I, the Sun, page 1
P. O. Box 584
Centerville, MA 02632
I, the Sun
Copyright © Janet Morris 1983, 2013
First Dell Printing, mass market paperback 1983
Second Dell Printing, mass market paperback 1983
First Perseid Press Printing, trade paperback version 2013
First Perseid Press Printing, Kindle electronic version 2013
First Perseid Press Printing, ePub electronic version 2013
By permission of the author.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.
Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Cover art: Seal of Suppiluliumas
Cover image © Perseid Press 2013
Cover design: Sonja Aghabekian
Book design: Sarah Hulcy
Published in the United States of America
Other Works by Janet Morris
High Couch of Silistra (1977) aka Returning Creation
The Golden Sword (1977)
Wind from the Abyss (1978)
The Carnelian Throne (1979)
Dream Dancer (1980)
Cruiser Dreams (1981)
Earth Dreams (1982)
Threshold (with Chris Morris)
Trust Territory (1992)
The Stalk (1994)
ARC Riders (with David Drake)
ARC Riders (1995)
The Fourth Rome (1996)
I, the Sun (1983)
The 40-Minute War (1984) (with Chris Morris)
Active Measures (1985) (with David Drake)
Medusa (1986) (with Chris Morris)
Kill Ratio (1987) (with David Drake)
Outpassage (1988) (with Chris Morris)
Target (1989) (with David Drake)
The Sacred Band of Stepsons: Beyond Series
Beyond Sanctuary (1985) (2011)
Beyond the Veil (1985) (2013)
Beyond Wizardwall (1986) (2013)
Sacred Band of Stepsons: Sacred Band Tales
Tempus (1987) (2010)
the Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl (2012)
The Sacred Band of Stepsons: Farther Realms
City at the Edge of Time (1988) (with Chris Morris)
Tempus Unbound (1989) (with Chris Morris)
Storm Seed (1990) (with Chris Morris)
The Sacred Band of Stepsons:
The Sacred Band (2010)
Heroes in Hell
Heroes in Hell (1986)
The Gates of Hell (1986) (with C J Cherryh)
Rebels in Hell (1986) (with C J Cherryh)
Crusaders in Hell (1987)
Angels in Hell (1987)
Masters in Hell (1987)
Kings in Hell (1987) (with C J Cherryh)
The Little Helliad (1988) (with Chris Morris)
War in Hell (1988)
Explorers in Hell (1989) (with David Drake)
Prophets in Hell (1989)
Lawyers in Hell (2011) (edited with Chris Morris)
Rogues in Hell (2012) (edited with Chris Morris)
Select short story bibliography:
“Raising the Green Lion” (1980)
“Vashanka’s Minion” (1980)
“A Man and His God” (1981)
“An End to Dreaming” (1982)
“Wizard Weather” (1982)
“High Moon” (1983)
“Hero’s Welcome” (1985)
“Graveyard Shift” (1986)
“To Reign in Hell” (1986)
“Power Play” (1984)
“Pillar of Fire” (1984)
“Gilgamesh Redux” (1987)
“Sea of Stiffs” (1987)
“The Nature of Hell” (1987)
“The Best of the Achaeans” (1988)
“The Collaborator” (1988)
“[...] Is Hell” (1988)
“Moving Day” (1989)
“Sea Change” (1989)
“Boogey Man Blues” (2013) appeared in What Scares the Boogey Man? edited by John Manning
Select non-fiction bibliography:
“Nonlethality: A Global Strategy” (1990, 2010) (with Chris Morris)
“Weapons of Mass Protection” (1995) (with Morris and Baines)
The American Warrior (1992) (Morris and Morris, ed.)
Series contributed to:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
From the annals of the ancient Hittite king, Suppiluliumas, from the Amarna letters of Egypt and the court records of a wealth of "lost" civilizations, comes this saga of kingship and greatness, love and death, politics and treachery in the second millennium, B.C.
Beyond a few cursory references to the Hittites in the Bible, for thousands of years nothing has been known of this first mighty Indo-European culture. Now, based on translations of the ancient texts themselves, comes the story of Suppiluliumas, Great King, Favorite of the Storm God, King of Hatti, who by his own count fathered forty-four kings and conquered as many nations, who brought even mighty Egypt to her knees. Tutankhamun's widow sent him an urgent letter begging for a son of his to make her husband. The earliest Hebrews knew him as their Protector. The entire Mediterranean world revered and feared him.
