A/N: I know it's been awhile . . . But it's better then however long it was before my last update. *Shudder.* And this time, I have review responses. I feel acomplished. Oh, and I'm recommended an actual book this time: The Reluctant God, by Pamela F. Service, told from the views of a 14 year old modern day girl and a 14 year old Pharaoh's son, who is ends up in modern Egypt. The book is short, but good.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the poetry . . . Actually, when I think of it, no one owns this cause whoever wrote this is long dead . . . Hmm . . . And it's certainly not like the person whose website I got this from translated it, cause I saw it on different websites . . . They all probably got it from the same book . . . So yeah, I don't own any of the poems, but then, neither does anyone else . . .
And now . . . VOCAB! You know you want to learn absolutely Egyptian phrases . . .
Dromos: A straight, paved avenue flanked by sphinxes.
Ipet-isut("Most select of places"): The Egyptian name for Karnak, one of the two temples, (the other being Luxor) at Thebes) The largest religious building on Earth. (Lol . . . or anywhere else, that we know of ^_^)
Ipet-resyt("the southern sanctuary") The Egyptian name for Luxor, also in Thebes.
Pylon: From the Greek word meaning "gate" It is a monumental entrance wall of a temple. Pylons are the largest and least essential parts of a temple that is usually built last.
"Uh, Tamen? Not to wreck the mysterious mood or anything," I said as I walked alongside the boy king, "but exactly where are we going?"
"To one of my favorite places in the world," he said, glancing at me with a small smile. We kept walking - his strides confident, mine . . . less so. "I go there often. To relax. To be alone." I looked at me again. "Don't you have one of those places?"
"Yeah," I muttered, "my bed." It was true. If whatever gods/God existed weren't about to allow me to actually know what sleep was, I certainly liked the whole lounging-around-in-my-bed part.
This time the pharaoh's face was even more amused then usual, and slightly surprised. "Well, I wasn't exactly thinking of showing you that particular favorite place, but if you'd like . . ." He smirked.
I glared at him. "Thank you, but no, Pharaoh. I'll stay with a tour of the city."
He shrugged his shoulders regally. "If you insist," he said, only his eyes showing that he was teasing me.
Not that there was ever a doubt. He was always teasing me.
"So," I said as we kept moving, "a hint? Any hint?"
He smiled. "Well, we're here," he said, stopping.
I looked up. We were standing looking at the back of a line of ram-headed sphinxes. "It's nice . . ?" I said, not wanting to insult him.
He gave me a strange look. "What's nice?"
His special place, which appeared to be a random spot along side the Avenue of sphinxes, a two or three kilometers long dromos which lead from the temples of Ipet-reyst, which we were close to, to the temple on the other end, Ipet-isut. "Um . . . this?" I tried, gesturing vaguely.
"What? Oh. No, I didn't mean this was the place," he said, on the verge of laughter. "This will just take us there." He scrambled between two of the sphinxes, me following close behind.
The dromos was lined with sphinxes, then trees, and through them I could see the city - if I bothered to look. Tamen and I just walked and laughed, completely alone as we sometimes walked, sometimes ran, and on my part occasionally skipped while Tamen cracked up.
We were talking comfortably about the latest writer, a woman whose poems were famous throughout the city. I had been waking backwards for a while, so I could look at Tamen and talk to him at the same time, when I finally gave up and turned around.
I yanked on Tamen's arm. "What's the matter?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and looking up at what I was staring at. A temple rose high in front of us. Statues of Tamen stared over me, next to the walls of the pylon. Flags stood out from the walls, waving in the breeze.
"That's Ipet-isut," I told him.
He looked at me blankly. "Did the three kilometers we just walked lined with sphinxes not give you any clue?"
I rolled my eyes. "You know I'm not supposed to go in there."
He looked surprised. "Why not?"
"Because I'm not a priest or Pharaoh . . . and ordinary people aren't allowed to go past the first few rooms."
"Who says we'll go passed them?" he said in an innocent voice. It lasted all of two seconds before he started laughing. "All right, maybe you shouldn't go in, but no one's going to care."
"Except the priests. And - oh, I don't know, the gods?"
