In Ancient Egypt, life as a slave is difficult. Rhapdosis longs for her freedom and a purpose beyond a house slave. When her master dies, everything changes. She is thrown into a world that she never could have prepared for, facing threats that she could never have imagined.
Categories: Original Fiction Characters:
Drama, Fantasy, Historical, RomanceStory Status:
Adult Situations, Character Death, Dark Fic, Drugs/Drug Use
May 08 2019 Updated:
August 01 2019
This story has been helping me get back into the habit of writing.
There will be some dark themes and moments. I will give as much notice/warning as I can. I will make them "skipable" to avoid anyones triggers.
I realize as I write this story I have/will be taking tremendous liberties with Ancient Eguptian culture. I hope that I am not offending anyone out there. If you know any fun facts feel free to share! I love discovering new things.
On Watt Pad/Twitter (@ElizeyWrites)
1. The Death of a General by ElisesThoughts
2. The Dissolving of an Estate by ElisesThoughts
3. The Palace by ElisesThoughts
4. The Vizier by ElisesThoughts
5. The Palace by ElisesThoughts
6. The Royal Proclamation by ElisesThoughts
7. The Departure by ElisesThoughts
8. The Road by ElisesThoughts
9. The Healer's Tent by ElisesThoughts
10. The Connections by ElisesThoughts
11. The Feast by ElisesThoughts
12. The Nile by ElisesThoughts
13. The Nile pt.2 by ElisesThoughts
14. The Great Pyramid by ElisesThoughts
The Death of a General by ElisesThoughts
When Rhapdosis did dream, it was always of a beach. The first thing that she noticed in her dream would be the warmth that she felt. She loved the imagined feeling of the bright mid-morning sun gently caressing her face. Then, she would feel the lazy breeze that swam through her wild curls; normally bound in the real world, they were free to dance with the wind in her dreams. Next, she slowly opened her eyes. A beautifully blue sky protected her while the crystal-clear cerulean water lapped at her toes.
This place was the home she never knew. This place was the land she dreamed of returning to.
She dug her hands into the silky sand and threw her head back allowing the sun more access to her skin. She smiled in anticipation of what was coming next.
“There’s my little fish.”
The figures were always blurred. Her memories of that time were formed from a brain so young. She didn’t remember what her mother looked like.
“Our little fish” a deeper voice responded.
She didn’t remember what her father looked like.
Then the clouds rolled in.
Rhapdosis shot up in her stiff pallet breathing heavily. She placed her hand over her rapidly beating heart. Once she was able to regain control of its’ wild beating, she let her eyes focus on the room. The small window in the clay wall allowed her to see that the sun was just beginning to peak out of the horizon. It would be time to awaken soon. Rhapdosis stretched as her bones cracked preparing for a day in her Master’s home. She slowly slid out of bed to avoid waking up the other girls in the room. Rhapdosis was well past her puberty years. Whereas most masters would have either mated her with another slave at this point (or a more sadistic Master might do it himself) for more slaves, The General was not that kind of man.
Rhapdosis has belonged to him for almost two decades. He was one of the men who led the invasion in her homeland. Her people were known for their dark skin, light eyes, and warrior spirit. The rebellion led by her kinsmen was put down with much difficulty. There were large losses by the rarely defeated Egyptian Army. According to the general, her people’s rebellion changed the way that the Pharaoh ruled the smaller tribes and definitely how they engaged with them in war. It was the highest respect a man like The General would ever give to “traitors”.
Rhapdosis was barely beyond her toddler years when she was taken in by The General. While The General never discussed the War with her, he let her know that he promised to keep her safe. Over the years Rhapdosis was able to piece enough of her origins together. She forced herself to believe that the bits and pieces of her heritage would be enough to feel a connection to her people. She knew her father was of some importance in her tribe. Many of the Egyptian war leaders wanted to destroy his whole family line to discourage further rebellion. Over the years, their visits to the General's estate made Rhapdosis available for their vile comments about her people's fate and what they could do to her now that she was in the capitol with them.
The General never forced himself on her, nor would he allow anyone else to. Despite multiple requests from honored, wealthy guests, The General never let anyone touch her. Her innocence was to be given to someone The General deemed worthy. As a confused young girl, she begged The General to be the one to do it himself. Slave girls’ quarters were filled with horrifying tales of what men did to women. Especially slave women who did not receive the respect of an Egyptian citizen. Rhapdosis knew The General would not hurt her. She would never forget the out right shock on his face when she finally gained the courage to ask him in his study. It would have been comical had she not used all the courage her 13-year-old body had to simply ask. After his initial shock, The General laughed.
