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I tell you! She’s an imposter!

(Karnak, Egypt, 1458 BC)

“She’s an imposter!” Hapu shouted, raised fists clenched, hairy forearms showing, gold-embroidered sleeves falling down. “By all the gods of Egypt, I swear to you it’s the truth! Don’t you see, my fellow holy men, it all makes perfect sense!” Hapu told the growing group of priests gathered around him. “She’s no more our Pharaoh than a common slave! You witnessed it yourselves! This pretender even refused me, the high priest, to perform the morning ritual! Blaspheme! This woman is a mere puppet – an imposter – her strings pulled by the golden-haired one come to destroy our land from within!”

Murmuring ran through the crowd of priests as they admitted to themselves that “Pharaoh” did refuse the sacred morning right, even taking a heathen into Amun-Ra’s sanctuary! Many thought, How could we’ve been so blind, so foolish?

Anubis knew all along!

“Think of it, our mortal enemies, the cruel and ungodly Hittites, murdered our true Pharaoh, then installed their puppet in her place through this barbarian Brenzel who claims to be Hathor? When did any of our goddesses have golden hair? Is not Egypt’s true ruler, the great and wise Hatshepsut, lying in this very temple, being prepared for the afterlife as I speak?!”

Tearing at his garments, looking towards heaven, Hapu’s face contorted into several dramatic versions of grief and remorse, crying out in anguish, “Oh great and powerful Amun-Ra, forgive me – forgive us! Have mercy on the foolish, save us from our error, spare Egypt!” Several of the priests listening cried out in anguish, while others began to weep openly. Soon, shouts of anger became a chorus of rage, while more and more temple priests, hearing the ruckus, gathered round. Those who came late saw their brethren begging various gods for forgiveness, tearing at their clothes or covering their heads in shame. Many present began shouting furiously, “High Priest, what shall we do!?”

I must do something, but what?

Hapu’s servant, Wemi, standing far to the side, felt fear enter his astonished mind. He’d been at Dendera, he’d seen and felt the power of Hathor, heard her voice! She was everything he’d been told she was and more. Why was his master turning against her now? As the crowd grew more and more agitated, Wemi stepped back further, terrified at how his master, Hapu, whipped his fellow priests into a frenzy of religious outrage saying, “We must save our land from the usurpers! Who’s with me? Who will stand for our beloved Egypt?! Who will defend Amun-Ra?!”

This isn’t right, Wemi thought as he left the scene. Feeling queasy, he ran towards the sanctuary, thinking, I must do something – but what?


After purifying herself, Hatty began to help Bren with the sponge and fragrant oils her servants provided. Bren, glad to cool off, relished the feel of the water on her bare skin. Both women, with hair tied up, need only wash their lower regions, according to temple ritual.

Drying off, both dressed in pure white linen. Bren followed Hatshepsut with some female priestesses, to Amun-Ra’s sanctuary deep within the Karnak temple complex. As they walked through hypostyle halls filled with massive pillars, all painted brightly with hieroglyphs, light grew less and less as coolness prevailed. Lamps now illuminated their way, as other ladies fell in behind them, carrying clay jars, baskets, and plates of offerings to nourish Amun-Ra after his wife woke him from slumber. Hatty walked slowly, deliberately, holding her head high. Bren did her best to copy her manner, beginning to feel slightly chilled.

Djeser, djezeru

Presently, the whole returnee came upon two massive gold plated doors, each adorned with large reliefs of stylized women with wings.

Hatshepshut began to chant, uttering incantations and blessings to her divine husband, as two groups of women pushed the heavy doors open, gilded leaves swinging silently, revealing a tall room in the dim light. Torches lit, Hatshepsut, god’s wife, took Brenzel’s hand, leading her into what Egyptians called ‘Djeser, djezeru’ (Holy of Holies). Women laid down wheat, corn, meat, wine and many different prepared delicacies all along the perimeter of the sanctum.

I don’t like this place, Bren thought, feeling as though some dark blanket were being laid upon her, giving no warmth or comfort at all. Hatty, dismissing her servants, disrobed completely, staying Bren with her hand as she was about to do the same, whispering, “No need.” Speaking softly, Hatty informed, “Normally the high priest does this, but…” She moved forward, towards a squat, stone base, upon which sat a curtained structure, about four foot square. Standing on tiptoes, Hatshepsut tugged at a string on top, which let fall the curtains, revealing their god, Amun-Ra.

I thought it would be bigger

Bren, looking at the figurine, an idol covered with gold and various colored jewels, said, “I thought it would be bigger.”

