After arrival in the great caves, they slept for a time. Seth would demand a lot from his body in the coming days. Asherah was the first to wake. She stripped her clothes then wrapped her waist in a white linen loincloth. Smooth olive skin covered deep musculature of the warrior. Releasing her hair, she hefted her fighting blades. Adjusting the harness, she slid steel into the leather sheath. Her green eyes focused on her nephew who did the same. He whispered.
“Asherah you are only to guard my rear. I never allow anyone with me when I go dark. You know this. My focus is on Joshua. When I retrieve him, you take him to Arsay and her daughter Athirat. They will be waiting here in the caves.
“Asherah look at me! Listen! Do not follow nor allow my grandmother to follow me. Injure her or grandfather if they attempt to interfere. After I deliver Joshua, I am on the move again. No one will see me until I am ready.
“My dreamings have been strong. Go to Saul for an explanation before the battle against Rachel. You will lead that fight at my grandmother’s side.”
They both caught the scent of an intruder at the same time. Grabbing blades, they ran for the cave entrance. She was dressed in desert robes, her long coils mimicking his. She held her arms out for her son.
“Mother how did you know I was here?”
“Seth your grandmother, the Protectress, raised me in this desert. My male is the Ptah a’ Tanen and your father.”
He held her close to him. The tears began to flow. “Mother I promise…”
She placed her fingers to his lips then replaced them with her lips. Aisha whispered, “I know you will find our baby boy. Seth my fear is that you will lose yourself in this. I love you and I want both my sons in my arms whole. Promise me you won’t disappear into the desert after this battle is done. This would break your father’s heart. His suffers more than you know.”
“Mother I cannot promise that. I need to hunt down my sister. She is making the desert her home. Rachel will remain here until she decides to seek retribution for her evils. Then she will ask for forgiveness for stealing my brother. She will get my retribution. However, I will not allow my Protectors to forgive her. I know Rachel. She will expect our father to exonerate her from retaliation because she is the last in our family line conceived in the old ways.”
Seth roared and they could feel the vibrations shake their bodies. “I will not let that happen!”
Aisha’s voice came small. “I almost lost your father in not understanding. I will not lose my children for the same reasons. I know that the Teacher Ba’al is speaking in your dreamings. Listen to his instructions. There is a reason that his Chosen One Saul has held back in destroying Rachel.”
With tears in her eyes, she filled his face with kisses whispering, “You do what you have to. I only ask…no,…I beg that you and Joshua come back to me alive. I love you.”
She turned to Asherah holding out her arms. Asherah filled them then whispered, “You know that I have their six. Aisha you own my heart. I promise to bring them home.”
Asherah ran ahead to their waiting mares. Kissing his mother, Seth was on Asherah’s heels. Yelling over his shoulders, “Esther take care of my mother” Esther stepped from the shadows to draw Aisha close. Mounting their horses on the run, they disappeared into the desert.
They rode for an hour in the blackness before they caught the scent of Anat and Joshua. Dismounting Seth drew near Asherah, “This is as far as you go. Stay here and wait. You will know when I need you.
“Asherah you are a powerful warrior. I look at you and I see my grandmother. You, like her, are flawless. I have always loved and wanted you more than you know.” Embracing Seth, she whispered in his ear, “Listen to Ba’al’s ways because they are yours. Weigh the balance before making your strike. And Seth we are not afraid of your powers. We all fear that the forces that guide that mighty body will take you from us. Come back to me sweet male. I still need the pleasure of you.”
Seth pulled away from the female that secretly filled his heart. He knew she did not know how much. Asherah watched him melt into the darkness.
He moved through the desert night with ease. The giant knew every footfall. The warrior’s body flowed with the shifting ergs allowing them to guide his steps. This was his home, where his powers belonged. His body moved in tandem with the invisible axial rotations of the universe. The tone of it pulled the strings of his soul like the ancient strings of a sitar. With each day, the force in him grew in new ways. Seth understood the fear his family felt about his powers. It was the energy of the planet strengthening him in every moment.
It was not long before he could feel Anat near. Her breathing was coming fast. She was agitated. Joshua was awake. He sent his thoughts out to his brother and received the sense of him immediately. Joshua knew at once that his brother was near. As Seth moved closer, he began to hear the other heartbeats. The scents were of a varied group of offspring and human. He began to feel their heat signatures. Some were unsuited for desert warfare and were experiencing fear. Their glands were open and vapors of their bodies’ moisture filled his nostrils. Some held the acrid stench of cheap wine. They were sharing it for courage. Seth grew still. He needed to understand the proximity of Joshua to Anat. He sent Joshua the signal to remain quiet.
