By Mark Crocker
Rabbo watched the great fleet as it rounded the headland and turned towards the bay that Athens was at the center of. The only good thing was that the rain had stopped and not spoiled the trench that held the sea water and oil. If anything the rain had helped to pack the sand and dirt to make it seem even more solid that it really was.
Then there was the bad news that there was a force of about five thousand warriors moving down from the northwest that were heavily armed and looked like they were also going to attack Athens.
Bastet had sailed back to her village in the hopes of find more men that were willing to come and help in the up coming battle. But when she returned all she brought was more arrows and extra oil.
In Rabbo’s mind things could not get worse as it looked like the city was going to be attacked on two sides now instead of the one side that Merwyn and planned on.
Then there were the two minor earthquakes that had rumbling though the area shaking the houses badly but not doing much in the way of damage other than weakening the houses.
And then to make matters even worse Ra had suddenly disappeared and Rabbo had not been able to find him anywhere.
Rabbo had looked all the way up and down the river from Ra’s Palace to the delta. He had checked every ship that he could find on the river or out at sea but had been unable to find Ra. He had even turned to Yhva who was just as surprised as Rabbo and Merwyn was at the disappearance of Ra.
The fact remained that Ra had disappeared and that really bothered Rabbo. All the other main Sirians had been accounted for yet somehow Rabbo had been unable to locate Ra.
In Rabbo’s mind things were getting worse and while he was not worried about himself he was worried about the city that he was in and its people.
Once again Rabbo looked at the great fleet and started to go from ship to ship to see if somehow Ra had got aboard one of the ships and was hidden among the common soldiers and sailors that were on the ships. And again after an hour of going from ship to ship Rabbo found no sign at all of Ra. Sure Ma’at and Anubis were there and Thoth, Seth, Nut, Seshat, Hathor and Hera where at Ra’s palace. But as for Ra himself he was nowhere to be seen.
Rabbo had check everywhere he could think of from the far north of Merwyn’s, Athena and the twins home. To the area around Bastet’s village and all the way around the coast on either side of the main land that he lived on.
Yet Ra was totally invisible or missing from his astral sight.
Rabbo opened his eyes and looked at Merwyn who was talking with the village elders about the force of troops that were moving down from the north.
“Lord Zeus” said Rabbo remembering not to call Merwyn by his name.
“Yes Rabbo” said Merwyn.
“I cannot find the other god called Ra. I have looked and looked and he is either hidden from our sight or he is missing” said Rabbo trying not to sound worried.
“Thank you. Get some rest” said Merwyn.
“Oh one last thing. The fleet is just come into the bay and they are dropping anchor” said Rabbo.
“Very good. I will have my daughter keep watch while you rest” said Merwyn as he turned back to the elders.
Rabbo slipped down from the table and remembered that he was in owl form and that he had to act and walk like an owl. But thankfully Rabbo knew that once he was in the back storage room Merwyn would return him to his normal form.
Rabbo opened the storage room door and walked in. At once he hailed Merwyn to let him know that he was in the storage room and that he could be returned to his normal form.
Rabbo felt his fur return so he sunk back down on to all fours and hopped over to the box that he was using as a bed.
In his bed curled up asleep was mischief whose legs were kick and twitching in her sleep. But thankfully the box was large enough for both of them so he moved in behind her so her kicking feet would not bother him.
Then sudden Rabbo had an idea. The idea was so strong that it made him sit up right.
“Helena could find Ra. Sometimes she would speak in his voice when he was talking telepathically to members of his council”.
“Merwyn Helena can find Ra. He sometimes speaks though her and if he has she might know.” As an after thought Rabbo added” if she does not remember maybe Wenna or Merryn has heard him talk though Helena”.
“Hmm maybe. I will hail the twins and see if they have heard him talk though her. But they are young and might not understand what we want” said Merwyn thoughtfully.
“Dad I will hail the twins and ask them” said Athena.
“Good idea. But be quick about it. Time is short” said Merwyn.
Rabbo curled next to mischief again and as hard as he tried he could not sleep. After about an hour of laying still Rabbo was about to get up when the door opened and Merwyn walked in.
“You ok Rabbo” asked Merwyn.
“I can’t sleep” answered Rabbo quietly as not to wake mischief.
“I know how that goes. I always have a hard time sleeping before a battle” said Merwyn as quietly as Rabbo.
“Really? I thought you would have been use to it” said Rabbo.
“I never got use to it” said Merwyn.
“But you where a general”
“Yes I was. I will tell you a secret Rabbo” Merwyn looked around then he opened the storage room door and looked both ways down the hallway. He then locked the door and sat down on the floor close to Rabbo. “Rabbo I still get scared before a battle”. As if to make his point he held out his hands to let Rabbo see his hands shaking.
