workers and supervisors, salt the mines, and deliver the gold to his Kushan allies far to the south of Ibbatha. It was murderously hot in the High Desert, for they had to leave the water-cooled valley of the Ioteru and drive far into the trackless desert to elude numerous, large Ibbathan patrols. Exposed to sand storms that had, in times past, obliterated entire armies without a trace, Potiphar soon had reason to curse the day he had ever been appointed commander. Having lost the Track of the Forty Lost Caravans, which existed much of the way in name only, his chariot corps became hopelessly mired in sand and ran out of water after failing to sight any of the little pyramids of donkey and human skulls supposed to mark the route. They would have perished within a few hours if a caravan of Edomites had not been spotted by sharp-eyed Jizra, who was a native of the North. Since he had seen them first, they waited out of sight until the caravaneers came too close to escape their net. As it turned out, the Edomite chieftain gave them water for their gold, enough water to save Potiphar’s men and even his valuable war horses. Greed drove the Edomite to sacrifice all his available waterskins, and he offered his captive Nubian women if only he could have more gold. Potiphar would have no women along and refused. When the gold-crazed Edomite kept insisting and violently seized hold of Commander Potiphar, it was his last act. Potiphar’s men had been waiting for a pretext such as this, their bows ready to defend their own captain. The old trader fell full of darts, cursing Potiphar with his dying breath. With him died the other Edomites, and Potiphar was left with the women after all. Reluctantly deferring to his charioteer, Potiphar let the women be taken along to the border fortress of Gerasa, one of thirteen such outposts securing the region. Gerasa was in ruins,however, destroyed by a recent raid from Ibbatha, but the blocked well still held water, and there was some fruit on the sword-hacked, fire-blackened palms. Even with these advantages, the men were not satisfied and began fighting over the women, something Potiphar had foreseen. He was forced to execute the men involved and the women too, to save his own life and the expedition. Potiphar thought himself fortunate Jizra had not seized any of the women; he would have felt lost without his charioteer. But Jizra, though remaining loyal, was not the same after seeing the Nubian women put to death. Yet it could not be helped. Potiphar had to do what was needed to survive, even if he offended a trusted officer. Afte that they safely reached Kush and delivered the gold bribes, which bought renewed support against Ibbatha, but he returned to Avaris with even stronger distaste for his official duties after the various blood-lettings at the mines and Gerasa and the uncomfortably narrow escape on the Track of the Forty.

With these bad memories in mind, Potiphar strode into the royal hall and was brought before Khian. He saw at once that Khian, who usually met privated with him as one military man to another, had something important in a public sense he preferred to communicate in a royal audience, and Potiphar’s heart sank at the thought. Khian offered Potiphar the position of Grand Taty. Now Potiphar had passed the latest Grand Taty hanging naked and dead in a tree outside the palace entrance and had no ambition to follow him. Tree hanging, and vultures picking at the corpse, was Khian’s unsophisticated style and mode of disposing of unwanted officialdom. Choosing his words carefully, Potiphar bowed low and claimed that for reasons of poor health and age he could not accept so demanding a post. Would Potiphar’s sire please excuse him from the exalted honor of the appointment? Khian was infuriated and bewildered, for he had thought no Mizraimite would refuse so high and lucrative an office. Potiphar was dismissed, and he was about to leave the palace grounds when a guard came by with two high officials whom he recognized--the Masgeh and Opeh. The officials inclined their heads to Potiphar, for they were being taken to Potiphar’s prison, the Sohar. Potiphar was not muchsurprised at their fall from power, for heknew at least one of them was related to the late Grand Taty--a nephew or brother-in-law. After seeing the officials to the fortress, where they would be staying under guard in private rooms until their sentences came from the palace, Potiphar went to the prison jailor to inquire of Joseph. He found the jailor playing knuckle-bones with an aide, but all was clearly in order and Potiphar commended him. The jailor confessed the prison had never had better administration since he had appointed the condemned, former overseer, Joseph. Potiphar had to see for himself if the jailor’s high praises were true. He was taken down at once to the dungeon. Everything was in excellent order, spotlessly clean, and peaceful. The prisoners in the various rooms were even occupied in crafts of various kinds. “It’s Joseph’s prison, not mine!” Potiphar observed to himself, recalling the mayhem, squalor, and disorder of previous days before Joseph came to the place.

Potiphar was conducted to the spot where Joseph was tending a sick, elderly prisoner, and Potiphar turned away, choosing not to reveal himself tohis former overseer, but just the same well-pleased. Later, back in his obscure existence as a semi-retired commander, Potiphar had much opportunity to think about his life. Zenobia had taken Ramoseh and sailed away to Hazir. He was alone, possibly for the rest of his life. Sometimes he thought of the dying Edomite’s curse, in which something ran true about there coming a slave from his own household to rule over him. That had already happened, he knew, when Joseph was appointed overseer. But what about the slave’s gilded heel that was supposed to press his neck? Only two persons, the Per-aa and the Grand Taty, wore gilded slippers at the court. Potiphar was interrupted in his meditations when he heard the sound of a mighty chariot in the yard. Going out to the entrance, Potiphar stood bemused, seeing nothing but the rushing wind from a storm off the sea. Then a dust-caked, weary man ran into the yard and threw himself down before Potiphar. “Ramoseh!” Potiphar exclaimed, with more affection than this cold-hearted, military man had yet shown any human being.

