DHMB: Hello all, I have not been on here in seooooooooooooooooooooooooo long, but ya know, Life is busy. This is actually my baby. I have been working on this and FINALLY got it finished. But I need help. I need custructive critisisum (Sp? This is why I love spell checker) Also if you see typo's feel free to let me know. Everything is spelled right so I know if you claim to find a bunch of miss-spelled words, you're either full of shit or from another country. This is how these words are spelled in my country, get over it. I did try to fix all the typos though, but my hands are deformed and I have to look at the keyboard when I type, so, yeah. I miss shit. I'm human, get over it. If you don't like this story, you are under no obligation to read it and can at any time, hit the back button to escape it. You are entitled to your opinion, I just simply don't care. I like my idea and how this came out, though I do realize that my story may lack some crucial detail about egyptian culture. I REALLY REALLY tried to explain things, but I have a bit more knowledge of ancient egypt life (since I had to reserch it) than the average person reading this. Anyway, custructive critisum is welcome flame are not and will be publicly posted so everyone can laugh at you. Don't believe me? Look at my fanfiction account. ^-^. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
P.S. I realize this authors note has a lot of mispelled words, My spelling sucks, that's what spell checker is for, get over it.
P.P.S. I need a beta. If you would like to beta this story for me, message me. I'm kinda picky though. I don't like beta's who fixe the mistakes and send me back the chapters. I want somone who will do it as a note. Like highlight the sentence and tell me whats wrong with it. If they makes sense.
The palace walls with their bright paint over limestone bricks flew pass me as I dashed down the hall. My long hair lashed out behind me, the decorative beads woven into them bouncing off my shoulders. My long deep purple linen dress whipped around my legs, my sheer pale blue open tunic billowing out behind me like the cape of a rider as he gallops his horse across the rolling sands. My kohl lined eyes spied a massive gold painted support pillar and I reached out, grabbing the smooth stone structure and using it to balance myself as I spun around the corner. My bare feet slide on the polished floor as I turned, then slapped against the glossy surface as I resumed the swift pace my sharp turn had halted. The light from the high windows glittered off my jewelry and warmed my skin. I dodged past servants, guards, siblings and a few of my father's wives, the latter two who stopped to scold me, but by the time they turned I was gone. I almost ran into a servant who was carrying a heavy tray of food headed for the harem, but I paused and whirled behind him, narrowly missing an accident.
"Princess, please!" the servant cried, holding the tray high in the air.
"Sorry!" I called behind me. A sudden sharp pain in my abdomen made me pause my run, but I ignored it and continued on. The pain had been there for at least two days and Mama had assured me it would go away, but I could see worry in her eyes though she did her best to hide it.
I dashed outside, my bare feet sinking into the sand kept cool by the shade of many palm trees. I ran up the pathway lined with statues of the Gods, carved from granite and polished till they shone with a brilliance to rival any metal. I darted into a small hidden doorway and down one of the main halls with its painted relief walls and golden doors.
"Open the door!" I called to the guards. The two burley men heaved open the intricately carved, gold leafed wooden doors and I ran through them, bursting into the room.
"Papa!" I cried. The room I entered was my father's study. I loved my father's study, from the azure painted walls, the wooden shelves filled with books, to the sturdy desk covered with scrolls and blank papyri and pens. It all seemed to possess his aura.
"My precious one!" came my father's deep booming voice. He stood from behind his chair and held out his powerful arms to embrace me.
The people of my country worshipped my father as the vessel of the gods, but to me he was a god in his own right. Standing at an amazing height of almost five cubits, towering over everyone else, his dark skin flowed over his muscular body, his red hair shone in the sunlight with his crown discarded on a nearby table, his kind eyes and radiant smile graced me from his chiseled face with its prominent nose.
I ran into his waiting arms and pressed my face against his bare chest, inhaling the scents of cedar and musk.
"Rameses, you should not encourage her terrible behavior," said my mother, Baharak.
My mother was a beautiful woman with long, thick hair that shone like polished copper when the sun hit it and shinning gray eyes. Her skin was paler than any Egyptian woman's and her face was soft and oval. She was a Hittite princess. She and her sister, Maathrne, were given to my father as part of a peace treaty.
