Chapter 1: Letters and Numbers
Chapter 2: Signs and Symbols
Chapter 3: Summer Camp: Cheerleading and Football
Chapter 4: The Devil’s Dining Table: Portal at Belmont Mound
Chapter 5: The Journey Begins: the Two Lands of Egypt
Chapter 6: The Pygmy: Entertainer, Shaman, and Magician
Chapter 7: Zadi’s Spell and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Chapter 8: The Nubians and Medjays
Chapter 9: The Book of Gates
Chapter 10: The Coffin Ride
Chapter 11: The Tomb Robbers and the Executioners
Chapter 12: River of Fire: A Powerful Protector Against the Giant Crocodile and Sorcerer Priests
Chapter 13: The Ta-Seti People and the Guardian
Chapter 14: The Priestess and the Desert
Chapter 15: Silly, Nitpicky Red Haired Guy
Chapter 16: Blond, Blue-eyed Quarterback
Chapter 17: White and Red Crowns: Scorpion King vs. Cobra King
Chapter 18: The Red Eye: Unleashed
Chapter 19: End of Battle: The Last Wish
Chapter 20: Answers and Rewards
Around 3100 BC, Ta Shemau, Ancient Egypt.
Inside his private residence, King Hor-Aha was seated on his favorite majestic chair, his throne, in the middle of the night.
His chair was made of the sturdiest wood in the kingdom of Ta Shemau (it meant “the land of reeds” or better known as Upper Egypt), his father’s loyal servant could ever find, which was from a Sycamore tree; and the distinctive design of sphinx and other symbols especially the family sign or totem, a scorpion, were carved at the back and side of the chair including its arms, which looked like the claws of the sphinx. And some molten gold were embedded as well onto the rest of the surfaces of the chair.
His father passed on the White Crown to him a long time ago, when he was barely fifteen. The royal physician could not tell what kind of disease his father acquired after fighting against the Nubians at the time. He suffered from high fever in the afternoon until late at night and was coughing and spurting blood out of his mouth.
He winced even though he realized it had been ages ago since his royal family and allies fought against them. One day, he swore on his father’s mummified remains, he would defeat the ruler of Te-Mehu (which meant “land of papyrus” or better known as Lower Egypt).
Because of it he could not sleep that night and so he summoned his high priest (or hem netjer) and high priestess (or hemet netjer) while his two bodyguards stood erectly at the background with a spear in their hand. The high priestess was seated on a nearby chair, adjacent to the king, while the high priest stood by near the high priestess.
They looked at the king briefly, who always wore golden bracelets and anklets. His clothes were made from the highest quality of cloth, a dark colored toga and matched it with a golden belt.
On the other hand, his priest and priestess wore nothing but scanty linen cloths with ornaments made of gold and other metallic looking pieces of jewelries around their private parts and a headdress on their head. They both had bald head and without eyebrows. Like him, they too had golden earrings, bracelets and anklets that adorned their body.
They were watching a shemat, one of the best of the musical troupe of singers, dancers and musicians in his kingdom, called the khener. She was from a noble family and she was not more than seventeen years of age. Her beautiful graceful body was dancing in front of His Majesty, tantalizing him out of his troubled thoughts that night.
A rigid looking male servant arrived. He bowed and knelt down facing His Majesty. His eyes were cast downward as he spoke, keeping the laws and tradition in mind. Low class people were not allowed to look at the king at eye level and were even prohibited to look at the priest or priestess.
“Greetings, Your Majesty. I have an important message to convey to you,” he spoke in Archaic Egyptian.
“Speak,” the king answered and briefly threw a glance at the kneeling servant. His eyes were now fixed again at the dancing shemat.
“Queen Khenthap sent and wished me to send you her word about the birth of a son.”
The king’s expression changed, and he immediately rose from his seat and walked away from his residence without a word. His guards followed him quickly like a shadow. He was excited to wait for the birth of a son for many months. And now, it came tonight.
Afterwards, the servant walked away too, his head bowed and followed the king to the queen’s chambers.
The high priestess gestured to the young priestess to stop dancing until His Majesty was nowhere to be seen. They too left the king’s residence to go back to their respective temples.
