CHAPTER SIX

about 2644 BC, Reign of King Djoser, Djeba

 

Imhotep had ordered the rapid deployment of stone to build the Temple of Nuit. He knew that it wasn't his construction techniques which would later topple the Temple--for she would stand until the a city at the mouth of the Nile would sink below the waves of the great green during a terrible earthquake. An aftershock would rock the city of Djeba and finally topple Nuit's Temple.  Imhotep knew that Nuit's small Temple would stand for thousands of floodings of the Nile.

 

From the day King Djoser had made his request for Imhotep to build the Temple of Nuit, Imhotep had been plagued by dreams--most of them snatches of a terrible future that awaited the Son of Nuit whom he had seen the day Imhotep had conceived the plans for the Temple of Nuit. A few of the dreams spoke of an invasion by a people referred to as the Hyksos, and Imhotep had watched helplessly as the lapis lazuli was removed from the temple walls.

 

Using the essence of the mushroom brought from the far mountains in the peninsula, Imhotep had meditated. He'd asked the Gods what it was that he needed to do to help the future Son of Nuit. After many turnings of the moon, Imhotep had discovered that Nuit wanted him to go out into the desert and find a small block of lapis lazuli generously flecked with pyrite.

 

"A thankless task, dearest Goddess," Imhotep had muttered to himself when he realized what it was that the Gods had wanted him to perform. "In the great vastness of the Red Land, I'm supposed to find a blue rock."

 

The Gods had revealed to Imhotep that sometime during the reign of Scorpion, traders had come from the far side of the Euphrates River and had brought a large quantity of the dark blue stone. From the mouth of the Nile, the blue stones were traded down the length of the Nile.

 

A khamsin wind blew strong one spring, and covered an ancient village near Djeba where a few of the stones had been given to the High Priest Khumose. The small stones of lapis lazuli were still buried under the shifting sands of the Sahara. Fortunately, those same shifting sands would make Imhotep's work a bit easier.

 

Imhotep had been given the unenviable task of uncovering the small stones of lapis lazuli. For weeks, he had used the essence of mushrooms to help him find the general area of the buried village. And within the walls of a mudbrick home, Imhotep was told he would find a small cache of the blue stone and one would be evenly mixed with pyrite.

 

For this particular stone of lapis lazuli was the body of the Goddess Nuit: her earthly incarnation. She was the Goddess of the Sky; she encircled the earth. Ra went to sleep in her belly every night.

 

And Imhotep was to fashion a ring out of this block, edge it in silver, and place it underneath her shrine. This would ensure Nuit's protection to those who sought her protection--or to those who performed her bidding.

 

Imhotep had spent several weeks out in the desert, carefully searching for the body of the Goddess. He'd finally found the Goddess's earthly incarnation protruding from the sands just outside Djeba. Imhotep had given thanks to the Gods for shifting the sands to reveal the body of the Goddess Nuit.

 

"Not a coincidence that you wanted your temple built in Djeba, Goddess. You did not make my task easy," he'd said to the block of lapis lazuli. "But then again, tasks performed for the Gods are never easy."

 

Carefully, he'd pried the small block of lapis lazuli out of the desert sand where it was half buried. He'd wrapped the body of the Goddess in linen and had carried her back to Djeba.

 

Fashioning the Ring of Nuit had taken almost a month. Imhotep had divided his time between the workshop of the jeweler, showing him how to delicately carve the stone and the construction site of the Temple of Nuit. The Ring would represent the earth and Imhotep had lined the inside and edges of the Ring with silver.

 

He'd been at the construction site when the jeweler had completed the Ring of Nuit and Imhotep had shuddered when he felt the Goddess's breath on his face and had heard her voice:

 

"Imhotep, you are my first Chosen One. You have performed your tasks well. There is one other task which I must set before you," the Goddess's voice whispered. Dry sand swirled in mini whirlwinds around him.

 

Imhotep had stood, his face upturned to Nuit, and whispered, "Yes, my Goddess. I shall obey."

 

"You need to find the Crossroads of Time to help another of my Chosen Ones. My Temple will be robbed a thousand floodings  from now when foreigners try to rule this very Egypt of ours. The Ring will be taken to the mouth of the Nile by those who don't understand its power. There, along the shores of the Great Green, a terrible earthquake will bury the Ring under the waters, the same shaking that shall rent my Temple. My Chosen One will need your help in locating the Ring and bringing it home."

 

"I shall do as you command, Goddess," Imhotep whispered. "I shall place the Ring so no one shall be able to rob your Temple and remove the Ring from its rightful place," he told the Goddess.

 

"No! All things must happen for a reason, and my Temple, as terrible as it sounds, must be robbed. If my Temple is not robbed and the Ring is not stolen by those from beyond the Tigris River, my future Chosen One will have nothing to help him prevent the destruction of mankind and the destruction of Egypt’s Ma’at.

 

 My Ring will restore my power, and I shall be able to help my Chosen One defend this very Egypt. For when the shaking of the earth happens nearly thirty five hundred floodings from now, my Temple shall be destroyed in an aftershock, and if the Ring is still inside the Temple, the Ring will be lost forever when a pillar crushes the Ring."

 

Imhotep shuddered at these words, and he knew the Goddess spoke the truth. "I shall obey, Goddess," he said to the darkening sky. The first stars began to show in the deepening twilight.

 

"You have my thanks, Chosen One," Nuit said. She sent one of her Daughters to streak across the sky, going south to north and Imhotep saw the green streak in the sky--and knew the streak headed north towards the future City Under Water where he would help the Son of Nuit find the Ring of Nuit under the green waters of the Mediterranean.