Hecatonchires come from the Greek Hecatoncheires which means “hundred handed”. They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. There were three of them: Briareus also called Aegaeon, Cottus, and Gyges also called Gyes. They were of the same parents as the Titans and the Cyclopes, Uranus and Gaea (the Earth).
They were associated with the crashing of waves and earthquakes.
They participated in Gaia’s rebellion against Uranus. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. Later, Zeus released both the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes from the Underworld, where their father Uranus had imprisoned them.
For this reason they fought with Zeus against the Titans. With their hundred hands and tremendous strength and dexterity, they were able to hurl three hundred stones at one time at the Titans.
Being unable to overcome such a barrage, the Titans soon surrendered to Zeus. Zeus assigned the Hecatonchires to guard the Titans in Tartarus. One of them, Briareus, served as Zeus’s bodygard.
Roger Bacon (c. 1214 1294), also known as Doctor Mirabilis (Latin: “astounding teacher”), was one of the most famous Franciscan friars of his time. He was an English philosopher who placed considerable emphasis on empiricism, and has been presented as one of the earliest advocates of the modern scientific method in the West; though later studies have emphasized his reliance on occult and alchemical traditions. He was intimately acquainted with the philosophical and scientific insights of the Arab world, one of the most advanced civilizations at the time.
Bacon is thought to have been born near Ilchester in Somerset, though he has also been claimed by Bisley in Gloucestershire. His date of birth is equally uncertain. The only source is his statement in the Opus Tertium, written in 1267, that forty years have passed since I first learned the alphabet. The 1214 birth date assumes he was not being literal, and meant 40 years had passed since he matriculated at Oxford at the age of 13. If he had been literal, his birth date was more likely around 1220.
Bacon’s family appears to have been well-off, but, during the stormy reign of Henry III of England, their property was despoiled and several members of the family were driven into exile.
Roger Bacon studied and later became a Master at Oxford, lecturing on Aristotle. There is no evidence he was ever awarded a doctorate – the title Doctor Mirabilis was posthumous and figurative. He crossed over to France in 1241 to teach at the university of Paris, then the center of intellectual life in Europe, where the teaching of Aristotle, till that time forbidden because Aristotle was only available via Islamic commentators, had recently been resumed. As an Oxford Master, Bacon was a natural choice for the post. He returned to Oxford in 1247 and studied intensively for many years, forgoing much of social and academic life, ordering expensive books (which had to be hand-copied at the time) and instruments. He later became a Franciscan friar. He probably took orders in 1253, after 10 years of study which had left him physically and mentally exhausted.
The two great orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, were not long-established, and had begun to take the lead in theological discussion. Alexander of Hales led the Franciscans, while the rival order rejoiced in Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Bacon’s abilities were soon recognised, and he enjoyed the friendship of such eminent men as Adam de Marisco and Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln. In the course of his teaching and research, he performed and described various experiments.
Life and Works
The scientific training Bacon had received showed him the defects in existing academic debate. Aristotle was known only through poor translations, as none of the professors would learn Greek. The same was true of Scripture. Physical science was not carried out by experiment in the Aristotelian way, but by arguments based on tradition.
Bacon withdrew from the scholastic routine and devoted himself to languages and experimental research. The only teacher whom he respected was a certain Petrus de Maharncuria Picardus, or “of Picardie”, probably identical with a certain mathematician, Petrus Peregrinus of Picardie, who is perhaps the author of a manuscript treatise, De Magnete, contained in the Bibliotheque Imperiale at Paris. The contrast between the obscurity of such a man and the fame enjoyed by the fluent young doctors roused Bacon’s indignation.
In the Opus Minus and Opus Tertium he pours forth a violent tirade against Alexander of Hales, and another professor, who, he says, acquired his learning by teaching others, and adopted a dogmatic tone, which caused him to be received at Paris with applause as the equal of Aristotle, Avicenna, or Averroes. Bacon was always an outspoken man who stated what he believed to be true and attacked those with whom he disagreed, which repeatedly caused him great trouble.
In 1256 a new head of the scientific branch of the Franciscan order in England was appointed: Richard of Cornwall, with whom Bacon had strongly disagreed in the past. Before long, Bacon was transferred to a monastery in France, where for about 10 years he could communicate with his intellectual peers only in writing.
Bacon wrote to the Cardinal Guy le Gros de Foulques, who became interested in his ideas and asked him to produce a comprehensive treatise. Bacon, being constrained by a rule of the Franciscan order against publishing works out of the order without special permission, initially hesitated.
The cardinal became Pope Clement IV and urged Bacon to ignore the prohibition and write the book in secret. Bacon complied and sent his work, the Opus Majus, a treatise on the sciences (grammar, logic, mathematics, physics, and philosophy), to the pope in 1267. It was followed in the same year by the Opus Minus (also known as Opus Secundum), a summary of the main thoughts from the first work.
In 1268, he sent a third work, the Opus Tertium to the pope, who died the same year, apparently before even seeing the Opus Majus although it is known that the work reached Rome.
Some claim that Bacon fell out of favor, and was later imprisoned by the Franciscan order in 1278 in Ancona as his dissemination of Arab alchemy, and his protests against the ignorance and immorality of the clergy, roused accusations of witchcraft.
He supposedly stayed imprisoned for over ten years, until intercession of English noblemen secured his release. About this episode, the historian of science David C. Lindberg, quoted by James Hannam, says that “his imprisonment, if it occurred at all probably resulted with his sympathies for the radical ‘poverty’ wing of the Franciscans (a wholly theological matter) rather than from any scientific novelties which he may have proposed.”
Bacon died without important followers, was quickly forgotten, and remained so for a long time.
