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.
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