After a few moments of deep thought Iktus answered the boy prince.
“I am sorry my prince I was just thinking, please do forgive me.”
“What is there to forgive?”
“I should not act this way in front of you my prince, this is not the required way when in the presence of royalty, so again please forgive me.”
This puzzled Akhen as the priest had not acted this way before. He knew the servants did at the palace when they were in his presence and the guards, but never the priests. The priests did in his fathers and mothers presence, but never to Akhen and his brother. This just added to even more confusion he had about the whole reason he was here, he thought to himself ‘what next’?
Not knowing quite what to say Akhen decided to change the subject, because for some strange reason he felt uncomfortable with the way the priest was acting.
Ignoring what the priest had said Akhen turned and spoke to Iktus.
“Where are we off to now Iktus, are we to visit the factories you spoke of?”
“My prince alas we have spent too much time here already, so we shall have to see them another day, maybe tomorrow. For now we must return to the living quarters so you can eat and bathe and relax.” The anxious priest said.
“But it is still quite early in the day, so what is the hurry?” Akhen inquired curiously.
“My concerns are that you do not realise what the time it is my prince, and I am concerned that you have not eaten or taken refreshment and this is gross misconduct on my behalf as my job is to look after you and I have failed in this.” Iktus said this with his head bowed even lower.
“Please do not be concerned with this.” The boy prince said “I am fine, but something is strange because I do not understand why you have changed?”
“What do you mean my prince?” Said Iktus; even though the priest knew exactly what the boy was getting at.
“Is it not as obvious to you as it is to me? You and the other priests never treat my brother and me with such protocol. Granted you do my mother and father, but never us, so what has changed to cause you to do this? You are showing me protocols at their highest are you not?
Iktus realised that the boy, if anything, was certainly not stupid and remembered that in his schooling days as a normal boy he was quite astute about all matters. In the confusion that had reigned since they had been in the high temple Iktus had lost his way. He had nervousness in his stomach again and was beginning to blush, because this boy not only had found him out, but also, the boy was on the verge of realising that he was a liar by answering the way he had. It was obvious he had changed towards the boy, how could he have been so stupid to not realise that the boy would recognise this. But in the confusion, he had most certainly lost his way and was making very stupid mistakes, ones, that would now be very hard to correct without looking a fool, or even more to the point, untrustworthy.
He still needed the boy to trust him and yes he needed to be subservient to the boy, but not quite as much so quickly as it had already raised suspicions and suspicions were the last thing the priest needed on top of everything else that was going on. Without even knowing it he had caused it, the boy and his preternatural ability, whether he realised it or not, it had done its job to the fullest extent. How could he now get out of this the best way? He needed to limit the damage that could be caused, or at least, correct the damage that had been caused. Racking his brains he had to devise a scheme that would allow him to limit the consequences of his actions, but he knew the boy prince would require an answer and soon.
Again the priest was stunned at how quickly things could turn around and how complicated something so simple could become.
Then a solution struck him.
“My prince when you were being tutored you were being treated as a boy, but now you are on the threshold of manhood and this means that you are to be treated as though you were the king himself.” Iktus said through gritted teeth.
“So does this mean, that when we return to the palace that you will continue the same to me and of course my brother who is of the same age?” Akhen replied quickly.
“Yes my prince this will now be the new standard set.” Iktus replied breathing a sigh of relief as he felt the boy had accepted the excuse.
He made a mental note that he would have to instruct all the priests involved in the boys tutoring that this was the protocol to be used from this point. The one thing the priest knew was that to be a good liar you must have a good memory and he would have to remember this for he was sure the boy would.
“I presume this is the power you talked of earlier, the power we have because of our position within the society we help maintain?” Akhen inquired.
“Yes this is my prince that is exactly it, so if it pleases my prince can we now make our way to the living quarters?”
Iktus was still on edge but was feeling somewhat better as the boy answered. He was noticing that the duality was at play again as the boy in front of him switched from one extreme to the other in only a matter of seconds.
This was becoming too much for poor Iktus to bear, but at least the result for now was a good one, at least the boys mind was now back in control.
Iktus just knew he had to get away from this boy as soon as he could for the mental strain and stress upon his body was intolerable.
“I suppose we could visit these factories you spoke of tomorrow and yes I am quite hungry and thirsty, so I think going back to the living quarters is a good suggestion, so yes, let’s do this, oh and of course the servant girls!” Akhen said quite excitedly with smile lighting up his face.
“As you wish my prince, as you wish.” An exhausted Iktus said with baited breath. “Please follow me.”
Who then turned and pushed open the doors so the pair could walk through them.
This had been a most trying time to say the least and the priest was realising that his task was not as easy as he had first thought.
How hard, could it be, to coerce the mind of a young teenage boy, the priest had thought to himself?