3. Lord Petepheres died, leaving a single heir, his young and beautiful daughter Asenath. Responsible for the disposition of Petepheres’s estate, the high priest Duamutef called for a reading of the will. Since the architect-priest was royal in blood, the reading drew important and powerful people, even distant relatives among the nobility at Ibbatha. A scribe read the will to the assembly in the Temple of Nathasta, under the eye of the presiding high priest. Petepheres’s daughter returned to her apartments when the reading was concluded, not knowing that the high priest had already impounded Petepheres’s considerable wealth and had no intention of allowing Asenath possession according to the will. Another assembly was convened immediately after the will, attended by the high priest and the Ibbathans, as well as some court informers working for Khian. The Ibbathans were determined to enlist the Temple of Nathasta against Khian, with the sweetening of extensive bribes if necessary. Knowing that Khian’s eyes and ears were present, Duamutef refused to play fool. With Khian backed like a wounded but still powerful boar into a corner, he decided it was not the time to change his allegiance and called the meeting to an end. While Duamutef pondered what to do with Asenath, she was losing sleep from rage and grief. Her father’s body had been taken away to be embalmed, though she knew none of h is funerary buildings, except the great and noble mortuary chapel by the river, had been completed. Khian’s building project on the west bank had taken all available stone, so her father’s house of eternity had been utterly neglected. What would happen to him then? No one would tell her. She knew her father would be left in some shallow grave in the desert sand like any common person, after the screaming mockery of a lavish riverside funeral service. What she did not know was that Duamutef had ordered all work on Petepheres’s house of eternity stopped and the stone diverted to his own instead. Ordered to appear before the high priest, Asenath went because she had wanted to speak to himabout her projects. Instead, he told her to prepare herself as a woman should who might expect advancement at the royal court. Horrified, Asenath heard him order her to refrain at present from her architectural “follies.” Humiliated, but realizing she had fallen into the high priest’s tentacles, Asenath returned to her apartments to plan her escape. That was not going to be easy, she soon would learned. Duamutef thought of most everything and she was watched day and night.

4. When Judah reached his house at Chezib, the entire village was waiting for the malefactor. Since Tamar had left her parents’ house and taken his residence, he was not allowed past the door. It was Er’s and his wife’s house, everyone but Judah agreed. Instead of resuming his old life and privileges at Chezib, he was beaten senseless. Tamar, coming out of the hosue, told the people not to slay him but return him to the road by which he first came to Chezib. Awakening later on the road, Judah struggled to rise up, but a wave of fire from all his wounds struck him back to the ground. His battered head made it very difficult to think, but graduatelly he discerned that if he wanted to live he must get away soon before the Chezibite youth returned to finish the job. He had been stripped naked, and he knew everything he owned--sheep, swine, goats, house, goods, gold and silver hoardings--all had been stolen by his daughter-in-law or his neighbors. As he forced himself to his feet and took excruciating steps forward on the road to Hebron, he could not help recalling the wounds his fist had inflicted on young Joseph’s body and face. He also could not get the sale out of his mind. How quickly the brothers’ celebration broke off in vicious fights over the Favorite’s doubled inheritance. That struggle had grown as bitter as death and continued to Judah’s last moments in the camp. Now he was fleeing Chezib by the road to Hebron, with no hope of his brothers ever turning a kindly eye upon him for deserting him with a lion’s share of sheep and goats. His recollection of Joseph brought the hopelessness of his life to bear on his mind with inescapable and crushing force. The choice he had made to separate himself from his father and brethren also returned to torment him. He realized he had willfully done what was forbidden by the God of the Covenant and could expect no mercy from a father who was not known for his forgiving nature. Moreover, he had tortured his old father with a terrible lie, and if he should return now to tell his father the fully truth of their villainy, his brothers would never let him live a day after his confession. In sight, to make sure that never happened, they would cut him down on sight before he even reached camp. To go on was useless then. With Shelah run off to the emasculated priesthood of Chillelu and Hibishu, he would die without issue. He reached the crossroad to Timnah and Enaim. There he collapsed and did not move again. So he struggled up the road, but his condition was so bad that he collapsed senseless and lay as though dead.

