Damned by the Ancients
Nemesis of the Gods #3
by Catherine Cavendish
Pub Date: 10/23/18
Infinity In Death
Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .
The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.
Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39343057-damned-by-the-ancients
Waking the Ancients
Nemesis of the Gods #2
University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .
Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.
And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37652642-waking-the-ancients
Wrath of the Ancients
Nemesis of the Gods #1
DESTINY IN DEATH
Eminent archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber ofCleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .
Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.
Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35518711-wrath-of-the-ancients
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Damned by the Ancients
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Waking the Ancients
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Wrath of the Ancients
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Is this what dying feels like?
Phil Bancroft ran his tongue over his dry lips. Where did that thought come from? He watched Dee, the woman he loved, touch the tip of the gleaming gold dagger. This was not the homecoming he had expected. He had only just returned from New York and they should be in each other’s arms. Dee had told him Paula took the pills and now she was dead. Poor Paula. Phil wished he could feel remorse for his dead wife. Guilt. Anything. After all, she was an innocent obstacle who had been murdered at his lover’s hands. Her only crime was to have been sole inheritor of her father’s fortune. If that man had not cut his younger daughter—Dee—out of his will, Paula would still be alive today. They could have divorced and gone their separate ways. It was his fault she had to be killed.
Everything they had wanted was now theirs, but Dee seemed different somehow. Distant. A smile played on her lips, but not her usual lighthearted smile. No, this one was almost…cruel.
“What are you doing with that, Dee?” he asked, nodding at the dagger.
She shook her head. “Not Dee. She is gone.”
Phil held out his hand to take the weapon from her and wondered why his fingers trembled. “Don’t mess around. Give me the dagger before one of us gets hurt.”
Her smile twisted into a snarl. Surely her eyes weren’t that color? Dark blue. No, violet. Dee has brown eyes.
The library door burst open and a familiar figure strode in. Stefan Bloch—the estate agent in whose hands the owners of the magnificent Villa Dürnstein had placed responsibility for administering the lease. But he had no business here today.
“What are you doing here?” The words died on Phil’s lips. The estate agent ignored him, made straight for Dee, and took her in his arms. “What the hell?” Phil lurched forward and grabbed Stefan’s arms. He tried to drag him off the woman who was responding all too passionately.
Stefan let Dee go and wheeled round, landing a stinging blow to the side of Phil’s head. He staggered and fell hard against the library desk.
The man and the woman towered over him as he lay sprawled on the floor, his hand checking his jaw for damage.
Phil stared at them. He no longer knew these people. Oh, they looked the same, but their eyes told a different tale. Dee and Stefan were no longer there. So who were they?
As if she had read his thoughts, the woman spoke. “You are right to cower before us. The woman you knew as Dee is no longer here. Her spirit has passed over. I, Arsinoe, Queen of Egypt and the Nile, inhabit her body.” She indicated Stefan. “The man who inhabited this body is also gone. My lover, Nebunaten, has been reborn in him, but this body is dying. He needs a healthy host.”
He heard the words, but they couldn’t be true. Someone was playing a cruel joke. Maybe Paula wasn’t dead after all. Yes, that was it, she must be behind all this. He scrambled to his feet. “Stop this right now. I don’t know what the hell’s going on here, but if you seriously expect me to believe anything you’ve just told me, you are mistaken. Dee—”
He watched incredulously as the woman he loved threw back her head and laughed. A horrible, hollow sound. “Still you will not believe. You think your lover killed your wife with pills. She did not. She killed her with this.” She waved the dagger. “And that was the last memory your Dee took with her into the afterlife. With the god Set and goddess Sekhmet to aid me, I took her body, just as Nebunaten took the man’s. Now it is your turn to surrender your earthly form.”
The blade flashed once. Twice. Blood spurted from two deep wounds in his chest. His limbs grew heavier, as if someone had attached lead weights to them. Everything slowed as he sank to his knees, blood pouring through his hands as he desperately fought, in vain, to stanch the flow. A low growl echoed through his brain. The figure of a cat stood on its hind legs, changing to a half-human form before his rapidly dimming eyes. The woman spoke in a foreign tongue and the man took hold of Phil’s shoulders. Something tugged at his spirit, dragging it out of his body as a dark cloud descended on his mind.
This is what dying feels like.
And then he knew no more.
The man looked down at his scattered ashes. “I am growing tired of waiting. When will I be free of this prison?”