In his writings, Bacon calls for a reform of theological study. Less emphasis should be placed on minor philosophical distinctions as in scholasticism, but instead the Bible itself should return to the center of attention and theologians should thoroughly study the languages in which their original sources were composed. He was fluent in several languages and lamented the corruption of the holy texts and the works of the Greek philosophers by numerous mistranslations and misinterpretations. Furthermore, he urged all theologians to study all sciences closely, and to add them to the normal university curriculum.
He possessed one of the most commanding intellects of his age, or perhaps of any, and, notwithstanding all the disadvantages and discouragements to which he was subjected, made many discoveries, and came near to many others. He rejected the blind following of prior authorities, both in theological and scientific study.
His Opus Majus contains treatments of mathematics and optics, alchemy and the manufacture of gunpowder, the positions and sizes of the celestial bodies, and anticipates later inventions such as microscopes, telescopes, spectacles, flying machines and steam ships.
Bacon studied astrology and believed that the celestial bodies had an influence on the fate and mind of humans. He also wrote a criticism of the Julian calendar which was then still in use. He first recognized the visible spectrum in a glass of water, centuries before Sir Isaac Newton discovered that prisms could disassemble and reassemble white light.
Roger Bacon is considered by some to be the author of the Voynich Manuscript, because of his studies in the fields of alchemy, astrology, and languages.
Bacon is also the ascribed author of the alchemical manual Speculum Alchemiae, which was translated into English as The Mirror of Alchemy in 1597.
He was an enthusiastic proponent and practitioner of the experimental method of acquiring knowledge about the world. He planned to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia, but only fragments ever appeared.
Today I shall like to draw a line of simillarity between the story of David and Goliath, and the story of Odysseus and the Cyclopse, as it can be seen quite clearly where the two have certain common factors, so first I will give an overview of the story of David.
The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor, came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.
One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”
So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd’s staff, sling shot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel … it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath’s sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.
Now for the story of Odysseus:
He and his men stopped there to get food and to rest. He found a large cave containing enormous cheeses, gigantic loaves of bread and a huge bowl of milk. Minutes later the cave began to shake and in came a herd of sheep followed by their shepherd, a one-eyed giant!
Odysseus and his men hid but the “round eye” (the cyclops) had seen them. The monstrous figure picked up a handful of the soldiers and ate one. This left Odysseus and the rest of his men devastated. The horrible monster put a gigantic boulder in front of the cave entrance so that they couldn’t escape. “I am Polyphemus!” it boomed,” Son of Poseidon.” The Cyclops asked Odysseus his name.”I’m Nobody, my name is Nobody,” said wily Odysseus. The cyclops said he’d kill him last.
Odysseus came up with a plan. The next day he and his crew gave the cyclops all their wine and got him drunk. Then they sharpened a huge stick and burnt the end. They left it to cool and then they rammed it into his eye while he slept. It left the cyclops screaming and his neighbours came to see what was the matter. “Nobody blinded me!” he roared. “Who blinded you?” they asked. “Nobody!” he replied. His neighbours looked at each other and went away.
The next day Odysseus and his men escaped, hidden under the sheep, as they went out to graze. The blinded giant felt the sheep but the men were fortunate that he did not check underneath. When it was safe to jump off they ran to their ships and sailed away. Polyphemus was furious!
Then Odysseus taunted the cyclops. “It was I, Odysseus, who blinded you!” The cyclops heard him and cursed him. He threw a rock into the water and just missed Odysseus’ ship. The cyclops called on his father, Poseidon god of the sea, to ensure Odysseus never gets home.
In both these stories we see an example where a single man had rose to succed where the army has failed. In the case of David his army was too frightend to attack, while David showed courage in the case of Odysseus, his men were being defeated and even eaten, but Odysseus rose to prevail.
We can also see cleverness used over raw power in both these stories, for David he had spotted the whole in the armor and used to his advanrage striking Golaith down to his level so he could then cut off his head.
With Oydsseus, he uses wine to weaken his oppenent so he can blind him in order to presue his escape.
There is also the connection of sheep in both these stories, where David is disgusied himself as if he were but a sheephearder, dressed in only a plain tunic, with a sheephearders staff, Odysseus, and his men hid beneath the belly of sheep to ultimately escape the Cyclopse.
The similarities in these stories can be explained perhaps in mans desire and wish to beleive in his own power, as well as his own cleverness, and the seemingly universal draw to root for the underdog, as well it makes man feel as if he can overcome all odds against him in the end, and perhaps it also speaks to mans constant need to reassure humself of his own intelgence and surpramcy over other beings.
What unnatural things we’ll see
winding and twisting painfully.
What disdain in your eyes for this
unwilling compromise. How I feel that
I could wrap my fingers around your
neck and choke from you such
How ungrateful a slave to a master
who has guided you with a heavy hand
to insure your salvation.
What a thing of beauty my porcelain
doll so easy to shatter.
How easy I could break you for
how you look at me. Such scolding
eyes and demure frown as if you have some right
like a child who won’t stop crying. You
force me to such discipline. To mar that
sweet flesh would be a pleasure if you will
How reluctantly you kneel before the
one who will be your only mercy. How
frightful you cry and plead when you
want something but what do I get
from you? Only disobedience and contemptive
I wish only that you would embrace
me like a father and accept my rule.
Make some vow to me my darling that
I will not have cause you to suffer.
How unfair it is that you make yourselfbleed and blame it on me.
To summon an evil spirit, the magcian performed certain rigidly prescribed rites. One method was to cut a bough of wild hazel, that had not yet borne fruit, with a new knife, while the sun rose over the horizon. Carrying a bloodstone and two wax candles, the magician sought a secluded spot, such as ruined castle or abandoned house. A triangle was traced on the floor with the bloodstone, and the candles were set at the sides of the figure. At the base of the triangle the letters “I H S” were written, flanked by two crosses. Around the triangle a circle was circumscribed. Standing within the triangle, and holding the hazel wand, the magician summoned the spirit with an appeal containing the following conjuration: “Aglon Tetragram Vaycheon Stimulmathon Erohares Retragsammathon Clyoran Icion Esitic Existien Eryona Onera Erasyn Moyn Meffias Soter Emmanuel Saboth Adonai, I call you. Amen.“
The pact involved the surrender of soul and body of the magician, at the expiration of twenty years, although, if the pact was written on virgin parchment, outside the magic circle the pact was void. Pacts were made between the magician and Satan, and written, or at least signed, in blood, the magician selling his soul and receiving from the Devil treasure, some tangible favor, or power. The formalities attending such contracts are minutely described in the Compendium Maleficarum—Witches’ Manual—a seventeenth century treatise on witchcraft by Francesco Maria Guazzo.
