In the Corner with Maftet in Bubastis

Here it begins: my long series of mytho-poetica inspired by two very talented writer-poet-bloggers ~ see below ~ one interwoven, multifaceted tale that would consume me for months. For those of my readers who have not read: Enjoy! (But you may want to begin with the two pieces that inspired me… Again, see below.)

qadesh2[1]What am I doing here in this drear room in Bubastis in doom of shadow corner, so many sadistic strange faces? And who’s the witch that paces back and forth like she’s the frackin’ dream queen?

“Yeah! That witch is the bitch of war, my dear,” voice at my shoulder, and I shuddered. “She’ll dance and prance, but blood lust is a must for Bast; she just likes to drown her victims in fine wine first before lunging for the kill.” Light laughter. “Yeah, it’s her thrill.”

And the cats; I like cats, but their purring was alluring. Slap! “Bitch! Wake up unless you wanna be her boy-toy! She’ll suck you dry and leave you to rot in graveyard lot! Stupid man! I knew you needed me here; your haven is craven fear, right? Right! No might, no sight, no fight… Pathetic! Come here… No! Near, my love. Why the hell do you have an ear if you can’t hear?”

“But who are you?”

“Maftet, wife of Ma’at, but why in God’s name do you want to know? Just shut the hell up and stand behind me, kind of like you’re scarred, because you are ~ like an infant ~ far from home.” Wide shoulders, strong as boulders, silken hair, back bare and luscious. “Look! Her next victim, so unaware! Listen to her dictum, and the man is so blind! Men have always been, and there’s the purr of her cat to allure! Gods! I’ll rip apart the cats and make hats of hell ere I tear into her and chime Shai’s death bell!”

Bast like feline and soothed among cast and crew of old tale spun, told anew, unheard by little bird, “ah! but his mistress sees now how he’s ready to bow! Good so far; maybe she’ll steal him for her own meal, if she’ll stop drinking Bastian wine so finely laced, not benignly … Is she stupid, too; so putrid! She still doesn’t see!”

“See what?” Trembling. Assembling courage, but so damn pitiful in mystical presence of pleasance of Maftet, my savage protectress so ready to ravage … who? One and all to maul? Maybe I should crawl…

“The stich, my love-dove, so weak and bleak! The stitch on the rich bitch-witch!”

“Where? I see no tear…”

Living_Ma__at_by_sphinxmuse[1]“Ha! No wonder! You blunder through life anyway; yeah! you need to stay with me, even after this day! You’re too damn blind to find your way; that’s how you stumbled into the gloom of this room in the first place, and with no trace beyond Ma’at … and she ought to have pity on you!” I moved closer to her back for lack of strength. Laughter, demeaning but preening, too. “Look! The stich covers more than a niche! At the bottom of her neck.” More laughter, this time cruel with some bloody drool. “You should’ve seen her before, just after… Star-knife slice and I made her a wreck!”

The man moved closer. His mistress pricked, gave an unseen kick. Ah! But Bast and Maftet noticed ~ it was really obvious ~ but the man was oblivious. And then the woman began to weave as something began to leave with spirit heave… And cat’s eyes turned green, so serene … hypnotic, exotic, erotic. It wouldn’t be long now…

Instinctively I grabbed Maftet for fear… “It’s alright, my dear, just stay near… We’ve played this play many times before, and it’ll not be you who hits the floor!”

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Note: This was all very gratefully inspired by the creative work of unbolt and Tony Single, specifically their collaborative work, the second part of which is entitled, Sekhmet. Thank you both for this fascinating, exciting new venture … not, mind you, an addition to their creative work. One might consider this an inspired ‘spin-off?’ Whatever the case may be, hope you (my readers) enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed imagining and writing it!

Maftet and Lessons of Petty Divisions

summerly-noon-temple“People dear worshipped here, once upon a time; drinking the fine wine of fellowship,” Maftet spoke softly in the haunted old courtyard of once-vaunted temple. “Women, men and children; fathers, mothers, and sisters, brothers all; simple poor and those who stood tall in unity of community.” She ran fingers over one lingering wall, browned dark and dank, yet not cast down, but no longer part of crown achievement of city dead, now raising pity rather than praise.

