Chapter Two
 
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Mighty forces gather to change the course of history,
And fear ravages those caught in the broad wake ,
But sacred mission surpasses vain glory,
To carry the Senses on the journey they must make.
 

Amid the clatter of steel, the splash of blood and the smell of fear, the air was suddenly forced from his lungs as the heavily armoured war horse barged into him.
Stumbling back Kamoses dodged the flailing hooves, but finally lost his footing, was felled and vulnerable as he crumpled to the sun-baked ground.
His short stabbing sword was still in his hands but he was blinded by a blaze of sunshine which outlined the form of the fearsome rider. It also glinted on the sharpened point of the Persian spear being thrust directly at his chest.
He made ready to parry whatever came, but as he raised his blade, the horse twisted. Kamoses rolled as the spear buried itself in the compacted sand an inch from his neck.
Feeling the hot breath and snot from the veering horse, it momentarily blocked out the sun, in time for him to see its rider plunging towards him. Kamoses summoned every ounce of ·strength to deflect the weight. The rider burdened by heavy armour, crashed into the hot sand, the bloody barb of an Egyptian arrow protruding from a gaping wound in his neck. The metal tip lightly grazed Kamoses’ cheek just below his left eye as the sweaty body lolled to a stillness.
He shoved the lifeless body away from him and sprang to his feet His years of training made his movements instinctive and he was immediately on guard and ready for the next assault. He rested as he saw the other Persian warriors riding after Egyptian horsemen – this was yet another of the skirmishes involving advance raiding parties ahead of the massive Persian army hordes which had crossed Egypt’s borders the day before.
Returning to the body he stripped it of anything that might be useful or valuable to him later.
Since the invasion, soldiers and civilians were in disarray, there was already widespread looting among the population – everyone knew there was likely to be only token military resistance to the marauding invaders. The Egyptian army, ordered to hold to the last man, were expected, naturally to flee in the face of the hugely superior forces.
Nevertheless Cambysees’ forces would be attacking and plundering wherever and whenever they could – whether warrior or civilian, it was a time to run, or find themselves bound in slavery.
The soldiers that Kamoses had been riding with, had scattered, but he saw the fallen warrior’s horse wandering close by and managed to retrieve it. He mounted and turned to the south, towards Elephantine, an island in the Nile that he had so far only heard of. But ther stories had been wonderous...
For years there had been a Jewish enclave of mercenaries there, employed by the pharaoh to protect the borders against common incursions by the Nubians of the south.
He had also heard the stories of a temple there, built exactly to the size and specification of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. That in itself was a wonder... Jews given succour and allowed to build a larger temple among those ·of Egyptian deities on this sacred island. He wanted so much to see the island.
He rode on, drawn by... he knew not what.
Evening campfires flickered as the warm easterly wind filled the furls of his outer garments, wrapping them about his legs.· His journey had been long and weary. Now, standing on this spot, a welcome came to him on the servant wind, from the island lodged in the main artery of Egypt, beckoning him with gentle hints of rich aromas. This was a complete contrast to what he had so far experienced travelling through the panic and turmoil of a population on the move.
Behind Kamoses, emerging from living stone, rose the mighty façade of another temple,· its grandeur and magnificence as inspiring as the mighty queen, Hatsepshut, in whose memory it had been built.· Already dead for a thousand years, her legacy and legend had stood the test of time.· But, Kamoses had his back to the towering edifice, his eyes drawn across the dark swirling waters of the river where the large rocks rested like the backs of elephants basking amid the murky shallows.
His journey from a delta community by the northern sea had taken many days. Whenever possible, as the sun reached a cubit’s measure, on an outstretched arm, from the western horizon and when hunger tightened its grip, he would take refuge with fellow travellers for the coming night. To trade for food and the benefit of this security, he would earn his keep by telling wondrous stories of good and evil, round the campfires of the desert caravans.
Much more than spicy aromas filled the easterly zephyrs over the past few weeks.· Passers-by from far and wide would spread the latest news of the plains and like the whispers that hummed through the trees of the oases, they grew, multiplying with each murmur.· Fear was tangible in the bearing of traders and travellers from the east. Their tales of turmoil and conflict carried the cold threat of death, ahead of the menacing build up of Persian military might.
It was the sixth month in the reign of Pharaoh Psamtek the Third, Ankhkaenre, and the forces of Cambyses the Second, son of the ‘Omnipotent and Compassionate’, Cyrus the Great, had harried the eastern borders for weeks, and Egypt was in disarray.