In 1616 a witch, Stevenote de Audebert, produced in court what purported to be a contract she had made with Satan. In 1664, again, Elizabeth Style, an English witch, confessed in court to having made a pact with the Devil whereby she would have twelve years of gay and elegant life. Urbain Grandier, a magician who was executed in 1634, had made a similar pact, still preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, in Paris. In the library in Upsala rests another contract signed by a young undergraduate, Daniel Saltherius, who sold himself to the Devil. Saltherius later in life became a Professor of Hebrew in a German university.
Cases are recorded, however, of pledges to Satan recanted and pacts annulled. St. Basil, in the fourth century A.D., managed to retrieve a Satanic pact entered into by a young man in love with a harlot. Legend narrates that a certain Theophilus, after making a pact, repented, and recovered the contract. In the thirteenth century a Portuguese student, a certain Giles, after signing, likewise repented. He entered a monastery and one night was confronted by the Demon himself, who returned the contract in disgust.
The mythical king of the serpents. The basilisk, or cockatrice, is a creature that is born from a spherical, yolkless egg, laid during the days of Sirius (the Dog Star) by a seven-year-old rooster and hatched by a toad.
The basilisk could have originated from the horned adder or hooded cobra from India. Pliny the Elder described it simply as a snake with a golden crown. By the Middle Ages, it had become a snake with the head of a cock, and sometimes with the head a human. In art, the basilisk symbolized the devil and the antichrist. To the Protestants, it was a symbol of the papacy.
According to legend, there are two species of the creature. The first kind burns everything it approaches, and the second kind can kill every living thing with a mere glance. Both species are so dreadful that their breath wilts vegetation and shatters stones. It was even believed that if a man on horseback should try to kill it with a spear, the power of the poison conducted through the weapon would not only kill the rider, but the horse as well. The only way to kill a basilisk is by holding a mirror in front of its eyes, while avoiding to look directly at it. The moment the creature sees its own reflection, it will die of fright.
However, even the basilisk has natural enemies. The weasel is immune to its glance and if it gets bitten it withdraws from the fight to eat some rue, the only plant that does not wither, and returns with renewed strength. A more dangerous enemy is the cock for should the basilisk hear it crow, it would die instantly.
The carcass of a basilisk was often hung in houses to keep spiders away. It was also used in the temples of Apollo and Diana, where no swallow ever dared to enter. In heraldry the basilisk is represented as an animal with the head, torso and legs of a cock, the tongue of a snake and the wings of a bat. The snake-like rump ends in an arrowpoint.
“Basilisk.” Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
Elias Ashmole, the antiquary, was born in Breadmarket Street In 1617, the son of a saddler and a lady of good family. He attended Lichfield Grammar School and showed promise in several scholarly fields and in music.
In the years leading up to the English Civil War he worked in London as a lawyer, but soon after the outbreak of war he moved to Oxford where he was in communication with the Royalist armies in Lichfield. Also at Oxford he began his passionate interest in astrology and other magical studies. After returning to London in 1646 he added botany, alchemy, anatomy, logic and medicine to his varied list of interests.
His first wife, Eleanor had died in 1641 in childbirth, and by his second marriage to Lady Manwaring, a lady 20 years his senior, he was able, with the help of her wealth, to form an important collection of astrological, medical and historical manuscripts.
His collection was enormously enriched in 1659 when the famous botanist, John Tradescant, presented his natural history specimens to Ashmole.
After the Restoration of Charles II, Ashmole’s loyalty was rewarded by being made Windsor Herald, a post which enabled him to continue his research into the Order of the Garter. In 1672 these led to the publication of his most famous work, ‘The Institutions, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter’.
Despite his attachment to magic, he was a founder member of the Royal Society, a group dedicated to practical scientific research.
In 1675 Ashmole began to make arrangements for his scholarly collection to be handed over to Oxford University, where it was to be housed in a special museum. This building – now known as the Old Ashmolean -was completed in 1683, the first public museum in the British Isles. As befitted a man with Ashmole’s intense curiosity, it was also to be a centre for scientific research and remained so for over a century and a half.
Ashmole did not forget his native city; as well as charitable gifts, he gave several music manuscripts to the Cathedral, and a beautiful silver drinking vessel to the city, the Ashmole Cup, which can still be seen in the Treasury in the Lichfield Heritage Centre.
The dimly lit room seemed to be in a smoky haze as the candles flicked lightly throwing soft yellow spots of light here and there. The hall was in a hush as all eyes were transfixed upon that undulating figure upon one of the tabletops. Her slender bare feet moving only slightly, the bells upon her ankles giving light chimes. Her long near transparent skirt fluttering within the air in light waves, arms stretched out above her head while bangles chimed together. That slender waist swayed from side to side, her rich dark skin, which looked almost like silk seeming to ripple in the movements. The silver chain filled with charms around her waist spun in circles in constant movement as she kept it going. Long dark tresses rolled down her back and over her bare shoulders. Dark eyes watching through half closed lids, a serene look perched upon her lips.
Every now and then one dark gnawed hand would reach up as if to make a grab at her, but every time that flowing red veil she spun around while she danced would pass over the offending hand in a deceptively delicate touch and each time the hand drew back with a jerk as if shocked. Two distinct holes prickling with blood to be shown there the cloth touched. Though all seemed held in a trance and would likely not even notice until the morning and would be left wondering where the marks had come from.