Their attendants, a couple of acolytes each, brought torches for their guide back as the night was so dark with only a few torches lit around the city of Tjenu (Thinis or This, the famous lost city), which belonged to the eighth district of Upper Egypt called Abt (Great Land). And so, a small procession of three litters was heading back to the sacred temples not so far away, which were carried by twelve servants.
The queen was lying on her bed. And the newborn child was lying beside the queen, sleeping. The baby’s small body was covered by blue colored linen.
King Hor-Aha was very pleased to see his son for the first time. He sat on the bed and the queen smiled at him as he touched the face of the baby tenderly with his forefinger.
“What will you name him, my king?” asked the queen quietly.
“Djer.” His voice was full of emotions of being a happy father.
“I am so pleased with the name.”
“Honestly, my queen, I could not sleep tonight thinking about the Nubians and the Cobra King. And here, Djer is born. I am happy that I was not in my chambers when your servant was sent to me.” He smiled when he said it and caressed the cheek of the queen that he so dearly loved.
The queen held his hand and kissed it lovingly.
“I wish to give you another son when the right time comes. I will try my best to give your mind some peace, my beloved king.”
“I would love that, my queen. And I’m looking forward to it.” He then kissed the queen’s lips tenderly.
The temples were merely a mile or so away from the private residences of the king and queen. Other houses and townhouses were quiet far away from the two temples. Thus, the distance made the two buildings prominent, peaceful and secure as the private residences of the royal family.
The high buildings were three-story, made of stones and bricks and the floors were made of tiles. The outer and inner brick walls were painted yellow and blue, respectively. The paints were made from a certain type of flower, which the commoners could not afford to buy.
The buildings were surrounded by high fences made up of mud bricks and stones – just like the royal family’s private residences. Each of the building had its own garden and pool, which were only of the priests and priestesses’ disposal.
The paths to the garden and pool had also respective guards so that no one could use them without any permission. No ordinary persons can use the garden and pool or enter the temple as the entire place was considered sacred and private.
The priestesses sometimes performed their rituals there together with the highest ranking officials or other important people in the kingdom. It was their duty to serve them with utmost respect and submission according to their religion, especially the king. It was believed that serving the king was following the command of God and they should make sure his wishes would be granted through them, the servants of God.
In the morning, the priests and priestesses were doing their morning rituals separately. The two temples were just close by each other. Guards were also everywhere near the two separate buildings to protect the servants of God.
The rituals included singing a hymn, offering of food and drink. These should be displayed at their best and nothing unsightly was allowed and the high priest or priestess had to make sure that everything was at its best by overseeing the procedures personally.
Incense was burnt on an incense burner during each ritual as it was considered to be the perfume of God. And flowers were also offered formed in garlands, which were prepared and ensured by gardeners and florists to be supplied always. The flowers added beauty to the ritual, and made it presentable to God.
The hymns were simple that they were only a repetition of the God’s name and attributes while the music were like rattled sounds of percussion or menat. For special occasions, cymbals, harp, flute or drums were used.
While the high priestess chanted during that morning ritual with her eyes closed, she stopped amidst because of a certain blinding light that crossed her mind’s eye and it traveled into a distant space and time.
Then she opened her eyes suddenly, unfocused.
“Tell the king I have a vision,” she said to one of her acolytes.
Her acolyte bowed and left the temple immediately. The priestess then finished the ritual that morning and hastily prepared to meet the king.
“What was your vision, Nefer? Will we win the next battle?” asked the king with a serious and hopeful face.
“My king, I saw the elite seer. She will arrive soon.”
“And what can this elite seer do for us?” his brows furrowed.
“She will help you defeat your enemies, my king. But I am afraid that it is the elite seer’s decision if she will come to join and help you. There are people who will restrain her from doing so.”
The king was not happy to hear about it. The first time she told him about the elite seer, he was skeptical. He asked her before what was the difference of this elite seer from Nefer and so she explained then.
“She is more powerful than I am, my king. She can move things, which I cannot do. She can tell the future when you speak about your fears, your feelings. The elite seer has protectors, priestesses, guardians, executioners and caretakers. And they, too, have their own powers to be able to protect her. She is a powerful goddess in her own way, my king.”
