EXCERPT FROM NOVEL LOST MEMORIES OF EDEN

Noah and Naamah

Zillah hung her head, as the tears trickled down her cheek. She had heard the story of Noah’s birth many times. She even knew the gossip about it. In fact, she was tired of hearing about it. She didn’t think it was that important, to tell the truth.

Bathenosh held her daughter close. Her mind traveled back to the events surrounding the birth of her oldest son.

Bathenosh was a daughter of Methuselah’s sister, Barahel. Bathenosh was born out of wedlock, and her mother never married. She had moved in with her Uncle Enosh. And her pretty little daughter had been a childhood favorite of a great uncle, the patriarch named Enosh. Because of her great uncle’s tutelage and closeness to her, she was given the loving nickname of “Bathenosh” (“daughter of Enosh”), when she was just a little girl. It was not Bathenosh’s real name, but it stuck. Her given name was Bilanos.

The old patriarch watched her much of the time when she was a child. He was the only real father she ever knew. Her mother was gone a lot. Enosh taught her many secrets about herbs and healing. Some suspected her of being a sorceress, but indeed she was not. However, the events surrounding the birth of her son Noah forever changed Bathenosh’s life. Even her great uncle, the patriarch Enosh, could not protect her from the shadow that fell across her life when Noah was born.

What happened was that, coincidentally, around the time that Noah was conceived, Bathenosh, Lamech’s young, new teenager bride, was visited by a stranger on a horse, while Lamech was out in the field with some of the neighboring farmers. She was only about sixteen years old, and in the bloom of youth and beauty.

As Bathenosh stood in the kitchen, holding the sobbing Zillah close, her mind went back to that day. Even now, she could still clearly picture the tall, handsome stranger that rode up to the house that day, while the men were gone. She would never forget him. Indeed, she would soon have good reason not to do so.

Bathenosh was one of the prettiest girls in the entire area. This was acknowledged by almost everyone. Many of the other women were jealous of her beauty. Other men besides Lamech-seth had courted her, but her mother, Barahel, and her uncle Methuselah, another important patriarch in her life, had favored her cousin Lamech, the Sethite. Lamech was Methuselah’s handsome son. And so she had been given to Lamech, who seemed to dearly love her. He had been one of her most ardent suitors.

Bathenosh would never forget that fateful day, when she first met the tall stranger. Lamech and the other farmers had been out in the fields, trying desperately to get in the barley harvest before the crop was damaged. It was a struggle against time. The young Bathenosh had been left alone at the house, with only an old servant, who was crippled up. He lived in the barn, which was used to house several milk cows, and a few horses. The old servant slept most of the time, but Lamech found him useful.

Bathenosh was left alone in the house to care for the geese and the goats that wandered loose near the house. She was young and fairly new at her duties, but did her best to keep the house clean, and to take care of the small animals, as best she could. The old servant was supposed to milk the cows, and to feed them and the horses. He could not keep up with the goats or the geese. The men would stay in the fields, working even into the moonlight if necessary, to get the barley harvest in. It was critical. They usually did not have enough moonlight, and so they would plow up a circle of land, and build a large bonfire…if there was no wind.

The tall stranger rode up to the house around dusk. He was at least seven feet tall, with a powerful, muscular build. He was dark-haired, with piercing gray eyes. His complexion was medium. His countenance frightened Bathenosh at first…but he soon put her at ease.

“Young maiden” the tall rider said, as he dismounted. “Have you any refreshments for a stranger? Do you have any provender for my steed?” Although, he wore no body armor, it was clear that he was a warrior. He carried a bow and a sword. A quiver of arrows was strapped to his back. Bathenosh wanted to run at first. She felt fear shoot through her like an arrow. But the kindness of the tall warrior disarmed her. He intrigued her.

“Please, young maiden with the beautiful countenance” Samhazi spoke courteously. Do you not have a little hospitality for a tired warrior? I have fought with the enemies of your people. I am weary and thirsty.” He smiled, as he dismounted. He stood head and shoulders over Bathenosh. She was intimidated.

“My lord, my husband and the men…ah, there is no one here but myself and an old servant…” Bathenosh bowed her head, being somewhat bashful in the man’s commanding presence.

