A private garden had been created on top of the temple’s roof. Palm trees swayed along the perimeter. Life-size statues of the Goddess stood at each corner. A fountain sprayed, and the air was perfumed by beds of azaleas and exotic orchids along the brick pathways. Cozy furniture sat in groupings under pergolas for shade.
“It’s beautiful,” my handmaiden whispered, transfixed.
Racing to the railing, I reeled at the magnificent view. The rooftop garden sat on the southeast corner of the temple. I gazed at the ocean cliffs and the expanse of the city down below the sloping hills.
Running to the northwest corner next, I spotted the groves of frankincense orchards, banked against the valley of the Qara Mountains. I shaded my eyes, reeling at the sight of so many newly erected black-and-white tents in the foothills of those mountains.
My heart was in my throat. Too many tents to count. At least a thousand camels.
Hundreds of horses.
Horeb’s armies camped and preparing for battle.
Author Kimberley Griffiths Little Kimberley Griffiths Little is the author of ten award-winning Middle-Grade and Young Adult novels with Knopf, Scholastic and Harpercollins, including the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, the Southwest Book Award, and others. ALA BOOKLIST named FORBIDDEN, the first book in her Ancient Mesopotamian historical fantasy a Young Adult Top 10 novel for the Historical category, Romance category, and Religious/Inspirational. Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn’t sleep a wink; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. She was born in San Francisco but now lives on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and three sons.
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