“Soon.” The woman moved away in that fluid, ethereal manner of hers. Her scarlet gown flowed around her. An armlet shaped in the goddess Isis’s symbol—a coiled cobra—gleamed. Heavy black kohl rimmed her eyes, emphasizing the deep violet of her irises, while her long, black hair, set in many tight braids, reached her waist. “You must be patient,” the woman said. “I told you I would help you get what you desire.”
“But that isn’t possible. She is back in her body. Back in her tomb.”
“All is possible. I have the power. Haven’t I proved it? Aren’t you the proof of it?”
“I still don’t live.”
“Your spirit lives.”
“My spirit cannot touch her.”
“But it can touch her spirit. Mate with her spirit if you so desire.”
“And why would you do this for me?”
“My revenge is incomplete. My murdering sister rests while I am forced to wander in spirit with no substance of my own.”
“And how will it be done? I am in your hands. This is not comfortable for me. I am always in control.”
The woman threw back her head and laughed, showing black, rotten teeth. Stinking, no doubt, if he could smell anything.
“You have not been in control for a long time. The god I serve is Set, and he is in control. He will come and he will work through me. More powerful this time, for Sekhmet will bring him.”
“And I will have my queen?”
“You will have her.”
“She will be in the one who is here now?”
“That is to be determined.”
“But this one is not of the blood.”
“She will not be possessed, but transformed. We do not need a blood relative.”
“That has been tried before. And failed.”
“The rules were not properly followed. You cannot possess all of her. You have seen that. The gods will not allow it. Her spirit must be divided. Some of it must remain with her body—and lie cold in her tomb. Waiting. Always waiting. In that way, the gods are appeased and my price is also exacted.”
“So part of my queen will still wander, looking for her lover, but enough of her spirit will be released to come to me.”
“Now you understand. You will have all that you desire, and my revenge will not be compromised.”
“And I can be with her. For all time.”
The woman didn’t answer. She gave the merest hint of a smile and passed on.
In his world of shadows, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus waited.
(See Cat Cults pix 1)
Those of you who are cat fanatics (like me) will already know that, in ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped. Not that they have ever allowed us to forget it. So, today, I thought I'd explore this whole cult of the cat in a little more depth.
It all seems to have started during the Egyptian New Kingdom (1540-1070 BC) when their status was elevated from that of useful, and rather charming, hunter's assistant, to a religious cult. This was, however, only the start.
(See Cat Cults pix 2)
The great cat goddess Bast (aka Bastis, Bastet or Pasht) had, by the time of Shoshenq I (945-924 BC approx.) officially achieved mainstream religious status and it was this Pharaoh who established the town of Bubastis (near Cairo) as a centre of worship for followers of this rather charming deity.
An enormous red granite temple complex attracted pilgrims in their thousands who feasted, wined and danced in her honour. What a cat!
(See Cat Cults pix 3)
The domestic cat in Egypt didn't fare too badly either. They were treated with as much reverence and consideration as any member of the family. If they could afford it, people would adorn their cats with golden and jewelled collars, and when one died, they were mummified and buried with due ceremony and a supply of dead mice to feed them on their journey into the afterlife. Their owners would shave their own eyebrows as a mark of respect and enter a period of mourning. A massive cat graveyard existed at Bubastis (some 720 cu. feet) but excavations are still revealing evidence of more in other parts of Egypt.
Cat worship continued long after the Pharaohs and from as late as 200BC, there is still evidence that Bast was being worshipped.
So why did Egyptians elevate the cat to such ranks of devotion? The foundations of their road to divinity were laid many centuries before they took their lofty, elevated place.
They were seen as good mothers and their prowess as hunters, ability to keep mice away from crops and even their willingness to attack snakes secured them their positions as helpmates. Without their intervention and good housekeeping, rodents could easily have destroyed the crops and left the people to starve, so they were seen as protectors of the household. From there, it was just one step up to full religious status, initially as companion to Isis, wife of the great god Osiris (lord of the underworld). Bast, as daughter of the sun god Ra, protected homes, pregnant women and families but the fun loving, hedonistic side of the cat's nature also secured her a place as goddess of pleasure, music, dance and plenty.
(See Cat Cults pix 4)
In the many centuries since those heady days, cats have enjoyed mixed fortunes, until we reach the pet and companion status of today.
But next time you bend down to stroke your purring tabby, just remember the old saying:
Cats look down on you,
Dogs look up to you,
Pigs is equal
And to this day, female cats are still known as Queens. They see no reason why you shouldn’t continue to worship them.
In my latest novel – Damned by the Ancients – a cat features prominently, as do a cat goddess or two.
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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which was featured in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. Cat’s novels include The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine, and Dark Avenging Angel. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black (trainee) cat. They divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
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