“Child, I am honored by your request. However, an old man like me has no business with you.” He said through a wide smile. His grey beard stretched almost to his ears when he smiled.
“Tell that to Master Karapet” she mumbled, referring to the notorious elderly leech. The man was known to purchase young girls for nights. Rhapdosis herself, had been commanded to take the long way to market to avoid passing his home. The Masters were not known to ask for things. Once The General had refused Karapet’s offer for Rhapdosis, he was angry. He could not steal her since she belonged to another however, if he had captured her, there would be very little she could do. The General might have had respect for her but in the eyes of the Egyptians she was just a slave. A foreign slave. Slaves were forbidden from harming Egyptian citizens. If Karapet had Rhapdosis she could be killed for fighting back.
“One day child, you will be given to someone who is worth that gift. Someone who could protect you.”
“You mean sold to.” Rhapdosis ground out.
“Do not forget your place, child.” The General snapped, his dark eyes cut over to her, “You are a slave because your people were traitors. You are here because of my kindness. You have that mouth because of my weakness. I am doing you a favor by ensuring that you have a future. Without me, you would be dead. I am going to get you the best life a slave can have. I owe that much.”
Rhapdosis was unsure if that last sentence was spoken to her as his voice dropped suddenly. She allowed the subject to drop. He was right. Many Masters would have chopped off a finger or simply beat her into submission long ago, regardless of age or sex. The General always did have a soft spot for her. She had received her fare share of whippings. Her mouth often got her into trouble.
Rhapdosis however never stopped dreaming of her freedom. Slaves being granted freedom rarely happened. Escape was almost impossible and swiftly punished. Rebellion was long ago rooted out. The last slave uprising was before even the General rose to power and it was still whispered about. The Pharaoh ordered every slave in any household that produced even one rebellious slave executed. Their bodies lined the main street until they had been nothing but bone.
Shaking herself out of her thoughts she tip-toed through the bodies of the young girls on the floor and out of the door. Heading to the kitchens to start the day, Rhapdosis passed the boys’ room and peaked her head in. Jordan, an Egyptian slave was awake and staring out of the window lost in thought. She watched him from the door quietly. Jordan was handsome. He had wavy black hair loosely confined to a small ponytail at the base of his neck. A muscular back formed from years of outdoor labour trailed down to long and powerful legs. In another lifetime, Rhapdosis always believed that they would live together, have beautiful babies. She knew the punishment for any slave to lay with a female slave without permission was death. So, she kept her distance.
“Good Morning,” She whispered loud enough for him to hear but hopefully not loud enough to wake the other sleeping boys.
He turned around slowly revealing well toned muscle tapering down to a slim waist. His linen skirt hung low on his hips.
Rhapdosis forced her eyes to remain above his neck.
“Ice” He whispered the name that Egyptians preferred to call her, eyes softening at her appearance. He slowly made his way over. “Morning.” A lazy smile slid across his lips.
His hand reached out to tuck away a curl that had escaped the tight braid her hair was confined to. She leaned into the touch for a fraction of a second before stepping away. They were both brought in young. Rhapdosis, a foreign slave stolen from her homeland and Jordan, sold to the General to cover his parents mounting debts. It was no surprise they found comfort in each other.
“Don’t do that.” She said frowning. She ignored the small flutter in her chest that was always present around him. “I won’t allow anything to happen to you before you’re free.”
Because Jordan was an Egyptian citizen, he had the right to earn his freedom. His family had been saving up once their debt was paid. Jordan had skills as a blacksmith, his father’s trade, so he was able to earn money with the permission of The General. His 20th name day was approaching and so was earning his freedom.
“I will buy you when I am free. We will be free together. We can live together. No one will ever punish us again.” He said stepping closer to her, removing the space between them.
Rhapdosis’ eyes fell to a familiar scar on his cheek. The one he received from a vicious beating by one of the General’s enforcers who caught them kissing in their younger years. Rhapdosis herself still carried a scar across her back from the lashing that was put to her.
“That won’t happen, and you know it.” She frowned. She long ago stopped believing in fairy tales. “You’re a citizen. Your family won’t allow it. I’m just a foreign slave.”
She put her hand up stopping the argument that was surely coming from him.
