The Fallen

beit shan

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Mastema watched Tancred’s ascension as Prince of Galilee over Beit She’an with hidden glee. This ancient city of the Hebrews had passed through many hands before falling into those of the Crusaders in the year of their Lord 1099 C.E.

It was well that Tancred did not know the true name or origins of his faithful adviser, because Mastema had his own reasons for coveting the city in the Jezreel Valley. He divined that men in ages to come would find sacred and mystic Egyptian artifacts. There was one he must take that would render him master of the dead.

Once again time to participate in Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ 7 April 2023 edition of Friday Fictioneers. The idea is to take the image above and use it as the inspiration to craft a short story or poem no more than 100 words long. My word count is exactly 100.

Having seen the name of the picture file, I looked up the Israeli city of Beit She’an on Wikipedia (I know). It gave me a quick and dirty history of this ancient community and I chose to reference both the Crusader period beginning with Tancred, Prince of Galilee in 1099 C.E. and events related to archaeological excavations carried out from 1921 to 1933 in which artifacts from the Egyptian period were uncovered.

Mastema is:

the fallen archangel who appears in the Book of Jubilees. He pleads with God to permit the demon spirits of the dead Nephilim remain on earth so they can corrupt and lead men astray prior to judgement. Because there was great wickedness in men, God condemned all the demons to descend into condemnation except for a tenth who could remain.

In this case, my character is an evil magician and perhaps more, but Tancred would be unlikely to know the Hebrew synonym for Satan. He means to do what that wicked angel of lore had done, control the spirits of the demons.

To read other stories based on the prompt, to go inlinkz.

To read another of my fictional works consider my novelette Ice:

In eons past, the armies of Surtur the fire goddess and Ymir the frost giant waged an unceasing battle for dominance over the Earth. For all those ages, they maintained an uneasy but enduring balance. Then humanity rose from the mud, and with the passage of time, came to fear fire more than ice, devoting their own meager forces to the conflict. Not to be denied, Surtur beat back both mortals and giants, consigning the planet to unrelenting heat and the ice lords to seeming oblivion. Before leaving the material realm, in jest she gave humanity the gift of magic and the curse of the return of dragons.

For thousands of years thereafter, the race of people knew nothing but a world without ice. Spanning the globe in sailing ships, the humans continued to thrive and remembered not the distant past. Then Captain Ki-Moon Yong of the Oceanic Trading Company vessel the Star of Jindo is assigned the task of solving the most profound mystery ever encountered. Another ship has gone missing and her only remaining crewman suddenly commits suicide after visiting the sunken continent of Antarctica. All of the dinosaur species of the south have gone mad, invading the guarded towns and cities on their way north, as if to escape some monstrous terror.

The answers to these enigmas all lie on the continent at the bottom of the world, and Captain Yong must take the Star to a strange research facility to discover them. But once there, he is confronted with a truth so profound and so nightmarish that it will change the very nature of reality. Can the Star of Jindo escape the inevitable in time to warn an unbelieving world of that truth, or will they be consumed in frozen horror?


© James Pyles

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