Kamoses knew and so did everyone else that, Ankhkaenre’s armies were puny in comparison to the vast Persian hordes of highly trained and fearless warriors.· The fate of Egypt was sealed, even before word describing the might of its opponents reached the defending forces. Crippled by fear, infected by desertion and poor leadership, any real resistance was symbolic rather than a realistic proposition, despite orders to every man to hold every piece of Egyptian soil even if it meant their lives.
What would happen in the next few days and weeks dominated talk amongst travellers, traders and refugees and more people than ever seemed to be on the move. All the trade routes were becoming filled with those trying to flee the threat.
Yet the stories of the Persians were mixed. There were those who believed they would bring good fortune, perhaps even greater prosperity, but as the whispering winds spread their speculation, it began to override reason and festered like cancer in the void which replaced knowledge and fact.
Many of the Greeks on the trails painted a bleak picture, but their historic encounters with the invaders were known to be dire. Others, including the Jews, felt reassured with the hope that the relaxed attitude of Cambyses’ father, Cyrus, towards their people, would be continued by his son but no-one could be sure.· Young impetuous blood, foolish pride and the ambition to be even greater than his mighty father, was the driving force that dwelt in the mind of the supreme ruler, head of the most powerful nation that the world would ever know. It would eventually see his demise.... soon after sending an army of 10,000 marching into the desert to quell tribalunrest, only for every man to be consumed by the sands of a desert storm.
But for now, on the eastern borders, stories of Egyptian temples being sacked by marauders, their treasures stolen and their women raped, were already spreading through the merchant caravans.
Kamoses felt the wind of change and initially, it brought a chill to his bones, but it also drove him on and awakened in him a sense of oneness and service to something greater than himself.· He had been drawn to this spot, but was helpless to ignore its attraction. Without logic or purpose, he marched on, unaware of his destination, but certain that this is where he should be.
On the island, above the glistening rocks, he could make out the lights of Jewish homes and encampments creating a shimmering light in the night sky.· Shielding his eyes from the last embers of a dying sun, the outline of large, dominating building was just discernable.· He had to get closer.
By first light of the following morning he had found and paid a stout Nubian with a felucca, to row him the short distance to the island.
As the early mists were clearing, he walked up from the shore and soon began to appreciate the beauty that surrounded him. Huge avenues of palms, gardens full of succulent fruit trees, oranges and apples and tall pampas grasses from beyond the farthest reaches of the southern deserts greeted him. Looking around, he could see this majesty mirrored in the pale sandstone buildings, which rose from the ground as magnificent edifices with columns and balustrades, arches and obelisks perpetuating and accentuating the opulence.· They were as impressive as any he had seen, perhaps except for Thebes where the royal palaces and temples to Egyptian deities were supreme.
This island was a key strategic position on Egypt’s southern border with Nubia, and as Kamoses familiarised himself with the site, he marvelled at the heavily fortified boundaries in the south of the island.· It was here the natural terrain and lay of the land determined the run of the thick impregnable walls.· Relations had been strained for years, but important trade and lively commerce kindled a mutual but insteady agreement of peace and wary respect.· This and the strength in their defences precluded the need for war, at least for the time being.
Walking northwards, and entering the Jewish quarter, Kamoses saw a marked difference in the architecture and design of the buildings.
He had heard from travellers over a number of years that a temple, like the one in Jerusalem, had been erected to YAHWEH the ‘one great god’ of the Jews. Despite visiting the temple in Jerusalem several times, he could not believe that a replica had been built here… and if it had, why so?
As he walked through the quarter, he could see that the homes were simpler, though hardly poor.
As he turned a corner, there it was. Unmistakeable in its appearance, it was perfect, an exact semblance of Solomon’s temple, built by Hiram of Tyre and Hiram Abif to God’s exact dimensions, following the precise guiding principles of Ma’at, … harmony and regularity.
Looking around him, Kamoses noticed people lined the streets, whilst others gathered around as if waiting. Some hung around the steps; robed Priests, stood with heads bowed in silence around each of the imposing pillars that marked the entrance to the temple.· Moving toward the temple through the market place walked a small procession of priests and helpers.···· Silencing the crowds as they approached, all now bowed their heads in reverence as the procession drew closer.· Step by step they carried their charge, for it was a funeral, up towards the temple. Their faces were solemn and their feet heavy, not with the burden of weight on their shoulders but with the weight of their loss.· Walking five paces behind them was a single woman, carrying a collection of oils and flowers.· Kamoses stood and watched as they passed.· There was something about the woman, which drew his eye.