6. Meshullam’s caravan reached Gilead. They were almost in his home country near Succoth when Zenobia demanded they turn and head for Hebron instead. Meshullam was both dumbfounded and enraged. He would not hear of changing course, and set his tent as far away from the meddling Mizraimites as he could to keep themn from harranging him about the matter. But Zenobia would not be put off. She laid a fortune in electrum before his startled eyes. Of couse he reconsidered, though he hated the thought of what he was in for. He knew Hebron was the camp of the Hebrews under Jacob, and it was a dangerous place to go, if all the ugly reports told by the heathen were true. Moreover, he had reason to think the Hebrews he encountered at Dothan were Jacob’s too. Though they were generally well-favored, handsome men of the Aramaean blood line, it seemed quite in their character, he reasoned, to sell a brother into slavery so as to seize his inheritance or any treasure he might possess. Great riches encouraged such treachery. “As rich as Jacob the wandering Aramaean” was a common proverb in the East, for everyone had heard ofhis uncommnly fertile wives, flocks, and over-flowing treasure chests. And throughout Ken’an, in every place there was a wedding-feast, there was no consummation until after Chillelu priests ritually blessed the bridegroom and bride with Jacob’s name along with their customary goat-god’s. But what most struck Meshullam was not the fecundity and wealth Jacob enjoyed but the connection of Joseph with Hebron. There was every possibility he would soon look upon the same blood-thirsty band he had met in Dothan and narrowly escaped. Only the fortune in Mizraimite electrum now his would induce Meshullam to risk it and go there, and it took all his authority and tact to drag his home-yearning, foot-sore brothers on this tiresome and risky detour to Hebron. Turning off the safer, well-traveled route to Succoth, the carravan headed across the Jordan into Ken’anite territory. Since the massacre of the Shechemites, it was not easy to avoid being taken for maurading Hebrews and massacred in turn by the Ken’anites. So Meshuyllam took cae to avoid the bigger towns and fortified cities, keeping to less-settled countryside though it was infested with robbers who made their living on ambush and murder. On one route little used since the Philistines had seized part of the coastland away from the Ken’anites, they passed a village of Ken’anites who looked at them but were fortunately too busy searching the environs of their village for something for they might have seen trouble. Further up the road, at a crossroad, a many lay by the roadside. Knowing the dangers of lingering in such places, Meshullam was for going on, but the Mizraimites shrieked until he was forced to stop. Forced to do something for the wounded man, Meshullam put away his apprehensions and tended to the Hebrew, for he knew them on sight, though this one was badly mauled. Annointing his wounds and clothing him, Meshullam had the man strapped to a camel one of the Mizraimites let go for the purpose, and they continued on to Hebron. They did not go very far, for a soon as safer country was reached Meshullam called a halt. At their camp that evening the man was given more care and attended by the Mizraimites in their own tent. Int he morning the women brought word to Meshullam,w hich little surprised him, that their patient had spoken a few words, naming his God in the Hebrew tongue, El Shaddai. Assah repeated the name to him, unsure of its meaning since she had heard it only a few times in comparion to El Elyon, or God Most High. “‘El Shaddai’?--that is Almighty God,” Meshullam explained. “He is the God of these Hebrews and a few of my own people.” Assah’s face paled at Meshullam’s admission and ran immediately to tell her mistress, but before she reached the tent Zenobia stepped out and went to Meshullam. She confronted him with her suspicions that the man must be Hebrew, perhaps of the same band that resided at Hebron. Meshullam, not willing to go so far, wouldnot agree and refused to argue it with her. Not long after it was reported to Meshullam that the Hebrew had spoken again, saying that he was the son of “Prince Jacob.” He also asked to be taken to his father. When it was time to move again toward Hebron, Meshuyllam saw the women were unusually quiet and subdued for Mizraimites, and he took note. Suddenly, he knew the cause. The Hebrew was Joseph’s brother! For some minutes he hardly knew what to think or feel. Revelation or not, the caravan set off for Hebron and later set camp again, within half a day’s trek to Hebron. This time the women proved reluctant to give any more care to the Hebrew prince’s son and stood outside their tent. Meshullam was angry and would have gone in to see to the man’s needs, but the women relented and went back inside their tent.

The next morning the Mizraimites announced to Meshullam they were leaving the caravan and returning to their own country. “Take the stranger on to Hebron, to his father,” he was directed by Lady Zenobia, handing him some sweetening of electrum. “As for us, we are weary of this wilderness of a country and wish to return home at once!” Money was one thing, but Meshullam could not do otherwise. The laws of hospitality in his country demanded he see the man safely to his own people. Yet he was only too glad to see the last of the Mizraimite women, and soon had completed all arrangements. The women were to take two camels and three donkeys to transport themselves and baggage. Of course, he could not spare a man to lead them back to their own land, but that, Meshullam reasoned, was their problem, not his. Abdullah, however, rushed forward into the breach and offered to be their caravaneer. The astonished Meshullam nearly made the mistake of preventing him. One look at Abdullah’s manly, determined face stayed his hand, and he saw that the Runt of the family had decided this on his own. So, sighing, Meshullam let his unfavored Favorite go free, and soon Abdullah’s little caravan disappeared toward the southwest, taking the road back toward the coast, though not by way of Chezib which would have led them into Philistine country.

Meshullam’s caravan set off for Hebron, and the Hebrew camp was in his sight when he realized his great mistake. He had completely forgotten to exact any payment for the donkeys and camels, which he knew would never make it back to him alive under Abdullah’s care. How he could have raised the price until the women screamed for mercy lest he impoverish them! Wondering if he was losing his wits, the old trader continued on to the Hebrew camp with bated breath. He felt some real apprehension when he approached their tents, when a multitude of unfriendly Hebrews surrounded him, cutting off escape. Jacob the “prince,” the patriarch of the Hebron band, came out to see the caravan. Though no one could have directed him, he went straightway to the camel carrying the wounded Hebrew. There he stood weeping, lifting his hands in yearning as if he knew for sure this was his lost son. Meshullam looked on in astonishment as the hebrews took the man down and carried him away to Jacob’s tent. The whole came broke into an uporar as the news of Judah’s return spread.