“What happened here to make this place so drear,” I wondered allowed as an hundred questions flew thru my mind in like kind as I drew near my patroness-protector.

“The young and new wanted to cast out the old, but so soon as they’d begun the old grew bold; and the last song sung here was broken by tears,” Maftet answered. “The malefactors continued the fight against the old dogs’ bite, but most grew weary and it was then this magnificent place grew dreary. . . Death hung heavy in the air ~ the levy of schism ~ and evil laid bare the ill-intentions of darkened hearts. . . Unity fled and the community bled; then was no more.”

“Then do these stones not face the world now as a monument of disgrace?”

Maftet turned; fire burned in her eyes. “More than monument of disgrace, but an edifice of learning for any but fools; here are tools for teaching how reaching too far, too deeply, too soon can bring destruction at the noontime of any community.” She began to walk as she continued to talk. “Thy young say to the old, ‘Get out of the way,’ and the elders strive to hold them at bay, but then all devolves into dismay!”

“Tell me, please, who was right in your sight?”

“Ah!” She slipped her hand round my waist band. “Both were right, and both were wrong; both lacked sight, and both were weak, not strong. Enmity grew and lead to calamity that will ne’er be forgot in all eternity. . . And all over such trifling matters; all the clatter of fools with their endless prattle. Then came the clatter of sword and shield, for neither side would yield, and in yonder plain half were slain.”

And so it was that we were standing, hand in hand, not only in ancient ruins . . . but in the graveyard of what once was community ~ the hard reality pressing in on me that many such cemeteries exist as the living still persist in trifles and petty disputes. I was mute.

 

Terror: Blast of Bast and the Meek Seeker

bast6How the hell did I get here, I wondered. But now that’s a pretty question: Here is not there where I was, but where is here? It is cold and I haven’t even a coat to fold round me. It was warm with Kheba, and she promised no harm, but this … this does alarm!  And then I heard the laughter — cruel and mocking — I turned and churned inside, and was instantly beside myself. There she was, seated upon regal crystalline throne; hauntingly beautiful; tauntingly majestic. Poisonous pied piper, I knew her with only some few glances before… Bast.

“Did you think you had gone unnoticed, my little fawn?” Sprinkle of mystic evil and twinkle in her eye, she could easily spy my fear, though I shed not a tear. “Oh … my mother? Perhaps sisters or brothers? No, they are not here, my dear; and Maftet and Ma’at cannot be sought.” She rose, striking an altogether magnificent pose, looking as if she were deciding just how to dispose of me, nothing more to her than an insignificant bumble-bee. Her smile was meant to beguile as she stepped down from royal chair with barely any sound, and I instantly found myself in arm’s reach.

“Yes, I’ll loosen your fetters and teach you better, for I know what you want — your deepest secrets and desires, hardwired into your soul from foul bowl of Dyēus — and there’ll be no more frustration after your castration. Ah! No, no, no … this is not damnation; this will be the foundation for new life, not an aberration nor stagnation of existence. Nay! It is in your persistence in mere subsistence of what you now are, which is far from what I will make you, that causes such aggravation and exasperation.” Finger to my lips to hush, shamefully causing me to blush.

It seemed every beam, the floor and ceiling was coated in ice, bloated by an ongoing winter, so I knew without asking and wondered how it was Bast was basking as if in glory … but, perhaps, she had another story to tell? Evil may not mind the bind of freezing cold too bold for mortals… Ha! The slice of ice that kills may fill her with a measure of pleasure! But what of me? Shall I be made a eunuch by her wicked blade?  With that thought, the very laugh of Bast half killed me… In one very real sense, I’d have preferred to seal my death than endure the coming torture; I desired complete departure.

“Why do you think this will hurt when I’m expert in this skill; it will not kill,” Bast circled around me and bound me by her very presence. It was then I noticed the irregular, eleven-pointed star on the floor, with seven longer than four, which bore grotesque images of creatures only to detest. What meaning did Bast invest in this symbol, and what black majik did mingle within? “Ah, so many numbers, eh? And so many say what each means, but they lean on their own understanding, misapprehending.”

