A.N — So welcome to the third version of Prologue. If you've been following this story before my Hiatus, first thank-you; second, I'm back! For the first three chapters at least. If you haven't been, well, thank-you for popping by, and I hope you come to enjoy Desert Princess as much as my older readers
The Kemetian looks down on his newborn daughter. She is very pale, more so than any child he's ever seen, but he has been assured she is healthy. She has black hair with a few streaks of brown in it, and turquoise eyes that neither parent have, not that they care. She is their daughter, and therefore she is perfect.
"Darling..." He tears himself away from his daughter to look at her mother, and his heart lurches. Nejiri is deathly pale, not the healthy one of their child, and when he takes her hand it is cold and clammy. Her breathing is labored, and he knows she does not have long. Looking at her, memories assault his mind, of all the nights they spent together, the rendezvouses they had. He remembers her warmth, and her kindness; her initial shyness, and then great eagerness at having a relationship with him; the laughs and the kisses; hiding from her father. His heart breaks, and he cries inside silently.
"Darling," she says again, gasping. She closes her eyes, seeming to gather the will to speak. He implores her to keep quiet and save her strength, but she shakes her head weakly and continues,
"I am...leaving...this world...aren't...I?" The Kemtian can not dispute that, and he is terrified because of it. He loves her, and cannot imagine that she will die. So what if he is the god of death? He can not do anything. And besides, if – when – she dies, what will happen to their daughter? Who will care for their child? He cannot take her in, that he knows.
So what will happen to their beloved Auset?
"Anpu...I...always knew...you could not...stay. But...still, I...loved every...minute of...us. We-we have a...daughter." Neijiri smiles weakly. She pants, and her grip loosens. She is barely clinging to life when she says,
"And, I know...you can't...take her. But...just watch...over her...please." And with those words, the pieces of Neijiri's soul, her beautiful, wonderful soul, depart her body, leaving behind her lover and baby girl.
Anpu looks at his daughter again. He knows he will have to go soon, to help Ma'at at the scales. But he will stay for a while. This is his daughter; he should have some alone time with her. He picks her up, and she gurgles, unaware that her mother has just departed this life, and that her future is so uncertain. Anpu closes his eyes, and tears gather at the edges. He mourns not only his lover's death, but also his daughter's life, because he does not know what will become of her.
He brings his little Auset to his chest, and then pulls away for a brief second to blow on her. A black haze surrounds the baby for a moment, and then subsides. Anpu smiles at the child, who now has his blessing. Though she might not see him, he will always look after her. He gazes at her mother's body for a while, looking at the gold collar that had been a gift to her from him.
Carrying the child on his hip, he undoes the clasp. After writing on the back of it through mental power, he puts it in a basket he has conjured near the bed. He puts a pillow and blankets in the basket as well, arranging it to make it comfortable. Then he places his child in it. The baby girl seems sad at the loss of her father's hands, and begins to cry softly. Anpu puts a finger to her lips, and she quiets instantly. Then he places a kiss on her forehead.
Someday, my desert princess, he thinks, I will come for you. And all the gods will recognize you as mine.