Dressed like a servant, her assured countenance seemed incongruous with her apparent status, and for a few moments he was mesmerized as she walked slowly by.· She bowed her head slightly as she approached the two burly soldiers guarding the entrance and then quite surprisingly and just before being hidden by the dark shadows of the grand entrance, she turned toward Kamoses. Looking him directly in the eye and holding his gaze it was as if she was searching for something in his face.· What was it about her that attracted him so?
As she processed further he looked once more at the building. Everything was normal…. except here, on an island, right in the middle of Egypt’s holiest places, was a temple. No, THE temple. Here, in the middle of this mighty river, was Solomon’s temple. The stories were true, a replica of Solomon’s temple had been created in this Jewish exile community. To him it was a mystery – the sole purpose of The Temple was to house The Ark of the Covenant, but that was in Jerusalem, so why build this here, and why had he been compelled to come.
The heat of the sun was starting to penetrate his robe, returning him to his senses.· He had not eaten since sunrise the previous day and his stomach was now growling in revolt at his negligence.
“I sense, my friend, that you are thinking what I am thinking…” said a voice from behind him. He felt the words on the back of his neck although the man was not that close.
“I doubt very much that you are!” he answered without turning to look.· Kamoses had come a long way and had little time for street vendors and nonsense just now.
“Well let’s have some refreshment and we’ll see, shall we?”
As he turned, irritated at the interruption, he was already close, and he suddenly felt a surge in his heart rhythm, which subsided almost immediately. The man standing in front of him stood square, calmly but surely.· Looking into his darting brown eyes, Kamoses saw a bright open smile that made him stop and take a second look. Perhaps refreshments were a good idea after-all; perhaps they were just what he needed.
There are moments in one’s life, he thought, when the choice to turn and walk away is so tempting, yet the pull to look deeper is strong.· For Kamoses at this moment, the urge to turn away tugged hard, yet he was suddenly conscious that this might be a big mistake. He chose to stay and listen to what the stranger had to say.
“My formal name is Khenemet-Hu Waja-Hur,” and for the second time Kamoses recoiled… it was his name too, at least Khenemet-Hu was.
“You too are called ‘One who is joined with God?’ I am Khenemet-Hu Kamoses.”
“As plainly, you are, but do you know why you are here?”
“You are presumptuous, I don’t know who you are, but I know you will excuse me, I have important business to do. ·So I’ll bid you good day and farewell”.
He turned to leave.
Ignoring what Kamoses had said and his apparent lack of interest, Waja-Hur continued and what came next grabbed Kamoses’s attention, utterly.
“We have been drawn here too,” Waja-Hur said.
However, it was not the words that had stunned him, but the way in which they had been spoken.· In fact, the words were not spoken aloud and yet the message was within; the knowledge reverberating in his very being.· Kamoses stopped in his tracks.· He turned swiftly to face the stranger, a mixture of anger and confusion rising in his blood.
“How did you do that?· What did you do?”
Again, Waja-Hur spoke, ignoring the direct question.
“We have been waiting for you”.
With this, Waja-Hur swept around and opened his right hand in a gesture that identified four others, who were sitting on the sun-parched stone steps of the temple…looking towards them, eyes warm and smiling.
“We knew you were one of us as soon as we saw you coming up over the hill…”
“You knew I was one of you, did you?· Who are you, we, exactly? Kamoses asked.
“This may sound strange, implausible even, but we don’t know, except that we have all travelled from different lands, drawn to the temple at this time; have the same forenames ‘Khenemet-Hu’, and we believe that our destiny is here, and have felt bonded, as brothers, since we met.
“You feel it too, don’t you?”
Kamoses’s silence spoke for him. Waja-Hur understood.· He went on.
“Since arriving here our ability to communicate like this has strengthened and our thoughts are as one... as yours are becoming.· We can feel you as you are beginning to feel us.
“This sounds blasphemous, I know.· When I say I know how you feel, I speak the truth. I truly know how you feel because I can feel it too.· We have had a little time to accustom ourselves to this, but it takes time.”
Quietly now, the anger and confusion was replaced by curiosity. Kamoses for the first time in his life, felt as if he belonged, and as the thoughts of the others joined with his, everything else seemed to make sense.· His life started to make sense.· Not once had he fitted in with those around him, his family, his village, even the surrounding villages had seen in him something that was different.· Like a twin without his brother, he had always felt there was something missing.
“Since we all arrived at the temple we feel sure there is something inside for us.”
“It is written that in the innermost sanctuary, the Holy of Holies the truth is hidden.”
“You know we can’t get in there, the temple guards would kill us for talking about it never mind trying to do it.”