“Who are these people that will restrain her?”
“They are your enemies, my king.”
“Then, I will send my best fighter and magician to rescue the elite seer from my enemies. But how can they identify her?”
“She will not come alone, my king.”
“Well then, I shall prepare now for battle against the Sea People for the meantime.” The king got up from his throne and left the high priestess.
Before the morning sun rose high up in the sky, the Asian explorers accompanied by their soldiers that arrived in Ta Shemau were confronted by Thinites who were armed to the teeth to defend their city.
The soldiers were either armed with body protectors, maces, spears, bows and arrows, cudgels or daggers.
The king, who was also the general of his army, commanded them to charge against the Sea People invaders.
“Charge! Protect our nation and children!” The king’s voice boomed at his command.
And then, a loud cry of war commenced…
Present time. Belmont, Portage County, Wisconsin.
Eric, Kent and their teammates in Belmont Braves football varsity team screamed upon charging the sturdy dummies against them. They tackled them to the ground and were contented to bring them down to the ground with all their might.
“Yeah!” They shouted with fists shook up in the air.
During weekdays, their team practiced three times and one whole day during the weekend either Saturday or Sunday, which depended on their coach’s schedule.
The football field seemed to be so large for there were not so many students enrolled in Belmont High School.
The town had only around 240 households or so and the number of male population was higher than of the female. The town was on the east of Dayton, Waupaca County, west of Almond, Portage County and south of Lanark of the same county.
The red bricked two-story house was located east, a mile or so from the center of the town; and south, a mile or two from the nearby popular Belmont High School.
The front yard was surrounded with different kinds of flowers and orchids. At the back of the house, there was a fence made of wood. An iron grill stood at the far side, where the family sometimes held gatherings like barbecue, birthday or Christmas party; whereas on the other side, a customized swing made of iron also stood still. And some herbs, shrubs and flowers were planted near the fence.
“Elise, dinner’s ready!” Her mom called out from downstairs.
Elise Helmrick was turning sixteen this summer. Her mother was so proud of her being one of the elite students in her school – as she was one of the members of the cheerleading team, which was very popular in their whole town.
Elise was a slim girl with green eyes, pert nose, smooth cheeks and long brunette hair that reached up to her waist that she always braided everyday.
“Coming!” she answered after turning off the TV.
Her feet automatically looked for her pair of slippers under her bed. She ran out of her room to go downstairs. She passed by the painting of her grandmother that was hanging on the base of the staircase wall. She had a glimpse of it and it looked like her grandmother smiled at her.
‘How could it be?’ she stopped for a moment and asked herself, but did not bother to look behind. She thought that it was only her imagination running wild because her grandmother was definitely not smiling in that painting!
“You’re watching again that same movie?”
Her father asked who was just seated on his favorite chair at the dinner table. He was referring to “The Mummy” which starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.
“I don’t know, Dad. I’m just so into Egyptian movies lately.” She frowned a little.
Her parents looked at each other before they looked at her. Her mother was a little worried while she sat on her chair by the table.
“Is something wrong, mom?” Elise’s older brother Eric asked, who was sitting next to her.
Eric was already in his senior year in high school and was a member of the school’s football team. He had sturdy body for his age as he regularly practiced martial arts, Tai Chi with meditation and his favorite sport, football.
His hair was red while his eyes were black as midnight, a perfect opposite to his sister’s features. Nobody could tell which lineage of the family he – or she – took after.
“Well, not really. Don’t mind me, Eric.” Their mother hastily answered with a forced smile. “Anyway, I heard from Mrs. Thompson that your football team will go camping this summer?”
Elise watched her brother as he helped himself with lasagna.
“Yeah, mom. Can I go?”
“Well, it depends on your father.”
Their father was thinking hard before he answered.
“If you want to go, you can – provided that,” he paused, “you’ll not forget your 5 to 15-minute meditation.”
Eric looked at Elise in resignation before he swallowed.
“Well, the cheerleading team would be there, too,” Eric said a matter-of-factly.
