Setting Moon Ch. 08byBloodwoman©
In ancient Egypt the pharaoh of the time believed that he had found to elixir to immortality. He had his most trusted servant instill it into his private stocks of wine. He drank it but yet nothing ever happened to him. He still felt mortal, he still bled like a mortal and he aged like one as well. But still he drank hoping that one day it would take effect, but never told his servants that he was still mortal. They thought of him as a god, never to be trifled with.
The servants he chose were man and wife, they had two boys, Farid was thirteen and the other Hamid was eleven. Farid was always getting into trouble and since Homid followed him everywhere he got into trouble too. But they had never caught the attention of the pharaoh or his guards. Until one day their parents brought them to the palace to keep them out of trouble. Their mother worked in the kitchen where Farid was told to stay and their father worked with the pharaoh's wine where Hamid was keeping him company.
"Farid, get out of the food. You will be whipped if someone caught you." Called his mother.
"Yes mother." Farid called back with annoyance in his voice and walked over to where she was standing cutting up some food for the next meal.
"You must behave or you may get us all whipped or worse beheaded. You are almost a man and you need to learn how to act like one. Now bring this food to your father and brother, and then come right back unless your father says otherwise." She said handing him some food wrapped in cloth.
"Yes mother." He said and ran out of the kitchen and down the hall, a couple minutes later he reached the wine room and slowed to a walk. His father would scold him for running in the palace. Farid walked into the room to find Hamid sitting on a barrel and his father mixing some wine.
"Father, I brought you both some food from the kitchen. Mother sent me with it." His father turned to look at Farid and smiled.
"Good, come sit with us while we eat." He said, and finished what he was doing, then they all walked to the back of the room and behind several rows of barrels they sat at a small table.
"Are you being good for your mother?" His father asked.
"Yes, father but mother says I have to learn how to act like a man." Farid said.
"Yes, you do. The responsibilities of a man are great and since you are almost one, you need to learn how to be one. But not today, well start that tomorrow." His father said with a smile and patted Farid on the shoulder.
He then turned to Hamid and Hamid asked "When I become a man, can I drink wine?"
"Yes, but only when all the work is done." Said his father, Farid had been looking at a small alcove in the wall filled with flasks of what he thought was wine.
"Whose wine is that father?" Farid asked pointing at the wall.
"That is the pharaoh's special wine; you need to stay away from it. They come and count them to make sure no one has taken any." His father said in a stern voice, he then got up and went back to work. Leaving Hamid and Farid sitting at the table eating some bread, Farid still stared at the wall full of wine.
"I know what you're thinking; we'll get in so much trouble." Hamid sad quietly to Farid.
"Whose going to find out it's just one flask, I'm sure they'll just think they miss counted them." Farid said standing up and walking over to the wall.
"What if they don't? We'll get in a lot of trouble." Hamid said pleading to his brother.
"It's fine, no one will know." Farid said picking up a flask and tucking it into his shirt.
"Now come on we'll ask Father if we can walk to the kitchen to help mother." Hamid smiled and walked with his brother to where his father stood and asked him if they could go see their mother. He said yes not noticing the wine tucked in Farid's shirt and they left the room and headed towards the kitchen.
"What are you going to do with the wine?" Asked Hamid.
"We are going to drink it, once we are out of the palace and away from mother and father." Said Farid.
"How are we going to get out of the palace?" Hamid asked.
"I don't know but I'll figure it out. Don't worry brother, I always have a plan right." Farid said patting Hamid on the shoulder but Hamid looked worried.
Once they entered the kitchen they saw their mother was very busy making food for the pharaoh. They walked over to their mother and Farid asked, "Mother, may we have some bread."
Their mother quickly handed them some bread and then said "Now I'm very busy, please stay out of the way."
"But mother we are very bored, there must be something we can do." Farid asked.
