Chapter 4: The Children of Joseph
Mara poured a cup of herbal tea for her husband. "A warm cup for your cold hands, darling?" He nodded: "Yes, I would love one right now." She smiled as she gave him the cup; she knew that he’d never say no.
"Thank you, love." Emmanuel said as he lazily tried to raise himself from the slouching position on the wicker chair. He carefully held the cup and settled it by his chest. He sipped on the cup and shut his eyes as bits of his compacted stress drifted away with the dancing lines of steam from his cup.
"What is the matter, darling?" She asked.
Emmanuel: "I can't take it anymore. I can't just stand there and see my uncle and the others be treated like that. He is almost eighty for Adonai’s sake!"
She smiled softly as she tried to sooth him: "According to Pharaoh, they will all be released once the pyramid is finished." He shook his head: "No, it's a lie. Minios himself told me that his father didn't even know what he was doing, their knowledge is insufficient, and the priests of Re are just buying time until they discover the secrets of… Something Minios said was the coordinates of the afterworld, I'm not exactly sure of the meaning of term... Something only the priests hold the knowledge of apparently."
"What about the other priests? Those who live in the East? Far into the peninsula?" She asked. "Are you joking? They are Midianites, they will not be taken seriously, no matter how much they claim to know." He replied. "Oh, I see..." Mara frowned.
"Yes. If my grandfather could see what happened to his people, he would cringe in his grave." Emmanuel said, taking a much needed sip from the aromatic tea, he put the cup down and sighed, which is at this point, the only thing he had the power to do.
She stood up from her own chair and walked towards him with a smile. She stood behind him and started to rub his back; she knew that's where his stress points were. She kissed the nape of his neck gently as she whispered: "Don't worry your self with such things. God will deliver us..."
"God!" Emmanuel shouted, standing up with an abrupt start. "What has God done to ease their pain and suffering? You can't hear their voices, Mara. They are in PAIN! I have seen some of them, they are so old they can barely pull the ropes, and yet they are being whipped like desert dogs! Why isn't God DOING anything for his beloved children?!" Mara looked downwards, realizing she truly didn't hold the answers and merely shook her head: "Maybe nothing, but your prayers will not go unheard, Emmanuel. I know it!"
Emmanuel: "It is useless Mara, the coming generations, all of them, will suffer. I am ashamed to be enlisted with the house of the Pharaoh while my kinsmen are dying left and right by his hands."
Mara reached for him as he walked towards the door: "Darling, where are you going?" He shut his eyes: "I'm going to Amarna to see Minios again," He opened them and continued: "I will convince him to ask his father to ease the workload on the slaves."
A long camel ride, two days later…
Minios smiled as he heard Emmanuel's story. "My dear Emmanuel, you are like a brother to me and we do think alike. Don't you think that I haven't been begging my father for the past few years, to allow the slaves to be eased of their burdens? The most I got was a promise not to let the elders work. That legislation will be in effect tomorrow."
Emmanuel nodded, with a bleak hopeful smile: "I guess that will do for now. It is a good first step."
"Damn Hebrew." The Egyptian guard standing in the distance whispered, in a low voice but loud enough for both to hear.
Minios looked at the guard with an angry look then looked back at Emmanuel. Emmanuel simply sighed.
Minios: "You are going to say something right back at him, Manuel!" Emmanuel waved his hand in the air, trying to diminish the guard's self worth: "Let him be, he is not worth my breath." The guard snickered: "Figures. You are nothing but a slave, like the rest of them. The fact that you are enlisted in Pharaoh’s palaces means nothing. Minios! Look at him! How can you even stand next to the leech?!"
Minios picked up a large piece of stone from the ground and took a gigantic step forward, grabbing the guard by the neck, the latter's pike falling to the desert sand with a dusty thud: "He is my friend, and like the brother that I never had. Now I suggest you apologize to him immediately if you don't want me to crush your skull with this stone!"
Emmanuel tugged his arm: "Watch your temper, Minios. Remember what happened last time."
The guard snickered, drowning Emmanuel’s sentiment:
"You'll do that, Minios? Don't tell me you are a Hebrew sympathizer!
Everyone knows those people are just leeches, leeching from the
The anger boiled in Minios' blood. That is only because deep inside, he knew that he himself was of half Hebrew blood.
Minios, raising the hand with the stone and shaking from sheer rage, slammed it onto the guard’s skull, probably smashing the hard skull bone right through his brain. The impact was so powerful that the guard’s entire body shook violently from the concussion. The guard murmured incoherently with the sheer convulsed pain and drifted out of consciousness. Minios was simply shocked from the amount of potential power he exhumed when under the sheer influence of anger. He stepped back, as if to see whether it was just a fleeting illusion, and let the guard drop to his knees then fall flat on the desert stand.
Minios looked at his hand, clenching the stone as the blood dripped down to the golden sands. He looked at the fracture on the guard’s head and realized the amount of damage that he did.
