I’m in the process of editing DAUGHTERS OF THE NILE. I’m having to cut my darlings. This one was very interesting to me because my books tackle religious history the stone mentioned here is the same one mentioned in the Koran. I had to take it out of the book but I hope you’ll enjoy it.

When Juba and I settle into our home on the Tiber, we find gifts waiting from one of my daughter’s new suitors, the new King of Emesa. He is the son of my old friend Iamblichus, and he sends Dora a silk gown embroidered with gold and silver threads and a tapestry depicting the Emesan cult’s sacred stone being carried in a golden chariot by four horses.

Of course, Dora is more interested in the stone than the dress. Running her short, bitten, fingernails over the tapestry, she asks, “It is a black stone they worship in Emesa? Not a god or a goddess?”

“The stone is a meteorite,” I explain. “They say it was cast down from the heavens by their god, whom they call Elagabal. He is god of the mountain and god of the black stone. He is the invisible sun god.” I say this with respect, for the Emesani people are a people of great faith… and I too have a place in my heart dedicated to an invisible sun god. “If you marry the King of Emesa, he will be the chief-priest of the cult…and you will be his queen.”

I am careful to say no more than that, for I want her to choose freely of the men the emperor has approved for her hand in marriage. This must be my daughter’s choice, as much as it can be.