“I have accepted my life. There is still hope for yours.”
She turned swiftly from him finding comfort in the complete hopelessness of her situation instead of dealing with the terrifying feeling of hope. At 16 the idea would have roused her. After two decades as a slave, she accepted that hope was a useless emotion.
Rhapdosis made her way down to the open courtyard and met with Hapethset, the head of the house. He was The General’s oldest slave. Both Hapetset and the General raised on the estate together. After a few glasses of wine, Hapetset was known to tell drunken stories of he and The General's younger days. The tales were full of scandal that was hard to reconcile with the stoic "old man" that The General had become. Now, Hapetset ran his house for him. Every morning they each went to The General’s chamber to wake him up and prepare for the day. This morning ws no different as Hapethset was already in the courtyard inspecting for an invisible flaw.
“Sir,” she said in greeting with a sligh bow. While ornery, he was always respectful. Disrespect was the quickest way to get on his bad side.
Hapethset returned the greeting with a slight bow of his head and turned sharply. Following his footsteps, they made their way to their Master’s suite.
It was unusually quiet in The General’s suite. The man himself was an early riser and it was rare that he needed to be roused to start the day. The General’s wife was at the Palace. She was a well respected lady in the Queen’s court so she would not be there. Her snoring was often the first thing that Rhapdosis would hear from the hall.
“General?” Rhapdosis called as she slid the door open allowing Hapethset entry first.
“General?” Hapetset, echoed her call as they made their way further into his chambers.
The first thing that she noticed was that he was still in bed, a rareity. As they got closer, Rhapdosis felt her heart rate speed up. He wasn’t moving.
“General?” She said again her voice coming out shakily. She stopped moving. Hapetset, in contrast continued his approach.
She watched as he gingerly put fingers to his neck and held a hand above his mouth.
He wasn’t breathing.
She looked at The General. While he always seemed old to her, his presence was that of vitality. Now, he looked small, grey, and ancient. The wrinkles more pronounced. His skin was ashen. Rhapdosis never really had to process death like this. Up close and personal. She never thought about The General dying. What was going to happen to them? What was going to happen to her?
“Rhapdosis” Hapetset’s deep weary voice broke the silence. “Send word to the palace. The General is dead.”
Here it is. I may have a second chapter up by the end of the week as a tease! But, my goal is to have Wednesday be my update day. I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Please leave comments/reviews.
The Dissolving of an Estate by ElisesThoughts
The bonus chapter I promised. I am so excited about this story. Thank you to BLESSED SOUL , my first offical review. I'm glad you like it and now you'll forever have a place in my heart!
“Male child, 7 summers”
“Market.” Was the nasally response.
“Stable hand, 14 summers.”
“Kitchen woman, 30 summers.”
“Is she attractive?” the bored voice rang out.
“If you like your women hippopotamus sized.” Came the reply.
“Market.” The voice called in response. “Where is the pretty one that he’s been keeping to himself? With the eyes?”
Rhapdosis’ heart sped up at the casual reference to her. She, along with a few of the other house slaves were huddled in a doorway out of sight of the two men sent to handle the Estate left behind by The General. Men in military gear were carrying various items out of the house. Some were being sold, some given away, while others were going to be placed in the General’s tomb for his journey into the Afterlife.
It had been two weeks since The General’s sudden death. The Lady of the House only came by once.
One could look at The Lady and know she must’ve been a great beauty in her time. She had pale skin that was slowly showing signs of her age. Tall, thin and elegant she sat gracefully at the side of her husbands’ form wrapped in the mourning shawl. Her lips were drawn in a thin line. The slight wrinkles around her mouth and lips showed traces of smiles and laughs past.
Rhapdosis had never seen either of those from her personally. The Lady was not cruel to Rhapdosis nor any slave. The General wouldn’t have allowed it. She, like most high-born Egyptians, treated her slaves as the slaves they were. She looked at cold body of her husband and then her eyes met those of Rhapdosis.
“A slave girl crying over her master?” Her icy voice slid over the words. “I wonder what is going to happen to you?”
“My lady?” Rhapdosis rubbed her red eyes. She couldn’t honestly say if she was crying over her dead master or her unknown future.
“The Royal Vizier has kindly offered to handle this Estate. I have no interest. Wehave no children.”She bit out, “The Queen has requested that I stay with her now and I don’t see a reason not to. I’ve told him to sell what he can. I will be taking everything I need with me.”