"She is perfect the way she is," Papa said, petting my long hair. I am the perfect blend of both my parents. I have my fathers red hair and sharp chin and cheek bones, with my mother's pale eyes and slim nose. I wasn't tall, but my body was slender.
"Her manners…" my mother began again.
"She is perfect," Papa insisted. I beamed at my father's praise. I was his favorite child, something I tended to flaunt in my sisters faces.
"Why have you summoned me, Papa?" I asked him.
"Can a father simply not wish for the company of his daughter?" he inquired with a teasing smirk.
"You can wish for what you please, Papa," I replied with my own jesting smile. "You just should not expect you will always get it."
"What better advice to follow than your own, daughter," Mama commented with an arched eyebrow. I rolled my eyes at this. Mama was always too strict with me.
"Your mother tells me that you have not felt well these past few days," he said, cupping my cheek in his large hand.
"It is merely a slight pain," I assured him. "Do not worry."
I tried to give him a comforting smile but pain seized me once again and my hand went instinctively to my stomach. Mama sprang up from her seat and was at my side, holding my arm. The pain grew worse and I groaned, bending forward.
"Meritites?" Papa asked, pushing my long hair back from my face. I whimpered as I felt something inside me break. My heart thundered in my chest as panic seized me.
Was I dying?
I was suddenly aware of a wetness between my legs and flushed in embarrassment. I had urinated on myself? I was no longer a child, how terrible it was that I had had an accident. I heard a slow, soft pit pat of liquid falling to the floor. Mama and Papa heard it as well and looked down at the floor between my feet. Understanding and relief replaced the fear on their faces. I followed their gaze but could find nothing reassuring about what I saw. I had not urinated. It was not a clear liquid that fell to the floor but a dark red one that carried a pungent sent.
"Mama?" I asked, my voice shaking with fear.
"You are fine, darling," she soothed.
"But I am bleeding," I argued. She nodded and wrapped her arms around me. "It is your menstrual cycle. You have become a woman."
In my country, a girl became a woman with the start of her first cycle. I had always known this but no one had ever thought to explain to me exactly what a menstrual cycle was. I was still afraid but Mama and Papa did not seem worry so the terror that came with not understanding slowly ebbed away.
Mama gently guided me from the study and took me to my room where she had the servants undress me and clean me up. She fed me some strange potion that made me sleepy and stayed at my side until I drifted off.
The next day Papa came to my room to see how I was doing. It was usually customary for everyone to stay away from a woman during her time of the month since it was unclean to menstruate, but Papa did not seem bothered by the fact that I was considered dirty.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Tired," I said. There was a long pause while Papa seemed to contemplate something then he asked, "Have you any potential husbands in mind?"
"No," I said, "I do not want a husband yet." My Papa seemed surprised at this; as though he thought I already had someone.
"Meritites," my father admonished, "You are in your 15th summer, and with the start of your cycle you must take a husband. The time for childish play has passed." My heart dropped. I knew that tone. My father, though he may have spoiled and indulged me, was going to stand firm by this issue. He would use force if necessary. But I did not want a husband. Marriage would mean I would have to leave the palace and my father.
"No!" I cried, tears welling up in my eyes.
"Meritites!" came my mother's sharp voice. I looked up and saw her standing in the door way, holding a bowl of warm water with a rag that she would place on my stomach to sooth my pain.
"But, Mama," I begged, "I do not want to leave!"
"Meritites, you are acting spoiled!" Mama snapped.
"Her emotions are running high," my father said, handing me a glass of sweet wine to calm me. "We will revisit the issue later." Mama looked ready to protest, but held her tongue.
"Are you in pain?" Papa asked.
"A bit," I admitted. Papa motioned Mama over and she slide the warm rag under my skirt, spreading it out over my stomach.
"We shall speak more of this later," He said, then stood and pressed a dry kiss to my cheek before leaving the room. Shortly after Mama followed and I lay on the bed, crying.
"What are you doing, Meritites?"
I jumped and turned to see my sister and one of Papa's eight wives, Nebettawy, standing in the doorway. Nebettawy was tall and willowy with shoulder length black hair and almond shaped black eyes.
"Leave me alone, Nebey." I snapped. "Why are you here?"
