Gilgamesh Immortal (Chronicles of the Nephilim) (4 page)

Chapter 5

Dumuzi had cleaned up and was ushered into the presence of the king. Because his protection of the king had been a somewhat ambiguous affair, Gilgamesh avoided a big display of celebration in Dumuzi’s honor. But he did grant Dumuzi an increase in pay and an extended vacation from his shepherding to go on a hunting expedition.

Dumuzi enjoyed hunting. He had become quite skilled in the art of the bow as well as javelin. Gilgamesh outfitted him with an entourage of servants and equipment fit for a king. He was accompanied by a cook, several slaves, a handful of other hunters
, and some hierodules from the temple for their comfort and pleasure. Dumuzi had also received permission to bring his father with him so he would not be without family. He had a hunting chariot outfitted with a team of horses, and a pack of mastiffs, a large and powerful breed of hunting dog that could contain lions.

Dumuzi travelled from Uruk to a steppe of prairie grasslands that he knew was pregnant with game of all kinds from gazelle and ibex to boar and fowl. It was like a replica of the king’s own special hunting park near the city. The king
kept captured animals in cages and released them for a royal lion hunt or the like. In fact, Dumuzi was charged with bringing back some of those very animals to replenish the king’s cages.

 

Dumuzi found a watering hole on the steppe that would draw all the game he was looking for. He set up camp some distance away from the water and dug some pits and set traps. In the first several days, he captured a host of animals and began to feel as if this was going to be an enjoyable and easy hunt.

But then he
found a trap sprung with nothing in it, and not long after, others filled with dirt, rendering them useless. The pattern started to repeat itself too often to be accidental. He suspected that someone on the expedition was sabotaging his efforts to please the king.

To find the culprit, he
held a gathering of the entire entourage. But no one would confess to the vandalism. So he started to stake out some of his traps to see if he could catch the criminal in the act. It was as if the saboteur knew where he was hiding because only the traps that were not being watched were dismantled or destroyed.

One day,
exhausted with frustration, Dumuzi went to the watering hole to fill his skin with water. When he came to the water’s edge, he noticed some creatures sitting on the other end of the large pond quenching their thirst: A wild ox, a gazelle and something else that was not game. But he was not sure it was human either. It was large, about six and a half feet tall and muscular, and had the structure of a man. But it was naked and covered with long unkempt hair. When it looked up at Dumuzi, it froze. And Dumuzi knew what it was: A Wild Born. He had heard of such a primal creature but had always thought they were just a legend, a story to tell children to scare them into being civilized little citizens.

The
Wild Born was a companion and protector of the wild animals. It ran off and the others followed it. Dumuzi came back the same time for several days only to see the same Wild Born drinking at the watering hole with thirsty abandon. And when it saw Dumuzi, it ran off. Dumuzi tried to follow him, but the Wild Born was so fast and powerful that Dumuzi could not begin to get near him.

One night around the campfire, Dumuzi finally spoke up, “Father, I have found the scoundrel that is destroying my traps and frustrating our hunt.
It is a Wild Born. I saw him at the watering hole three days in a row.”

“Indeed,” said his father.

“So they are real after all,” said Dumuzi.

“Indeed, they are.”

“And you never told me, your son?”

“You never asked your father,” said his father with a twinkle.

“What should I do?” asked Dumuzi. “He is too fast for even the mastiffs should I set upon him. I understand the way of the lion and the bull or even the bear. But a Wild Born is a mystery to me.”

His father smiled with a twinkle in his eye. “Well, my son, he is wild, is he not?”

“Yes,” said Dumuzi.

“Which makes him an animal. But he is also a man, is he not?” said his father.

“Yes,” answered Dumuzi.

“Well,” his father continued, “then we understand his nature perhaps more than he understands himself.”

Dumuzi’s eyes were starting to brighten as he followed his father’s chain of reasoning.

“If you want to trap a man,” said his father, “what is the weakness of all men?”

Dumuzi smiled broadly. He would get this Wild Born now.