The hours would seem to slip away heedlessly and as the night carried on and it would be just before the break of the sun when the dance would come to and end and the figure become still, the red cloth settling around her body. A storm of applause went out through the air and gold coins were tossed in careless abandon at her feet. She would gather up her days earnings and then reach down to pick up her black robes and wrapped herself up in the manner of the desert people. A cowl covering her head and a veil across her mouth she would move to the door and push her way out into the streets staying in the shadows away from the rays of new coming sunlight.
She would come to her tent that lay on the outskirts of the village and pushed inside of it and was just about to unwind her robes and let them drop when she was surprised by the sight of a figure in front of her sitting within her tent. Her eyes grew wide in surprise. The man looked young perhaps no more then 30 and was made of a fine build. Appearing to be no stranger to hard work by the look of him. A simple white linen clothe wrapped around his hips. His eyes dark and piercing with hair that lay just on his shoulders a smile spreading upon his lips as he spoke. “My master wishes to see you.” She narrowed her eyes as she looked to this man whom had intruded upon her in such a way as she kept her voice steady while she spoke. “How dare you, leave here now. I am not at your masters bidding nor anyone else’s.” The young man only laughed as he continued to watch her his eyes moving over her body. “He is an impatient man, we go now.” With that before she could say another word or make a move she was grabbed from behind. The much larger brute and rather fowl smelling man whom grabbed her would let out a sudden scream as it suddenly felt as if a thousand hooks embedded in his skin as his body pressed to the red cloth which she still wore draped over her lithe form. His features becoming pale as blood began to run down his arms and over his chest and stomach. He quickly pulled back away form her letting her go and went stumbling over backwards thrashing around at some invisible enemy it seemed, though as soon as he head released her the cloth fell seemingly lifelessly to the ground just behind her. The young man seemed horrified and transfixed by this at the same time quickly swallowing he leapt forward pushing past the woman and all but tripping over his fallen partner as he tore out into the sand and vanished from sight.
She looked down to the man whom still lay upon the ground a small smile curved upon her lips as she watched him. Fools she thought to herself. They all were. But she made good coin from them and they served her needs well enough. Leaning down she picked up that cloth with for a moment perhaps seemed to move on its one accord as if there was a snake within it slivering through the material before it fell still again and she wrapped it back around herself and walked to her chest despotizing the gold within it. She then looked back to the man her face seeming to be cast in shadow in an ominous way as she spoke one word. “Go!” With that it seemed the spell that held the man was undone and he scrambled to his feet taking off into the early morning. She then lay upon her cushions to enjoy her rest.
With the rising of the moon and the decline of the sun the next night Almeh would rise from her sleep her dark eyes coming open as she pushed herself up. The red cloth remained draped over her body as a blanket and she kept it wrapped about herself as she gathered her black robes and wrapped herself up within them. Pulling the veil over her face she would head out of the tent and make her way across the sands still warm form the days eat. Making her way back toward the city for another nights good work.
She passed through the gates and moved down the streets, which were still busy at this early hour of the evening. There was still some lingering light in the air that had not yet been swallowed up. She walked along as if hidden by the shadows no one would seem to give her notice. Coming to one of the drinking halls she pushed open the doors and instantly her senses were accosted by the loud noise and potent smells. She did not hold any great enjoyment for such places. But the people were simple here. Not as dangerous or stingy as the nobles and high lords. They gave freely for what they liked even if they could not afford it and did not question. After she was inside she would slide her robes free from her body and fold them up setting them aside on a wooden bench. Under she wore only her flowing all but transparent skirt that flowed lightly as she moved, and the fringed brazier which was made of several golden coins that chimed when she moved and sparkled when they caught the glimmer of a candles like. Around her waist the silver chain and the usual bells on her ankles. Her skin was smooth and flawless and she had about her an ageless look. She would gracefully step up upon the top of the long table in the center of the hall and her body would start its gyrations and instantly the audience would be captured their food and drinks left forgotten as she moved like a dark goddess.
Little did she know of the one whom sat within the shadows watching with a pleased smile curled upon his lips. He was currently dressed in little more then rags which kept others from paying him any notice. It would uncharacteristic for such as himself to be within such a rat hole but he was compelled to go for the stories he had heard of the dancer. It would not do to send another in his place. He had to see for himself. Her graze and beauty it seemed truly were beyond compare and he thought she would make the perfect addition to his collection of wives. The Pharaoh reached over and picked up his glass to sip at the wine though it would seem that even he was not completely immune to her spell for his eyes would remain transfixed upon the movements of her body that he would fail to notice the strange occurrences that occurred whenever one tried to make a grab at her. The sudden jerk back as if suddenly burned. In fact despite all he knew of men so lost was his mind that it did not even strike him odd that she would go untouched among such a crowd.
It would be late into the night when she came to finish and as always the gold would the showered at her feet and she collected her coin and then jumped down from the table walking over to pick up her robes she wrapped herself back up and pushed out the door into the streets where she would make her usual trek in the shadows. Little did she know on this night things would be different as the mysterious unseen observer had followed out shortly after her and moved on silent steps behind her. The figure would continued to follow much like a cat stalking its pray until she was about halfway to the gates that would lead her out and to her tent. The distance between the two would be rapidly closed and he reached out grabbing her by the arm and pulling her in between two buildings his other hand quickly coming up over her mouth as she looked to him with wide eyes of surprise.
He held her still and firmly though not so much as to be painful slowly moving his hand from her moth and urging her to be quiet. She simply stared up at him. What words she had were cut off quickly by the look of his eyes, which alone spoke a different story, then the rags he wore suggested and she knew him not to be but some brutish beggar or hoodlum. His voice only confirmed her suspicions as he spoke in soothing almost purring tones. “Shh child, I will not hurt you. Come with me please.” Despite the suggested question she could see within his face and the manner by which he still held her that refusing the offer was not an option and at this point she could not see any benefit in struggling, nor could she help a bit curiosity and she would go willingly without a struggle with him as he began to lead her down the ally.