"I told you to stop calling me that," she hissed. I ignored her comment and turned my back on her.
"I came to see how you were. What are you crying for?" Nebettawy asked.
"Papa is making me leave the palace!" I wailed, and Nebettawy, the toad, laughed. I spun back to face her and glared.
"You exaggerate, surely," she said, "You are your father's favorite, his precious gem. He would sooner cut off his right arm then exile you or forbid you from anything your little heart desired."
"But it is true!" I insisted, "He says I must marry!"
My sister pushed her long hair over her shoulder and sighed.
"I see," she said. "You started your cycle and Papa wants you to marry, just as all girls must do, but you, worshipping your father the way you do, have taken it personally and think he is exiling you."
"You make me sound foolish," I pouted.
"You are," Nebettawy said. "Papa only wants what is best for you."
"I do not want to leave," I whined.
"Tell Papa that he must give you time to find the right man, one he would approve of. That should buy you a year," Nebettawy suggested.
"Do you think that will work?" I asked, hopefully.
"It will give you some time to come to terms with the fact that you will have to marry and leave the palace." My eyes welled up with tears again.
"You are so cruel!" I sobbed.
"Stop acting like a child!" Nebettawy snapped. "You will marry and you will leave the sanctity of your father's palace. That is as certain as your death. You might as well get used to it."
With that she stood and walked away, leaving me, once again, alone in my room.
I spent the next five days in my rooms, reading and having servants come and sing and dance. When my flow finally stopped, I left my rooms and went about my daily life, until Papa summoned me.
This time I did not dash down the halls with excitement as I had done five days prior. Instead I walked slowly, dragging my feet and dreading the question I knew he would ask. When the guards opened the massive gold leafed wooden doors of the throne room, I paused before entering.
"Ah, Meritites," my father called. He held out his hand in a way I knew meant I was to take his hand and allow him to introduce my presence to his guests instead of running to embrace him in my usual manner. But when I saw him standing there like a God in his full Pharaoh garbs, I could not help myself.
How could my Papa send me away? How could he exile me from the palace I had grown up in and his presence? Surely being the benevolent god that he was he could see the pain that this would cause me.
I ran to him and flung myself into his arm, hiding my face in his chest.
"Meritites?" my father sounded worried.
"Yes, Papa?" I asked. I pulled away from him and let him study me. When he found nothing wrong with me physically, he smiled and guided me to his side.
"I wanted you to meet my new general," he said, motioning to the man standing before the throne, flanked by several lieutenants. The man was relatively tall, a little over four cubits. His skin was very dark and sun weathered, his long shoulder length hair was so black it reflected blue. He had a broad face with a strong jaw and dark brown eyes that studied me intently. He wore the general's court garbs, a loincloth with an apron, and a sheer tunic with gold bands around both wrists and biceps. All in all he was a very handsome man, but his broad face made him look stern. He gazed up at me with a strange, almost adoring look.
"Your highness," he said in a deep voice, bowing low. "I am Jabari."
"Greetings, General," I said, nodding my head. "My congratulations on your promotion. Might I inquire as to your age?"
"I am twenty-three, your highness," he replied.
"Such a high rank at such a young age is commendable," I complemented. "You must be very strong and very brave."
"I thank you for your gracious compliment, my lady," he replied.
"Meritites, Jabari is a fine young man," Papa said. "He is not yet married."
I knew what Papa was trying to do, but I kept my composure. Let Papa play his game, I would play one of my own.
"Why not?" I asked conversationally. "Surely a man such as yourself must be married."
"I have not yet found the right woman," he gazed at me intently as he said this.
"Well, I am sure you will," I said dismissively. Mama, who had been sitting quietly at Papa's side, reached out and grabbed my hand, giving me a significant look. I merely stared back at her. Papa gazed at me, his eyes hopeful.
"Meritites," Mama said, motioning over a musician, "Why not entertain our guest by singing?"
I bit back any comments I had and sat on the low stool the servant brought me. The musician began to strum the strings of his instrument, playing a song that praised the sun god, Ra.
I sang along, keeping my eyes on the floor. After a while I risked a peek at the general. To my surprise he was watching me closely. When he noticed my gaze, he dropped his eyes a bit, but continued to stare at me. I quickly looked away.
