“Carpet Merchant of Cairo,” Jean-Leon Gerome, c. 1869, WikiArt.

Part 3: Symerya meets Dolius

“How did you come by this parchment?” shop
Merchant asked Symerya, his gaze returned to
Hand-drawn map, faded inscriptions. “Ancient
Wall collapsed in Antalya, my home. Debris on
Oxen cart, in broken urn. To my mind, it spoke,
‘Save me!’” “Legend tells of such maps, desert
Temple,” stated he, “New and old gods, papyri
Of sacred scriptures.” “Your name my lord?”
Symerya asked. “Names we do not exchange
Except Guardian. New religions are oft threats
Perceived, real or imaginary. I know you not,
Have no recollection of what we spoke.”

Awaiting ship Symerya returned, dark-robed
Figure blocked her path, face concealed, single
Nod acknowledgement, her eyes deck cast,
Mind fear-inflamed. Word on silent feet fast-
Traveled, family informer purse of gold paid,
Capture at dagger point, biting steel against
Maiden’s breasts, daughter to Antalya returned
Shackled in chains, until Guardian with muscled
Bulls approached, daggers drawn, dark-clad
Man ship-removed. Wind light in sails, Crete
Seaport, captain eased ship underway, outgoing
Flood at bright noon-day.

Upon rolling ocean crests, Dolius realized light
Of heaven in Symerya’s dark eyes, face sun-
Burnished, God’s messenger she would be.
“Isolation of sea, divinity returns to me,” to
Guardian she confided. “Who are you my
Lord?” Nodding, he replied, “Sea of water or
Of sand, God’s presence you will feel. I am
Dolius, fellow traveler, guardian-guide until
Our journey ends.” Shelter from salt spray
He took, ship under full sail to Syrte, camel
Caravans, trackless desert dunes and hills,
Marked with elusive name: “Harawah.”

“Algerian Woman,” Camille Corot, 1873, WikiArt.

Time of meditation, Symerya returned to
Papyri-recorded scriptures, God’s golden
Gleams burned within, mantra sang to
Self,  “I have seen, I have heard, I am God’s
Maiden-messenger, holy prophesy.” Alas!
Can one so young bear such weight? In her
heart, Symerya knew another like herself,
Accepted sacred duties, ancient messenger,
Dedicated life, sand-buried without marked
Grave. Symerya’s mind cloud-borne, temple
Destiny lay within her grasp, yet still beyond
Lofty-ocean sight.

From Anatalya, Turkey to Crete, Symerya meets sage Dolius. What
further dangers, revelations await? Archaic gods 
and new, nascent
religion is desert-born by woman instead of man.  

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