“I am scared too” said Rabbo slipping out of the box and snuggling up on Merwyn’s lap.
Merwyn reached down and started to pet Rabbo’s fur. The simple act of petting Rabbo calmed Merwyn’s fears and helped Rabbo feel sleepy. Soon Rabbo felt his eyes close and sleep over came him at last.
“You are lucky Rabbo” muttered Merwyn as he placed the sleeping Rabbo gently next to mischief. “I won’t sleep for days”.
Merwyn quietly let himself out of the room and using his psychokinesis locked the door from the inside so that Rabbo and mischief could let themselves out when they woke up and so that they would not be bothered by anyone trying to get into the room.
Rabbo opened his eyes after sleeping about two hours. He felt refreshed and relax but suddenly he felt that something was wrong.
Rabbo closed his eyes and slipped out of his body and out of the temple. He headed down to the walls that over looked the beach and he could see that some of the ships from the great fleet where unloading warriors onto the beach as far away from the city walls as possible and that where they were unloading was exactly were Merwyn had said that they would unload.
Rabbo turned and looked at the city wall and saw that it was lined with a great number of men woman and children who just stood and watched the warriors being unloaded onto the beach.
Among the people Rabbo saw Merwyn, Athena, Angus and Bastet standing and watching.
Rabbo turned and headed north to see how far way the northern force was that was moving down on the city.
Rabbo located the force of warriors and noticed that the warriors were about two miles away and that they were running as if they wanted to get to the city before the other force had finished unloading.
On the northern walls of the city were Bastet's sixty warriors with the bows close at hand.
“Merwyn” Rabbo hailed “The northern force is about two miles away from the city and the warriors are running fast”.
“Are you sure” said Merwyn.
“Yes very sure. I am watching them now and they are running fast”.
“I can’t leave here. Keep watching them and keep me undated” said Merwyn as he dropped out of Rabbo’s mind.
Rabbo returned to the north wall and looked closer at the warriors who were still running.
The warriors were wearing Bronze chest armor that covered their backs as well as their fronts. They had huge round shields on their backs and a long spear in their right hand. On their hips were a curved swords and a short dagger like sword. On their lower legs they had leather and bone greaves. On their heads each warrior wore a heavy huge helm that had a long nose guard and a long plume of horse hair that ran along the top of the helm. And between their back armor and shield was a long red heavy cloak.
In some ways they reminded Rabbo of how Athena would appear to the people of the city when she would do her goddess thing and would appear in full armor.
As Rabbo watched the warriors stopped about a quarter of a mile from the north gate and set themselves up in groups of two hundred.
Once they were set up in long ranks they started to advance towards the gate. But just out of arrow range they stopped and started banging on their shields that they had taken off their backs and now held on their left arm.
Then a single warrior stepped forward holding his spear up high with a white flag.
He walked towards the wall and in a clear loud voice he called for the captain of the wall to come forth so that he could talk.
The warriors standing behind him started to back away but maintained a tight formation as they marched backwards.
The elder who had been at the north wall walked down off the ramparts and down to the north gate. Once he was at the north gate one side was opened and then closed as he passed though.
The elder walked up to the single warrior who stood waiting for him.
The warrior took of his helm and Rabbo was surprised that he looked about the same age as the elder but was not even breathing hard after his long run.
The elder spoke to the warrior “Why do you come to our city to wage war”.
The warrior looked at him and shook his head. Then in a langrage that Rabbo did not understand he spoke to the elder.
The elder spoke back to him in the same langrage and for the next ten minutes they talked back and forth.
Finally the elder bowed to him and turned and walked back to the north gate which opened for him and then closed as he re-entered the city.
Instead of return to the wall he spoke briefly with the captain of Bastet's archers and then hurried down the main street towards the east wall.
Rabbo was temped to follow him but Merwyn had asked him to keep an eye on the warriors that had come from the north. So he moved in closer to the warriors who still stood in silent ranks waiting.
The warrior who had spoken with the city elder sat down where he had met the elder and waited.
Merwyn stood on the eastern rampart watching Ma’at and Anubis as their warriors unloaded onto the beach.
As yet none of the siege equipment had been unloaded. However there was about three thousand warriors already mustered on the beach and more where unloading by the minute.
Merwyn had told Bastet, Athena and Angus that it was very important that they kept their auras suppressed so that they blended in with the locals. That way if Ra was watching he would not know that they were present in the city as it was clear that the force on the beach was there to hit the city hard and to do maximum damage and to capture slaves.
As Merwyn did not want Ma’at or Anubis to know that he was leading the force that was going to defend the city.