"Unless they manifest and tell us to stop, there's no reason not to, is there? Besides," he added, eyes twinkling, "I am the manifest of them - Who Propitiates the Gods; it's one of my titles."
"So should, He Who Casually Risks Poor Innocent Girl's Life,'" I muttered. He grinned - no surprise there.
We walked through the pylon, into the center court. Pillars rose far above us, and I shifted uncomfortably. Except on holidays, I had never come this far in, and I had always undergone a small purification ritual first. Still . . . a small smile began to form. It was nice to be inside without the crush of hundreds of other people around me.
"Wait," I told Tamen, yanking on his arm again.
His mouth quirked. "Incase you want to tell me, I already know this is inside Ipet-isut."
"I just wanted to look at the obelisk," I said, feeling slightly insulted.
"It's a rock."
"It's a pretty rock."
"But it's still just a rock."
He was hopeless. I gave up and turned my admiring gaze to Hatshepsut's Obelisk, ninety-seven feet of pink granite that could be seen for miles and miles throughout the city.
"I am highly impressed. Let's go." Tamen started to walk forward again.
With a last glance I hurried after him. "Don't you dare abandon me," I said. Thousands and thousands of people worked in Ipet-isut. As we moved into the temple, instead of the edge of the hall, we were sure to run into people. I had already seen many walking around as we stood at the edge of the hall, and would have been more than happy to remain in the shadows.
"Live dangerously," he told me, grinning. "Sing. Scream. Dance in circles."
"You're trying to get me to say only if you do,' or to dare you to first, but I'm not that stupid," I informed him, now smiling. I know you wouldn't hesitate to."
He gave me a wounded look, widening his brown puppy eyes. "Can I at least recite poetry?"
"And I suppose you've memorized lines of poetry offhand?" Wrong thing to say, I mentally kicked myself as he grinned, then blocked my path in an extravagant pose.
"The Wine of Love. - / Oh! when my lady comes, / And I with love behold her,/ I take her to my beating heart/ And in my arms enfold her; / My heart is filled with joy divine /For I am hers and she is mine -"
"The one poem you can recite is a love poem?" I interrupted dryly. I was afraid that if I wasn't sarcastic, I would start blushing, and that was more embarrassment then I needed.
Not that Tamen would care. He'd just be amused.
"All right, I have another," Tamen said, not in the least undaunted. "Once a fugitive fled in his terror, / Now I am known, in the palace of the Pharaoh. / Once a weary one fainted from hunger, / Now I have bread to give to my neighbor. / Once a man fled from Egypt all naked, / Now I am clothed in white linen garments -" He broke off suddenly, looking at me. "Actually, you seem to be well educated -"
"Tamen, you thought I was a lady the first time you met me. And that I could ride."
"- you should know some poetry." He leaned casually against a pillar that rose four times our heights in a row of columns like that. He did not look inclined to move.
I glanced warily at the servants and soldiers walking around with determined steps. None of them seemed like they had the least amount of interest in us, so I opened my mouth to quickly rattle off whatever came to me.
Unfortunately, the song that came to me was a cheesy love song my chorus sang several years ago, where a weepy girl mourns that her Johnny has gone off to be a soldier. In the Civil War. In about two thousand, three thousand years. The next that came to me was, "I have a little dreidel." Not the most appropriate either.
I couldn't think of a single thing. "Um . . ." I muttered.
"There goes educated," he said teasingly, shaking his head.
Well, he'd asked for it . . .If he really wanted poetry, he could live with classic Shakespeare. "Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo/Deny thy father and refuse thy name,/Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love/ And I'll no longer be a Capulet."
While Shakespeare sounds strange in his own tongue, old English is completely baffling when translated into thirteen hundred B.C. Egyptian.
"Forget it," I muttered, embarrassed, but Tamen began to grin.
"I liked it," he said. "I didn't actually understand half of it, but I liked it all the same. What language was it originally?"
I gave him a strange look. "How do you know it wasn't originally Egyptian?"
"Because I'm not an idiot?"
"That's debatable," I said with a grin. He laughed, and took my hand, pulling me foreword.
"Do you realize that you completely avoided my question?"
"Why, yes, Pharaoh, I do."