“Shush,” Hatty cautioned softly. With Sistra jingling in the background, Hatty began to gyrate, arms lifting sinuously, dancing in a manner not dissimilar to what the Hittite princess had done publicly during the festivities. Feeling her sensuality, Bren’s back began tingling, as well as her secret places. Hatty approached the stone, reaching out and touching it while shivering and shaking. All at once she let out a moan and shook all over, then bowed low, retreating slowly.

Brenzel, breathing easier now, remained quiet as Hatty put on her garment once again, saying, “Okay, we can go.” Bren, following Hatty closely, thought again, I thought it would be bigger.

Outside, as the other women joined them, they all walked into the light, Bren’s spirit brightening. Looking over at her friend, Bren asked, “You’re supposed to do that every day?”

All life will cease to exist

“Yes,” Hatty said, “every day, else Egyptians believe the sun will not rise over our land, crops will die, as well as our animals. Famine will prevail and eventually all life will cease to exist.”

Walking beside her friend, the English blond said, “Unless you have…er…you know…make him happy in the morning?”

Hatshepsut just nodded.

Walking in silence now, the air growing warmer as more sunlight filtered in, Bren thought about how different Egypt was, how everything in this strange land had to do with sexuality, whereas little where she had grown up had to do with intimacy – at least not openly. To be honest, she couldn’t decide which way she liked best.

Is there another way?

Just then, both spied a group of men, priests by their look, barring the way ahead of them. Slowing her pace, Hatshepsut tried to guess what their presence meant. Surely, Pharaoh thought, they would not be so foolhardy as to try anything today, not with her palace guard standing ready if she didn’t appear. The group, probably close to 100 strong, began moving deliberately towards them. The little woman commanded, “Stop where you are! Pharaoh commands it!” No effect.

Sizing up the situation, feeling disturbed in her spirit, Bren asked quietly, “Is there another way out of here?”

Hatty, still incredulous, said, “Yes, but. . .”

Wemi to the rescue

Wemi, standing behind a column to the side, saw the group of priests moving towards Hatshepsut and Hathor as they emerged from the sanctuary into the columned hall. Not knowing what to do, he yelled loudly, “Hapu calls you to all come quickly!” momentarily confusing their progress. “Over here! Quickly!” Wemi shouted, “He commands your presence, now!”

Believing his ruse, most changed course to the side where he was, as he quickly ran away, circling around. Wemi’s only thought, as he panted, was, I must warn them.

Hatty opened a door, saying, “This is the secret way my double used to enter the temple. Come, we must hurry.” Both walked faster and faster, through passageways and eventually to a long street perhaps half a mile long, walled up at least 40 feet on either side, wide enough to pass two wagons through. Hearing shouts behind, walking under another archway, they ran down the passage as men poured through the entryway in hot pursuit. Hatty, looking behind as they ran, stumbled, sprawling on the stone. Bren lifted her up, when a dozen strong pairs of hands seized them both.

Let go of me!

“Let go of me!” Hatty snarled as she fought back like a trapped animal. Beginning to subdue Bren also, albeit with more effort, Bren lunged forward, managing to latch onto Hatty’s wrist and hand.

“Let go!” both women screamed repeatedly as the two groups of priests began to pull them away from each other. Bren felt her hold slipping, unable to keep her fingers gripped, straining until she lost her friend. Quickly, the men lifted the fighting, biting, scratching Hatshepsut up and ran away down the road, as the others held Bren back.

God’s hammer

Violet sparks flashing in Bren’s eyes, the ground rumbled as she stood up, despite eight men holding her down. “Let! Me! Go!” Bren roared, as a pressure wave burst from her, smashing all the men against the walls on either side, broken bodies crumpling like rag dolls. Wave upon wave of violet light emanated from her causing the stone walls around her to shake violently. The men carrying Hatty, looking up, seeing cracks forming in the stone, shouted “God’s Hammer!” and released their diminutive captive, running for their lives.

Hatshepsut, standing, ran towards Brenzel, only slowing as she felt waves of pressure hit her. Then, stopping dead in her tracks, her mouth opened, seeing Brenzel’s hair spread out around the back of her head, violet lightning crackling off the ends, dancing up the vertical walls. Sensing this was no natural earthquake, Hatty yelled, “Hathor! Stop!” However, raising her arms, waves of primal force flowed from Bren’s entire body, the men coming through the archway forced backwards, no matter how hard they tried to enter.

