Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Lexi Ander for stopping by today.
Title: Dragon’s Eye (Sumeria’s Sons #5)
Author: Lexi Ander
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: London Burden
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Urban Fantasy
In the wake of birth and betrayal, Ushna takes the God Ashur to Tristan in a last desperate bid to save Tristan’s life—and is helpless to do anything but watch as Ashur instead buries him in a grave. Though he has no desire to go on living, having now lost Brian and Tristan, Ushna has no choice. Not only do their children need him, the mysterious Simurgh has come out of hiding and forces him to continue on—for there is much to do and little time to do it, especially with treachery and danger closing in on them from every side.
Ereshkigal and the Underworld of Irkalla
Aside from Tiamat, Ereshkigal is one of my favorite goddesses. Her name means “Queen of the Great Earth”. She was the Queen of Irkalla, the land of the dead. She was the only one who could pass judgement and make laws in her kingdom. Her consort was the Bull of Heaven, Gugalanna, whom Inanna begged to be her champion, to his detriment. Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed him. At one time, the plague god, Nergal, attempted to invade and take over Irkalla. The seven gates and their guardians were established to keep Irkalla from being invaded again.
Because she was ruler of the dead, people have the impression that it was a place of evil and torment, but really, it wasn’t. The belief was that all humans who died travelled to Irkalla where they lived much like they did when they were a live, albeit more dreary because they did continue to decompose. But Irkalla didn’t have a punishment/reward system like other religions. Ereshkigal was the guardian of the dead, not a sinister ruler. Once someone passed through all seven gates, leaving articles of clothing or adornments at each gate as a toll, with the exception of appointed messengers, there was no returning from the underworld.
If I have a favorite story about the Sumerian land of the dead, it is the myth of Inanna’s descent. What I like about the story the most is that Inanna gets her comeuppance for once. One commenter likened the story to gods behaving badly with the consequences being carried by other gods and mortal, equating the moral of the story as: sometimes life isn’t fair. I don’t agree.
So the story goes something like this: After the death of Gugalanna, Ereshkigal mourned for her consort. Inanna prepared to descend to Irkalla to console Ereshkigal and to attend Gugalanna’s funeral.
She dressed elaborately, with a turban, a wig, a lapis lazuli necklace, beads, her ladyship garment, mascara, pectoral, a golden ring, and her lapis lazuli measuring rod. Everything that she wore represented the powerful Mes she possessed. It was as if she was going out of her way to remind Ereshkigal who or how important she was. It’s haughty behavior but so like Inanna.
Before leaving she instructed her handmaid to go to Anu, Enlil, or Enki for help if she didn’t return in three days. The gatekeeper told Inanna she could go through the first gate but she must hand over her rod. Each gate she passed through she was bade to relinquish another item until she emerged into the underworld stripped of all her items of power.
Once there, Inanna sat on Ereshkigal’s throne where she was judged guilty, turned into a corpse, and hung from a hook behind the throne like a trophy. In the later text, it was said the Anna, the seven judges, were the ones to render the decision but that was about the time when civilizations were dissecting the pantheon onto angels and demons. There are other texts that recounted Ereshkigal’s hatred of Inanna as a form of jealously because Inanna was the opposite of Ereshkigal. Me? I didn’t know why the scholars looked over the fact that Ereshkigal blamed Inanna for Gugalanna’s death.
So Inanna was this shriveled corpse hanging on Ereshkigal’s wall. When she didn’t return, her handmaid made her rounds to the deities as Inanna had instructed. There was no empathy from Anu or Enlil. She made her bed, she could lie in it. Enki was the only one concerned and sent his gala-tura (asexual beings created from the dirt beneath the God’s fingernails) to retrieve Inanna. The Gala-tura were supposed to appease Ereshkigal and when asked what they wanted in return, they were to say they wanted Inanna’s corpse.