She seemed intent to explain, but that without any strain: “The seven pointed rays represent perfection — and upon reflection, you’ll remember learning as much, such as your learning goes — and the seven flow out further, which means they are read first, said first. The four shorter rays display rebellion … rebellion by an hellion like me!” And Bast shook the palatial tower of power with her tremendous laughter. Stupendous, to be sure, and certainly horrendous. So she imagines herself the perfection of defection from heavenly realms; highest infection upon the earth … without much reflection?

“You doubt me!” came the angry shout. “We’ll have a bout, then, to convince you of my clout! Whom do you think could rise so high and sink so low; higher than the heavens, below even the Abyss? Lies in guise of truth! Flies of lies from Dyēus, the Tri-Mater witch-bitch, and their score of whores! But now for you, my pet; I have you in my net! And you are mine to sign and seal, so let’s be quick about this and you’ll not be sick for long. Ah! But you will belong to me and only to me for all to see forevermore! Now you’ll be my whore!”

Down went my pants quick as lightening — frightening — and out came blade so precisely made for emasculation with no duration. And I could not help my imagination of the very real possibility of invagination to follow. So would I be forever changed by such deranged and fallen goddess? Oh, but the change I could bear, but ne’er life cast with Bast; I’d already Bast1determined to die, yes, and fly even into the Abyss in order to miss such prolonged torture. How to make such departure, though, elluded me … but, then, I was already deluded into believing hope was long gone.

“Wake up for the gods’ sake!”

Kheba?

“You’re quaking and shaking! Wake up, I say! It’s not even day, but wake up … wake up for my sake!”

Kheba? I bolted up in bed nearly knocking her head, and screamed from the hellish dream! Dream…? Was it just a dream? It didn’t seem so, but…

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Note: First image, “Bastet,”  by Susan Seddon Boulet & Michael Babcock; Second image/photo, “Bast Statue,” found at Isis Books & Gifts  … Also, Please Kindly Consider Visiting J D Noble Publications on FB and “Liking” It.  I Plan on Utilizing This FB Page More Effectively in the Future … For Updates, Inside Info, Short Commentary on Stories and Other Blogs, etc. You Can Find the Icon-Box in the Lower Righthand Corner on This Page! Thank You!

Lessons Along the Nile: Chosen Fear-Frozen

“Ma’at herself came to Djer, not to shame, but with pure aim to reach his heart and teach his mind, and in this the fierce goddess of truth was kind,” Maftet explained as I remained in her arms in the cool, refreshing waters of the jewel of Egypt. “Ma’at came to explain wiser farming and fielding, yielding to mercy in not harming Gaia. She tried to show him how his people cried for honesty and justice, modesty in governance to unharness his subjects from the crushing weight of too great a load of obligation to his crown that would eventually drown his realm.”

Arms charmed over her shoulders, latched at her upper back, I was attached to Maftet — ever-hovering lover — and would not let go even if heaven should beckon me so. “If I reckon rightly, then, Djer did not listen to the wisdom of Ma’at, and must have shot down every lesson offered, though by them he would have profited… But surely Ma’at said more, for she always has in store great treasures of the pleasures of pure knowledge.”

“Yes, of course,” Maftet ran her hand across band of my waist, and slowly continued without haste, “Ma’at tried to tell him stories of the past, and teach him principles that last; what it means to cast one’s mind into the sea of curiosity with humility; to burn to learn without thick hide of pride; to be adept and accept truth wherever it is found without being swept away by stray winds of blind arrogance that bind heart, mind and soul… But Djer would not hear, and it was fear that drove him into an ill-illumined cove of anger; therein lay the danger to his entire empire.”

Maftet led me back out of the waters and bade me slip on thin robe to begin our stroll along the rolling bank of the Nile, from which I no longer shrank. “His mind was closed and opposed to an intrusion or profusion of new ideas. Djer continued to plunder the soil, ripping asunder Gaia in greed for gold and precious stones beyond any need. He would not let his people read for fear of planting any seed of doubt in what he taught them to believe. Voices of reason were repressed and people oppressed, and thus his whole kingdom depressed.” She looked at me, now so intimately familiar, “Sound similar to your own clime and time?”

warriorwomandB“So the more truth neared, the more he feared? He chose to be blind and bind himself to his own notions rather than disturb his emotions?” I had to strenuously try to repress laughter at the pleasantly wry smile of Maftet.

