I’d never written anything even remotely biblical before, so when I started on Bride of the Beast, I was surprised at the turns it took.
My question was: What exactly happened to those who back-slid or didn’t show enough faith while Moses was in the mountains receiving the Commandments from God?
Some of his people built a golden calf (the goddess Hathor) and worshiped it in an attempt to ensure their safety in case Moses doesn’t return. Malachi ben-Gurion’s people built a golden cat (Bubastis) and ask the goddess to protect them, but only until Moses comes back, then they plan to worship Yahweh again.
It doesn’t turn out that way, however.
Unlike the others, Malachi finds himself and his eldest son punished in a particularly horrible way, and also every leader of his portion of the tribe thereafter, for at every full moon he transforms into a beast, and anyone seeing his face during that time changes, also.
It’s into this kingdom, with a king cursed forever to wear a mask hiding his face from his people, that a young woman descended from the Egyptians comes as a bride. Only one who has selfless love will free the king from becoming a beast, and Michael believes his bride’s love for him can break the curse. Senset herself has doubts. Is she as unselfish as her husband thinks?
Unfortunately, Senset isn’t her husband’s savior and the outcome is what no one expects.
I’ve always liked studying ancient history, so gathering facts was a treat. There was so much to delve into concerning the ancient Egyptians (from whom the AEgysians are descended) and the ancient Hebrews (from whom Michael and his people trace their ancestry).
The AEgysians are descended from a group of Egyptians exiled from their country and settling in the middle of the continent. They called their new home “Aegys” because the god Ra-Horakhty took them under his aegis, his shield, and protected them.
The Habiru are the Hebrews in the story, also descended from an exiled tribe, this one part of the group who built golden idols to worship while Moses was in the mountains receiving the Commandments from God. In the story, Michael tells Senset how his people once ruled her people before being overcome by stronger forces who made them slaves. They were called the Hyksos, the “Shepherd Kings,” thundering into Egypt in their war chariots, from Asia. The Habiru ride horses and that’s one reason the Aegysians consider them “beasts”…because they rode horses instead of using chariots.
Since this story wasn’t to be about ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, per se, but of an off-shoot, I did take some artistic license when using the information I found. Reasoning that a people separated from their main group for generations might justifiably change their ceremonies over the years, I make some of the rituals slightly different from the originals. The AEgysians rulers don’t marry their sisters but take their wives from the countries they conquer, thus making them allies. A ruler has wives and concubines, but has the choice of which woman he marries will become his Prime Wife and thus higher than all the rest.
For my delving into Jewish customs, I was fortunate to find a site called “Judaism 101” which became my primary source. From it, as well as other searches, I learned of marriage rituals, childbirth customs, and coming of age ceremonies, as well as funeral rites.
Writing Bride of the Beast was an enlightening experience. It’s a bit of an unusual take on the Beauty and the Beast story, as well as the werewolf one, and I hope it will be both that and an entertainment for its readers also.