To the west lies the land of Judea, not a once-great empire, just dusty, old cities with other dusty old cities surrounding them. Can there really a be great and powerful god here, for whom the star is a messenger or emissary, a god that is worth losing my friends over? I think it is more likely the star will lead us to the sea and drown us in it!
Judea is a slave kingdom, once ruled by my master's empire. Now the Roman
Empire rules the kingdom. And the gods who govern Rome are found in the city-states of Greece, not one of Rome's dusty, desert kingdoms.
The star leads us to Judea's capital city of Jerusalem. The city stands on a hill with a temple on top. But the star does not stop over the temple (see, there cannot be a god here, to visit). Instead, the star stops over the city's palace, and as we approach, the king's servants lead me to the king's stables, where I will spend the night.
The stables are cavernous, full of dark corners and high, shadowy arches. Except for a tiny window near the ceiling, I cannot see the night sky. I miss my friends the stars. Even a night with the one star, my nemesis, would be better than this.
From the shadows, I hear breathing; I hear rustling; I am not alone. Nearby, the air tremors as a pair of great wings beats against it, and claws scratch against a wooden beam above me. I whisper, "Who is there?"
Move the wisemen closer to the Nativity.