"Fine go into the pantry and bring me more bread." So Farid and Hamid tucked the bread into their shirts and went into the pantry. They found the bread and went to carry several loafs to their mother. But then their mother appeared in the walk way for the pantry. Quietly she said, "Stay here and be quiet, if I tell you to run you run, then you run as fast and far as you can away from this place and the guards. Always remember that your father and I love you." She then went back out and it sounded as if she had gone back to cooking. Hamid was confused and it showed on his face when Farid looked at him. Farid then broke some bread and started shoving it into Hamid's shirt.
But Hamid still looked confused, Farid then whispered in his ear, "You were right, were in a lot of trouble. Just be quiet and do as I say. If mother tells us to run we have to run." He looked at his brother with a serious look on his face. Then Farid went back to stuffing their shirts with bread.
Suddenly they heard from the other room, "Where are your sons? They have stolen something very important to the pharaoh. Tell us where they are or you will pay for you insolence just as your husband did." A guard said.
"I don't know where they are they must have run home. Where is my husband? What have you done to him?" She cried but Farid had heard the word run and so they did.
Farid took his brother's hand and they ran as fast as they could out the back door of the pantry. Half way down the hall they heard their mother scream and then there was silence. Hamid tried to stop but Farid pulled him forward.
"We must keep going." Farid exclaimed and pulled his brother back into a run. They ducked a couple of guards who were talking about them. And managed to make their way out of the palace and onto the regular dusty streets but they did not stop running. When they reached their house, Hamid tried to stop but Farid said "We cannot go home they will look for us there."
"But what about mother and father, they will be looking for us too." Hamid said.
"Don't you get it, mother and father are probably dead and we will be too if we don't leave this place." Farid said.
"I told you not to take it; I told you we would get in a lot of trouble." Hamid cried.
"I know but we can't dwell on that now. We have to do as mother said we have to go." Farid said
They ran and ran until their legs could run no more and when they finally stopped and looked around it was night time and they were lost in middle of the desert. They looked around and saw nothing but desert and small mountains.
"What do we do now?" Hamid asked.
"We make a fire, we will be cold soon and with nothing to warm us we will need the heat." So the set to finding wood and created a fire in a nearby cave. Once Farid had started a fire they sat around it and hoped it would give them warmth.
"I'm hungry." said Hamid and pulled some bread out of his shirt and began to eat it.
"Good idea, the food will give us warmth and so will the wine." Then Farid took some bread and the flask of wine, he ate some bread and took a swig of the wine. He then passed the wine to his brother, who took a swig and then scrunched up his face. "I know it's bitter, but it's all we have to drink. And father always said that the more wine you drink the faster you will warm up." So Hamid took a big gulp and handed the flask back to Farid. They ate until they were full and shared the rest of the wine. Then deciding they were tired they both laid down on the hard dirt ground and went to sleep.
They both dreamt of strange things, things they had never seen and places they had never been. Knowledge filled their heads that they could not have possibly known before.
In the morning Hamid awoke first as sunlight filled the cave. His head filled with thoughts not of his own. He scratched his head and noticed his hair was longer; he scratched his face and felt scratchy hair there. He then stood and hit his head on a low lying stone hanging from the ceiling, last night he hadn't noticed it. He then looked over at Farid, he looked older and hairier and taller.
"Farid, get up." Hamid called and watched as Farid came to his feet and hit his head.
"Hamid? What happened to you?" Farid asked.
"I don't know, but it happened to you as well." Hamid said and then watched as Farid looked himself over.
Farid then looked at Hamid "You look about thirty, I guess I look the same as you, but how or why did this happen?" Farid asked.
Hamid went to the edge of the cave and looked out, he then said "That wine, father said it was the pharaoh's special wine. I overheard mother and father talking a while ago, about this elixir that the pharaoh had found, it was for immortality and the pharaoh made them put it in the wine. Maybe that flask was filled with that wine, maybe that's why were older. It made us grow up so we wouldn't be children forever." He looked at Farid now, "That's why were smarter as well an immortal can't be stupid, I guess." Hamid said.
"Well that's amazing, we'll be young forever and with our new knowledge we will be able to concur all." Farid said with a smile.
