Stairway to Eternity
Chapter III- Part II
The years passed by: Cheops and Nefertene were married in an elaborate ceremony on the banks of the Nile. Their love and passion for each other remained undiminished. Snefru reigned over the all-powerful land of Egypt, but two years after the return of Sesortriti’s expedition Snefru could wait no longer to organize a new one to find the white pyramid. The year was 2601 B.C.
The kind called his son to the royal palace to talk with him about his new plan to organise a new expedition across Libya to where the land ends. Cheops was fascinated and keen to join his father on this new venture. Snefru insisted that he will lead this new expedition but Cheops was against this. ” If you leave the kingdom, who will reign?” asked Cheops. The king replied, ” you will be regent until my return.”
“No father” answered Cheops ” I will go! I know part of the way, I am younger and stronger, I will return.”
Snefru then stated ” I am pharaoh, I want to see with my own eyes this thing that your prisoner priest says exists. ” His son said, “yes father, I understand but to leave the kingdom would be dangerous.”
“Then we will both go” snapped Snefru ” I will go by sea and you, as you did two years ago, will cross the land and we will meet in the guardian village of Tarfaya. I will name Nefertene regent; she will have full powers and will rule Egypt until our return. We will be back in six months, nothing can happen in such short a period.”
News of the Pharah’s decision to look for the white pyramid spread like wild-fire down the Nile valley; men from all walks of life wanted to join the expedition. There was great excitement in the land of Egypt. Orders where given to the Egyptian fleet commanders at the Mediterranean port of Raqote to postpone all sailings to Byblos. All ships should be made ready for a far longer voyage into unknown seas, even as far as the great sea where the land ends.
Ships were loaded with water, food and animals. The coastal carpenters and sailmakers were working around the clock preparing everything. Pharoah had decided to take twenty ships. Ten would carry his best troops, eight would carry supplies and animals for such a long voyage, one would carry the women and the largest would carry the Pharoah himself. It would be the “royal yacht”.
Since Pharoah had lost his wife Hetepheres years ago, he found some love and sexual gratification with his two concubines Dacel and Isorah; both younger women but honored to be Phaoah’s lovers. These would join him on his “royal yacht”.
The oarsmen were not slaves; in ancient Egypt they thought it too dangerous to have so many slaves on ship, so rowers were free-men; in this way mutinies were avoided.
Miles to the south Cheops, now eighteen years old, was preparing his overland expedition into Libya. Sesortris was still around and in excellent shape, still revered by his troops. Cheops therefore decided that Sesortris should come along as well. This expedition was going to take longer than the last so more men were called for. Five thousand men would be led from east to west across the whole of north Africa by Sesortris and Cheops. There would be three thousands of Egypt’s finest soldiers; women would come also, for it was considered too long for the men to be without a woman. Also, the usual porters, camel-drivers, cooks, chariot-drivers and an amazing array of others.
In October of 2601 B.C., just as the cold season was beginning, all was ready for both expeditions to set out. Cheops calculated three months to reach Tarfaya, based on Tinguaro’s revelations of his past experience in the same unwelcoming territories. It was agreed at a final meeting between the Pharaoh, the crown prince, Sesortris and the fleet commanders that whoever arrived first would wait for the other. Large flags would be flown from high stakes in Tarfaya so whoever came second would know that the first was already there.
Nefertene was appointed regent of Egypt; she was only eighteen and was already waiting the fruit of her passion and love for Cheops. In the ceremony all Egypt’s aristocracy and priesthood were present: No one would have guessed that the high priest and his followers were already plotting the overthrow of the crown, and the setting up of a news kingdom run by priest-kings and maintaining the purity of the theology of Ra. They were not going to stand for these blasphemous deviations that had so enamored the crown prince and had even infected the Pharoah. Here was their chance; once father and son were away they would act, telling the people that Ra would cause havoc to Egypt if his creed was changed in ay way. They would take Nerfertene prisoner and if necessary kill her. They would wait for the Pharoah and his son to return (if they survived this mad expedition) and a tired returning army would be met by a fresh one led by the high priests. Pharoah and Cheops would die and the future of Egypt would remain secure in the hands of the servants of Ra.