The Pharoah’s Son

Chapter One: In The Beginning

Excerpt from the book “The Pharoah’s Son

Michael J. Dahl

by Michael J. Dahl
June/July 2002

This is the story of the son of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who by some combination of chance and destiny becomes born into the twentieth century. To begin our story we will go back in time to the day of the spring equinox in the year 1009 BC. We are in the Karnak district of Thebes—the southern capital of Egypt. We find ourselves entering a world that in many ways is similar to the world we live in today. People go to work, raise families, and pay and evade taxes. They have good days as well as bad. They attend weddings, funerals, and conduct labor strikes.

Today however, is a very special day. It is the closing day of the Grand Jubilee—a festive week-long occasion in honor of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV. Foreign dignitaries have come from near and far—from the Aegean isles, Mesopotamia, and kingdoms in the Levant. There has been much feasting on deliciously prepared meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, baked bread, beer, wine, and honey. Ceremonies to honor certain gods have taken place daily. The entire kingdom has rejoiced, for this has been a time of plenty. All will soon be over, however, for the final processional march is about to begin.

Two groups of musicians take their places along the Grand Processional Walkway of the huge, multipurpose, open-air temple-complex known as the Gempaaten, as thousands of onlookers laugh and cheer. The first musicians are a group of Egyptian women playing harps, lutes, pipes, and percussion. The second group are Asiatic men playing their native instruments. The master of ceremonies delivers a speech announcing the arrival of Pharaoh. The music starts, and the procession is under way.

Pharaoh then appears in all his shining glory. He sits on a palanquin—a kind of platform with poles attached, the whole thing being born and transported on the shoulders of servants. The King is sitting straight and proud, head held up high, with arms crossed against his chest. In each hand, he holds a royal scepter. On his head rests the White Crown of Upper Egypt.

The stunningly beautiful Chief Queen Nefertiti appears close behind the King on her own covered palanquin. Behind her are three smaller palanquins, each carrying a little girl. It is not the custom for royal children to participate in these processions. The little girls are stand-ins for the royal couple’s three young daughters—Meryt, Meket, and Ankhesen.

As Pharaoh outwardly revels in his present glory, inwardly he recalls his childhood and how bleak his prospects seemed. As a child, he was very timid, given more to the pursuit of art and poetry than to the waging of war. Moreover, he possessed peculiar physical characteristics that caused many people to treat him with reservation. He had a long, droopy face, slender neck, rather plump breasts, a potbelly, and fat thighs tapering down quickly to skinny ankles. People constantly made comments about him behind his back. Once, he accidentally overheard a conversation between two of his father’s officials, both agreeing that it would be a sad day for the Empire if little Neferkheprure-Waenre, the ‘Royal Embarrassment’ ever stepped up to the throne.

He thinks next of his older brother Prince Thutmose, first in line and the one everybody thought would become king. The elder son died prematurely however, and left the half-bewildered Neferkheprure to prepare for kingship and assume the royal name of his father. His mother, Queen Tiye who showed the most confidence in him was never very far from his side.

Towards the end of the processional march, Amenhotep sees a group of his local officials. Among them is his southern vizier Ramose, a man with whom relations seem terribly strained at times. This has caused the King much distress, since Ramose was one of the few men from his father’s regime that he felt he could ever trust. Not far from Ramose stands the Priest of Amen—a man Pharaoh despises thoroughly.

The King knows that today is not the proper time to dwell on such things, but he finds it difficult to avoid. He has a tendency to be compulsive about things that concern him. Today should be his day of triumph, but even among the throngs and cheers and waving arms of the adoring crowds he can not rid his mind of what he perceives as the ‘evil’ that lurks around him.

Soon the processional march comes to an end. Four bowmen position themselves along an outer perimeter, each facing one of the four cardinal points. They each shoot an arrow high in the air. This act symbolizes the ever-increasing boundaries and influence of the Empire. The jubilee now officially ends.

Amidst the euphoric support of the people following the jubilee, Amenhotep spends the following months overseeing the various projects that are underway in Karnak. One day after inspecting the temples under construction, he visits the studio of the Master Sculptor Bek.

“Greetings my lord,” Bek says nervously as Amenhotep enters.