Through the rest of the morning, they talked about where they had come from, sharing their past and learning more about each other.· Eventually they came round to the question on all their minds and that was the driving urge to enter the temple.· They speculated about the dangers of trying to infiltrate the most sacred part of the temple.·· Despite their determination, they each realised that extreme caution was needed if they were to avoid certain death by temple guards, who had traditionally been chosen for their zealous nature and deadly skills. They also knew it was imperative to avoid upsetting the Jews who would be outraged by the desecration.
It was another of Kamoses’s new ‘family’, Khenemet-Hu Khafra who finally arrived at the closest thing they had to a solution.
“I have been here the longest, just over a week and I think there maybe a way in. The only people that come and go without even raising the eye-brows of the temple guards, are the priests and a servant woman.”
Kamoses was puzzled. “Which servant woman?”
“The one we saw earlier, the one who administers to the needs of the house of God.· She replenishes the oil lamps, replaces the candles and cleans up after sacrifices.· She comes to do her chores daily.”
“Well, it is all we have, and with the borders of the country, days, perhaps hours from siege, our choices and time are limited.· It is even possible that the invasion of the Persians has already started.”
The six were conscious that by watching the temple too closely their actions might arouse suspicion, so it was decided that three would remain and bide their time perhaps by engaging· in conversation, since they had much to learn about each other, while the others would go and find some simple accommodation for them.
Khafra had been watching the temple and had noticed that a number of robed woman, completely covered from head to foot, slipped in and out of the building, often carrying things, which hid them further from gaze.
The area around the temple was bustling with traders and those selling goods for sacrifice… and then there were the poor, infirm and disabled, huddled up in corners and begging in a bid to fend off starvation.
Unable to just stand by and watch, Khafra went into the market place, bought a basket of dates, apples, goat’s cheese and unleavened bread.· Then quickly, walking to each of them he began to distribute the food according to need.· He wanted to do more, but his new friends, were quick to remind him that they were trying not to draw attention to themselves, or arouse suspicion.
Harnakhte and Paser returned quite quickly and a short distance from them was the servant woman on her way from the temple.
In turn they looked at each other.· Like Kamoses earlier that morning, she intrigued them.· She was dressed in a simple linen rob tied at the waist by darker coloured cord which was knotted seven times· – three times along one cord and four along the other.
“I think we should try and find out a little more about this woman,” said Khafra, “let’s separate and start talking to the traders, let’s see what we can learn.”
While four of them went to talk with the people milling around the temple two, as was agreed, went off to find lodgings.
With so many people on the move and the caravan routes, so busy that was not so easy, although eventually they did find a place in the Jewish quarter that was more like a cave hewn out of the rock. It was small but dry with a rough earthen floor with straw and palm leaves covering, niches cut out of the walls to house the oil lamps and rustic wooden litters for beds. They built a fire near the entrance and spit roasted a bird, a meal accompanied by unleavened bread, which they washed down with local wine. They finished off their meal with honey, figs and walnuts.
That evening, when the six gathered for the first time, the moon was bright and the discussion lasted long into the night – though to any onlooker the scene may have seemed a strange one.· Gesticulating hands and animated faces glowed with the reflection from the gently burning fire in front of them, yet not a sound was made nor a word spoken: already their ability to communicate without words had grown to proficiency and had become their preference. ·Feeling their words rather than simply hearing them.
For each one of them this was a wonderful experience, truly aware of one another for the first time in their lives; able to understand the messages and meanings between the words without misunderstanding.
With the sense of oneness growing in each of them, however, they also became acutely aware that something was not quite right. Somehow they were incomplete…something or someone was missing…nevertheless, they talked about the servant woman at the temple.
“There is something about her, like you, I can’t get her out of my mind.· She is amazing,” said Paser.
“I agree,” said Khafra.
“What do you mean?” asked Mokktar, “How do you know that?”
Paser pointed out quickly that all those he had approached had said so. Khafra interjected, he had followed her for a while and could almost feel a vibration from her… that it was gentle, almost serene...
Paser told them what he had seen earlier that day.· As she greeted people they would touch her, hold her hand or stroke her cheek. In her presence, people just seemed happy. He also said that everyone not only knew her, but, and it puzzled him, all, old and young alike, had never known a time when she was not here, like the fabric of the building.
“That’s a nice thought but I think you must be mistaken. She walks like a young woman, I haven’t seen her face but she can’t be more than twenty years or thirty years old.” Mokktar said.
“I am only telling you what has been said, probable or not!”
“I asked one woman she had talked to”, said Khafra, “ and she told me that she was known as ‘Tepemkau’ and she too asserted she had been here for years…no-one could remember when she was not tending to the temple.· They believed she ‘brought peace to their community’.