His sorrow turned to joy, the prince remembered his guests and what favor they had done his long lost son. He immediately extended every courtesy to Meshullam. After some conversation, Meshullam received his rich gifts, but declined the offer of staying on with the Hebrews that night. thinking of Joseph and how he had fared among his own brethren in the field, he felt very uneasy and only wanted to be on his way before nightfall. After the laws of hospitality had been satisfied, which included a sumptuous meal and various entertainments of harping and flute-playing, Meshullam and his brothers departed Hebron. It was late in the day, unfortunately, and they did not get far before they were forced to make camp a few miles beyond Hebron and Kiriath-arba. Meshullam re-counted his money in his treasure boxes, made his plans for the coming day, and then retired. In the night he was disturbed by the sounds of men gasping and groaning around him in his brothers’ tents. Instantly, he knew what was transpiring,and he waited for death. His own tent door was thrown open, and Hebrews slipped inside with sheep shearing knives drawn. For a oment they debated whether to kill him too after hearing in call on the name of their God. simeon, who had recognized Meshullam on his approach to the camp, was sure he had come to tell their father everything he had seen at Dothan. “Only our fearsome presence may have prevented him!” he cried to his brothers. He would have slain Meshullam then but he, too had been followed. Judah’s arm reached out and caught Simeon by the neck with his former strength. When Judah released the half-strangled, blue-faced Simeon, they spun away from each other and stood looking at each other until Judah spoke, challenging sismeon to kill him.

“Will you mingle the holy blood of a Hebrew with an uncovenanted Ishmaelite’s?” he taunted Simeon. It was very effective. The very thought was so appalling to the attackers that they dropped their knives. Suddenly, they thought of all the blood they had spilled in their careers. Asher, characteristically, was first to break from blood-guiltiness. The “rabiscus,” or pantherlike, avenging devils, that pursued him now leaped onto his brothers’ backs. When he cried out like he was being clawed and ripped to pieces, they felt the same way and panicked, fleeing out of the camp into the night. Judah stayed with Meshullam, though he was not well and needed further care himself. In the morning Judah comforted the old man as best he could, and together they worked to prepare the deceased for burial. The bodies and blood-soaked clothing they washed in the nearby stream, the same that flowed to Chezib. Before long, it carried the red stain to washer-women who were just then laundering clothes. Creating a panic, the bloodied waters made turned their laundry red, as the women cried out and ran to tell the village while holding out pieces of the laundry. Taken as a sign that the God of Judah had struck the waters of the holy stream of Hibishu and Chillelu, forboding seized on every heart. Just as affected by the blood-stained laundry, Hireh the headman said it was no doubt a punishment for what they had done to Judah, once his generous and trusted friend. He added that he had tried to persuade them against harming Judah overly, but they had not listened, and so this thing had befallen them. Giving them little time to repent of their poor usage of a Hebrew sojourner, Philistines on a raid into the hill-country reached Chezib. Tamar, awaiting the birth of her child, fled into the hills toward Hebron, while the others were caught and slain and the village burned.

Meshullam continued on to Gilead while, unknown to him, Chezib was butchered. When Judah was left alone, his brothers gathered courage and crept out of the surrounding forest. All looking like veteran bandits and wild men, they surrounded Judah. Judah and Simeon confronted each other, but Judah assured his brother that he would never tell their father the truth about Joseph, because he knew it would only bring more fighting and bloodshed down on their father’s head. Satisfied with this, Simeon relented and changed his mind about slaying Judah while he was still in a weakened condition. Together, the brothers returned to Jacob’s tent. Meanwhile, Abdullah’s Scribe Bird was crying out frantically in a camp far off toward the Wilderness of Shur and the border of Mizraim. No one knew what to make of his plaintive cries, for they were so human in expression and full of woe. Its cry, “Abel-Ishmael! Meadow of Ishmael, you shall be called!” was incomprehensible both to Abdullah and the two Mizraimites in his care. When the fowl cried out blood and murder and shrieked exactly like a dying man, they thought for sure the creature had gone mad. Abdullah’s caravan, despite the mad Scribe bird’s antics, reached the border safely, but their eyes were met with the devastation of warfare. In the ruins of the Customs House compound, Zenobia could not help think of her own life and what she had made of it. She could not understand herself any longer--wondering why she had not thought of her husband’s dishonor should she return now. With such misgivings, she might have turned back to Hazir but a timely squawk from the Scribe Bird arrested her, though he was only repeating Assah’s words about Potiphar missing her.

Knowing that Assah was enough of a servant to be able to divine her master’s heart and was no fool, she relented and ceased to be so dejected. Since the area was not safe, they could not linger any longer. Moving quickly down the road to Avaris, they were astonished by the widespread destruction. Only at the capital’s outskirts did things begin to look better. Ramoseh was the first to come out from the house to greet them. He was overjoyed to see his mistress again, but Zenobia was preoccupied. She asked about Potiphar and was told he slept most of every day--as before. As soon as Zenobia had made herself presentable, she went directly to him.

7. Succeeding in her escape, Asenath sailed upriver in a hired boat to Ibbatha and went directly to the place. Revealing her idenity, no one had the authority to stop her from seeking an audience with Prince Narmer, her royal cousin and also the Mizraimite pretender to the throne of Mizraim’s Two Kingdoms. Though she regarded him as an appalling and grotesque excuse for a man and prospective Per-aa, and was acutely aware he was ruling illegimately without the Royal Secret, he still enjoyed the support of powerful warlords and might be able to save her from the high priest of Nathasta. her time with the prince went badly. He not only did not want to offend Duamutef, but he condescended to offer his royal hand in marriage. Reminding him that she was in great danger, she tried to keep the weak and bored prince from leaving her without a decision. Only when she threatened to publicly reveal the Royal Secret and dissolve the legitimacy of the Mizraimite throne by declaring it publicly was the prince persuaded into helping her. Prince Narmer gave her his signet ring,w hich assured her safe-conduct as well as whatever she might demand in concessions for her safety fromt he high priest of Nathasta. At least that is how Asenath understood the prince’s gift. Asenath returned home to Nathasta, but she discovered that the prince’s couriers preceded her. Duamutef was not impressed by the royal signet of red and black when Asenath stood before him, He held a letter from Prince Narmer calling her a thief, charging her with stealing his ring, yet asking Duamutef not to inflict captal punishment on his royal kin. Asenath was again locked up, but this time the guard was increased to the point where she knew escape was impossible. Since her study room was blocked off from her, she was sitting in her bedroom when she received a communication from an invisible god. This was not the first time, but she had long forgotten the other time. The invisible god told the astonished Asenath that he would be with her in her trouble, and that she would be given a husband who would love and honor her. This man would be a “king and no king, a father and no father.” Even with her wits, Asenath had great difficulty with the interpretation and could think of nothing that would break the seal of the mysterious words, “king and no king, father and no father.” Most unfortunately, she could not call on professional diviners, of which the Temple had a small army, since word of it would be instantly passed to the high priest.