"Yes but at what cost, Mother and Father are dead because you decided to steal some wine and now we have no place to go and no way to make a new life. The only reason we should be happy right now is because were alive and that mother always gave us father's old clothing, otherwise we wouldn't have anything to wear either." Homid said and then adjusted his clothing.
"But then what price should it have taken brother, for immortality I'd say we got off pretty cheap. They took our mother and father so we could live a life that they could never have dreamed of. The pharaoh is not worthy of this power and therefore does not have it. But we do." Farid said trying to convince him.
"We are not worthy of it either, all we have done our whole lives is bring dishonor to our family. What makes you think we deserve this great gift?" Hamid said.
"We are young, we can change. We are men now and can make the right decisions." Farid said.
"We are not men; we are boys that look like men. To be a man we need to take responsibility for what we have done. We need to go back to the palace and receive the bodies of our parents. Apologize for what we did and offer our lives in penance." Hamid said.
"We couldn't offer our lives, we are immortal. We should go back and kill the ones who killed our parents; they should pay for what they have done. We should go show them what true immortals do to those who need to be punished and kill their false god." Farid said angrily.
"So all you wish for is power, after what we have been given. You may be right, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. We were the ones who caused their death; if you had listened to me they would still be alive. I will always value family over power no matter what happens to me. You should heed my words brother or you will live in darkness all your life. Will it mean nothing to you to take life for the wrong reasons? Will the blood of the innocents stain your hands for eternity or will you be wise and take a better path?" Hamid said looking into his brothers eyes.
"I don't know what I will do but I have eternity to figure it out. You may want to have family, but how will you keep them if you are immortal and they die after only one life time. Where will it end and you don't even know if you can have children now. How many women will you take as your bride and how many will die before they know what you truly are. They will grow old and you will stay young forever. Wouldn't that bother you to see their pain?" Farid said.
"I will find a woman that I am meant to be with and stay with them for as long as I can. And she will know what I truly am and what will happen if we are to be together. I will not lie to her over such important things; she will know her fate as long as she is with me. But as long as I have known you, I have been your only confidant. I fear you will lie to everyone and never let anyone close, I fear you will live and die alone brother. I do not wish that fate for you. How do you now with all this knowledge only crave death?" Hamid asked.
"You are wise brother, but think you are blind to the world. The pharaoh would just as soon cut your throat as I would his. There is death everywhere and anyone would kill you or me just for a loaf of bread. A year ago I saw that very thing happen just outside our window. Mortals are weak and crave anything they do not have. The pharaoh would drink your blood just at the chance to have what we have now and you would have me beg for forgiveness at his feet. I think not, I will never bow to a false god." Farid said firmly.
"How do you think we got this gift? A true god must have given us this power to do good in this world and you would seek to only create more evil." Hamid said with anger in his voice.
"If a true god gave us this power than I will use it to kill the pharaoh and destroy his evil. Is that not doing well? He has done far worse to the people under his rein." Farid asked.
"Yes to destroy that evil may be the right thing to do. But to kill his guards may not, most are only doing as ordered and to kill them would be to leave their families fatherless. And for what purpose, they are only doing as they are told and if they didn't they would be put to death as well. To kill them in cold blood would be to create even more evil. I will not have their blood on my hands, unless they ask for that fate." Hamid said warily.
"Then you would come with me to kill the pharaoh?" Farid asked.
"Yes, but only to get the bodies of mother and father. They should be burned so that no one can defile their bodies. It will be a royal funeral, for a poor family. Then we will leave and never return. But we will not kill any innocents, agreed?" Hamid asked firmly.
"Agreed, shall we go then?" Farid asked.
Hamid nodded and they set back in the direction that had come just the night before. Several hours later they reached the town they called home. When walking through the streets no one seemed to notice them not even the guards that patrolled the town. Except for a young girl or two that fancied them, but still they walked on until they reached their home. They stepped inside and looked around. Everything looked so much smaller to them, but they searched the small home for clothing and shoes. Once they had changed into clothing that actually fit, Hamid took a knife and shave the hair on his face and then cut his long hair. Then Farid did the same and they looked each other over to make sure they did a good job and they had.
