Sea People

by Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 17

The next day around noon the Sun Seekers left Alalakh with their boat, the Hawhk, drifted down the river of Oront with the current and arrived at the boundless Wadj-ur at falling tide. They still were amazed by the farewell given them by their new friend. Ammitaqum had rounded up his friend and even some delegates of the king came to wave goodbye. Their supplies had been refreshed and as special present the prince had gifted them with the weapons they had used at the competition the evening before. Naturally Aegir was not awarded the stallion he had mastered the evening before. Instead Ammitaqum presented him a small statue of a horse modelled out of bronze and gilded. Waili who had impressed the Alalakhnians with his knowledge was presented with a papyrus scroll telling the story of realm of Kemet. The former virgins expressed their sympathy for their one night lovers with tears and flowers, hoping their sacrifice would yield the hoped for offspring for the community of Alalakh.

The Wadj-ur. was rough, as a hot gale was blowing northward. The Sun Seekers had to sail against the gale for the rest of the day and in the evening they anchored close to a small harbor. Retiring at the beginning of the nightfall Waili asked Tsemo, "Did you like to do the girls more than you like to do me?" Tsemo chuckled, got on top of the young Luwian inserted his hard cock into the boy's chute whispering into his ear, "I tell you afterward!" and started to pound him. "You like it?" the Luwian boy asked. "Sure, I do! But it's different and you will know after you took revenge!" After Waili had satisfied himself by banging Tsemo vigorously he stated before he fell asleep "It's different with you. However it was great. I enjoyed your seed as much I enjoyed seeding you! You are the best!" After reflecting the evening before for some moments he asked, "Do you think we have fathered offspring with the sweet girls of Alalakh?" "Guess we did and I hope so not only because Ammitaqum wanted it, also because of the sacrifice the girls had to offer."

Aegir thought circled around last night's events also. After this experience he pondered if he liked girls more than boys. He wasn't sure at all, as the Alalakhian girl was the first one he had made love to. They both had been clumsy. At first he had tried to penetrate the young chick face to face, like he had heard that was the usual way couple made love. But she didn't seem to like it all. She started to cry, fought back vigorously and scratched his face with her sharp fingernails. Therefore he turn her around and entered her doggy style. This position seemed to be familiar to the young girl and she offered her backdoor without faltering just a moment. After shooting his seed into her love channel she seemed to be willing to offer him her pussy also. Entering her tight tunnel with his hard cock, he was rewarded by sounds of pleasure and he had to do her three times, before she seemed exhausted. After both had rested for some time he did her a fourth time hoping to get her pregnant as expected by Prince Ammitaqum.

While Aegir thought back about last night, he was on his back Ye Shijie crouching upon him inserted Aegir's spit-lubricated tool in his love channel. Bouncing up and down on the tool of his lover, the Shu Wu fighter remembered the journey from his homeland on the coast in the Far East to up to the night he became aware of the red-head in the city of Uhraa.

Ye Shijie thought back to the rice paddies in the warm lowland of his homeland, where his father and mother lived as poor peasants hardly making a living out of the muddy land. He thought back to the time a priest-warrior who had rescued him after his all member of his family were wiped out by robbers and the education in the monastery of the Wu Shu order. To the time of a acolyte and his ordination as a priest-warrior. He thought back to his wanderings through dry wastelands and sand-blown deserts and up to mountaintops disappearing in a foggy sky. He remembered to the fertile low lands to the realm of King Bharata, the ragged country when he finally arrived at the coast of the Wadj-ur and settled down in lovely Uhraa, where he met his destiny, Aegir the young men with the blazing hair from the northern end of the earth disk.

Ye Shijie also remembered the people he met on his way, like the soft girls with their lotus feet and the great heart, who where the first ones to teach him love. With reluctance and slightly amused he thought back to the polyandric women he had to shared with theirs husbands in the houses glued to mountain sides like swallow's nests to the walls of a stable. A bashful smile flashed over his face thinking back on his vain attempts to penetrate these fat-arsed, big-belied women as his cock was just too short to make them happy.

