Daughter of the Desert

by Alexia Goddess


Chapter One

I still couldn't believe it. I was actually here...Egypt! My whole life...nothing but dreaming of being here, standing where I was now, gazing up at the great sphinx. I cocked my head and tried to picture it, as it must have looked on its day of completion. The stone solid and whole, not a single grain of sand out of place. The great headdress on the head of the Pharaoh painted with gold and cobalt blue paints. The nose would still have been there, obviously. A proud nose it must have been, for such a grand ruler. Granted, all that `son of Ra, the sun god incarnate, no-one-but-family-can-touch-me-without-burning-up-so-I-gotta-marry-my-sister' thing was completely idiotic, but other than that...

The majesty of Egypt, the intricacy of its -however false- religions and complex god and goddess hierarchy was fascinating to me beyond belief. Ever since I had been a child, since that first informational video I had seen at my school in kindergarten, I had been hooked. At first it had been all the lovely jewelry. A unique flavor all its own. The importance of each and every piece of art that was created; be it a gilded mirror crafted for a queen, or a wooden doll carved for a child, or perhaps a clay pot a woman molded with her own hands. Then the rest of it had snagged me; the first civilization to use pen and paper, the art of mummification, surgery, real medicine. The craftsmanship, the schools, the rulers, the beauty they put on everything they crafted...

And now here I stood at the feet of one of the greatest structures known to man, past, present, and probably future. Tourists swarmed around me as I continued my work, brushing away dirt from the hieroglyphs that were at the base of the sphinx, under his head, between the two front arms, right at eyelevel. I threw an annoyed glare at the noisy sight seers that were a ways behind me, snapping pictures, laughing, eating lunch under the hot Egyptian sun, carelessly tossing chip bags and soda cans left and right. It made my blood boil, but I forced myself not to let something like that spoil my day.

I turned, continuing with long, gentle strokes with my brushes. They -the brushes- had been a gift from my aunt, whom was at a dig in Greece. She shared my love of archeology, though we differed in preferences in civilizations.

There. The dust that had accumulated since the last time -probably months ago, if ever- the etchings had been cleaned was brushed away. I put my brushes back in their plastic case and slipped it into my backpack. I crouched, wanting to start at the bottom, which I had uncovered first. I ran my fingers delicately, almost reverently over the curves and lines and loops and pictures engraved in the stone. My lips moved silently as I did so, my eyes tracing every bend and formation of the ancient text.

Barely a breath passed through my lips, but inside my head, where no one could hear me, I both read and simultaneously translated what I was reading. It was an ancient ward against khefts; evil spirits that would come and steal human souls for their own amusement. They were also said to roam around and have fun destroying monuments to kings.

This protective spell seemed to be designed against the evildoers from coming anywhere close to the structure, but bade them also to plague any human mischief makers that dare came near.

How was I able to read Egyptian so quickly and easily, without ever laying eyes on this section of text before? I didn't know. And I was only fifteen, too. It wasn't in my blood either; I didn't have a drop of Egyptian blood in me, much to my never-ending dismay. No, I was as opposite to an Egyptian as you could get. Blonde hair that was paler than the sands of the Egyptian deserts under the glare of the sun, kept long and thick at my mother's insistence, though I really didn't have to. Bright blue-green eyes that I was told were like a dragon's; stormy when I was mad, crystal, almost transparent in their lightness when I was happy. More of a green when I was being mischievous, secretive, or hiding something. And the darkest of blues when I was being moody or sad.

I had always kept my talent to myself. I didn't want fame, so what was the point? My father would have exploited my talent; my mother would have disowned me if she could (I exasperated her enough that I wore nothing but khakis and tank tops, and kept my `long, luxurious white-gold locks' in ponytails and messy single braids). I was too young to teach, and that was all if I could prove it. Most people would think it was just bits of gibberish I had picked up from Egyptian movies and documentaries and the rest made up. So, once again, what was the point?

And so I kept my talent to myself.

Looking back on that day, later, I would wonder if that had been a mistake. I wonder if things might have turned out differently if I had ever told...

My name is Maxine Durinski, and this is my story.

To Be Continued…