Sea People

by Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 8

Soon the pirates learned looting a settlement was much easier than restoring its original condition. Orco however, was uncompromising. The querulous protesting sea people had to return every single item to its original location and had to patch up every broken part or replace it if a repair was impossible. Dincer controlled every operation and asked the Kahin for special advice in case of the interior of the temple.

In the late afternoon Dincer introduced Aegir and Buri in the art of making slings by braiding stalks of rush to cords and fixing the retention and release cords to the diamond shaped pouches for the bullets. With every lesson Buri became more skilled and after only three days the curly haired half-cast could hit a head-sized target more than 100 stride length away. Aegir was less unerring but the bullets he launched never seem to hit the ground again.

The twins Kadem and Kadir reluctantly tended the sheep and envied not only their big brother for his responsibilities but also Hami who was assigned to entertain the Kahin as well as Tsemo and Laong. That was not an easy task as the Kirketin was curious like a puppy dog sniffing out a flock of birds. But these were not sweet birds but mean and rough young pirates.

The time of the full moon was just three days away when the restoration of the Temple of the Holy Trinity and the two round houses met the approval of the Kahin as well as his guardians. "Order your men to clean up the beach and then tell those to return to the Kingdom of Rhaydeston, who are not chosen to escort the Sun Seekers on their way across the Wadj-ur. to the kingdom of Tekrur!" Dincer asked Orco. "We all need some time for recovery, in particular Kirketin the Oracle of the Holy Trinity. He needs some rest and has to calm down before the onslaught of the pilgrims."

The twins announced in chorus. "We also need some time to tighten the friendship with the Sun Seekers, really! We may not see each other for a long time! Do you agree Kirkie?" and Kirketin followed, "Yes! Yes! Kirkie llloves Tsemo! Needs to hhold'im tight once more!" hugging Tsemo tightly, "Hholdìm tight, my lovely Son of the Moooon daughter! Kirkie llloves Tsemo! Ever, ever!"

The next day all pirates had left for the kingdom of Rhaydeston with exception of Orco and the crew he had chosen to accompany the Sun Seekers to the city of Tyruus, the capital of Tekrur. In the evening under the rising moon Kirketin, his guardians, the Sun Seekers and Orco with his crew gathered at the downwind side of the big rock at the beach around a fire. Dincer had sacrificed a fat lamb, now roasting on a spit over glowing coals. Kadem and Kadir had supplied a good number of cheese loafs and served them on flatbread prepared by Hami with the trifling help of Kirkie. The youngest of the pirates, loving to dive, had collected sea urchins from the rock bottom at the cape, cracked open the shells of the helpless animals and were now offering their salty tasting eggs as a special treat. When Tsemo looked doubtfully at the grey-white grapes of eggs, Kenk, the bossiest of the four young pirates, remarked snootily, "Try them Blondie! They just taste slightly salty, but..." winking at his buddies, "afterwards you will experience a miracle! Your cock starts to grow to about this ..!" and then he spread his arms wide!

"Hey, hey," Orco interfered sharply, "Kenk, Don't make our guest blush! Tsemo and his friends are of noble blood and not used to the dirty language of you water rats!"

Jangi, the youngest of the four tried to calm the situation, "Don't be upset Orco! Kenk always likes to be funny." Turning to Tsemo, "Don´t be offended, he always likes to joke and I know he envies you because of your flaxen-hair! He is afraid you will snatch away all the girls from under his nose!"

Now the Sun Seekers as well as Kirketin's guards yelled with laughter and exchanged amused glances. Jangi however, looked blankly from one to the other. In the resulting silence Hale, the sturdiest of the young pirates, tried to remedy the situation, turning to one-eyed pirate "Orco, where is your contribution to the farewell party? You know the amphora full grape juice! Let's preserve the irep from spoiling." Now it was on the Sun Seekers to look bewildered as none of them had heard this term before.

Orco however, grinning from ear to ear, scratched his bold head turned to the fourth of the young pirated, "Imsu, you son of a nosy mother, I bet you know where I have hidden my treasure from the vineyards of the big river. Go ahead and fetch it. Then he turned to the four Sun Seekers, "Irep? That's a foretaste of the delicious things to come, a booty I won in a raid into Kemet, the land of black soil!"

"Kemet? Isn't this the land we.....?" Aegir asked.

"Yes that the name of the country at the banks of the river Iteru Aa, the boundless river rising in the sky scratching mountains at the rim of the earth." Fixing Buri with his single eye, "You have to pass Kemet on your way to Ta-Seti, the place of your dreams."

The party gathered around the lamb roasting on the spit fell silent, then Buri inquired. "Have you been there? In Kemet, in Ta-Seti, the country my mother came from?"

"Yes, my son! Can I call you sons? I am an old man!"

Even before the Sun Seekers and the Kahin's guards could utter their consent, cheeky Kenk started roaring, "Accept his offer! This ole man has fathered sons than there are ports all round the Wadj-ur! In every seaport he …..."