The memory of his next adventure made him smile. Happiness crossed his face thinking back to perfect the nights with the baccha bazis in the mud huts filled with blue smoke of hash. Before his eyes Ye Shijie saw the Jaliel the young batcha, his bach, singing and dancing, singing in his sweet boy voice and following the sound of flutes and stringed instruments with delicate moves. One dark night his very special Jaliel taught him other ways to be happy. Spending the cold night under the same blanket the doe-eyed boy taught him boy-love. Since this night Ye Shijie was addicted to weed-like boys. He was addicted to a degree he could have never imagined before. Not even the dancing queens in the temples of Bharata, the devasis, were able to erase the Jaliel's beauty from his memory. Then he noticed Aegir and from that moment on he was addicted to the read-head. Aegir and Jaliel seemed to be the different ends of the same pole, one them strong and forth going the other sweet and delicate. But both were always sure what they wanted. Now he was there on the Hawhk addicted to Aegir, the total opposite of his bach. He bowed down and kissed him and melted in his arms.

Something had changed. He couldn't name it. Had he turned into a baccha bazi himself, from a lover to one to be loved? Had this red-haired young man put a spell on him? Ye Shijie tried to contemplated, but just in this moment Aegir put his arms around him, turned, his cock still inserted in Ye Shijie love hole and began to pound him with increasing vigor repeating all over, "I love you, my midnight-blue-haired raven, you my midnight-blue-haired magician. I love you like I never loved someone before."

Early next afternoon the Hawhk closed in on Tyruus, the residential city of the king of Tekrur. They crossed the outer harbor located on the sea side of the peninsular and reserved for the boat of fishermen and big seagoing trading ships. The Sun Seekers looked for a mooring in the inner harbor, the smaller harbor, located inside the city walls, where the passenger ships had their anchoring sites. On the gate to the inner harbor guards examined the boat and its crew with great care and then allocated them an embarkation point. Kaa, familiar with the procedure, asked Aegir to bribe the guards with some qetets, to make them inclined to the crew and to protect the Hawhk from thieves and robbers.

The peninsular accommodated mainly trading and ware houses but also pubs, taverns and lodging houses as well as a small entertainment quarter, with whore-houses open to seafarers not the whole night but also in the afternoon. The whores, the zonahs were popular by seafarers all around the coast of the Wadj-ur because of their art of love. The settlement on the peninsular was surrounded by high walls and therefore secure against attack of pirates.

In the center close to amusement quarter a small sanctuary for the seafaring people was situated. It was dedicated to Astghik, the foam-arisen Goddess and her guardians, the sea-dragons. The seamen however preferred to ask Ba'al for favors. There was also the house of the guards, safeguarding the harbor and the peninsula. The guards not only had to keep a close watch on the town and the harbor but also track down smugglers, thieves and all kid of crooks.

Free of the task to guard the Hawhk, the whole crew left the boat to refill their growling stomachs, still stretched to from the copious meal at Ammitaqums house two evenings before. They didn't dress up like for Ammitaqum's invitation, but stayed in their common dress, that is loincloth, a wide belts decorated with glass beads and a short coat for protection against the sun and of the arising evening breeze. Inside the town walls weapons were not allowed therefore they just took along short knives and wooden spoons. In addition Aegir, responsible for settling the bill, was hiding a moneybag full of small silver coins, called qetets, in his belt.

As the evening passed and everyone was full the Sun Seekers decided for a walk through the small and winding alleyways of the small settlement. Kaa and Seb took the lead as both had roamed this part of Tyruus as hostages of King Hiram. They soon get fed up with looking at the houses of merchants and the warehouses. Grinning from ear to ear Kaa turned to the others, "Let's head for the entertainment district of Tyruus. I tell you that will be a lot of fun!" When Waili looked doubtful he added with a smirk, "Hey bum chuck, I bet you never met girls like this in your hometown!" Kaa's destination was a short alleyway, running from the Sanctuary of the foam-arisen Goddess in the center to the harbor. Despite the early evening time the alley seemed to be already shrouded in darkness and wrapped in mystery. This was mainly due to the bent forward houses on both of both sides of the alleyways.