With that, she turned from the room.
The Lady commanded Rhapdosis to pack up her clothes, a few items, and shoes to send to the palace. Along with two servant girls, and the head Kitchen slave, she left the estate.
Rhapdosis buried the hope that The Lady would take her along. She never liked that her husband allowed Rhapdosis such freedoms and treated her kindly. Rhapdosis wondered if she would ever see any of them again.
“The Vizier wants that one to himself.”
Rhapdosis felt the eyes of the other slave girls snap to her. She put a smile on her face to hide her terror. Her memories of the Royal Vizier were not pleasant ones.
“Well at least that means I’ll live in the palace.” She whispered to the other girls. Some were older than her, most were younger.
“Do I need to go find her first? I can warm her up for him.” The man replied, something dark coloring his tone.
Rhapdosis’ heart continued to race.
Should I run for it?
The errant thought was erased as soon as it popped into her brain. One look at the innocent faces around her made her realize that it was impossible.
“Don’t think even think about it. The Vizier wants her untouchedlike The General bragged. Plus, she is the only one left who knows where everything is and goes.”
Rhapdosis was able to calm herself with that news. At least she’ll be in once piece before she is sold.
“Who’s left to sell?”
“There’s the blacksmith. He’s Egyptian. The slaves say he’s to buy his freedom soon.”
There was a thoughtful pause.
“Offer him his freedom today in exchange for a promise of work this harvest season.”
Rhapdosis smiled. At least there was some good news around all this death and destruction. Leaving the girls to listen out for their fate and the fate of the others, she made her way back inside the house where men were bustling about to sort items of value. Occasionally they stopped her to ask her questions but for the most part she was left alone to handle the personal effects left behind of the General and to give the Vizier’s men anything of value or appeared to be important. This task would have been Hapetsets’ had he been here. Rhapdosis’ eyes began to water as she thought back to the other man who raised her.
Hapetset volunteered to accompany the General to the afterlife. No one was surprised. Even though he did not show it, Rhapdosis believed that The General’s death was hardest on his childhood friend. When a man like the General died, it was not uncommon for ten or twenty servants to accompany him. Along with his favorite Hounds, some cats for protection, wealth, and furnishings, The General needed all of these for his eternity of peace. Prior to his death, The General stated that he didn’t want servants with him in the afterlife.
“I finally want to be left alone and in peace.” He teased.
Hapetset argued with the priests the best he could to honor his masters’ wishes. The Priests demanded that the appropriate number of slaves be sent to accompany a man of his position. A compromise was struck. Hapetset and 2 others that had been raised with The General volunteered. The final servant was one sent from the palace dungeons. He had stolen from the royal family and his punishment was this.
Rhapdosis remembered hugging Hapetset for the last time. His words forever ringing in her ears.
“I never told you this but hear me. When the master brought you home the first time, I told him to throw you in the Nile.” When Rhapdosis moved to respond he hugged her tighter, “One look at you and I knew you would forever be trouble and I was right.” He said with a laugh.
“There is something you don’t know. The General kept you alive for a reason. You are not just a slave.” Hapetset slid something cold into her hand. “This is yours, it’s from your homeland. Your beauty is a gift, but it will be a curse without us here to protect you. Be smart Rhapdosis.” He released her.
Rhapdosis looked in her hand to see a glistening cerulean jewel hung from a frayed rope. The jewel shimmered in the afternoon sun. She had seen her share of fine jewelry in her 20 years as a house slave to one of the most respected generals in all of Egypt. Yet, she had never seen any stone like the one now dangling in front of her. The item hypnotized her as soon as she laid her eyes upon it. Bringing it closer to her eyes for inspection, she stood transfixed. Rhapdosis would almost swear that she saw the insides of the jewel swimming. But that couldn’t be right, jewels didn’t have “insides”. Snapping out of her trance, she looked at Hapetset in shock.
“You may not care because you are heading to the afterlife sooner than me, but I cannot believe this is how you choose to get me killed!” Rhapdosis hissed at him. After trying and failing to get Hapetset to take back the jewel, she hastily stuffed it into the thin lining of the bandages binding her chest under her thin shift. “A slave holding any type of jewelry as that, death. A slave hiding jewelry, death. A slave possessing jewelry she definitely could not have purchased, death. A slave stealing jewelry, because that’s what they will think when they find it, death!”