“How could that be, she doesn’t look any older than you or I?”
“I asked several people about her and they all said the same thing… she is close to God, loved, and IS love.”
“What do they mean? It is a strange thing to say of a servant woman.· Don’t you agree?”
“Yes, well… no, not really.· No one had a bad word for her. She has… a following. She seems to sooth conflict. In fact, she has developed such a reputation that many towns people turn to her first for advice before their priests and there is a fear in the temple that she has too much...power.
Many of the elders and priests who have ‘put up with it for years’, are less happy now that political upheaval is likely and allegiances are being questioned. It seems they believe they, and they alone, are appointed to deal with society’s problems and feel she is acting above her station. They want to demonstrate their religious prowess and civil authority.·· However it seems the locals have chosen, and this is putting her life in danger”.
“One beggar told me the gossip in the market place. ‘They’ were plotting against her because they were uncomfortable about the attention she was getting and felt her power in the community was far too great, they fear her.”
“What,”asked Harnakhte, who had come to this land from Sumer, far to the north east, “does Tepemkau mean?”
Kamoses broke in : “My friend, it means, very simply, ‘Best of Souls’… I don’t believe in coincidence and that we all bear the same name and individually have all noticed this one woman amongst so many, is I believe significant.· There is something else. I believe I have met her before, but how, I do not know.· It is impossible, I know, but I cannot get her out of my mind. I think we must try to make contact with her.·· If for no other reason than she may need our help and there are so many unanswered questions and incredible occurrences, we must find her, I believe she could be the key to our future…”
Despite the late hour, there were shuffling noises outside the cave and commotion in the streets.
Mokktar quickly stood up and strode out of the cave, he grabbed the arm of the first man he could and without hesitation began questioning him.
“The Persians have breached the borders.· The messengers have just arrived. The advance guard will be here by the morning, more by evening and the main bulk of the army by the following morning.”
The man was agitated but he stopped just a moment.
“The decision is, do you stay here with the Jews and hope that YAHWEH will help restrain the hordes of Persians? Or, head for the south, into Nubia to escape … ,” and then, in fertive fashion behind his hand, the man added, “the Nubian option is mildly better in my estimation. Things will not be easy there for those fleeing Egypt.”
Rather than let fires die out, many stoked them and stayed awake. The band of six headed for the temple, walking through the moonlit streets where people gathered in pockets discussing yet again their options.· As they approached the broad temple steps movement in the shadows drew their attention.· They were about to draw their swords when to their surprise the servant girl they had spent so long discussing appeared, her knotted belt rope in her hands and twisted through her long fingers.· She held on to it tightly and looked at them anxiously, her brown eyes looking black under the cover of nightfall.
They had not planned, nor could they, how their journey might finish, nor how they could possibly discover their quest, but in Kamoses’s position as natural leader he decided to approach her directly.
“Excuse me,” he said, calmly and with reverence, “we need to speak with you?”
As her eyes adjusted to the light and she saw his features properly, the strain on her face relaxed and she looked directly into his eyes.
“So,” she said, “you have come…”
“I don’t understand……we don’t understand…”
“Not yet, but soon” she hesitated momentarily, “one of you is not yet known to you…”
“Umm…” said Kamoses, “We are still in the dark and know only that we share something.· If there is another, we know nothing of him.”
She answered calmly but assuredly.
“You will know him and recognise him as one of you. He is here and has been here for many years”
Kamoses decided it was time to try and establish a course of action.
“I’m sorry, I have heard that you are called ‘Tepemkau’, and …”
“…We need to get into the temple, now.· Soon, very soon, you will understand but there must be seven…?”
Kamoses held her gaze for a few seconds, unable to disguise his awe. She was beautiful, but there was more. An aura surrounded her and warmth and understanding emanated from her.· Kamoses turned to his brothers. Their demeanours were grave. They looked at each other for a few moments and almost as if they had communicated it in words, Kamoses turned back and said: “We need to know more…”
“Follow me and I will try to explain in words that you will understand.· The true path of destiny will be yours. The message of truth is not for this time, but for a time in the future, but you will be there when it all comes to pass.· As love strives to conquer, you will know what to do, your task is without measure or judgement and only you can decide the true course. Only you can choose how to take up this gauntlet. You are the messengers of the one truth… that only love conquers all.”
With the white blue tinge of moonlight, casting its eerie glow all around, the carvings in the stone of the temple shone with awesome intensity. The warm winds blew from the east as the city slept restlessly under the threat of fear and uncertainty.· From the vantage point just a short distance from the temple the brothers could see across the Nile as the sentinel watch fires burned, stoked by the night watchman – they would be kept burning brightly until the first rays of the new sun broke on the horizon – probably bringing with them the mighty Persian hordes.