Waili was surprised as the entryways of the narrow buildings were without door wings and the openings only covered by fluttering curtains. They entryways opened into gloomy rooms barely lit by tallow candles whose smoke was obscuring the rooms more than illuminating.

The small alleys were buzzing with people. Sailors, traders, peddlers, beggars and bummers were pushing through. All this was new to Waili, the country boy, the bum chuck, however not so uncommon to make him afraid. What especially attracted his attention was other kind of people. Buxomly women dressed in long multicolored gowns were crouching at the doorsteps of the alleyways, gossiping which another or with as skinny, nearly naked young girls. Waili decided to call them naked, despite parts of their bodies covered with colorful ribbons and necklaces of glass beads and rainbow-colored shells. Their ruby red lips and their eyes, made up in different shades of blue and black, intrigued the country boy in particular. Looking at these lures Waili became self-conscious and at the same time excited, because these eyes seemed to undress him. He couldn't help but clutch Tsemo's hand and trying melt with his tutor. "Don't be afraid, dear Waili!" the former novice of the Druids reassured him, "These women are neither Erinyes, nor witches, they are zonahs, whores waiting for freers. The older ones are bawds and the younger one wenchs, trying to make a livelihood by selling their bodies to men. They are prey for everyone, sailors, traders, artisans, peasants; they even pry for young boys like you."

Now Waili gave a small laugh, "Remember Tsemo, they are too late, I lost my virginity to the apprentice of the preacher, to Aegir and last not least to you my love. I also lost it to the girls, remember the virgins of Alalakh." Then he kissed Tsemo in the open, "But there is only one I love, that's someone with barley-white hairs! I long for this guy day and night." Tsemo couldn't help, but kiss Waili back.

When the Sun Seekers passed the sanctuary a second time the situation had changed. At the stairs leading to the entrance of the temple kedeshahs, divine joy girls, and kadeshs (qdeshim), divine joy boys, were displaying their bodies in white flowing robes. For recognition and to distinguish them from common prostitutes their robes were adorned with the symbols of Ba'al, the sun with a corona above the sickle of the moon.

While Sun Seekers with exception of Seb and Kaa were wondering, the latter exclaimed, "Heaven, who's that? Is it him? Have my eyes gone bad?" Then turning to his brother, "Seb look over there, unless I am very mistaken, this kadesh over there, seems to be a splitting image of Hirummu. Do you also think its our friend Hirummu, the youngest son of King Hiram? I'm sure it is Hirummu in all his glory! Dainty and sweet like ever!"

Seb needed just a moment, then stormed up the staircase and began to hug a kadesh. "Is it you Hirummu, my playmate from the palace?" The kadesh looked into the eyes of the darks-skinned boy and began to hold him tight. He made a gesture as to quiet Seb and then muttered barely audible. "You are very much mistaken my young friend, I am the servant of Ba'al the Lord and not the kings son. Let's go inside!" and began to usher Seb into the sanctuary. Kaa, surprised by the sudden change, run after them and when Hirummu pulled his brother into a cell-like room, he followed.

After closing the door Kaa studied the interior dim-lit cell, illuminated only by soft light sifting through an opening high up in the wall. The room was bare of all comfort except a cot at the wall opposite. Murals depicting true-to-life scenes between lovers decorated every single spot of the walls. Hirummu, and indeed it was Hirummu the youngest son of King Hiram, turned to Kaa smiling. Still embracing younger boy, he gave Kaa a first kiss on the nose, a second one on the brow and finally one on the lips. Hirummu only stopped kissing when he had to catch his breath. Kaa was surprised in such a way, that he didn't fend off the kisses at first, however when Hirummu had to catch his breath, he stepped back sign of bewilderment crossing his face.