Their mother Zoe looked at her. Her brown eyes twinkled and her blond bob-cut hair swung.
“So, I presume you’re going too,” she said to her.
She nodded while chewing her food.
“She’s going to be the team captain next year, I hear,” Eric bragged.
Their mother’s smile was now wide open and her eyes twinkled again with excitement.
“Wow! That’s great, honey! Don’t you think, Aidan?”
“Yeah. I believe so, too, sweetheart!” His blue eyes twinkled as well as he agreed amiably. And it was like his short blond hair shone as well.
The siblings looked at each other. Their mother’s dream was for her to be the very next team captain of the cheerleading team so that she could brag it around their town. She shrugged her shoulders and looked away from her brother to continue to eat.
“Well, I can tell that idiot Mrs. Summers that her daughter can go to hell!”
“Mom!” the siblings said in unison.
“Well, she told me that her daughter will be the next team captain and that you’re going to be ditched. So I naturally told her that my daughter is way better than hers!”
Their mother’s eyes were expressing so much anguish that they could tell she had said something more than that.
“Mom, you shouldn’t have said that to her.” Elise said quietly. “After all, Aubrey was my best friend!”
“Yeah, like five years ago,” her brother supplied.
“Well, it’s all over now. I think we both had our mistakes at the time. Anyway, she’s a good friend still.”
“But you should have never befriended her in the first place.” Her mom protested.
Her mother still thought about that day when Aubrey took Elise’s role as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” play at school. She was already the chosen actor to play the role but her friend talked their teacher out of it because Elise had a lot of extra activities – a white lie that could have been handled by Elise at the time if she weren’t so shy to tell their teacher about backing out from the said role.
“And it was just a petty thing to have a grudge on, mom,” she protested to her mother.
“Well, look where she’s now. She’s just your shadow!” Their mother spat.
“Zoe, that’s enough,” her father said quietly.
Her mother took a deep breath and nodded.
“Sorry. I was just heated up for no reason.”
Their father just shook his head and continued to eat.
Elise went back to her room upstairs after washing the dishes. Her brother retired to his room next to hers, after eating. She could barely hear the rock sound of the music from his radio. She imagined that her brother was reading his favorite comic book while listening to it – and not studying!
She turned on the TV and continued watching the movie she just left out a while ago before dinner. She flipped the pages of her Algebra book but the numbers were dancing in front of her eyes. Their finals were coming up fast. She needed to study but she wanted to watch the movie at the same time!
She decided to turn off the TV at last.
“Now, concentrate,” she said to herself aloud like it was a mantra.
She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again to look at the book.
Still, the numbers and letters were literally dancing in front of her eyes! They formed into different shapes of symbols or drawings she had never seen before. She closed her eyes again and thought it was just stress.
She inhaled and exhaled deeply. Then, she opened her eyes again. This time, the numbers and letters were not dancing and forming into symbols and shapes. They were just static like normal text in the book. She then breathed out lightly with relief.
“Phew! Just what I thought – stress.” She said to herself.
She took out her notebook from the bag that was lying in her bed. She began to study the pointers for their finals. But first, she had to deal with their homework yet.
She truly liked her Algebra teacher Mrs. Dickson as she gave out pointers far advanced for the students to study in ahead. It helped to make her a straight A-student this year and a favorite of the cheerleading team squad captain. She had been told early this week that she was the favorite to be the successor among the other candidates.
“You’re not serious, Diana,” she said to her.
“Of course I am!”
Her smile was wide open and Diana Gomez held her hands.
She shook her head in disbelief.
“But I’m only a freshman!”
“You’ll be sophomore next school year!” Diana countered. “I am confident you’ll do well and better until your senior year. You’re so smart and creative. Besides, you can do better than anyone else in the team. You got my drift, right?”
Elise was speechless. She felt very delighted of this great opportunity she was going to have for the next three years of her life in high school. On the other hand, she felt that there was something that would trouble her in the very near future. Of what, even though she could not tell herself, she could really feel it.
She then continued to study her lessons until around midnight. She had to go to sleep right afterward as she was going to have an early meeting with her cheerleading team the next day.