Orco blushed, but then started to grin "You are revealing my secrets, bad boy Kenk!" Then he turned apologizing to Aegir and Buri, "Having children in every port is my kind of life insUhraance in a time of unrest!"

Accepting this unusual explanation with a slight frown Aegir requested eagerly, "Can you tell us more about Kemet, the land, the people, its king?" than apologetically, "We all just know what Buri remembers from the stories his father has told him as a small boy! And it's so fabulous we hardly can believe it!"

Taking a look in the round Orco was satisfied of what he observed. To his right Aegir was sitting his head leaning on Dincer, to his left was Buri used by Kadir and Kadem as pillow, while Kirketin was trying to braid Tsemo's wheaten hairs and Hami snuggled with Laong and the young pirates acted as hosts. Pleased by what he could see Orco took the word, "I tell you, it's a fabulous country, it's a wealthy country, a country of farmers and townsmen, craftsmen and merchants, fishers and sailors, artists, musicians and dancers. Kemet is country of proud men and proud women; however it's also country of people enchained by the king, the public service and the priestly caste! It's not a country for freedom loving sea people. I might never live their! Sea peoples would not like to live in a country like Kemet, not a single Ekwesh man, not a single Lukka man, not one of the DenYen or of the Peleset or of the Sherden, neither one of the Shekeles or the Tereshs." Studying Aegir and Buri carefully, "And your fellow countrymen from the north, do you think you would like to live your lives forever in slavery, live in slavery?"

Meanwhile Imsu had returned from their boat on the beach balancing a heavy amphora in his arms. Putting it down he waited for Orco to break the seal and taste the content. Smiling Imsu turned to the travelers, "Have you every tried a delicious drink like this? A drink sweet like honey but dangerous like snake venom?" then slightly cocky, "Have you ever tasted irep, the drink of fermented juice of grapes, sweetened by figs?" When both Aegir and Buri looked surprised, Imsu continued, "I bet you are more familiar with the brew for ordinary people, henqet, made of barley, locust beans and dates? But irep is a royal drink, the drink for the Pr-A'a, the ruler of Kemet!"

After opening the amphora Orco filled a small cup after tasting his content with closed eyes he exclaimed, "Rich and heavy and sweet! Really a kingly drink, worth the king with five names!" offering the wine to Buri, "You will soon arrive in a kingdom, whose ruler is so vain to be decorated with five names:

his birth name;

the Ka-name, also known as the name of the falcon;

the Nebti-name, because he is reigning Upper Kemet as well as Lower Kemet;

the name Golden Falcon;

the name given to him at the day of coronation."

"That's really vain. My father and all the leaders of the clans at the northern rim of the earth are using only their birth name and believe me dear Orco, they are bold heroes raiding all the countries bordering the open sea."

"You do compare apple to oranges, Aegir! The clans of the North are living in shelters of wood, the ruler of Kemet however, the Pr-A'a, is residing in a house of stone with columns and statues bearing the roof and scraping the sky. No! He is residing in a temple build for a god!" Then looking to Aegir "What does your folk do with a body of a dead king, a dead hero?"

"Our heroes, our king, their bodies are laid on a bier in their favourite ship. This is towed far out into the wild sea by the ships of his living companions and burned at the beginning of the night. The burning ship drifts with the current into the night and finally vanishes on the horizon. Nobody knows the destiny of the ship nor that of the king's body!"

"The people of Kemet know the Pr-A'a becomes one with the Re, with Re the god of the sun!"

Tsemo inquired, "Oh, is it he, the Pr-A'a, we are looking for, the sun? Does the Pr-A'a rises in the morning out of the dark of the night, crosses the sky at noon and goes to sleep in the dusk? Is he the sun himself? Is the Pr-A'a identical to Re? Is he really Re?"

Straight off Orco revised his statement, "Tsemo, my white haired friend Pr-A'a is not identical to Re! That's the belief of the common people of Kemet or let me rephrase my statement, that's what the caste of priests make the common men believe!" looking from one to the other, "No, my sons! The Pr-A'a is as mortal as we are! He is mortal and can be wounded by arrows, he can die of poison; can be carried away by sickness! But these facts are kept in the dark by the priests. After a Pr-A'a dies his body is embalmed and presented to the mourners as dormant beauty laying in a precious bed surrounded by head-high candles and in a cloud of incense. At the end of the mourning period his still true to life looking corpse is hidden secretly it in a big tomb underground. His subjects however are told the Pr-A'a has risen to the sky and will live forever as Re, as the sun."