"Don't be amazed my dear, my dearest Kaa." Hirummu burst out with quivering voice, "I am in love with you, since I saw you the first time, years and years ago. Remember! You descended the Pr-A'a royal ship! Like a king you descended the ship and you took my hand and I was in love with you. Then I was a small boy only, but my heart began to race and I got butterflies in my stomach. But every time I wanted to confess my love to you, you ridiculed me, calling me "baby boy", "Tyruus' most spoiled Kid", "Pest"! But I am grown up now! After you absconded from my father's court I got desperate and unhappy. I cried when ever I was alone! Then I decided to look out for you! I couldn't do this as Kings Hiram's favorite son and therefore decided to do this in secret. I dreamed the best and only way to meet you, was to use the disguise of a kadesh and wait for you at the quay. Like a sailors wife was waiting for you at the harbor. I saved my virginity for this moment rejecting all advances of women or of men. Please do not reject me my dear Kaa! Make love to me to night! Make love to me only one time and I will go back to my father and become his dutiful son!"

Kaa was lacking words and when Hirummu pulled him to the cot to make love he complied. The prince of Ta-Seti couldn't resist the yearning glances of his adorer and hesitated not for a moment. He inserted his tool in the virgin channel of Hiram's son and took his cherry. Seb had not expect this sudden change and blushing he scurried off the cell. Crossing the dusky nave of the sanctuary he asked Ba'al's blessing for Hirummu and his brother. Outside he met other the Sun Seekers and confirmed Hirummu's identity.

While Kaa used his digging stick to deflower and seed Hirummu, like the people in the land of the bow used their sticks to plant new fruits, the Sun Seekers left the entertainment quarter and returned to the Hawhk. Seb couldn't wait to inform the other of the crew from the events in Ba'al's sanctuary. Buri was slightly upset, but considering the circumstances he accepted Kaa's decision remembering the fact, that neither of them had been a virgin as they met. Seb however still excited from events asked Laong to a hidden place in the boat, because he wanted to demonstrate his boyfriend what Kaa had done to Hirummu.

It was already midnight when Kaa, the Prince of Ta-Seti, returned to the boat. His body was soaked with sweat and the smell of love making lingered on his skin. Asking Buri for understanding he got forgiveness under the condition that he was willing to prove his love to him this night. This however didn't happen, as shortly afterwards a small boy appeared at the quay asking for attention. The only word he uttered again and again was "Leave!" "Leave!" Guessing the meaning the Sun Seekers left the harbor at the peninsular of Tyruus with the falling tide.

Outside the harbor a strong upwind from the south-east hit the Hawhk. The Samum, as Waili called the strong wind, threatened to force the boat in northern direction. Thanks to Kaa's sailing skills the crew managed to keep on in southern direction. When it dawned in the east they just had gained some miles to the city of Tyruus. At noon the Samum was refreshing and drove high waves against the boat.

The crew became desperate when big boats showed up in a distance. Having two decks of oars and a ram bow the boats seemed to be warships destined to overtake and eventually catch the Hawhk, in particular Kaa and Seb, the king of Tyruus was holding for ransom. "Did the king's spooks, his secret agents, catch Hirummu and extract a confession from him? Did he disclose his knowledge about us?" Seb was shaking with fear. Kaa tried to calm his brother down, "No! I am sure he didn't, he wouldn't do this to his friend! Hirummu told me he will become the next commander of King Hiram's war fleet, if he renounces his love to me." "For me it doesn't look like welcoming committee, it rather looks like sharks are hunting a poor tuna." Ye Shijie retorted, starting to collect his weapons, he ordered, "As soon the boats are close enough you both hide under the tarpaulin, while we wait for their demands. Everybody has to have a weapon at hand. Don't show it however, we need to surprise them."

The war boat approached in high speed. Instead of closing in however they dodged the Hawhk and the helmsmen even signaled "Save trip!" Soon the war boats were just small dots at the horizon.