No wonder when he had suggested to the grand council that he could do this job they questioned if he could amongst themselves, quite openly talking about the priest as if he wasn’t even in the room. Did the members of the grand council know how hard this was going to be if Akhen did prove to be the one they sought? Was this a vital piece of information they just happened to not tell him – was there anything else they just happened not to tell him?
Iktus knew that the members of the grand council had a complacency that was unsurpassed and to be honest was disgusting to witness, even more so if you were on the receiving end of it.
At that moment in time he was not looking forward to being in front of them again, but knew he had to, well, as soon as he had delivered the boy prince back to the safety of the girls, which was most certainly a priority now. And of course as soon as an audience could be arranged, but the priest knew that the grand council would convene on a minutes’ notice when they were told the reason for doing so. There was nothing more important to them than this matter, for they stood to bear the full brunt of the family’s anger if this, that had been planned, was to fail – and of course in turn that anger would be passed down the ranks and Iktus was fully aware of where and who’s shoulders that blame would fall upon.
As they walked through the doors it was a very different sight from when they had previously walked through them.
At that time there was a very confident priest with a bewildered boy and even though – in many respects – the boy was still bewildered, the priest’s mannerisms and the way he carried himself had changed dramatically. All and any confidence that he had at that previous time had been drained from him and showed so clearly.
His head was low as the pair walked along the path that lead to the lifts, but this wasn’t just from protocol, the priest was suffering from stress and this was quite evident. As they walked towards where the lift would greet them Iktus didn’t change and even if he had wanted to he could not hide how he felt.
This was unlike the priest – well to be honest – unlike any who sort and had sort, the power of position. At no time would they show weakness of any kind and if they did have to show it would be done in solitude, in a state of complete social isolation, alone to suffer the pain of self-realisation, as this was deemed the ultimate weakness, as it was to show the effects of this.
Whenever they were on display within the society, the persona must always be on display and the mask was never to be taken off, metaphorically speaking. Never should you allow your feelings to get in the way of what needs to be done, nor should you ever question what is done with a moral viewpoint. To carry yourself, as the priest was – to be honest – evidenced this fact. But the priest Iktus could do no different, as he had no energy to do so. The previous events with the boy had left him drained and as he looked up quickly at the boy walking beside him, just long enough to see how the boy was, he saw a bright, happy boy full of life and the energy that gave and wished the same for, himself. His mind was telling him to snap out of it, but his body was too tired to react and react it did not, no matter how many times he tried to convince himself he could snap out of this state he now found himself fully immersed in.
As the pair neared the opening from where the lift would emerge they stopped. Silence reigned as still no words where being spoken by either of them.
Iktus leaned forward and pushed a button that protruded slightly from the wall and then went back to the same hung posture that he had had since the conversation with the boy outside in which he heard that which he did not want to hear.
One fact resounded in the priests mind and one fact alone. And it was something he had said to the boy not such a long time ago, when he himself had explained to the boy about the power of words. Even though Iktus fully realised the extent of what that power could manifest into. He had never thought or imagined it could be reversed and truth be known how much more powerful the boys words were than his own, even more powerful in every extent than the words of coercion. Stark evidence that the teacher should listen to words he say’s to his pupil more than the pupil himself. Iktus realised now that he had been taught a very valuable lesson even though it was one he wanted to deny, but could not for he was using exactly the same process on the very one who had reversed it, even though the boy was not aware he had done so.
The lift emerged from the opening in the floor before them with a servant stood head bowed and silent at the controls. Still the priest’s demeanour did not change, his behaviour stayed as it was. Still he stood their head low and shoulders dropped.
Iktus stepped forward into the lift and Akhen followed suit turning as they did to face the lift lobby room. Still the priest uttered no words, just nodding at the servant that they were ready to depart. The servant shut the gates and manned the controls and the lift jerked in to life and started to descend and the trio disappeared from sight as the lift made its way down to its destination.
Akhen himself was becoming more excited by the second at thoughts of the servant girls and what would inevitably happen when he was left alone with them. His soreness had quelled and he was feeling full of life and full of anticipation, but also he was feeling curious. Not just about the girls that was obvious, but about everything else. Yes the machines were remarkable, but they did not seem strange to him, even though he could not explain this. Also the building and the chair with the rock mounted in it, again strange, but he had no concern over these matters, as he didn’t about the men dressed in strange clothes and footwear. He presumed they were guarding something, but to be honest he was not bothered what it was, why should he be? All that was important to him was the wine, the comfort and, of course, the girls, the beautiful girls who were certainly the object of his desire. What the boy was curious about and was planning to investigate was the building he was staying in. He knew that more existed within it than he had seen and knew that the priest would not tell him even if he asked and especially now. So he would investigate when the time arose and all was quiet.
He wondered about the priest.
