They both rose from their chairs and the scribe had to hurry to keep up with the king’s long strides. They went in silence, pondering on Brede’s tantalizing news.

It was nearing midnight and the full moon was posing proudly on the highest point of its journey through the night; illuminating the land with a milky, translucent veil.

The judging hour occurred four times; during each moon cycle, on each of the quarters. It usually began one hour before midnight; as most squabbles and scores are generally settled after a few jugs of ale.

There was sense in the land.


Heduana looked up at the night sky causing her to break the silence by thinking out loud. “I do hope there are many here already.”

The king grinned and with a lascivious wink, he replied; “Hopefully hundreds and hundreds more on the way!” The king was always eager for The Challenge, the bigger the better. Even more so when it involved the risk of his own splendid death.

His life and all the people of Sumeria not only depended on The Challenge – he secretly desired it more than anything in the whole world.

The king of Sumeria wanted to die.


They glanced briefly at one another, a flash of understanding between them.

The hunt was on.

Everyone in Sumeria knew there were only ever two reasons why unannounced visitors headed towards their beloved land: Conquest or The Challenge. This is why there was so much electricity in the air. They looked at the moon in all his glory and both started to hum, the sound they made was deep and melodic. The wordless song was to honour Lady Ninlil and her son Nergal.

Heduana felt grateful, like everybody did when they considered their life.

There was happiness in the land.

©CMA 2018

To The King, The Queen and The People


From Tall-ish Tales (Short-ish Stories)