“Surely, young maiden…one who is so beautiful and charming must likewise be hospitable and gracious to a tired warrior.” The warrior smiled. Bathenosh noticed that his teeth were white like pearls. His gray eyes sparkled, as he smiled, and looked expectantly at her. His melodic, almost rhythmic, speech soothed her.

Bathenosh took courage. “My lord, I will draw you some cool water, and I will bring you some bread and cheese out here.” She bowed her head, and started to back away from the tall man, who looked at her with humor in his eyes.

“You are not only fair to look upon, but you are very courteous. You have been taught well. I am sure your husband would be pleased with your hospitable manner.”

Pleased at his compliment, Bathenosh smiled, and turned to go. The stranger reached out and gently took her arm. She sucked in her breath in surprise, and fear gripped her again.
“Do not be afraid, pretty maiden. I will not harm you. I am a warrior.” He released her arm. “I just wanted to ask you if you perhaps had some wine, which might warm my soul?” Bathenosh quickly looked into his gray eyes. She boldly held his gaze for a moment. Their eyes held one another.

“Yes, my lord” she finally replied. “I will bring you some wine.” She quickly went into the house. A fear came over her that perhaps he might try to follow her. What would she do? She hurried to find some bread and cheese. Then she found the jar of wine, which belonged to her husband, Lamech. She gathered up the food, and almost ran back outside with the meal.

The stranger had sat down upon a plank bench, which Lamech had placed outside the house under the shade of a large pine tree. A soft breeze stirred the branches of the tree. He wore a thin wool tunic, with a beautiful leather belt. The tunic came down below his knees. His dark hair was rather long, and combed back behind his ears. It did not cover much of his neck, however, since it was trimmed. A sword hung from his leather belt. He removed the quiver and bow, as well as the sword, laying them on the bench beside him.

He stretched his long legs out in front of him. Bathenosh remembered remarking on how long his legs were. His horse was tethered to a nearby tree. He turned and smiled, when he saw Bathenosh approaching politely with his food and drink.

“Ah, the beautiful maiden returns with gracious hospitality! How long have you been married, fair maiden? Are you happy?” The stranger smiled, again revealing his perfect teeth.

Bathenosh did not answer. “Here is your food and drink, my lord. I hope you find it to your satisfaction.” She politely lowered her eyes, while holding out the tray, carrying the bread, the cheese, and the goblet of wine.

“Ah, it looks delicious. A meal fit for a prince…for men or…even for angels.” The stranger looked up at the young girl, and smiled, as he accepted the tray of food.

Bathenosh was not sure why, but his mention of the word “angel” frightened her. She looked up, startled. Bathenosh looked at the young man intently. He smiled, holding her eyes. Bathenosh could not help herself. A smile played upon her lips as she looked into his eyes.

“Please do not leave me, young maiden. I am very lonely. Sit here near me, while I eat and drink. I will not harm you.” The warrior looked at her earnestly, almost pleading.

Bathenosh hesitated. She did not know what to do. She was afraid to stay, and afraid to leave.
“Please” the young warrior said. He reached over and laid his hand gently on her arm. His tremendous height, even while sitting, and something about his commanding presence, paralyzed her. She felt weak in her knees. She wished that Lamech were there. Finally, she meekly sat down on the long bench beside him. “As my lord wishes” she said, quietly. Then she added, “I am a married woman.” She looked up at him with her large, brown eyes. “It is not proper for me to sit here with a stranger.”

The warrior regarded her quietly for a moment. Then he spoke. “Do not be afraid. I will not hurt you. Your husband’s name is Lamech. I know all about him.”

Bathenosh looked up with surprise. “My lord, how do you know my husband, Lamech? Have you ever met him?”

“I have seen him before…but no, we have never formally met.” The tall warrior began to hungrily devour the bread and the cheese. He lifted up the large goblet of wine, and drained half of it down.

“Where did you see my husband, my lord? He rarely leaves this plateau north of the Lake Van region.” Bathenosh asked. She looked somewhat doubtful. But she was intrigued.

The warrior smiled. “You are such a pretty little thing! Why are you looking so doubtful? I will explain to you.” The teenage girl looked down demurely.

Bathenosh was uncomfortable. “I should not be sitting here talking with you, my lord. It is unseemly.” She started to get up. The warrior immediately reached out, and touched his hand upon her forearm. “Please, stay just a little longer. I haven’t even told you my name. You wanted to know where I saw your husband, didn’t you? You haven’t been married to him very long.”