Bek is of the old school, accustomed to creating in the traditional style. Amenhotep has encouraged him to pursue a freer style of art. Bek has tried to follow his pharaoh’s inspiration, but is not at all certain how Amenhotep will react. He escorts Pharaoh to one of the back rooms to show him his latest creation. Amenhotep gazes at a larger than life-size statue for what to Bek seems like an eternity. The statue looks like Amenhotep, except all of his least flattering physical features are grossly exaggerated—his long, thin face, his pot belly, even his hips are so wide as to appear feminine.

“Excellent! You are truly a genius.” Akhenaten finally proclaims.

Bek is instantly relieved.

Pharaoh continues, “You have managed to completely detach yourself from the vanities of the past, and in so doing, you have reached a higher level of artistic expression. This time will be remembered as the beginning of a renaissance . . . an age of innovation . . . and you, Bek, will be remembered as the father of the new art.”

“Thank you my lord. It does my heart good to know that you are pleased with my work.” Bek then recalls a message he was to deliver to Pharaoh. “Ramose was here earlier hoping to find you my lord. He asked that I remind you of the meeting you agreed to have with him.”

Akhenaten’s expression suddenly changes from a smile to reluctant acknowledgment. “Oh yes. I have been avoiding him lately. I suppose I should keep the appointment this time . . . Well Master Bek,” Pharaoh sighs, “I will return on another day when we can spend more time together.”

Amenhotep goes to the palace and finds Ramose there waiting for him. Ramose is a proud elder statesman who displays the dignity befitting a man of his stature. Small and wiry, he dresses simply in the traditional tunic of the vizier.

“My lord.” Ramose begins. “There are urgent matters I need to discuss with you. The Hittites are acting up again. They are posturing themselves for an attack against the Mitanni. We have just received another plea from The King of Mitanni for our help.”

“As I have told you in the past . . . the Hittites only want back what was theirs to begin with.”

“But they won’t stop just there my lord. They want to build an empire to rival ours.”

“I don’t believe that. I believe they should be left alone to work out their problems.”

“The Mitanni are our allies my lord.”

“They are not allies we need under such circumstances.”

“With all due respect . . . I believe they are.”

Pharaoh looks disapprovingly, then asks impatiently, “Was there anything else you wanted Ramose?”

“Yes my lord. There is one other thing. The Habiru are wreaking havoc raiding the villages of the eastern desert. We need to step up our military presence in those areas.”

“I’m sure these are only isolated incidences. I will deal with that problem in a different way.” Inwardly, Pharaoh has plans of bringing the settled Habiru of the Levant into his fold. He does not wish to jeopardize his relations by attacking their less civilized nomadic cousins of the eastern dessert. “Is there anything else?” Pharaoh asks again.

Ramose tightens his jaw, visibly upset then responds, “No my lord.”

Several months pass and tensions continue to rise between Amenhotep and certain high-ranking people, notably, the Priest of Amen. This situation climaxes one morning when the priest awaits Pharaoh outside his private Re-Herakhte temple.

The Priest is a slightly rotund man with a shaved head, and an intense, humorless face. He wears a garment of white cloth, with a leopard skin over his shoulders.

“Pharaoh.” calls the Priest as Pharaoh leaves the temple.

Amenhotep turns around, irritated that his deep thought has been interrupted. “What do you want?” he demands.

“We need to talk.”

“We have nothing to say to each other.”

“You are making some serious mistakes. I should remind you that Amen is the supreme god of the land, and the reason for all of Egypt’s successes.”

“The Cult of Amen has gained influence steadily from the time of my conquering ancestors. It was my great-great grandfather Thutmose III who made this empire what it is today.”

“Amen was the god of Thutmose III.”

“True, but you are not Amen. You simply crave wealth, prestige, and power to rival my own . . . and that I cannot allow.”

“I repeat. You are making some serious mistakes. I should remind you Amen is the resident god of this city. You can not simply replace him with Re-Herakhte on a whim. You are placing both yourself and the country you claim to rule in grave danger.”

“The country I claim to rule? How dare you question my authority!” Pharaoh walks close to the priest. “I hereby relieve you of your duties as the Priest of Amen.”

The priest is stunned, but quickly recovers, his eyes, narrow and calculating. “Very well then. Just remember . . . all actions have consequences.”

After the disgruntled priest has sauntered off, Amenhotep’s anger cools. He feels disheartened, for part of what the priest said rang true. There is a silent majority in Thebes still sympathetic to the old beliefs.