“Ah! You are not so mentally sickly as once you were; you’re learning more quickly. Good for you; what you say is true!” She brushed my cheek with lush-perfect fingers. “What is more tragic still was his shrill denouncement of any deviation from his religion; thus he turned his subjects into compliant pigeons feeding on bits of shallow doctrine cavalierly tossed on the ground for them to eat instead of the meat of unadulterated truth. This more than all else did grieve Dyēus and cause him to leave, while Djer made pretense of worshipping him still, though under different name, but the god he reverenced was no more than hand-shaped sod.” Her face brightened then to lighten the sky. “But Meryet-Nit did sit at the feet of Ma’at, replete with wisdom, and listened and learned. This is why, by and by, she came to be ancient predecessor of Sulaymān the Wise, son of Dawud,  though her reign was ill-fated… Still, she could not be baited by dollops of rancid scallops.”

Maftet laid us down, then, making her body my bed. “When you very first described the realm of Djer, I thought of hell and fire, of … well, shire of Şeytan, muck and mire of dæmons.”

“And so it was!” fiercely she struck and pierced my soul. “Evil is pitch dark, leaving no niche for light; wickedness is the blight of unsighted knowledge and wisdom; iniquity is the ubiquity of vain and shallow religion, bane of self-righteous hypocrisy, autocracy of unfounded moralism and ungrounded regulations thrust upon whole nations, an aberration of what is truly good, an abdication of sense and sensibility!” Maftet’s chest was heaving, breast profusely sweating; cheeks burning, her whole body churning … then someone seemed to apply balm of calm.

god-rod[1]“Love drives out all fear, and where there is pure love, wisdom is near. Love and truth from above are open and free, and freely open the hearts and minds of those who lovingly open to love and free their hearts and minds to eat from the Tree of Life, which is free to all who will willingly partake, not for their own sake alone but to be shown and given freely to sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers around the world… Do you see now, my bride, how Şeytan prefers to hide beneath layer of pretentious religion and appear ever-so fair? Therein lies his subtlety wherein he gains custody of so many unsuspecting souls. His dæmons are trolls of ‘right doctrine,’ and thus there are those who, thinking they serve heaven, are evil and but leaven of evil and wickedness … and all in the name of Dyēus.” I felt her tears running between our cheeks, leaking out the sadness that lay within. “Do you comprehend?”

“Yes … I’ve rightly received and believe I now correctly conceive.”
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Maftet: Lessons Along the Nile, Part VI

“Do you see the hot sands blow?” Maftet quietly asked. “It was not always so.” She basked in the bright sunlight — strong, radiant beauty, as if Sol himself might belong to her — then she turned to me, and my heart churned under gaze that burned a hole in my soul. “There was lush green here, and myriad flowers, not only near the river, beside the water, but far and wide, much further than long day stride for even the most able horse. Nature flourished freely here, not by force, then came the curse worse than the plagues of Mūsa and Hārūn.”

Frederick-Goodall-Londra“When did this curse, so perverse, befall the land of the Nile, turning fair garden into burning desert sand? Was this an awful reprimand of Dyēus?”

“No, this was the blight of Isfet in his fight against Dyēus and the bright heavens, as well as Sélená, Ma’at and all bearers of light and goodness, of what is right and true.” The face of Maftet was sadness, with no gladness, so that it tore my heart asunder. “It was during the reign of Meryet-Nit, beloved of Neith, whose pain was overwhelming as she prayed for the rain imprisoned in the sky by Şeytan, whom Milḉah had driven from her realm of the Chaldeans, lest he overwhelm her people … but much to the distress of her sister-queen to the west.”

egyptian_goddessMaftet let slip her robe to dip in the now clear, cool waters of the Nile, and steered me to do the same in pool of peace and calm, serenely flowing yet queenly, too, as Sol bejeweled her with dancing diamonds across her ambrosial breast. And across the crest, so near, dear Maftet: Gold-tan skin over span of well-toned body; smooth-rippling muscles, sharp-hard nipples, mystic-starred eyes, and silk-raven hair … all laid bare for me to see, but more beautiful yet was her inner-core. Wizened mind and resilient heart so kind, and both that bind truth and justice with love and mercy in soul worthy of such an heavenly god who through this world does trod.

