To celebrate launch week for my new book THE DARK EARTH, here's another wee excerpt.
This piece - nicknamed "The Cyclops' Prophecy" takes place after Tudha and his Hittite soldiers have captured the coastal city of Milawata - a long-time Ahhiyawan (Greek) stronghold and bridgehead on the Hittite mainland. It should be a triumphant moment, but not all is as it seems...
‘What happened here?' Tudha said, casting his eye across barren Milawata. The city had not been in Hittite hands for many years, but even now that it was, it did not feel like a prize.
Walmu shifted his straggly hair back from his bruised and cut face, his expression sagging. ‘The slave traders fled this place some time ago. The people – sensing trouble – quickly followed.’
‘Something is going on across the Western Sea in Ahhiyawa. Some great disaster has struck their rocky lands.’
Tudha felt a twist of unease in his belly. He and his men gazed out across the sea and its bands of gradually deeper blue, as if in hope that they might see something as far away as the distant Ahhiyawan realm. He eyed that silent, unmoving horizon of deep water and infinite skies. So peaceful, still and empty.
The Ahhiyawan Kings who had conquered Troy had vanished back across those waters, never to return. It was as if the Gods had swept them away.
‘How do you know of what has happened over there?’
Walmu’s face twisted a little. ‘The Cyclops. He speaks of grim things.’
Tudha arched an eyebrow. ‘The Cyclops? You speak of things you have seen or heard in visions, dreams?’
‘No, my lord,’ explained Walmu. ‘A flesh and blood creature. Frightful to look at. He appears near the resettlement at New Troy from time to time, professing that all across the Western Sea is in chaos. He always finishes with a prophecy.’ Walmu’s green eyes suddenly became shrouded in worry. ‘That the disaster that struck Ahhiyawa is now coming this way...’
Tudha’s war wolf growled. Old Dagon’s eyes widened. Skarpi and Pelki leaned in to listen, so too did many of the Hittite soldiers nearby.
‘…for him, for us, for you… for everyone.’
Tudha stared through Walmu, seeing instead the Goddess Ishtar as she had come to him in his dreams, hearing her words.
𝐺𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑇𝑢𝑑ℎ𝑎, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝐻𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑑𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑝𝑎𝑡ℎ...
Gordon Doherty: writer, history fan, explorer.
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