Excerpt from Through the Gate of Wonder, Ch 1

Ubarum and Manishtushu looked over the requirements sent by Enheduanna regarding the upcoming marriage ritual to be held at the end of the harvest. To the king, it felt like every year the festival required more money and more resources from the crown, while it seemed the temple did nothing to absorb the cost of the growing populace in Ur. He looked over at his sister’s scribe, the man he had gifted her to be his spy at the Gipar, “Why do the numbers continue to grow every year, are the harvests not bountiful?”

 

“She is providing all that she can, Lugal-mu My King, the population is simply growing faster than the grain,” Ubarum said with a bow.

 

Manishtushu smirked as he looked the figures over again. “You speak as though the Entu has charmed you away from my service.”

 

“While your sister is very beautiful and graceful, Lugal-mu, my loyalty is with you,” the scribe conceded with an amused smile.

 

“Mmph, we will have to see.” The king straightened and slid his hand down his smooth, oiled beard. Manishtushu was seeing shadows everywhere, even within his own son, Naram, so he had begun looking at everyone with suspicion. He had risen to the throne by murdering his brother, the king before him, so he knew how power could be held in the short term and coveted for far longer. He had finally succeeded in bringing peace back to the Akkadian Empire after the uprisings due to his ascension and he felt like he could breathe more easily. Then why was he feeling like a knife was about to be driven into his heart?

 

Naram pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head and looked over at his companion. His heart was racing and his breath coming in ragged pants as the adrenaline coursed through his veins with excitement. This was his defining moment; either the gods will back him and he will be successful, or he will die in the attempt at ripping the throne from his father. For too long he had watched Manishtushu try to squash the rebellions coming at him from the east and flailing uselessly within his leadership. He had impatiently stood by and watched the king complain about the increasing costs of religious festivals, yet never seemed to have the courage to stand up to the Entu or deny her endless requests. Naram’s entire life had been spent watching one son of Sargon after the other slowly destroy the empire that his grandfather had created, while he felt utterly helpless to do anything about it. The Akkadian Empire needed a change and he was the one to usher it in.

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