But when the time was right Merwyn would show himself and with luck that would sow fear into both Ma’at and Anubis.
As Merwyn looked out over the force one of the village elders walked up to him and bowed low.
“My lord Zeus” said the village elder. “The warriors from the north that you asked to come have arrived. Their chieftain would like to speak with you my lord Zeus. He said that the oracle you spoke though has left him with question that he cannot answer and would like you to answer”.
“Inform him that I will come forth shortly” said Merwyn.
“Athena leave the wall and once you are near the temple make yourself invisible and then probe this chieftain’s mind so that I know what he wants and what questions he has so I can answer them before he asks” said Merwyn on Athena’s private telepathic mode.
Athena slipped down off the wall and did as Merwyn had asked her without question.
Merwyn turned to Angus and Bastet “Looks like it could be a night attack as the rate of their unloading suggests that they won’t be fully unloaded until almost dark”.
“I concur” said Angus.
“Do you think Ma’at and Anubis will lead the attack” asked Bastet.
“That’s not their style” said Merwyn “Unless they have learnt new tricks and I don’t think so as they are deploying like they are deploying a regiment and not an army. See how they are setting up their regiments as if they were companies and not regiments. And if they do as I think they will bring out their catapults and rams lastly instead of now. By bring them out lastly that means they won’t be ready until after mid night. We can use this time to rest our forces”
“Very well. I will stand down every nine men in ten and have the tenth man stand watch. After four hours I will relieve the tenth man and I will keep doing that until you say other wise” said Angus.
“I will go and check the field hospital to make sure that everything is set. Even for their wounded” said Bastet as she turned and walked away.
“And now we wait” said Merwyn.
Merwyn walked down of the rampart and started to walk towards the temple. When he was sure that no one could see him he turned himself invisible and headed towards the north gate.
Rabbo had been watching the warriors at the north gate that waited out of bow range for the elder to come back.
The chieftain warrior that had spoke with the elder sat as still as a rock and had not moved since the elder had left. Which surprised Rabbo as the sun was now right over him and he had to be very warm in his armor. Yet as far as Rabbo could see the warrior was not even sweating.
What Rabbo was unaware of was that as he watched Athena was invisible and was standing behind the warrior chieftain and was probing his mind to see who he was why he was there and who had told him to come and what questions he was going to ask Merwyn. She was also learning what kind of training the warrior chieftain had and how many battles he had been in.
Once Athena had all the information she needed she relayed the information to Merwyn who was now close to the north gate.
Rabbo felt rather than saw Merwyn float over the wall and move towards the warrior chieftain that sat waiting for him.
Suddenly there was a bright flash that made the sun seem dim and Merwyn was standing before the warrior chieftain.
Merwyn had his Zeus face on and looked every inch the image of what the locals thought that Zeus should look like.
He stood as if he was twenty feet tall in front of the warrior chieftain who stood up then bowed low towards Merwyn.
Merwyn shrunk down to a normal size and looked at the warrior chieftain who spoke to Merwyn in a clear loud voice that did not sound as if there was any fear in his voice.
To Rabbo who had moved closer in his astral body it was clear that the warrior chieftain was very scared as his hands and legs were shaking.
The warrior chieftain nodded his head and then spoke again. After a long pause he nodded again and then spoke again and for sometime.
Then he was silent nodding his head a few times before he bowed low to Merwyn.
Then there was another bright flash and Merwyn was gone other than an astral form that only Rabbo and Athena could see.
The warrior chieftain turned and walked slowly back towards the other warriors who had remained in their nice neat ranks though the whole meeting that their chieftain had, had with Merwyn.
Rabbo returned to his body and opened his eyes. He then slipped out of the storage room making sure that he turned himself invisible.
He hopped down the long hallway passing people that were busy placing food in the temple for safe keeping.
Once outside the temple Rabbo looked around for Athena and Merwyn so that he could talk to them. Rabbo saw a pair of small foot prints forming and moving towards him as he hopped across a sandy patch of ground.
Rabbo looked around and could see no one close by so he made himself visible so that the foot prints would stop and that Athena would make herself visible too.
Athena appeared in front of Rabbo.
“How did you know I was walking this way” asked Athena.
“By the foot prints you were leaving on the ground” answered Rabbo.
“Oh” laughed Athena. “I guess I should watch where I walk”.
Suddenly Merwyn appeared behind Rabbo “yes you should my dear daughter. And you know better. You should always check where you are walking when you are invisible as foot prints are a give away”.
Suddenly Rabbo felt himself transform into an owl.
“I hate that” said Rabbo looking up at Merwyn.
“I know but it is just in case anyone passes by” replied Merwyn.