Hapetset cut his eyes at her. “You have done many things in your younger summers that in any other household would have resulted in death.Now, you stand before me, almost a woman, and you’re scared of hiding a jewel? Where is the girl I had to give a thrashing to for hiding and sneaking food to prisoners? The girl who freed The General’s horse when he was to be put down? And these are only the things that you were caught doing! I know you have been able to hide many things from us for years.”
“I had to grow up. I learned that some consequences are not worth it.” She looked down in shame as she thought back to Jordan.
Hapetset lifted her chin gently with a wrinkled hand. A look of pity filled his eyes, making him look much older than when he was joking with her.
“Had master been home, the punishment would not have been so severe. You deserve happiness, Ice.”
“If everyone got what they deserved, the world would be a much different place.” She said coldly.
Hapetset looked as if he was going to reply to that comment, instead he said, “My time on this side is coming to an end. Slaves aren’t allowed in the temple where the ceremony and entombment will happen. This is goodbye. I don’t know much about that stone, your people, or where you’re from. I do know that The General did the best he could with you in his situation. This may help you reconnect. Even if it doesn’t, you deserve to have something of your own.”
He pulled Rhapdosis into another hug, this one much more brief than the first.
“Last thing child,” he said as he released her for her final reprimand, “Watch your mouth.”
Back in the Courtyard, Jordan was being informed of his fate. His heat sored to hear that the freedom that had been out of reach for years was now here. Months ahead of schedule. He could already see the smile on his mother face, the pride in his father’s eyes. He even had a little sister he now would get a chance to meet.
“Do you agree to the Vizier’s terms?” the small nasally man said to Jordan in a way that made him believe that it might not have been the first time that he posed the question to him.
“Good, he will be pleased.” The small man pushed a small bag of coins into Jordan’s hands. “Here is your freeman’s tax. On the first day of Harvest, you are expected at the royal blacksmiths’”
He let out an uncharacteristic whoop of excitement. Some of The General’s slaves who were littered about the open courtyard clapped in excitement and offered words of congratulations to him. His eyes searched for the one person he wanted to see the most.
“I would like to purchase Rhapdosis.” Jordan spoke, turning to the two men that had returned to the task of separating the household. At the man’s confusion, Jordan continued,
“Rhapdosis, young house slave, about 20 summers, sky eyes, if you are selling them at market, I would like to buy her here.”
The men exchanged sadistic smiles at one another as they realized who the young blacksmith was referring to.
“Now what could a poor blacksmith, from a poor family, with no house of his own, want with a beautiful house slave?” The man who had yet to speak to Jordan mused aloud.
“I can think of a few things, “came the little man’s response, “I know what I would do to her.”
Jordan took a threatening step forward. Instinctively, the small man took one back.
“She’s not for sale, blacksmith.” The other man interjected, “The Royal Vizier’s house hold needs her, specifically.The Lady of the House sold her to him already. I doubt you could afford a fraction of what that girl costs. Now, I suggest you walk out of here a free man instead of being dragged out back in chains.” With that the tall man glided out of the courtyard as the smaller man scurried behind him.
Jordan had no doubt that the man would follow through on his words if provoked. He was going to walk out a free man. He just had one thing to do first.
He found her sitting in Hapetset’s chambers. He didn’t disturb her at first. Growing up, she was rarely quiet. After the incident, she seemed to grow quieter. The ones who didn’t know her called it maturity. The ones that did, didn’t have a name for it but knew the cloud that hung over her was not a sign of maturity.
Today her hair was tucked under a dirty rag. Jordan knew it was to diminish the attention she received normally. It did nothing to hide her beauty. Her skin was a dark brown that glistened in the sunlight she was basking in at the small window. The blue eyes that were such a rarity in Egypt dance as she stared at nothing in the distance. The shift that the house slaves wore did little to flatter any figure, but it could not hide the roundness of her hips and backside nor the fullness of her chest. The small pudge of a well-fed slave rested lightly behind the material of the shift.
Jordan entered the room quietly. He was a large man that did heavy, demanding physical labor. Rhapdosis’ thoughts were keeping her other senses dull. Another time would have him arguing with her about her lack of awareness. This time, he hoped it would never end. He was almost within grabbing distance of her before she was even aware she wasn’t alone.
She gasped at Jordan’s sudden and silent appearance. He smiled at her like he always did. This time, there was a hint of sadness behind the warm brown eyes.
With that, she knew he knew.
“I’m free, Ice.”