Chronicle 45, A.S. 5931 1. The Per-aa Dreamed; 2. The Per-aa’s Secret; 3. The Ka of Narmer; 4. Doors of Brass; 5. The White Lady; 6. Tamar’s Children; 7. Imhotep’s Signet; 8. The Sinking Ship; 9. M.G.Y. Calling 1. Potiphar had been given full account of the misfortunes of the Masgeh and Opeh, the two discredited high officials from the court. Ramoseh had visited Joseph ont he day he had gone to the palace, called to interpret Khian’s strange dreams, dreams of a forboding enough quality to drive Khian to distraction. All the diviners had failed to satisfy the per-aa when the Masgeh, remembering that Joseph had successfully interpreted his dream two years before, suggested Joseph to the king. After Joseph had interpreted Khian’s dreams, Khian had been so pleased he appointed Joseph to Grand Taty, a position second only to the Per-aa’s in power and wealth, except that Khian’s fortunes were at their lowest ebb and there would be little chance for Joseph to enjoy his triumph. Ibbathan-beseiged Avaris, indeed the royal palace, was poised to fall within days to the enemy. Potiphar, thinking over these matters with plenty of time to do so, marveled how Joseph’s fortunes had suddenly turned to the better, despite his view that the Masgeh would never remember Joseph and call him from the prison. “I was quite wrong,” he observed to Ramoseh.

2. A pawn in the power plays of men wrestling for control of Mizraim, Asenath fretted, driven half-mad with misery as she saw herself caught int he high priest’s web. She had plenty time to grieve that her father’s body was lying neglected in the riverside chapel, while his chrysalis, or house of eternity, lay buried beneath the rubble of Khian’s. Knowing little of worldly things, she knew at least that Khian’s star was sinking fast and low, and soon he would be cut off and destroyed in his own capital. One thing she knew she still possessed, the Royal Secret, which her father had given her in place of her mother, who died before she could keep the ancient ritual of passing the Mizraimite throne-right to the next legitimate bearer. By that Secret two kingdoms were welded into one empire,and there could be no unity in Mizraim without it. Never would it be given to a foreign invader, so that the throne was safeguarded forever and would never pass from Mizraimite hands. Not really understood by its royal bearers, the Secret was nevertheless sancrosanct, worshiped like a god, just as the triple scepter--the golden flail, mace, and crook--were worshiped as gods ever since Mizraim began. Maintaining its great power over lMizraim by remaining a secret, the throne-right that went with it was impregnable, and Asenath kenw sits power, though not even her father had been able to unlock its meaning to her inquiring mind. “It must not be given out publicly! he instructed her. “If you do so, the power of it it lost, and the throne will crumble to dust!” Asenath reflected bitterly that the triple scepter could be stolen, and it was at that moment in the greasy hands of the Usurper in Avaris. But she was determined that he would never take the Secret from her. It was hers to give to any consort she chose, or say nothing and let it be her winding sheet. Ther was a third path open to her. She could make it public, thus destroying the legitimacy of the throne-right, sot hat no ruler thereafter could claim the allegiance of all the land and people of the two Kingdoms. In her desperation, she planned to escape from the high priest and return to Ibbatha, to publicly throw the Secret in Prince Narmer’s face while others looked on, and thus his betrayal of her would be punished when he looked into the faces of his subjects and saw that he no longer could claim the least thred of their allegiance. It was a very difficult plan to carry out, however, and she was interrupted by the high priest coming suddenly to send her off to Avaris, to the court of Khian. Duamutef had wavered a long time between the two opposed capitals, but he had made up his mind. Asenath was to be given in marriage to the new Grant Taty. The destiny of Nathasta was thus linked with that of the plummeting Hyksos power, and Duamutef knew full well that would probably be the end of him. Asenath was a prisoner in his hands. Maids he had assigned to her prepared her for the journey by river. The following day she was in Avaris and was presented to Khian and a multitude of courtiers at court. His Grand Taty was also present, and after barely a glance at him she was put in a private chamber in the palace to await her new husband’s coming.

One glance at the Grand Taty told Asenath that he was a foreigner after Khian’s kind, despite his Mizraimite attire. Though he was handsome and she would be given exalted status as the Grand Taty’s Chief Wife, Asenath was horrified to find herself at the mercy of a foreigner and would just as soon become a chattel in the perfumed harem of the concubine-mad Khian. Desiring death, Asenath looked up as the Grand Taty entered the room. He soon proved very different from what she expected of a foreigner. Not knowing what to think, she listened as he told her that he had been a common laborer, even a slave. Later, when they were alone in the Grand Taty’s palace, Asenath asked him if he had known of her coming. “No, I was told just a few days ago, when I was taken from prison to interpret the dreams of the Per-aa.”

