Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chapter 6

The Babylonians heard of Zedekiah's betrayal and sent armies to wipe out Israel. They surrounded the city and burned its villages and outposts. But before destroying Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar’s instructions were clear. Jeremiah was to have what he wanted. This important message enabled Jeremiah to refugee his family and the young princesses out of the country, thus preserving the lineage. Tea Telphi and Katasha would fulfill the prophesy that the scepter (royalty) would always be with Judah. Jeremiah's unappreciated prophesies that Jerusalem would fall if the people did not repent had been delivered time and time again to the spiritually deaf King Zedekiah. Although of necessity he went into hiding to avoid punishment by his king, his voice was still heard. His scribe Baruch made numerous copies of the prophesies which were delivered everywhere. Jeremiah's preaching fit well with Nebuchadnezzar’s politics and was respected by him as a wise statesman. But Zedekiah stubbornly pursued the foolish idea that the he could persuade the pharaoh to take his army into Assyria and destroy the Babylonian empire and thus remove the Babylonian yoke of oppression of the Jewish province. As Nebuchadnezzar torched the city and roped together Jewish slaves, the predicted history all fell into place. Jerusalem was no more.
We began our journey along the sea route of the Sinai desert into Egypt. Captain Heroditus appointed me the official escort of his sister, Kaktsha which meant that we would share the camel Gitzy. She was a petite woman with milky skin and long silky hair. She carried her shoulders well and did not seem to be afraid of anything. Except for the five or six gold rings on her fingers, she dressed plainly, wearing a tunic and veils. But she was suspicious of my ancestry and religious beliefs. "Kaktsha is suspicious of me," I told Herodious. "She thinks me a gypsy pagan." "It is because of your circus apparel. The tunic will conceal the legs and sword." My fondness for the little princess caused me to take his advice and with a subdued attitude joined the Sabbath services and listened keenly to the words of Jeremiah. Ultimately, I believed in his sayings. But not before falling deeply in love with Kaktsha. I kept my place. Obtaining her love would require infinite patience and blind faith in her religion. There were conflicts there. I already knew that Jesus was born, crucified and arisen and that the Jews would reject him. Yet I was in a time and place before the fact, when none of that had occurred.
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We were not in the desert camp too long before Prince Eochaidh asked Jeremiah's permission to speak with the shy little princess Tea Telphi. The prince was an affable fellow with striking blue eyes. When he unwrapped his turban, blonde curls fell to his shoulders. His lineage stemmed from the princes of Ephraim who left Syria during an Assyrian invasion several hundred years earlier and crossed the Armenian mountains into the isles to join another Israelite tribe, Dan who had long since settled in Ireland. They were mixed with Gaelic tribes and a new language or brogue emerged. The tribe of Dan was renamed Tuatha de Danaan, and so on. Then came Heremon and Heber who conquered Scotland and Ireland and divided it among their families. The first Heremon king was coroneted over Northern Ireland. It was from the Heremon kings that Prince Eochaidh descended. Jeremiah smiled to himself. A marriage between Tea Telphi and Eochaidh would seal the tribes of Judah and Ephraim and fulfill the promise of the scepter. All of the royal houses of Europe and Great Britain would descend from them, including the Plantagenet’s. So now I knew. If anyone in this company had the cinder key, it would be Prince Eochaidh. Jeremiah performed the ceremony in the jewish custom of royalty couple standing on the lia fail. The following year little Tea Telphi gave birth to a bustling boy. Afterwards, a permanent camp was established on the sea route near the Egyptian border. Travelers passed this way to avoid the desert and the prince opened negotiations with all who passed in what seemed a futile effort to gain passage in a vessel back to Ireland. The boy was twelve years old before his father persuaded the captain of a sea-faring vessel to take on the voyage. That evening the grateful prince sat reading one of Jeremiah's prophesies. I knew thee before thou was formed in the belly...before thou was born I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." "And you shall be the same in my country," he promised Jeremiah. "You are already known by my people and we hath need of a prophet. Your Irish name is Olam Fohler which means statesman and lawgiver. That is the Irish dialect. You will also have the power to write our law." Warning: US and International Copyright Restrictions Apply.