They would come out of the city a different way then through the gates and she would be surprised to find that a golden chariot led by two grand black stallions and watched by what seemed to be a pair of young boys awaited them. Once they were out of the city her arm was realized and the rags shred dropped to the ground. Under of which he wore a fine white linen around his waist, his chest pair, an intricate armband of a snake wrapped around his left arm. A body that looked like a soldiers. At first she could only gape, this was not by any means one of the typical lords whom had more then once made attempts to take her for their own. There was something different about this one, it was as if he held her transfixed she could not think nor more. Her voice lost of all words. He walked forward then and took her once more by the arm to lead her within the chariot after paying each of the boys with a gold coin. Soon joining her he took reign and they were off it seemed with the wind under their feet as they raced across the sand.
When the great palace began to rise into view piercing up into the blue sky, which was now beginning to lighten with the first coming of morning they had been traveling that far across the sand, her eyes would widen taking in the sight and now she began to realize but could not believe it. Surely the Pharaoh of all things could not have kidnapped me she thought to herself. But she could not imagine any other have such a palace of this as was coming closer into view.
It seemed almost to be made out of pure gold it would glitter so when full sun rose. It was like an oasis surrounded by such fresh greenery she could not imagine how such could grow in the desert. It spread out quite huge with one central building and several other what seemed to be mini palaces branching off from that. The chariot would at last come to slow as they passed through the large gates that were manned by two guards. Upon coming into the gates two young men hurried up to take the horses and tend to them as the Pharaoh stepped out and guided her by the arm along with him, not yet speaking a word he led her in silence down a pathway that seemed to be taking them to one of the adjoining buildings.
They passed into a garden and within she could see several women milling about though soon stopping whatever they were in the middle of to come rushing over at the sight of the Pharaoh. The women were of all shapes and sizes and shades. Some were entrancing in their looks and others you would think one would not wish to look twice at. All dressed in whatever garments of their homeland. Almeh looked over this scene with disbelief for there could be no doubt what she was about to become, for it was none other then the Pharos’s harem that stood before her. He would gracisosuly and without offense dismiss those that came to him as he spoke in those smooth purring tones which seemed to carry without him having to raise his voice. “Adilha!” With that one of the women would come forward as the others retreated. She was a slightly rounded plump woman not standing very tall but carrying herself quite well. Her hair was long and lush her skin blemished and imperfect. She was wrapped within fine silks of reds and oranges that seemed all but transparent give a murky view of her skin below. She was not what one could call to be patricianly beautiful but there was a fascination about her that kept one from looking away and there seemed to be a quality to her that would lend her to seduce any man just as well as even the finest of beauties could. As she approached the Pharaoh pushed Almeh forward though not unkindly or rudely. “This is your new sister make certain she understands the ways.” That was all that was said and with those words he turned and walked away.
Adilha reached over and took hold of Almeh’s robes and pulled them away to the ground to expose Almeh’s body and good a better look of her. Adilha looked her over up and down carefully and seemed to nod in satisfaction before her eyes came back to Almeh’s. “Well you do have a name don’t you? Or haven’t you a tongue?” Almeh met her gaze steadily with a blank look upon her face as she spoke her voice was flat. “Almeh” Adilha nodded to this though gave a small frown at Almeh’s nature then she reached over to readjust the red cloth which had become slightly crooked during the events but quickly drew back with a sharp cry of pain as she brought her fingers to her lips and sucked the blood a puzzled look crossed her features but she said nothing as Almeh remained standing still and silent as a statue just watching with dark eyes. “Well then,” Adilha said, “Come this way.” Almeh followed as she was led to the room within the small, almost dwarf palace that was theirs.
After that first day it would seem that Pharaoh had completely forgotten about all of them, as he would not be seen in the passing of several weeks. During such time Almeh did not make herself any friends. Unlike the others who all lived together like sisters talking and laughing, sharing secrets and clothing she stayed to herself and soon much rumor spread came to be about her. She was horribly bored within the place and had grown restless beyond belief. Despite its paradise appearance it was soon discovered to be truly a prison. There was no way out. It was well watched and the servants that tended to the queens were also spies for the Pharaoh.
Not only did she come to hate this place but also she grew contempt for the others and the contentment and pleasure in their slavery. Adilha had made a few attempts to reach out toward Almeh but soon gave up in the blank coldness and silence she was greeted with. There had been a few incidents that would seem to go forgotten and were never spoken of even in gossip. On account of her seeming hostility while Almeh was out wondering the grounds there had been more then one occasion when one of the others whom were bitter for her lack of sisterhood would think it fun to tease as her and made to grab at that infamous red cloth she was never seen without only to squeal in pain and leap away sucking the blood from her fingers. Then there was the most tragic incident of one of the servants whom had been cleaning up Almeh’s room once while she was bathing and made to pick up the cloth perhaps out of curiosity or maybe to fold it up and set it within the chest of her other clothing. Almeh would find him lying dead and white as a ghost when she came out of her bath. His body covered in what looked to be hundreds of little bites. She simply bent over and picked up her cloth and had the body tended to by one of the other servants. If the Pharaoh heard anything about the death and what he was told would never be known.
The days would continue to pass in such fashion as this when suddenly about a month after Almeh’s arrival there was a buzz humming through the air and much talk and excitement. It seemed that word had come through that the Pharaoh would be visiting tonight at long last. Of coarse while all through the day the others prepared themselves in make up, sensual aromas, provocative garments and what have you, all the while discussing whom they thought would be his chosen for the night, Almeh simply kept to herself within her room. The idea of seeing the Pharaoh again did spark within her something but her own interests lay not in the pleasure of favor of her “master” but a means to gain freedom and perhaps a little something more.