As time passes, many people in the land become unhappy with Pharaoh’s radical, pacifist policies—reality is sinking back in—the Jubilee after all is a thing of the past. The King’s Mother Queen Tiye councils her son about the mounting problems over dinner one evening.

“How are you feeling this evening my son?” Tiye asks as she looks thoughtfully and lovingly into her son’s troubled face.

“Rather depressed Mother. The corruption angers me, and the resistance to change is great . . . even for a Pharaoh. It is all so overwhelming at times.”

“Your father was not very happy about the situation either, but he did what he felt he had to do in order to hold things together.”

“My father was a patient man. He usually found a way to win people over to his way of thinking, but not when it came to the Cult of Amen.” Pharaoh adds.

“This is a new time and you might find the way yet. It is time that the power of the Cult of Amen be broken. Perhaps we should go to Memphis for a while. A brief stay in the northern capital might give you a different perspective,” suggests Tiye.

“Memphis would probably not be much different from here . . . but I do find the thought of going to the city of On appealing.”

“The resident city of our god Re-Herakhte! I think that would be an excellent idea. Perhaps there you can gain enlightenment in a way that you can not anywhere else.”

After many days of preparation, the journey to On begins. It is a cool, crisp fall morning. A patch in the eastern sky has warmed to a red glow. The flotilla has already assembled when the King and his family board the Royal Vessel. They say a prayer, then the boats break water.

As the boats drift away from Thebes, Amenhotep feels a great burden lifting from his soul. The sun continues to rise, cutting a dramatic pattern through the date trees growing along the banks of the River Nile amidst a luxuriant green blanket of successful agriculture. Farmers lead their ox-drawn carts into the fields as they ready for the work of the day. Thick clumps of papyrus shoot up from the water occasionally along the banks. Lotus flowers float on the water’s surface, creating a rich variety of form, color, and texture. A bright, thick blanket of fog hugs the fields. As the sun burns the topmost layers away, Pharaoh marvels at how each droplet catches the light and sparkles with the radiance of the sun. The lush green fields, the date trees, the mist, the light—it is a truly magical morning. Pharaoh’s two oldest daughters, Meryt and Meket, climb up on their father’s lap as the nurse hands the youngest, Ankhesen, to Nefertiti.

The King’s mother sits in a comfortable chair nearby. A servant inverts a scented ointment jar on the top of her coiffure—tightly braided hair thrown to the back and sides of her head, cut short at the neck. Her facial expression conceals the delight she feels toward this happy family scene, for her mouth possesses a downward cast seeming to suggest a perpetual state of sadness. What might be mistaken for sadness, though, is really pride—pride in her ancestry as a descendent of the house of the southern princes. Her father, who was of Asiatic extraction, was Captain of the Chariotry during her husband’s reign. Born near Akhmin, she inherited the dark skin of her Nubian mother and is especially popular in the southern reaches.

The first few days of the journey pass without notice. Each vessel manned by thirty oarsmen gliding swiftly downstream by day as navigators constantly test the river’s ever changing depth with long poles. Pharaoh spends most of his time writing poetry and dictating letters. Just before twilight on the evening of the fifth day, the women and children have already retired to their quarters. Only Pharaoh and Parennefer, the King’s Cupbearer remain on deck. In childhood, Parennefer was the King’s playmate. A close relationship developed between the two over the years. In fact, at times when they are alone, they seem almost as brothers. The King confides things to Parennefer that he will to no one else. As they drink beer from jars through reed straws Pharaoh makes a confession.

“I don’t feel as close to the Queen as I should.”

“Yes, I know Waenre.”

“You do?”

“Yes. I don’t believe anyone would have done for you as well as that girl from the Aegean Isles . . . the one who served as a musician in your father’s court.”

Pharaoh sighs longingly, “She could wring such emotion from the strings of a lyre, and she sang so beautifully. I resented my father for sending her . . .”

Suddenly, off in the distance something catches Pharaoh’s eye.

“Look over there. Do you see that?” inquires an astonished Pharaoh..

“Yes Waenre!” answers Parennefer, his mouth dropping open in amazement.

There is an intense glow near the horizon in a northeasterly direction, unlike anything either of them has ever seen before.

“What can it be?” wonders Pharaoh.

“Perhaps it is an omen.” suggests Parennefer.