“Ok” said Rabbo trying not to scratch at the feathers. “So what is going on with that warrior you spoke to”?
“It would seem that the oracle of his village said that she was the voice of Zeus and that if they did not send a force to help that their village would fall. I had to talk to him telepathically and read his mind as they speak a different language that the people here” said Merwyn.
“Ok so someone talked though their oracle that they had to help the people of Athens” said Rabbo thoughtfully. “I wonder who that was”?
“I wonder too” said Merwyn just as thoughtfully as Rabbo.
“How far have they come from” asked Rabbo.
“They have been marching and running for five days and their oracle told them that they had to come the day before that. So they knew six days ago about the fleet which is the same day as we found out. I have a feeling that I know who spoke though their oracle” said Merwyn smiling.
“So what are we going to do now that we have an extra five thousand warriors” asked Athena.
“Nothing right now. We have until sunset which I guess is about two hours away now. But this is what we are going to do and I need to let the elders know so they won’t be too alarmed at what the five thousand warriors are about to do” said Merwyn looking at both Athena and Rabbo. “But before I explain what’s going on we must wait for Bastet and Angus to get here”.
Rabbo looked around and could see a few people watching them as he Merwyn and Athena stood waiting for Bastet and Angus.
After a couple of minutes Angus and Bastet's arrived with a flash and appeared making the watchers run and hide.
“Do we have to do that” asked Angus.
“Sadly yes” said Merwyn. “I hate it as much as you do. But it’s necessary as the people think we are gods. And because of that we must act like we are. As much as I hate it we have to”.
“Ok so what is our battle plan now sir” asked Angus.
“This is what is going to happen. The warriors at the northern gate are going to set up as if they are getting ready to attack the northern gate. Once Ma’at and Anubis start their attack they will enter the city and move down to the east wall where they will join our forces. They have archers with them that have bows almost as powerful as the ones you and Bastet brought with you” said Merwyn nodding towards Bastet and Angus. “Once they are on the wall we will give Ma’at and Anubis an arrow storm like they have never seen before”.
“Ok” said Angus.
“Rabbo how are you feeling” asked Merwyn looking down at Rabbo.
“Other than itching all over I am fine” said Rabbo not even bothering to hide the peeved tone in his voice.
“Ok I need you to keep watch on Ma’at, Anubis and the force on the beach. Keep an eye on the unloading and report at once anything strange. And I mean anything. I have a funny feeling that things might not be what they seem” said Merwyn. “Now make yourself invisible and head back to your storage room and then travel out to watch the beach”.
Rabbo made himself invisible and as he turned invisible he returned to his normal non itching rabbit form.
Rabbo watched as rank upon rank of warriors lined up on the beach. Behind them there were tents that were being set up and behind them a huge empty space that was being fenced off as if it was being set up for something.
The ground had been made flat and all the bushes and rough grasses had been cleared and removed and piled in a heap even further back behind the leveled off area.
Rabbo had reported to Merwyn about the leveled off area as it seemed very strange to go to all the trouble unless something was going to be there.
Rabbo’s thoughts were that Ma’at and Anubis where planning a long siege and that the area that had been flattened would be for gardens to help feed their army.
It was very totally dark when the unloading stopped for the night due to the darkness. The warrior’s line up on the beach marched to their tents leaving about two hundred warriors to form what Merwyn called a picket line.
Rabbo slipped over to the ships that hand not come in to be unloaded including the ten heavily loaded ships including the one that held the black oil and the black powder.
As Rabbo moved from ship to ship he noticed that Ra’s elite warriors had yet to disembark and that the ships they were on were slightly bigger and more comfortable than the ships of the other warriors.
Rabbo returned to his body and opened his eyes. He looked around the storage room and noticed that he was alone so he hailed Mischief on her private telepathic mode.
“Mischief it’s me Rabbo. Where are you”?
“That’s a given that you are Rabbo. Who would you rather be? Beside I am here. Where are you” said Mischief.
“I am in the storage room and you are not here” said Rabbo a little confused.
“No you are not here. You are there which is not here” said Mischief a little on the playful side.
“Ok young lady. Where are you located” said Rabbo getting a little testy.
“I am with Bastet who is hand feeding me fresh grown carrot tops” snickered Mischief.
Suddenly a thought popped into Rabbo’s head from a lesson that seemed like it was from another time.
“Water is displaced in equal amounts to the relative weight of the object this is placed in the beaker. Now weigh the rock and place it in the beaker making sure that the water that flows out is caught so that you can weigh the water. Now having weighed the water can you tell me if the weight of the water is the same as the rock? Very good” said the voice of Isis in Rabbo’s head.
Rabbo sat upright as if a bolt of lightening had hit him.
“Merwyn” hailed Rabbo.