She was walking down the hallway. She was going to the gym armed with her books and school backpack. She wore her white short skirts and white printed, thin, long-sleeves and white sneakers. She glanced at her watch she wore on her left wrist and stopped dead when she felt someone was coming to her out of the blue, before she could turn into a corner.
Her heart was thumping so hard in her chest when he smiled at her. Then, she saw her brother coming right up behind him.
“So, where to?” His brother asked her and then she blinked. It was like that special moment was cut short – awfully short for her liking!
“To the gym,” she answered and threw a glance at the guy ahead of her brother.
“Hey, Kent! Wait up!”
Her brother called out and followed the quarterback. Then, the rest of the team members also followed.
Elise blinked and thought while she continued to walk. She could have bumped onto Kent Thompson if she did not stop.
Kent was the richest kid in school. His family was one of the richest families in the entire Portage county or rather, Wisconsin state. His father owned at least five law firms in New York.
“That’s weird,” she thought. “Someone could have had blocked me or something.”
She then blushed if ever she would have had bumped onto the quarterback. It would be embarrassing for her and for him. Yes, for both of them. Her brother had already hinted her that Kent had a crush on her since he saw her the first time early this school year.
When she learned about it, she could not stop thinking of the tall guy with blond hair, blue eyes and a smile that was so mesmerizing.
“Hey!” Diana caught up with her just in time she opened the door of the gym.
“Hey,” she answered back and smiled.
“I met Kent on my way here. You saw him?” Diana asked her like there was something else behind that information.
“Well, yeah. I saw him. We met around the corner,” she shrugged and acted like nothing was special.
And then she continued to enter the gym and she saw that most of their co-members were there waiting for the team captain.
The team was composed of only 12 members including the team captain. Three of them were already seniors, two were sophomores and the rest were freshmen.
Diana was happy to see all of them. Then their meeting began.
“Guys, summer vacation is upon us. I wish all of you would be present in the summer camp. And, during that time, I will officially hand over my crown to the next team captain!” She announced excitedly.
Everybody was excited. Although they already had an idea who it would be, some of them still wished they would be chosen as the one to bequeath – officially. As it was, their cheerleading team did not vote who would be the next team captain unlike other teams’ tradition.
Then Aubrey’s eyes stopped at Elise’s direction. They both smiled timidly at each other. However, Elise did not catch the malicious glint in the other girl’s eyes.
“Alright, but before the summer camp, you all know that we need to tackle yet the inter-high school football championships in a fortnight. This afternoon, I want everybody to be in the field and I’ll teach you another routine that will take our enemies’ breath away!”
“What is it?”
“You sure we never did it before?”
“Is it just another combination we had performed?”
“You sure we can do it perfectly ‘til the fortnight?”
Everyone asked Diana different questions at the same time. Then the team captain threw her hands up in the air and hushed the girls.
“Shh…! I know we can do it, alright? Besides, I’m sure the next captain will make you work harder in the cheerleading competitions next school year.”
Diana grinned and threw a glance at Elise who was just quiet.
In the afternoon, everybody was present and wore their scanty uniforms while the Belmont Braves football guys whistled at them. Then the football coach screamed at the guys.
Eric said who was laughing at his co-members who seemed to be transfixed with the cheerleading team.
He saw his sister with the stand-in coach Mrs. Lee and Diana, a likeable Hispanic senior girl that he happened to like as his sister’s friend. Well, he was a secret admirer of hers. He just loved her brown smooth hair that was just past her shoulders, her eyes were dark brown and her skin was olive – just his type of a girl.
“Do you have any idea what we’re going to do?”
Tiffany whispered to Aubrey when they saw Diana arrived together with Elise and their coach.
“No. I don’t have the vaguest idea,” said Aubrey.
Then all the girls were lined up according to their assigned positions. Elise was the first one on the right side, and just behind her was Diana. And Aubrey and Tiffany were on the left side, opposite to the first two girls, respectively.
They were stretching first and practicing their toe touch jumps, followed by pike and front hurdler jumps. Everyone was breathless afterwards and they took a break, watching the football guys doing their conditioning drills to increase their strength and speed.
After their short break, Diana was explaining their surprise step or technique that they were going to perform soon.
