A F The Greater Key of Solomon Book Two f a Page 81 The Key of Solomon PREFATORY NOTE TO BOOK TWO. This work of Sol. It is B.C.E., and King Solomon rules Jerusalem with a steely hand; New York Times bestselling Bartimaeus audiobooks, The Ring of Solomon brims with . The Ring of Solomon - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read 'The words “Bartimaeus is best”. who reported it to me. and I believe it has.
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As alluded to in the footnotes throughout the series, Bartimaeus has If you want to download The Ring of Solomon Pdf then here is The Ring. Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon (A Bartimaeus Novel) PDF Download, By Jonathan Stroud, ISBN: , Note on Magic MAGICIANS Since history. The Ring of Solomon “There‟s a black mark there for you, Bartimaeus,” he said. a pretty poor effort, Bartimaeus, since you have the hindquarters of a ram.
The reader, so ensnared by the It's Jerusalem, B. The reader, so ensnared by the capricious, troublemaking shape-shifter, can only sigh in frustration when the narrative switches to the infintely more boring, third-person voice concerning the tale's human characters. But I don't complain as much here as I did in Golem's Eye I had little love for Kitty , because Asmira's point of view is as full of action as is that of Bartimaues, and, fortunately, Asmira's part of the story is incredibly important to the overall plot.
Of course, there is something lacking in Asmira's department. Something favoring the guises of Sumerian youths and mumu-wearing hippos. Something incredibly egotistic, admirably self-centered, impressively courageous, and just too clever, snazzy, and sharp-tongued to ever be properly commemorated in words. Somewhere, Bart is reading this and preening.
Maybe I'll end up in a footnote in one of his later exploits. Maybe he'll send me his autograph The ending does not reach the emotional impact or scope of sacrifice which haunts the ending of Ptolemy's Gate no, this finish is more reminiscent of the end to Amulet of Samarkand , but this is unsurprising.
The Watch reported it to their supervisor. I reported it to High Magician Hiram. He has commanded his magicians to search the known world for objects of beauty and power. Solomon desires new wonders for his collection. Surely you must have. At this very moment. King of all Israel. Listen to me closely. The idea! In all my years I have heard nothing so offensive—! Look at the state of you. How lazy can you get?
So much so that I shall depart right now and re- port them to the king. But they will be disap- pointed. Who knows? Perhaps he will choose to lift his finger and use the Ring on you. The black hollow of his lost eye seemed to suck in light. All hope to astound the king with the treasures they secure. Solomon should be doing seedy stuff like this himself.
But no. You un- derstand me? Once it had a name. But if you recall the location. Where do you want me to go. The local peasants avoid the ruins for fear of ghosts. The only inhabitants of the region are religious zealots and other madmen. But when I get back I want to be dismissed straight off.
Who knows what prowls the ruins? Who knows what hideous shapes. With luck. No arguments. If the scrolls speak truly. I may let you go. If you impress me. See that you do not fail! Now — prepare yourself. Horse and Water Gates. I shall bind you to your purpose. It was answered. I needed something better than that if I was going to get him. Prison Gate. He was too old and too experienced. One of the earliest cities of men. He was a tough old bird. The people grew thin and cruel.
But then they start pursuing you clumsily around the temple. To my left a mummified corpse shuffled from its alcove. I sprang up from the stones. It took a step.
Jumping from the statue. From every side now the dead converged. With a creaky spring it leaped to snare me. I caught this mid-palm as the body fell away. I yanked the chain. A Detonation to the left. A Convulsion to the right. Bits of ancient per- son spattered merrily on the glazed reliefs of the old Sumerian kings.
I landed in the very centre of the temple hall. Things that had once been men and women — slaves. You could tell that from the layers of dust upon the floor.
I took a look around. More were still emerging. It was magical too. As a work of art alone. That was that settled. There seemed no end to them. With spell and kick and counter-punch I ploughed my way towards the altar— And saw the next trap waiting. The threads were very thin. Shoving a friendly hand inside his rib-cage. Looking down. As a general principle. Sumerian altar- traps are worth avoiding. I fired a small Detonation upwards. I stopped below the altar.
The temerity! He deserved special consid- eration. I had no wish to disturb them. At that moment a sharp pain disturbed me. I discovered that a particularly disreputable-looking corpse who in life had clearly suffered many skin ailments and doubtless looked upon mum- mification as a sharp improvement to his lot had snuck up and sunk his teeth deep into the essence of my forearm.
There were ways to disarm the threads. For a moment I stood quite still: Which shows how foolish it is to go enjoy- ing yourself in the middle of a job. It was fairly faint to my hearing. His head blew clean off like a cork from a bottle. I leaped forward. A deep concussion echoed across the planes. Hebrew and several other lan- guages. The head dropped slowly down into the pool. With great speed they melted outwards.