The King orders the boats stopped for the night. He is so wrought with anticipation he can hardly sleep. The following morning, anticipation turns to disappointment, for as daylight gathers in the sky, before him to the east lies a vast expanse of land—barren, save for a few scrub bushes here and there. Beyond the expanse, a range of low mountains form a cliff at one point. Pharaoh might very well have dismissed the whole thing, except for Parennefer, who convinces him they should stay a bit longer. This proves to be fateful advice.

“Look! The way the sun rises. This must be a second omen.” declares an excited Pharaoh. There is a break in the mountains and as the sun rises it fills the break in a way that suggests the hieroglyphic sign for ‘horizon’.

The two leave the boat and climb up the steep bank to a more level surface. They walk some distance on the white, gravelly ground. As Pharaoh ponders the situation, things become clear to him.

“Don’t you see Parennefer?” Pharaoh begins. “The special way in which the sun had risen through the break in the mountain signifies its importance as the source and the power of life. The sun itself is supreme—not the human form of Re-Herakhte, but rather the crown that rests on his head.”

“I understand Waenre. Without the sun we are nothing.”

“A new capital city shall be erected over this expanse! I dedicate this new city to the solar disc . . . the ‘Aten’. Like the rays of the sun, the influence of this new city will reach far and wide. It will become the spiritual center of the entire world!”

Amenhotep never reaches the city of On. Instead, he returns to Thebes full of enthusiasm, ordering the cessation of all ongoing construction projects, and redirecting those resources to the construction of the new city he names Akhetaten, which means ‘The Horizon of the Aten’ or ‘The City of the Horizon’. By the year 1007 BC he changes his name to Akhenaten, which means ‘He Who Serves the Aten’.

The vizier Ramose voices opposition to the ultra radical changes now taking place and is promptly dismissed. Pharaoh replaces him with a young upstart named Nakht. Parennefer is elevated to the highly exalted rank of Pope or ‘Chief Overseer Of The Prophets Of The Gods’.

Later in the same year, Akhenaten returns to the site of the new city. Workers have already set up temporary tent dwellings for the King’s entourage, including the Royal Family. Things are going on at a frantic pace. Stone is being cut and brought in from the quarries in massive quantity. Gold, silver, and copper pour in almost daily. Ground plans are being laid, and the soil is being prepared for cultivation on the west side of the river.

One afternoon, Pharaoh is in his private tent discussing theology with Parennefer and the Chief Servitors of the Aten Cult, Meryre and Tutu, when the steward informs him the mayor of the city, Sekheprer, and Mahu, the chief of police are calling and have urgent news for him. Pharaoh receives the two men.

“The surveyors have found something of a mysterious nature at the top of the cliff!” the mayor exclaims.

“We do not know what it is, but it is quite large, and the color of silver . . . perhaps some sort of vessel, but with no openings.” Mahu adds.

“I would like to see it.” Pharaoh replies without hesitation.

The only easy access to the site is by first going to the northern extreme of the city, and then following the gradual ascent of the mountain ridge southward to the point where the cliff rises. The King arrives at the site, accompanied by the two officials and Parennefer. He is amazed at what he sees—a huge object, round in shape, but flattened out at the top and bottom, with three legs extending from the bottom to provide support and balance. Akhenaten, standing at the top of the cliff turns east towards the river and realizes this is the same direction from which he saw the glowing light in the sky earlier on while traveling downstream. A sense of calm overcomes him. He knows in his heart this strange object—this huge disc is somehow related to the first omen. Suddenly, he feels inspired by a sense of higher purpose. Energy surges through him as new truths unfold to consciousness. Standing at the top of the cliff, arms outstretched toward the sky, he declares, “My father the Aten, the only true God, has delivered me! I am the son of the sun—the realization of God on earth. His rays reach out like arms through the heavens to strengthen me. The City of the Horizon is the home I shall never leave. This is truly the dawning of a new age!”

The others, especially Parennefer become so excited by the tremendous burst of energy from the usually somber King they feel swept away. When the fervor dies down Akhenaten gives the order to close off the area.

Pharaoh returns daily to the sight for prayer and meditation. Three weeks later he has been kneeling before the vessel, praying for hours, when he hears a faint humming sound. His heart quickens as he watches part of the lower half of the vessel opening down to the ground, yielding a flight of stairs. Moments pass and nothing more happens, then a figure appears at the top of the stairs. The figure is humanoid in appearance, but definitely not human, moving with an almost supernatural grace and agility as he descends the walkway. He is tall and sinewy, with large slanted eyes, and a small nose and mouth that seem arranged too closely together given the size of the head, but not unpleasant in appearance. The being is hairless and has small, slightly pointed ears. He stares into the eyes of Pharaoh and raises his right hand as a sign of greeting.

