Chapter Three


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In the stillness of now, pain can tear your heart,

And illusion may betray reality,

But looking within one can truly start,

To find peace and higher clarity. 

The bowels of the second temple rumbled, partly in response to the change.... in the people, because of the threat from invaders and partly because of the fear that pervaded.

Deep in the sacred building they met in the dimly lit Ark chamber, the temperature there was constant, day or night, all year round. The atmosphere however, was strangely electric.

Tepemkau had called them together and they talked between themselves, only a vague idea of the true reason they were there. They knew it was about the ‘true’ Word of God.

“We are told Moses led the people to believe that the second tablets, The Commandments, were the same as the first… the Senses that he broke,” said Waja-Hur, always the pragmatist.

“Moses was guided by God, a man with the ear of God.  He led by showing the people he had a special partnership with God; that his pronouncements were in fact the intent of God himself.

“But Moses would seem to have believed that The Word of God, given to him in his first ascent of Mount Sinai, was not forceful or authoritative enough to enable him to ensure control over the tribes. He feared that to share the original message with the people would make him appear weak… and so he broke the tablets.

“But God lives by his Word. She is not wrathful, but loving and allowed Moses his choice ... she allowed him to use the name of God on the second tablets which Moses wrote himself....though it would affect the future of mankind for a thousand years and perhaps many more..... .”

No-one questioned Tepemkau’s apparent confusion over the gender of God, Only Sethe, who knew her so well, could have said that the reference was fully intended and far from being a mistake.

The impact of what Tepemkau was sharing now amazed them. It was almost with detachment, as if it was a priestly theological discussion. And these words might have been considered blasphemous at any other time or in any other company...  if the first Word of God, written by the hand of God, had not been there, right in front of them. They were awed, frightened by the magnitude of the moment and the mission they were being charged with.... and the sounds emerging from the dark ark.

“But to our purpose,” broke in Sethe, who had been standing eerily in the shadows at the back of the room, now connecting with the urgency of the moment, “ as you know the Persians are almost upon us...

“While they have been tolerant of Judah, even generous, under Cyrus The Great, we cannot be sure this will continue under Cambyses, who has shown he can be rash, unpredictable and dangerous. The Senses must be taken far away from Egypt and kept from harm, even if it means that you must travel to the ends of the earth. This, each of you, is your task…”

The seven ‘righteous’ men tried to gauge this awesome responsibility. It took time to sink in and then the questions started.

Silence momentarily overtook the group. The candles flickered amid the shadows as if caught in a sudden blast of wind, though none felt such a breeze.

“Why us? We are hardly worthy of such an important task,” said Harnakhte turning to Tepemkau, “Surely priests of the highest order would be best to carry The Word of God.”

“It would be certain death for us,” suggested Khafra, “if we are caught with these sacred tablets. We will be accused of being temple thieves by the elders of Judah, pillagers by the Egyptians…and just good targets for the Nubians, who will be waiting to set about those fleeing south from the Persians.”

Kamoses, more afraid than he dared to admit, asked: “ I don’t understand why the tablets are here? Why aren’t they in Jerusalem in the temple of Solomon?”

And it was Mokktar who added: “......Surely, if God gave Moses a second set of tablets, perhaps the first were meant to be broken… and lost. Maybe we risk the wrath of God for daring to undertake this work. We could be dancing with death if we undertake this. It could be a suicidal adventure.

Tepemkau turned towards him.

“Moses changed The Word. He wrote what you now know as The Word, Law.... the Commandments. But let me ask you, even knowing that Moses could do what he did, are you thinking that our God, Yahweh, made a mistake?” she said.

“These tablets have been under my protection all these years. They resonate with godliness, and as you receive your own Sense you will truly understand what they are about and realise that they cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Be aware, there are forces out there, people who know of the Senses and would seek to steal them away for their own purposes.

“ …and how the Senses came here, you will learn later.”

She relaxed and smiled, and lowering the tone of her voice, she added: “.... As to worthiness… you will gather soon from the Senses the fact that you are worthy… we are all worthy. If we allow our innermost beings to lead us, there could be nothing more natural and nothing more… God-like. If you seek God, just look within yourself.

“And you will not be defenceless, you will have gifts, which over time will grow in number and strength…”

“What gifts?” asked the brown-skinned one, Khenemet-Hu Paser, “What can possibly help guarantee that each of us will be able protect the Word? While they were here in the temple, no-one would have dared to even approach them.

