Author: WritersRule PM
Auset is the mortal child of Anpu, Egyptian god of death. Her mother is dead and she lives with an uncle. Soon, mysteries and ancient prophecies arise, and she is forced to flee her home, trying to survive and deal with her new identity and her growing love for her fellow fugitive. A blend of romance and mythology.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Mystery - Chapters: 8 - Words: 17,623 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 12-30-12 - Published: 07-31-11 - id: 2938545
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"What?" I gasp. This is nonsense. This is blasphemy, outright untruthfulness. How can he say this? How can he bring me into this? I do not wish to offend the gods by claiming to be higher than I am. What a fool this man is.
"You heard me. Auset-" I scramble to my feet and refuse to listen. I glare at him and he stops talking. My mind is a jumbled mess; I do not know what to think. Should I leave? I should leave. I shouldn't have been here in the first place, and Ra shall soon ascend in his sun boat; my family wakes up earlier than that. They will notice my absence.
I turn and start walking away, though I am not positively sure where I am going. Kamenwati shouts my name, but I am determined not to listen. A hand on my arm stops me, and I turn to glare at him again. His eyes are hard, stubborn. They bore into me with such an intensity that I feel uncomfortable.
"Let go," I growl. He does, but his eyes still pin me in place. We stare at each other for a long time, before he whispers,
"Don't you hear them, Auset? The voices in your head? That's them, you know: the gods. Don't they sound so joyful? So ecstatic? You know what I'm talking about, don't you? I can see that you do." I shake my head and turn away. How could he know about that? How could he know about my secret joy, my hidden pleasure that takes over whenever I dance, so that I may hear their praise? He can't. Not unless...not unless he experiences the same joy.
But still...such presumption...
What if it's true?
"You're lying. I'm not...this isn't true," I say, my voice strained. Kamenwati sighs, then leans in.
"Are you so sure? You don't know who your father is, do you? I have always known; my mother made sure I knew Kemosiri wasn't my father."
"Your mother died when you were three," I argue. He shrugs and a slow smile comes upon his face.
"I have a good memory."
Suddenly I am angry and I push him away. He looks surprised, but quickly regains his composure. His easy smile annoys me — but at the same time I am frightened, because where is this anger coming from? I am not usually so hot-tempered.
"Listen," I hiss at him. "Listen. I want you to stop talking about this. I want to go home, and I want you to stay here. Do not come near me again, do not come near my family, and do not come near my house." Kamenwati seems absolutely startled by my newfound ferocity. I am, too. But I find I like this wildness, and at the same time I don't because it is not 'me', and I believe it is borne of my interactions with the Rebel.
"Do you understand?" I demand. Slowly, he nods, and steps back once more.
"Yes." His voice is cool, flat, and in his eyes I see distaste, disappointment, and a little bit of hurt. "Yes, fine. I won't bother you again, Auset." I swallow the lump in my throat, turn on my heel, and run.
2 Years Later...
"Mother! Kebi, Auset, how wonderful! Have you come to visit me?" Hime exclaims, embracing each woman in turn. I smile as I hug my cousin, glad to see her. It has been a while, though our house has been busy preparing for Kebi's upcoming marriage.
"Yes, yes, my dear." Aunt Merit smiles at her eldest daughter, and then brushes by her to get in the house. Almost as soon as she gets in the door, however, she is tackled by a small shape, emitting a small Oomph! from my aunt. Kebi and I have to stifle laughs as Hime hurries to help her mother. The small shape is none other than Hime and Itennu's two-year-old daughter, Sheimeit*. She is named after Itennu's mother.
"Grandmother!" Sheimeit cries, grinning. Aunt Merit's smile is tight, no doubt a little uncomfortable with the lack of polite respect she expected, but nonetheless scoops her granddaughter in her arms and starts cooing at her,
"Hello, my little one! How have you been? Have you been a good girl for Mother and Father?" Sheimeit nods vigourously, and Aunt Merit's smile turns more relaxed. "Why of course you have. Why don't you say hello to your aunts?" Sheimeit twists in Aunt Merit's arms and smiles at Kebi and me.
"Hi Aunt Kebi, hi Aunt Auset," she chirps. I hold my arms out for the child, and my aunt hands me to her. By now we have all entered the house; the slaves are bustling around to get us comfortable.