"We should take the money they had been saving with us to help us start over." Hamid said.
"Yes and maybe some from the pharaoh when we meet him." Farid said.
"Maybe." Was all Hamid said as he removed a board from the floor and pulled out something wrapped in cloth. He opened it to find coins, then wrapped it back and stuffed it into a bag he planned to take with him. They both found some warmer clothes and stuffed them into their bags and food as well.
Hamid then said, "We will act like simpletons to get into the palace and in front of the pharaoh. We will not strike until the moment is right or the guards may just cut right through us and immortal or not I don't see how we can survive have our heads cut off." Hamid said seriously.
"Father's sword will do us no good; we won't even get it past the front gate with it." Farid said.
"Leave the bags, we will go now." Hamid said and walked out of the door. Farid followed him and they walked peacefully towards the palace.
Once they reached the palace they were stopped by the guards, "What is your business here?" said a guard.
"We have word on those boys who stole the pharaoh's wine; I believe he will be very interested in what we have to say. Do you think he will offer a reward?" Hamid said nudging his brother with his arm.
"Give me the message and I will tell him myself." The guard said.
"We will say nothing unless we talk to the pharaoh himself." Farid said.
Hamid put a hand on Farid's shoulder and said, "What my brother meant to say was that, wouldn't the pharaoh like to hear this good news himself instead of from a guard. Especially if he does not think it is good news at all?" Hamid said squeezing his brother shoulder.
"Good point, come with me." Said the guard and he turned and walked towards the main palace. Hamid and Farid followed him until they walked into the pharaoh's main hall. The guard stopped them and then went and told another guard why they were there. He then went and told the pharaoh. After several moments the second guard brought them forward and motioned for them to bow. Farid seemed a bit hesitant to bow but did anyway and so did Hamid.
"Stand and tell me what news you have of the thieves who stole my wine." Said the pharaoh his voice sounding rot with age, he was an older man in his fifties and wore beautiful clothing and jewelry.
"The wine that was stolen was of your special stock. The immortal wine was drunk completely and the boys are no more." Hamid said and then watched as the pharaoh stood and walked over to stand in front of them.
"Where are their bodies, how do I know they are dead if you bring me no proof." Said the pharaoh, his guards had backed off when he came close and now Hamid had his chance.
"I didn't say they were dead. I said they were gone and we are standing here as proof. We wish to know where their parent's bodies are." Hamid said.
"If they are gone why did you come here and waste my time, I have killed for less. And the bodies of the traitors are in my dungeon where I will put their traitorous sons when I find them. Take them away." The pharaoh said.
"That is not all we have come to say." Said Farid and Hamid looked at him and nodded. "The boys are gone because we are now men, your wine is gone because we drank it. And we know that you are not what you seem, you are not an immortal god. Because you were not worthy of that gift, we have come to put you in your rightful place. I hope in death you will find the peace you could not find in life." Farid said and walked toward the pharaoh.
Hamid then looked at the guards and said, "If you value your lives you will leave this place and never return." Several left but two remained.
"Cowards." One yelled at them and then focused his attention on Hamid, "They will pay for their insolence when I'm done with you." The guard said then swung at Hamid with his sword, Hamid dodged and moved to the guard's side taking a knife from the man's belt he grabbed his neck and slit his throat. As the man fell to the floor he walked over to the other guard who was just staring at him.
"Do you wish to flee as your companions did?" Hamid asked.
The guard then focused his gaze on Hamid and said seriously, "I will not run like a coward." He then started to run towards Hamid. Hamid dodged his first swing and cut the man's arm with his knife. The guard swung again and Hamid dodged and swung cutting the man's face.
"You are foolish to fight when you have no chance of winning." Hamid said and then ducked as the man swung at his head, Hamid then sliced the guard's leg and stood behind him. "I am toying with you, leave this place and return to your family while you still can." Hamid said, the guard fell to rest on one knee, Hamid then walked around to look at the man who now looked scared. "I would think no less of you and your family would be thankful you're alive. Nothing else matters." Hamid said as the man tried to stand, "This is your last chance." Hamid said sternly.