Interwoven with his story is the gripping tale of Anouar, whose beautiful Greek mother arrives in Egypt under difficult circumstances. Anouar dreams of becoming a high priestess in the Mystic Temples along the Nile, but her powerful intellect and unique talents soon draw her into the fickle world of Egyptian politics. She becomes Cleopatra's close advisor and confidant, only to be drawn into a passionate love affair with Marc Antony.
Sarkin masterfully draws readers into these fascinating worlds, leaving readers utterly spellbound and wanting more. His unusual genre continues into ancient Ireland in his sequel, Kismet (www.feyslamentation.com).
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Read an Excerpt
By Ronnie Sarkin
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2015 Ronald Joseph Sarkin
All rights reserved.
Two wolves battle within us, a good wolf and an evil one. The one which wins is the one you feed.
— Cherokee proverb
The tension amongst the River Valley Clan ambushers was intense, and they were ready to protect their village. So much was at stake. If they did not succeed, the marauders would kill them. Their women would be captured, raped, and enslaved with their children. Wild Mustang's braves had no compassion, and his relentless drive to conquer the region resulted in gross cruelty toward any who tried to resist him. Villages were now surrendering before he reached them in hope of some clemency. Even the villagers who surrendered were subject to callous and heartless treatment, with all young men being conscripted forcibly into Wild Mustang's growing horde. The men of Condor's Eye's village were hidden behind the rim of the ravine, where the women and children from their village appeared to be escaping into the gully, luring Wild Mustang and his men after them. The men could hear the enemy below riding after this group who had volunteered to entice the enemy into their trap. Timing had to be perfect. The women and children had to exit the ravine, enter the valley, and make their way across it to the escape route on the opposite side. At the entrance, the last of the enemy braves must enter the ravine so they would all be contained within it. Once they enter the pass, a smoking arrow signal would be fired into the sky out of sight of their opponents below to notify those waiting at the other end.
As soon as the women and children ran out into the open in the valley, the waiting warriors on horseback galloped into the ravine, and the men above on the rim gave the signal. Suddenly, it was raining lethal arrows, and in the first wave, nearly half of the riders fell wounded or dead. The remainder raced forward to avoid being hit, but the arrows continued to rain down, finding more targets. Those in front, trying to escape, rode into a fusillade of arrows from the warriors positioned on the ground and those on horseback to prevent the enemy from exiting the ravine into the valley. The men above were desperate to decimate their enemy, and those below were frantic to survive the trap. Wild Mustang had placed himself close to the front but not as the procession's leader, always wary of being snared. Suddenly he disappeared. Condor's Eye was disappointed and concerned at how Wild Mustang had managed to conceal himself. He scoured the ravine for him unsuccessfully. Knowing that Wild Mustang's death would end the fight and save lives on both sides, Condor's Eye was anxious to find him. Eventually, he found a cleft and, squinting into its shadow, saw two men on horseback hiding there. It must be him. Condor's Eye looked down the sides of the cliff to find some vantage point where Wild Mustang would be more exposed, as he was concealed from people on the rim. Further down the ravine wall, there was an area that protruded, but to access it and shoot an arrow from that exposed position would be extremely dangerous, as the remaining invaders continued to fire arrows at the defending braves.
Condor's Eye slipped down the side, holding his breath, hoping he would not suddenly feel the pain of an arrow. Those braves close to him saw his descent and quickly set up a covering barrage, despite being unsure as to what he was doing. He reached the ledge and confirmed it was Wild Mustang below in the shadow with his trusted war chief. Condor's Eye fitted an arrow to his bow and tried to assess all the variables in setting a trajectory for the arrow. If the arrow missed its target, Wild Mustang would know he had been spotted and would probably move quickly. It would flush him into the open, but killing him now would be ideal. Condor's Eye adjusted his aim to compensate for the fall and distance. He imagined being one with the arrow and then let it fly. As it arched through the air, Condor's Eye saw it drift a bit to the one side. Wind! He had not compensated for the gust that was funneling down the gully.
