“Then El went to sleep,” Abibal said to the children surrounding him. He tucked his hands underneath his chin, beneath his grizzly white beard, “And as he slept tears fell down his face, for his son was dead. Think of this little ones, the Great One, dead! The Son of El dead! So, with those tears darkness fell upon the earth. Mot had killed Ba’al.”
I turned away. He was going to focus on the battle. Their swords clashing, matching stroke for stroke, then Mot’s treachery, and the blade sinking into our god’s chest. The final breath leaving the mouth of our young god.
I once reveled in Abibal’s stories. But that was before the Invaders from Egypt came up from the south. Before they brought their garish tent containing their god, Change. Before they had drove us to the coast. I loved stories of blood and death, until I had experienced it. My mother and father had been put to the fires. Anat, my sister… her head had been beaten against a rock.
What Abibal spoke severed us in the old days. When we were at the height of power, when we inhabited our cities and our towns, we could afford to hear of Ba’al’s return. When we could spare the blood of our children, when we could throw the bones of the first born into pots for The King, then Abibal’s ways made sense. Now though we need all their blood, and flesh, and strength. These stories and rituals only fared us well before these strange Egyptians came.
I wonder how long we can hold out against them. Their host grows every day. The Mountain People have joined their cause. Some say El himself has. They say he has fled from us and declared himself Change’s brother.
I look one more time at the children near Abibal. He shouts, “Sword, sword,” yet he is of a generation who only had to use swords on sacrificial victims, children. He never had to face other men, other men with swords. What will these children see in their lifetime? What will these Strange Egyptians bring to our land? And what of their god, Change.