“This will be shown during the championships and during this coming summer camp. We will show them an exchange of flyers in basket toss.”
Everyone’s jaw dropped except Elise’s, even though she did not know about this, upon hearing those words from Diana, while the stand-in coach was unaware of it because she was not really a cheerleader. She was just picked up by the principal to man the cheerleading team, arrange what they needed and their practice schedule, including summer camps and competitions.
“Diana, that’s dangerous,” Aubrey opposed vehemently, as she was one of the flyers of the team.
“What if she’s not caught?” Tiffany supported.
“That’s why we call the cheerleading a team, right? We have to take care of ourselves and the others. The most responsible persons are the bases. Without them, the flyers are dead!” Diana pointed out, her eyes probing Aubrey’s.
Elise was a little worried, too as she was one of the flyers as well. But what Diana had just suggested was a great move indeed! It would be breath-taking. Practically.
“Listen up.” Diana said with a hand raised. “After exchanging in basket toss, the flyers should perform the liberty. Understood?”
There was a low murmur in response. Then Diana was talking again in a high tone.
“Alright. We’ll do it step by step, ladies! Positions, please. Ready! 5, 6, 7, 8!”
At first, the two flyers tossed in the air accidentally bumped at each other and there was a loud scream from all bases as they tried to catch Elise and Aubrey.
The football guys were standing frozen in awe as they watched the girls. Their coach’s whistle dropped from his mouth.
The two girls experienced body pains after it. However, it did not stop them from trying another time. The second time was better. However, the bases had to accommodate some certain distance so as not to drop the respective flyers that they were going to catch.
It was the nth time they tried that it was done almost perfectly. And they were exhausted but were so happy about their achievement.
It was already dark when they ended their rehearsals that day. Diana and Elise were walking down the pathway from the dressing room when Eric and Kent met them.
“Where are you heading to?” asked Eric to his sister.
“To Menominee’s Hut. We heard that Nohkoma has a new recipe for lasagna. We’d like to try it,” Diana was the one who answered the question and grinned at Eric.
Nohkoma was the owner of Menominee’s Hut, a popular local fast food in town. She was a third degree native Indian of the Menominee tribe, one of the original Indian settlers in Wisconsin. Her name was after a Menominee mythological figure, Nokomis, a wise old grandmother of Manabush, as her late parents were so fond of Menominee legends.
It was just two years ago that the fast food was put up by Nohkoma. Her grandmother was her inspiration to come up with the business as it was told that Menominee Indians beg for food around town. This time, it would be the whole town that would seek for her food.
She mixed some native Indian recipes to her menu everyday. And at least in one or two months, she would introduce a new recipe that made patrons and new customers as well as tourists keep coming back to her fast food.
Aside from food, she provided stories for little children. There was a small room she prepared for this sole purpose. She would tell them about Menominee tribe, its culture and legends, which little children were also fond of listening to over and over again. Then, they would ask Nohkoma some questions about some things about the tribe’s religion and traditions.
Nohkoma at her middle age of fifty was very fond of children as she hadn’t got one of her own. Her colonial spouse died young of brain cancer around twenty-five years ago. When he died, she started looking up for odd jobs until she landed as a household maid. Her white employers were so fond of culinary arts and she learned from them, too, who later helped her make a loan to put up her fast food. It was thanks to them who helped her realize her inspiration that she had with her grandmother.
“Oh, what’s it called this time?” asked Kent.
“Wiikiops Bark.” Diana answered.
The two big boys frowned when they heard it and echoed.
“Wiikiops Bark. It’s actually lasagna, I told you. And Nohkoma decorated it with a bit of almost melting chocolate that was after a design of their tribe’s hut during summer. The chocolate resembles the cedar bark. She said that their tribe’s house during summer was rectangular in shape that was made out of cedar or elm bark.” Diana explained further.
“Wow! Sounds great!” Kent said, impressed of the creativity of the owner of the most popular local fast food in town.
“Cool!” Said Eric. “We’ll come with you to try it.” He grinned at his sister.
Her heart did a cartwheel when she glanced at Kent.
‘What happens now?’ Her mind was racing.