We moved through the temple. I probably felt more conspicuous then I was, but I was certain some one was going to stop us and demand to know what I was doing here. Some of the rooms we walked through were absolutely through were absolutely enormous, especially for a single room in a temple. Swallowing hard as I glanced around rooms not open to the general public, I realized the entire Notre Dame would fit into it.
Tamen glanced over at me. "Do I have to tell you to relax again?" he asked. "Nothing's going to happen. Even if someone did come up to us, I could just say I am a servant bringing you to see one of the priests. Throw a few names around." His eyes gleamed wickedly. "If that didn't work, there are some people around here who would recognize me."
So I relaxed, and began to enjoy being in Ipet-isut. Tamen had restored Amen-Re's temple to its former opulence, to prove his devotion. There were several other deities housed here, the main ones being Mut, Amen-Re's wife, and their son Khonsu. The three of them were collectively known as the Theben triad.
"We're here," Tamen said in my ear, taking my hand and pulling me through a doorway, outside.
The courtyard we entered contained the Sacred Lake of Ipet-isut. Every temple had a lake, for priests to use when preparing for rituals. This one was vast, the buildings of the temple reflected in its rippling blue depth. The courtyard itself was made of the same pale chalky-brown stone the rest of the temple was made of, framing the lake on all four sides for about twenty feet before the buildings sprung up. Reflected in the water was the occasional tall tree, bush, and sturdy plants, especially thick on the side opposite us, farthest from the main temple and close to the Nile, which fed the lake.
The courtyard also was filled with priests. I did not want to see priests, especially half-naked priests performing some solemn ritual or something. While I had seen soldiers, servants, slaves, students, and scribes around the compound, I hadn't seen a single priest. And the priests were the ones I was mostly afraid of throwing me out.
I made a little "eek" sound and immediately hid myself behind one of the many statues in the compound. This, as usual, sent Tamen into fits of laughter. Unfortunately, Tamen's laughter was so contagious that even though I saw nothing funny in the situation, I ended up sitting on the ground laughing as well.
Tamen made a small gesture to a single guard, who blinked, shook his head, then stared at the boy-king in surprise. Tamen made the gesture again, and the soldier snapped to attention, then said something to another guard who said something to a group of priests. Within seconds, the courtyard surrounding the Sacred Lake was empty.
I turned my eyes to the pharaoh, who was trying to keep himself from looking smug. It wasn't working. "What did you do? I asked, smiling slightly.
Tamen widened his eyes innocently. "I thought I'd give us some privacy."
"Yeah," I scoffed, "you wanted to show off your pharaoh-y powers."
His mouth twitched, and he glanced at me sideways. "Actually, I wanted to annoy the priests," he said sheepishly.
I laughed and hit him on the shoulder. "I feel so secure in my life knowing Pharaoh has petty whims."
He mock winced. "Petty is so harsh," he responded, smiling.
I just looked at him archly and turned back to the lake. I watched the sun gleam down on it and stepped up to the edge. The ledge dropped away about four of five feet before the water surface, at least on this side of the lake. On other sides, it was as small as two.
"I also thought," Tamen added, coming up behind me, amusement coloring his words, "we could go swimming somewhere where there are no boats or crocodiles."
I spun around. "Oh no," I said, staring at him. "No. That's insane - ridiculous - illegal! Are you crazy?" I asked, glancing over my shoulder at the sparkling sacred water. "Priests bathe here prior to rituals, not normal people - I'm not allowed to do this. Sacrilege!" I told him, unable to step backwards. "Sac-ri-lege!"
His eyes were looking a little too amused for my comfort.
"Besides," I continued desperately, "I'm a girl. Girls probably aren't allowed in here. I haven't seen a single one since we entered."
He raised an eyebrow. "There's Mut . . ."
"Yes, well, she's a goddess. Not mortal. A deity."
"Then I'll just have to deify you."
"Right - and what would I be the goddess of? Fruit-stealing?"
He laughed. "How about swimming?" he asked, and in one move picked me up, one arm under my knees and the other around my shoulders.
"Remind me," I said with a glare as he held me out over the water, "never to trust any other pharaohs."
He raised his eyebrows. "Who says there are going to be other pharaohs? I may very well outlive you, with the way you live - knocking over carts, stealing food, running away from Pharaoh's guards," he loosened his grip slightly, causing me to yelp and grab his neck so not to fall, "jumping into the Sacred Lake at Ipet-isut."