"Hello, Sheimeit," I say softly. She resembles Itennu so much — who looks like his mother...and older brother. Kamenwati. True to his word, the man has not come near me once in two years. Sometimes I think that night at the River was all a dream, but then a part of me will remind me that it wasn't. I know I should be relieved that he is out of my life — and should be able to move on with his brother, Meti, who has made his preference almost painfully clear — but a small, hopeful little part of me thinks that I want Kamenwati to come back, and tell me everything he knows about his father and my father and everything else.
I bring myself back to the present and smile at my niece. "And where is Father today?" The child pouts at my question, and I see Hime's smile turn strained, and I wince. Are things not as good between husband and wife has one would hope?
"Father's working at the temple," Sheimeit replies, still pouting. "He's there all the time and comes home late when I'm asleep."
"Oh my, how horrible," I say, hoping to appease her. "But you know your father has an important duty to the gods, don't you, Sheimeit?" She nods, but still does not look happy. I kiss the top of her head and sit her down, where she is then smothered in kisses by Kebi. I turn to my other cousin and smile.
"Hello, Hime," I say. "How have you been?" Her smile grows and her eyes positively shine. Her joy radiates from her, and I find myself leaning in to hear better what the good news is.
"Oh Auset," Hime explains, "ah, Mother, Kebi, you must know, too — I have found out, just a few days ago...again, I am with child!"
We surround her with hugs and well-wishes, shrieking and sharing our happiness. I cannot be more ecstatic for my cousin. How wonderful — another child. I look at Sheimeit, and she is giggling, and I am rather relieved she is also happy with the news of a sibling. Sometimes, especially with young children, they do not appreciate a rival for their parents' attention.
"Congradulations, cousin," I say, embracing her. "This is wonderful news. May the gods bless you, and I pray the Ladies Auset and Nebthet and Taweret protect you." Hime smiles her thanks and hugs me back. Kebi and Aunt Merit express similar things, and soon we sit down and discuss other things, mainly, Kebi's marriage to a scribe — a friend of Baraka, actually.
"And what about you, Auset?" Hime asks. I look at her and raise my eyebrow.
"Well, you're fourteen now, the same age I was when I married Itennu. When are you going to get married? Has Father arranged anything yet? Do you have any suitors?" I blush when I think of Meti.
"One," I say evasively. Aunt Merit snorts, then Hmphs.
"Yes, that son of Kemosiri. I don't really like him, too skittish, too childish. Not really yet a man, certainly not ready to be a husband," she complains. I feel a little pleased that she cares so much about me to want me to have a good marriage. And that she isn't just throwing me at men. I am not totally sure I want Meti either. He is pleasant enough, but rather boring, and Aunt Merit is right — he is skittish. Not sure of himself.
"Wait." Hime frowns. "Do you mean...Meti? Itennu's brother?"
I nod. Hime looks thoughtful, and then beams.
"Why, cousin, if you married him, then we would be sisters as well as cousins! Not," she amends hastily, "that I do not love you as such now. But — you know what I mean, yes?" I smile a tight smile and nod. I am sure Hime does not want me to marry Meti just for that, but I suppose it would be interesting.
Itennu has another brother, my mind whispers — or is it possibly one of the gods, come to finally break the long silence they have held for two years? Even when I dance, I have heard not a whisper. It is as if they are punishing me for my disbelief of Kamenwati. But surely they would not defend a liar and a blasphemer.
Kebi's voice brings me back into the conversation, "Well, Auset doesn't have to worry about marriage too soon. She hasn't even starting bleeding yet." My face burns as both embarrassament and anger courses though me. Did Kebi have to bring that up? Did she have to make comment on the fact that I am not yet a woman? I am fourteen and have still not bled. To make it worse, both Kebi and Hime got their flow when they were a year younger than I am now. Perhaps the tardiness comes from my father's side? Sometimes I worried over it, wondering if I would ever get it. Would I end up a barren girl? I suppose I would have to become a priestess then, though that is hardly the reason I wanted.
Hime is frowning, thinking. Then she smiles at me and says soothingly, "Do not worry, Auset. I am sure your flow will come soon; you just need a little patience." I smile back at my cousin, grateful for her kind words. Kebi and Aunt Merit do not seem to understand what a sore subjec that is for me, and thry are not very sympathetic. It is times like these I miss Hime being at home, and I wish I saw her more.
