Blood Games PART I Prologue


Atta Olivia Clemens,

Domita Silius


To the man now calling himself Ragoczy Saint-Germain Franciscus, the servant of Imhotep sends his greetings.

I have your requests for spices and medicines and will do my utmost to fulfill your commands to me. There may be some trouble getting a few of the rarer items, as it is not easy to move about the land now that the Romans are here. Be patient with me, my master, and I will see that you have all that you require of me. Two of the items you specify must come along the Silk Road and it may take more than a year to bring them. You have said that you will wait any reasonable length of time, yet I feel I must warn you of these circumstances. I feel sure you would want me to be confidential in regards to your order, and so I will not mention by name the things you have asked me to get for you.

Earth from Dacia is another matter. We may provide that amply, although I am surprised to find you are without it. Nine large barrels of it come with this letter to you. You say that you are building a villa outside of the walls of Rome and some distance from the Praetorian camp, and I have assumed you need the earth for that. We are also, as partial filling of your order, sending the fine tiles you specified, and dyed cotton and linen in the colors you have stated. By the end of harvest time we should have the cinnabar, turquoise, carnelian, jasper, agate, sardonyx and alabaster in the quantities you wish, and will send them to you as quickly as possible. The selenite might take longer, for moonstones of the quality you wish are not easily found. I will send agents into Parthia and Hind to search. Do not, I beg you, be disappointed if they do not find your gems at once. You say that you can obtain rubies and diamonds, and so I will not search for those. Should you change your mind, you need only send me a message and I will procure the jewels you desire.

You indicate in your letter that you do not anticipate visiting this land for some years. It saddened me to learn of this, for your return is much hoped for among those few of our brothers that are left. You would be welcomed heartily by all that remain here. Our school, of course, now must meet clandestinely, and there is little we can do to change this. Not only do the Romans distrust us, but our own people, seduced by Greeks and Romans alike, think that our ways are outmoded. The priests of Imhotep are become merchants because they fear to heal! Should you come back to us, it might be otherwise.

Forgive this outburst, my master. It comes from my despair, not from your absence. It is well that you are in Rome and not here. Alexandria is a shame to us, and Luxor is forgotten. You told me once that if I should walk into the desert, I would not find a peaceful death, but ravening madness. So I will not walk into the desert, though I think that I have lived too far beyond my years.

Whatever you ask of me, and the rest of us, it shall be done. Yet do not condemn me if I am disheartened.

Farewell, to you and my brother Aumtehoutep

Sennistis, High Priest
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