She would prepare alight though in her own way as her fingers stroked the red cloth draped upon her shoulders in a way that was almost like a lovers caresses. She would not be seen all through the day having stayed within her room shut out from the buzz and excited hum. Many of the queens would take note with gasps and whispers and perhaps a bit of anxiety that even when the darkness of the night descended and the moon climbed into the sky there was no sign of Almeh. Despite how she had been they could not believe she would show such disrespect to the Pharaoh as to snub him on his day of coming. Adilha even came by once to knock upon her doors but getting no answer she soon just turned away and went out to join the others by the lake where they would wait eagerly.
It would not be until around midnight when he showed up strolling into the gardens and seeming to be in good spirits as the queens rushed quickly to him he had a kind word for all and a gentle caress. He would have one of the servants bring him over a chair by the water and sat down as the queens gathered around him sitting at his feet on the ground giggling and stroking his firm legs. He would exchange light banter among them and enjoy their affections as it seemed he was perhaps not completely sober and in a fine mood. When after perhaps an hour of simply enjoying the company of his women and demanding a story or two from them to entertain him he came to grow ready to make his choice as to which would be taken to bed and whose rooms he would go to.
It was at this fine moment when Almeh would appear walking with the grace and litheness of a goddess. That dark silken skin moving gently as her hips swayed from side to side. Her soft dark hair resting down her back and just over her slender shoulders. The soft chime of the music her jewelry made. Dark eyes seeming to peer right through a man to his very heart and soul. As ever the flowing red cloth draped over her shoulders. Even the little queens with all their resentment and bitterness and petty jealousy could not help but be transfixed by the image and as a hush fell over them the Pharaoh turned his head to drink in the view. Whatever anger or insult he might have felt in her audacity to come when she pleased as she pleased fled out of him and he could do nothing but watch. Her body began to move in those skillfully undulations and gyrating as the dance was begun.
She danced as she never had before. A dance that was wild and passionate and indeed seemed fit for a Pharaoh such a dance not only stimulating his body but also aroused his ego that he should be honored so. When the dance would come to its end the queens all seemed to have been put into a trance themselves. He was feeling the heat coarse through his body his eyes wild with desire as his choice was now made. She came to stop her movements then turned around with out a word and started to walk back toward her room. Leaving upon the ground where she once had been a pile of her clothing. The veil now her only covering. The Pharaoh once more blind to the insult of being beckoned it seemed pushed up to his feet and started after her, by the time he would reach her she would ready be moving through the door of her room.
He came in and she turned to look to him with a smile standing at the food of the bed. He came over to her to place his hands upon her succulent skin and she was careful to keep the cloth away from him as she accepted his touch. Her lips covered over his own and she placed one of her hands upon his chest and pushed him back to the bed. The other hand came down and pulled free the linen he wore around his waist so he stood naked. With a gentle push from her he lay back upon the bed mesmerized and unable to speak. She only continued to smile as she looked down to him then gave a light laugh as the red cloth was unfurled from her body and she draped it over his own.
Almost instantly his eyes grew wide in sudden fear and agony as it felt as if a thousand scorpions were driving their stingers into his flesh. His lips parted as if to scream by he found himself unable to do so. Upon the cloth now those twisted black shapes could be seen moving within as if swimming in the sea of red. Razor sharp teeth and claws holding firm and being buried deep within as they drank of the rich and royal blood.
The sheets upon the bed under him soon turning read as his struggles grew weaker. She stood there watching with a shadow cast over her face from the foot of the bed. When at the last moments she come forth and reached over to clasp one of her hands within his own she then leaned her head down her lips just inches from his as if to kiss him but instead she breathed deeply and as the Pharaohs life started to pass his soul was stolen rising up and infusing her filling her. She could feel the rush of it, the tingle. The dark monstrous figures within the cloth fell still now and slipped out of site. When at last it was done and the body became cold and still she rose up. Now nothing of his features could be recognized. His face held not character or definition much like the face of a mannequin. His once dark skin ghostly pale. She turned to gaze upon herself within the mirror of her dresser, as one of her hands reached out to pull the cloth from his body, and saw within her reflection the Pharaohs eyes looking back at her, and his handsome features seeming to have replaced her own. She threw back her head and laughed. His deep rich laughter filling the room.
Breanna awakened in a cold sweat her breathing came in harsh short gasps and her heart pounded within her as if she had been running for miles. She was lying naked on her back in her bed, though funny she did not remember going to bed in the flesh. She was sure she had been wearing something. The same white gown she always wore to bed. A mere slip of a thing it was, but not now. She became aware of the fact that her hands were gripping tightly to the ends of the bed for some reason. She closed her eyes and tried to get control of herself and began to recall the events of the night, no not real events. “It was just a dream.” She spoke aloud to the empty air. She released her grip on the bed and began to sit up as she looked down she nearly screamed and fainted at what she saw. There was blood soaked into the sheets, but how could this be? She got control of herself feeling her head start to reel. None of it made sense to her. “IT WAS JUST A DREAM!” She screamed it out now as if that would change anything. Quickly she checked herself for injury and found none. It was not her blood, but whose or what’s?
She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and pushed herself up to stand when she winced suddenly in pain as if something sharp bit into her foot. “Ouch” She sat back down and lifted her foot pulling out a small sliver of glass then just starring at it baffled before she looked over the wooden floor. It was covered in glass. Her eyes rose to the still dark sky. It was morning but the sun had not begun to rise yet. The window was completely shattered as if something had smashed into it.
