My Dearest Sister

September 9, 2008

Tell Bathsheba; Hatisha says:

May all be well with you, all is well with me. I have arrived at Byblos safely and am well after the journey. News must have reached you now of the untimely death of my husband-to-be. The palace is in mourning but my needs are being attended to. The hand maids I have been given are kind and gentle to me in this strange place. It was upon my arrival that Tjeker-Baal, Prince of Byblos, stood before me wearing a shawl decorated with golden threads. It is the ritual here that the Prince wears this when one of the royal family dies. I did not understand this at the time and so our meeting was one of confusion as I tried to smile and show my eagerness to be wed to Ribaddan. It was not long before Tjeker-Baal took me to the resting place of his son. He is buried underneath one of the Temples here and his soul has been dedicated to Melqart, the hero’s God.

I was put aside for several days but I did hear the gossip and rumours that flew around the palace. It seems that Ribaddan had been killed in a fight with a Kenite from the south. I was told that the Kenites are a tribe of assassins who travel all of Canaan offering their services to whoever desires another man dead. The Kenite fled and has not been caught yet. Whoever it was that arranged for the death of Ribaddan must be well pleased at the sorrow in the palace of Tjeker-Baal.

I did not know what was to become of me and had feared that I would be sent back to Carchemish. But the Prince is kind and generous as are the Gods. I will remain here and serve as a priestess at the Temple of Inara. Our glorious father Suhis need not worry that I will not be able to live in Byblos as he had wished for me. Tell him that instead of serving a future Prince I serve the very Gods of Byblos but remain his dutiful daughter.

To that end I intend to talk to Hiram, Prince of Tyre, and Beder, Prince of Dor when they arrive in Byblos for the autumn sacrifices. They will know of the loving respect that our father has for all the peoples of the sea. To show our generosity please arrange for gifts to be sent here that I may pass them on to those who require them. Lapis Lazuli from far off Babylon would be best. Byblos has many ships passing through the harbour every day bringing gold from Egypt, copper from Cyprus and wine and oil from further west.

Let it also be known that the Prince of Byblos is most wealthy and his city has no abandoned buildings like the cities in the north. Instead they build new docks and extra warehouses. There must be enough wealth here to throw the most spectacular festivals for the Gods, and woe be to the person who thinks they could march an army on Byblos without meeting a thousand freshly bought mercenaries. It would require much cunning to cause the fall of our newest ally.

I will pray to Inara and Kubaba that such a cunning enemy does not exist.

Please write to me to tell me of your life in Carchemish. I already miss our days in the sun together and long to hear of any developments with your handsome courter. May all be well with our family and do please read this letter to father. How lovely it will be for him to hear my words with your voice.

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One Response to “My Dearest Sister”

  1. […] My Dearest Sister for an example of an ancient epistolary story!] Posted by magisteria Filed in […]

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