This however was not the last time they met theses boats. Approaching the city Asqam, the city of the Peleset, they were taken by surprise by the number of big ships anchoring in the roads. In the center of the boats Waili counted twelve warships. While Laong and Seb were wondering and tried to guess the origin of the big ships, Waili racked his brain trying to recognize the insignia on different boats. It was easy to recognize the war boat coming from Luwia. The prawn of the boat shaped was like the head of a sea snake and flags with this emblem were fluttering in the light breeze. "Look!" he turned to his friends, "this magnificent boat displaying the emblem of the seas snake belongs to our king." While he hesitated a moment, Seb uttered slightly scared, "You may be right Waili, but look these two boats! These with the prawn shaped like a bull's head are coming from Tyruus! I am afraid my brother Kaa and I are still in danger. Maybe Hiram's henchmen are looking for us in the town. Better let's leave immediately!" Laong embraced his black friend and his big brother Kaa tried to calm Seb! "I do not think so, Seb! Remember Hirummu is my friend. He will protect me and you! He took an oath on it, after we made love! I cross my heart, its true!" "Then why did we have to leave Tyruus is such a hurry? I wanted to show my Laong the castle!" Then after reflecting Kaa's assertion, Seb voiced his concern, "Can we trust Hirumum's pledge! Can we…."

They did not discuss this problem further, because all of suddenly something bumped hard into the starboard of the Hawhk and the voice of a small boy claimed attention, "Warriors! Noble warriors! Illustrious strangers! I am poor Kaleb! Have merci! I have care for my ailing mother, my hungry sisters, my donkey and my old dog! Please help!" When they looked down, they noticed an odd boat bumping against the Hawhk manned with a boy pointing at his boat with a gesture worthy a king announced "That's my sturdy boat! Please be my passengers and let me row you ashore!" When nobody of the crew shooed him away he added more confident, "And please let me be your faithful guide in the big city of Asqam!"

Looking overboard the Sun Seekers spotted a strange boat bumping into the Hawhk with every new wash of the waves. The rowboat had the shape of an over-sized round shield with a frame of willows and a hull of skins instead of boards. It seemed to have neither a bow nor a stern. It crew was a skinny boy and an even skinnier girl. Immediately Aegir became compassionate with the two, "What's you name, young sailor!" he asked and pointing to the girl, "Is this your sister?" "I am called Kaleb and this is Keren, my sister! We are at home in great the city of Asqam. I will get you ashore and show you around the town! I will show you everything you want to visit in this town from the smallest tavern to the most outstanding eating-house, from the places you can pick up a zonah or a kadesh to the noble houses of courtesans and dance boys."

Ye Shijie looked down at the boat and explained, "That's a round-boat. I haven't seen a boat like this since I left the Country of Two-Current. These boats were dancing with the currents of the big rivers down the big city of Babilu. They can be used for going down rivers only." Then he turned to the boy "You must be an excellent coxswain to use a round-boat on the open sea, Kaleb. You seem to be mighty young for to handle it. How old are you anyway?" "I am ten or fifteen! However I am strong!" he added pointing at his biceps. "Will you be able to row us ashore? All of us at once?" When Kaleb beamed, Ye Shije inquired, "How much do you charge?" The boy looked to his sister asking. When she raised two fingers he quickly replied, "Two pieces of silver, two qetets!" "That's to much, make it half a qetet!" Kaleb began to haggle, "Noble Warriors! That's not enough! Four days ago it was half a qetet, but now with all the war boats and soldiers and oarsmen around, everything has become more expensive! Please give us at least one qetet. That will be just enough for some millet gruel for my mother, my sisters and me. "When the girl looked with puppy eyes up to the crew, Aegir's heart became soft, "Granted, but just if you keep your promise to show us the town!" "And do not drown us!" Buri added, "I can't swim!"

Setting foot ashore Kaleb guided the crew inland along a small sandy path to a small gate in the city wall of Asqam a bit away from the main gates. The boy had chosen this gate as traffic at the main gates was heavy because they were used by soldiers and boatmen from the war boats a well as by merchants and traders. Furthermore guards of the King of Asqam were vigilantly watching out for spies of the ruler of Kemet, the Pr-A'a Ramesses, and frisked many of the visitors. This slowed down the traffic through the gates tremendously.