"No," I said in my most forceful voice, as if I was talking to my uncle's dog. "Put me down - on the earth, not the water, you idiot," I added hurriedly as he began to lower me over the lake.
"But aren't you enjoying the suspense?" he teased.
"Let me think - no!" I said sarcastically. "If I go in, you're coming with me," I warned.
He just smiled - and stepped off the edge of the pool.
The five feet plunge startled the life out of me - I barely had time to gasp for air before we crashed into the water of the Sacred Lake and were swallowed by it. Even if we hadn't been surrounded by water, Tamen wouldn't have been able to breathe - I had a death grip on his neck. He slowly untangled me and let me go so I floated by myself in the frigid water, except for the handful of his hair that I stubbornly refused to let go of.
Sputtering, I broke the surface, and as soon as my ears unplugged I heard Tamen's rich laughter. "Not . . . funny . . ." I forced out through chattering teeth. "Cold." I pulled fiercely on Tamen's hair, then stopped in surprise when he made a noise of pain between spurts of laughter. "Thought it wig," I explained shortly as I began to tread water. I glared at him. "Hate you."
Someday I was going to wipe that amusement from his face and eyes permanently. Not today - now I was too busy trying to not freeze to death or drown or be stricken down by a god/angry priest/random lighting bolt.
"You'll be warmed if you swim," he said, pushed off from the side of the pool, and went sailing across the lake.
My eyes scanned the enclosing walls of Ipet-isut. "Amen-Re, Khonsu, and Mut forgive me," I muttered, and went swimming after him.
The water was cold, and my dress wasn't made for swimming, but after a moment none of that mattered. Tamen wasn't that wonderful a swimmer, but more than once he was able to drag me underwater with him or to sneak up beneath me and tow me downwards. The first time he did that I shrieked so loudly I thought people would come running, but none did.
"Don't they care that someone could be being murdered?" I gasped as we surfaced.
He grinned. "Not unless it's me."
"Isis, Tamen," I said with a laugh, "if you were any more self-centered, you'd-" without missing a beat, I pushed him below the water. I was only able to hold him for a moment before he poked me in the ribs, causing me to squeal and let go. I splashed the water in his face, then swam away, evading his grasp as he tried to catch me. We chased each other across the lake, laughing and joking.
"Told you we'd have fun," Tamen said breathlessly as we collapsed in a corner of the pool. This side of the lake was shallow enough for us to stand, chest deep, though the water surface was still three feet below courtyard level. We had just finished racing - I had won. He grinned widely as I tried to remember if he'd made any such claim. "Though I still say you cheated."
I laughed, sticking my nose up in the air. "You're just embarrassed to realize a girl is a better swimmer that the Pharaoh of Egypt."
He mock glared at me, pinning me into a corner by bracing his hands on the two walls forming it. "You're lucky I didn't call on any of my godly powers."
I grinned up at him. "You just don't like losing."
He raised an eyebrow, making an attempt to look threatening - which failed miserably, considering he was on the verge of laughter. "Well," he said, mouth twitching, "As the loser, I get to collect my reward."
"I don't think the loser is supposed to get any reward," I said skeptically.
He couldn't contain a full fledged smile. "You obviously haven't played this game before. Loser always gets the reward."
He leaned a little closer to me, and I was suddenly more aware that I was practically in the arms of someone who, despite being Pharaoh, was also a teenage boy. One who was probably going to kiss me. I also couldn't help noticing a few butterflies that, defying all laws of nature, were living in my stomach. Instead of making me nervous in the least, they were making me happy - which in turn made me nervous.
You're thinking too much.
I gazed up at Tamen, all laughter gone. I watched as a drop of water fell from his hair, onto his shoulder, and trickled down his bare chest to rejoin the lake. My eyes moved back to his dark brown gaze, which were watching me intently. He smiled once, and moved forwards a little more.
"And so, General, there is little more to be done. Are you satisfied?"