There was a pause. The pool shone with the myriad colours of the Other Place. A tremor passed across its surface. My tun- nel had probably collapsed with the weight of sand. Turning swiftly. Up beside the altar the fragments of thread stopped twitching. So- mething was coming. A Trigger-summons never takes long. Two great arms issued forth. I spun back reluctantly to face the portal.
The head was human in semblance. A chiselled torso came next. The components of the bottom half. The legs. Muscles flexed and a body rose into the world. Clawed hands grasped the stonework on either side. And now they looked on me. The lips were full.
Afraid so. But the eyes were blank holes torn in the flesh. Or rather … I will. You know what the priests say about trespassers and thieves.
Behind us. Not the sacred serpent? Has it been a while? You always were a chipper one. How you vexed the humans with your backchat. I watched the tendons. The hind legs moved slightly. While stone stands on stone and our city lasts … You know the score. Never known anyone get the flail so often.
To me it just seemed a typical bit of tat the old cities used to war over. I assume. I smiled bleakly. It contains an elemental that will emit jets of. They were on the up last time I looked.
The sac- red serpent stays here in the temple heart. If I re- member correctly. The priests used to bring it out in times of drought to inspire the people.
In a flash of movement Naabash was gone. Which was exactly what he wanted. I was fast enough for that. Even as my eyes moved. He turned towards me. Naabash meanwhile had righted himself with stately care.
This blow. I fired a Convulsion straight up at the ceiling above my head. Once more I jumped away. Fifteen centuries of accumulated desert sands lay atop the buried temple.
It was time to leave. I sent another blast upwards to further clear the way. Wings sprouted from my shoulders. The first plane includes everything in the sol- id. Bartimaeus of Uruk. Often imitated. This allows perceptive human thieves a chance. He had an honest face. The old Egyptian tomb-robber Sendji the Violent. How grotesque can you get? As famously memorialized in the New Kingdom tomb.
I flew to the upper window. Further down the hill. The valley. The echoes faded. I hovered. My broad wings stirred the cold. My master forbade his slaves to come upon him unawares. I closed my eyes. A templeful of corpses is one thing.
He was standing ready in his circle. To my great relief the old man was in his robes despite the early hour.
The first workers emerged from the gate below. They went slowly. The minutes passed. This was inside. His eye widened. I found a temple. I stood in the centre of my pentacle and regarded him steadily. I moved the serpent slightly so the candlelight flowed alluringly upon its con- tours. When he spoke.
He did not say anything for a while. Pass me the artefact. I have served you faithfully and well. With a cry the old man. And whether it was his single eye that did it. The old man did not notice any of this. I cleared my throat. If so much as the tips of his fingers had crossed above the circle. For a long time he turned it over in his hands. The magician looked up. After a while it was too revolting to bear. He had eyes only for his treasure. Solomon will reward you richly for this.
Let me go. I see small hinged studs upon the toes … I wonder what they do. Looked good.
I allowed the magician to inspect the ser- pent for a while. I am not sure I care to let such a skilful thief go … You just stand there quietly. Let him investigate. I must ex- plore this most interesting device. I smiled to myself and looked out of the windows at the sky. There were prob- ably many such serpent statuettes made in Eridu. Tell me what this object is. Solomon on one side with that terrible Ring. It bears a passing resemblance to the Great Serpent with which the old kings of Eridu conquered the cities of the plain.
I suppose. Just forget all about it and give the thing to Solomon. You egged me on to pry into this device. At last he said: You lie. The spirit was contacted by pressing a secret catch.
But you will. Selecting the first. There were three of them. Swivelling on a set of hidden cogs and fulcra. The old magician hooted with laughter. I pressed it gingerly. As with the first. I raised the serpent in my hand and considered the studs set upon the claws. There was a whirring sound. Now the third. My master rocked back and forth with mirth.
But leave me be. Perhaps you. There is a hinge there too! Press that. Lulling your master into disaster through soft words and raw cunning is dif- ferent. But direct assaults are out. Go on — no dallying! Press the tail! The terms of any sum- moning always include stringent clauses pre- venting you from directly harming the magi- cian who brings you here: A bright.
The pretty maiden tossed the serpent to the floor. Away across the. She stepped forward out of her constraining pentacle. Even before he landed. I was holding the serpent directly facing the magician. Naabash had not spoken falsely. The distance he went was gratifying. From his forefinger a sputtering Essence Lance leaped forth. A shaking hand was raised and pointed. The maiden paid no heed.