She slowly began to slide off the bed now, this time being careful aware of the glass, and walked over to the chest were her clothing was kept opening it up she pulled out one of her frocks, simple, plain, a flat blue color. As she pulled the garment on she became vaguely aware of the fact that she did not hear the rooster crowing. She heard him every morning. Though such seemed an insignificant thought now. After she dressed and cleaned up the glass she would have to go out and feed the chickens. Finishing putting on her dress she tied the white apron around her waist then walked over to the wooden desk in her room picked up her comb and ran it through her black hair a few times. Satisfied she walked out into the hall to the broom closet. It was a small house really. Little more then a hut. Simple but suiting of her needs as she lived there alone. She opened the slightly rickety closet door and removed the broom and dustpan then walked back into her room and began to sweep up all the glass that was on the wooden floors. Once she had the glass collected she busted out the glass that remained on the window knocking it to the ground just outside so she would not cut herself as she dumped the glass out the window. With that done her bare feet carried back across the floor and out into the hall once more putting up the broom and dustpan she moved into the small kitchen and took up her basket to collect eggs in if there were any. Slipping it over her arm she headed outside moving across the still dewy grass the warm sun seemed to erase her early morning terror at least until she got to the hen house.
She was frozen in her place some 20ft away from it when she saw that it had been completely demolished feathers scattered everywhere and a few mutilated bodies of the fowl lay upon the ground, She felt the color drain away form her as she dropped the basket and shook her head. “No” She spoke aloud to no one. “This cannot be, this is not real” She turned around and quickly began to make her way to the small shanty barn hoisting up her skirts a bit as she went. She would have to ride into the village to find out if anyone else had been affected and if they knew what was going on, when she heard a voice in her head like an itch she tried to close away. You know it said.
At least the barn was untouched or so she thought at first when she came up to it and pulled open the doors she stepped in she was surprised by the sudden light that struck her form within the usually dark dim place and she screamed falling to the ground as she realized the wall behind where Strawberry her little brown mare’s stable was had was gone now. Just a hole. Like the window she thought for a fleeting moment. The horse of course was gone but there was a stagnant smell in the barn and when she did get back up to her feet and approached the stall she saw the splatters of blood.
Breanna felt suddenly ill and she spun around and ran out of the barn moving around to the side of it she keeled over holding her stomach with one hand as she began to heave within the grass. She did not know how long it lasted before she stood up slowly and a bit weakly. Tears ran down her cheeks she began to walk slowly away from the barn. She would have to walk to the village. She had to know what else was done, again there was that voice lingering, taunting. What else have YOU done? She got herself together again as best as she could and she headed off down upon the road that would take her to the village. It was a long and lonely walk through the woods. Though it was a journey she had made many times before with Strawberry to get supplies and stalk up, now it seemed different somehow. She could not really explain it, but everything was so much more vivid then it ever had been before. She could hear the sounds of the woods clearly, and it was suddenly like each individual sound rang within her eyes instead the usual distant collection of sounds. She noticed the sent of the woods now more then she ever had before, and everything looked sharper more focused. She tried to ignore these things are make up excuses for it but that did not change anything. That voice still scratching at the back of her mind. Taunting her.
By the time she got into town the sun was high in the sky and it was late in the day. She looked around as she began to move from the forest pathway into the road of the town. As she came to enter the town she could tell something was amiss there was an unnatural buzz in the air. She began to grow nervous as she saw a crowd of people gathered up together toward the town’s center. She wondered what could be going on when that voice probed her again. You know….you know. She tried to shut it out as she made her way to the gathering, there was a man on a wooden platform yelling into the crowd. The voice pounded in her head as all the sights and smells of the town accosted her senses. She could not make anything out clearly, it was making her almost dizzy. She could not focus and was suddenly shaken back into reality as her arm was firmly grabbed by a plump middle-aged woman with black graying hair and stern eyes though a kindly face. “Are you alright Miss?”
She realized she all but walked right into the woman and quickly gathered herself again offering the best smile she could as she nodded her head. “Yes…I think so….I am sorry, what is going on here?” She hoped she sounded natural, what if they knew? What if they could see it? She felt as if accusing her eyes were upon her though hardly anyone gave her a glance. The older woman looked startled a bit then her look softened and she shook her head almost sadly making tisking noises. “You haven’t heard? Something slaughtered the hens and livestock, a couple people lost good horses. One person even reports a dog turned up missing. Most reasonable folk take it for a wolf gone mad, hunters are out now but there is all this talk about demons and monsters” She made a slight huff and crossed her arms over her ample bosom. “All hog wash if you ask me. Well if you came from the woods you best be careful Miss if you go back today it is going to get dark before you make it back home I gather. Could have one of the good gents escort you” Breanna tried to hide the look of near terror that came over her upon hearing this and she suddenly felt sick again slowly shaking her head to the woman’s offer. “No, no…thank you I will be fine.” She wondered away from the crowd slowly in a momentary daze as she began to walk down the road. She should head back home.
It seemed the older woman back in the town was right, she was perhaps about halfway down the pathway when it had started to grow dark. A light and eerie wind began to pick up and rustled through the trees chilling her skin slightly as she looked around and was surprised by how well she could see in the descending light. She thought that she caught sounds now and then of the hunters moving about within the woods though none came near enough to see or catch glimpse of the torches. It was all so distant. The night seemed to be a serenade of sounds she never before noticed. It chilled her slightly causing a tingle to run down her spine but she was not really fearful was she? No she did not think that was what it was. At least not of the woods she wasn’t afraid. No, you know better then that…..you fear yourself, what you will become….what will be done. That voice came back again and she wanted to scream out. She began to run down the path was fast as she could paying no heed to anything. She just ran as fast as she could. Without thought. Everything just passed by her in a blur. She did not think she could run this fast. She felt her heart pounding and her lungs burning but sill she ran.