“Milḉah, of course, never meant to send hell-bent dæmon west, lest he should wreak havoc upon this realm of Meryet-Nit and whelm her with grief of no relief,” Maftet continued. “Meryet-Nit knew this, tis true, and never laid blame upon Milḉah, for it was the shame of her father, Djer, whose four-generation rule was wicked and cruel. Djer grieved Dyēus and did, in truth, beckon God to leave… No matter; the pleas of Meryet-Nit were of no necessity to appease Dyēus, who already loved her with an undying love.”

“Ah, then how is it Dyēus did not reply to the cry of Meryet-Nit on behalf of her peaceful and feeble people?”

Neith“You assume, my lovely groom,” Maftet swam the short span to hold her lamb. “Her people were not peaceful nor feeble; spiritually cripple, yes, and deceitful yet lethal in evil and filled with foul fecal. They had, you see, been tutored by Djer and thus neutered of all purity and virtuous maturity. So did Dyēus take great pity and intervened as he could; he saved the holy city. And Gebeb of earth and fields, hearth and homes, aided father Dyēus in saving many crops of grain through strain of Isfet’s reign of terror — much like Jozèf of forthcoming lore — but in no wise could Dyēus even the score… And so now you see so much sands and wandering bands.”

But then did it occur to me, “When are we now? Will you allow me to know, what time is this? Would I be amiss in believing we are here amid such shear desolation just after such adverse curse?”

Maftet did not dismiss my speculation with humiliation. “No, not so terribly amiss; we are here after the fact — the terrible act of the ddiafol — but some time after, in another generation to chime another lesson in your ongoing education.” Maftet supplely coupled me and smiled. “There is always reason for every season in your life; we are not here merely to bathe but to further swathe your intellect and increase your faith.”

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Note: Egyptian goddess by Robyn Jane as found on http://www.deviantart.com; Painting of Nile River by Frederick Goodall Londra at http://www.artslife.com

Maftet: Lessons Along the Nile, Part V

Maftet“You believe you’re sitting round this campfire, and in this you’re not wrong. You also believe you’re situated in a large forest but this belief is not as strong. More than this, you believe you’ve been hurled into an altogether different world, but this is far less coherent though inherent in your present experience in which all appearance is precarious and mysterious. But now in brief I’ve shown you something important about belief.” Maftet concluded as she prodded glowing embers of burning timbers.

She looked at me, so torn away, while I looked on with only dismay. Unenlightened and frightened, and why not? I’d been brought to this strange place instantly from safe space of home and hearth, and very possibly from the earth of my birth. “No, you know I won’t deceive; in fact I’d like to relieve you, and I fully expect you to believe whatever I might say in light of what’s now taken place in the space of but a few days, though it seems such a haze and you probably feel like a rat trapped in a maze.” She chanced a chuckle. “I only mean to point out that however much relief you find in belief depends on how deeply and strongly you believe what you receive. I’ve tried to tell you before, but you’ve chosen to ignore. Now the door has been opened for me to explain again, as best I can, and expect you listen with open heart and mind not so blind.”

Maftet quietly kicked a log into the fire and picked up her stick to stir again the embers of timber while she thought and fought inside for something to say to disarm my rising alarm. No harm had yet come, but what more could she say on an otherwise bright and beautiful day. She chanced sad smile, wishing she had some way to dissolve the complexity, resolve my perplexity… Two squirrels twirled in the trees above in playful love. “Look again, my dove, in the distance, towering above the city. What do you see with eyes now free?”

“Yes, in Bubastis, the tall tower, of course, but surely not the one that brought the blow of ice and snow … the Tower built by Bast for power?”