Tamen and I both started when the voice caught us unaware. It came from behind me; someone - two someones, at least, were standing in the courtyard, less then ten feet away. The only reason they couldn't see us was that they were standing so close to the lake, while Tamen and I were huddled against the corner, so the ledge hid us from view. If they'd come in five minutes earlier, we would still have been splashing around.
My first reaction was a mix of fear and the need to go scream incomprehensibly at the men for interupting. Judging by the look that flashed across Tamen's face, that was his instinct as well. Probably a little more imperialy, though.
Rule #1 in Pharaoh Deportment: Do not cross Pharaoh. The look convinced me that young as he was, he was not to be taken lightly.
My second reaction was to realize the hilarity of the situation. We were basically trapped in the Sacred Lake at Ipet-isut, with no way to leave without looking like complete at utter fools at the best, and more likely the worst kind of criminal, until these people left.
As often happened when I was in a place where it was important to stay silent, I had a sudden attack of the giggles. The last it time it happened was when Merial, Cora and I were at the cinema, in the beginning of the movie where most of the audience is completely enthralled.
I hate when that happens.
The same thing happened now. I pinched my nose and closed my mouth to prevent me from making any sound. Tamen expression changed to half alarmed, half like he too wanted to burst into laughter. "Shh," he whispered.
"Will we get in trouble if we're found?" I gasped as soon as I could manage without laughing. I had momentarily forgotten that Tamen couldn't really get in serious trouble.
"Undoubtedly," he said, grinning. "I'll be scolded endlessly and as for you . . . I wonder if I could convince them I had to purify you personally for some horrible crime?"
"Like?" I asked skeptically.
His gin turned wicked. "Oh, I'm sure I could think of something . . ."
Footsteps came closer, as did the conversation in low voices. Tamen rolled his eyes. "You would think they could chose a place other then right above us to meet."
A meeting of eyes was all it took to set both of us off. Laughing silently, we clung to each other's arms and squeezed as close as possible into my corner. With barely an inch of water between us, I could hardly help thinking of him, not as Pharaoh, but as someone my own age. Which was a slightly disturbing thought.
After an impossibly long time, the footsteps wandered off again, their voices still too soft to distinguish, after that first loud sentence. We waited another minute for safety, then hauled ourselves out of the Sacred Lake, collapsing in the courtyard soaking wet and laughing uncontrollably.
cheler: Lol . . . glad you like it. As for Tamen actually dying . . . guess you'll have to read and see? ^_^ Yes, I'm mean. But I think you'll like the ending . . .
Staring at Horizons: Many moons? This time it was only one! I feel accomplished. Glad you liked it — I hope you like this chapter as well.
Alleyna: So I wasn't exactly fast — but it was faster then last time. It's very interesting? Thank you! ^_^
Joflower: Oh, sorry the first half was boing. *sniff* If you'd try to pinpoint exactly what, that'd be helpful. I'm glad you liked the stealing.
Icepie: Yeah, it was unromantic — I'm trying to get across that point, that Tamen likes Nahbia but doesn't actually know that much about girls, other than his sister/wife (ick!) Lol . . . this chapter he sorta of came across too flirty — what do you think?
Nefrumara: Question's answered! Lol . . . I did WAY to much research on Ipet-isut to have it as Tamen's special place.
cherryblossom0288: Glad you like it! Hope you enjoyed this chapter as well.
AnotherDreamer: Thank you! Writing "soon" seems to be a problem — but I always get around to it eventually!
WeasleyTwinsLover1112: Lol . . . My family always thinks I'm crazy when I'm reading stories. I sit at the computer, cracking up . . . *shakes head* It doesn't look too good. Thanks for reviewing! I look forward to yours
Whatcanisay: Glad you were happy ^_^
Silver RavenWolf — Celeste: Thanks — my updating muse doesn't like that "soon" thing you mentioned — lol, it gets scared.
Disastergurl: Glad you love King Tut! He's a really fun character to work with.
Precocious: Yeah, the wait was to long — but this is a little faster. Pet names are fun . . . Oh, in your review (because of course you'll review, right? ^_^) yell at me to read your story, because I've been meaning to forever, just have to be reminded sometime when I actually have time to sit down at the computer for a while. (Ugh — hmwrk will be the death of me)
Jaede Loriele Alyn: lol — frustrating is good for you. Honest — it builds character. :) Don't you hate it when someone says that? I'm so happy you like this so much — I wouldn't want to loose my head (Ow . . .)