Chapter 6

Gilgamesh awoke with a start. It was deep in the night and he had just had the second nightmare that had seemed so real to him he knew they were omens of some kind. He arose and travelled through the night air from the palace to the temple of Shamash where his mother resided as high priestess.

The guards instantly accompanied him at his presence and led him to her bedroom. He knocked lightly on the door.

“Enter, Gilgamesh,” her voice came from inside. She knew him intimately, even the sound of his knock on a door.

He entered.

“What keeps you up at this hour, my son?” she asked.

“I have had two dreams,” he said. “Both similar, but different.”

“Well, speak up,” she said. “Interpreting dreams is one of my talents.”

He sat down on the bed. “In the first, I was outside at night. And all the stars of heaven
were above my head in the firmament. Then one of them fell like a rock to the ground at my feet. I tried to move it, but it weighed too much for me to lift or roll.”

“Hmmmm,” she hummed with interest.

Gilgamesh stopped. “What?” he said. “Hmmm, what?”

She rolled her eyes. “I was only letting you know I was listening. Finish the dream, will you?”

He continued, “All of Uruk stood around this fallen star, milling about and kissing its feet. I kissed it and embraced it with a friendship closer than a wife. Then I lifted it and set it at your feet and you made it my equal.”

“Ahhh,” she said.

“Ah, what?” he asked impatiently again.

“You really need to work on your patience, Gilgy.” She only called him Gilgy when no one else
was around. It would not be appropriate before the court or the citizens to call the king by nicknames. But it was her motherly affection in private, or rather condescending reminder that no matter how great he was,
she
was still his mother and
she
bore him for six months and suffered the pains of birthing a giant. Only a goddess could have done so, and she would not let him forget it. Thank the gods the gestation of giants was less than a full human, and that their size had diminished enough for women to survive the birth.

“What was the other dream?” she asked.

“The same exact dream,” he answered, “except it was an axe on the ground instead of a fallen star. Well?”

She thought for a moment with her eyes closed.

His foot tapped impatiently on the floor.

“His strength is mighty,” she said.

“Who? Whose strength is mighty?” he asked.

“Stronger than
you have ever encountered,” she added.

Gilgamesh went cold. He had never encountered anyone stronger than he was. He was also getting perturbed at how she kept things from him as a way of having some power over him.

“A friend,” she finally spoke.

“A friend?”

She added a caveat, “Or a betrayer.”

“That is not very helpful,” he complained. “You might as well have said, ‘
It could be anyone. Anyone in the world.’”

“Dreams are mysterious things, my son. You cannot always figure them out.”

“And interpreting dreams is one of your talents,” he sarcastically repeated her words to her.

“Go to bed,” she said. “Maybe something else will come to either of us by morning.” She was exhausted and just wanted to get back to sleep.

Gilgamesh appeared dismayed. “Mother, for a goddess, you appear to be quite limited by the flesh.”

She was annoyed. “
I am still your mother. Now go to bed.”

Gilgamesh left her to her sleep. As he walked back to his palace, he wondered if the dream was referring to Dumuzi. He had become a friend of the king by saving him in the Games. But the shepherd’s motives were questionable. Had he brought the knife to kill him but changed his mind? And if he had, then what would keep him from changing it back? Experience told Gilgamesh that no amount of gratitude and material blessing or awarded station in the kingdom could keep a man from temptation. No man could be trusted. All men had their price. All men betrayed. He would make sure that this Dumuzi would not get the better of him.

Chapter 7

The Wild Born had discovered the hunter’s traps in the steppe and had foiled them to protect his brothers the animals. It bothered him that humans would invade his territory. Life was satisfying, running through the plains with the gazelle and playing with the lions in the grass. But hunters always spoiled his peace and killed his friends. Of course it was the way of all flesh. Animals killed and ate each other and the humans were another animal, so they were no different. But it still pained the Wild Born that humans were so much smarter than his brothers and sisters of the plains, who could never rise above their own instinct and fear and appetite. These were the times that the Wild Born felt different from his animal family. He felt alone. He felt like he was connected to the humans in some way. Like he was a hybrid of part animal part man. And that bothered him deeply.

