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Namazu sat on a worn curule in a small, stifling room. Maarika stood in front of her holding an ancient copper ankh in her right hand. She looked frantically from the altar to the curtain behind which was a hidden door. Moments before, she hurriedly stuffed papyri, small statues, and incense in amphorae leaning against the wall. On pain of death, this temple would close or be destroyed. The Serapeum at Alexandria was burning. At this moment, Christian mobs were looting temples, burning sacred writings, and dragging devotees into the streets at Rosetta. Two priests threw themselves into burning shrines.
“Bring me a stone,” Namazu told her.
Maarika’s face shining with perspiration, did as Namazu ordered. Walking quickly to the wall, pulling back a drape, she pointed to a heavy stone on the floor. Namazu rose quickly, and picked it up. She turned and walked back to the shrine.
“No, please,” Maariaka pleaded as Namazu raised the stone above the holy statue of Auset with her infant son Horus, at her breast.
Namazu struck the cobra mounted on Auset’s forehead. The carved snake broke into pieces on the floor. Then, she brought the stone down on the head of Horus, dislodging the small cobra there. “Give me your wrap,” she shouted. She took Maarika’s wrap and moved it around the Goddess’ head. With the same stone, she rubbed-down a spur remaining on Horus’ forehead, smoothing it. She reached into a small cloth purse, hanging from her belt and withdrew two wooden crosses on strings. “Hang this around your neck!” she whispered loudly.
She looked at the young man who helped maintain the temple as he stood, frozen with fear against the wall. They heard shouting from outside.
"Galil!” Namazu shouted. He looked at her with wild eyes. “Put this on.” She thrust a wooden cross into his hands, “Take these amphorae into the desert and bury them. Mark the place. I will reward you.”
Galil knew Namazu would reward him with gold as she had done before. He took an amphora under each arm, and ran out the hidden door. Now, Namazu took Maarika’s hand, “On your knees,” she whispered. “They are coming.” They fell on their knees, facing the statue.
Several moments later, they heard heavy steps and breathing of men behind them as they faced the statue of Mother and Child. Namazu turned, facing them, being sure they saw the wooden cross around her neck. The man looked at the two kneeling women, then up at the statue. He gestured to the ones standing behind them; they turned and left. They heard a woman’s scream out on the street.
A man shouted, “By Emperor Theodosius’ decree!”
They smelled fire.
Namazu reached her left arm around Maarika, pulling her close. She was shaking. Namazu whispered, “This is how it will be.” She kissed Maarika’s cheek, and continued, her lips touching her face. “Our beloved Goddess clothed in this religion; just as Auset and Hathor; she will absorb what is good, and retain her true nature.” She looked around behind them to assure the men had gone. Turning back, she continued, “Buried within this new religion, our Goddess will be preserved. She will return.
“She will return.”
Originally posted on Scriggler.com
Excerpt from the 2nd book of the series, "Shaare Emeth: Gateway to Truth," available on Inkitt