Riordan: Smashing is a fun word . . . Right, anyway, glad you like it. This isn't exactly a long chapter, but I will try to update more often.
Veggiehead: Lol — thank you. But I do like constructive, if you ever have something you want to say.
Chomp On Vanilla Fudge: I like your name . . . You soon happy — good! I hope you liked this chapter as well.
Silver Shadow Of Silence: I'll try to have more regular updates . . . but one thing is, I never abandon stories. It may take me a very long while, but I'll always add more.
elohimdancer319: Glad you like it!
Tsubasa: Lol — I like your review. I know her modern life isn't interesting; it just majorly comes into play later on, plus her friends Cora and Merial have their own stories in the trilogy. (yes, trilogy) Yeah, Tamen ordinarily wouldn't be hot, but I was in the mood when I wrote him up (I saw a reconstruction of what he was actually supposed to look like . . . ugh . . . well, we all love artistic license. And if you have muses to spare PLEASE give them to me.
Nahbia: Gotta love the name ^_^. Glad you liked the chapter.
USNavyGirl: Thanks — hope you enjoy this chapter as well.
NeverEndingQuest: Tut-y would be an odd nickname — glad you like Tamen. Thanks!
YouRule!!: Thank you — I'm trying to update more often . . . it's hard. But I'm happy you like it.
snow blossoms: Thanks! Glad you liked it.
Mockingbirdflyaway: Thanks — glad you like the modern/ancient ways of thinking. It's really fun to have a historical character with modern ideas floating around.
Jet*Star: Tamen is fun, isn't he? ^_^ I figure if I can't have the perfect guy, I can at least write him into existance.
violingirl7: Lol, thank you! Glad you like my stories ^_^ I'm fifteen.
Flavor of Orange: You've read Mara??? I positively ADORE that book. It's so good . . . lol, glad you like my story as well.
Hotkitty: Thanks! Hope you like this chapter, too.
Dead-Girls-Watch: Glad you enjoyed it!
Andiavas: Yay! Glad you liked it — it's fun when readers show specific lines they enjoyed. I'm glad you like Tamen, too. He's a great character to have — but my brain is now overflowing with knowledge about 18th dynasty Egypt! (And somehow I still managed to do poorly on a test on Ancient Egypt last year . . . sad . . . ^_^)
CaChick22: Thanks! Hope you keep reading
Crystal Sea: Lol . . . go Boston/near Boston peeps! (I'm actually a suburbian myself) Glad you like my other stories as well.
Asylum Escapees: The family's fun, especially cause they have no idea who he is. ^_^ I still need to go read your revised chapters . . . I'm rather behind on my reading. I'll leave a review soon!
CissboX: Glad you liked it — sorry for the long wait.
Langsiell: lol, that's tough. Medical reasons — we could always feed you pink liquid medicine while you're waiting ^_^ (that stuff used to terrify me — still does, come to that) Glad you like it so much! I'll try to update faster next time.
Alexia Goddess: Lol, of COURSE I'm trying to kill you via curiosity. Grr right back to you — SOMEONE'S supposed to post the next chapter of Seductress of Time. ^_^
aoringo-chan: Glad it's not boring cause it's about history. And think about it this way — you probably know more about ancient Egypt then any of your friends. (Lol — what an odd thing to brag about) Glad you enjoy it.
Ciara Lewis: Yay! Glad you like all my stories. Staying up all night is a GOOD thing.
Queen of the storms: Lol, I have such a bad rep (Okay, okay, it's deserved) I'll try to update much faster next time.
hersheygirl389: Glad you enjoyed it, and Of Human and Fairies! Keep reading both. ^_^
aqua-angel: Thanks! Happy you like it so much — ooh, school. Don't mention it — it was just my first day back form break. The horror, the horror . . . Lol.
Krikoris Kriticos: Yay! Reading this even though you hate history! Makes me happy — I hope you continue to enjoy this. Hooked is good . . . hooked is very good . . . ^_^
Celestial DreamBlaze: Lol — glad you like it! And you barely had to wait at all for this update ^_^ Hope you enjoyed.