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Chapter XXXV

   The Queen of Wands

   Hatshepsut's Sacrifice



Xuang, known as Senmut to the Egyptian court, was the best magician in Egypt as would be expected, since Xuang had lived for many human generations. He never seemed to age, and was crown prince of the Venetian empire. All the Amazons knew him as the son of  Qblh and Isis, so they naturally gave him the royal respect he was due. Mortal men knew him not for who he really was, and he usually did not stay in one place very long. The Amazons would always introduce him to his respective assignment, and would also act as his bodyguards as well. Many men could not understand the hold he held on the women when it seemed that no others could approach the priestesses of Isis as, not to mention Xuang. Many believed that it was just sorcery on Xuang's part, and were eager to discover the secret to such a spell. He even had the Pharaoh under his spell. Thutmoses promised a hefty reward for anyone who could dispose of Xuang. Several had perished attempting. Hatshepsut would personally perform the executions and smile at Thutmoses as she ate the heart of his accomplice. Thutmoses would always grow ill and seek to relieve his tender stomach. Xuang preferred not to witness the execution and always excused himself. The court was generally very nervous when Hatshepsut would hold trials without Xuang at her side, if he was in town.. Quite often it would mean that there was going to be a bloody mess that day.


Today Xuang was returning from a mysterious assignment, and his coming was even more mysterious than his departure. With word of his reappearance, the court seemed to have grown in numbers. Nefurer was oddly absent. Thutmoses was there as well, jealously keeping his eye constantly on Xuang. To Thutmoses, Xiang was a foreigner who held all of Egypt under his power, and Thutmoses was a little bit racist. He wanted the foreigners either out of Egypt or serving as its slaves. He intended also to conquer a few surrounding kingdoms to restore Egypt to its former glory. His stepmother had made the average Egyptian docile and unconcerned with foreign conquest. Xuang would always grin back at Thutmoses.


Hatshepsut's court imitated Xanadu's somewhat, but the ceremonies were much less spectacular, but by Earth standards they were very spectacular. Xuang whispered to Hattie a brief outline of an announcement he wished to make. She frowned a little, but uiang whispered something else and she smiled, and then agreed.


Xuang then made his announcement. "My lady wishes to visit her temple which has just been completed, and I shall accompany her. Lord Thutmoses will act as regent during her absence until her return, and if we return not, forbidden be the thought, then Thutmoses will continue on as your lord Pharaoh. As you are aware, our lady Isis is displeased with all the land and Queen Hatshepsut is willing to sacrifice herself and her only daughter to Isis for the better of all of Egypt. If we return not, then know full well that her sacrifice and Egypt will prosper as never before, and we shall walk to the stars to join our ancestors."


"Walk like an Egyptian To the stars?" mocked a fellow priest. "What you are saying is that you will return if you find not a path to the stars? "


"This is true. The Pharaoh Hatshepsut and her beloved daughter, Queen of the living will ascend to the heavens, and I shall accompany her. We are announcing this in advance so that you will not be disturbed by our disappearance."


"To the stars, you say? My lady this is nonsense. Certainly you can't let the outlandish utterances of your high priest sway you into believing such nonsense."


"It is nonsense," cried another. "They are not going to the stars, but they are probably going to the Land of the Dead instead. I say let them go to the Land of the Dead in peace. This is only a sign from the gods that no woman should rule Egypt."


"It is not nonsense, because we are taking the child. Nefurer, as well. You are not yet ready for the journey Thutmoses, I doubt that you will ever be."


Thutmoses laughed and was smiling with glee. He could barely believe his ears. She was abdicating and going on some impossible pursuit with her lover. Good riddance then. He would have some of his trusted captains follow and do what they could do see that she never returned.


"Beware, those of you that rule while the Pharaoh is absent. Our sacrifice may not fare well for our land if wickedness prevails during our absence." Xuang carefully slipped in a disclaimer so that Thutmoses could bear the blame of his misdeeds in case Egypt did not prosper after they left.


Xuang and Hatshepsut left for her new temple which had recently been completed. The duo desired complete secrecy to cover their departure, and they desired it to be obscured by as much mystery as possible. Knowing full well that Thutmoses would now assume the throne and declare the queen, his step-mother dead and no longer pharaoh. Keeping the treacherous captains at bay was fairly easy for Xuang to accomplish. Entering the temple with his queen, it was forbidden for the soldiers to go any further. The priests awaiting Xuang and the Pharaoh Hatshepsut accompanied the duo into the interior. It was explained to the captains that Hatshepsut would be married to Xuang and ascend to the stars. The priests were rejoicing at the prospect of such powerful magic, and the captains just sneered in disbelief. It was more likely that the duo will make an escape through some secret tunnel.


The captains were partially correct, because once inside the innermost chamber, Xuang summoned Genie's power and effected a transfer of them both to the king's chamber of the great pyramid to await Jim.


Genie retrieved the signal and inserted a way-point into the Box's flight plan. It would advise Jim once he was finished with his current business. It also activated a special manifold which intersected the king's chamber to make the living conditions a little more comfortable for Xuang and Hatshepsut. This manifold exhibited spatially distorting effects which was the Box's specialty. It was larger on the inside than the outside, plus it had all the modern conveniences. Xuang delighted Hatshepsut as he showed her the confusion of their pursuers who had not a clue to where they went. They had managed to pursuade the priests to show the way to the inner chamber after the priests had observed and reported that Xuang and Hatshepsut had ascended. The captains pushed their way through the priests as they fervently performed their rituals searching for the escape route.


She was also horrified by the immediate tyranny of her stepson. He enslaved those that would not acknowledge him as their god, just as his father had done. Hatshepsut could not see why they would honor such a simple dupe of a man as a god. The humans could be so ignorant at times. The other pharaohs had at least been the sons of Amazon women. This new bastard would claim as a right something which was simply not true. He was not a true descendant of the stellar family. His mother was human, not Amazon. Hatshepsut should have been the mother of the next pharaoh, but she refused to sacrifice any men claiming that it was barbaric. She had also remembered her pledge to Jim. Isis accepted her reason and agreed that Hatshepsut could rule as Pharaoh while Xuang stood at her side. It would be a good experience for her son. She also approved of her son's attraction to Hatshepsut, and considered the possibility that they could make for Egypt a great pharaoh.


Jim would interrupt the plans for such a dynasty by retrieving Hatshepsut out of the past and returning her to her own home space and time on Artemis.


Jim's meditations were disturbed by the Idiot. "Jim, Xuang has activated the beacon. He is ready to be delivered from Egypt. Hatshepsut and your daughter are with him."


"So the Land of the Pharaohs now calls for me. Perhaps I'll need to tell Antiope."


"She has no need to know Jim. She is not cleared for the energy level we will need to navigate."


"What do you recommend, Idiot?"


"I am receiving a very clear flight path window for you and I. It will be open in five minutes."


"Idiot, I am completely unprepared for this flight. Can't I freshen up a little."


"No time Jim. I interrupted you because of the short notice for this window opportunity."


"Very well, Idiot. I suppose I shall continue in this time later on from where we left off,"


"Affirmative, Jim."


"You are keeping track of all these interruptions aren't you."


"Of course, Jim. Everything is well under control, and frankly my circuits are a little bored. I could use some exercise."

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