Anouar, pronounced Anwahr
Young Anouar's Family
Phaidra — Anouar's Greek mother
Nakhti — Anouar's Egyptian father
Ptah — Nakhti's administrator and manager
Hathor — retired priestess and teacher to Anouar
Amenken — Nakhti's farm foreman
Wahankh — the foreman's son
Sharifa, Baruti, Akhenaten, Eshe — lecturers
Akila, Taliba, Sadiki, Bastet, Osaze, and Min — fellow students
Marcus Antonius or Marc Antony — Roman politician and general
Octavius — founder of the Roman Empire and its first emperor
Fabricius — Antony's aide-de-camp
Manius Quintilius Trebius — guardian
Nebmakhet — Anouar's best friend, guardian, and harem eunuch
Salihah — fourth handmaiden to the queen
Jabari — navy captain
Adbeel ibn Ibrahim — tribe leader
Ruhak — dangerous drunk
Khalida — evil woman troublemakerCHAPTER 2
TEMPLE OF FEAR
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To face a real daemon, you must first look inwards and conquer your own darkness.
— Luis Marques
It was the final day of the year's training in the Fifth Mystical Temple along the Nile where Anouar had been receiving her training as a priestess. The Temple of Fear trained its acolytes how to manage and, hopefully, overcome their fear. But what a fearsome final test! To swim through a pool of giant crocodiles, each ten to fifteen feet long. They had been regularly forced to witness live animals and birds being fed to the crocodiles during the year, as these reptiles did not eat carrion. This process was to terrify the students and test whether their fear management training would enable them to overcome the terror of confronting these monsters. Since the students were being called in alphabetic order, Anouar was third. The first was a young lady who simply refused, terrified at the prospect of being devoured underwater. The result was immediate dismissal from the program, which she knew and had to accept. The second student was a young man who stood trembling at the side of the pool. Finally, he pinched his nose and jumped into the shaft at the side of the pool that enabled one to swim shielded to the bottom of the pool before coming out into the open area. He surfaced moments later, complaining that it was too deep and his ears were hurting from the pressure. He climbed out, also acknowledging that this was the end of his training.
Now it was Anouar's turn. Watching the two before her eroded the confidence she had struggled to develop during the year. She started trembling but forced herself to regain her composure. Hyperventilating for her breath to last longer, she then dove into the shaft while pinching her nose. Descending as fast as she could with a thumping heart, she saw the hazy opening into the pool through blurry eyes. Hesitating, she wondered whether her kicking and sounds of swimming down had attracted any of the leviathans that may be waiting for her when she swam out the shaft. If there were a waiting crocodile, would it be a quick end? Anouar then kicked through the gap into the open pool to meet her fate, her kismet.CHAPTER 3
Three to Eight Summers Old
On a personal level, the question then becomes one of finding the pattern of behavior that we see in others, within ourselves.
— Daniel C. Price PhD, The Door to the Great Journey
His parents first named him Gentle Wind, but afterward it seemed somewhat effeminate to his father, Falling Water. He wanted his son to have a manlier name that would inspire him to be a brave brave. He, therefore, watched Gentle Wind for a sign that would help him rename the boy, but until he could walk, Falling Water would just have to be patient. He passed his markers normally or perhaps marginally earlier, but nothing significant indicated anything different or special. From the age of two, he was playing with the other children and playing the same games — pretending to stalk, hunt, wrestle, and swim. But his mother Rain Cloud started noticing that his interests started creeping beyond those of his peers. He had an insatiable curiosity when it came to nature. Anything from animals to birds, fish and rivers, weather and the elements, trees and flowers. Perhaps all the children were similarly interested, but when she discussed it with the other mothers, Rain Cloud did not get comparable descriptions regarding the extent of their children's inquisitiveness. When he turned three, Falling Water gave Gentle Wind a pair of red moccasins, and his excitement knew no bounds. Feeling the soft leather fitting like his skin but still protecting the soles of his feet, Gentle Wind started his serious stalking of rabbits and small deer. He would sit so still with an outstretched hand full of seeds that birds would alight to feed on them. He loved creeping around in the dark moonlit nights, surprising people by how close he could get to them before revealing himself. After a few years, Gentle Wind knew every bird's call and could mimic most. He was able to track any animal, identify it by its footprints, interpret whether it was walking or running, and distinguish its size by the weight of the imprint and other telltale signs.
Gentle Wind wanted to row a canoe by himself, but all the boats were too big for him. One day Falling Water said he would teach him how to make a small birch-bark canoe, explaining, "Two slits are made in the bark along the trunk of the tree so a strip can be left for the tree to survive. Otherwise, it may die, and we have no need to wantonly kill the tree merely to take its bark. The new bark will then grow and the tree will remain healthy."