She smiled at him. Her own feelings confused her. She was elated that Jordan was going to be free. It was the best news anyone had since the death of The General. There was another emotion swirling in the pit of her stomach gnawing at her heart. Something insidious, dark, and painful. Determined not to ruin a happy moment, she straightened her back and pushed away that feeling in her belly. She could analyze it another time.
“I’m so happy for you.” It was easy for her to say because she truly meant it. No one deserved it more.
She turned her radiant smile onto Jordan and his heart sped up. Nothing beat this feeling that she gave him with just a smile. She was so beautiful. Her face had a childlike softness that should have gone away at her age, but it hadn’t. The result was large chubby cheeks with a dimple on the right side. Full lips encased a dazzling smile. She should not be a slave was Jordan’s repeated thought as he gathered himself. He had to shake the effect that she had on him off before he could continue.
“I wanted to buy you-“
She cut him off before he could continue. “Stop that. Be happy for you.” She poked at his bare chest, “One life isn’t ruined. You get to be free, have a family, a wife-“
Now it was his turn to cut her off.
“I don’t want any of that without you” he grabbed her finger that was poking at his chest and pulled her closer.
She was so much smaller than him.
“I love you, Ice. Come with me.” She pulled away from him as if he burned her.
“Don’t be a fool.” She spat. This would be hard. Her whole life was hard. Rhapdosis wondered if she would ever be able to rest. She promised herself she wouldn’t get lost in useless emotions. The last time she did. Both of them could have died.
Love? She was a slave.
Hope? She was a slave.
Peace and rest? She was a slave.
Anger. Resentment. Those she could use.
Jordan was an Egyptian. Even if he did spend most of his youth as a slave he was an Egyptian one. He had a family that visited that he would be able to return to. He had a skill that would always provide for him. He would never be able to understand. He handled his life with the carefree arrogance only an Egyptian could possess.
What did she have? Good looks? A curse for any woman. It was almost certainly a death sentence or dooming her to other unimaginable horrors for a woman that was a slave.
“I’m not. I love you! I do! We could- “
Rhapdosis gathered her anger and resentment around her like a blanket on a cold night. “What could we do Jordan? Runaway together? I’m a slave. It is a death sentence for me and everyone else that comes from this house! You, the Egyptian would maybe stand a chance. I’m a foreign slave. I stand out everywhere. They would have me in days. For what? Love?” Rhapdosis rolled her eyes to keep from crying, “I’d rather be alive. I’d rather you be alive. “She turned away from him.
She had to focus on pushing away her darkest thoughts. It had become harder and harder to do so. She felt his arms wrap around her. He rested his chin comfortably on top of her head.
“You never said you didn’t love me”
When Rhapdosis moved to do just that he dropped his forehead to her shoulder.
“I don’t want you to say that now. I need you to hear me. I will save you Ice. We will be free together.”
Rhapdosis closed her eyes to hold the tears back. She pressed her back into Jordan’s front as he held her. She would allow herself this moment. She may never see him again. A large part of her hoped she wouldn’t. She didn’t think she could stand to see him free and have to see the pity in his eyes while she was still in shackles. Her mind forced images of the two of them, on her magic beach and happy. A curly headed child clinging to his father while his mother did the same. Happy, warn, content. When she opened her eyes, she looked over the city as the sun set in the horizon. This was the city that she was trapped in. This was the city that she would most likely die in. She welcomed the cold sting of the reality that she forced even her thoughts to live in now.
She turned around and put her hands on his chest. Jordan allowed her to push him back.
“The wagons will be here to take the last of us to the palace tonight everyone else is going to the Market tomorrow. You may want to say the rest of your farewells.” She said to him, refusing to meet his gaze.
“This is not me saying a farewell to you Rhapdosis.” Jordan said to her. He surprised her with the steel in his words as he said them, “I will see you again.”
Before she could react, he grabbed her again and forced his lips on hers. She gave into the kiss briefly before she could evaluate the consequences of their actions. He tore away from her suddenly and violently, both of their breathing ragged.
“I will see you again.” He said one last time then, he left.
The Palace by ElisesThoughts
Happy Wednesday! This chapter felt so long that I thought about splitting it in two. I just couldn't stop writing once I really got into it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Rhapdosis’ head turned sharply as Vea, the hateful head maid, slapped her.
“Watch your mouth, you ajnabi khataht.”The middle aged woman had surprising strength behind her sinewy limbs.
