Akhen stood there silently listening to Anelp without interrupting. He could see that the three guards stood before him would protect him no matter what and were even prepared to put their own lives on the line to do so.
Akhen felt a pang of shame as he realised that this man had served him for all these years and he didn’t even know his name, even more evidence of what he had become and what needed to be corrected. His mind was ever pushing saying ‘this is the right thing to do’, whereas his heart was saying ‘let this be, do not allow these men to risk themselves for your own selfish needs’, but was it his own selfish needs? Surely he was doing this for the people on whole – to attempt to release them from the slavery that was their lives. Or was he simply trying to redeem himself? Or did they both amount to the same thing? These questions and many more now plagued him, tumbling around in his head. Tiy’s words came back to him once again, this time louder and more assertive.
Everything that is meant to be will be.
So if this was the case, everything he was doing now was meant to be, otherwise something else would be occurring. But was this right? The battle going on inside him was becoming more intense, than the battle he was now presented with in the room. How could this be? He could not allow this to distract him. He could not allow this to get in the way of what he thought needed to be done. He had to choose whether to ignore his heart or his mind, and he had to do it quickly as time was running out, or so his mind kept telling him.
“We serve you and your family, my king. We may only be lowly guards, but we have been told that you would see the errors of your ways. It would only be a matter of time and just to be patient, because it would happen someday.”
Anelp stopped, wondering if he had gone too far and waited for the king to respond.
Akhen didn’t respond, as he knew what Anelp was saying was the truth and yes he had most certainly realised the error of his ways.
“Who told you this?” The king inquired.
“I am reluctant to answer that sire.” A very nervous Anelp said wondering now if he really had gone too far.
“Anelp please do not fear me. I know I ask a lot of you all, but please do not do this. You have nothing to fear from me now. You have seen a change in me have you not, for some time now. Even though I seemed the same, I know many of you in the palace have realised that I have indeed changed. So please, who told you this?”
Akhen had a calmness in his voice to reassure the worrying Anelp, and truth be known he already knew who would have said such a thing and just wanted Anelp to confirm this.
“It was Tiy my king, Tiy talked of this happening and said when it does we must help in any way we can. She said that even though this was not what you should be doing, you would do it anyway, so we must protect you.
My king we know what it is you are trying to do and we are with you. If we can be part of the release of our families, friends and the people we belong to, from the slavery that is their lives, then that will be an honour. And even if it cost us our lives, then that is a price worth paying.”
As Anelp said these words his head bowed, as did the heads of his two brothers beside him. Not now, because it was being said to the king, but through humbleness and Akhen realised this. Even though the words Anelp had spoken touched him deeply, Akhen did not answer, he just bowed his head too, but inside he was smiling, because he knew it was Tiy all along. And he knew he would have to speak to Tiy soon, not over this matter, but about what was to unfold.
Whilst this was happening the situation between Annop and his confiner was increasing in intensity.
The grand master still did not know the name of his confiner, but this was becoming less important, he only wanted it to add weight to his threats.
It had been proven to be very successful that when issuing threats, they would always seem more alarming if you finished them with the name of who you were threatening. There was something about saying or writing a name.
Annop had achieved what he had set out to do and could see that his confiner was now fighting with himself, not knowing which way to turn. Annop had him under his spell, casting this with the words he was using. The intent of the words could not be any plainer; he wanted to secure his release and would stoop to any level to insure this.
In his confusion the guard backed off slightly withdrawing his lance so as the point was no longer in the grand masters neck, but the lance was still pointed at him. Still staring in the grand masters eyes, the guard lowered his head slightly as to bow and raised it again.
Annop, by this, knew that the guard was going to secure his release, or at least when he made his play, the guard would not intervene.
Now he would just have to wait for his moment.
He could see the king and the guards were deep in conversation, and even though he could not hear what was being said, he knew that Akhenaten would be casting his own spell. Annop was caught in the trap of thinking that his adversary was doing the same, tarnishing him with his own misgivings. What Annop did not realise was that Akhen was using honesty and not threats or lies. He had just presumed as much because, he could see the three guards stood now with their heads bowed, he could not see that the king also had his head bowed as well.
Akhen raised his head and started to speak to Anelp and the other two guards.
“Raise your heads lads, please raise them.” The three that stood before him did as he requested.
“We need to act fast now, so please do as I have requested.” Akhen said.
“Yes my king.” Anelp answered with the other two guards.
Before they moved away to do what had been asked of them, Akhen stood forward and turning to each of them, in turn, he put his hand upon their shoulder, and without saying a word just looked them in the eyes.