“You already know ..... all the answers are within your soul.  Seek them and you will find them.  You will live long, foresee many threats and be able to avoid many dangers.

“Already you have identified one, haven’t you. Not money, weapons, horses, camels, or servants....?

“No, not those, although you will realise soon enough, that you can have everything you need.”

Harnakhte, Paser and Waja-Hur shuffled slightly with embarrassment as Kamoses opened his mouth again: “Well, I would like to know what you have to help us in this work, and how long we are expected to wander from place to place burdened by these … Senses?

Tepemkau smiled, took a step closer and touched his arm.

“Kamoses, I knew I could rely on you. This will almost certainly be a life-long task, but you have no need to worry, it will be a rich one.”

“I’m not worried. You say you knew you could rely on me, but in fact you hardly know me.”

“Oh but I do. I have followed all your lives for many years, and especially you Kamoses.”

Sethe, a long time partner of Tepemkau bristled at this and shifted uneasily. The others waited to hear more.

“Kamoses,” she went on, “you have already benefited from one of the gifts and have not yet realised it. You all have.

“Think of how you each came to be here. You felt something, which eventually became an idea, and then because a decision and then an action… to travel, to come here – you each answered my call”

“What?” Several said.

“It is true, how did you all come to arrive at the same time? Do you think it was coincidence? I called and you responded. You are now united and this gift of silent communication will become very much stronger between you. It will bridge seas and countries if you want it to… even time.

“This is important, because there will come a day, a moment when it is right for the world. The Senses will be reunited for a special purpose. And you must be ready for that moment, and answer the call.

“What if anything should happen to us, say by accident. What if we are killed?”

Waja-Hur’s question generated a couple of gentle nods.

She told them: “You may grow old, eventually, but it is unlikely that you will be killed. You will not allow that to happen easily. But should it happen, then someone will appear to take on the mantel of Guardian, because that, from this moment on, is what you each are. A Guardian of The Senses.”

But when Moses chose to create the version of The Senses which he called ‘The Ten Commandments’, God did not interfere. She knew that the Word would be revealed at another time when the world is ready.

It was several hours later, when the Guardians had gone for one final meal together before setting out on their quest, that Tepemkau lingered in the temple.

The warm glow of the oil lamps bathed the inner sanctum in gentle light befitting contemplative moments such as these.  Tepemkau knelt on the hard stone floor in reflective meditation.

The temple had been her home and the Senses had her way of life, for so long.  All that was familiar was about to change. It had already started. Aware of it within herself, she could also feel fear building in those around her.

The weight of spiritual responsibility, a burden of unbelievable degrees, borne over many years, had been lifted from her and she had imagined she would have been feeling elated... but she didn’t.  Instead, emptiness and a heart-rending loneliness she hadn’t expected, now filled the gap. For what had actually been several lifetimes, she had focused on her duty to protect The Word of God. In return she had been given long life and had seen many things.

Her mission, since the growing threat of the Persian invasion became clear, had been to focus on the future safety of the Senses. Passing them on to the Guardians, her trusted brothers, had completed her task. But she had given no real thought to how it would feel, how she would feel, when the Senses were gone, and was now an over bearing feeling of loss filled her. Engulfed by inertia and buoyed only by the shard of lapis she had retained, adjusting to her  changed environment, without the Senses, was going to be the hardest thing.

How, she asked herself, could emptiness feel so deep?  Suddenly an overwhelming emotion of void blanketed her and left her frozen and shaking, despite the knowledge that now she knew she needed to leave.  She held back, touching the soft leather sandals which lay next to her.  She would need them soon when she was ready.  She allowed herself a few more moments more to say one last prayer and gather herself.

In the distance the rumble of the advancing army of Cambyses was deep and threatening.   Fear throughout the population paralysed even the strongest willed and Tepemkau tried hard now to retain the peace the Senses had, till now imbued in her. And yet, try as she might, the words of the tablets and of indomitable Sethe, already seemed a vague memory.

But she knew he would seek a safe hiding place and then return for her and so she prayed..  He would not leave her alone to face the hatred and pent up angst of the ‘Brotherhood’.

