Monday, October 16, 2017
Sunday, October 15, 2017
EIGHT PEOPLE were running through a dusty landscape.
They moved in twilight between cliffs in a rocky desert valley, in the first hour of the twelve hours of the ancient Egyptian underworld night.
But they weren’t in Egypt.
They were totally immersed inside a new virtual reality simulator called ‘Virtual Eternity’, built by mysterious tech organization, The Sirius Research Corporation.
Each person, invited under the strictest secrecy, bore a tag – Sage, Robber, Scribe, Prophetess, Gamer, Soldier, Priest, and Neophyte.
Sage ran at the head of the party. She’d been assigned the title ‘Sage’ or ‘wise one’ as an associate professor of Egyptology specializing in mythology and funerary beliefs, despite her youth.
One in the group ran past the others to catch up to her. It was Gamer, a compact young Korean-born game designer.
“This place is unreal, huh?” he said.
“It’s real enough for me.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. It’s so real… it is unreal. I always wanted to design an ancient Egyptian VR game, but this, hey, I can’t fathom it out. One hundred percent immersive. Three sixty-degree landscape. Perfect resolution. No lag. All sensory input and inner-ear thing of real movement. Forces on body, real muscle sense. Even sweat and fatigue.” He gave the Egyptologist a quizzical look. “You have the inside story? What is this place all about? Is this a role-playing game, or just an ancient Egyptian environment? What are we supposed to do here?”
“Just experience it and survive,” Sage said. A tall woman, Sage wore a dark blue T-shirt and light khaki trousers and she cut a lithe figure, running nimbly and easily. “You heard the announcement like a god’s voice cracking over our heads at the start. We’ve got twelve hours to reach the end of the underworld before dawn, surviving the dangerous guardians, gateways and demons of the journey along the way, or we die. Virtually die, one hopes.”
“That is the beauty of game worlds,” Gamer said. “Nobody dies. You just keep coming back for more. Over and over again. You learn from your experience.”
“That’s reassuring. But in this dead and dry landscape, dying seems as real as living...”
And now NEW fantasy on Amazon Kindle:-
Friday, October 13, 2017
|The amassed hoard of the Neteru..|
|Ancient Egypt and choking gold are inextricably linked in popular imagination. (Scene from the Brendan Fraser mummy movie.)|
(except from THE SMITING TEXTS)
It was a hall that represented the chest cavity of the god. It was also a treasure chest of staggering proportions.
“Dear God of our Fathers!” the Coptic monk Daniel said in a gasp.
“Out of the magic of its gold, heaven was born,” Anson said.
They were looking at the amassed hoard of the Neteru.
“Truly this is the Mother of all Treasures,” the veiled woman whispered.
It struck his eyes with the impact of an eruption.
It was as if a mountain of gold had exploded and disgorged rivers of golden magma into the hall.
Gold choked the place like a glittering slag heap, spewed from chests in chains and necklaces, crusted in heaps of gorgets, amulets, cups, urns and crowns, pooled in dishes and plates, twisted and writhed in a tangle of statues thrown together like corpses. The excrescence solidified in thrones and tables and chairs and erupted in great shrines jammed together like a golden shantytown. Gold winked, flashed, lusted and glowered sullenly in darker corners. A fleet of golden boats lay in a tangle of masts and oars like the aftermath of a naval battle among the gods. More boats lay foundered among jeweled caskets.
In the Book of Revelation, God sat with the firmament beneath Him, and the brilliance of gemstones sparkling in His presence. Heaven was blinding in its beauty! There was no heaven after death. Instead, the traditions of a material heaven, handed down by untold generations, were true. This was it and his father had found it, stealing the hopes of all mankind.
A feeling came over Anson that he was about to vomit.
A sorrow washed over him with the force of a wave and when the shock receded, an undercurrent ripped him back to long ago.
My father left me as a child to chase after this glory. A man-made heaven...
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Sunday, October 8, 2017
They must have woken the monkey first.
I felt the tiny weight of the creature squatting on my chest as rays of heat struck the bindings around my stretched out body.