When the song ended, there was a short applause. I bowed, and then turned to Papa.
"Will that be all, Papa?" I asked.
"Yes, my dear," he replied, a little disappointed, most likely because he hoped I would want to stay and talk with his general more.
"Then I will take my leave." I turned to go, but paused and faced Jabari again.
"Congratulation again, General."
"Thank you, your grace," he replied. I nodded my head and quickly exited the room. Once the doors closed, I ran down the hall to Papa's harems. The guards opened the doors for me and I darted in, seeking out Nebettawy. She was sitting on a pillow combing out one of her wigs.
"Nebey! I need help!" She looked up at me calmly.
"Yes?" she asked. "What is it?" I sat by her side and leaned in close so only she could hear.
"I think Papa is trying to get me to marry the General of his army!" I said. She arched an eyebrow at me.
"What is your point?" she inquired.
"I do not want to leave," I said. She sighed and met my eyes.
"Meritites, you have to marry. The only thing you can do is keep putting your father off. But eventually he will force your hand. After that you could maybe draw out your courting, but you will marry."
"But…" I began, feeling desperate.
"I am sorry," she said, petting my hair in a way she had not done since I was a child and crawled into her bed when I had a nightmare. "That is the way of our people. You should feel grateful. I hear tell that in foreign countries they marry off princesses to decrepit old men for political power."
"That is easy for you to say," I bit out. "You get to stay in the palace."
Her hand paused, and then withdrew.
"I gave you my advice, Meritites, take it or leave it," she snapped. I felt bad for lashing out at her, so I leaned over and kissed her cheek.
"My thanks, Nebey," I said, standing and dashing for the door.
"I told you to stop calling me that!" she called after me, but when I turned and looked at her, she was holding her cheek and smiling.
Though Nebettawy had not told me much, she had given me an idea. All I had to do was outlast my Papa. If I could keep putting it off, hopefully my father would give up and let me marry when I was ready. Never mind that every one of my sisters had married right after their first cycle. I wanted more time.
So the battle of wills began. Anytime Papa mentioned the general or marriage at all, I would dance around the subject, giving him vague answers before changing the subject. This worked for a few months until Papa became annoyed and began to seek me out. When he did this I claimed the stable boy who took care of my horse, Ife, was courting me. That lasted for two more months before Papa became suspicious when I received no gifts and the boy made no formal claim before him. Papa confronted the boy himself, who immediately confessed that there was nothing between us and any extra time I spent around him was because Ife had gotten ill. So Papa was after me once again, but I had run out of ideas and all I was left with was avoiding him. I would spend days on hunting parties with my brothers or out shopping in the markets with my sisters and nights were spent at parties or hidden away in the library. It was hard doing these things day after day, and staying away from Papa like that broke my heart.
The battle of wills continued for three more months, until Mama declared an end to it. She came into my room one evening and sat next to me on my bed.
"Meritites, this has gone on long enough," she said sternly. "You are going to marry."
"But, Mama," I cried.
"No," she was firm. "Your father has indulged you for far too long. This ends now." She handed me a scroll.
"What is this?" I asked.
"A marriage contract," she replied.
"You-You married me off?" I asked, horrified. "How could Papa do this to me?"
"He knows it is best," she said. "I had the contract drawn up and I convinced your father to sign it."
"Mama," I begged, "Please do not make me leave." She sighed and held my hand.
"I know it can be a frightening thing to marry and leave home, but it is the way things are," she said. "I had to move to a whole other country. You just have to move to another home. You can still come and visit anytime you want."
"But," I cried, "I will not be his precious gem anymore." My mother rolled her eyes.
"You will always be your fathers favored child. I named you knowing that. Nothing in this world or the next could ever change that. He would give you anything your heart desired," she said, "But on this, you stand alone. You will be married. You leave in eight days; I have ordered the servants to begin packing your things and the servants in Jabari's household have been sent to help move your trunks."
"Jabari?" I was surprised. "The General?"
"Yes," she said.
"Mama!" I cried, casting aside the contract and clinging to her.
"I am sorry, darling," she said, "But this ends now." With that she stood and left, leaving me in my misery as my servants bustled around, packing my things.