Asenath looked at him with increased astonishment. Either he was a bold-faced liar or a fool. She knew Khian’s day were numbered on one hand. The Ibbathans were at the gates of Avaris, pounding away at his defences. Soon this wretched husband of hers would be slain with all the other foreigners in the city. They continued to talk, and he told her more of himself and his people, how his forefather had been called out of a city called Ura in a far country, to go to a new land poromised to him and his descendants by their god. To seal the covenant between God and his people, all males had been given a mark. Becoming more and more intrigued, Asenath asked more about his people and listened intently. The next morning they had not finished talking. She felt light-headed, hearing so many strange things about the people of Jacob and his forefathers, but nothing was so strange as their invisible god--the One who called himself “I AM’ and admitted to no other god beside him. Asenath laughed. “So I am yoked unequally to a slave--and a foreigner too!” It was a bitter joke, for inwardly she raged, to think all this trouble had taken place in her life so that she might be married to a man who would soon lie dead with an Ibbathan javelin in his breast. Taking advantage of her perogatives as the Grand Taty’s wife, the vizereine commandeers a charioteer, Jizra, and a chariot and speeds toward Machitha, where the Ibbathan per-aa, her cousin, will be paying a royal visit. Getting through the Ibbathan guard checkpoints by revealing her blood-tie to the Ibbathan ruler, she reaches Machitha and penetrates the huge crowds all the way to the royal dais. Just when everything is going as planned, Asenath steps up and declares her identity. Then she reveals the Royal Secret, and the effect is what she hoped to gain. No one understands just what it means, but the people know that something had come unhinged in the order of Mizraim, and the celebration of the new Per-aa of the Two Kingdoms and his announced nuptials to the daughter of the Mycenaean ally, King Thesus, are all thrown into confusion. Asenath is trampled, but Jizra returns her to the palace in Avaris safely, so that Joseph and his physicians can care for her.

After this event, Asenath recovers and finds opportunity to learn more of her husband, since the Ibbathans fail to take the city. She takes him into her confidence as well, warning him with knowledge gained from the Forbidden Vases. Joseph does not seem to understand the gravity of the threat, however, and Asenath is bitterly disappointed. She attempts one more thing. Believing that her Throne-right was still viable, she intends to bestow it on her husband if he will only assassinate Khian, who will never rule both Kingdoms. Joseph refuses. That very night a storm brews on the sea, just as one has brewed in Joseph’s own bedchamber.

3. Narmer II, rudely interrupted on his triumphal visit to newly-captured Machitha, the traditional seat of Mizraimite royalty, fled the enraged crowds, intending to return to his own home city of Ga’arta. Assassinated either by the Ibbathan nobles who had supported him or by the Mycenaeans, Narmer was amazed to find himself a dead soul being dragged by beast-like men through a long, dark passageway into the earth. Though as a Mizraimite he was accustomed to the thought of death, he was upset by the brutal way he was being treated. His body--whatever it was--was supposed to be embalmed in a riverside chapel, then drawn by golden sledge to his house of eternity, where the ceremony of the opening of mouth and the restoration of all his body’s faculties were performed by the proper priests. These were ceremonies vital to his future well-being in the Afterlife, so that his soul might regain its body and thence pass into eternal life among the stars. In times past the houses of eternity were built of stone blocks, set in the desert on the western bank of the Ioteru. Proving too expensive and troublesome to build correctly, the Ibbathans had settled on an alternative in their own locale, eliminating the riverside chapel and the long, connecting passage and concentrating instead on the underground chambers dug out of desert cliffs. After elaborate ceremonies by picked priests and groups of mourning women, magic spells did the rest. Covering the walls of the chambers, for as long as eternity lasted the magic spells were meant to provide the king’s ka with delicious foods and entertainments. But Narmer II found no such arrangements in any shape or form had been made for him. He was dragged directly to a judgment seat deep in the earth, and he was horrified to find himself treated like a common criminal by what appeared to be gods of the Underworld. He was prepared to make his Negative Confession, in which he denied any wrong-doing whatsoever. The Negative Confession was supposed to absolve him of any punishment, of course, yet no one would listen to him. Instead they beat him until the process begun on earth was complete. He lost all speech and vestiges of humanity, becoming a porcupine-like creature, of the type he had worshipped in his palace zoo. 4. Death came suddenly, if not unexpectedly, to Duamutef the high priest of Nathasta. Mycenaeans thrust into the Temple and slew him for allying the Temple with the Hyksos through the marriage of Asenath with Khian’s Grand Taty. As with Narmer II before him, he stared in disbelief at the beastly men that seized him and dragged him down into the Underworld, in complete disregard to immemorial Mizraimite religion and custom.