“What’s wrong” answered Merwyn at once.
“The ship with the oil and black powder is sitting very low in the water. That means something very heavy is still in it. Do you want me to go back out and check it” said Rabbo in a hurried tone.
“Not right now. You need to rest as you have been very busy today. We will look into it later once you have rested. Is that understood” said Merwyn.
“I will go over to the ship and take a closer look” replied Rabbo.
“NO I need you fresh as its going to be a busy day. The sun will be up in a few hours and you need to sleep” said Merwyn. “I can’t have a tried rabbit cruising around falling a sleep when I need him the most”.
Rabbo reluctantly hopped into his box and curled up to sleep. He had to admit that he was very tired and that he did need to sleep. But he also felt that it was important that he repaid a visit to that ship as soon as he could as something was clearly not right and he felt that it was very important that he take a closer look.
Rabbo awoke to Mischief poking at him with a paw full of fresh green carrot tops that she was holding in one paw.
“Bastet said that these were for you. And that I am to see that you eat them or you won’t grow up to be a big healthy bunny” said Mischief. “Bastet also said that once you have taken care of your morning needs you are to report to her at the hospital place”.
Mischief thrust the carrot tops at Rabbo and then sat back on her hind legs and looked around the storage room as if she was looking for something.
Rabbo ate the carrot tops slowly at first as he was trying to remember something that he felt was important. But once the taste of the carrot tops hit his taste buds he ate the carrots tops as fast as he could so that none of the juices would escape.
“Bastet has more” said Mischief as she hopped over to the door.
Mischief looked at the door and gentle it opened. She turned back looked at Rabbo and then hopped though the door.
“Are you going to be a sleepy head and stay in bed or are you coming” said Mischief flashing her white tail at Rabbo as she turned back to hop down the hallway.
Rabbo followed mischief down the hallway and out of the temple. As Rabbo exited the temple he was surprised to see no one around at all.
Rabbo and mischief hopped over to the building that Bastet and Athena were going to use as a hospital and saw a great number of men lined up in ranks waiting to be examined by Athena and Bastet.
Bastet spotted Rabbo and mischief and waved them over.
Together Rabbo and mischief hopped over and Rabbo was levitated onto and table, Bastet placed her Stethoscope over Rabbo’s heart and listened to his breathing and heart rate. She then levitated Rabbo off the table and back onto the floor.
“Your heart and lungs sound good Rabbo. Now go and see Athena”.
Rabbo hopped over to Athena who was busy looking at the eyes and mouth of an older man.
Athena shook her head and smiled before she spoke softly and gentle. “Your heart and lungs are sound but you need to drink more milk and eat fresh fruit more often. As much as we need you I won’t have you fight. Besides you are a father that has to support his family and I don’t want them without you”.
“I want to fight. I want to defend my city and my family” said the older man.
Athena’s eyes blazed “I want you not to fight. But I have a job for you that will be far more dangerous. I need someone that will help bring me the wounded from the battle. That means you will have to be unarmed and go to the battle and bring me the wounded. Will you do that for me”?
“Yes I will for you Pallas Athena” said the older man.
“Will his job really be that dangerous” asked Rabbo on Athena’s private telepathic mode.
“No he will be as safe as everyone else in the city” said Athena. “But he and those that heard me will think his job is dangerous and that will give him good standing in the city once the battle is over”.
Athena reached down and picked Rabbo up checking his ears eyes and lastly his mouth.
“Rabbo you need to clean your teeth you have bits of green stuff stuck between your teeth. Other than that you are fit and health. Now go down to the wall and report to my father the lord Zeus” said Athena.
Rabbo hopped though the almost empty streets as he headed down to the east wall. The only people he saw where men dressed in leather armor with spears, swords and shields.
As he got close to the wall he saw great jars lining the streets some with oil and some water and some even with just fine sand in them.
At the wall Rabbo so huge fires burning with metal pots full of sand and even bigger pots full of oil that was slowly being brought to the boil. As he hopped up the stairs to the wall Rabbo saw a great number of arrows in neat piles.
Rabbo hopped up to Merwyn and Angus who were looking out over the wall. Merwyn reached down and pick up Rabbo and placed him on the wall so that he could see the great host of warriors that were lining up on the beach.
The off load had been completed and the main host was standing in nice neat lines well out of arrow range and far away from the hidden trench that was full of water and oil.
“Now we wait” said Merwyn.
“How long do we wait” asked Rabbo?
“Well if I was Ma’at or Anubis I would attack very soon and when the sun was behind my men as that would blind the defending force on the wall. Let’s see if that is what they will do” said Merwyn.
Rabbo looked towards the sun that was now climbing over the hills in the east.
