A Dubious Dream

a Dubious Dream 8

A Dubious Dream

Chapter One

The date was 330 BC, and the known world was in turmoil. The Greek Empire was cutting through civilizationslike soft butter. The army was currently camped in the desert-like area that eventually became Northwestern India. The two men who stood at attention didn’t look like most Greeks. Their leader didn’t want them to appear as if they were from the invading army. Both had high cheekbones, smaller noses, and brown skin from the many months of marching. They had been chosen for the task ahead because both had mastered the bewildering language of the local tribes.

It was raining, but the soldiers stood steadfast as their leader appraised them. The rare deluge came as a surprise to everyone and was taken as a sign of future military success. There had been many military successes in the last few years. A white cape surrounded the officer’s slender but toned body. Water collected in his near-blond curly hair and ran down his face in small streams. The two foot soldiers wore loin clothes with no protection from the cold rain. The three men stood outside of camp on a small hill where they could see anyone approaching. This was a private meeting.

“You understand that this mission is to be conducted in complete secrecy, do you not?” The leader spoke in a strong but concerned voice that both thrilled the men and made them uneasy
at the same time.

The fact that the leader spoke directly to them meant there was danger and many unknowns. In unison they replied, “Yes, sir.”

“We have come a great distance and have had many adventures together,” the leader reasoned. “You, Markus, and you, Tibes, are the best of my loyal fighting men. The honor to be praised at the completion of this small task will be all for you.” The gesture of the leader’s arms spreading told the men that he would open the kingdom for his heroes. His benevolent smile sent a surge of pride through their chests. They knew this man was a leader who lived up to his claims. The two soldiers had fought many wars with him over many years.

“My lord, what can you tell us about the mission? We have been given peasant clothes and none of our weapons except a knife for food. Are we to assassinate the local leader?” Markus had been raised in Macedonia and was a friend of the leader. He was not afraid to speak his mind.

Suddenly serious, the leader said, “It is not so simple. You have been trained to kill, but to complete this quest, you must remain passive. The culture of the people that you will be meeting makes no room for war. They believe that all living things are sacred. They do, however, have a secret. I want that secret. You must find it and bring it to me.” The leader clinched his strong fist and raised it to demonstrate his desire.

“What is it that we seek? Is it a treasure?” Markus asked as he wondered what prize would motivate his leader like this.

“Your search is for a large statue. It is larger than a man. The statue is called ‘Buddha.’” The statement came out as a sheepish reply. Both men shuddered, as the leader seldom lacked confidence in their presence.

“Is he a god?” Markus was already having bad feelings about their goal. Greek soldiers did not offend gods.

“Are we to steal this statue? How big is it?” Tibes was already thinking about how they would carry the burden.

After looking around to make sure there was no one else around, the leader replied in a low whisper. “Only the third eye,” he said. “It is a large, black bauble and contains powers not of this world. I need to have those powers.”

Horror and despair filled the unlit faces of the soldiers. Greek men were steeped in religion. It was a eligion that was both myth and history. There were many powerful Greek gods, especially Zeus, the “King of Gods.” The gods guided all things, including war. They were untouchable, undeniable, and no one ever spoke against or defaced a Greek god. It was unthinkable. And yet now the leader wanted his men to destroy a god.

“You ask us to deface the god of these people? You ask us to steal from a god?” Markus was now filled with terror and foreboding. He was sure the gods would annihilate them for such a breach of sanity.

“Am I not your king?” thundered the youthful leader as he beat the armor on his chest with his closed fist. Both men cowered on shaky legs.

“You are our king, and you are Alexander the Great.” Both men bowed and spoke in unison.

“Am I not a god as well?” Alexander attempted to use logic on his men. “Did I not solve the mystery of the ‘Knot of Gordian’? Do I not speak for the gods?” Alexander knew that part of his legend came from solving the mystery of the oracle known as the Knot of Gordian, which was a rope tied in a knot to a cart. There was no ending to untie the knot. No one knew how long the oracle had existed, but myth said that Zeus had put it there. Legend said that anyone who untied the knot would rule Asia. Alexander had hacked it with a sword and found the ends to untie the knot.

“We are humble in your presence,” replied Tibes, who was completely shaken and confused, but he bent to the ground.

“The gods have spoken,” Alexander spoke with finality. “I have been entrusted with this mission. Now I pass it to you. What you must do will better mankind. How could you not serve your gods as requested?” Alexander understood logic and how to use it on his subjects. The inventor of logic, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, had tutored him. Aristotle had spent many years educating Alexander on how to use logic to bend people to his needs. He had learned well. He knew that his men would do as requested.

“You need only to tell us what is required. We will do your bidding.” Tibes spoke with faith in his voice.

“Good,” answered Alexander smoothly. “The statue is two days’ walk to the northeast. The trail is well worn. The town is called Tomg, and the statue is near the center. No one will stop you. They want to be rid of it.”

“Why is it important?” Fear no longer inspired the question from Markus.

Alexander appeared to be in a trance as he recalled the visit. “A few days ago, a man entered my tent despite the guards that surrounded it. He wore a blue robe and had a cleanly shaved head. He said his name was unimportant, but that he came on a mission of great concern for all mankind. The story he told me has not left me since.”

“Was he a god?” asked Tibes.

“He called himself a monk, a disciple of Buddha. The god, Buddha, lived near here about a hundred years ago. The only statue of the god is in Tomg. It was put there to protect the bauble. The monk told me that it came from the sky many years ago. The locals found it and were enchanted by its beauty. It is the hardest rock that anyone has ever seen. And it has many unworldly powers.”

“It’s from Zeus,” exclaimed Tibes. “Only Zeus could have made it and sent it to show his power. Maybe it’s one of his thunderbolts?”

“That is why we need to secure it. The monk said it had special powers and made men of peace fight with great strength. There is much war in the area, so the villagers built a statue and placed the bauble in the middle of the statue’s forehead. It has been hidden in plain sight for many years from those that would use it for evil.”

“But why tell us, the invading Greeks?”

Alexander quickly replied, “Others, our enemies, are aware of the bauble—the Mongols and the Persians, to be specific. In their hands, it would be a destructive, unstoppable force. The monk is aware of our enlightened beliefs and believes that only a god like me can control and hide its power. This is why we must have it.”

“Then we take our leave immediately,” the now motivated Markus replied. They thumped their chests in Greek salute and were gone before Alexander could tell them the rest of the story.