He had expected a judgment, and for that he came well-prepared, being a priest who knew every jot and tittle of the Negative Confession by which his ka was to be absolved of all possible guilt. Yet, now his memory failed him utterly. He could not recall a single line to his defense, and thee was no scribe present in the judgment hall who wuld bow and obsequiously jog his exalted memory. Instead of honor being shown to him because of his high priestly rank, he was dragged, kicked, and maltreated like a common criminal. When he protested he was innocent, he was treated to obscene oaths and more beatings. One of the guards brought out dozens of papyri containing charges against him. It was read to the court and the judge in an execrable, gutteral form of Mizraimite instead of the mellifluent tones of voice-trained choral-priests. Duamutef lost all hope as he recognized the truth of the charges. The reading went on interminably, recounting all his robberies, extortions, injustices, embezzlements, all his wicked doings during a long career as priest and high priest. Finally, it was over, and the condemned expected they would drag him off to be devoured by Lamishput, the crocodile-snouted god. He was surprised when instead of the tearing jaws of a crocodile he saw immense, brass doorss loom over him. The guards dragged him to them, but since no one would or could open the gate, they had to wait. It was a long wait, and the guards beat Duamutef in their impatience. Before they were allowed to pass through, another procession, bearing a dead soul who shone like a god, came up and passed by. Duamutef’s guards wee forced to give way, and the gate opened and admitted the godlike being and his shining attendants. Then the doors shut, and again they had a long wait before they re-opened, this time for them. Duamutef was dragged through and eventually thrown down across an abyss and onto a burning plain. There he found a vast multitude of his own kind, Mizraimites huddled together with former kings stretching all the way back to the Dawn Rulers starting with Narmer I.

Duamutef was sitting without hope on the burning plain when a godlike being appeared. The bright being embraced a dark, guilty soul like his own. But the jailors were coming. The dark soul suddenly brightened and was taken aloft by the bright beings. The one left behind, though not so bright as the others, did a strange and wonderful thing. Catching one of the jailors by the horns, he vaulted up into the air, flying over the abyss itself, as he flew free of the burning plain. But before the being escaped torment, Duamutef was quick to seize the moment. He rushed up to the bright being and found him to be a man! a man! Just before the beasts could intervene, Duamutef cried out for help, and the man told he must seek the Most High God if he were to have hopes of deliverance. Afterwards, Duamutef had much time to ponder what he had been told. But who was the Most High God? No one around him was any help. No one admitted their own guilt or felt the least big sorry about the misery others were suffering. Only Duamutef felt differently about himself. He acknowledged his wrong, and he wanted to know one thing: the way to this Most High God. After much weeping, Duamutef was surprised to see a bright being facing hinm. He was told that a higher court than the one he had known had convened, and it was decided that one thing was lacking in the lower court’s judgment against him. The decision of the lower court was overturned, since the defendant had done one righteous act in the service of the Most High God.

Duamutef was utterly dumbfounded. What good thing was it I did? he wondered. "You obeyed the Most High, though you knew him not," he was told. The bright being flew off, after telling him that a day would come when the Son of the Most High, the One called Að-ðOð, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, would come to seize the keys of death and hell and take captivity captive--thereby setting His chosen servants free. Returned to torment, Duamutef was, nevertheless, not sunk in it as before. Hope bloomed in him. He could not keep it to himself either. He went about proclaiming his newfound Hope to the astonished multitudes of dark souls. Now and then one or two would brighten miraculously in response to his words, and they too would rise up and begin to proclaim the same word of Hope. Most refused to listen, and abuse was heaped on duamutef and his helpers wherever he went among the captive nations. The jailors, enraged at what he was doing to incite the condemned, came to punish him mercilessly, but he would not stop, and since he could not be killed a second time they could only punish him as much as it was possible to punish a dead soul.

5. In the coming days since the shipwreck, Daedalus resumed his boat-building and getaway project with a vengeance, but his arbitrary decision to run the boat aground lost him the wild children’s trust. He also proceeded to lose their friendship by forcing them into civilization, when all they had known was the freedom of wild animals and orphans. They were disappointed in him mainly because he had not trusted in God to save them from their enemies--the God the Mizraimite lady had introduced to Keftiu and the Same which Daedalus had been trying his best to explain to the ignorant children. Picking in the ruins of the port of Amnisos, not far from the capital Knossos, Daedalus ran across a well-dressed Keftiuan lady, who knew him on sight despite his looking like an uncouth farmer. The wife of a dealer in Tyrian purple who had fled from the island, she had been made a courtesan of the Mycenaean fleet, serving the admirals primarily, and she had done very well for herself financially.

Daedalus was attracted to her, because she reminded him of the civilized life he had lost, and she was pleased by the novelty of having a royal Dauphin prince of the most exalted rank to amuse her when the fleet was away from port. Living in a small house by the water, the woman invited him to come and visit her. Though he was at first repelled by her affected, pretentious courtly manners (she had never entered palace society, being a tradesman’s wife, but always aspired to it), he found he needed more tools and was once again at her doorstep.

“It must have been hard for you,” the woman sympathized, as she gave Daedalus all the comfort at her command. “You lost all your pretty life at the palace--the parties, dancing, the fine wines, silks, and jewels, everything!” Theseus, the natural leader of the wild children, confronted Daedalus one day back at the hut. Theseus had followed Daedalus and knew everything. Infuriated, the Dauphin tried to humiliate Theseus, and he particularly tried to prevent him from romantically pairing off with one of the girls. Soon Daedalus found himself living alone in the hut. The wildings would have no more of him, and he returned home one day after visiting the woman of Amnisos to find the boat burnt and all his precious tools gone. His lover began to grow restless with his attentions, too, and she began demanding money of him, which was impossible for him to get. The Mycenaeans returned to port, but they never stayed indefinitely, having thought of some far-off city to sack and put to the torch. When it was safe to come out, Daedalus found the fleet gone and his lover with them. The Mycenaeans, evidently, had abandoned the island to the wild animals, after stealing everything of value.