But for Tepemkau, this was not the only threat she faced.  Within the fortress-like walls of the temple, an air of suspicion and resentment amongst some of the more senior priests had descended.  Some had started voicing their thoughts openly, accusing her of using dark magic.  Her longevity, her ability to heal and her insight had left them wondering just who she really was.

She of course read their thoughts and even understood their emotions.

Her wisdom told her nothing would stop the dissent seeping through the priesthood - insidious shadows lengthened by the day. Following her every move, their jealousy of her standing in the community grew and they sought evidence against her.

Gently reverberating around her head, she heard a familiar voice, deep, soothing and melodious.

‘You will never be alone.  This is just the beginning ... not the end”.

Sethe, had always been there for her, if not in body, in soul.  He was her soul mate in the truest sense of the word and his voice came to her in her native tongue.

She conjured up in her mind’s eye, the gathering of the Guardians, now her brothers in arms, just hours before, reminding her of that moment when, for the first time, the Guardians had held their Sense, felt its presence and in awe and genuine amazement had taken it into their protection.

For the first time, since the Senses had been collected by Zipporah, wife of Moses, they had vibrated at their deepest pitch.  Tepemkau had become used to the sounds they made, she heard them every day, and at night also when she slept. But just now their song had changed from the gentle plucking of a lotus blossom to a heavier deeper stringing of an Egyptian harp, melodious yet full of vibrating energy.

As each Guardian approached the pitch had become higher, more insistent, and different with each Guardian.  The Guardians themselves were being chosen for the protective task at hand.  And once the allocations had been completed she had watched in amazement, as each Guardian had taken their Sense in their hands and in the light of the flickering oil lamps had physically changed, as she had done when her Sense was allocated.  They too now looked more alert, younger brighter, sharper.... and they glowed. They too were filled with wonder as they looked deep into the gold flecks on their shard, as it appeared to dance, morph in celebration of its connection with its own predestined soul brother.

Over the years the powers of the Senses had been one with only her.  At all times she was conscious of them running through her veins with the very energy that had first formed them.  She could feel others in a way that made her unique.  She was an empath and could share the pain others, but more, she could remove that pain.  She could see into the hearts of those around her and read their feelings, even change those feelings so that they too could benefit from her powers.  And she shared them willingly, but this had caused jealously amongst the unenlightened and small minded priests who felt their role was being usurped.

Now in her mind’s eye, her attention was brought around to matters far more earthly.  Chaotic sounds mingled with shouts and screams started to be heard from the courtyards and areas surrounding the inner sanctum. Tepemkau could almost smell the acidic adrenalin as it coursed through the veins of marauding soldiers and people trying to flee for their lives.

In her mind she heard urgency in Sethe message to her.......He was crying  out for her to run, run,.......get out , run , run now.

The vanguard of champions, the elite of the Persian army were closing in and had already reached the outer perimeter walls.  Tenacity and bravery were the attributes that brought the spoils of battle, and each one of them had heard about the Egyptian treasure houses. But they were the elite not expected to plunder indiscriminately as ordinary infantry might as their swept through the streets. The elite knew that if they fought well their leaders would reward them richly from the treasure houses that the troops would not even get to see.

Despite the sweat brought on by hard riding in heavy armour and in the heat of the late afternoon sun, Darius suddenly felt a cold shiver run down his spine.  At the same time he felt a strange tightness seemingly to grip his skull.  Just for a second and only for a second, he felt shockingly weak and thought he might slip from his horse, to be trampled under the galloping hooves of this following warriors.

He swallowed hard and shook his head to regain composure and, thankfully, the feeling passed.

The defence of Egypt, such as it was, had been insignificant. Various Persian divisions had been deployed to deal with the resisting forces, with extra men at the ready.  Only occasionally were those reinforcements sent in.   Darius’ personal phalanx of five hundred men had not even be yet been engaged as the mighty hordes swept over all in their path.

Darius and his highly trained elite force of fiercely loyal men, rode close to the royal entourage.

Cambyses , son of Cyrus the Great, was no longer the Prince of Persia, he was the king and in his bid to outshine his wondrous father, his ambitions knew no bounds.  He had a cruel streak and was rash, but was no fool.

He kept Darius, his general, close, tinged by jealousy and the worry that Darius, popular with his men had also established considertable political support at home.  He didn’t believe that Darius would ever challenge him and tried to keep him as a friend, because he also knew Darius’ elite were the best.