I drew a breath of air into my dried up lungs like a hiss of sand in a windstorm, forced my eyelids open, cracking a seal of dust and time. Light roared in my skull. My eyes cowered at the shining fire as I peered out through gaps in frayed linen bandaging.
At the corners of my eyes, loose threads of cloth frayed with age turned into blazing filaments of light.
I was lying in the darkness of a sepulchre, yet rays of light had found me.
The daylight sun of Ra and of Egypt, the Land of the Living, enveloped me in an embrace of life, while the fragrance of death’s embalming ointments and oils lingered in my nostrils.
I saw a solar priest standing apart, holding up an angled copper mirror, catching a beam of sunlight flashed to him from another priest standing further back along a passage with another mirror beyond him, and then another - a relay of priests with mirrors stepping back to infinity it seemed, flashing light rays between them from the world of the living above, funneling it down the lengths of passages to the place where I lay in the earth.
The little monkey mummy, Thoth, had its back to me, holding up its paws to greet the shooting beams of sunlight as if in reverence, or warming itself in a new dawning.
Was this a tomb?
An open coffin stood near me and I found that I was lying on my back on a stone slab.
I saw other things.
An old man with gold dust on his skin like the flesh of Ra, standing over my body. A higher priest this one, shining like Ra at his noonday height, wearing a golden collar of a High Priest of Ra.
This may be a tomb, but I was not being buried, I sensed.
It was more than a tomb.
Swords, battle axes, clubs, shields, bows and arrows crammed alcoves in the walls...
A sanctuary filled with weapons of war.
The sunlight assaulting my eyes ripped apart the cobwebs of forgetfulness and revealed a blinding truth, a recollection that was like another blazing sun hitting me.
I was a warrior who had fought in a battle against demonic demigod attackers and I had fallen on the battlefield.
And along with this knowledge came another memory, reminding me of a dark absence, opening up a void as large as this chamber... the consciousness of a parting from a loved one left behind... long ago... how long ago?
I had died not only to a great land racked by turmoil, but also to a great love.
Her name was Mehyt...
“Arise, Great Hori, arise from the hold of death,” the High Priest said in a voice that echoed in the sepulchre. “Arise, Defender of Egypt, warrior hero of the primordial wars of men against the rule of the demon demigods. Arise, Hori, the semi-divine, last of the line of mighty Horus the warrior god who avenged the murder of his father Osiris. You are called upon in this hour of Egypt’s peril to save a land that has dire need of your might.”
The monkey on my chest chattered in excitement.
I tried to speak, but my jaws were grinding stones and a single word escaped my throat.
“You died and were entombed in this sanctuary over a thousand years ago.”
That made me an orphan to a long dead past, a reborn seedling sprouted from ancient grain to a new life in an alien soil.
With a straining effort of will, I ground out more words.
“Then am I a Helpless One?”
A mummy, a dried up husk? An empty chrysalis after life had escaped like a moth.
“Far from helpless. You are a being magically transformed, raised from death into new power,” the ministering priest said, “for like the god Osiris, your body was wrapped in the Tresses of Nephthys, the magical bandages of linen woven on a sacred loom by the goddess Nephthys, sister of Isis. And over those wrappings, you wear a magical outer band woven by the Queen of Heaven herself. The magical Knotted Cords of Isis... the cord that links life to death. An ancestor of demigods, you are a buried weapon hidden until Egypt had need to raise you again like a sheathed sword as the oracles foretold. And now is such a time of need. I, Ra-Hotep, First Prophet of Holy Ra raise you in Ra’s light to wage a great and holy battle against a new enemy.”
“A vile foreign power, the Hyksos, Asiatic Rulers of Foreign Lands, have occupied Egypt with plans of an empire. They seek to plunder Egypt’s forbidden treasure of secrets for themselves - and you alone can stop them.”
“Holy Egypt conquered.” I groaned. “How?”
My love of the Red and Black Land had not died. It burnt like a flame inside me...
Saturday, October 7, 2017
|Mona Museum, Hobart, Australia. (Thongs oddly fitting in an Australian setting)|
Almost as disturbing as my BM favourite