But though he conquered armies, countries, and even foreign gods, he could not conquer his love for the one woman fate denied him, the Great Queen Khinti.
With the exception of a single slave girl, every prince and general, mercenary and scribe, princess and potentate in these pages actually lived, loved and died nearly fourteen hundred years before Christ. Now they live again in I the Sun.
“…[Janet Morris] is familiar with every aspect of Hittite culture.” – O. R. Gurney, Hittite scholar and author of The Hittites
I would like to thank Calvert Watkins, of Harvard University’s Department of Linguistics, for his labors in my behalf: for translating the texts appearing herein from a multitude of languages; for gleaning therefrom every bit of historical evidence pertinent to the life of Suppiluliumas; for discussing with me the major theories held to
1386 B. C.
There is a man who stands always on my horizon: large, cloaked and formidable. I have seen only his back. Over the years, that back has preceded me, on occasion dropping clues for me to read when I come to where he has passed. I have never been able to catch him, though I am coming closer. He has been in my dreams before every moment of crisis, for every tumble onto truth that has ever befallen me, striding away, his shoulders like a second horizon. I know that when I overtake him, I will have what it is that has eluded me over the years. Then, I will learn a thing. Then, I may truly say that I have done it. Now, I am still following. Last night I was able to see that he wore sandals, and their soles were worn. But he is getting dark.
When I first saw him, he was bright and shining. The Great King Arnuwandas, my father, had just died. I sat atop the rock sanctuary while the moon rose, looking down on the mausoleum stone-house, its grounds alight with mourners’ torches, as they had been for thirteen days. I moved only to hunt or elude the Meshedi – the Great King’s bodytroops – whom my mother periodically sent to search for me. Otherwise, I sat below the black eagle’s nest and we watched the ashes of Arnuwandas receive the adulation he had never been accorded in life. They loved him for dying. Their relief was a palpable thing, and that grieved them, so their grief was real enough.
The black eagle screeched and flapped, and I snuck, hunched up, to my hideaway. I was due for my manhood ceremony, and this year, at fourteen, was barely able to fit into the crevice I had found five years past.
“Tasmisarri!” Gruff voices called my name with mounting fury. “Tasmisarri!” Then: “We know you are up there, brat.” There was no mistaking my uncle Kantuzilis’ commanding squeak.
My throat tightened. I was big for my age, but not ready to tangle with any of my relatives, Kantuzilis in particular. I half stood.
And that was when I first saw him, the man, and he was shining. Up the slope, to my left, in a long blue cloak, he ascended. In the unabashedness of youth, I thought him the most striking figure I had ever seen. I leaned forward, Kantuzilis forgotten. The man, walking somehow in the moonlight, wore a braid swinging to his waist, as once did the old empire’s Tabarnas, their Great Kings. I heard men muttering. Stones clicked and dark shapes cut across the shelf below me to intercept him. The full, moon went behind a cloud; the eagle bated, then rustled round his nest in the sudden dark.
A time later, I heard Kantuzilis’ steps and others, descending to the mausoleum below. The moon had winked out all trace of the blue-cloaked man with the long braid.
I lay back and stretched out on the rock shelf, eyes closed, thinking of the blue-cloaked lord. There was something so desirable about his carriage that he seemed to me ultimately kingly, so much so that if I could just be as he was, then none would ever doubt my right to the throne or my rightness upon it. But I could not recollect any detail of him, except the long, jet braid dividing his great shoulders. Such shoulders came from sweat and toil, from driving the day into dusk and wielding an ax and a sword in battle. Such shoulders cannot be had by adolescent boys, even large ones. So I dismissed the figure, and with a shake of my head tossed my unbound hair. The shining one, I decided was a warrior, a lord come to pay homage. Since the Meshedi were gone, I set off toward the interment ceremony, curious, to seek him out. For the first time in anybody’s memory Tasmi would willingly attend a state occasion.
My mother broke into ashen tears, and grabbed my hands, thanking me. I was a head taller than she, even then.
I hushed her, and growled around at the flying wedge of relatives who had come to pay tardy homage to the Sun Arnuwandas. There on my mother’s right was my uncle Kantuzilis, commanding general of the armies, prince, misshapen in body and mind. His skin was pale like the inside of a loaf, his hair like dog-soiled snow, his eyes like bleeding wounds. He bared his yellow teeth and I gave him a stony grim look I had learned from a bronze mirror. He looked away. Whether it worked or he was amused, I could not tell.
