After the nights excitement there was little night left for sleep. In the morning they see that the Italians had hung the bodies upside down from a stunted tree.
Marching over, Phipps, Fox and Kent approach the archaeologist’s tent. The thin-moustached man comes out, surprised to see them. They ask for the promised tour and exchange names. His name is Luc Fauche. Luc somewhat reluctantly agrees to show them round, after a second to tidy up their tent.
Inside the tidied tent, he shows them the hole in the floor, surrounded by stone blocks. He descends a modern wooden ladder, holding a torch and they follow.
Below the ground is a stone passage, leading to a large tomb block. The tomb is very clean, clear of debris and artfacts. Luc overcomes his reluctance and talks knowledgeably about the stele and the tomb. They discuss the stylise windows and doors, and Fox asks Fauche what he is doing here several times but doesn’t get a clear answer.
Fox spots a strange symbol engraved on the wall, and points it out to Kent. It looks Aztec to him, but engraved a long time before, and a long way away from any Aztecs should exist.
Fauche talks about the Empire of Aksum and the founding myths. After a few minutes there’s nothing left to see, and they hear a call from above. In the tent is an Indian man, wearing a suit and turban. Exiting Fox notices a sketch drawing of a snub-nosed dogs head.
Frustrated, they head to the cathedral in the centre of town. It’s a large ancient mud brick place, plenty of Ethiopians moving in and around. inside is cool and quiet, a serious looking man stands at the altar side, others kneel in prayer.
They approach and ask him and he directs them to side chamber, where Querellos IV, the abune, discusses the history of the church. On a long bench are papers, the Book of Aksum. Kent impresses with his University credentials and spends an hour or examinging them, watched by the Abune.
There’s gaps in the record, and Kent enters into a long, detailed theological discussion with Querellos, which impresses him to open a box and produce further papers. The Secret Book of Aksum. These discuss the cult of Wazeba – worship of a loathsome toad like being with links to Pannonia. There is a story about the Guardians of Ethopia being unable to defeat it, but Christianity doing so in Ethiopia and Kush, and converting their idol into an engraved stone. The Ezana tablet.
Reading them, a newer piece of paper falls out, a telegram from Lowman to Fauche. It says Trammel knows no more about Ayers’ destination and to head on to the next location,
That afternoon, they look at the Ezana tablet – there is a long prosaic description engraved, mainly counting the cows and goats, and as they dig they uncover the undamaged remnants of the original idol. A wide mouthed toad being is eating whatever was originally carved on the now-engraved part. The horrible art rocks Phipps, and all are shaken by the implication.
“Gol-Goroth’s cult is ancient, and worldwide, and the Liar is different.” Phipps says.
They spend the night, then head off early the next morning for Massuau, intending to follow Ayers’ trail to Mersa Fatma.
During the first day on camel back, over the desert, everyone feels like they’re being followed. Fox and Phipps drop off and set an ambush in a gully.
After a while they see a hyena on a ridge, followed by two more. Fox shoots and injures one, and they disappear. However that evening they reappear and laughing and moving in the dark keep everyone on their toes.
Nothing is seen of them the next day, but Nyanzi says, it is a full moon tonight.
As the large moon rises, the barking laugh comes back. In a deceptive onslaught they attack hurting Phipps and savaging a camel. Gunfire kills several and drives the rest off. The team make an uneasy journey to Massuau and book into the Internationale Hotel for rest and recovery.