Although the temptation was to bow, as the years of indoctrination kicked in again, they stopped themselves. Even though the situation was one of great gravity, none of the four stood there could prevent their eyes from welling up – as this again, was a most unprecedented occurrence for all concerned and one that would not be forgotten. Not from just what had happened, but the fact that the king and the guards had shared a moment never shared before.
Anelp and his two brothers in arms moved toward the doors to do as they had been asked, as Akhen moved back towards the grand master.
On reaching them Akhen spoke to the guard.
“What is your name?” This one question would only compound the confusion the guard was in, because again he knew from protocol that the king would never ask such a thing. But on the same hand he dare not defy the king by not giving him an answer. Seemingly without hesitation the guard answered, but this was far from the truth.
This poor man was in a world of confusion.
“My name is Cadras, my king.” As he said this he bowed his head and then lifted it slightly enough to stare at the grand master who was now smiling at him.
Akhen continued to speak.
“Cadras, I need you now to escort the grand master to the palace cells as we discussed. I have spoken to the other guards as I wished too. But I am sorry to say I cannot speak to you now in the same way, as much as I want to, for time is too short. Leave now and complete your task and when you have done this, please return to help Anelp and the others.”
“What are you playing at?” The grand master said cutting in. “Do you really think that this is going to end in your favour Akhenaten?”
Before the grand master could carry on Akhen moved right into his face. He was close enough to smell Annop’s breathe.
Composing himself Akhen began to speak to him.
“Annop, what will happen here this day can never be undone? And if all I achieve from this is to let the people know that a king said no, then that will be enough. Now turn around and face the wall.”
“I will do nothing that you say.” Annop said defiantly.
“Then so be it.” Akhen said. “Would you come over her please Anelp?”
No sooner had he uttered the words he was joined by Anelp.
“Would you be so kind and restrain the grand master please and make him face the wall behind him.” Akhen continued.
“My king, as you desire.” And with this Anelp did as he was asked after he had lent his lance against the adjacent wall.
Anelp grabbed hold of the grand master with his powerful hands and before the grand master knew what was happening he had been spun round and was now facing the wall. He wanted to complain bitterly, but to be honest it had happened so fast and with such force that he was in shock and could not utter the words. And truth be known Annop was not a coward by any means, but there was no way he would take on a man like Anelp physically. Well not in a situation like this without the protection of his status.
Things like this did not normally happen to people like him considering the position he held. Lances in the neck, being confined and being man handled, normally he was the one giving the orders for such things like this to happen to others.
Under their rule of law, being a particular person and holding such a position of status put you above the rule of the law used to enslave the inferiors – you were privileged. But as he was fast realising now, that only worked if all followed that rule.
He now knew that Akhenaten was making up his own rules. And as much as Annop didn’t like the situation, he knew that he was powerless and couldn’t prevent it from happening. It was very obvious that all the guards, even Cadras, were following this new set of rules. Annop realised that even though Cadras had indicated he would do as he had instructed by his actions, he could in fact revert back at anytime. But this was a chance occurrence that he had to ignore for the moment. He had to take the chance that Cadras would not revert back to the king’s wishes. And the coercion he had placed in his mind would circumvent this.
In reality though, he had accepted, he was completely powerless. Albeit he did not want too, but the truth was, whether he denied it or not, he had accepted this fact. He had lost power and control to the king, who he saw as not worthy to wield such power and never had a king done so for long. For any who had tried met with a fate that was destined to end their earthly experience for doing so. And the historical records were littered with evidence of all their failed attempts to remove the ultimate power wielded by the families and the priest class.
Annop was doomed whether he did or he didn’t, because the outcome was the same. He would have to resort to all he had left, fully realising the consequences for doing so, if this did not occur.
Annop, as grand master, knew how the armies worked and knew, first hand, how they had to coerce the soldiers into doing what was always needed in the name of the pharaoh.
They knew that human beings are not meant to take each other’s lives. And to get them to do so without thought, hesitation or regret and under orders, needed the highest level of coercion – but in essence, it was the easiest to do.
They used nationalism.
They told them there was something to defend, a nation state, and in the defence of that nation state anything and everything was acceptable, no matter what that resulted in. But they also knew that this would only last for so long. That is why new blood would always be needed, as the lies, it was sold on, would be seen through eventually, by those who lived the existence. And even though discipline would quench the need to question for a time, it wouldn’t forever.
The nation state was the political regime and that was what, in reality, was really being protected – the upper tier and the society who created the rule of law for their benefit. But Annop knew the palace guards were something different altogether. They were a brotherhood sworn to protect the king and his family and protect them they would. And he realised, even if Akhen hadn’t, that the king could use this to his advantage.