Daedalus, ruined, returned to Knossos. One of the wild children came to him, clutching a tiny still-born child about the size of a man’s hand. He knew at once what had happened. Theseus’s lover, a young girl who was much too frail for child-bearing, had ignorantly given birth and lost the child. He rushed back to the hut to find the mother. But she too had died, and he found her lying on a hillside facing the water. He rightly blamed himself because he had driven her away by his anger for Theseus. Theseus appeared. There was a reconciliation with the offended, grieving boy. The girl’s death also brought back the other wild children, and Daedalus was magically restored to his former standing with them. Together, they mourned the loss of the girl. As soon as he could, Daedalus buried the couple’s daughter. In the days following they worked again to build another ship--the third such undertaking. Theseus also dove and gathered sea-snails, of the type that could be made to produce the valuable purple clothing dye the Tyrians had made world-famous. Though most of the delicious snails were consumed by the wild children, Daedalus knew how to extract the clear liquid that could be boiled into dye. The dye belong to Theseus, however, and when the first ship came from Mizraim since Lady Zenobia’s came to their shores it was Theseus who made a fortune in gold. He was too bright to take only a bag of glittering coins that were worthless on the starving island and also extracted a much more valuable bag of grain from the ship’s stores.

Even as the work on the ship progressed under Theseus’s leadership, Daedalus grew depressed. He decided to stay behind on the island, though he gave the wild children directions that would help them navigate on the voyage to Mizraim. There was no more food. They would have to flee Keftiu, he knew. When they had launched the ship and gone, the Dauphin returned to Knosses, his old home. He stumbled into a trap laid for him by another Theseus, the king of Mycenae. Suspecting the Crown Prince might still be alive, he had cunningly arranged for a partial restoration of certain rooms of the palace, and Daedalus found the king’s snare irresistable, stumbling into the robber-king in his father’s fully-restored private audience hall. It was the king’s way of using human nature to his advantage, and he knew Daedalus couldnot resist exploring a room that had miraculously returned to what it had been before the Great Shaking.

The king told Daedalus that his mother, not the king’s Chief Wife in Mycenae, greatly desired him to come to her. Daedalus refused his father’s assassin, and King Theseus quit the audience and left the hall. A short time later Mycenaean soldiers captured Daedalus and he was being led away to the fleet when a second Great Shaking struck Knossos and the palace. Having experienced it before, Daedalus was not so terrified as his guards, and he escaped. He fled into the ruined palace. The Great Shaking continued, and in it Daedalus lost his life.

He returned to the Underworld, this time as a shade. Daedalus was taken to his father, but not as a fellow prisoner of the Burning Plains, like the multitudes of his people whom he saw sufering there in witless agony. Here he was a visitor, it seemed. His escorts gave him only a moment to see his father, but Daedalus knew he could not leave his father again in such a place. Letting his father go in his stead, he remained to face the jailors’ wrath. They soon appeared. As the bull-like men rushed at him, the Keftiuan knew exactly what to do. Plunging horns were deadly weapons against any defenseless man, but to Daedalus, trained in the palace art of bull-leaping, it was an accustomed challenge to his strength, training, and agility. He knew he would either fail in the attempt and remain where he was--or succeed. In any case, he felt deep in his heart and spirit that God would never forsake him, whatever happened. The jailors and inhabitants of Hades were thrown into utter confusion as Daedalus caught the horns of the first bull-man and vaulted high in the air--so high he seemed to clear the abyss on the border of the Burning Plains. Or had angels caught him in the air? In any case, he vanished out of Hell’s reach.

Chronicle 46, A.S. 6068 1. A Second OP?; 2. Pher’s New Army

Chronicle 47, A.S. 6286 Waters of Blessing

Chronicle 48, A.S. 6679 1. Lightning over Kedesh; 1. Under the Tamar Tree; 3. Tinker’s Nail

Chronicle 49, A.S. 6688 Greener Pastures

Chronicle 50, A.S. 6699 The Gleaner

Chronicle 51, A.S. 6700 Two Wives and an Attitude

Chronicle 52, A.S. 7074 1. The Dove; 2. The Fish; 3. The Ship; 4. The Worm and the Vine

Chronicle 53, A.S. 7504 The Topmost Twig

Chronicle 54, A.S. 7506 1. The Lost Dream; 2. The Colossus; 3. The Fourth Man

Chronicle 55, A.S. 7537 Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin

Chronicle 56, A.S. 8033 Iskander’s Secret

Chronicle 57, A.S. 8507 1. The Two-Horned; 2. The Jaguar-Slayer; 3. Mink and the Flying Horse

Chronicle 58, A.S. 10,272 1. Seeing Eyes; 2. The Shadow Line; 3. The Lacquered Wardrobe; 4. Teena’s Star; 5. The Gray Wolf

Chronicle 59, A.S. 10,995 1. Five Stars for the Long Road; 2. Pilgrim, Bluebird, Starboy; 3. The White Stone

Chronicle 60, A.S. 10,999 Quest of the Cybernauts

Volume IV by Chronicler Horace Brave Scout

Lost Chronicles, Unchronicles, and Mystery Chronicles (with Appendix)

Volume V by Chronicler Horace Brave Scout

Beyond the Rapture

Volume VI by Chronicler Horace Brave Scout

Natal Convergence

Volume VII by Chronicler Horace Brave Scout

Final Wars...Convergence at Orion

Retro Star Directory and Linking Page

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