His father showed him how to run his sharp flint knife without cutting too deeply, and Gentle Wind diligently followed the instructions. They made a frame and then bent the bark around it. The ends were sewn closed with strips of hide and sealed with pine gum boiled with animal fat and charcoal. Once the canoe was complete, Falling Water showed him the hook stroke with an oar.
"When you paddle by yourself on one side of the canoe, it turns the boat. Watch how I first pull the oar next to the boat then push the oar away from the side, before starting again with the oar following the shape of a hook while in the water. This movement pushes the prow back to a centerline, so it follows a zigzag course while remaining essentially in a straight line. Now you will sit in the stern with me in front as a passenger while you practice."
Gentle Wind was a natural and was soon rowing his canoe all around a wide, quiet area in the river. Limited only by his size, Gentle Wind was soon so proficient he was able to jump out of the canoe and climb back in midstream without capsizing it. He was allowed to row and fish by himself but was restricted to the safer parts of the river near the village. He could only take a friend if a parent were present and watched the young children. Falling Water and Rain Cloud did enjoy being supplied with plenty of fish as Gentle Wind became increasingly proficient, a skill he acquired with determination as he did with everything he wanted to master.
Gentle Wind also started to observe people and often asked his mother about the reasons for their behavior. He tried to understand what other people did by examining his thoughts and behavior. The more he understood his ideas or actions, the better he seemed to recognize how and why others conducted themselves in a similar manner. He could not absorb enough of life around him and sought to comprehend why life worked the way it did.
One day he told his father, "I have been wondering about where everything came from. The earth, rivers, plants, animals, clouds, mountains, trees. Where did it start? Something made everything. But where did that something first come from? Surely there was nothing. Where can anything come from out of nothing? But then there should not even be nothing. Father, I get stuck at this point and don't know how to think beyond that thought. So where did everything come from? And please don't say from Spirit because where did Spirit come from?"
Falling Water was no philosopher and told Gentle Wind to go and discuss it with the clan's medicine man, Rattling Snake. But Gentle Wind had no relationship with him, as he kept to himself unless he needed to heal someone, advise people with problems, or sit in on the counsel. However, one day Gentle Wind came across Rattling Snake walking near the river and greeted him out of respect.
"I have seen you before, young man. What is your name and who are your parents?"
"My name is Gentle Wind, sir, and my parents are Falling Water and Rain Cloud."
"I know your parents and am pleased you have learned manners. Why are you here? Here in this place."
"There is a deer that lives around here ready to give birth, and I hope to see it drop its kid."
"Really! Why? Why do you want to see it having a baby?"
"I find such things fascinating. See a new life being introduced into this world. The miracle of Spirit at work."
"Interesting, Gentle Wind. And what else do you find interesting?" "Everything."
"That is a lot. Give me an example."
"Well, my father gets frustrated with some of my questions and finally told me to ask you for the answers instead."
"He did? For example?"
"Maybe they are silly, but I recently asked father about the origin of existence, and he referred me to you. I asked him why there wasn't even nothing. Where did anything come from? That there should not even be nothing, never mind anything. And I said to my father that I don't want an answer that it all comes from Spirit."
"I am not surprised he could not answer that one. I cannot answer it either. There are many things about our universe that we are either not meant to understand or are not sufficiently intelligent to comprehend. Do you know the word 'comprehend'?"
"Yes, it also means 'understand.' So I assume my perplexity about nothing has yielded nothing!"
"Interesting. That such sentences just rolled off your tongue so easily. Do your parents speak to you like that? Like you are an adult?"
"Mainly mother. She says if we wish to be clear we need to speak well. She says language is almost all we have to communicate with others and stretches me constantly in the way she speaks."
"Interesting! She is obviously right. But you said almost. What other forms of communication do you think we have?"
"I watch people's movements and have found patterns in many things we do, and we often do not realize it."
"Hands behind the head means we are happy with something, especially if we think we are in a better position than the other person. Scratching the temple means we don't understand. Scratching the ear when we hear something we do not like. Rubbing our noses if we have said or are thinking about something that makes us uncomfortable."
"Interesting! Anything else besides how the body has its own way of talking?"