She ran until she suddenly felt herself tumbling to the ground, falling out of control. She tripped. Was it a rock? A tree root? What did it matter? Soon the ground was hard under her, her knees struck first then her hands shot out to catch herself so she did not flatten completely on the ground. She saw the silver light of the moon just in front of her a sliver through the trees and she tilted her head back and looked up. Her dark hair slipping away from her face and dangling over her shoulders she felt something over come her. An urge she could not put a name to. A need she could not describe. A feeling, her mind was slipping away from her it seemed she could not think any longer. She could not try to reason. She lost her hold on herself. Her fingers curled into the dirt as the moonlight began to bathe over her. The beam of light she had seen moving across the forest floor toward her until she was illuminated. She felt her skin prick she felt a change, a transformation coming over her body. The bones were shifting, reforming, elongating, mutating. She cried out tossing back her head in agony as she began convulsing it seemed out of control. Her dress was ripped away from her body and left to shreds as her ears began to elongate into points. Her face narrowed, nails became claws hands morphed into padded paws. A coat of silvery gray fur started to spread over her growing quickly as hair disappeared. A tail emerged at the base of the spine as her back arched up slightly. The beast now stood in place of the girl.
The lupine tossed back its head and a howl ripped through the stillness of the night eerie and victorious. A great hunger lingered within. An urge. The beast gave its body a good shake from head to tail then stretched out with a wide yawn displaying sharp wanting fangs. Pink tongue lolling out a moment before the powerful jaws snapped shut and it leapt from the pathway and into the thick of the trees padded paws silent on the ground as long strides carried it in easy grace.
The beast came to a stop as it caught a sent within the air and lifted its head scenting. Ears stood up poised and alert as its long plume of a tail was held up and curled in slightly. Something was walking ahead. The smells of heat, blood, flesh. An urge came over the lupine a strong desire that could not be resisted. It began to move forward slowly head lowered upon its broad strong shoulders as it came up behind one of the hunters that seemed to have gotten separated from the group, perhaps when the howl tore through the night. Lips curled up as ears laid back and it growled, pink muscle of a tongue licking over pearly white canines. The man turned around quickly and nearly stumbled back but was able to catch his balance. Notched bow was suddenly brought up and aimed at the rather large wolf. Now the sent of fear wafted through the black wet nose delightfully. Muscles pulled taught as the body lowered just slightly and before the arrow could be released those fine tuned muscles released like a spring propelling the beast into the air hurdling at the intended target teeth were soon felt sinking into soft flesh as warm blood filled its mouth. The hunter let out a gurgled scream and fell back heavily under the wolf dead almost instantly his jugular splayed open. The wolf let go and took a few steps back then yelped almost like a puppy its tail wagged back and forth as the beast began to tear into the man, shredding what was left of him growling and shaking that furry head from side to side until there would be nothing recognizable left. The urge was not filled it was only inflamed.
The beast began to make its way in the direction of the town which by now looked almost desolate for most turned inside and locked their doors, a few even bordered their windows. Perhaps it was just fear of what happened the night before, or perhaps they sensed something in the air. The rest of the hunters were making their way back. Though in the day light it might have seemed a good idea to go running off in the woods after some wild animal or unnatural beast in the darkness it seemed such heroics and enthusiasm died, maybe they all remembered that howl too clearly.
As the lupine came to the town standing just within the trees at the point where the woods border on the village yellow hungry eyes watched the hunters mingling in the streets keeping guard perhaps as they seemed to be patrolling instead of retuning to the safety of their homes and families. It began to walk forward moving silently head lowered slightly ears pointed up high as it moved out from the streets and into the road. Lips curled up in a low growl as fangs were bared. Two of the hunters turned around to see the beast and by the time they let out their first shots with the arrows the beast was already running at them the arrows passing by to stick within the trees behind it. The powerful lupine leapt up and with its massive body threw itself into both of them and took them down together. One powerful snap of the jaws quickly killing one while the other was trying to scramble to his feet but soon found himself under the wolf as teeth pierced the skin in the back of the neck warm blood washing into its mouth.
By now the others heard the commotion and were running over. A few more arrow whizzed by uselessly missing their target and the lupine darted forward in unimaginable speed with quick snaps of the jaw three men screamed and fell to the ground their legs crippled. The beast gave a sudden yelp of fury and pain as it felt the sharp bite in its left hindquarter and the burning pain as one arrow hit the mark. Yellowed eyes turned quickly on the offender as the hunter stood ready to loose another arrow before the wolf sprang up and latched onto the hunters arm tearing it clean out of the socket and ripping the flesh open to the bone. The man let out a scream and was soon taken to the ground and torn to shreds. The wolf then pulled back and looked around at the carnage and bodies that lay strewn across the ground, the beast began to walk toward the injured whom still crawled on the ground and finished them off.
As its great head lifted ears flicked at a sound behind it, a scream, a door bashing open, the sounds of steps, more screaming. It turned its head and spotted the image of the child perhaps having seen out the window his father fall prey come bursting out of one of the houses and shortly behind his mother calling after him in a panic of fear. They both stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of the lupine, blood soaked into its fur and dripping from its chin. The she wolf looked to the child and woman for a long still moment it seemed. Innocent, defenseless, and filled with fear. The beast whimpered and wagged its tail then turned almost playfully and began to run back into the trees from which it had come from.
As the morning dawned and the light of the coming sun stretched within the room like fingertips Breanna would awaken to another day. Only to find herself laying naked in bed once more with no memory of having actually gotten to her home and going to bed. She only vaguely remembered her trip to the town. The dream, or was it a dream? She could not tell was hazy in her mind. As she came more awake and started to push herself up to sit within the bed she became aware of a dull throbbing ache in her left hip and looked to inspect it finding a deep puncture wound there. “What the? How did that happened?” She was sorry for the words as soon as they passed her lips. The voice scratching at her again. You know what happened. She put her hands over her ears a moment as if that could stop it as she screamed into the empty room. Something within her told her she did not want to go into town today. She would stay inside the rest of the day. And what night? What will you do then? The voice would say but she tried to shut it out. “I have to clean the sheets.” She said to herself absentmindedly, no longer shocked by the stains of blood upon them. She felt numb in a way. Shut down.