The maiden made a gesture. He made one desperate effort. His mouth moved. Her foot glanced against a bowl of ward-herbs. One gout plumed out of the nearest window and arced out into the valley to startle the peasants far below. Wide-eyed and wondering. The pretty maiden shrugged.
The old man looked up at me. Three small watch-imps. Then she bared her pretty teeth and fell upon him. She was alone in the room now.
Ishtar was goddess of love and war. Apart from the high priests of Ishtar back in Babylon. And that was the end of the old magician. In my exper- ience most magicians can be discomfited if you choose the right form. This unfortunately eliminated most of my repertoire. I remember him with fond affection. Even as the air above was rent with rushing wings and talons.
Those spirits formed of air. In later periods. The lower orders. They entirely lack the finesse or charm that make a select few of us so fascinating. The three winged djinn that hung aloft behind the chair. High Ma- gician and Protector of his People. High in the rafters the doves and swallows dropped from their roosts. The hall was si- lent. On it sat a serpent statuette of twisting gold. The lion-afrits blinked down at the.
Such occasions did not bode well. And the four hundred and thirty-seven humans — magicians. King Solomon regarded it.
At last the king spoke. The magicians re- laxed. With his last act. In no way was Solomon ill-favoured. He had been spared the poxes in his youth. Out in the gardens butterflies moved like flecks of sunlight among the brightness of the trees.
Above the throne the djinn hung waiting. Silver bangles hung about his wrists. His nose was long and straight. Above his splendid silken robes — sent as a gift from the magician-priests of In- dia — he wore many wondrous treasures of gold and jade. In fifteen years upon the throne. Even his kid-skin sandals. But his long slim hands were naked of jewels or decora- tion — save for the little finger of the left.
The king sat waiting as the djinn poured wine into his golden goblet. The ice was mixed. On soundless wings the djinn retreated above the throne. He returned his attention to the hall. I shall study. And the people gazed on him as he waited. In a single night you have retrieved many fascinating artefacts from across the world. Solomon considered the goblet. When all was still.
My magician Ezekiel was killed this morning. He gave an order. As ever. Seventeen slaves — human. There are several issues of great moment to bring before the king. So it is a most ancient demon. I assume? Only yesterday. I be- lieve not. It was over- heard singing a song of extraordinary in- solence. A marid. Bartimaeus of Uruk is its favoured title. I recall it. Hiram — let the remainder of the Seventeen approach. With all due respect to the wailing shade of Ezekiel.
They were masters of the ancient arts. We cannot let such an outrage pass. From distant Nubia and Punt. Fourth level. An example must be made. I believe you already have in your employment several other recalcitrant spirits that have recently proved troublesome. Solomon considered them a while. But all had chosen to travel to Jerusalem. I take pride in my harshness. With a twirl of his staff. His eyes hung like soft black moons in the wasteland of his face. Each loudly regrets its past audacity.
His nose was aquil- ine. That is all. He nodded. His skull. A small white mouse somersaulted out of the empty air and landed on his hand. What else? Hiram studied the lists briefly. Among the issues to be dealt with are a murder. It carried a pa- pyrus scroll. The plaintiffs await your judgement. I have. Word has come from our djinn patrols in the southern deserts.
Remote farmsteads have been burned and the inhab- itants slaughtered. Is that all? Report to me tomorrow. They report further attacks by brigands. Discover the truth: Is this not a time when you might consider aid- ing us? This takes up all my energies. To summon yet more slaves will be difficult. I too am presently somewhat stretched. I already con- trol nine strong. Across the hall the assembled watchers murmured and drew back.
Below the throne the lion-afrits drew back their lips and made snapping noises in their throats. I spoke without thinking! I meant no offence! The knuckles of his left hand gripped white upon the arm-rest of the throne. Already he had said too much. A darkness fell across the hall. There was a thud of sound.
At once the Presence vanished. Four hundred and thirty-seven people fell flat upon their faces as if they had been struck. His voice echoed as if from a cavern in the earth: Be careful what you desire.
He swallowed. Has the messenger returned? We will have to consider how Jerusalem responds. He took a long draught of wine. Then Solomon laughed. The crowd stood frozen. She deeply regrets this inability to comply. As she reached for her wine cup. The Queen of Sheba sat alone in her chamber. A bird stood there. The queen watched it for a mo- ment. I must speak my message and hear your answer.
Know first that I am a marid of the seventh level. Name it. I hope he has accepted my decision now. Do you require refreshment or rest. You have come far. Queen Balkis. The last occasion was but a week ago. The young man said: You are a guest of my house and I offer you all I have. Instead he demands you acknowledge him as your sovereign overlord and agree to pay him an annual tribute.