Minios stood back against the cold palace wall. Emmanuel, himself as equally built as Minios was shocked that his friend let his strength get the best of him: "Brother! What did you do! Is he dead?!"
Minios sighed: "I didn't really mean to..." Two other guards who were standing by the palace gates ran out to the courtyard and grabbed the unconscious guard and took him inside to the physician’s hall.
"What if he dies?! What are you going to do?" Emmanuel asked; you could feel the panic in his voice. Minios shook his head with a deceivingly calm sigh; he was still absorbing the severity of what he had just done: "I'll take full responsibility."
The next day, Minios and Emmanuel sat at the porch, awaiting the judgment from his father, Amenhotep III, Prefectural Pharaoh of Amarna who answered directly to Pharaoh Ramesis.
Minios put a hand on Emmanuel's shoulder. "Emmanuel, I need to tell you something. I'm not really... Pure Egyptian." Emmanuel looked at him with a soft smile, as if knowing what he was going to say. "I am half Hebrew. You and I have more in common than you have thought. I was born not far from here, up-stream. My real mother, Tiye was one of the two children of Joseph."
"You don’t mean Joseph, Vizier of Ramesis the First?" Emmanuel asked. Minios nodded: "Which means that you and I are related because we share the same grandfather, that makes us first cousins."
Emmanuel stood up, as if being skeptical about the information he had just received: "Alright, but answer this… How can Tiye have children in the house of the Pharaoh?? I thought she was an Egyptian maid and caretaker of the Pharaoh!" Emmanuel exclaimed.
"No. She was a legitimate wife of the King's although a pure Hebrew. That is because Egyptian Law required that the King only marry an adult of pure Egyptian Royal bloodline, preferably a sister. That was not possible at the time as she was only two, so the King married Tiye, an adult, as well as my step-mother and the King's baby sister, Sit'amun. My father, Amenhotep, himself a full-fledged adult, was actually scared that he would not have a child heir, without thinking of the consequences of having a half Hebrew child becoming the King. Nevertheless, that marriage was kept secret from the world. And I was born secretly as a child that many wished never existed."
Emmanuel: "So the stories are all myths. You were never found in a river!"
Minios: "Actually, that story is half true. I really was drawn out of the water, as my name suggests. But that is because of the manner of my abnormal birth; I had to be drawn out of my mother’s womb. They couldn’t say that I was born like that because only Pharaoh’s physicians have the medical knowledge of performing the incision and the sewing thereafter, Hebrews and peasants do not get the privilege of having the Pharaonic experts handle their children’s births, you see. And since the palace could not afford to tell the Egyptians that a Hebrew Royal was born within those walls, those stories had to be made up, about how my sister lead me in a crib onto the palace. And that secret will probably die with you and me as well."
Emmanuel suddenly pointed at Minios, realizing something incredible: "But... That means that you are the rightful heir to the royal throne of Amarna if your father dies!"
Minios shook his head: "No, no, Emmanuel. I'm not of pure royal blood, only half. And besides, that's what the Pharaoh's advisors originally worried about and wanted to kill me for, so in order not to kill me in my infancy like the rest of the Hebrew sons, I was ordered to be admitted into the Priesthood of Re. As you know, legally no priest is allowed to ascend a prefectural throne. Thus guaranteeing that I cannot possibly usurp the title of Pharaoh."
"So Tiye wasn’t just a Hebrew servant like they lead us to believe. Was she ever married before becoming Amenhotep's wife?" Emmanuel asked.
"Yes, actually she was. She was married to an old man who died of old age. They conceived a son named Aaron, ironically right after the Priests of Re told the king that a Hebrew child would grow up and swipe the rule right from the Pharaoh. So Tiye sent her child away to the East with one of her relatives, but the relative was caught right before reaching the Sinai desert, and they were both executed in the middle of the desert."
Minios sighed as he shook his head then
took a bite of his Karanu; a delicious lotus leaf cooked with honey and milk and
stuffed with rice. It was something that only royals could afford to have.
Minios continued: "The priests of Re were adamant about upholding their laws of killing all firstborn Hebrews. You too, had you not been born of an Egyptian mother, you would also have been executed just as well. It seems that your God has blessed us both."
Emmanuel nodded: "So it seems, brother... So it seems."
"Of course, when Sit'amun became old enough to bear children fourteen years later, she bore Akhen’amun." Moses took the last bite from his Karanu and wiped his hands. Minios looked towards the garden where three children played and he smiled: "He will make a great king one day. You see, I taught him about the God of the Hebrews. I have a feeling that he will be of the generation that frees the slaves."
Emmanuel smiled as he looked at little Akhen’amun. "Let's hope you're right."
"Minios!" A man shouted. Emmanuel and Minios turned around and quickly stood up, bowing to the high priest of Ra, Anen. "Minios, what have you done you fool?" He shook his head in dismay as he looked at Minios with sad eyes.
Minios sighed: "My anger took the better of me, uncle."
The priest nodded: "You have a lot of untamed energy, my pupil, you need to channel that into creativity, NEVER let it take over your anger, it is much too easy to lose control, or so the great Re has taught us."