Darius had always treated his men well but demanded high levels of training and discipline.  This and his bravery in battle, had seen him rise rapidly to the position of his destiny.

As they closed on Elephantine Island, Darius, supported by just a small bodyguard sheered off from the royal entourage. He rode hard with his men at his side, his only goal and focus was to capture the ‘Witch Priestess’.

They slowed and came to standstill at the shores of the Nile, and he turned to his guard, and addressed them.

“Men, a warning... do not underestimate this woman. A woman she may be, but she is as dangerous as a Spartan stabbing sword. Do not take my warning lightly, she has more treachery than you can ever imagine.”

They were confused, wondering how some little woman could be so much of a threat to them, the great elite.

Had they not known better, they may have thought their general had perhaps had a little too much hot sun, but no, they knew to pay heed.  He was calculating and skilful, he had rarely been wrong.  Each one of them would have gladly given their lives to protect him.

In the gathering darkness, with cat-like stealth, they moved unseen through the dusty streets, merging between the shadows and away from the burning fires or oil lamps – Darius had not time right now for skirmishes.  Their movements were quick and decisive.  Several unsuspecting innocents who crossed their path, were disposed of with a quick and merciless slash of a Persian specialty short blade across their throats to stop their being able to cry out. The elite were ruthless, focused and above all, silent.

With Darius leading, they made their way to the temple. He had once seen Soloman’s temple, the original in Jerusalem.  He had been a child, and awed by its sheer size and grandeur. The vivid memory of it had remained with him all these years. Now, once again, he was surrounded and amazed at what he saw, even in the gathering darkness, the magnitude of the place and its true likeness to the original was astounding.

The old stories recalled that the original architect of Soloman’s temple, Hiram Abif had  been brutally murdered soon after its completion, but here, seeing the accuracy of this replica temple, led him to doubt this.  This was a temple alive with detail and energy that could only be a creation that only Hiram Abif could have done.

As a boy, he and his friends had been sent there to learn the rituals. As a young well educated boy he too had been taught how to remain unseen in the temple, using the smaller passage ways and darkened areas so that he could go about his work with minimal intrusion.

Although of high birth in his adopted nation, Darius’s real descendents, the Hushamites of the lost tribe of Dan were outcasts, banished by Moses after the shame of the Sinai Law. The historic insult, the betrayal and the shame had stayed with him and despite the years, his need for vengeance ran deep. Even as a youngster he made use of his time at the Temple. He learned all he could about the building and its working.

Circumventing the main areas the now mighty General Darius led his men silently through the unlit areas deftly taking the quickest route to the very bowels of the Temple.

His mission and his trophy was to retrieve and return the lost tablets to his tribe and restore once again his people’s dignity and rightful place in the eyes of the Lord.  But first he would find the ‘witch’ who had betrayed her own people by following Moses, robbed them of their birthright by stealing away the Senses.  She would be made to pay for this transgression.

Reaching the Inner Sanctum, General Darius looked around quickly, there were many places to hide here.  The thick pillars, the stone altar, and any one of the many doorways into other private areas of worship.

He stopped, held his breath and listened.  She was still here..... he could smell her, feel her. He knew deep down that leaving this place would also have been difficult fore her. Where would she go and how could she possibly carry her most precious possessions with her?

Tilting his head, he listened.  A scuffle, a stolen breath, she was close.  She was hiding.  Confidently, he knew it was now only a matter of time, and he was good at waiting.  Patience had always been his friend.  And now he knelt in prayer.  He asked for forgiveness and understanding for what he was about to do.

His men had played this game before.  They too remained silent.

Tepemkau hid.  Above and to the rear of the altar lay a space in the thick walls, a robing chamber, the priests often used it for contemplation.

Sethe’s warning ringing in her skull, desperately. Tepemkau waited. Holding her breath she crouched in the corner.  She wanted to cough and forced to suppressed it, again and again.

She had not heeded the warning soon enough, and now she was trapped.  How long could she remain? Would they simply wait, or would they search more?  Having closed the chamber door behind her she knew there would not be enough air to sustain her for long.  Spy holes let in a little but as the temperature in the small room rose her need for oxygen increased.  Panic started to rise in her, her head pounding and she felt rivulets of salty sweat  running down her forehead and into her eyes.  Her heart thumped so loudly in her chest she was sure they could hear it.  She had not expected the soldiers to be here so soon. Distracted by her thoughts, without the help of the Senses, she had been so used to, she had not felt their approach.