But the warriors of the beach just stood there on the beach waiting for the order to attack. Then after about an hour they started to bang on their shields with their swords. The sound of sword hilt banging on the shields was deafening to Rabbo but it also felt like the noise was intended to hide something that was going on.
The banging of sword hilt on shield went on for close to an hour and then it stopped as sudden as it had started.
A hush fell over the beach and the feeling of waiting descended over the wall where the defending warriors stood waiting and watching to see what would happen next.
Merwyn turned and smiled at Rabbo. Then Merwyn turned to Angus “so what’s the bet”
“Hmmm the bet. Let me see” said Angus thoughtfully. “Ok the bet is that they will send a large force of two thousand warriors at us just like the followers of Toner did at the battle of Aton hill”
“Ok you are on” said Merwyn laughing.
Suddenly from behind the host on the beach there was a huge blinding flash and the air was suddenly filled with such a deafening noise that Rabbo squatted down on the wall in fear.
Then there was a whooshing sound that filled the air and Rabbo saw twelve bright burning objects flying in a high arc towards the buildings behind the wall.
“Artillery” shouted Merwyn looking at Angus in shock.
As they watched the flaming balls of fire arced overhead and some landing harmlessly on the ground behind the wall while others crashed into the empty buildings behind the wall.
Merwyn looked down at one still burning ball “Rock and tar. That means with the size of the cannon balls that they won’t be able to reload fast and other than smashing things and setting buildings on fire they won’t do much harm as the ground is too soft for the stone balls to explode”
Rabbo looked down at the burning ball. “I guess that would explain why that one ship was so low in the water and why they have so much black powder on board it”
“Yes it does. But still it could be a problem for us. These people have never seen anything like it and it could sow fear very fast” said Merwyn.
Merwyn turned to Angus and waved him closer.
“Watch for fear among the warriors here. Any sign of fear and you know what to do and say” said Merwyn hiding his own worries.
Merwyn turned back to Rabbo and smiled “Ok Rabbo find a spot and then go and see how many artillery pieces they have”.
Rabbo hopped off the wall and found a spot close to Merwyn and slightly covered where he would not be stepped on while he was out of his body.
Rabbo slipped out of his body and went up over the wall and headed to the rear area where the cannons where.
As Rabbo glided along in stealth mode looking at the cannons he noticed that the gun crews where busy mopping out the huge guns. And huge they were.
Each artillery piece was about twenty five feet long and about two feet wide. Behind each piece was a huge stake that had been driven into the ground with ropes and pulleys attached to the artillery pieces so that once the pieces had been fired they could be hauled back into place.
Behind each artillery piece was a pile of huge round stone balls with a tray of rags and oil that each ball was being rolled in before the ball and rags were slipped into the artillery piece.
As Rabbo watched one gun crew they finished mopping out their artillery piece and started to load the gun with black powder. Then two members of the gun crew rolled the rag covered cannon ball into the barrel of the artillery piece and placed wadding in front of the cannon ball and using a ram rod they pushed the cannon ball and wadding down the barrel.
Rabbo opened his eyes and looked at Merwyn.
“They have eighteen artillery pieces and it looks like they are getting ready to fire again” said Rabbo.
“Ok everyone” shouted Merwyn “There will be more fiery balls heading our way. Its nothing to worry about so just relax and let them go overhead”.
“How long between each volley” asked Angus?
“I estimate about twenty to thirty minutes” said Merwyn. “Let’s hope these walls are thick enough to take a pounding if Anubis starts shooting at the walls. Which if you ask me he should be doing”.
Again there was a loud rolling boom and eighteen fiery balls came sailing over the walls. Some hit harmlessly on the ground and others hit the buildings behind the wall.
All the balls this time broke apart on impact with the buildings and ground showering those that were near by with chucks of stone and burning rag.
The few that were hit hard and wounded were rolled on the ground at Angus’s orders to put out the fire and then placed on long flat hand carts to be wheeled away to be treated at the senate building that Athena and Bastet were using as a hospital.
Rabbo watched in horrid fascination as the warriors on the beach started to slowly walk forward beating on their shields with spear and sword. Between the phalanx were six huge wooded objects that looked like the roof of houses. Poking out of the front end of each battering ram was a huge tree trunk about the same length as the cannons and about the same width.
“If I guess right they should hit the trench just after the next round of artillery fire” said Merwyn to Rabbo and Angus.
“Hey pay up” said Angus to Merwyn laughing softly.
“Huh” said Merwyn.
“This is just like Aton hill” said Angus. “See two thousand warriors and they tried softening us up with artillery fire”.
Merwyn laughed “You win. I will square up later if we get out of this”.