Minios nodded: "Yes, lord." The priest sighed: "Worry not, my young one, I will talk to the Pharaoh and make him spare you his wrath. I would hate to lose my brightest student, as he would hate to lose his own firstborn son."
Minios nodded: "Yes, lord. I thank you."
"May the wings of Re forever keep you in His shade!" Anen bid them and walked into the palace.
As they waited, two Egyptian citizens and a guard started arguing by the palace gates; apparently they overheard the conversation between the priest and Minios.
"How can he be freed from his guilt?!"
One of them shouted. "He is a Hebrew! That's why! The stories are true!" The
other citizen declared. "The Pharaoh cannot let justice go unserved!" The other
The guard tried to calm them down to no
avail. Emmanuel and Minios walked down towards them.
"There he is! The traitor and murderer!
I would not be surprised if he is the usurper as prophesized by the priests of
Amen-Re themselves!" the Egyptian shouted.
Minios was silent. The other Egyptian
snickered at him: "They say your real name is Moses. A filthy Hebrew name,
filthy like your whore Hebrew mother, the maid Tiye!"
Minios clenched his fists, as if he was about to murder again. Emmanuel looked at Minios and held his fist tightly. "Hold yourself... Trust in God, Moses..." he whispered.
Minios was shocked to hear his own friend mention that name for the first time. Strange, because when the Egyptian said it, he hated the name. But when Emmanuel said it, it sounded right as rain, and beautiful as the Lotus plants. His anger subsided.
"That's right. You HAVE nothing to say!" The Egyptian shouted.
"Let's go, Emmanuel." Minios said finally. He turned around and walked up the stairs. Emmanuel exhaled, relaxed now that Minios was not going to let his anger control him again.
Emmanuel turned around towards the palace gates but something told him not to.
Sitting calmly in the seventh circle of hell, Anubis sipped on a cup of Devil Ambrosia. He grinned as he watched the events and said: "Perfect."
Usually, on the other side of existence, other beings would also be watching the events from their own vintage point in the seventh heaven, a place called Deva. But the place was deserted. It seems that almost everyone who has been elected in the throne of Deva had fallen or been reappointed to Hades. Now the angels await the inauguration of the next angel ordained for the position of King of Deva: An angel named Aryel. But it's been forty years, and Aryel is yet to report for duty.
Eris smiled at Anubis: "It is now or never, your chance to avenge for what the Devan bitch did to you. Am I right?" She watched him intently as he whispered into the dark pool of discord the fateful words that peered into the subconscious of the two Egyptians: "KILL HIM!" "Yes, my deliciously smart Jackal bastard. Your plan is working perfectly." She said, with a beaming smile as they continued to watch the events unfold.
With shocking caprice, one of the Egyptians pulled the pike from the guard's hands and flung it towards Minios.
Emmanuel's eyes widened in horror. "NO!!!!!" He screamed.
Minios turned around slowly, not knowing what to expect. It was too late! Emmanuel jumped and pushed Minios out of the way.
The spear struck through the right side of his torso, crushing his ribs into powder as it broke through to the other side, protruding with dark, dripping blood and gore.
Emmanuel stood up straight, full of pain. He looked at the large wound on his chest and the widening blood stain on his shirt.
Eris turned around at Anubis: "Well, not exactly what I was expecting, but that will do for now. We’ll get him sooner or later."
Sit'amun, Moses' step-mother and Queen
of Amarna ran outside. "What is all this commotion?" She shouted.
Minios looked down to his dying friend
in horror. As the Egyptians ran away, the guard looked around in fear seeking an
exit to his predicament.
The children, noticing the commotion,
walked out of the garden and towards the gates where they saw the dying Emmanuel
on the ground.
"Minios... What have you done to your
beloved friend?!" Sit'amun gasped as her voice and body trembled, looking at the
dying young man.
Minios could not speak.
"He grabbed it from me." Anubis
whispered into the pool. The words drifted to the subconscious of the Egyptian
guard. "H… He grabbed it from me!" The guard shouted. "I tried to back him off
but he took it from me and stabbed his own friend!"
Minios clenched his fists: "You liar..." He cringed, but the words didn't come out of his mouth... He was too overwhelmed with grief, and that took priority over his anger. He looked at the dying eyes of Emmanuel and wondered why their God had cursed them so.
"Go... Go Moses.... As far away as you can! And never forget your people!" And with those words, Emmanuel shut his eyes, permanently.
Sit'amun looked at Minios with burning eyes. Apparently, she didn't even need to hear Minios' side of the story. He was guilty of double murder, and not even the high priest of Amen-Re can vouch for him now.
Minios walked down the steps, full of
horror and grief. He thought that he could see the Sphinx, in the distance. The
Sphinx looked towards the rising of the sun, the East. And in the heavens, he
could hear Emmanuel's voice shouting: "GO!"
Minios ran. He ran with all the energy he was ever given. And for the next eight days, he never stopped.