Pharaoh does not immediately respond. He is motionless and speechless, as if frozen to the ground on which he stands. Finally he manages to overcome his awe, and returns the greeting.

“Where do you come from?” Akhenaten asks.

The being does not understand Pharaoh and responds in a very peculiar tongue—one combining syllables, pitch, and tone in a singularly melodic fashion. The sounds suggest a highly efficient language, yet rich in meaning and shades of meaning. The being beckons Pharaoh to follow him up the stairs of the vessel. Pharaoh enters the vessel and sees two other beings, similar in appearance to the first, working over a table. One of the beings holds what appears to be a metal sphere, about the size of a fist. Setting the sphere to the side, he motions reassuringly for Pharaoh to lie on the table. The King, convinced that these beings have something to do with his god, easily submits. They remove his crown, and place a device having the shape of a visor over his eyes.

Soon, Akhenaten melts away into a state of trance. He has a vision of relaxing in a cool, beautiful oasis. There is a pond of water. In the middle of the pond stands a beautiful blond woman wearing a sheer white gown. The King’s heart fills with passion and he walks out on the water towards her. She disrobes and they embrace to make love while floating weightlessly somewhere above the water. The woman and the King reach orgasm together as the world turns into a shower of sparkling gold mist. Pharaoh comes out of the trance state and wakes up feeling light and airy, but disappointed that the beautiful woman has disappeared.

In the days that follow, Akhenaten arranges for tents and canopies to be raised around the vessel. Servants bring food and other offerings. The beings up to that point had subsisted on low bulk, concentrated nutrients, and are grateful to have ‘real food’ for a change. The King visits them daily, and they soon learn ways of communicating with each other.

The beings who come to be known as the ‘Sky People’, came from a planet on the other side of the galaxy. They evolved into their present humanoid form eons ago from a cat-like predatory creature. In a world teaming with predators and a shortage of prey, some of these creatures gradually adapted to a vegetable diet, living in trees, and evolving hands for grasping branches and handling fruit. As the planet entered an ice age, many of the creatures returned to the ground, supplementing their diets with the flesh of animals. Once again, becoming predators, but perfecting their skills to a higher level with the development of tools and the evolution of a bipedal gait.

During the course of their evolution, the Sky People developed a technology allowing them to accelerate a space vehicle to a speed approaching that of light. They found in theory and proved in practice that when more acceleration is applied, the vehicle not only increases its mass, but eventually, it traverses the curvature of three dimensional deep space, entering the middle regions of fourth dimensional space-time. As dimensional shift occurs, the vehicle attempts to align with a frame of reference compatible with its increased mass. This causes it to adjust its direction toward a fifth dimensional straight-line course to its destination. An analogy to this might be finding a tunnel to travel straight through a mountain, rather than going around it. It was a trick of nature allowing them to effectively exceed the speed of light without actually doing so.

Travel through deep space came closer to reality, but the journey could still take hundreds of years, and no one would still be alive. To solve this problem they developed a technique of suspended animation, causing the aging process to slow down tremendously.

The three Sky People who landed on earth were scientists on a mission of discovery to aid in the survival of their race. They knew that a certain star near their home planet was destined to become a super nova, and destroy their home world. The hope was to find a planet capable of supporting life, but devoid of intelligent beings.

The aliens, upon finding intelligent life on earth, would have continued their search after collecting samples for scientific research purposes, but had problems with their propulsion system. To avoid the heat of the day, they worked nights, attempting to repair the faulty equipment with the aid of artificial lights—and these lights were the source of the glow in the sky that Pharaoh had seen from the river on his Royal Vessel.

Politically, the next three years are very difficult ones for the King. One morning in 1005 BC, as Pharaoh lounges on a couch in his new palace writing poetry, Nefertiti returns from her morning ride along the Royal Road.

“What are you writing?” Nefertiti asks.

“I’m putting the finishing touches on the Hymn to the Aten. It will be the creed of the faith.”

“Word came today that the King of Hatti has crushed the Empire of Mitanni.” she informs Akhenaten solemnly.