But he was thirsty now, and had just finished eating a healthy serving of grass. He went down to the water hole to quench his thirst. He plunged his face into the cool liquid and lapped up the refreshing water in big gulps. When he raised his head to make sure he was not being followed by any predators, he noticed a figure at
the other end of the water. It was a human. It was a female. She was completely naked and was watching him with intense interest.

The breeze carried her scent across the water and
exploded in his nostrils. All his senses perked up. He could smell she was in heat. He found himself strangely drawn to her as he had seen the males of other animals drawn to their own. This had never happened to him before. He found himself no longer thirsty for water, but hungry with desire for the female.

He
crept cautiously around the edge of the water hole, his eyes transfixed in wonder. As he got closer he could see she had strange beautiful markings on her face. Her lips were bright red, her eyes were surrounded by black that made the white of her eyes penetrate to his very soul. She had shiny metal dangling from her ears and on her arms and around her neck that rested on her full breasts. He was spellbound.

Now, he was standing a mere few cubits from her, his six and a half foot height towering over her supine body. She lay on a cloth on the dirt, and engaged a pose of complete vulnerability and abandon to him. Her scent was now so strong he could not hold himself back. He got down on his knees and touched her soft smooth milky white skin. His rough hairy body was the complete opposite of hers, but strangely, they fit together.

She reached up and brushed his hair away from his face. Instinctually, he knew she was not a threat to him. Her soft wet lips touched his and he felt the reverberations of his first human kiss.

He responded as he only knew how to respond with affection. He licked her face. She giggled as the sandy tongue and full facial hair tickled her.

She kissed him on the lips again.

Now, he was completely hers.

She led him in the ways of a man and woman. He could not understand her verbal language, but he understood her touch and the language of love. She guided him to an ecstasy he had no knowledge of until this very moment.

His attention was so transfixed by her sensuality that his animal intuition was blinded. He was completely unaware that he was being observed. A short distance away in the grass, Dumuzi smiled with victory. His plan to seduce the
Wild Born had worked. Shamhat the harlot had applied her trained skills with stunning expertise, and the Wild Born was as much a captive as if a cage of iron surrounded him.

 

It was not Dumuzi’s plan to blindside the Wild Born with seduction and then catch him in a net like an animal. He had a far higher purpose. He wanted to tame the creature, to civilize him. It was the kind of challenge a man who had shepherded animals all his life would consider worthy. He left them to their passions.

For six days and seven nights the
Wild Born coupled with Shamhat the harlot. They did not leave the watering hole area but to find fruit to eat. He would fall asleep and waken with new strength and her body would fuel his passions again. And with each encounter she could feel his primal chaos lessen. He became self-aware as he became focused on her. And on the seventh evening, as they lay on the cloth looking into each other’s eyes, she said to him, “You have become like a god. You now have reason and understanding. Why do you wander with the beasts, my Wild Born?”

Though he did not understand her words, he somehow knew what she was saying. And then she noticed a soft sound
emanating from within his throat. She leaned in and laughed when she realized that he was purring. Her Wild Born was purring with contentment. She tried to talk to him again.

She pointed at herself and said “Shamhat.” It was the most basic form of communication possible between two rational animals. To point to one’s self and to speak a name was the essence of identity. It was the act of naming and it was
part of the image of God.

She said it again, and patted herself, “Shamhat.”

The Wild Born tried to mimic her. But his mouth was inexperienced. What came out sounded more like a grunt and a coughing up of spit.

She giggled and said it again, “Shamhat.”

He tried with all his heart, “Schha – marght.” He may have been uncivilized, but he was a human and he was created to speak a language.

She patted herself one more time, said, “Shamhat,” and then gestured to him with obvious curiosity, “Name?”

The Wild Born somehow knew what she was asking. He struggled to get it out, “Enn — kee — doo.”