The phalanxes and battering rams got closer and closer to the hidden trench and right on time there was a huge boom and rolling thundering and seventeen fiery balls came flying towards the walls.
In the rear area of the attacking force there could be seen another smaller explosion and chucks of metal wood and stone went flying though the air.
“Looks like of the artillery pieces blew up” said Angus.
“That should help a little” said Merwyn as he watched as the first ranks of the warriors started to walk straight into the hidden trench.
About three to four hundred warriors and three battering rams fell into the trench.
“Ignite arrows” shouted Angus “Nock arrows. Fire”!
About sixty flaming arrows went sailing though the air some hitting warriors that were crawling out of the trench that was filled with water and oil and other landing in the trench itself.
Suddenly a huge sheet of flame reached to the sky and the sounds of screaming and panicking men could be heard.
“Pick of the burning warriors” shout Merwyn. “Kill them fast please”.
The elder standing near Merwyn turned “Why waste arrows on the burning”.
“Because it’s humane” said Merwyn.
“Lord Zeus that is a waste of arrows” said the elder.
“Give them mercy” said Merwyn with his eyes blazing red with anger.
“Shoot the burning warriors” shout Angus.
Very quickly the few warriors that had climbed out and that were on fire lay dead on the ground in front of the trench.
As they watched from the safety of the wall Rabbo Merwyn and Angus counted the number of battering rams that were left.
Three had fallen into the trench and a forth had caught fire when a burning warriors had fallen against it covered in oil.
The attacking force of warriors pulled back in good order and headed towards their starting point.
“They should give them something to think about” said Angus.
“Yes it should” said Merwyn dryly.
A silences fell over the beach while the trench and bodies on the beach burnt.
Then again there was a loud booming and seventeen fiery balls came flying over the walls to land behind the walls.
Rabbo turned to see where the fiery balls had hit and to his shock and horror he saw many bodies of men and women lying around.
Rabbo turned his face away from the horror that was behind the wall and looked up at Merwyn.
“What’s wrong” said Merwyn.
Merwyn turned and looked down into the area behind the wall and shock and horror filled his face as he saw the mangled and burning bodies lying around.
“Get the wounded out of there and keep that area clear” shouted Merwyn his face a mask of horror “Rabbo go up to the hospital and tell Athena and Bastet to tell the people to keep away from the walls of the city. Better yet tell them to gather at the temple and pray that we will win”.
Rabbo hopped down off the wall and down the steps. As he hopped across the ground he could not help but step in puddles of blood and burnt flesh. Each time he stepped into a puddle of blood or burnt flesh he whimpered to himself that some poor person had just lost their life because they wanted to see the battle first hand. And the more he thought about the horror that was on his paws the more he started to think about what horror was to come in the battle with the forces of Ra. Then he started to understand why Merwyn hated battle and war so much. As the little he had seen so far was going to forever change how he looked at life and people.
Rabbo arrived at the hospital and looked around for Bastet and Athena. He spotted Athena at a table where she was holding a saw and was busy removing a warriors arm at the forearm.
Athena looked up at Rabbo with tears streaming down her face and shook her head sadly as she looked over at the bucket that held the blood that had already been mopped up.
“Oh Rabbo” said Athena telepathically on Rabbo’s private mode. “Now I understand why dad hates all this”.
“I know. I am hating it too” replied Rabbo.
“You are hurt” said Athena.
“No its just blood and flesh” said Rabbo feeling so miserable. “Merwyn sends a message that must be passed on to the people. He said that they are to say away from the walls and that they should go to the temple to pray for victory”.
“Ok. Let me finish up this poor man. And I will let everyone know” said Athena.
Rabbo hopped back outside and found a spot well away from everyone. Then he hunched up and started to throw up at the horror he had witnessed in the hospital.
About ten minutes later the wounded started to show up just as there was another loud boom and thundering that came from towards the beach.
Rabbo hid from everyone and turned his head so that he could not see the horror that was being wheeled past his hiding spot.
Athena came walking out with blood smeared on her face and arms and looked around.
Sudden Athena was covered in her armor and stood about twenty feet tall.
“My people gather at the temple and pray for our victory” said Athena in a loud clear voice.
The citizens that were not involved in the battle all turned towards her and bowed low and started to gather at the temple.
“Rabbo come inside and let me wash you and clean you up” said Athena.
Rabbo came out of his hiding place and hopped over to Athena who had returned to her normal form.
Athena reached down and picked Rabbo up and she took him into the hospital and over to a tub of warm water.
There she bathed him and made sure that all the blood and flesh was gone from his paws and fur. Gentle she caressed Rabbo and kissed him gentle on the nose.
Bastet came walking over looked at Rabbo and then at Athena.
