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Chapter Five

Gabriel had been busying himself with his laptop in the back of the Bentley and only looked up when they started to get close to London. It hadn’t taken any were near the amount of time he had imagined, the driver had been doing a superb job expediting them on their mission.

“What’s your name?” Asked Buzz

“James.’ Replied the driver

“How appropriate.” Retorted Buzz

“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that before.”

“I’m sure you have. Do you know the way to the Ashmolean Museum?”

“Yes,” replied James “it’s in Oxford.”

“Could we go there first and still get to London by closing time?”

“Sure, why not, just because we just missed the turn off, no problem, besides London never closes, don’t you know that?”

“Good, I have a long time uni-friend there; he might be able to save us a lot of trouble.” The Bentley turned off the ‘M1’ motor way, on to a service road and before long, after a series of ‘A’ road detours, pulled up in front of the Oxford University.

“I’ll come with you, just in case.” Said James

“Just in case of what?” asked Buzz?

“You know, these old places can be creepy.” Stated James

“O.K just hang back when we get there though, I don’t want to explain who you are, not that I really know.”

“O.K” he said, “I’m cool.”

Gabriel knocked on the door of the small office of Dr. Rodger Tockley, or so the gold leaf lettering said; as the door opened he flung himself through it and on to the occupant of the room.

“Rodger, Rodge how ya going, mate?”

A stunned man reeled backwards, going “Buzz, you old buzzard. When did you get here, I mean how, why? I didn’t know they let convicts out of Australia.”

“Didn’t you hear we over run the guards?”

“Seriously mate, what are you doing here?”

“I’m on a fact finding mission and I don’t have much time; can you help me?”

“Sure, if I can, what do you want to know?”

“Just some info on stolen Egyptian artifacts and who the current villains are.” said Buzz

“Oh is that all, would you like my balls as well? Cause I could get them cut off delving into that can of worms.” Reeled Rodger

“Come on Rodge cough up for an old mate.”

“Well I suppose so; you’d know all there is to know about Jahamo Medici and if you don’t, Hardy Grants have put out a book on it, I’ve got a copy here if you want to borrow it.”

“No that’s a bit old, I need new names.” Probed Buzz

“Do you know about the case that Dickey Ellis from Scotland Yard is working on; the Thomas Allcock collection?”

“That’s perfect, who’s in on it?”

“Well there’s Fred Shultz from New York and the Aboutan Brothers based in Geneva, not to mention a certain dealer in the Fulham road.” Said Dr. Tockley

“Yeah, that’s where I’m off to now but I need a name, something that’s going to get me a foot in the door.”

“Now you are getting serious; you could tell them you are interested in the recovered items of Ali Farah or the Phoenix Ancient Art collection and that you are making inquiries for Nasser Karlili or George Ortez, they have legitimacy in working with stolen artifacts. Don’t forget it would only take a few phone calls to blow that cover, so be careful.”

“One more thing; who would I have to worry about if I had a hot item on my hands?”

“No doubt about that one, Kevin Donovan F.B.I, you could find yourself locked up in Fort Dix real quick if you cross him.”

“So the Yanks are the ones to watch out for?”

“Yeah, since Iraq they have been all over stolen artifacts, the Saddam Hussein collection is up for grabs at the moment.”
“Thanks mate you have been a great help, when this bit is over for me I will buy you a beer.” Said Buzz

“Thank you for not calling me about this, I wouldn’t have told you anything anyhow.”

“Yeah, I know, I’ll catch ya latter.” And with that he hugged him again, turned, walked out the door and strode off down the hallway towards the exit closely followed by James.

“London next stop and don’t spare the horses.”

“Like I haven’t heard that before.”

A half an hour later, as they were entering the outskirts of London the car phone rang.

“Hello, Laurence here I was just ringing to se how you were getting on and if I could be of any assistance, I could pull some strings and get you an appointment if you like.”

“Not necessary.” Stated Gabriel “I have made all the arrangements I need, thanks to your wonderfully equipped mobile office and James has been most useful, he seems to know his way around.”

“Good, excellent enjoy the rest of your trip then.”

“I intend to, thanks for your concern, bye.” He said as he hung up the phone and leaned back into the plush leather surrounds of the Bentley and for the first time allowed himself the luxury of entering London first class knowing that everything that could be done had. In what seemed no time at all, James pulled into an underground car park, parked besides the lift and got out to open the door for Buzz. “Would you like me to come up with you?” he said

“No thanks,” said Buzz “you can keep the engine running, just in case we have to make a quick get-a-way.”

As the lift doors opened and Gabriel was entering, James let go with one more short quip, “Don’t press any buttons while you’re in there.”