Asmunikal, Great Queen, my mother, laid her raven head against my chest and wrapped me round and wailed. I had thought by now she would have been wailed into a whisper. But she was in all sense of the word Tawananna, wife of the king, and she found strength to weep in my arms.
Asmunikal grieved mightily, though Arnuwandas’ death must have been to her a blessing. For five years my father had lain helpless, dead as stone from the waist down. The blow that had maimed him thus had been struck in his own palace, by the invading Gasgaeans while the city of Hattusas flamed around us. Since then, my uncles had ruled. Now, one among them would become Tabarna, The Sun, King of the Hatti Lands – what was left of them.
Next to my mother, eating a sweet cake, was a man I did not know, a young lord, a chariot man from his dress.
Counting heads absently, I searched for the azure-cloaked man. Such dye comes from the Lower Country. I saw no hint of it among the skin-cloaked crowd-within-a-crowd that was my family. What I saw, in my mind’s eye, was that other night, the night I had first found the eagle’s nest and the crevice in the stone with the city burning bloody below and my eyes tearing from the smoke and the rage of the helpless.
Five years later, I saw the end of helplessness approaching. I unclenched my fists, and turned to reply to the Hero Kantuzilis’ greeting.
“Tasmisarri,” he silked again, using that excuse to step closer. The malicious smile matched his nature. He accented the third and fourth syllables of my name. Always he called me thusly – never Tasmi, like everyone else. “Sarri” means “King” in Hurrian, and my mother’s choice in my naming had taught me early how to bleed and how to fight. If Kantuzilis had his way, I would be king of a stone-house, like my father.
As he stepped to my side in a rustle of foxfur, I saw the young lord – who stood among the family and yet was unknown to me – speak over his shoulder, to a darkness that I then saw was Muwatalli, Kantuzilis’ counterpart on the battlefield of palace politics.
I disengaged my mother’s arms, aware of her sobbing only as it stopped. She smiled bravely, sought one of my brothers.
Kantuzilis did not speak again, but waited with his vulture’s eyes on me until I acknowledged him. Which I did not immediately do. The short hairs on my neck rose as I took a closer look at the way the crowd had shifted. Around me were four of my grown uncles; three chiefs of 1,000; six lesser generals – all Great Ones, all related to me; all adherents of him who had ruled in deed while my father ruled his bed: the tuhkanti, my father’s successor, Tuthaliyas III. This ring of men around me lacked, to become a war council, only that one’s presence. But the new Sun of Hatti was nowhere about.
Kantuzilis growled deep in his throat and shifted his weight.
The music took up, an Old Woman’s trill wheezing a new dirge. I saw my mother, her face pale, her brows knit, leaning against my brother Zida beyond the stranger’s back.
Watching the stranger, who was himself staring around, his hand under his cloak, sharp-faced, casting tense shadows in the torchlight, I wondered where his interests lay.
I made a show of noticing that the lords circled round me in formation, and when I had my back to Kantuzilis, I said, “What are you waiting for, Hero?”
His hand came down hard on my shoulder and he spun me around.
I just looked at him.
He slapped my face openhanded. “You are not too big for a strapping, nor are you going to be deprived one, boy!”
I bared my teeth at him, and spat blood. Three men left the circle: Himuili; the stranger; another lord, Takkuri.
“When I have my majority, uncle –” The circle tightened, moving slowly toward me, pushing us away from the light.
“Silence!” snarled the Hero who had burned Sallapa to the ground for the good of the Hatti Lands. “You were up there, Tasmisarri. Admit it.” He pointed toward the eagle’s nest.
I shrugged. Perhaps I could talk my way out of this yet. I had taken worse from Kantuzilis than a slap. But my fists ached.
“Your mother –”
“Leave her out of this.”
He was taking off his belt. It was wide, hardened leather, bronze studded, the kind chariot drivers wear to support their backs.
“You would not dare,” I said through a red haze, and stopped moving back before the circle’s darkward progress.
The Pale One had the belt doubled in his hand. I was a hair taller than he, and not twisted of limb; but his strength was greater than mine – alone. And boys do not strike men in the Hatti Lands. Then why the convocation of lords? “Did you bring them to hold me for you?” I asked him.
He slapped the doubled leather in his palm. “That is a possibility.”
If I attacked him, they could make whatever they wanted of it: no one would disbelieve the Great Ones.