Solomon offers you his greet- ings. For this reason the kings. If you agree to this. Refuse — and frankly the outlook is less favourable. So- lomon has no claim on the wealth of Sheba. He thanks you for your consideration of his last proposal. She rose from her chair. They pay vast annual tributes of gold. Tyre and Edom. Forty sacks among the hundreds that you harvest every year? That will not bank- rupt you! O Queen. You may return to your master and say so. Am I not a marid.
But each new step took her further from the cabinet and further from the door. It walked towards her. Balkis backed away. Her hand strayed to the jewelled dagger in her belt.
I am the least and most miserable of the slaves of Solomon. In the cabinet by her chair she kept a globe of crystal that. The demon said. She stood erect. He brings. Then what? Armies march across the sky. It gazed into the flames.
But the greatness of those kings lies like dust before the power that Solomon now enjoys. Balkis had not yet reached the wall. O Queen?
He turns it once. He wears the Ring upon his finger. The Spirit of the Ring appears. A final word before I start my long flight home. Do you wish to see this terror? Resist him. I shall make him regret that he ever heard my name. Tell him that for a fourth time I re- fuse him.
My master is not un- reasonable. He knows this decision is hard. The top of the nearest tower exploded in a flower of flame. Balkis lunged forward.
Burning bricks tumbled into dark- ness. You have two weeks to change your mind. See there? Now here is a little blaze of my own. Two weeks! In the meantime I thank you for your hospit- ality and your warming fire. If you do not. With a cry. Consider it something to spur your thinking. The young man smiled contemptuously and stepped towards the window. When it has waned to nothing.
A blur of movement. Like her mother. Queen Balkis had supervised this process. Dawn came. She was brisk and efficient in court policy. It had taken the priestesses several hours to agree on the precise demon that should be summoned to fight the blaze.
Balkis was twenty-nine. Unlike her mother. She had no close confidants among. And when the hill-men of the Hadhramaut came down into the city. Balkis was slender and athletic and disliked assistance from anybody. Within moments of the attack she had known in her heart the policy she would follow.
The dawn light reached the canals at last. Balkis rose. Crossing the room to the little cabinet beside her chair. They fell into two categories — the maidens of her cham- ber. Previous rulers had developed friendships with certain of these slaves. As was traditional in Sheba. One day soon. The danger has passed. She heard the sound of metal sliding in the leather sheath.
And the most skilful too. You always were the quickest. She waited. Balkis said: She rose at last and. I wish to talk with you. Placing the chest heavily upon the bed. After a time her heartbeat slowed a little and her breathing quietened.
They glinted in the lantern light as she picked them up. She sat for a while on the edge of her trestle bed. Her eyes were filled with happy tears. She considered the items a while as if in hesitation. Time was passing swiftly. She set them neatly side by side upon the bed. Balancing easily on the balls of her feet. Asmira emptied the contents of the bag upon the floor: Unstrapping her sword.
Then she put on her shoes. Without a backward glance she left the room. But she was ready. Her preparations were complete. It had a crest the colour of brass. It also had a narked expression and was carrying a quarterton of artichokes in a big string net. The early start had been a pain in the plumage too. As if it made a blind bit of difference.
I trundled slowly north with. What really stuck in my fiery craw was the amused chuckles and wry expressions I was getting from my fellow spirits as I neared Jerusalem. But I could cope with all this. Grinning broadly. They were off hunting for brigands in the desert wastes — a decent mission worthy of the name. I ask you.
A few years pass by. The magician forces you to help him get wealth and power. But at least when that happens. Before I could so much as open my mouth to protest. Flipped and Stretched. Not twenty-four hours after devouring the old magician and departing his tower with a burp and a smile. It all depends on the skill and judgement of both sides.
An instant later I found myself packed off on the first of many degrading missions. There then followed an unpleasant two days in the palace sewers. Next I was ordered to the palace granaries to count the grains of barley for the annual stocktaking. It was a depressing list. First I was sent to Mount Lebanon to chip blue ice from its summit.
Apart from his daily councils. Not that he was the one who summoned me. He was much too important for that. And you know who I blamed it all on? So important. Scowling furiously at my misfortunes. And so it was that — against all laws of natural justice — here I was. When one of them is killed. The king treated the demise of one of his servants as a personal slight.
Far below me my fiery shadow flitted over olive groves and barley fields. I drifted onwards in the warm dry winds. All magicians are by nature bitter rivals. That was at the heart of it all.
It was all about the Ring. It was thanks entirely to the Ring he wore upon his finger that Solomon enjoyed his life of indolence. That was why so many magicians congregated around him in the first place.
Babylon or Thebes.