“At last that issue can be laid to rest.” replies Pharaoh, sounding relieved.

“Do you think it is best that things turned out as they did?”

“It was perhaps the only reasonable solution. Are you having doubts?”

“It seems we have moved from a known situation into an unknown one that could have been prevented.” Nefertiti responds.

“The power of the Aten provides guidance in these matters.”

“Doesn’t the Aten also provide us with the ability to reason and the power to act?”

“I have reasoned that sometimes the best action is nonaction.”

“As you wish . . . There is also another message. The King of Assyria has asked to open diplomatic relations with us.”

Akhenaten displays obvious delight.

“You realize that he is an opportunist . . . taking advantage of the situation with the Mitanni, don’t you?” admonishes Nefertiti.

“This is the beginning of a new era for mankind. It is time we all set our past differences aside. When can he send a delegation?”

“As soon as we send our approval.”

“Make it so.”

“Very well then.” replies Nefertiti reluctantly.

As time passes, Pharaoh becomes less popular than ever with his people. Egypt is losing her grip on the empire and living conditions are poor for the majority. The worse things get the more time he spends praying, meditating, and visiting the Sky People. One evening under the tents surrounding the vessel, Akhenaten tells them, “Everywhere, people seem to prefer war and bloodshed over peace and beauty. They can not seem to grasp the truly important things in life . . . and they continue to resist my reforms.”

The Sky People take great interest in what he has to say, but try not to influence him. They are cautious about how they answer his questions. This is out of a desire to not interfere with human society. They do care however, and on occasion give him philosophical advice. The most talkative of the three aliens seems to act as spokesman for the others. He tells Pharaoh, “Your people by nature hold high convictions for the things they believe. High conviction can be constructive, but it can also cause stagnation. One would do well to remember that things do constantly change, nothing remains the same. You should forever search for a more perfect truth.”

“I agree and I will. My greatest fear is that the work will not be competed in my lifetime. I need a son to succeed me, but the Queen only gives me daughters . . . six children and not one boy.”

Soon, the Sky People present Pharaoh with a gift. It is a clay tablet, round at the top, with a raised image of the solar disc. Rays fall down on an image of Pharaoh, in contemporary Aten style. Below the image is a phonetic glyph inscription.

The spokesperson for the aliens tell Pharaoh, “This is a very special tablet . . . keep it as long as you can, then give it to someone else and tell them to do the same.”

“But what makes it so special?” Pharaoh asks.

“Let us just say it provides the possibility of a wish fulfilled.” answers the alien.

“Thank you.” replies the King as he accepts the tablet. “I promise to do as you ask.” Akhenaten places the tablet carefully to the side before continuing:

“I have noticed the three of you not looking well lately. Are you ill?”

“We are becoming weary like you, but for different reasons. Our problems are difficult to explain. It has to do with the differences between our worlds.” the alien answers.

Being from a less massive planet, they suffer from the intense gravity of the earth. Extra effort has to be made to overcome the effects of sheer weight. The world they come from has longer days, shorter years, lower average temperatures, and higher humidity. Here, they become lethargic from the heat of the day if they leave the vessel for any length of time. They are subject to rapid dehydration, fatigued by gravity, and have problems synchronizing their biological clocks. They have been unsuccessful in their attempts to repair their vessel, and face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives on Earth.

Lurking in the shadows are the former High Priest of Amen, the former vizier Ramose, and Maia, the deposed Envoy to Philistine. They meet secretly, one moonlit night, in the underground vault of an obscure Amen temple in the outskirts of Thebes. The room is dimly lit with flickering candles that reveal stone walls adorned with bas-reliefs of the god Amen—one of the few places where such images have not been obliterated. Sitting at a table in the middle of the room, the three malcontents express their grievances.

“Brothers,” Ramose begins. “The state of affairs of the empire is urgent to say the least. We are made to endure one embarrassment after another. Bad enough our Pharaoh would even consider diplomatic relations with the likes of the Assyrian King, but when the delegation does arrive, he insists the meetings be held out of doors under the rays of his glorious Aten. They were in the sun so long that one of the poor devils collapsed from heatstroke.”

The others look disbelievingly.

“I have right here a copy of a scathing letter from the Assyrian King to that effect.” Ramose declares as he places the scroll on the table in support of his argument. “But that is a trivial matter when compared to the plight of poor Maia.”