Looking through the tiny spy hole in the wall, she could see one soldier sitting in front of the altar, directly in front of her.  He wore the attire of high office, yet he didn’t look old enough.  He had an air of weathered experience far beyond his years. He seemed relaxed and confident, but she felt that all was not as it seemed.

He was searching in his mind for peace, but first she could feel the building anticipation of a deed not yet done.   What was he planning, what was he seeking? Using the same techniques she had employed to calm others, she tried to calm herself and him.  Her telepathic skills where well practised, though she had never used them before without holding the shard in her hands. Suddenly he looked up!   He looked directly at her!

She was trapped. He knew she was there, and now a smile played on his lips, but it did not extend to his eyes which remained focused and cold.  He was steeling himself for what was to come next.

Remaining silent, her soul cried out for the sound of Sethe’s soothing voice. Yet still it did not come.

Holding his gaze on the wall behind which she stood, General Darius felt that warm glow of success.  He loved it when in listening to his intuition he found his prey.

Time was on his side.  His people had waited a long years to regain what they believed was theirs.  Now he was so close, that to savour this moment was the only right thing to do.

Tepemkau, waited, allowing her panic to subside,  and be replaced by a sense of resignation. Her life had been a long one, very long, if this was her time...so be it.

Though she felt no awareness of his presence, she knew Sethe would come, she just knew he would.

With that knowledge, Tepemkau felt strength returning and focused on maximising what little air she could draw into her lungs.  As she relaxed her muscles and she allowed herself to slump against the rough stone surface of the walls around her.

Darius, sat there in front of the altar, but the waiting was over. He knew instinctively where she was.

Nodding over to his first man, he gave a sign.   The stocky soldier knew exactly what to do, and walking forward and out of Tepemkau’s restricted view he went to the chamber entrance.

Who was this man that now sought her? She heard the sound of metal against stone, clashing followed by the scraping sound of stone against stone, she realised what they were doing.

The first burly soldier was joined by another and then another until they stood on the counter lever stone just outside the robing chamber and used their brute force to start sliding the huge stone door to one side, revealing the entrance.

Reaching in to the dark chamber the first soldier was hampered by his bulky armour and fumbled around unable to see or feel his target.  Amid the cursing he pushed harder against the entrance, almost squeezing himself in until suddenly, he grabbed her foot.

Tepemkau pushed herself as far to the back into the small space as she could, kicking him away with all her might.  But he wouldn’t let go, his grip was firm and he yanked hard.  Then pulling her out, the next soldier grabbed her by the only thing he could get hold of, her beautiful long hair.  Dragging her viciously out of the chamber, Tepemkau fought hard to free herself.  But to no avail, they had vice like grips on her and she was powerless to resist.  Unceremoniously she was dumped at the feet of the general.

Looking up at him now, and in the better light, Tepemkau was amazed at the likeness he had to someone she once knew from her tribe.  Memories came flooding back to a life lived many years ago.   The sun had shone brightly and she had been happy, very happy and in love....... young and restless.

But as Darius glared down at her he was momentarily shocked. Transfixed in seconds that seemed like hours, the eyes that met his were not anything like he expected.

Though slightly reminiscent, completely unlike anything he had seen before. Steely pale blue pupils with a shimmering translucence contrasting against nut-brown skin, stabbed him to the quick.

As if it were the only way to snap himself into the moment, back to his plan, and almost as in defensive reaction, he slapped her hard across the face. Tepemkau was thrown off balance and sent sprawling ignominiously across the floor.  The pain went searing through her cheek and the heat in her jaw was intense. For a moment she could think of nothing else, nor focus on anything as tears sprung into her eyes.

General Darius looked down at the delicately built creature that now lay prostrate on the floor before him.  She looked familiar.  In turning to lift herself up, she caught his eye again – the strange pigmentation physically disturbing him.  He noted the air of arrogance coupled with something else, purpose.  She neither flinched nor looked away but remained defiant.

Tinged with sadness deep within him, a quiet but undeniable ‘voice’ told him, ‘ think carefully....’.