“Yes and no,” Maftet answered slow and on-flowed, “the tower you see is an exotic mystery, built on the foundation of the old, untold to those who now live and survive in this dæmonic hive. The base of Bast now lay beneath thick brick more newly set, but with doors to corridors leading down to drown in darkness all those who dare the crumbling stairs. You were not there, but the room you were in that terrible hour was like a tomb in that very tower, so sour with cats and bats and pissed-stained mats! Bast takes to ancient basement only select few to chew on raw, living flesh so fresh, with screams that make her cream.”

god-rod[1]Ere more frightened, I tightened my grip around her hip, and she tauntingly laughed. “Do you know how much pleasure it gives me to lengthen the measure of your fear; what treasure it is to make you quiver and shiver, so you hold me so tight for protection against aggression or infection of some deadly pestilence that lays waste at noon for boon of the abyss? But no need to be upset at my words — yes, of course I heard — but you’re not immortal; only flesh and blood carved from mud. Still, you’re precious in my sight, and right in the light of Dyēus.”

Still clinging and bringing myself as close to Maftet as I could, even if I would crawl inside her and there abide; nevertheless, said I sadly, “You mock and demean me, without one whit of mien; you torment me with gleeful intent and never relent till you’ve given vent…”

“Oh! Hush!” Maftet hugged me tighter with brighter face interlaced with glimmering shimmer of light. “I only tease to appease my own unease… I’ve never loved mortal man, but you’re so unlike your clan; more elegant and feminine, benevolent and delicate, affectionate and compassionate… What more? You’ve bored a hole through my soul, and made yourself part of my very heart. And so now, too, I start to know how Dyēus loves humanity despite its insanity and vanity! And Ma’at loves you, too, because you are so true! So now, you’re enfolded by two lovers who ever hover round you to keep you safe under cover.”

Warm inside, I cherished the moment with no more torment; my spirit rose ecstatically that they chose me to be received and interweaved into their amorous communion. How could it be; I could not see… Of all people, why me? “For that reason,” Maftet smiled. “Your season is like Autumn, humble and beautiful, unpretentious, conscientious and never contentious. As the world turns and burns and you churn inside with still so much to learn and unlearn — for all that, we love you, coy baby boy!” And then provocative touch, erotic kiss, exotic aroma…

“Ah! But now do you understand? About the beginning in unity, one split in two, then restored harmony; foolery that led to cruelty; the burst of anger and hatred when one murdered one in submission to the willing of Lilith for the killing of innocence; how, then, dark death entered upon the earth; how Bast was seduced and cursed, then nursed wickedness and burst forth in insatiable thirst for human vermin? Why it is she built the ancient tower for power to leaven the lesser heaven with evil? How seen and unseen war has continued, and how Şeytan was brought low by near-fatal blow by show of light from bright rising of the one Sun of righteousness? But also how this war continues yet, while earth is beset by the talking apes, who continue to rape Gaia for whom there is no escape? You see, my love-dove, in that drear room in the tower yonder all of this was unclear, but you were so near the whole of history in that room filled with noxious consistory.”

ciurlionis02[1]“So the man … who couldn’t understand? Bast tricked him and so he was merely another victim, sweet prize for her lies? Just another spilling of blood for filling of belly?” I shook my head slowly, sadly with look at the newer tower in the distance. “Then such life matters so little…”

“No! But he has a wife, which makes you wonder how he’d blunder into such an odious place … but, then, stupidity was written all over his face!” Another wild kiss. “But you’re not there but here with me, and Ma’at makes three! And we will love you and teach you more, reach deeper into your soul, search heart and mind, and together bind all blackened thoughts and feelings reeling through your inner self.” Tightened hold, another bold kiss. “But where to next, my beloved?”

“Anywhere, but certainly not enclosed in tower; to that I’m adamantly opposed…”

And Maftet smiled and licked her lips again…

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Note: Painting by Lithuanian artist M.K. Ciurlionis; image of Dyēus from www.pinterest.com; image of warrior woman from http://www.iranpoliticsclub.net

Maftet: Lessons Along the Nile, Part IV

WinterMahtetUp from the river again, this time with shiver of cold and hold on Maftet, who quickly threw over me thick shawl to guard from squall in this barren, rugged land of dearth and famine. But here was where? I wondered against tear of fierce wind that seemed to pierce even through heavy cloth like swath made by cruel, icy scythe, so deadly and I so unsteady on my feet and knees, about to freeze.