“How are you holding up” Bastet asked Athena.
“Ok I guess” said Athena sadly.
“I am just glad that they are not using chemical weapons of gas” said Bastet smiling trying to make Athena and Rabbo feel better. “My first battle was worse than this sweetie”
Bastet reached over and pulled Athena and Rabbo in close and gave them a hug. She then kissed Athena and Rabbo on the head before she started to turn away.
“Where is mischief” asked Rabbo hopping that she was safe and away from all the horror.
“She is helping me” said Bastet. “I have her under my table and she stops the blood flowing to the area of the person I am working makes it a lot easier for me”.
Taking a deep breath Athena regained her composure and looked at Bastet. “You know I could use help like that. Maybe dad will let me keep Rabbo up here and he can help me like mischief is helping you”.
“Good idea. We sure could use all the help we can get” said Bastet turning away and heading towards the hospital.
“Dad” Athena hailed Merwyn on his private mode. “Can I keep Rabbo here to help me in the hospital”?
“Yes you can darling daughter. That’s part of the reason I sent him to you. I love you my darling daughter” said Merwyn answering on the same mode. “I want him as safe as he can be here. As much as I can use him to see what is going on I worry less about him being with you than down here”.
“Ok dad. I will keep him here with me” answered Athena.
It was very late when the last of the wounded where being placed in a make shift ward when Athena, Bastet, mischief and Rabbo finally finished working and healing the last of the wounded.
Together as a group they walked outside to listen to the night air and to see if they could hear any of the battle that might have been going on.
But it was still and quiet as if there was no battle and the city was not under partial siege.
“It’s a nice night” said Bastet.
“I don’t think I will ever be able to get the blood stains off my hands” said Athena looking at her hands.
“Sweetie you have saved so many lives today. You did really good” said Bastet moving close to Athena.
“I should have stayed at home like dad wanted instead of coming here” said Athena with tears welling up in her eyes.
Bastet wrapped her arms around Athena “Cry darling let it all out”.
Athena started to weep and sob as she rested her head on Bastet's shoulder. Weakly she looked up “Will crying help take away the pain”
“No not really. It just helps for the moment” Bastet said. Then after a long pause she added “I still have nightmares about my first battle. And over the years the pain has got less. But we are healers and our job is fair more important than Merwyn’s and Angus’s jobs. We fix those that get hurt”.
“Yeah so that they can get hurt or killed again” said Athena bitterly though her tears.
“Sweetie how many did you lose on your table” asked Bastet.
“I did not lose any” Athena said sobbing hard again.
“Neither did I” Bastet said as she pulled Athena in closer. “You saved thirty or forty lives and I saved just as many. You were amazing sweetie”.
“I did what I had to do to save them. But cutting off arms and legs I hate that” Athena said gasping for air.
“I know. I hate it too. But they will live and be able to help around the city” said Bastet as she reached into a pocket and pulled out a hip flask. “Here drink this. It will help you relax”.
Athena took a swig on the hip flask and then another. “Wow that taste good and burns a little”.
“Its strong it will help numb you for a little” said Bastet moving away but keeping a hold of Athena’s hand. “Let’s get some rest. Tomorrow could be as busy”?
Together Bastet Athena Rabbo and mischief headed back into the make shift hospital and slipped down a hallway to some storage rooms that had been turned into a bedroom for Athena and Bastet.
Rabbo hopped into the large box that mischief was using as a bed and sleep over came him so fast that he was unaware that Bastet and Athena were getting passionate.
Rabbo awoke to mischief nosing him while she held a goblet with water in it so that he could have a drink.
The sun was shining in though the window and Rabbo could hear a faint thumbing sound that sounded as if it was coming from down at the beach.
“I spoke to Merwyn and he said that he thinks that they will lunch a huge attack today” said Mischief. “We will be busy at the hospital I think”.
As Rabbo and mischief hopped down the hallway a feeling started to build in them. It got stronger and stronger until mischief started to whimper.
Rabbo looked around for Athena and Bastet and finally he spotted them sitting together kissing behind some make shift shelves that had been set up with herbs in jars in them.
“Earthquake is coming” said Rabbo. “It’s a huge one as the feeling hurts a lot”.
“Ok let’s get all the wounded outside and away from the hospital” said Bastet.
For the next twenty minutes Athena and Bastet plus the other hospital staff carried the seventy wounded men and women out of the hospital.
Athena went back into grab the herbs with Rabbo following her when the shaking started.
The floor rocked and shook and moved like waves on the ocean.Rabbo leaped up at Athena knocking here to the ground and pressed his body against hers. At the same time there was a huge cracking sound right above Athena and Rabbo then their world went black as the roof came crashing in on them.