I was caught up in the thrill and excitement of the moment, of making a new home in Ireland and promised myself that I would marry Kaktsha as soon as we set foot in Ireland. My heart was full, but of necessity had to keep it to myself and be content to be a refugee in the desert. Katasha knelt beside me evening to pray of an open fire. It was this togetherness which soothed my spirit and instilled confidence. Until finally I mustered the courage to express my true feelings. "Katasha, do you trust me alas?" "Yes," she answered. Then I found myself lifting her hand to my lips and kissing it gently. "Forgive me, but I have to tell you know before it is too late, that I love you." She smiled sweetly. "Dear Regulus, I have learned to love you." "Then let us pledge to marry when we reach Ireland." "Yes," she said. "I promise." "But we should wait for the prophet's approval. Therefore, let us keep this treatise secret that I may gain his trust." My happiness was complete. I would be part of the new beginning. Katasha's love transformed a restless spirit into blissful tranquility. But sometimes the old dreams returned and washed away all of that peace. Such an occasion occurred when Eochaidh's vessel of Greek mercenaries dropped anchor in the Mediterranean. The excitement of their arrival was so exhilarating that I became part of the dancing and singing with my families. The awareness of my mission faded somewhere in the back of my thoughts. I wanted to be with my friends. But all good things come to an end. The camp was in a frenzy to board a vessel which rocked in the waves, waiting to sail with the tide. Heroditus removed the large round stakes which held the tents and fold them away. His body was lathered in sweat and he worked feverishly to get everything onboard.
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"Come on, Regulus," he yelled. "It will be too late if we don't hurry." I assembled myself quickly and helped Heroditus carry a bulky load onto a long boat. Finally, the work was done. I swung a stick of my own clothes over my shoulders and dropped it into the last long boat. Just as I did so, Jeremiah stretched out his hand and placed it firmly over my heart. "Not you," he said. "What are you saying?" I protested. "You cannot bring your lion on the sea," he said nodding towards a silhouetted Laboi standing off in a far distance. "You know about Laboi." "There is precious little which escapes my dimming eyes. But I see the lion drop his kill at your feet. Also, the drawing of the lion rampart etched on the handle of your sword. " "It is the sword of a great knight and the lion is his symbol," I told him. "No, no, you are mistaken. The lion was first given to David when he slew the giant Goliath and shall always stand as the everlasting symbol of Israel." "Then why do I have the emblem on my sword?" "Because your knight descends from David." "What does that have to do with my staying behind?" "We hath no need of you; the lion is already present in the heart of Prince Eochaidh and it is on his shoulders to carry the banner of freedom into a new world." "I need to see the prince. I must get something from the prince," I insisted, removing Jeremiah's
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hand from my chest and going towards the boat. "He cannot give it to you," he shouted after me. "He does not have it." One of my feet slipped as I swung my leg over the side causing me to jump back to the ground. "What do you know of it?" He smiled. "Look for yourself. The story is in the face of the young prince. He is unwrinkled and unscarred and his eyes shine with the illuminating innocence of youth. He hath not yet found his own answers. Oh I know, you suppose that all you need is a key of some sort which will gain you entrance into a place where all of the answers of life will be provided." "No, no, tis more than answers I want." "Then what?" "To go home. That is all," I said rather pitifully. "I just want to go home." Jeremiah sighed, closed his eyes and cupped his hands to pray. When he finished, he opened his eyes and said affectionately. "Once again I prayed to the Lord concerning you. It is the same. You must not go with us." My heart sank. I had to trudge on in search of the key. It was my only chance of happiness. I unfastened my scabbard and held it high above the head of Jeremiah. "When my ancestor Thomas was knighted, the king tipped the blade of this sword on both his shoulders, first the right, then the left shoulder. When you coronate Eochlaidh, do the same unto the new king Heremon." As Jeremiah took the sword in hand, his eyes fell upon Laboi watching us with his keen yellow eyes. "The lion will stay with me unto the end of my journey," I confided. "Anyone can see that you are not one of us. Your eyes are blue and you do not have the fat nose
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or long beard." Jeremiah turned his back and began walking towards the ship but as he did so squiggled his little finger towards the sky and said: "God be with you." Kaktsha ran to my side. "What is wrong? Why are you not boarding?" She asked. "I cannot go with you." "But you must!" "There is something else I must do." Kakhsha was broken-hearted; tears streamed down her eyes. "You vowed to love me always." "I will love you forever, dear Kakasha and find you again if the way is open to me." "How long before I see you again? How long?" My eyes fell shamefully to the ground, but she kissed my cheeks and saw the answer in my eyes. We clung desperately to the moment. Captain Heroditus shouted for her to board. She quickly removed one of her gold rings slid it onto my little finger. "Then wear this ring until we meet again that I may know you as my beloved." There it was. If she ever saw me again I would have the face of an old man. She wanted to remember that she once loved me. My heart beat wildly against my chest and there was a ringing sound in my ears. Tears blurred my vision but I could see her little figure running and Heroditous' strong arms lifting her gently into a longboat. He paddled furiously against the onslaught of the tide to catch the vessel before the white choppy waves washed it away. I stood missing her familiar face. The familiar aloneness swept over me and once again the dream of finding happiness eluded me. Did it matter that I had changed and was a better person for the experience? I still had the sword and wore Heber's bronze cross around my neck. Laboi meandered towards me and sitting in the sandy imprint of our camp went fast asleep. A slight breeze blew off the sea and the thick tawny fur of his mane separated and floated towards it.

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