I saw Maftet stoop for one then the other foot to slip on boot, lushly soft and warm against the storm with treacherous blow of snow. And then she girdled me with kilt like thick quilt out of nothing, but something. From where thick shawl, soft but rugged boots, and quilted kilt? Did she knit from whit of snow? Ah, but I would never know! I was warm, anyway, so why complain; Maftet made the pain of biting cold leave without reprieve.

“So prettily dressed now!” She laughed. “I’m impressed, if I do say so myself, but keep close by my side, precious bride; you’ll get lost in the frost.” Maftet smiled and winked at her trinket. “And, of course, you want to know where we are? Not far from where we were; look there! The river still flows below ice so nicely packed on surface. Careful in your pace, and we’ll cross the space to the other side to make our stride forth to the north.”

I dared not ask why north as we made our way that day along her chosen path alongside the frozen Nile.

“Much-spilled blood brought flood; excessive vice brought ice,” she intoned in manner that chilled me to the bone. So this is the age of ice? But what to see here in world of fear? Or learn in burn of frozen wind and churn of snow above and below? “Not far now and you’ll spy the tower high; built toward heaven for eleven years with sweat and tears and curses that reached the ears of Dyēus.”

Babel?

“Babel in Bubastis, yes,” she smiled and licked her lips, pulling at my hips. “Yes … confused and frozen for the ill-chosen, my love. Judgment from above to lay low the billow of Şeytan; to cleanse the rash of brash ddiafol with lash of wind; to bend down dæmonic pride and keep humanity in stride with humility and gracious tranquility.” Maftet pulled me tight. “You’re fright is right, but don’t fight the feeling, or you’re sealing your own fate; do not sedate yourself to what awaits.” She kissed my eyes to make me wise … or at least to loose the ties of lies. How could I know? I only returned the kiss below her neck, between her breasts in willing obeisance.

“So the tower was built in Bubastis? Not by the rabble of Babel?”

“Conflation of stories, my dear; the dilation of one and inhalation of the other. Not strange across the range of time, but first Bubastis!” She burst into laughter. “Then the tower built for power by the unmeek weak… Don’t you think?” She nodded then and prodded me forward. At her insistence I looked in the distance, and there lay crystalline city in beclouded day, sinister in this endless winter. And tower tall, unfinished, unblemished yet ready to fall.

frozen_building2“Bast built this city, named for herself in pity, and all for tall tower after she was cast forth from what some call the halls of Valhalla.” Heaven? Another smile, sideway glance to lance my spirit. “Yes and no, my love; but one of the heavens low. There is more than one, you know. Or do you now forget even what you knew before you blew into that room of gloom … before I craved and saved you?” Light laughter from my master.

“So she thought to bridge the gap twixt ridge of earth and low-heaven?”

“And bought the souls of cast and crew to do her bidding in building city and tower so high to sky, yes. But what is built so falsely is so easily blundered and torn asunder. Besides, lies always lead to profusion of confusion; is it any wonder, then, there are so many tongues flung throughout the earth, languages old and young? Breakdown in communication between kingdom and nation and every station of humanity? Even the least beast can better commune than man!”

“Can we explore and see more?”

“No!” Maftet wildly shook her head with look of dread. “Never here, not now; not even to walk through open gate to satiate curiosity. “No, my love. This is but a frozen cove of evil, where dæmons rove after God drove them, too, from the halls of Valhalla. And long will it be ere they wind their way elsewhere to roam and find some other home. But now, in this time, there is only chime of hell in distant city, resistant to all good and fair and mild, my child.”

“Then why are we here in this place so drear?” I burst in anger despite the danger. But Maftet only embraced and interlaced me with arms and legs, and wept as she kept me in her hold.

“As it has been told, this is the mold of your misery in the history of humanity. You have to see what some have become; I’m showing you the fissions and divisions that cause so much pain. Isn’t that plain enough, my love? This ice will melt and Spring will come and bring new life … but for how long? Does goodness belong in this world, and the angels’ song? We shall see, won’t we?”

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Note: image of Maftet from http://oktruebelievers.com/exhibitors; image of frozen tower from http://kevinmeek.com/mwo