"I have the ability to track when everyone else has lost the trail. Intuitively I know where to go and then pick up the trail again. I can never explain why I take any particular direction, but I am always right."
"That would make you a phenomenal hunter."
"I hate killing Spirit's creatures. Only for food, if everyone else has been unsuccessful or for some valid reason like a bird or animal being injured too badly to recover and I end its suffering." Now smiling, Rattling Snake challenged Gentle Wind by saying, "I would like to do an experiment. What if I hide in an impossible place and you must come to me to prove this unusual skill?"
"Sounds like you do not believe me, but I suppose it is difficult to accept. Let us do it now. I will remain here and search for you in a short while. I will give you enough time to hide."
With a wry smile, Rattling Snake said, "How do I know that you will not sneak after me and only reveal yourself when the elapsed time seems reasonable to have proven your point?"
"Take a circuitous route. I will go from here directly to where you are hiding, and afterward you can look at my footprints to see whether I sneaked after you or came directly."
"Good suggestion. But give me as long as it would take you to walk back to the village so I can double back a few times before finally hiding."
Rattling Snake strode off away from the river and then turned back to it once out of sight. He then waded into the river, as there would be no trail in the water, went upstream, exited on the opposite bank, walked in a circle, and entered the water at the same point. He then floated downstream and again climbed out on the opposite side and walked out of sight of the river until he was opposite an island thick with bushes. Rattling Snake swam across and climbed onto the island over rocks, again to leave no trail. He lay down, exhausted and wet, and a few minutes later Gentle Wind arrived smiling.
Excerpted from Condor's Eye by Ronnie Sarkin. Copyright © 2015 Ronald Joseph Sarkin. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
CONDOR'S EYE Key People, 1,
Chapter 1 Ambush ΔΔΔ, 5,
ANOUAR Key People, 8,
Chapter 2 Temple of Fear [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 10,
Chapter 3 Gentle Wind ΔΔΔ, 12,
Chapter 4 Insatiable Curiosity [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 20,
Chapter 5 Past Lives ΔΔΔ, 32,
Chapter 6 Twelve Mystical Temples of Enlightenment [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 38,
Chapter 7 Condors' Eyes ΔΔΔ, 45,
Chapter 8 Semantics [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 49,
Chapter 9 Dawn Dew ΔΔΔ, 55,
Chapter 10 Merkabah [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 60,
Chapter 11 Courting ΔΔΔ, 66,
Chapter 12 Claustrophobia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 79,
Chapter 13 Complications of the Heart ΔΔΔ, 84,
Chapter 14 Confronting Fear [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 96,
Chapter 15 Initiation ΔΔΔ, 102,
Chapter 16 Sex and Love [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 112,
Chapter 17 Graduation ΔΔΔ, 120,
Chapter 18 Royal Visit [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 126,
Chapter 19 Drought ΔΔΔ, 133,
Chapter 20 The Seventh Handmaiden [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 143,
Chapter 21 The Children ΔΔΔ, 156,
Chapter 22 First Night [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 171,
Chapter 23 Counseling ΔΔΔ, 177,
Chapter 24 Taverns [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 194,
Chapter 25 Kidnapping ΔΔΔ, 202,
Chapter 26 Camel's Milk [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 210,
Chapter 27 The Wigwam ΔΔΔ, 216,
Chapter 28 Slave Galley, 229,
Chapter 29 Severe Drought ΔΔΔ, 237,
Chapter 30 The Heart [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 251,
Chapter 31 War ΔΔΔ, 259,
Chapter 32 Insecurity [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 273,
Chapter 33 Refugees ΔΔΔ, 279,
Chapter 34 Saqqara [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 286,
Chapter 35 Prophesies ΔΔΔ, 295,
Chapter 36 Escape [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 305,
Chapter 37 Headband ΔΔΔ, 316,
Chapter 38 Naive Planning [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 321,
Chapter 39 Another Kidnapping ΔΔΔ, 325,
Chapter 40 To War [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 332,
Chapter 41 Bereft Survivors ΔΔΔ, 339,
Chapter 42 A Dignifi ed Death [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 345,
Chapter 43 The Passing ΔΔΔ, 350,
Chapter 44 Rasheed [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 358,
Chapter 45 The Planning ΔΔΔ, 364,
Chapter 46 Lords of Karma [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 368,