Akhen had seen this before and it always seemed to happen when Akhen could not remember parts of the day. He had always been like this, his immediate memory being very short, sometimes forgetting what was said to him only moments before. He knew he had angered his father and mother many times because of this, but he could not help it.
At schooling there were certain times when the priests he had been taught by that day seemed like Iktus, they seemed very tired. Not as tired as the priest seemed at this moment, but nonetheless very tired. Then one day they weren’t there and Iktus had arrived. This all seemed very strange but that wasn’t unusual, many unusual things happen in the palace and he had got in trouble for asking questions about them.
He remembered seeing his Mother and father on their knees in front of a statue after he had followed them one evening to the temple room. Although both Akhen and his brother were made to go to the room and kneel and say words of worship to the gods, it was never just to one god in particular, it was always to all of them, as equals – and Akhen had never seen this statue before.
Akhen had been thrashed by his father many times for asking why they had to do this, he just could not accept that there were these invisible beings that demanded he should do this and all he had asked for was evidence that these invisible god’s existed and why was it all based on what seemed to be lies. He had asked many questions and knew all the answers he had received just didn’t make any sense at all. He also knew that the priests and his mother and father were lying to him. Even though he could not say either way whether these gods existed or not, he knew they were lying and they seemed to believe these lies, and there were books that also contained these lies.
Akhen had read them, well truth been known he had been forced to read them, but he knew they were nothing more than lies. Why so many lies?
But in the end he was taken aside by his father and two priests and threatened by words, very angry words, not only from the priests, but also from his own father and this had saddened Akhen. So in the end to keep his father happy, because he truly did not want to cause his father sorrow, he accepted the words of the priests about the gods and succumbed. Without even knowing it he had been coerced and it was only through what Iktus had said earlier had he realised and remembered that this had occurred.
What he witnessed that night was his mother and father worshipping one god and one alone and decided he was going to question them about this. So one morning, soon after, as they sat eating breakfast, Akhen asked both his mother and father, quite openly, about what had happened that night in the palace temple. Akhen was sat next to his brother who at the time was quickly told to take no heed of what his brother had just said and was told to depart the table to get ready for schooling whilst Akhen had to sit there. Akhen was told to be silent by his father until his brother had left and then his father asked Akhen to repeat what he had just said. Akhen could tell by his father’s voice that he was in real trouble, because his father was not happy. So Akhen did as he was asked, even though he feared to do so and repeated the question. His father didn’t actually answer the question, but instead delivered a torrent of verbal abuse upon Akhen that deeply upset him. This event led to the talk he was to have with his father and the two priests. But to be honest none of that mattered now, after what Iktus had explained to him regarding such things as the gods and what they truly were and this had all been done by mere words.
As Akhen thought this a word appeared in his mind from nowhere, the word was monotheism. Akhen did not know what this word meant as he had never heard of it and nor had he even heard it said by anyone – not even in schooling. He also knew he had to ask Iktus what this word meant, but he realised that now was not the time, so decided to wait.
The lift came to a halt and Akhen and his priest companion exited and made their way to the seating area. Again the priest said no words to the servant as they exited and still he walked with head low and shoulders slumped. As they walked into the seating area they were greeted by four servant girls again wearing very little attire and this pleased the young prince immensely, his eyes lit up once more and he could not stop himself from smiling. Still with head bowed the priest spoke to the boy as they came to a stop in front of the girls.
“My prince, if it pleases you please go with the servant girls to be bathed and looked after. I will collect you tomorrow in the day and we can carry on with all I have to show you.” Iktus said in a very humble but hurried fashion. Akhen did not need asking twice and didn’t even reply to the priest and started to walk towards the girls who bowed their heads in respect a little lower than when the boy and the priest had first walked in. As Akhen was greeted by the girls two of them joined him to his sides and the other two led the way in front.
With this Iktus sighed with relief and turned to walk back to the lift area, but before he could escape the boy’s company – which he so needed to do – Akhen stopped as the girls did and turned and spoke to the priest.
“Iktus, before you go I have a question for you.”
With heavy heart the priest turned round and replied almost as though it was an effort to even speak with his head still bowed low.
“Yes my prince whatever you command.” Replied the priest who realised from the boy’s tone that he was now using exactly what he had required of him in the first place, except it was being used on himself now and he was too tired to use it to his own advantage.
“What does the word monotheism mean?”
On hearing this word uttered from the boy’s lips the priest – if he had the energy and putting aside the fact that by doing such a thing he would destroy all that he had done – would have exploded upon the boy with a torrent of abuse for even mentioning such a word in front of the servants. For even though they would not know what it meant – as he presumed Akhen didn’t because of the question he had asked – certain words were not to be said in front of them, just in case more is needed to be known.