The sun began to rise and Seth took refuge in a shallow cave. Curling into his sleep position, he slowed his heart rate. Before fully awake at sunset he brought the wind to him. Gently at first, it swished through the shallow cave, playfully tugging at his hair. Outside the cave, the winds lifted the sand forming at first small dust devils that danced across its surface. Seth stepped from the cave and stretched like a great cat. The long lean waist coiled and then uncoiled as the wind lifted the heavy hair. It teased the mass above his head for a moment, before releasing it to settle over the massive shoulders. After taking long sips of cooling water hidden between cave rocks, Seth was on the run. Before blackness covered the rolling hills of sand, he was at camp side. Anat sent fighters ahead in search of Rachel’s camp and sat waiting for their return. Seth knew her wait was futile. Rachel had already disposed of them.
The giant moved through the blackness unseen and unheard. Anat was powerless to detect his scent. As a child at play, he learned to mask his scent with desert air. It would read to others like any desert animal or carrion filled erg.
Moving from one fighter to the next along the camp perimeter, his blade silently found a home in each. Soon most of her soldiers in death’s repose appeared in deep slumber, and then he made his way to Anat’s tent. Outside the tent, he allowed his body to sink into the sand. He stayed silent waiting for her to wander from the enclosure. He would not risk a fight with her yet. It would alert Rachel. He knew that Rachel was aware of Anat’s location. His focus remained on Joshua. The moment came when she left the tent to enter another. Seth’s body burrowed deeper only to emerge inside the tent. He found Joshua curled on his side. His naked body chained to the tent pole marred with scars and oozing cuts. Two caregiver males slept soundly. Seth sliced through each throat to insure a smooth escape. Joshua stared into his brother’s face, he attempted a smile. A tear escaped Seth’s eyes as Joshua’s weak recognition revealed a beautiful face beaten and almost unrecognizable. Seth snapped the chains of bondage. He carried his brother through the night. When Re began to wake, he found a shallow cave. Washing his brother’s body in cooling water he place drops into Joshua’s mouth while lulling him to sleep. During the day and half asleep, he heard Anat’s outcry. He felt her fear. He sent the wind to her camp. It frightened and scattered her animals, destroying their water supply.
By sunset, Joshua began to stir. Seth was on the move again. He called to Asherah. She was closer than he thought. His aunt had followed closer than he instructed. Her beautiful face beamed at the sight of Seth. She ran to him lifting Joshua from his arms. Looking into his eyes, she moaned. “Seth….do you think Arsay is able to heal our Joshua?”
Her mouth filled with water she placed her lips Joshua’s. He eagerly swallowed the liquid from her. Then she placed the opening of the sack-filled water to his lips. Slowly she controlled the flow of the liquid to a trickle. Looking into Seth’s eyes, “You must take your brother to your mother and Arsay, they wait. Your father and grandmother are not far.”
“Asherah I’ve told that you I must return and finish this. I will only remain in the desert stay two more days. It will take me that long to complete what I have to do. Anat’s warriors are many. Tell my mother and father I love them and will return home soon. Go!” He was gone.
With Joshua in one arm, Asherah leaped onto her mare. They galloped off toward the caves where Arsay and Aisha sat waiting.
He traveled again until the sun came to paint the sky a subdued hint of purples and pinks. He took his rest. At sunset, he picked up speed. Anat was moving within striking range of Rachel’s forces. She had gathered additional fighters from neighboring tribes. Approaching her armies Seth called up the wind. This time it took the savannahs with a force that moved to the hills and valleys lifting the microscopic rock filling the air with a fine deadly spray. Seth moved through it unseen. The massive warrior stepped with ease through swirls of blistering sand. He was upon Anat’s horde like a great-enraged cat. They heard his war cry but could not see the owner of it. Only the flashes of the steel arc of death were seen, always too late. Blood spray joined the air blending with sand dust. Soulless bodies buried immediately under new and shifting ergs of sand. Suddenly the wall of sand seemed impenetrable.
He heard Anat’s cries of pain and fear. She called out to her Protectress. Then all stopped. Seth stood starring into an impenetrable veil of sand. Then there was blackness. The giant stood waiting. Then through the blackness, he saw a figure of gold approaching quickly. In the same instant, his body grew tire, almost too tired to stand. Ba’al drew near.
Lifting Seth’s body into his arms, he kissed Aisha’s child. Succumbing to feelings of a half dream, Seth pressed his face to the golden giant’s chest. Ba’al began to speak as he carried Seth in his arms.
The deep voice spoke of the Precession and the balance. He told Seth of the thousand-year love that bound his parents’ souls. The golden god explained that the mending of the breach in faith was Anat and Rachel’s final battle. Resolution of the imbalance between mother and daughter would be resolved through the selfless actions of his brother Joshua. Ba’al told him to cherish always the love between he and Joshua in the coming years.
“He sang the stories of Kemet and Seth’s time in the balance. He sang of the coming together of the universes causing the coalition of suns and planets. They would signal the beginning of the great cosmic awakening that Seth’s children would witness. Then humming a lullaby to him Seth felt Ba’al place him in another’s arms. Warm and loving he looked into the grey eyes of Saul smiling into his. Pressing close within the loving embrace Seth fell into a deep slumber.