CHAPTER FOUR

Giza Plain, Cairo

 

Ardeth stood in the shadows of the Great Pyramids. Some distance away, the Great Imhotep's Step Pyramid, rose out of the Giza Plain and soared into the sky.

 

He looked sadly upon the ruined remains of what were once gleaming white limestone funerary temples. In antiquity, those who had built the pyramids had designed them faced with white limestone. Ahh! The Pyramids were a sight to behold coming down the Nile from the Mediterranean in those ancient times, said the scrolls which Ardeth read. The pyramids loomed over the desert and the surrounding city. They pierced the sky--pierced Nuit--with their pointed tops. White limestone reflected the sun and the glory of Egypt.

 

But also in antiquity, the founders of Cairo had decided to construct new buildings. And these buildings would be built using white limestone. Not newly quarried white limestone, for the climate in Egypt was a hot, dry climate and quarrying stone in a hot, dry climate would waste a lot of manpower.

 

So those ancient architects had dismantled the white limestone facing of the Great Pyramids of Giza and had used the limestone to build medieval Cairo. A few of the limestone buildings still stood, and they always whispered their secrets to Ardeth as he passed by them.

 

Ardeth listened to the whispers from the few remaining slabs of white limestone on the Great Pyramid. The limestone whispered to him of the times of the ancient past...the time when the entire populace of Egypt worshipped the Ancient Ones, including Nuit, for whom he was doing her bidding.

 

He had come to the Pyramids to see if they could help him find the Ring of Nuit and make his search easier. One of Nuit's Daughters had hovered over Cairo, and blinked twice, then winked out. Ardeth remembered this clearly, and he now thought that it was from Cairo he should start from.

 

For the Pyramids were whispering another word to him: Herakleion.

 

Ardeth knew, from Bedouin legends, that the port city, so named by the Greeks for Hercules, had been been the epicenter of an earthquake, which submerged the city under water around A.D. 800. His tribe's Scribe had a scroll dating back from a few hundred years after the conquest of Egypt by Saudi Arabia and the scroll recounted how a great shaking of the earth caused the city of Herakleion, on the shores of the Mediterranean, to sink below the green waves of the sea.

 

That Scibe--Ramanauskas, he'd been called--had written his own notes, and said he thought the shaking of the earth represented the displeasure of the Gods and Goddesses.

 

"Go," Ardeth heard a whisper in his ear. He turned, but no one was there.

 

"Go north, Chosen One. Go to Herakleion. Help Nuit rise from the mud and restore the Ma’at of Egypt," he heard again. This time, the voice seemed to whisper all around him. Ardeth slowly turned around, his silver edged black robes billowing out in the light cool breeze that had suddenly appeared. Ardeth looked around him as he turned to hear what the whispers were saying and he saw the surprised faces and the belated prostrations of many of the Pyramid's visitors.

 

Ardeth noted that his clothes were the only ones billowing out in the glaring sun of the windless early afternoon, so he could understand how those prostrating themselves before him might think he had supernatural powers.

 

"Herakleion it is, Great Mother," he said as he left the shadows of the Pyramids.