Annop could not, for the life of him, understand why Akhenaten was doing this. Even though he had expected something to happen, it certainly was not this.
He had always thought that Akhenaten would be a quivering wreck of a man and not this calm, collected man in front of him now. All these thoughts and many more were now racing though his mind as his face was being pinned to the wall by the powerful Anelp. And even though he knew that this was the case, he knew he would get his moment sooner rather than later, even though he was assuming that Cadras would not let him down.
“Are we ready to do as we are being asked now?” Akhen said to the now still Annop who was making no attempt to struggle from the vice like grip he was caught in.
“Yes.” Said the grand master; even though it was the last thing he wanted to say.
“You may release your grip now Anelp.” Said the king and Anelp did as he was asked and released his grip and allowed the grand master to turn and face them. Annop did this, but stayed silent just staring at the floor to show he had conceded, even though this was far from what he had done, just giving the illusion he had.
“Anelp please now join the other guards outside the doors.”
“My king, as you wish.”
With a slight bow of the head Anelp turned and started to do as he had been asked to.
Then for a fleeting moment the thought of his family’s safety struck Akhenaten with full force.
“Anelp.” Said the king.
Who stopped in his tracks.
“On second thoughts please find my wife and my boys and collect them from wherever they maybe and take them to the royal bedroom and secure them there. Please get, as many guards as you feel are needed to do this. Any other guards you come across please explain what has happened to them in the simplest and quickest terms you can, and tell them to come here to secure the doors. If my wife complains, then tell her it is by order of the king that this is being done. And she has to obey you.”
“You know as well as I do that the queen will not want to listen to or obey this request, I am sorry I leave this to you, but please get them to do as I have asked.”
“I fully understand, my king.” Anelp said with a slight bow of his head, turning after this and quickly moving away to do as he was asked.
Akhen then turned to speak to Cadras and Annop….
“Cadras please now do as I asked of you and escort the grand master to the palace cells. As I said before do not hesitate or allow anyone to stop you and if the grand master gives you any problems you must do what you must do to complete your task.”
Akhen looked directly into Cadras’s eyes as he said this.
Even though Cadras was not willing to do this, to look into the eyes of the king, he did as he was requested to do. But only allowed this to happen for the smallest length of time deflecting this by looking at the floor.
Cadras was in a dilemma of monstrous proportions. He feared
the king, but he also feared what the grand master had suggested to him through his words. The riches he could gain didn’t even enter into it this, his dilemma was fear based, not for himself, but for the security of his own family.
He had sworn to protect the king and all that surrounded him; of course he knew this, but what of his family, who would protect them if he didn’t. What if it was his family attacking the king? Even though this was highly un-likely, what if this was to happen – how would he react?
In essence it could happen, as so many of the poorer families were at their wits end. And even though the guards were meant to have no contact with anyone outside the palace walls, this was not the case. Even though those inside were very aware of the dangers involved if they were to talk about anything that went on in side the palace walls, there were still elements they could talk about.
The palace guard themselves were becoming more aware everyday that the part of the system they protected was allowing for their families to be enslaved. Granted they had accepted this in the beginning, for the better conditions they would receive, but that did not suffice anymore, not by a long shot. They could no longer be bought at their families expense, even though they were being so, everyday. But at this moment what choice did they have.
There was an unprecedented un-easiness in the air. The people were not happy. And many were talking of revolt in quite corners in private, far from the madding crowds and the watchful eyes of the priests and the soldiers who patrolled the streets to maintain control of street life.
More families were now fighting back to try and prevent their children being taken, but to no avail. They knew their children were being taken to the temples and the reason they had been told; that they were to bask in the god’s glory for doing their work, to be honest, was wearing very thin. Many had inquired why they were not allowed to see their children even though many now would be in adulthood. The reasons were given that they were still doing the gods work and because of this it was not possible.
Many where realising that their children had in fact fell foul to the carnal lusts of the masters and of course the lusts of whom they served, or died on the construction sites. Many lived in denial of these facts blinded by the coercive lies of the 1st house of the temple. But at this time a unprecedented amount of people were talking about these subjects and were not accepting what they had been told was the truth.
Although many labelled such things as nothing more than conspiracy theories, those being the ones who had accepted the propaganda as truth, many realised that this was just a convenient way to cover up the truth of any matter that had to be bound by secrecy. Many who spoke out were ostracised in public or labelled insane, but even though, more people were finding it from within them to speak out.
If his family and others did attack the king and the houses of the temple what would he do?
He knew in his heart he would never protect those of such a house, but the king, well that was a different matter all together. I suppose it all came down whether the king would do what was needed, if he actually received the will of the people to do so.
