Aramais - An Armenian Rhapsody
A Canterbury Tales for the dawn of the Iron Age, this story follows an upstart Middle-East monarchy through its march to self-identity in the shadow of its menacing neighbor, Assyria. It starts out hopeful enough--an annual jubilee of unity happens to coincide with a long heralded deliverance of Mosaic proportions. It being 847BC, though, pride, child abuse, adultery, cannibalism, greed, murder, euthanasia, arms dealers, bitter clans clinging to existence, and jealous nobles seem only to challenge the mercy of the attendant deities, placing the protagonist (an atheistic thug) face-to-face with his past, present, and a card-carrying member of antiquity's pantheon of self-righteous despots.
The arc of this epic will be familiar to many westerners. In stratum homonymic, the title and story, while not a mirror reflection, parallel the 'good book' many of us grew up with; from the beginning to the end. I'd be lying if I told you this was coincidental. In this regard, many of you will identify with the mannerisms, moods, and motives of the main characters, from the food addicted Urartian king to the neighborly heroine simultaneously seeking home and revenge, and from a superstitious, pagan priest who breaks everything he touches, to our mother-loathing antagonist, Shalmaneser, looking for wisdom in all the wrong places.