“There are some things I must tell you before we enter the temple if you are to properly understand your task… but only when the last of you, the Bearer, is here?
“We are troubled,” said Kamoses, “you mentioned ‘another’ earlier and we are confused. We have all only met over the past couple of days and we hardly know each other…we do not know of another…”
“Nothing takes place here unless the last of The Seven, another of your brothers, is here for the gathering,” said Tepemkau, gently but firmly adding. “He is not far away, I know him. We must wait.”
They looked around, a little in frustration, they had no idea of this other person … nor when he would arrive. They all began to feel the pressure of time closing in on them.
It was dark and the light given off by the temple lanterns at the top of the steps was not enough to see whether anyone else was coming along the path, even the dancing shadows gave nothing away.
The brothers looked confused while Tepemkau calmly took a resting position.
Kamoses moved towards her… to ask a question, but she held up her hand to silence him.
“Light and Dark,” she said, “ come as a package in one of the original gifts of the Universe’s diversity. In developing the fullness of our humanity we develop an awareness of both; neither can exist without the other, and both lead us back to the source of all Being.”
Kamoses was stunned, not knowing quite what to make of this statement.
“You men,” she pointed in their direction, “ are of stout and pure hearts. Look now into your hearts – the answers are there. Each of you lives by a set of morals and a code of practice unrivalled by any other.
Kamoses, you are a follower of Ma’at, you have travelled far. Khafra, there are few more attuned to the human spirit than you. Waja-Hur, your wisdom, judgement and logic will rarely be surpassed. The constant striving of Mokktar, the compassion of· Harnakhte, and Paser, so at one with nature and the universe. Between you, you are perhaps the best of the best in your society, but there is imbalance…”
No sooner had she spoken than a gust of wind raised a swirl of dust, within it carried a mini vortex of sweeping debris more than two metres high. When it subsided, a tall man in black robes commanded the pathway.
The others stood aghast, not sure, whether to defend themselves, or run – he looked menacing although only their attention was captivated by his unusual steel-blue eyes that pierced through from a face masked by the matted scarf which wrapped his head.
Tepemkau walked forward with a hand outstretched in welcome, and brought him among them.
“Khenemet-Hu Sethe…now,” she said, “we can proceed and she turned to make her way up the broad stone steps.
They all followed hesitantly, the six confused about their latest ‘brother’ – they had not heard yet what his particular attribute might be.· Then their concern rose more as Tepemkau led them straight towards the main entrance to the temple… surely they would be stopped immediately by the temple guards. As they approached, the guards moved forward with their weapons at the ready, and then they came closer the guards relaxed a little when they saw her, although looked suspiciously at the men that followed.
To the shock of everyone, Tepemkau then lifted the veil from her face and looked directly at the guards, she gestured to them to let her party through. Moments passed and the doubt on their faces showed the confusion they felt within. As Tepemkau unflinchingly held their gaze, the seven brothers looked in amazement as the tension in the muscles of the guards faces and necks subsided, the change was miraculous as they then bowed in acquiescence and stepped to one side.
Turning away from the guards, Tepemkau faced them for the first time.· Startled by what they saw, they stood in silence and amazement.· Facing them was a woman, perhaps in her early thirties; yet it was difficult for them to judge. She looked so young yet carried herself with the experienced authority of one twice her age, her hazel brown eyes had the depth of the ages and yet the youthful spark of a flirtatious teenager.· They each thought in unison, ‘Tepemkau, who are you?’
She noticed their gaze, dropped her own and smiled softly.
Walking on through the grand portico, their hearts beat faster, they looked in awe, at the chamber, they entered.· Lined with cedar wood and ornately engraved with gold inlay, it was a sight of great beauty and wonderment.· Such ingenuity had been employed that no seams or gaps appeared in the wood, giving the appearance that it had been taken from one tree alone, so perfect was the grain.· Looking from one to the other questioningly, they each asked the same and stated the same.· They had all seen this place before, in their dreams.
Tepemkau quietly urged them on.· The wood-lined walls absorbed all sound and as they walked through to the next chamber, through grand yet silent doors. Only the dead sound of their footfalls on the polished marble floor made any sound at all.
The next chamber they entered was just one-third the size of the previous one, yet just like the first chamber, it was completely empty, not even a lantern or candle decorated the walls.· Only the moonlight in her glorious white, grey, brilliance blessed their passage through this most mysterious journey.