Tepemkau was determined to maintain eye contact though he had a growing need to look away.

Shadows in the temple danced and flickered over the high stone walls and pillars, and threatened to undermine his own long-awaited task, to break the witch.

Though from the same tribe, she was the one that had been an accomplice to the destruction of his people’s own place in the history of victors.  Instead their shattered people had been forced into the annuls of the forgotten and rejected.  A shiver once again ran down his spine and his head felt squeezed.

Pulling himself together and remembering the words of his father and mentor and his long dreamed of ambition, Darius sat up straight once more and grabbed a handful of her long thick hair.

“I have met women such as you before!”

His deep voice resonated in the air and seemed magnified in the large empty void of the temple designed specifically to carry the human voice.  The vibrations carried through the shadows.

“You think I won’t break you.  You think you know better.  You want to show me, prove to me that you cannot, will not, be broken.  You play a dangerous game.  Tepemkau. ”

Tepemkau looked up in complete astonishment.  Then she wondered which priest had given him her name.... it wasn’t difficult.  Dissent had been growing daily and had wreaked havoc in surrounding settlements.  Some had tried to protect her, but there was always the avaricious priest, Palek, who despised her popularity....... it wouldn’t have taken much persuasion to convince him to tell all.

General Darius held his tongue.  He thought, for one split second, he would get her to show her weakness, to make her look away.  But she wouldn’t, for she understood this game too.  And she would not give him the pleasure of seeing her weaken.

Tepemkau also understood the power of silence and maintained hers.

“Tepemkau.  You now have an opportunity.  An opportunity to save your life.  The danger, well, you already know what that is. You have seen my boys.  I am very proud of them. They have done well – most of them haven’t had a women, for............ let me think.  Weeks!  And Tepemkau, let me tell you.  They are hungry, starving in fact for healthy, ‘young’ flesh like yours.”

He used her name over and over again.  Reiteration somehow personalised the terror.  The strategy worked well.

Looking down, deliberately, at her body, between her legs and her breasts, the general was making himself very clear....

Though she had expected little else from him she tried to steal herself against what was about to come. Still she could feel herself, involuntarily, shrinking away from him, and away from the hot, bitter odour that was radiating from him.

Strangely this was one aspect of the interrogation she had not anticipated. Her own awareness had become intensified, such that even her sense of smell was so amplified. It seemed to make all that was happening all the more intense. It made it impossible to adopt her best tactic, to retreat within herself, to that special sanctuary deep within her soul.

Then he looked over to his men and smiled.  He seemed to understand her new fears.

“Ah, she isn’t as tough as she wants us to believe.”

Though she noticed the forced smile was for her benefit only – it was with his mouth only, whilst his eyes stayed ice cold and unmoved.

“You disgust me,”  said Darious, thinking of all that had gone before.  His reputation and that of his family and more importantly his people, depended on the success of his mission to recover the Senses.  He needed to recapture and return them, to their true heirs, the Judges.

“You turned your back on your people.  Despite the opportunity to come back to us, you ignored it and instead you sought glory for yourself ....and Tepemkau, know now, the Judges have passed their sentence”

Tepemkau had retreated into the protective blanket of silence but hearing the judgement worded in such a way appalled her. Though still she held her position.  At no time had she ever sought power or glory but merely had known that the Senses must be protected at all costs.

The Judges had become arrogant and self seeking.  Her tribe, the Hushamites from the tribe of Dan had stood and watched as others spoke heresy and had built effigies of gold and worshipped them as gods, in the face of the one true god, Yahweh.

She had seen the reaction of Moses to this.  She too had seen as the great man had thrown to the ground, the word of God, the Senses of the Soul, the law, written by God.

The Word of God, written by the hand of Yahweh, was to guide mankind, along the true path and discover the true purpose of human nature. It was aimed at helping man to choose love rather than deceit; selflessness instead of  hedonism and greed; truth and peace before egotism...

Her instructions and her sole purpose was to save them for a time when man could benefit from them.  A time when wars had been fought, when the threat to mankind was so great, that only through The Word and true unity could they be saved.

Glory for any one man or woman was a ridiculous notion....... the general , she could see , had learnt nothing.  Her powers, and those of the Guardians would become stronger, imbued as they were with the power of the Senses. The general was just like all the others she had met, and overcome.  They were misguided and blinded by vengeance.