“Yes. I had no choice but to follow his orders against the better judgment of myself and the King of the Philistines. Pharaoh insisted that David be made vassal King of Hebron. He said David would be an asset to us. Now he has turned against his benefactors and seized the throne of Jerusalem.” Maia explains, disheartened.

“Our ruler had used poor judgment, but of course, a Pharaoh can never be wrong and someone had to take the blame.” Ramose adds.

“I have always served my country well . . . it was my life.” Maia sighs.

“And what does Pharaoh do? In a weak show of retaliation he reluctantly exiles a few Habiru from the eastern desert to Nubia.” Ramose interjects disgustedly.

“He was deluded into believing he could convert the cursed Habiru to his faith. David catered to the deviant’s sick vanity with his high praise of the defiled Hymn to the Aten.” the Priest adds.

The group is silent momentarily as they each weigh the severity of the problems. The High Priest’s anger builds as he thinks of the heavy losses his once powerful Cult of Amen has been forced to endure.

“The people will never accept his idea of God. Even in his own city I’ve heard that the poorer classes hide statues of Bes and Het-heru in their dwellings. His most loyal followers seem to be the ones he gives the most gold to. It is a pathetic situation and he is a pathetic creature. He doesn’t act like a king, and he certainly doesn’t look like a king. If a man were dragged through the swamps of Kush for forty days, he would come away fairing better than our dilapidated King in all his slothful splendor. I often ask myself what our Pharaoh would have been in life had he not been born into royalty . . . a starving poet? A wandering, half-crazed priest? My only consolation is that he does not have a son to perpetuate this reign of madness.”

“I think we all agree there is a problem. Now the question: what is to be done?” inquires Ramose.

“I say death to the heretic!” exclaims the Priest vehemently.

“That is indeed one possible solution. It would not be the first time, but such an act carries with it consequences that can not easily be foreseen.” Ramose warns.

“But he is a madman whose infirmities will spell the end for us all.” the Priest insists.

“Perhaps there is another way.” Maia suggests. “I have heard rumors of a strange race of people . . . well three of them anyway. The King spends a considerable amount of time with them . . . too much in fact. I don’t know what kind of influence they have on him, but if we did something about them, maybe he would come to his senses.”

“For the derelict to come to his senses is to expect Set to make amends with Osiris.” the Priest insists.

“Where do these people come from?” Ramose asks.

“No one knows for sure . . . except perhaps Pharaoh himself, but it is a place very far away.” answers Maia.

“This is something we should investigate further.” states Ramose. “If there is anything to it, we can take action. If not, there is always the other solution.” turning to the High Priest who begrudgingly agrees.

Together, they rally the financial support of people of who have fallen from royal favor, but still of great wealth. They send spies into the City of the Horizon to learn all they can of the mysterious ‘foreigners’. Finally, the hour of action is close at hand.

One evening, at twilight, the Sky People sit out in the open enjoying the coolness, when Nubian bowmen masquerading as royal soldiers overcome the guards with their arrows. Immediately after, Bedouin fighters rush in to finish off the surviving guards, while the bowmen seize the Sky People, bind them and hand them over to the Bedouins. The aliens might have been put to death, had it not been considered a bad omen. Instead, they are taken deep into the Sahara desert and banished.

Akhenaten, upon hearing the news of the disappearance of the Sky People goes into a state of deep depression. He is never quite the same again, preferring to withdraw to the confines of the Royal Palace. The King’s mother dies not long after, and he withdraws further. The rift between Akhenaten and Nefertiti widens. She moves to the Northern Palace.

Pharaoh spends more time with Kiya, a lesser Queen who holds the title ‘Royal Favorite’. There is beauty that can delight the eye, and beauty that can arouse the passions. The two beauties are not always identical. Queen Kiya is an attractive woman with a slightly childlike face. Her soft brown eyes, and full luscious lips emit a fire, and arouse passions in the King in a way that Nefertiti never could. For better or for worse, she is submissive, caring, and supportive of her pharaoh’s every whim—in sharp contrast to Nefertiti’s sophistication and intellect. The two become virtual hermits in his palace, surrounded by indoor pools of cool water, and walls beautifully decorated with hieroglyphs formed by inlaying richly colored stones into backgrounds of contrasting colors—rich red quartzite and green agate set against obsidian black.