Walking quietly but promptly on Tepemkau led the way through the final set of doors.· It was here that they saw, to their astonishment, the corpse of the old priest whose funeral they had witnessed earlier.· He lay atop a simply engraved wooden alter within a circle of seven pillars.· No gold adorned this room for it was perfect in its simplicity.· The only colour within the room being the kingfisher blue outlines of symbols engraved in the massive stone pillars standing sentinel to the alter.
Tepemkau, unflinching and undeterred turned now to face them speaking with clarity from the heart.
“Let me beg you to observe that the light of reason and love is shrouded by darkness visible.· The mysterious veil of mercy hides our true destiny yet within our perishable frame resides a vital, vibrant, immortal principle which your soul understands and shouts out for ears to listen.· Our paths are chosen. Our guidance starts here.”
As silence shrouded the chamber once more, a red bloom came to replace the cold white light of the moon and the whole chamber became bathed in its warm glow.
Without fear or further knowledge save that in their awakening souls the seven men stood around the alter forming a circle with Tepemkau completing it at the head of the priest.· Lowering her own head, she began to whisper soft incantations into his left ear.· The newly gathered brothers listened intently but could not understand one syllable uttered.· Sweat formed on her forehead as the strain of the exercise drained her strength.
Looking lovingly into his sunken eyes, covered by the wafer thin eyelids she persevered.· All eyes were on them and to their incredulity, they saw moisture begin to seep from the corners of his lids, followed by one single rasping breath and a tear that ran slowly down his cheek.
Long moments passed when, using the unspoken language, they had all come to understand so well, Tepemkau surprised them suddenly by pleading for them to help as she slumped to the ground.· Paser was the first at her side.· Kneeling by her, he gently picked up her head and cradled it in his lap.· After, what seemed an age, Tepemkau slowly opened her eyes, she looked at him with gratitude.
“I knew you were the empath, thank you for sharing your strength with me.”
Moments later, Tepemkau was back on her feet, standing straight, if a little shaken and unsteady.· Looking into the now open eyes of the old priest lying on the alter, she waited.· Paser meanwhile struggled to stand up, his strength now nearly spent.
“ I think you already know why we have come, old man. Your eyes are tired but not so tired that they do not see.·· We have been called and have answered, and now we have called you.”
She continued:
“I am the ‘within’.
I am the within of all natures.
I am seen as “below”
Yet all spirits rise in my presence.
I am easy to hear, difficult to grasp,
My voice is soft and yet all who wish, will hear.
I prepare the bread, the understanding,
Earth’s food for all needs.
I am universal wisdom,
Breath of the mother,
Source of all Being.
My voice is all around.
And my ears everywhere.”
The brothers had heard of the magic used by the Kings to consult the afterlife and the wisdom of the unknown, but not being high born, had never witnessed it before. They were not sure they had had taken in the full meaning those words, and even having heard and partially understood, they were not sure that they should have come from a woman…
When they looked toward the priest again his form had begun to change. His deformed body was becoming youthful as he rose from his resting position. His back straightened and the hunch in his back began to unfurl to a ramrod position. Once more he looked out of youthful eyes once more.
“My daughter, I never thought to hear those words again in my lifetime. Never written, only spoken those are the words of the Key.· Only the temple Guardians can hear those words. It is said that, ‘She will come as the head of the trusted Seven, the Key, and the ones who will give lifetimes for the word of God and She will send them forth to the farthest realms, until the time is come’ .
Still embroiled in a mixture of confusion and bewilderment, the seven stood stunned by the events were taking, yet deep within them the spark of understanding was becoming their guiding light. They felt a mystic bond building between them.
The priest spoke on, now demanding their tokens of passage.· On asking who they were that they dare enter this sacred space each answered in turn, giving their holy names in full; their names being the tokens and signs of their ancestry and birth rite.
In turn, they knelt before him.· They spoke the words of their intention.
“I deem the lowest service of the work of God my Lord, to be an honour and therefore only beg to be employed, please accept me and show me the way.”
“Your humility and purity of heart bespeaks your merit! You may enter.”
The message he sent out was clear, and each man in turn now understood what he must do.· The law of God and the universe was unequivocal - they now understood what this meant.· The path of reason and love was to be their constant companion and purity of their souls would guide them in their task forsaking all else to protect the true word of God.