When Aegir and Buri shook their heads in disbelief, Orco ascertained, "Belief me my friends, the Kemet do it from time immemorial and you will find the sky-scraping tombs all along the Iteru Aa. Remember, the common people worship even the living Pr-A'a . They call him: Pu'thin, User-Maat-Re. Can you guess what this means? No? I tell you: Pu'thin, King of Truth, King of Justice, Restorer of the World Order, You are Re the perpetual Sun." Catching the surprise written all over their, faces, Orco continued, "Pu'thin is adored by his subjects, lauded by his priests, heralded by his soldiers and his generals. The reason is simple and shrewd at the same time." looking meaningful at his audience, "The Pr-A'a has vowed to restore the Grandness of the Empire of Kemet, by incorporating all the regions populated with Kemet-speaking people into the mainland. He wages this by inducing uprisings in the neighbouring countries, like that of the Peleset and the Labu. Members of his intelligence service infiltrate these countries spreading rumors and inducing insurrections. But Pr-A'a denies these actions. And I tell you, my sons, that's just the beginning! Because Pu'thin promised to bring home every singled Kemet-speaking men living abroad. He wages war against the Sherdens, the Shekeles, the Ekwesh and the Lukka. He has decided to rule the world, but the Sea People will fight him, annoy him by pinpricks, thwart his plans, piss on his parades."

While Orco explained the plans of Pu'thin to conquer the world, Imsu and the other young pirates had adopted the part of waiters and started to serve wine and food to the Sun Seekers and the Guardians of the Kahin of Ecinli.

While enjoying the meal Buri and Aegir asked Orco for more information, especially about the life at the Iteru Aa. Orco portrayed Kemet and his people, because a country is made up by its citizen and not its ruling class. The one eyed pirate despised the Pr-A'a and the cast of priests but he loved the people of Kemet, his farmers, craftsmen, fishermen and sailors. He summed up, "The common people are likeable people. You will enjoy staying there, but they are easy to mislead by heroic words and promises of a great future."

Soon small cups filled with golden wine went around in the circle of new friends. Dincer cut pieces from the roasted lamb offering the best pieces of meat to the Sun Seekers and to Orco, the head of the pirate's crew. Kadem and Kadir advertised cheese patties and little Hami bread. While all Sun Seekers enjoyed the sweet dew of the grapes, Tsemo despised the after taste and content oneself with spring water. The Kahin also avoided the brew of Kemet and snuggled up against Tsemo.

After the first hunger was satisfied the pirates began to intone songs and Kahin's guardians soon competed with the Ekwesh. The first songs praised homesick sailors stranded on a lonely beach or the beauty of the homeland. But with the dwindling of the wine in the amphora the songs became more boasting, more showy, more dirty describing not only the raiding of ports and villages but also of the seducing of girls and raping of virgins. Orco didn't object to songs like this:

The dames of Crete are fond and free,
And Samos' lips are willing;And soft the maids of Kavala,
And Arkean eyes are thrilling;
Still, though I bask beneath their smile,
Their charms fail to bind me.
And my heart goes back to Chalkis' Isle,
To the girl I left behind me.

But when it came to a chorus like this,

Here's to the whores of Tyruustown,
The white, the black, the yellow and brown.
Walk right in, lay your money down
And fuck the night away!

Orco called his boys to order. Remember our guest! Should the Sun Seekers think badly about of us Ekwesh people?

Once all the flat-bread and the cheese patty were gone, the lamb devoured to the stripped bones and the big amphora emptied to the ground the young pirates challenged the Sun Seekers to a game of dice with using the anklebones of the lamb. Aegir and Buri accepted the challenge provided Dincer and his brothers were allowed to come to their assistance. While Kadem and Kadir were ready to join in, Tsemo and Laong decided to then the last evening with their special friends Kirketin and Hami. Tsemo couldn't have decided differently, because the Kahin was leaning already into him with eyes closed, pretending to sleep.

However, Kirketin's mind wasn't asleep at all. His mind actually run berserk, pressed him hard, made him pain, was telling him over and over again, "Neeed present for Tse, my lovely Tsee! Tsee of the other world, of my world behind the mountains, the son of the moon. Tsee, Tsee, lovely Tsee. Need present for lovee, need!" Visualizing in his mind all the treasures stored in the sanctuary he finally saw it. "Tis it, Tis it! Kirkie now knows! Kirkie glaaad, So glaad!"

The Kahin, the handicapped boy with the brain of a four year old boy but the heart of a wise man, took the reluctant Tsemo by the hand and dragged him across the meadow to the Sanctuary of Ecinli. There he forced his way through the man hole into the dark of the temple while Tsemo had to stay outside wondering about Kirkie's sudden haste. After a long time Kirketin wormed out of the hole and embraced Tsemo, "Take, take thiiis, Kirkie's pppresent for my love! My everlasting loove!" and the Kahin of Ecinli, the prophet and oracle, pushed a small pouch in Tsemo's hand. "Yours, yours Tse, my loove. Tis tears of the Noble Pen Shell, tis are presents of the people to the Hoooly Trinnnitty, to Adad, Atar'ata and Simios. But they told me to give them to you, my loved. Take these are yours, take tis my lovely!" In surprise Tsemo took the heavy pouch and when Kirketin kissed his cheek and as Tsemo kissed back the Oracle of the Holy Trinity the Novice of the Druids told him, "I will bee with you, always my dear Kahin!"

In the light of the moon Tsemo opened the pouch made of sea wool and big, opalescent pearls poured into his hand, pearls worth a kingdom. The run away novice was deeply ashamed, because it had never ever had crossed his mind "his Kirkie" would give him a fare well present, especially a present like this, a kingly present.

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