“I’ll try not to.” Muttered Buzz

Soon as the doors closed, he was expressed to the top floor and then some. They opened to, what could only be described as, an elite gentleman’s club style penthouse suite. An elegant man was making his way towards him with an outstretched hand,

“Pleased to meet you would you like a scotch while we talk?” he gestured as he opened the way to seating and a table with an open bottle of Chivers Regal centered between two glasses.

“Don’t mind if I do.” Replied Gabriel

After seating themselves and pouring drinks, the elegant man leaned back, crossed his legs and said “so I understand you have something of value you would like to dispose of and would like me to make the arrangements for you.”

“Yes.”

“Could you give me a description of the goods and a price we could work from?” He asked

“It’s a two piece, front and back, solid gold breastplate; hand embossed with hieroglyphics identical to the ‘Palette of Narmer’. It’s been dated to the ‘Old Kingdom’ of Egypt, pre two thousand B.C.E, it’s in perfect condition and we want six million Euros for it, no offers.”

That seemed to stun the man; he’d thrown his head back and was staring at the roof for some time, which suited Buzz as it gave him time to work on the large scotch he had been given. After awhile he came around and asked

“How would we go about the exchange?”

Gabriel reached forward and handed him a slip of paper and said

“This is the password to gain access to a bonded storehouse in Zürich. One man will be given one visit inside a vault where he can view the item, if all is satisfactory and a transfer of funds completed on a system set up within the vault then he will be allowed to leave with the item.”

“And my fee?”

“You’ll have to sort that out with the custom.”

He finished off his drink, stood up and strode into the still open lift. Soon he was back in the limo and exiting the building.

“All went smoothly?” Enquired James

“As silk.” Replied Buzz

“So, where to now?”

“Home James,”

“I know and don’t spare the horses.”

“On the contrary, let’s take the scenic route.”

Meanwhile back at the castle, Natalie had enjoyed lunch with Laurie and Dora having managed to keep the conversation to a general family friendly banter. Dora had suggested wandering and freely around the castle connecting with the various items adorning the walls and shelves, assuring Nat she would find them most educationally interesting, and she did. Nat found that by touching the pieces, sometimes unimpressive by sight, exciting by feel. Her mind was piecing together a giant jig-saw puzzle and even the smallest details could send her gasping towards the next. After hours and hours of pouring over the treasures, she refused dinner and expressed her desire to retire early. Collapsing on the grand bed, she immediately fell into a deep sleep and dream time took on a whole new meaning. Visions of the past flowed into her mind as glorious, full colour, panoramic masterpieces of dreams.

The Nile was magnificent that time of year; the water was clean, clear, glistening and little sail boats dotted the scene. It was the fourteenth century B.C.E and all was well in the kingdom, the Hyksos had been removed, the Asiatic’s had been pushed back beyond the Euphrates and the Nubians were in the south. Yuya and Thuya had weathered the unsettling era of foreign intervention and were in semi- retirement because of their great age. Amhose the great had rid the kingdom of trouble makers and his heirs were ruling over a peaceful world. Hatshepsut was young, beautiful and was strutting her stuff far and wide; she ruled majestically. Natalie was seeing life through the eyes of this woman, who was truly in control, with her personal hero Senmut by her side. Her canal works had managed to connect the boats from the Nile and the Mediterranean to the Red sea and as far as India or Punt; this filled the kingdom full of new treasures from the four corners.

Music and art was high on the list of things to do, as Hattie and Senmut entertained at their Akhamin or Akhetaten home on the east bank, which was a traditional retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the temple city of Abydos. This family home, half way up the main trunk of the Nile, had served them well and had been the center for the worship of the fertility god Min since the time of Ben-Jah-Min. Today they were leaving with a fleet of ships, servants and provisions to travel up the offshoot of the Nile known as Joseph’s canal to visit the home of Yuya and Thuya. Their plan was to consult with them about the new city of Tell el-Amarna that they were planning to build at the intersection of the canal with the Nile. They stopped briefly to survey the site and then continued up the offshoot, looking forward to once again seeing her grandparents; Thuya had presided as the head of Sobeck worship at Crocodilia and the maze at Hawara, Hattie was excited by the prospect of exploring the enormous old maze as they still kept crocodiles there. Senmut was keen to meet with old Yuseph to pour over ancient stories and new plans, he was sure he would get his approval for the new temple at Amarna and the one he was planning for the mountain site in the old home area near the Dead Sea. With the old viziers’ approval and the promise to dedicate it to his God, he was sure they would eventually get built.