Kiya, though, has not the credentials to bear him a son that would have any hope of ever ascending the throne. Akhenaten’s daughters, however, do have the necessary credentials. The King takes his second daughter, Meket, and impregnates her. Meket dies in childbirth, but leaves a daughter behind.

Akhenaten continues his downward spiral. He turns his attentions to his eldest daughter, Meryt and her husband, Smenkhare. The King’s anima or female part of his psyche, while always considerable, seems to become more dominant than before and in constant turmoil with his male counterpart. He courts the affections of Smenkhare, who also happens to be his half brother, then takes his daughter Meryt as his Chief Queen.

In 996 BC Akhenaten contracts a mysterious illness. Pharaoh calls his closest confidant, Parennefer to his bedside, giving him specific instructions regarding his burial, and what to do with the vehicle that had belonged to the Sky People. Parennefer, with tears in his eyes listens. Pharaoh signals his steward to bring forth the clay tablet given to him by the Sky People. He passes it over to Parennefer telling him to keep it as long as he can, then give it to someone else and tell them to do the same. Akhenaten also gives his ‘brother’ a wealth of gold, silver, and lapis lazuli stones. He instructs him to use the wealth to take the true believers of the Aten faith away to a place where they can enjoy peace and happiness if they do not find it here. Parennefer unhesitatingly agrees to his wishes.

Pharaoh becomes weaker and less coherent. He gathers strength briefly as he recalls an event that happened in the first year of his reign. A solar eclipse had occurred just before sunset over the Ugarit—a clear sign that the Aten would show disfavor to the lands of the disbelievers. The solar disc seems now darkened over Pharaoh, and he wonders if his god has forsaken him.

Before the rising of the sun of the next day, Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt is dead—and so ends the reign of the most enigmatic, and controversial monarch in the history of dynastic Egypt: Neferkheprure-Waenre, may he rest in peace.

About the Book

The Pharoah’s Son
by Michael J. Dahl

Fay Smartt, Gold Crest

Emotional, forceful, and thought provoking. Interesting use of various genre combining in a way that makes sense of the whole. Style is used dynamically to convey the evolution of character. The story steadily builds from the beginning, leaving the reader in a daze at the end.

Book Description

A child is born under bizarre circumstances, and after a few short years, orphaned, to survive the rest of childhood under cruel conditions. By adulthood, he graduates to a life of crime, corruption and the use of an hallucinogenic drug, causing the release of suppressed memories from his subconscious. His curiosity about the nature of reality and the meaning of life ripens to an obsession, leading him into the world of occultism. Here, he plunges into realms so overwhelming he loses his mind. Committed to an insane asylum, he discovers there is a method to his madness and confounds the experts with philosophical insights they learn to respect if not accept. Christopher ends up on Skid Row, homeless and destitute, but years later, a profound experience provides clues to his true origin and the inspiration to rise above his condition. He embarks on a journey to Ethiopia and Egypt where he stumbles on a most remarkable find. There his destiny begins to unfold.

From the Publisher

This book is more than meets the eye. It is also an excellent introduction to the reign of Akhentaten, the controversial heretic king of Egypt, considered by many to be the first ‘individual’ in history and the father of monotheism.

Compelling evidence is offered in another book ‘Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest’ by David M. Rohl that Akhenaten ruled Egypt around 1000BC rather than the 14th century BC as most scholars believe. This new chronology makes Akhenaten a contemporary of the biblical King David, providing for some fresh and fascinating historical interpretations that are explored in the present book.

The reader starts out on a journey to the remote past, then rides a thread of history to modern times. It will be realized that the past is directly related to the state of the world today. You will come away with new insights about ancient Egypt, as well as human origins, beliefs, and destiny.

From the Author

Are you one of those people, like me, who has had problems reconciling the creation story in the Book of Genesis with our present state of scientific knowledge? If so, then this is also your book.

The Tree of Knowledge, the Forbidden Fruit, the Great Flood, and Creation itself are explored and interpreted in ways acceptable to most modern minds. I have learned that both science and mysticism are necessary to maximize human understanding. People who dismiss one for the sake of the other simply have not traveled far enough along the path to understand the subtle relationships between the two.

This story will leave you thinking in ways you may never have.

About the Author

Born in Los Angeles with an engineering/liberal arts background. Hobbies include (but not limited to) reading, photography, and traveling.

Copyright © 2001 Michael J. Dahl, reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. {jos_sb_discuss:9}

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