The inferiors were controlled by the need to worship multiple gods. The fear that was held by the priest hood, amongst others, was that they would find one god to worship such as the priest himself did, but not a god as the priests worshipped, a mortal god who was nothing more than a mAn. It had proven that it was far easier to control them with multiple gods and not just one, as the prophecy suggested this should be the starting point. Because each god was said by the priests to demand a multiple of things from their worshipers and not one god could demand all this, or they simply would not believe one god could demand all this and start to doubt the priests. But the biggest fEAr was that they would find a champion amongst them, that they in turn would look on as a god, one that demanded nothing from them except to treat each other with kindness and respect, love and compassion as he did, because he truly served them. And he would ask that nothing be worshipped again and that the temples were tore down, but only when the people were happy for it to happen. Iktus knew that if such bad pharaohs could exist as they had done, then by default one day there must be An opposite, because duality was present in everything without exception. And a true king would be looked upon as a god at first, because the coerced would simply know no better.
Iktus himself prayed for GOD every night without fail, upon his knees, filled with hope and that hope never left. And by day he would go to the temple to do the same, hopE. He had told the boy there were no such things as gods only hours before to break one form of coercion to be able to install another and now after all that had happened previously, the boy asks about the very same thing completely out of the blue and even calls it by its true name. Before he had even begun the next phase of the coercion. Even at this tender age the boy was mastering the power of words and the true ability in using them he possessed. Not just when the knowing was present because this was different. The boy was toying with him, playing a game. The duality of the boy’s intent was equally as powerful as its antithesis and this was absolute evidence of the fact. For the first time Iktus was realising how dangerous a king with such a mind would be using this negative intEnt with all it had to offer and of course how loVed he would be if the opposite was to occur. Even though the priest really was only ever actually concerned with his own selfish needs, this thought just popped into his mind from nowhere. It must have seemed like an age to the boy waiting for an answer from him regarding the question, but the boy just stood patiently waiting as the girls by his side did.
The boy was embarrassing him. The priest truly wanted to get extremely angry about this and wanted to demonstrate this anger, to the point of lashing out, but he couldn’t for so many reasons. And on top of this he now had a very generous portion of guilt to contend with as he realised what he was in fact going to help un-leash upon the world. He would help release a true monster, a very powerful dark persona that would be permanent for decades.
For a second he came to his senses – or so the priest thought – and shrugged off the guilt and replaced it with a happy thought once more as he realised what he stood to gain from all this. And then with a vengeance un-paralleled, the guilt struck again and so did all that had happened earlier. The sickness he felt in the high temple, only that short time ago, swirled in the very depths of his stomach again. To be honest this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the priest – no matter how he tried to prevent it – felt himself buckle under the pressure. He felt his eye’s well up with tears and he felt an over whelming urge to crash to the floor on his knees head in hands, screaming ‘stop!’ Never had he, in all his life been struck by such a powerful emotional force as he was now, and still the boy stood there waiting patiently, silently watching, because even though the priest had not looked up he could feel the boy’s eye’s burning into him.
‘I’ve got to End this now, I have to get a way’ he thought to himself as his mind entered flight mode. So he just said what he needed to say, more a desperate plea than an answer.
“My prince if it pleases you it has been a long day and you need your rest so may we pick up with this question tomorrow when you are rested? But only if this pleases my prince” Iktus bowed just a little lower as he said this.
“Of course we can.” The answer came, but it seemed the boy pondered for a moment before answering, or was he just prolonging the priest’s Agony for that bit longEr. And with this the boy prince turned away from the priest and beckoned the girls that he was ready to go with them smiling to himself. From Iktus came a sigh of relief, as he wiped the tears from his eyes – finally he was away from the boy and he didn’t even try to hide the pain he was suffering. He was exhausted and was mentally drained and needed to rest, but knew he would first have to meet the members of the second house of the temple to explain a few things that he felt they were not aware of and certainly should know.
Did they really realise how hard it could become to control Akhen?
To be honest he would rather wait till he had rested and was more emotionally stronger, but feared that he needed to tell them now even though part of him, truly, didn’t want this to happen. Whether what they were doing was possible or not, he knew it didn’t really matter. As he truly believed the political regime he belonged to – in fact the very thing that owned him – would continue as it had always done. The only difference now was, he had realised from the boy’s words that, what he was addicted too, wasn’t going to last forever. For the first time the priest knew that this was true and nothing could change this fact, nothing. Full of despair and sorrow the priest walked through the seating area and for at least once in his life he was going to know the true meaning of sorrow. At this precise moment he could not get any lower than what he was now and decided that he needed some solitude with many quarts of wine. A very rash decision, but to be quite honest he didn’t care and the meeting could wait – he needed to escape this pain and drown it and drown it he would, for this had seemed the longest day of his life so far and it was only going to get worse, before it got better.
Continue reading Chapter Sixteen