The general, seeing her blank expression and not receiving the reaction he sought let his anger rage.... though he knew it was a foolish master, an emotion with no home in the heart of a great leader.

Even he, the great Darius found controlling it, difficult.  Tepemkau was beginning to ignite his pent up emotions, the deep feelings he strove for all these years to control.  How dare she even think she could be a match for him?  She was but a woman, weak biologically, and susceptible to any change of the emotional tide.  Just a woman.... but a beautiful one.

Still Tepemkau did not flinch from looking him in the eye.  His tirade of abuse was about to erupt, she could feel it in him.  Her defiance was showing him up in front of his men and this no leader could tolerate.  She could see that he saw weakness in her female status but she also felt a deep reluctance.  He was not an animal.

Still the words were spoken.

“You disgust me Tepemkau... you have been suckling the tit of power for too long... you have become arrogant nourished by its strength whilst we have been left out in the cold.  Rejected by our own nation, we have been treated and thought of as unclean and left to wither under the criticism of the righteous.

“You will be taught to repent, Tepemkau”

Turning to his soldiers he quietly growled the order.

“Bring her !”

Grabbing her roughly by the arms, they dragged her through the temple up the aisle to the rear worship chambers where the priests would give more private blessings and sometime lessons.

Her feet hardly touched the ground, and her sandal slipped off her left foot.  She felt her arms almost pulled out of their sockets and the grip of the soldiers dug into her upper arms, dragging at the skin and leaving deep red wealds where they had touched her roughly.

In the smaller chamber, an area with just one entrance and an altar positioned to rear of the room, the general ordered his soldiers out.

“ Leave us.  Wait outside.”

He turned again to Tepemkau.

“Why are you doing this ? Why don’t you just tell me where the Senses are.  They were meant for the people.  Do I not represent many people.  Aren’t we ..... known as the Judges for good reason.  For being just and true.  For seeking out equality and fairness.”

For the first time... Tepemkau broke her silence.

“You were corrupted.  The Judges themselves had become infected by the insidious but virulent disease... the megalomania of corrupted power.   They too had begun to negotiate ‘justice’, you could not be allowed to continue along this dangerous path.  The future would have been very different from the one we see even today.”

The General ignored her protestation.  He could not afford to listen to her or to question his own resolve, though he had seen some of the very corruption first hand.  Now was not the time and the facts still stood.... she had betrayed them.

“You know I cannot allow you to leave this place alive . Don’t you?”

Tepemkau just looked up.......The general’s frustration and anger was now tinged with just a little confusion.  Brought up on the lessons given by his elders he had been certain of the task at hand but knowing also that some of what she said was true.  The power of the Judges had caused some problems but they had been dealt with.

Tepemkau.....didn’t know what would happen next.  She could feel the mix of emotions building and understood too that the general could not be seen to be weak.  He was left with no option and she understood this.

No words were spoken....... but in the silence each understood.

Now grabbing her firmly by the throat he held her tightly, digging his thumbs deeply into her throat, making her gag and her eyes water.  He lifted her off the ground and threw her onto to the altar, forcing her face down onto the rough hard surface.

Holding firmly onto her neck with his left hand and pressing his large hips against hers, bashing and bruising her hip bones as they dug into the unforgiving hard stone edge of the altar. He spread her legs apart using his to do it.  Ripping her loose thin robe from her body, he rammed in hard from behind ripping her apart as he did so.  She had been a virgin.

The violence and force of the attack left blood running down her legs.  She would have prayed to faint but this was not a gift fortune would allow and she endured the unyielding attack... not fully appreciating that this was just the beginning.  In the absence of unconsciousness, she sought that quiet place deep inside... This time she found the place she visited through meditation.  It was a place of stillness and calm and a sanctuary where these brutes could never go.

As he finished with her she slid off the altar and collapsed on the ground  only then to be picked up once more by two of his men one at each side holding her prostrate over the altar stone.  Now it was their turn and they were not too concerned with which orifice they used.

Ripping her apart with brutal force they laughed as they competed with each other for another go, timing each other with clashes of their swords against the stone pillars as each one took their turn.  Their attack was without mercy and their insanity at the brutality grew with their lust which on this day knew no bounds.

Tepemkau did not know at which point she had passed out, but was grateful.

 

 

 

 
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