Friday, January 11, 2013

Masquerade Bloghop AND #FridayFlash: Mortal Flesh

Fellow Mythology Fan, Meg McNulty invited me to join her bloghop -- the theme, Masks and Masquerade! 500 words or less of fiction or poetry. And on top of that, it's FRIDAY, so it seemed natural to kill two birds with one stone, and make this a #FridayFlash, though I have been anything but reliable in that department.

Of course, I couldn't resist coming up with something related to my forthcoming book FORGED BY FATE. Call it bonus content, as this scene happens off page in my novel -- and I promise you, the players are much more than what they seem.

May I introduce to you, Assurbanipal? In all his glory.

Mortal Flesh
By Amalia Dillin
from wiki commons

Assurbanipal, King of the Universe, and High Priest of Assyria. He wore the role like a mask, ill-fitting and uncomfortable. His oldest brother had been too great a fool to be allowed to live, never mind to rule such an empire, and it had not been hard to convince the governors and vassals that he was the natural choice to replace Siniddinapli as King. But he had not thought it would chafe him so.

He bowed to the east, prostrating himself before an image of the sun god, Shemesh, the god of justice. “Guide me, Shemesh,” he said aloud, to please his vassals. “May the blessing of your light fall upon my people.”

At least it was Shemesh at the Winter Solstice, and not Adad. He had even less love for the storm god, whose lightning unnerved him more than he liked to admit. But he was a scholar, enlightened enough to know he could not place his trust in the gods. What became of his kingdom now would be the result of his own power, his own strengths, his own desires. And he desired much more than the privilege of bending his knee to such useless gods.

He made the necessary offerings and left the priests and his people behind, readjusting his robes. The embroidered fabric weighed heavily on his shoulders, just another part of the role he played, now. King of the Universe was a title he embraced, and the throne fit him well enough. The bowing and scraping of men and women before him felt natural. But the role of High Priest – he tugged at the neck of his robe, feeling the fabric choking him – no, he did not care for the role of High Priest at all. But it would not be forever, he promised himself, as he entered the library.

“Most honored master,” the slave bowed so low his forehead touched the ground. An Egyptian, useless but for his skill as a scribe. “You are expected at the Feast of Shemesh – ”

“Better to honor Shemesh by devoting myself to study and wisdom than pour more wine,” Assurbanipal said, collecting the clay tablets he required. He had demanded the contents of the library as tribute from all his vassals. Every religious text from every land ruled by Assyria, and still he had not found what he searched for. But he was close. The mention of golden apples, sweet with immortality – the gods could not keep their secrets forever. “You may go.”

“Yes, of course, most honored one.” The Egyptian bowed again and left him.

Because being only a man, a mortal king and mere high priest, that was a mask he meant to shed. One day, he would be King of the Universe in truth as well as title, and the gods…

The gods would bend their knee to him.
***

If you like this, definitely mark March 5 on your calendars (and add the book on Goodreads as a reminder!), because FORGED BY FATE is coming fast, and you won't want to miss it!

After Adam fell, God made Eve to protect the world. — Adam has pursued Eve since the dawn of creation, intent on using her power to create a new world and make himself its God. Throughout history, Eve has thwarted him, determined to protect the world and all of creation. Unknown to her, the Norse god Thor has been sent by the Council of Gods to keep her from Adam’s influence, and more, to protect the interests of the gods themselves. But this time, Adam is after something more than just Eve’s power — he desires her too, body and soul, even if it means the destruction of the world. Eve cannot allow it, but as one generation melds into the next, she begins to wonder if Adam might be a man she could love.

The above story is © Amalia Dillin, 2013

25 comments:

  1. Fellow certainly has a high opinion of his calling!

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  2. Well, that's a huge quest! I love your description, all that weighty responsibility...

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  3. I'm hoping he succeeds. would be nice to see the gods getting beaten at their own game, for once!

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    1. You'll have to pick up FORGED BY FATE to find out who wins that particular struggle :)

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  4. I LOVE the power of your final line. It's superb - sounds ferociously stern. You have captured the atmosphere of the time so well, and the character of a man in his position. SO looking forward to FORGED BY FATE - and thank you so much for entering!

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    1. Yay!! Thank you!! I hope FORGED BY FATE will not disappoint :)

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  5. hee :) As I'm in the middle of researching Minoan culture and their interactions with the Egyptions etc... for my novel I had to make sure I wasn't dreaming the story - excellent use of mythology there :)

    Saffy

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    1. Isn't there some thought that the Minoans might have been the "Sea People" of the Egyptian inscriptions? Sounds like a really interesting book!

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  6. I love the feel of another time and the decription of the mask. Definetely going to pick up Forged By Fate.

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    1. Thank you!! Awesome!! You won't regret it! :)

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  7. I guess he failed. Or did he? At least we can thank him for Gilgamesh. Nineveh-autiful!

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    1. That his name has lived this long is certainly something of an achievement toward immortality!

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  8. The words "that was a mask he meant to shed." gave me the shivers. Curiosity piqued. :)

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    1. Awesome!! I'm glad it provoked a response! :)

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  9. I really enjoyed the excerpt. I love anything mythology related. Your book cover is gorgeous! I added it on Goodreads. :)

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    1. The book cover up top in my banner is actually my friend's book, TIMESPELL :) My book, FORGED BY FATE doesn't have cover art revealed quite yet-- but soon! I hope you'll add both, because TIMESPELL has a lot of fun history and mythology stuff in it too!

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  10. Such a luscious line!! "golden apples, sweet with immortalitiy—the gods could not keep their secrets forever." I really fell into your prose and amazing command of mythology while bringing to it a human "face." Well done : )

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    1. Thanks, Diane! I'm so glad it captured you!

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  11. Ah, Assurbanipal. I feel you're destined for massive disappointment. The lust for immortality rarely ends well! This was wonderful, Amalia. You capture his overweening pride and arrogance from the first couple of sentences--you have a gift for imbuing story with a sense of myth and timelessness without weighing it down with unnecessary trappings of ponderous detail. Really nicely done.

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    1. Very kind of you to say! VERY kind! Thank you!!

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  12. It sounds like he knows what he wants, and I wouldn't want to be in his way. :) I loved the feel of this piece.

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    1. I don't think I'd like to be in his way, either! Thank you!

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  13. Wow, wonderful feel to this story.

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Comments are Love!

(Nota Bene: During #NAMEthatBUTT season, all comments are moderated and your guesses are hidden until after the butt is revealed!)