Mummy of Thuya Mummy of Yuya

The journey was going well as the winds were favouring them; they had been keeping themselves busy by fishing from the moving boat, the fresh fish was keeping everybody happy and there was still a festive mood on the vessel. Music was being played continuously, wine was not rationed to anyone, Hattie and Sen. displayed their love for one another openly and all approved.

They had been presenting themselves to the people’s as Happy and Min two of the most loved god’s of the Egyptian pantheon, worshiping them ensured the prosperity of the Nile and it’s people. Josephs’ grain silos had ensured, even through the lean times, no one would go hungry although Thuya had always insisted it was her idea. As they were finishing the boating part of their journey, crossing the large lake and pulling up at the docks of Hawara, the whole community had turned out to meet them. The majesty of the day was apparent although gaiety seemed to be the main concern with tambourines, harps, flutes, drums and horns sounding out loud and everywhere there was dancing in the streets.

The ceremonial chariots had been dragged out and dusted off, after initial greetings the much loved travellers were loaded onto the pharonic train and transported with much fanfare up to the home of the beloved Queen mother and her Yuya. As they approached the porch, we get our first glimpse of ancient couple; there they stood in full Pharonic regalia surveying the oncoming hoard and the scene of the old necropolis that they had come from. The frail birdlike frame of Teti-Sheri, as she had become affectionately known, stood arms outstretched obviously anticipating the embrace of her beloved Hattie, who dismounted her chariot long before its final resting place and ran into the royal embrace.

Senmut waited until the procession came to a halt and then made his way up the stairs to the palatial porch greeting the seated Joseph, who also seemed most pleased to grasp the hands of the man whom he had been hearing so much about. He thought that his Hattie had chosen well, this Horus would make a fine Osiris even though he was a little short. His connection to the people of the Blue Nile and their neighbours across the red sea would ensure peace and prosperity for many good years to come, not only that but his exploits in Palestine, as a warrior, were legendary, even though he tended to play them down and give all the credit to the god of Joseph. This above all pleased Yuseph the most and put the stamp of his authority on ruling his own people as well as the co-regency of Egypt.

Senmut was introduced to the entire impressively dressed court one at a time while Hattie and Teti had disappeared into the palace. Everyone had wanted him to talk about the defeat of the Philistines and Naphtali that had fought with them in Canaan and how he had returned the land to the descendants of Jacob, but all he wanted to talk about was the temples he had planned for Amarna and the place of New Peace in the territory of Benjamin next to Judah. The plans for these temples he carried everywhere and spoke to anyone who would listen although it would be a generation before they would be built. In the meantime he would rule beside his Isis Queen singing song of praise to her and his God whilst playing on his seven stringed harps.

In the feasts that followed, the singing, the dancing, the honours that were bestowed, the promises that were made became the topics of conversation for many a years to come and the words to the songs that were sung were written in stone and placed between the paws of the Sphinx for eternity and for God.

Long and prosperous was the reign of Hatshepsut and her consort Senmut; as for their building projects, well they are still controversial to this day. Their descendants, Akhenaton and Nefertiti were accredited to building the temple at Amarna and reducing the worship of a plethora down to the first practice of Mono-theism in history. It was truly a beautiful era of art, music, writing in alphabetical script and religion practiced in an open and down to earth way. Everyone was happy, peaceful and productive in the new system, but trouble was brewing and the grumbling’s of the old power brokers of the various cults that had been superseded, got together with the Generals that weren’t being funded and before long members of the royal families were being murdered, exterminated and run out of Egypt.

Moses, Miriam and Aaron became the leaders of the new Monotheism and looked towards the half built temple at Jerusalem as a center for their worship. They tried everything in their power

to move themselves, their artifacts and their peoples into the land of the new peace but it was not to be a reality until the time of Solomon. In the meantime they would practice their religion of one God as nomads in the tabernacle, the tent of presence. To see Miriam in front of the Arc of the Covenant was only ever going to be for the eyes of Aaron. Even Moses was relegated to the confines of the outer-sanctuary, but the people remained faithful and the Sabbath was celebrated regularly just like in the old days.

Moses did his best to form them into a nation; he divided them into twelve tribes, provided them with water and food, no mater how sparse, gave them rules to live by and formed an army for their defence. They lived like Nasserites in the land of the Ammonites, based at the great rock of Petra, observing their enemies Egypt in the southwest, Babylon in the northeast and in front a heavily fortified Canaan barring their access to the Mediterranean. Those who were military minded moved forward across the Jordan and fought under the command of Joshua son of Nun for the mountain kingdom of Judea. Those who were more inclined towards peace, pulled back into the deserts of Arabia to be led by the Queen of Peace, Queen of the south or as she became famously known as The Queen of Sheba.

On to Chapter Six

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