Could he trust this man – could anyone if history was to be relied upon?
Still looking at the floor not daring to look into the king’s eyes for a moment longer than he had to, just in case the king could see what was coming Cadras replied.
“I will do as you ask my king.”
Cadras’s voice had nervousness about it, but not so much that the king would pick up on the fact, but Annop did and even though he dare not show recognition of this, his mind smiled.
“Thank you Cadras.” Said the king politely “At some time we need to talk as I did with Anelp the other guards. I am sure that this time will be soon upon us. I shall leave you to do now what needs to be done.”
Akhen turned away from the pair and started to make his way back to the table and the masters. As he did this, Cadras beckoned the grand master to follow him by reaching out and taking hold of his arm lightly. Annop shrugged off Cadras’s advance and looked him straight in the eyes with a stern glare. Still with everything swirling round in his head regarding the suggestions the grand master had made, Cadras had to make a decision. Was he to let the grand master go, to do whatever his was going to do, even though he knew by doing this, he would most certainly face the wrath of the king. Or was he to do as the king had asked him and risk the safety of his own family?
In this dilemma he still couldn’t think straight and could not logically reason all that had happened and all that had been said.
So he decided.
With head bowed and heavy heart, he stepped away from the grand master allowing Annop enough space between them, to be able to move freely.
Annop realising this was to make his play.
Although he risked everything by doing this, he was not going to let this opportunity pass. He had realised that everything he once had including the power, would be taken from him. And he could never live with the embarrassment of being ostracised. He had made his mind up. And if he was to loose everything, he wasn’t going to be the only one.
He scanned the room directly in front of him and saw a gold figurine sitting on a table to his left only a few feet away. With speed in his step, he lunged forward and grabbed at it, gaining a firm grip upon the legs two thirds down. Lifting this twelve-inch high figurine off the table from where it stood, he tucked it at about waist height, slightly behind his back to his left hand side. He knew, he would have to conceal it from the guards and his eyes never left the opening the doors closed into as he moved calculatingly after his prey past it.
Akhen was unaware as he walked calmly towards his destination. He was calm, well he felt he was, but at the same time he was feeling nervous. He had always imagined this moment, but had never quite imagined it happening this way. I suppose to be honest; he thought he would be more prepared, even though his heart was telling him no preparation is needed in these matters. It seemed his mind was playing at games with him, more now than ever before. He had a dread that sat heavy in his stomach; just one he could not define. This was the main cause of the nervousness, but he could not pinpoint any one element, as they didn’t stay around long enough to be recognised.
Many times before Akhen had tried to plan what he would say and do, if this occasion was to rise. He was positive it would. Night after night, laying awake, trying to make plans that he would have forgot, he had even made, by morning. But still he tried to make them, as for in that period just before you fall asleep, as you lay there patiently waiting for oblivion to fall upon you. The mind owns this time and it will do what it does best and, make you think. And Akhenaten had to participate, whether he wanted to, or not.
Annop on the other hand had no nerves; this was a man on a mission, swiftly moving towards his target with precision and calculation.
He had been trained to do this.
Annop had come up through the ranks of the army and had been an exemplary soldier, a knight, and very skilled at his art.
There was an artistic expression in his movements that showed an element of discipline he was bound by at one time. He held an oath then to protect, even though what he protected was only a small minority, which held the majority in fear to them through him and others like him.
Annop had realised this many years since and thought that the only way to limit the oppression of the machine was to become part of the machine, even though in many ways this was a lead role, but from within a cage.
But the cage became less apparent the more power you received. Power is addictive and Annop was addicted and needed his daily fix, as all addicts do, never quite being satisfied.
Akhen knew this felling oh so well, but this was the last thought on his mind. He was almost at the point of panic, his brain flooding with blood, as he continued toward the table and the masters seated around it. Realising the situation was on the verge of being sorted out, or so they thought, the masters had taken their places around the table once more.
Akhen moved steadily towards them with Annop fast in tow.
Annop was making pace and was nearly upon the king. Akhen started to see elements of panic in the master’s eyes directly in front of him. But they seemed to be looking straight past him. Akhen realised that this panic in the masters was not because he was making his way towards the table; something was going on behind him. He slowed to turn round to see what was happening, still moving forward slowly.
Annop was now upon the king and had raised the figurine above his head. As Akhen felt a searing pain in the lower part of his head, Annop felt a burning pain within his upper back ripping out through his chest. The situation had now changed in a bizarre twist and to one that was going to cause Akhenaten a severe amount of sorrow at a future date.
Continue reading Chapter Twelve