She repeated after him, “
Enkidu
. Who gave you that name? The god Enki?”

Enkidu looked at her with tilted head like a dog trying to understand human gib
berish. She giggled and said, “Then you are
my
Enkidu.” She looked out at the watering hole and said, “You are Enki’s creation from the waters of the Abyss, civilized by Shamhat the harlot. Enkidu of the Steppe.”

He repeated with a snarling smile, “
Enkee-doo.”

She giggled again. “Typical man, you do very well talking about yourself.”

He did not know what she was saying, but he smiled and snuggled her and for the first time in her life she felt the satisfaction of being loved with the security of a man’s true concern for her. And he was not even really a man —
Yet
.

She began to weep. He looked at her with worry. But she smiled through her tears and told him, “
It is okay, my Enkidu. It is okay. I am not sad. I am happy.”

He kissed her. Oh, how he loved to kiss her.
And lick her.

All over.

 

The next day, Enkidu got up to drink some water and saw some of his friends near the other edge of the pond. Two ibexes lapp
ed up some water, glancing occasionally around the opposite shore. He smiled and went toward them. But when they saw him, they looked at him as if they did not recognize him and bolted off in fear. He yelled and ran after them. He noticed that he was not as fleet of foot. He could not keep up with them. His legs had weakened. The ibexes raced far out of his reach and he stopped panting and tried to understand what had happened to him. He was different. He had changed. He was no longer one of them.

He was now a man.

He went back to Shamhat who was awake and putting on a tunic for the first time in seven days.

She held his hand and gestured to follow her. “Come, Enkidu. You have much to learn.”

He trusted her. And followed.

 

When she arrived at the camp with Enkidu, it appeared vacant. All the weapons and traps were out of sight.

Enkidu was the one who was nervous, and skittish. When he saw the camp, he immediately knew it was the hunter whose traps he had sprung and holes he had filled. He stopped and held Shamhat back. She turned to him.

“It is all right, Enkidu,” she said. “These are my friends.”

He turned his head sideways like a quizzical dog
again. It did not make sense to him that this beauty of love and sensuality was with the enemy of the steppe.

Dumuzi stepped out of his tent and Enkidu’s instinct surged through his body. He
moved in front of Shamhat to protect her. Would he have to kill?

But she giggled and stroked his hair. She had learned to pet him to calm him down. “
It is okay, my Enkidu. I am safe. We are safe.” She slid back out in front of him.

She met Dumuzi half way and grasped his forearm in greeting. Then Shamhat gestured to Enkidu to come forward. He did
— slowly and cautiously, but he did. She brought his arm to Dumuzi’s forearm and locked them together.

She patted Dumuzi and said to Enkidu, “Dumuzi,” then patted Enkidu and said, “Enkidu.”

Enkidu felt the firm grasp of this Dumuzi and could tell he was no longer hostile toward him. Perhaps their packs or herds could learn to live together. If Shamhat was with him, then maybe they are not so bad after all.

Dumuzi smiled. Enkidu gave a smile in response. He had already been learning the human gestures of emotion over the last seven days.

“Enkidu,” said Dumuzi, “we have much to give you, and much to receive, I am sure. Let us eat.”

Dumuzi led them into the canteen tent for a meal.

It was all a bit of a comedy for Dumuzi and the servants to watch as Enkidu gobbled up his food like a wolf without utensils. Food got all over the place. Dumuzi had tried hard to hold back chuckling. Only Shamhat had perfect patience teaching Enkidu how not to gobble food so fast he would choke. That night alone, he drank seven goblets of beer which made him a bit tipsy.

“You will see, master Dumuzi,” said Shamhat, “give me the month and I will have him talking and looking like a civilized man.”

“My sympathies go out to you, dear woman,” smiled Dumuzi. “You have your hands quite full. I will not even ask what he is like in bed.”

“That is where he is the most learned already,” she quipped with her own smile. “He does learn fast. And he seeks to please me. Unlike any man
I have ever known.”

Dumuzi gave her a raised eyebrow
of curiosity.

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