When they arrived, Ereshkigal was in agony and she agreed to all that they asked for and more as long as they relieved her. I couldn’t tell if they helped Ereshkigal or not, but they did take Inanna’s corpse and were able to revive her. Ereshkigal’s messengers followed Inanna, insisting she wasn’t free to leave the underworld unless someone took her place. Dumuzid, Inanna’s consort, was found dressed to the nines and resting beneath a tree when everyone else who belonged to Inanna were thrashing and weeping in mourning. Displeased by his lover’s calm, she decreed that Dumuzid took her place. There were other stories that told how Dumuzid escaped the underworld but eventually he was caught. His time in the underworld was split with his sister who begged to be allowed to take his place, allowing him to return to the world every spring.
I think the Descent of Inanna resonated with me more nowadays than it did before my father passed away. When I first came across the story, I wondered why Ereshkigal let Inanna go. Did the request from Enki hold weight because he was her twin? Was she plied with pretty words and promises that moved her only because she grieved? After the death of my father, I looked at her actions differently. Perhaps with Inanna hanging there, she was a constant reminder of the reason why Gugalanna had died. The sight spurring on the gnawing guilt that she had given Inanna the power to threaten the council, and then had handed over her consort as Inanna’s champion—that Inanna wasn’t the only one responsible for Gugalanna’s death. Then when Enki’s messengers came, in her distress she was like, “Yes, take her away. I’ll give you rivers of life giving waters and fields of wheat along with her if you will take away this agony that is eating at me.” Fanciful, I know. ^_^
A huge thank you for allowing me to be a guest on the blog today! Throughout the blog tour for Dragon’s Eye, I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look at the gods and mythos, and how they play a part in Sumeria’s Sons. For a visual representation, please visit my Pinterest page. (https://www.pinterest.com/lexiander1/sumeria-sons-inspirations/) During the tour I discuss the Sumerian pantheon, about who and what the Gods/Goddess are, and how I use them. Make sure you stop by the other blogs to get a complete look at the Gods and Goddess the Lycan’s follow.
Also, Less Than Three Press is running a special sale on Sumeria’s Sons from September 23rd through October 7th (dates inclusive).
Twin Flames is $0.99.
25% off Songs of the Earth
25% off Dreams of the Forgotten
25% off Surrounded by Crimson
Thank you for stopping by and reading!
I nodded, watching him descend the mound. Juan, Michael, and Neesie stayed with me. Pushing the excitement, the fear, and the rush of adrenaline aside, I concentrated on the ribbon tying Tristan to me. Locating the spot where I knew I’d find him, I dropped on my knees, cupped my hands and began to dig through the loose soil. Juan and Michael knelt, helping while Neesie guarded us, rifle braced against her shoulder with the nose pointed to the side of the mound, away from where I dug for Tristan.
About a foot down, my hands brushed against something slick but dry. “Here! Easy,” I said, even knowing neither Michael nor Juan needed to be told to take care.
The material shimmered in the wan moonlight, the exact color I couldn’t tell. I didn’t have to see his face to know he was swaddled within the material. Juan drew a knife to slice the material away but the blade skittered off, not damaging the cloth. Quickly we worked to unbury all of Tristan’s wrapped body, searching for a place that would allow us to peel the sack away from him. We were so close—I was so close to laying eyes on Tristan again. I needed to touch him, hold him, breathe in his scent.
Gritting my teeth as I attempted to control my emotions didn’t keep my hands from trembling. It had been too long since I stood by his side, heard him laugh, and gripped his hair in my hands. For too long the only image of him I recalled was of him broken and bloodied, in pain and yet staring back at me with such calm.
Unable to help myself, I lifted Tristan’s body, still wrapped in the goddamn garment, and clutched him to my chest. Even though he’d been in the ground for Gods knew how long, his body blazed with an almost scorching heat. I didn’t care if touching him hurt, I’d be damned if I put him down.
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About the Author
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
Where to find Lexi Ander:
Web site: http://www.lexiander.com
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6521302.Lexi_Ander
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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