It's here today. The second book of the alternate ancient Egypt fantasy is here as of today
Seth, an undercover cop has been betrayed by his handler. To escape he calls a number on a flyer and is transported to an ancient Egypt he doesn’t understand. He must rescue the Daughter from the evil priests of Aken Re. Merin is the Daughter....
A low voice whispered in his ear. Seth struggled to makes sense of the words. At first the rhythm and pattern of the sounds seemed wrong. Finally as though a key clicked open a lock in his head the words made sense.
“You are Horu’s
Chosen. His temple has
been corrupted by worshippers of a god alien to the Two Lands.”
Seth struggled to sit up. What was going on?
“You are here to rescue the Daughter and find the jewelry given to the first queen by the goddess and two gods.”
What the hell? Was he trapped in a dream where a disembodied voice spoke?
“Failure can bring death or slavery. During the days spent together you must remain apart from the Daughter. A hawk will come. A hawk will help.”
Weird. Seth stretched his hand in an attempt to grab the speaker and demand an explanation. No one was there. His hand dropped. He winced when it rapped a hard surface. Cautiously he opened his eyes to study his surroundings. Nothing seemed familiar. He squeezed his eyelids tight. Where was he?
A second glance added to the confusion. Was he trapped in a drug-induced dream? How could that be? He didn’t do drugs. He ran his hands along his body. All the parts were there but he was naked. He frowned. Sleeping in clothes was a habit. Being prepared for a quick escape was essential.
Strange aromas increased his puzzlement. He turned on his side and saw a row of naked men. Seth pushed into a sitting position. Nothing changed. He tamped a gush of panic. There must be an explanation.
Slowly memories rose. Disjointed like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Betrayal. The center. A flyer. Amara. Tira. Father Joe. Ramos. Coffee shop. Brownstone. Bob Tolena. Horoscope. Leo. Pieces clicked together. Seth remembered who he was and what had happened until the moment the wheel turned. Had he really entered another time and place?
“Will you go?”
“You will be given a task.”
Failure could mean death."
His breath escaped in a rush. Whatever the women had done, he was here. Who was Horu? Who was the Daughter? Where was he?
He rose. There were no windows, only narrow openings high on the walls. A curtain of strings with beads, shells and stones hung in the doorway. No chance of sneaking out unnoticed. If he could leave here he had no idea where he’d landed. He had to draw on his undercover skills and play the situation cautiously.
The curtain jangled. Three men entered. One wore a red robe. A short obese man with a metal collar carried a flail. The third, a muscular man, had a knife sheathed on his belt. Must be a guard.
The guard and the fat man were bald. The other man’s straight dark hair was cut to shoulder length.
Seth touched his head and exhaled. Hair remained long but tangled.
Seth’s mouth gaped. He understood but the words were in no language he recognized. This meant he’d been displaced in time and place.
Seth looked for clothes and saw none. He followed the other men from the room into a stone-paved courtyard. The walls looked like unpainted adobe.
A woman pointed to some kind of paste in a pottery jar. Her appraisal of his body made him want to turn his back. When the other men smeared this over their bodies, Seth did the same.
Leather buckets of water were poured over his head and flowed over his body. Seth caught a cloth and scrubbed including his head. After a second dousing, towels of thin material unlike the terry ones he used at home were provided. With water dripping from his hair Seth lined with the other men to receive a long strip of cloth. He watched the way the other men wrapped the linen into a loin cloth. He imitated the process.
A chunk of bread spread with cheese and topped with a thick slice of onion and a mug of liquid constituted breakfast. He ate the bread and washed it down with warm beer. His nose wrinkled. Sure would have liked an iced cold brew but a steaming cup of coffee would have been better.
“Come,” the fat man said.
Seth glanced at his companions. “Where are we going?”
“To the market square where we’ll be sold. You’re new. When did you arrive?”
And a stranger, Seth thought. “During the night. Don’t remember much until I woke.” His hands curled into fists. He hadn’t been warned about slavery. How long must he continue to stay one? He had his orders. He had to find the Daughter.
A frown wrinkled his brow. At home he’d been a slave to duty. Was his predicament any different here? Until he had more information he would continue where he’d been dumped. Definitely an interesting introduction to this strange world.
He marched with the other men to the market square. Seth stared at the booths and the people. Heaps of onions and melons waited to be purchased. Tantalizing aromas of cooking meats made his gut rumble. The line of men reached a clear space. He was directed to stand on a low platform. The morning sun made him sweat.
He turned to the man he’d spoken to before. “Don’t they feed us more than that small bite?”
“If you aren’t purchased by midday, you’ll return to the compound for cooked lentils and barley bread.”
Seth made a face. What he wanted was two eggs over easy, sausage and pancakes with a carafe of coffee. Wistful thinking. Good thing hunger whetted the appetite. “To drink.”
“Sweet water or beer.”
Seth’s shoulders slumped. The guard rapped his back. “Stand straight.” He pointed to the obese man. “He can order a flailing.”
With a nod Seth came to attention. Across the square he saw a young man and another of those red robes approaching. The obese man bowed to them. After a conversation with the fat man the pair strode along the line. He pointed to Seth and three others. A dialogue with the slave seller began. Money exchanged hands.
“You a fighter?” the young man asked Seth.
He shrugged. What did he know about the weapons of this land? “Unarmed combat. Can use a knife and can learn others.” He figured being a fighter would be better than doing some kind of slave labor. He thought of the documentaries he’d seen showing men pulling large block of stone to build pyramids.
“Mace, bow, spear?”
Seth closed his eyes. “Probably a mace and a spear. I’ve never shot a bow.”
The young man touched Seth’s arm. “Head shaved or a braid.”
“A warrior’s choice.”
Before long Seth and the three others were bound in a line and ordered to follow the palanquin bearing the priest and the young man. They trudged along a narrow road of hard packed earth. In the distance, Seth saw a wall.
“The one wearing the red robe, who is he?” Seth asked one of his fellows.
“A priest of Aken Re.”