The big male and current head of the tribal Council was at the airport for the arrival of Saul and Jesse. Saul learned recently from Ptah that a ceremony as old as the tribe was being planned. The tribe would assemble from all over the world to witness the traditional passing of the title to the new consort and tribal leader, Ptah and Meretneith’s son Merneptah. It was a ceremony not witness in over 50,000 years. Saul looked forward to being a part of it and had a million questions. However, Athtar was filled with questions about Meretneith and the homecoming to Faiyum. He’d been part of the rescue and needed to know that his only love was happy and safe. When he and Arsay were satisfied with Saul’s rendition of events at home Athtar seem to relax. Saul knew how much this male loved his Protectress. This love began over four thousand years ago. Twin giants gazed at each other gauging the other’s thoughts.

Admiring Athtar Saul remembered Arsay telling him that her brother was image of their father Ba’al. The mass of gold-laced chestnut waist length hair was bound by a jeweled ring. Athtar was as big as Ptah. In spite of the immense musculature, there was an angelic quality to his face. Athtar’s eyes of deep brown were fringed in long sweeping lashes. The mouth often took center stage – so expressive in pink, almost cherubic. He wore simple gray leather pants and shirt that conformed to the body beautifully. Both men were oblivious of Jesse sitting quietly watching. Saul broke the silence,

“I’ve never asked you what our relationship is. Since I am offspring of your father Ba’al what does that make me to you?”

“Simple Saul…. You are my brother. That coupling happened within my lifetime. Meretneith and Ptah knew nothing of your grandmother. She was offspring also. A great deal of me runs through your veins. That’s a good thing considering how much my sister longs to pleasure you.”

Looking into Jesse’s face Athtar paused before speaking.

“Does this line of talk make you uncomfortable young one?”

Jesse stared back at him embarrassed suddenly…coloring. His answer came almost in a whisper.

“No not embarrassed only stunned. Saul speaks little to me of his recent affairs and relationship with his new family.”

Jesse looked at Saul to check his expression before he continued,

“This is he and Aisha’s worlds not mine. I’ve loved him all my life. I’ve only recently come to know and love my wife; therefore anything that affects them affects me also. So all that said…yes I’m stunned. No I’m not embarrassed. Saul taught me long ago to keep quiet and listen.”

“Very well spoken.”

Athtar smiled as he gazed into Jesse’s face.

“And coming from one so young and beautiful Saul has taught you well, but I think what remains between Saul and I to talk about should be kept between us.”

Athtar turned to Saul.

“We’ll speak of my father and your grandmother in our private moments. I’ll make sure to put some time aside for us before you fly back to Faiyum. You can share with Jesse what the two of you are comfortable with. My sister and I have looked forward to moments alone with you for a very long time. For now let’s talk about today’s business and what brings Jesse to us. You know of our difficulty in getting the new currency to hold its value in the common markets. Tell me Jesse what are your ideas on achieving this?”

The conversation dwelled on business matters for the rest of the journey to Athtar’s palace. As Saul knew, Jesse had all the answers to Athtar’s questions. Saul was still amazed and proud of him. Yet there was a warning bell going off in his head for Aisha. Jesse was too consumed with his new role as international monetary consultant. He hoped that their business demands didn’t rob him of time with his new wife and their son. He watched quietly and listened, making a mental note to break his promise to Meretneith and speak to Jesse about this. Merneptah’s love for Aisha would be as strong as Ptah’s love was for him. Saul knew firsthand how consuming that fire could be. Saul knew from his dreaming that Merneptah’s love of Aisha was strong and to Merneptah empowering. Never in his long life had he loved a female in this way. Saul thought sadly of the young man Jesse Isaacsons whom he loved as his own. He would never be able to compete with Merneptah. Saul hoped that Aisha would be able to control the big male’s need of her. Jesse heard Saul’s gentle deep voice.

“Call Aisha tonight before you go to bed. She hasn’t gotten use to you being alone without her on these trips.”

Jesse smiled at Saul, touched by the concern the big guy felt for his welfare,

“I miss her already. It’s a good thing I found a woman who shares my love of the business. The next few years will be busy ones.”

“Yes young one, but one’s family and friends should never be neglected”

Athtar beamed a smile at Saul just before leaving the car. They arrived at his palace and Saul had forgotten how imposing the council head’s home could be. The last time he was in the Dubai palace was to meet the council and Teachers.

Ptah’s palace was luxurious in its simplicity. His lovers enjoyed being surrounded by things that served a function. Athtar’s palace was not as large as Faiyum but over the top extravagant. Its rich detailing to the exterior walls in white marble was stunning at sunset. Deep red stone detail the entranceways. The gulf shores could be heard breaking against the palace walls in the rear. Staff was there immediately to greet the guests.

Ushered immediately to their rooms Saul went to the bath where his water was drawn, he asked to be left to bathe alone. Sinking down into the warm fragrant waters, he giggled to himself. A small thing like bathing his own body had come to be special to him. He was rarely left alone in Faiyum and often had to demand his privacy. He lounged in the bath for almost an hour before reluctantly leaving it. Tying the strings of his linen loungers he strolled slowly back to his bedchamber. He was surprised when he arrived to see Arsay reclining across his bed wearing only a pareo of white linen and a smile.

“You take long baths.”

“And you are too beautiful to be in a man’s room who has not known the comfort of a female in six months.”

“I knew Meretneith would choose to pleasure her brother Ptah first.”

Arsay laughed aloud revealing her white teeth making her big blue eyes sparkle. The slow low voice continued to taunt Saul.

“Saul you have too much the look of control about you. Ptah always seems so in need of love from all of you. It’s natural, I guessed that she should want to please him first. Do you feel left out?”

Arriving at the bed Saul stood for a time looking down at her feeling a need to touch her. During their raid of Maha’s palace to free Meretneith, he didn’t have time to note what had changed in her appearance. Nothing really except her hair was a little longer. The soft brown curls were at her shoulders, with one wave falling over her blues eyes. She wore little make up except for lip-gloss making her broad full lips even more appealing. She was smiling an invitation.

“Why do you wish to tempt me so female? What have I done to deserve your attentions?”

“Your beauty and strength Saul ben Izrael and you’re my brother – so the scent of you maddens me. Athtar has asked me tell you about your grandfather Ba’al. I’m not sure in the telling beloved that you will be happier. You still hold to your old nonsense. I have little patience for these things. It only means that I can’t pleasure you in ways that would bring us both comforts. Especially when I can see and smell your arousal for me. You are truly an innocent Saul. Come to me and at least allow me the joy of tasting your lips and the warmth of you. I am after all my father’s daughter.”