As the warm red glow faded and the first hints of dawn shone through a shaft designed to bring the light of morning star, Venus, there in ritual, the priest closed his eyes once more and Tepemkau, now fully recovered, ushered them quickly down a flight of narrow steps hidden in the thick walls, to one side of the chamber.· After forty steps, they came to a flat area before another set of even narrower steps. Tepemkau stopped by a recess hewn into the stone, which contained a small oil lamp. With her right hand she took out the lamp and with her left reached into the crevice towards the top and back; having found the device she sought, immediately there was a soft clunk from within. She replaced the lamp and two stones to the right leaned her weight revealing, almost magically, but obviously, with the aid of levers, a narrow doorway swung inwards. Reaching inside, she brought out another lamp, which she lit from the one outside and beckoned them to follow her. From that point, along narrow, low roofed corridors, Tepemkau lit lamps as they passed them.
They descended further into the bowels of the temple and as they did so, each noticed the warmth that engulfed them, a living spirituality, a feeling of the present linked definitively with the past and the future. How could that happen? Yet they knew it was. Their unity defined their state of mind and despite the tension now building outside of the temple - within, they breathed deeply and felt a sense of belonging and peace that had eluded each one of them prior to their gathering.
They followed Tepemkau as she walked through nine separate chambers; each chamber less ornate than the previous one until finally the only thing that decorated the walls were a few small lanterns resting in crevices in the rough stone surface.· As they entered the last chamber, the sound of running water met their ears.· In a trough, a natural spring tinkled softly, beckoning their attention.· In turn, they took off their leather sandals and bathed their feet in silent reverence. There was gratitude too - their hot feet were soothed by the life giving force of the cool crystal water.·· The air was still but surprisingly fresh as they gathered around. With her head bowed toward the dusty floor she motioned for calm.
The task ahead was clear and between them they prised up a slab of crafted rock from the floor – it came up effortlessly even though they were conscious of its significant weight.· Carefully, they laid the huge stone to one side. Stepping down through the small opening, they were faced by a very roughly constructed narrow set of stone steps. Gingerly they walked, single file, down into another chamber barely two and a half metres square. It took a little time, but as their eyes gradually became accustomed to the low level of light, they took in their surroundings.
Almost immediately and inexplicably, Kamoses felt claustrophobic in the confined dark space.· Sweat popped on to his forehead, covering it in tiny jewel-like beads.· His stomach heaved and for a moment the burning urge in his whole being was to turn and make his escape up the narrow steps he had just descended. Like a mother wrapping her hand round her shaking frightened child, his nerves were soothed and his racing heart was calmed.· His brothers looked at him, and then directing his gaze over to a covered box that lay isolated in one corner of the chamber they breathed deeply in unison.
Tepemkau spoke:
“It is now time to pass through the veil of unknowing to see, at last, the light of knowledge.· In God’s wisdom and the ultimate knowledge of all that is and all that ever was or can be, the true word, was given unto Moses…just the once.· The manifestation of this divine knowledge came the first and only time, in the solid form of the Seven Senses. This was meant to be and through time mankind would recognise its meaning and remember what it once knew.
Through the revealing and understanding of the one true soul of each the soul’s seven senses, all that is forgotten in most, the physical representation when rejoined, will reverberate as ripples in a pond, to bring the tidal wave of love to sooth and bathe clean the blood soaked earth in honesty and forgiveness, it’s rebirth.
The intercourse for union upon earth performed in the spirit of celestial union will manifest on earth and she who is the daughter, the sister and the mother will once more bring the power of hope.”
The first and true word of God, given to Moses but smashed to the ground in fury and disbelief, has been safeguarded, precariously, by me and the Bearer, while we waited for you.· From now on, and for many years, you my sons, are to be the individual custodians of the first tablets of the word of God – You are The Guardians.”
They looked from one to another. They had all heard the stories and scriptures about Moses’ ascent of Mount Sinai and his return to find the tribes of Israel celebrating pagan rituals and worshipping false idols. The stories of Moses’ fury were legendary and still brought fear to Jewish children.· Tepemkau continued, speaking more quickly.
“From Solomon’s Temple the ark was stolen, and brought here for safety by Manelek, the son of Solomon and Sheba. The temple was built, so precisely to replicate the temple in Jerusalem. The exiled community believe it this is simply in reverence to YAHWEH.”
With this Tepemkau turned and moved toward the covered box.
With a sweep of her hand, she removed the covering, and as if with a humming sound an ebony ark stood before them.
Placing a hand upon it, she faced them.
“But there was a secret. This, the original word, apparently lost and forgotten except for legend, is different. It is the word of God, but it is not the word, as told us by Moses. The words contained here are about love and compassion. They do not command us to comply or threaten if we do not. God has no requirements except that we create and experience life to the full. These are not commandments but Senses.”
With this Tepemkau lifted the lid of the chest.· Her face shone blue from the reflection of light within the chest, and The Guardians were overcome by the beauty they beheld and the joy they experienced.
 
 
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