Bathenosh blushed. “How did you know that, my lord? I did not tell you that.” She sat back down, and looked at the tall man. She noticed the muscles on his arms. They rippled with power. He wore no beard, but was clean shaven. He wore no jewelry. He exuded strength and power. She felt it, mixed in with a certain fear of the unknown. Yet she knew that she was interested in what he had to say. She looked at him, hesitating.

“That is better, pretty maiden. Now you tell me your name, and I will tell you mine.”

“You probably already know my name, my lord. You said you knew my husband’s name.” The man had put Bathenosh somewhat at ease. She smiled.

“Indeed, how could I not know your name? The name of one who is so lovely, and whose beauty is well known in this region. Your name is…” The man smiled, hesitating, so as to tease. “Your name is…Bathenosh, but your real, given name was Bilanos.” He smiled.

Bathenosh gasped. Her brown eyes widened, and she put her hand to her mouth in surprise. “How did you know that? Not very many people know my real name.”

“Well, I have admired your beauty for a long time…from a distance. I know a lot of things about you.” The young warrior took the last bite of cheese. He looked at her and grinned. He lifted up the goblet, “Here’s to the prettiest maiden in this region…nay, in the whole earth!” He laughed, and lifted his goblet to drain the last of the wine. Bathenosh blushed. “I must be going, my lord. It is not good for me to stay here. My…”

The young man took her arm for a moment. “Please, once more I beg you. I am not finished speaking with you. I am your guest. Please do not leave just yet. I will not harm you. I have told you that.” He looked into her eyes. She returned his gaze. His gray eyes were like cloudy pools of mist. She felt lost in them. She suddenly felt like she was being entranced. She could not take her eyes away from his. Slowly, he moved closer to her. She could not move.

“My lord…” Bathenosh drew in her breath sharply. He drew near, and bent down to kiss her lips. His kiss was like a searing flame. It was like a fire shooting through her being. She wanted to cry out, but she could not. At the same time, she felt almost like swooning.

Only a few moments went by, but to Bathenosh they seemed like an eternity. She breathed out with a sigh. She felt like going limp in his arms, but something inside of her seemed to strengthen her. She let out a muffled cry, “Dear God, Lord Jehovah, please help me!” Her words hit the stranger like a lightning bolt. He suddenly sat up straight in alarm.

“What did you say?” His brow furrowed in alarm. He frowned. He stood up quickly. He quickly composed himself. He smiled pleasantly, “Well, I thank you, Bathenosh, for your hospitality. I must be going.”

He seemed suddenly nervous. His nerves seemed jarred. He looked slightly agitated.
Bathenosh was also startled. “You should not have done that, my lord. I am a married woman.” She also stood up. She was breathing heavily from the power of his embrace, and from his kiss.

“Ah, yes. So you are. I apologize, dear maiden. I was carried away by your beauty. I could not help myself. Indeed, what man could…in your presence? But I am indebted to you. I beg your forgiveness.” He reached for his weapons, and put them on. He looked over at his horse. Then he looked back at Bathenosh.

Bathenosh stood there, almost in a daze. She had put the back of her hand on her lips, which were still burning. She had never been kissed like that. Several young men had stolen kisses from her…but never one like that. Who was this stranger? Her mind raced. He was so tall that he towered over her.

Bathenosh summoned up her strength. “You must leave me, sir. You have violated my husband’s hospitality.”

The stranger looked at her for a moment. He nodded. “I was overcome by your beauty, Bathenosh. I have asked your forgiveness. Again, please forgive me. I would never harm you. I am your servant. If you ever need me, just call out for me, and I will come to you. Wherever I am, I will hear your call…I will come to help you.”

“W-Who are you?” Fear again flooded Bathenosh’s mind, but it was mixed with intrigue, and a flush of emotion. “You never told me your name.”

The tall stranger had walked over to his stallion, which had been quietly grazing, while tethered to the tree. Bathenosh almost unconsciously followed the man over to his horse. She stood before him, as he prepared to mount. He turned to her.

“My name is Samhazi” he said, looking down pleasantly at her. He smiled. His smile was dazzling.