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Readers also enjoyed. Science Fiction. Science Fiction Fantasy. About Christopher Stasheff. Christopher Stasheff. Moments later a harsh voice called to him in the Hyksosian language. He replied fluently and naturally in the same tongue, and the footsteps of at least two men sounded on, the stone ramp. Not even Pharaoh knew that Naja's mother had been Hyksosian.
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In the decades of their occupation the invaders had adopted many of the Egyptian ways. A tall man stepped out on to the rampart. The Hyksos dearly loved bright colours. He opened his arms. He handed it to Naja, who unwrapped it as he kicked life back into the beacon fire. In the light of the flames he inspected the arrow quiver it contained. It was carved from a light tough wood and covered with finely tooled and stitched leather.
The workmanship was superb. Naja twisted free the stopper and drew one of the arrows from the container. He examined it briefly, spinning the shaft between his fingers to check its balance and symmetry. The Hyksosian arrows were unmistakable. The fletching feathers were dyed with the bright colours of the archer's regiment and the shaft was branded with his personal signet.
Even if the initial strike was not fatal, the flint arrowhead was barbed and bound to the shaft in such a way that if a surgeon attempted to draw the arrow from a victim's flesh, the head would detach from the shaft and remain deep in the wound channel, there to putrefy and cause a lingering, painful death.
Flint was much harder than bronze, and would not bend nor flatten if it struck bone. Naja slipped the arrow back into the quiver and replaced the stopper. He had not taken the chance of bringing such distinctive missiles with him in his chariot. They talked quietly until at last Naja rose. Now we both know what must be done. The time for action has at last arrived.
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Before he reached the bottom he found a place to cache the quiver. It was a niche where the rock had been split open by the roots of a thom tree. Over the quiver he placed a rock the size and roughly the shape of a. The twisted upper branches of the tree formed a distinctive cross against the night sky.
He would recognize the place again without difficulty. Then he went on down the path to where his chariot stood in the wadi bottom. Quietly he ordered the squadron to mount up and stand with drawn weapons, ready to meet any eventuality. Naja's chariot rattled up the pathway from the wadi bottom. The moment it drew level with where Pharaoh waited he sprang down.
His tents are set up just beyond the first line of hills, yonder. Every detail of his features. His great beaked nose and beard shot with silver shining in the firelight. There is no mistaking such stature. He towers above all those around him, and wears the vulture crown on his head. I have counted them, and half of them are asleep, their lances stacked. He suspects nothing and his watchfires bum bright. A swift charge out of the darkness and we will have him in our grasp.
Naja led them, and the soft silvery sands of the wadi muffled the sounds of the wheels, so that in a ghostly silence the squadron swept around the last bend and Naja raised his clenched fist high to order the halt. Pharaoh drew up alongside him and leaned across.
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I left my spies overlooking it. His tents are set among the trees. Only then can we plan our attack. Each one was bound to him by blood oath. They were his men, hand and heart.
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Pharaoh came close behind him. They went upwards swiftly, until Naja saw the crossed branches of the thorn tree silhouetted against the dawn sky. He stopped abruptly, and held up his right hand for silence. He listened. The blue sword dropped from his fist, and a low cry burst from his open mouth, the sound muffled by a gout of his own bright lung blood. He began to slide down to his knees, his legs buckling under him, his fingernails leaving shallow scratches on the red rock. Naja sprang forward with a wild cry, 'Ambush!
Supporting the dying king he bellowed again, 'On me, the guards! They saw at a glance how Pharaoh was struck and the bright bunch of feathers on the base of the arrow. He snatched up the blue sword from where Tamose had dropped it, bounded back down the path and caught up with the small party of charioteers who were carrying the king away, down to where the chariots were waiting in the wadi. We must get Pharaoh away to safety. The Blue War Crown toppled from Pharaoh's brow and bumped down the path.
Naja gathered it up as he ran past, fighting down the temptation to place it on his own head.
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The time is not yet ripe for that,' he chided himself silently, 'but already Egypt is mine, and all her crowns and pomp and power. I am become this very Egypt. I am become part of the godhead.
The king must not fall into their hands. He had been trained by Taita, and though lacking the old man's special magic he was a skilled doctor and might be capable of staunching even such a terrible wound as had pierced Pharaoh's chest. But Lord Naja would not risk having his victim returned to him from the underworld. He ordered the surgeon away brusquely. There is no time for your quackery now. We must get him back to the safety of our own lines before we are overrun. He snapped off the shaft of the arrow that protruded from the king's chest and held it aloft so that all his men could see it clearly.
Our god and our king. Carefully Naja wrapped the arrow in a linen cloth, and placed it in the bin on the side wall of the chariot. He would to deliver it to the council in Thebes to substantiate his report on Pharaoh's death. Fresh bright blood bubbled from the comers of his mouth as the chariot wheeled in a circle then sped back up the dry wadi with the rest of the squadron driving hard to keep up with it.
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Facing forward so that none could see his expression, Naja laughed softly. The sound was covered by the grinding wheels and the crash of the chassis over the small boulders he made no attempt to avoid. They left the wadi and raced on towards the dunes and the natron lakes. It did not need his special skills to tell that Pharaoh's spirit had long before left his body and started on its journey to the underworld.
A terrible cry of mourning started at the head of the column and ran down its entire length Naja let them play out their grief then sent for his troop captains. Ten of the fastest chariots must take Pharaoh's body back to Thebes with all haste. I shall lead them for it may be that the council will wish me to take up the duties of regent to Prince Nefer. But in the meantime we must find Prince Nefer. He must be informed of his father's death and of his own succession. This is the single most urgent matter of state, and of my regency. He unrolled a papyrus scroll, a map of the territory from Thebes down to Memphis, and spread it on the dashboard of his chariot.
He pored over it. I believe that Pharaoh sent him into the desert with the eunuch to undertake the rituals of manhood, so we will concentrate our search here, from Gallala where we last saw him towards the south and east. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! California: the book of Abraham the Mage holds the secret of eternal life - a secret more dangerous than any one man should possess. John Dee is two p The two missing pages of the book of "Abraham the Mage" are sti Sophie and Josh have returned to San Francisco.
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