An Ancient Day of Mystery and Violence

Lives and futures balanced often on the skill of the warrior's blade and the daring heart of the brave. Swords are bathed in blood as Evil rises on the horizon...who will stand and fight?

6/23/15

THE SWORD OF ANATH


Anath's world is one that is peaceful, ordinary, and sometimes boring. She lives with her father Dagon, her sister Asherah, and half-brother Hadad ... Her days are filled with the normal activities of life as she learns the skills of the hunt, the rites of her religion, and the tasks of survival in a sometimes harsh world of extremes. Children of a mysterious woman found wondering in the desert, can Anath and her sister discover the truth of their heritage and the strange skills they possess? When a new and very dangerous threat seeps into that world, however, there may not be time and Anath has to decide how she will respond. Can she protect not only her family and herself, but her world as well?
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7/28/11

Long Ago....

The place is ancient Mesopotamia, in an ancient time, when myths were born and legends first walked the earth as men and women. It is a violent time where right was determined by might and the savage was everyday.

1/22/11

DANGER IN THE DESERT

Closer, the party was less forbidding but still dangerous looking. Several men with lances and bows followed Yamm. Beyond them came several women and Anath saw they were loaded down like pack animals. As she watched one, she stumbled and one of the men slapped her across the face loudly berating her clumsiness. 
 
Anath winced at the sight; she had heard some from the fringes of the sands worshipped cruel and violent deities who did not value women, but this was the first she had seen what that meant.  They did not recognize a woman’s strength.  They were certainly not like her mother’s people.
 
Jamm came towards them, a tall muscular man with a hard face and bold eyes.  His apparent male strength would have been enough for her people, but she evidence of deep vanity in his nature by the gold bracelets he wore and the fine cloth wrapped around his waist. A warrior or a traveler would not wear such as those. They were the spoils of a thief, worn simply to prove his ability to raid trading parties and steal from anyone he encountered.
 
He came near enough to eye the two girls as they stood at the foot of the pile of large rocks. He smiled in way that made Anath wary; he was like the cat playing with the mouse.
 
“Hadad’s little sisters!” he called out as stopped.  His eyes moved over each of the girls in a way that was insulting and Anath felt a sudden desire to cleanse herself. “You grow ... lovelier each time I see you.”
 
He came close enough that she had to lift her eyes.  He smelled of sweat and spices she could not name.  At last he turned toward Asheroh and lingered longer on the younger girls face. He was intrigued seemingly, by the way the wind rustled the tight ringlets of her dark hair about her shoulders. She saw her sister fight an urge to back away. “My dear friend Hadad must offer me his hospitality, " the man said never taking his eyes from the girl," so I may come to know his family better.”
 
“I am sure, both my father and Hadad would welcome the opportunity to greet you,” Anath told him."To show you the proper respects."
 
He darted a look at Anath and merely laughed at her words.  His strayed back to linger on Asheroh’s form in a manner that was making her sister very uncomfortable.  He glanced back at her, “Your eyes Anath, they reveal that welcome would likely be a knife to my throat if you were your father or Hadad.”
 
He stepped forward suddenly and both girls retreated instinctively.  
 
Anath knew then she had made a fatal error as his eyes flashed suddenly to her face.  She knew he wanted her sister in the way a man took a woman.  Her sister was little more than a child but in great danger from a man like Yamm. Her sister, and even herself, faced a greater danger in this man than any wild sand cat.      
 
He moved toward her sister in such a way as to put himself between the two girls. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw one of his men move slightly. They planned something. Instinctively, Anath stepped forward blocking Jamm’s move, one hand resting on the hilt of the knife in her belt.  The big man swung around with a snarl, his fist raise, but her blade sliced into the fleshly part of his arm before he moved very far.  
 
In the blink of an eye, the scene had changed from casual threat to one of lethal waiting danger. The very air around them seemed to still as the drama unfolded.
 
“Back!” she hissed. Jamm's mask fell and he locked his coal black eyes with her vivid blue ones.
His only response, however, was a growl, deep in his chest. A small ribbon of blood was creeping down his arm and his eyes were deep pools of angry hate.
 
Anath knew the man creeping towards them had halted. If she knew her sister, she too had her blade out.   The men may have thought them easy prey but that idea would be quickly swept away. Quickly, her mind was reviewing every lesson and every tactic she had ever learned or heard the others discuss.
 
'You will pay for that!" He snarled. His eyes flicked quickly between the two. "You will both pay for that."
“Animal!” she spat out the word. She looked him in the face and moved in closer. She was glad of her height because now they were nearly eye to eye. “You are little more than an animal! Get back now, before I slit you from side to side.”
 
The other men were pressing forward but he impatiently waved them back.  He pointed at Asheroth with a smile that was all bravado. ”You little one,  I will see again and very soon.”
Holding his cut arm, he spun around toward Anath and leaned into her face, almost hissing the words, “And I will enjoy every moment of your payment for this!”
 
As the party moved away, Yamm leading the way with angry stride, Asheroh slumped down into the hot sand.     
                          
“What were you thinking! He could have killed you…us.” She told her sister. “Without even trying he could have skinned us alive.”
 
Anath took a deep, somewhat ragged breath, and realized she had not breathed for some time. “I don’t know….”
 