Aunt Merit stands up. "A wonderful visit, daughter," she says to Hime. "But we must go. Come, Kebi, Auset." We say good-bye to Kebi and Sheimeit, and start home.
I dream that night. Of course, I have dreamed before, but nothing important, just colors and images and wishes I had as a child. But this seems more as if I am witnessing a memory, an event that happened long before I was thought of.
A woman reclines at a table, though it is after dinner and she is alone. The wind blows in through the window, bringing with it some of the desert sand. I think nothing of it, but soon more and more sand comes pouring in, and the wind kicks it into a mini sandstorm. The woman jumps up, and at first I think she is frightened, as I am, but then she smiles and claps her hands in delight. When the wind stops, there in place of the sand is a man. Tall, muscular, with dark skin, brown hair and red eyes. He smiles lovingly at the woman, who rushes into his arms.
"Sutekh!" she cries. "Oh, love, I was afraid you wouldn't come, after last time." I cringe at the name and make a sign against evil. What sort of parents did this man have, to name him after the chaos god? Do they not know it is an evil name?
The man, Sutekh, laughs. "I am not afraid of that mortal, darling. He thinks he can drive me away? What a fool." He laughs again and then kisses the woman, so passionatly and so desperately I wish to turn away from their private moment.
The couple breaks apart and the woman leads Sutekh to the couch at the table. They lie there, just looking at each other, when the woman looks down and says shyly,
"Love, there is something I must tell you." Her lover cocks his head, and I, too, am intriqued.
"What?" he asks. The woman looks away and bites her lip. She faces me, though she does not know it, and something about her is familiar. I know that face, though I also know she is a stranger to me.
"Come now, Sheimeit, you can tell me anything," the man prods. I am taken aback at the woman's name. That is the name of Kamenwati's mother. And suddenly I know why she seems familiar: I have seen her, in the faces of her sons. I am seeing a past event with Kamenwati, Itennu, and Meti's mother.
But that is certainly not Lord Kemosiri.
"I-I am with child," Lady Sheimeit says at last. The man — for surely he must be a man, I stubbornly insist to myself — looks shocked. Then he leans in and kisses his lover, and she wraps her arms around him, and once again I wish I could turn away.
"You know, of course," Sutekh began when they pulled away, "that he will know it is not his." Sheimeit snorts and says dismissably,
"Oh, he will not care. Well, he will, but it's not like he wil kick me out. No, he will accept the child as his own though he knows it is not. He will not shame himself by claiming otherwise." She giggles and goes in for another kiss, but he stops her.
"You also know our child will be special, yes? He has divinity running through his veins."
"Yes," Sheimeit admits. "But you...you will not leave us, will you? You will help me with the baby, yes?" Sutekh brushes a piece of hair out of her face and says,
"Of course, love, of course."
Sheitmeit and her house falls away, until only Sutekh and darkness remain. He turns his head and looks straight at me. He smiles wide, showing pointed teeth. But what disturbs me most is his head. Not only does it flicker between that of a man and a beast, the beast form also flickers, making his head seem like it is not there.
"Hello, Auset," Sutekh says. "Do you still doubt my son, and his origins, now that you have seen this? How about your own? Hmm, child?" He chuckles. "Though you won't be a child for long, now, will you?"
I wake up with a gasp, which I quickly stifle so as not to wake my family. I find myself shaking, greatly disturbed by my dream. Did I really witness a past event? Was that truly Lord Sutekh, god of storms and chaos? I do not want to believe it, but deep in my heart I know it is true. Kamenwati has told the truth. He is the son of a god.
Am I then, too, the daughter of one?
I feel the need to relieve myself, so I sneak past the sleeping bodies and down to the chamber pot. As I wipe myself, I notice a red stain in my undergarment. I stare at it for a while, at first dumbfounded, but slowly, slowly the reason comes to me. I smile widely, and feel a sense of euphoria at this occasion. "You won't be a child for long, now, will you?" The god was right. I am not a child anymore.
Now, finally, I am a woman.
A.N-What do you guys think of this chapter? I like it, and I know exactly where I'm going with this from here, but somehow I'm not sure it moved anywhere. Feedback, of any kind, is welcomed and encouraged.
Sheimeit - desire