Suddenly, Bren’s scream rose higher and higher until a wave of violet light exploded from her entire being, 360 degrees, causing the street to buckle as the walls lining the path bent outward at an impossible angle, held still, then caved in upon the lane before and behind her. As mortar cracked, massive stones tumbled and fell inwards along the lane.

Hatty! I didn’t mean to…

Pitching and swaying, the ground moved under Hatty’s feet as she put her arms out, struggling to remain standing. Looking up at the walls beginning to crumble, she knew she was dead. “3!”, she yelled, “Help me!” as massive stones tumbled and fell inwards upon her, blotting out the sky. Above, white light flashed as thunder clapped. Half of one of Hatshepsut’s Obelisks, broken in two, toppled towards the street below in front of the Karnak temple entrance.

Hearing a cacophony of dull thuds behind her, Brenzel whipped around, seeing her friend cover her head, arms up. Screaming, “Hatty!” Bren ran towards the dust cloud expanding towards her. Reaching the large mound of broken stone, she pulled frantically at the first block she came to, not able to budge it in the slightest. Crying hysterically, she shouted, “Hatty, Hatty! Oh my God, Hatty!”

After awhile, her hands grew tired, nails bleeding, only managing to move a few small pieces, Bren whimpered. “Hatty, where are you.” Realizing the awful truth, in a small clear spot, falling to her knees, she cried out in anguish, “I’m so sorry! Oh God, please no!” Sitting down, covered in dust, tears streaking her face, she cried, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you….I was only trying to help.”

Then, the rubble twenty feet beyond her moved slightly, as Bren still sobbed, rocking back and forth. Again, it moved – this time upwards about a foot, then settled down again. Bren, feeling the ground tremble, moved backwards on her hands and behind, looking up left and right, fearing more stones might fall. Then, face slacking in surprise, she saw a great pile of stones move upwards as white appeared, blocks falling to the sides as it rose higher. Eyes wide, Bren looked as two great, white wings unfolded slowly, revealing a bearded man, long hair falling on his broad shoulders, dressed in golden armor, sword by his side – holding Hatshepsut in his arms, clinging to his neck.

The return

Hatshepsut, hardly believing she was alive, looked back upon the pile of stone, then slowly up at the man who held her, feeling the soft hair of his well-trimmed beard against her cheek.

Looking hard into his blue eyes as he smiled, her mind played catch up, pure emotion overwhelming her. Trembling, she whispered, “Am I alive?” Then, eyes wide, suddenly recognizing who held her, she kissed him deeply, passionately, wrapping her arms around him. Finally, taking his face in her hands she exclaimed, “It’s you! It’s really you! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

Heart pounding, he looked lovingly into her big brown eyes, knowing that she was his gift from heaven, one that he’d never leave or forsake again. He thought, You’re so strong in heart, yet so fragile in my arms. God’s warrior smiled, eyes tearing, saying with some difficulty, “I said I’d return,” feeling an utter fool to have left her in the first place.

A son of the morning, he’d fought in the great rebellion against hordes of hellions, faced dragons with only his javelin, and even contended with Beauty herself, yet he’d never known fear until today, streaking through the heavens, revealing himself like a falling star. With his own body, he’d knelt and covered the woman he loved, not knowing if YHWH’s power would protect them both. As the stones fell upon him, he’d prayed fervently, “Strengthen me, oh Lord.”

Now, carrying Hatty with him, walking forward, shoving half-ton stone blocks out of his way with sandal clad feet, he approached Bren, saying, “Rise, daughter of Eve.”

I know that voice!

I know that voice! Bren thought, but from where?from when? Then an image of an officer stooping over a map laid out on the hood of a motor car flashed in her mind. Oh my God, Officer Macintosh? Bren thought, her mind spinning like a child’s dreidel. What’s going on here?

Bren, still sitting on her rump, struggled to take in the whole situation, but mostly the kissing. Like her chest felt after being thrown from Sapphire in Elysia, her mind struggled to catch its breath. Standing, she straightened what remained of her dress, dirty face peering up at the couple, blurting out, “Hatty, are you alright?”

Gazing at her hero, Hatshepsut cooed, “Yes, Bren, very alright.”

Stepping closer, Bren half questioned, half accused, “So… you’re an angel? What else don’t I know?”

Setting Hatty down, the powerfully built warrior looked at Brenzel, steel blue eyes surveying her intently, explaining, “Yes, I’m an archangel to be precise. My name is Saa Menetnashté Sabah Khaldun Zuberi. But…you may call me 3.”

Eyebrows raising, Bren said, “huh?”