From the small but unguarded gate a sandy lane crossing the poor peoples quarter led to the center of Asqam with the main square in front of the kings palace. Keren, the sister of Kaleb stayed in the poor people's quarter after she got the fee for the passage. Before she left with the shred of silver, she gave thanks to all of the Sun Seekers, especially to Buri. She even kissed his hand dropping a curtsy.

Starting at the center square a maze of small alleys led to the living quarters of the craft guilds like the feeding guild, the bakers' guild, the boat-builders' and sail-makers' guild, the guild of local dealers and of merchants, the guild of vendors and peddlers. The business people were importing and exporting goods by seagoing boats to the clans and tribes living along the coast of the boundless Wadj-ur.. But they also traded goods with the tribes and nations in the south, the east and the north crossing the plains, wastelands and mountains with the camels, ships of the desert or with oxen-drawn two wheeled carts.

The quarter of the inn-keepers and boarding houses was close to the harbor. The small, crooked lane was left of the main alley leading to the quay. Guided by Kaleb the Sun Seekers looked for a dining house and settled for a inexpensive looking one, because the smell of roasted meat filled the air coming out of the dimly lit pub.

Crossing a cave-like dining room they came to a patio with low tables and a big grill covered with different kinds of meats and fish sizzling on the grillage. Soon the Sun Seekers with exception of Seb sprawled around the tables and the handmaid served sweet wine and crisp flat bread. Seb was having an aching belly and decided to look for a toilet before the meal. As he couldn't find such a place in the pub itself he left it to search for public outhouse to relieve him. Finding none close by, he had to use a public dump further down by the city wall.

Relieved of his bellyache he took his way back to the pub in the crooked alley when suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks. Surprised he witnessed the king's guard dragging his friends out of the pub and marching them away in direction of the castle at the hill. At the first moment he wanted to attack the guards to free his friends. Realizing the number of armed henchmen Seb decided to follow the group in a distance.

Halfway up to the castle someone plucked on his loincloth and tried to hold him back. "Don't run in your misfortune. At the moment we can't do anything. The guards arrested your friend accusing them to be undercover agents of the Pr-A'a Ramesses." "We are not!" "I know and your friend fended off the accusation in unison, but the king's guard insisted to drag before the coroner. Aegir and Buri tried to fight them off, but they were overwhelmed and shackled." "It's your fault! You betrayed us, you lured us into a trap!" "No, no! I swear by the Holy Ba'al!" Then Kaleb hesitated, "But I made an mistake and did something wrong! I brought you into town, through an unguarded side gate reserved for the citizen of Asqam. Therefore you have not been registered by the gate guards!"

First Seb grabbed Kaleb' shoulders and shook him furiously and closed to kill him, but then he asked meekly, "What can I do? We are no spies, we just want to travel back to our homeland where to sun is kissing the dark fertile earth, to Ta Seti." "They need to prove their innocents. However that's not easy." Kaleb pored over, "It would help if you had a strong ally, like a captain of one of the ships or better a leader one of the war parties. I do not know one, do you?" Seb began to rack his brain and his face went blank for a moment, but just for a moment and stamped on the ground full of desperation! Kaleb but an arm around his shoulders tried to calm him, "Don't do this! The guards are looking already! You don't want to get arrested too? Do you? We better look for a way to get them free!" When Seb was calmed down Kaleb asked, "Do you eventually know somebody who could stand for your integrity? Do you know somebody who knows you or your friends?" Seb racked his brain, sighed and his expression went sad. But suddenly a thought struck him! "Hirummu! Hirummu!" he mumbled. "Hirummu, Kaa's lover!" and aloud he asked Kaleb, "Do you know the name of the commander of the war boats of King Hiram of Tyruus? Is it called Hirummu?" Kaleb shook his head but then an idea hit him. "Let's walk down to the harbor and ask. The seamen should know. But why do you want to ask him?" "Hirummu is the one I count off, I know him and he is fond of my brother and me!"