Staggering slightly she realized what she had done.  She looked to the group now fading into the sun haze once more and slumped down to join her sister.
 
 Asherot took her hand and squeezed it, “It was brave.  Father would have been proud.”
 
“Turga would have railed at me. I had no balance. I let anger and fear control me. I – .”
 
“You saved us. “ Her sister broke in softly, halting her irritated rant. “He meant us harm; he meant me harm.  I had visions of him bundling me off with them to carry loads of blankets and pots!”
“That would never happen. Nobody can make you work!” Anath laughed as her sister punched her shoulder.
 
“He did mean us harm, sister.”
 
“Yes, he did.” Anath agreed. The weakness of reaction had faded leaving in its wake a sudden awareness. All the lessons from Turga and the others seemed to be making sense now in the aftermath of the confrontation. “And with men like Yamm, I am afraid he won’t forgive or forget either.”

ANATH

“No! Don’t hold it like that Anath!” Tuga hoisted the bow to his shoulder. “Watch now.” Squinting his one good eye he  focused on the mark and then he pulled back the bow releasing the arrow.
With a thud it hit the target dead center.
“Make the action smooth and sure.”
He watched the little girl cast a glance to where her father stood frowning in the distance as watched the children and youth being trained. Turga squatted down by the girl holding the girl and held the bow out to her. “Here, pretend I am showing you something very interesting about the bow.”
Brilliant blue eyes flashed up to his weathered face and seeing his small smile she relaxed.
“You show great promise little one. One day I think I would hesitate to face you in battle.”
“My father…”
“Is a powerful man who expects much from his children.” Turga sighed.  “You must want to master the tools of the hunt if you want to please him. You, little one, must want it or it will never bring you contentment.”
He stood.
“Alright students, let’s do that all over again!” He looked at Anath. “Now, show yourself what you can do.”
Anath watched the old man walk down the line of students as they hurried to prepare their bows and find the right arrows. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.  Opening them she saw her father lean forward intently.  All around her she heard the other student’s bows singing as their arrows released.  Shouts and claps erupted as some favored student hit the mark or one missed, but she tried to ignore them.
Taking a deep breath she pulled back –strong and sure – as Turga had instructed her.  She focused on the target and suddenly felt she would know what would happen.  She could see it in her mind.
The arrow flew from its notch sailing quickly and surely.
She saw her father lean forward as the arrow found its mark. 
Other students rushed to congratulate her but she looked around for her father but he was still standing as he had been. He nodded almost absently as if merely responding to something the other man had said.  Then he turned away to speak with someone else nearby. Then without a word he walked away and was lost in the crowd of people setting up for the market.
“Good shot, little one!” Turga spoke at her elbow with a laugh in his voice. She turned away from the place where her father had disappeared in the dust of the cattle. “Your father was impressed.”
“How can you tell?  He never speaks or seems to see me at times.”
“I can tell because he sent me a message to continue your training and to expand it as well.”
                She glanced up.
“Your father was proud.”


THE 'REAL' ANATH



Ancient deities from Sumerian religion inspired the main characters of this series, Anath, Asherah, Dagon and Hadad. It is thought these are some of the oldest such figures in human history and come from what is thought to be one of the first civilizations.
On the surface, the figure of Anath reflects the confusing goddess who will later merge with the Greek Athena and the Roman Diana. She is on one hand a bloody temptress killer and the other a virgin/Mother figure.
 
Sometimes she is depicted as a sister of Bael (Hadad) and sometimes his consort and at other times a confusing combination of both.  I say "on the surface" because often there is a fine screen of pre-suppositions applied to interpreting ancient texts and their corresponding societies.  One of those is the role of patriarchy in ancient people.  Women depicted as warriors, this line of thought argues, must be an anomaly or fictional creation.  Often too is the application of modern prejudices on ancient people.


Writers like to start out with “what if” and for me the question was “what if these were based on real people? What if these people over time, and as various successive generations of patriarchal cultures reshaped them, became the conflicted and confusing deities seen today in these ancient records?”


The nucleus of what would become the Warriors of Anath Cycle was born.









MEET THE CHARACTERS

Anath - whose mother had been a mysterious warrior woman who had staggered in out of the desert and in to Dagon's heart. She takes after her mother in looks sharing the same dark chestnut hair and vivid water blue eyes.  The girl's strong heart and her emerging skills as a warrior reflect the woman as well.

Asherah - the younger sister.  She resembles her father, with his shorter stature and curling ebony hair.  She is a gentle creature but has the heart of the desert lion.

Hadad - The son of Dagon by his first wife, who as he has reached manhood finds the restrictions of his father's home to much to bear and longs for excitement, no matter where it may be found.

Dagon - A  man who has carved for himself a pleasant place with herds, trading and his own hard work. He loves his children but his duties keep him busy and he seldom understands them.

Yamm - A brigand who raids the deserts and the surrounding mountains. 

Mot - A stranger who leads a band of warriors from the shadowy mountains and brings a cult of death and destruction.  His presence begins to spread out until it threatens the home and peace of the world of Dagon's people.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ANATH

Anath's world  is one that is peaceful, ordinary, and sometimes boring. Her days are filled with the normal activities of life, but when a new and very dangerous threat seeps into that world Anath has to decide how she will respond. Can she protect not only her family and herself, but her world as well?
A woman, a sword and a destiny...