Down at the quay they looked for the big war boats with the prawn shape like a bull's head! There were two of them and on their decks seamen were busy with cleaning the planks. Trying to boarding the boat they were denied access. "Get lost! We are not in need of kids! Piss off!" Both Seb and Kaleb made puppy eyes and an elderly sailor felt pity for the two. Throwing them a piece of bread he asked, "Will that help you, little beggars?" "Sure and thanks Sir. But can you do us a favor? Can you just tell, whose is in command of these war boats?" "That's not you business! Breeze off, buggers!" Seb however insisted, "Is his name Hirummu? Is it the famous Hirummu, King Hiram's strong son?" When the old sailor looked surprised, Seb was sure Hirummu was in command. "I know Hirummu well, can you tell me where can find him? It would be of advantage to you!" The old sailor wagged his head, but then let them know, "Admiral Hirummu will be back from a meeting with King Hanunu of Asqam in the afternoon. Just wait and you may be able to meet him!"

Seb and Kaleb had to wait a long time. They were more impatient as young horses. Finally the commanders of the sea people clans came marching down the broad alley from King Hanunu's fortress on the hill to the gate. The warlords distinguishable from their advisers and the body guards by the high headgear were engrossed in conversations. At one glance Kaleb recognized the warlords of the different tribes and started to point them out to Seb. "You can assign the warlords to the different tribes of Sea People because of their differing headgear. Look the commander of the Peleset is wearing dark red ribbon as a headband from which a floppy plume protrudes and his breast is protected by a gilded armor. The one wearing a headdress of red cloth and the fancy medallions upon his breast is the commander of the Shekelesh forces. The one with the bluish cloth with long golden tassels is the leader of the Teresh." "But where is the commander of the Tekrur forces?" Seb asked somewhat irritated because he couldn't recognize Hirummu, who was half hidden by the other commanders. But as soon the group was close he recognized King Hiram's son not only because of his features but also of the headgear, resembling the prawn of the boats he had seen overtaking the Hawhk the way to Asqam.

Hirummu's head was covered by a horned helmet. The big horns of a wild bull were gilded and reflected the rays of the sun. Seb recognized Hirummu also because he seemed to be more handsome than any other of the commanders. "That's he! I try to get close to him! I am sure he will remember me." Seb pushed forward but was immediately intercepted by the heavily armored guards protecting the commanders. A heavy blow of a battleaxe on his head pushed him to the ground and he fainted.

The incident did draw the attention of Hirummu to the boy on ground. He frowned and just after a moment he asked one of his servants to pick up the unconscious boy and bring him closer. Studying the lifeless boy intensely he called out in surprise, "Is this you Seb? Prince of Ta Seti?" He started fondle Seb and as the boy didn't recover his senses he tried to shake Seb back to life. But in vain! This scene surprised the other commanders, especially after Hirummu ordered the boy to be brought on board of his war boat and commanded his personal healer to care for the boy. Seb was carried to commander Hirummu's boat and as Kaleb didn't let go of Seb, he was allowed on board also.

While Seb was treated the Hirummu's personal physician, the young commander questioned Kaleb what had happened and where he can find Kaa and the other Sun Seekers. Getting to know about the arrest and the detention Hirummu immediately send an envoy to King Hanunu and asked for the release of the Sun Seekers.

It was already midnight when Seb came to his senses again. Feeling someone holding his hand he opened his eyes and was greeted by a happily smiling Laong. "Finally you are back again!" his maroon-haired friend beamed. Not heeding he the physician kissed Seb first on the bruise on the forehead and then on his beautiful lips. The healer watching the boys sighted with relief and called for a servant to deliver the good news to Prince Hirummu, who was in a meeting with the other warlords.

The state of unconsciousness had revived Seb. Rising to his feet he was able to leave Hirummu's war boat with Laong supporting him. At the quay Kaleb joined the two and guided them safely through the starry night to the Hawhk. On their way a sound like thunder terrified the three boys and four soldiers with the emblem of King Hiram came to stop in front of them rising on their hindquarters and the lieutenant snarled, "Where is berth King Hiram's war boats? Where is King Hiram's Admiral, where is Prince Hirummu?" Seb got frightenden even more than his friends. Not only the wild brancing horses friegtnend him, it was the sound of the soldier's voice. He remembered the voise. It belongened the head of the palace guards, a guy how hated him. Luckyly he was wearing a big bandage around his head, therefore his face was hidden.

The first to find his tongue was Kaleb, "Sir! Sir, down there, about quarter a mile from here! But what do you want from Admiral Hirummu? I saw him leave to a meeting with the other commanders at king's Hanunu's palace!" "That's not you business at all beachrat!" but then he asked, "Are you snotty brats from around here, from Asqam? Have you seen some strange folks arriving in Asqam lately, like two black guys, a small and a big one and a guy with blazing red hair and one with barley-white ones and a slick black haired guy with slitted eyes?" Kaleb immediately checked these descriptions. They fitted to the Sun Seeker. He needed just a moment to reflection to decide. "Dark skinned people? Yes, there are some in town, soldiers and seamen from the kingdom of Libu. A redhead? I have seen a redhead in a pub yesterday. But he was arrested by King Hanunu's guards. Check at the king's prisons! But why do you look for all these people?" King Hiram's soldiers didn't wait for more information. They just turned their horses and careered in direction of the main city gates. Seb had listened carefully to the exchange and now he was sure King Hiram's guards were looking for Kaa, for him and the other Sun Seekers. "Let's run to the Hawhk! Fast, fast! We have to warn my friends!"

At the Sun Seeker's boat they walked in on a meeting of the crew. "Let's leave with falling tide!" Kaa urged just that moment. "From Hirummu I got informed the Sea People's combined forced will attack the realm of Pr-A'a Ramesses in two or three days from now, The Sea People will strive to seize the power in Kemet and all along the big river, the Iteru-Aa. They even are willing try to conquer Ta-Seti, because of its gold. If we do not arrive at the delta of the big river, the Ta-Mehet, in front of the attackers we will never be able to reach our homeland and warn our people!"

"Do you expect the Sea People to succeed?" Aegir asked. Kaa waged his head, "The Ekwesh and Denen, the Teresh, the Lukka, the Sherden and Shelelesh, the Peleset and Tekrur are fierce and strong fighters but even with the help of Meshwesh, the vile chief of the Libu, they will not be able to overwhelm the Ph-A'a, at least not on the long run. From all I know Pr-A'a Ramesses' armies are stronger than the combined forces of the Sea People. They may win in the beginning but on the long run the Pr-A'a's army will be victorious." Then with a delay he added, "None the less, we should depart as soon my brother is around!"

"I am here, Kaa my bother! I am here with a good and a bad news! The good one first! I am fine and thanks Kaleb's help you are free!" "And the bad one?" the other Sun Seekers wanted to know. "Hiram's palace guards have arrived to catch Kaa and me and all of you! We have to leave Asqam immediately."

After the first shock the others agreed with Seb's conclusion and Aegir, as the Sun Seeker's undisputed leader, proposed, "If we Sun Seekers want to accomplish our objective and find the Sun we are bound to leave Asqam with the falling tide and go ashore in Pr-A'a Ramesses realm in advance of the Sea People's invading forces." Embracing he bringer of the news Aegir asked, "Seb, do you agree to my proposal?" When Seb indicated his agreement, Aegir asked everyone of the Hawhk's crew, "Does every Sun Seeker agree on that decision?" As no one raised an objection, the Hawhk left Asqam with the morning tide and took the route to Kemet! Short whitecaps hit the boat hard, let it rock and roll. Buri at the bow clutch the talisman, the only memento of his father, searching the dark sky its image the crescent moon. Spotting the silvery moon in the south in direction of their destination, he gave a relieved sigh, "Father, I will find the land of my mother and with your help I will be able to shed tears at her grave."

Only a sad Kaleb stayed back on the quay of Asquam clutching his reward for good services. It was one of the tears Kirketin the oracle of Ecinli had given to his love Tsemo as a last farewell.

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