Rhapdosis smashed her lips together to bite back her next response. She had been called a foreign bitch many times. This would not be the last.
“Watch your mouth. Watch your mouth. Watch your mouth.” She repeated internally.
Her first day in the royal palace was not going smoothly.
Rhapdosis righted herself, blinking furiously to avoid the tears that raced to her eyes from falling. She would not cry in front of this old khataht.
Steeling herself, Rhapdosis again locked eyes with Vea. She might not talk back again, but she was not going to apologize.
“You will do as you are told, wearing what you are told to wear, at the moment you are told to do so. If not, I will personally send you to that whore house you’re begging for,” Vea stepped closer, “I will make sure they take all the lip out of you.” Tossing the thin garment at Rhapdosis, Vea turned sharply on her heel exiting the bathing chambers that contained Rhapdosis and the few other female slaves taken into the house of the Vizier.
No one spoke as the footsteps faded down the hallway.
“I wish we went to market, they will do what they want with us here,” Came a whispered voice.
All eyes fell on her as the group of women looked to the speaker.
It escaped no one’s notice that all of the 10 slaves who had been brought to the Vizier’s house were all young and attractive. The speaker was one of the youngest of them, no more than 15 summers. She seemed to be of Egyptian descent. Straight black hair and big brown eyes made her look like a child. Her blossoming figure reminded many she was not.
She was shaking like a reed on the Nile as she held the thin shift in her hands.
The offending slip was the reason that Rhapdosis’ mouth ran away from her.
She, along with the other girls, had been stripped and roughly bathed the moment they stepped off the wagon to their master’s home. Throughout the rough treatment, she said nothing. She was determined to make Hapetset proud. She would not disturb his peace in the Afterlife.
She tried every strategy that was taught to her throughout her rebellious youth. When her clothes were ripped off in front of the head of house, the evil Vea, and a host of other slaves and guards, she counted as many numbers as she knew while they evaluated her like a piece of meat. When her hair was pulled out of her tight braids as they scrubbed her violently from head to toe, she recited the story of Ra over and over. She even pinched her thigh in sets of 5 when she felt was left of her precarious self-control slipping as unfamiliar hands rubbed her with strong smelling oils and shaved her entire body from the neck down. The new uniform however, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Naked, exhausted, violated, scared, and very angry, the words were out of her mouth before she had even realized they had been spoken.
“If the Vizier just wanted whores why did he bother with more house slaves?” Rhapdosis said in disgust of the revealing uniform. She was immediately slapped. The material was the thinnest linen that they had ever seen. Rhapdosis could see the skin on her hand through the garment with ease. It was the color of the sands and shimmered lightly in the light. Scandalously short, the dress was designed with slits on the side allowing for freedom of movement but also an unprecedented amount of thigh was revealed. Large swaths of material where a front and back of a dress would normally hide a girl’s modesty were missing. In the General’s home, the slaves were dressed modestly and comfortably. Long robes for the women, short thick linen skirts for the men. Slaves were not meant to draw attention to themselves. It seemed like whatever role the young women were to play was not one where they would go unnoticed.
“I’m so scared.” The same girl who had spoken to the silent room before continued to give voice to everyone’s feelings. The girl started crying softly.
Slowly, all the girls in the room began to pull on the offensive slip. The room was silent as everyone was lost in their thoughts. With a resigned sigh, Rhapdosis did the same. Once dressed, she made her way to the crying girl. Thea, she believed her name was. She used to be a weaver and field hand at the General’s estate so Rhapdosis never knew her very well.
“Don’t cry,” Rhapdosis placed an awkward arm around the girl, “it could be worse, they could have sent us to the mines.” Her attempt at humor fell abysmally flat.
“I would prefer death over this.” The girl sobbed, louder this time. “I miss my mother!” Sobs wracked her thin frame.
Rhapdosis pulled her closer allowing her to cry, she did not have any advice to offer the girl. Rhapdosis had entertained that thought and darker ones many times since the General’s death.
“Shut her up before she gets us all killed.” Came a harsh whisper.
This voice Rhapdosis did know.
“Typhone, she’s a child. I know it’s been a while since you’ve had a heart but try to care about someone besides yourself.” Rhapdosis hit back.
Typhone and Rhapdosis were around the same age and both ajnabi. They were forced together often as they grew up to show off the prowess of The General. It was rare to have two beautiful foreign slaves in a house. Only the Pharaoh and greater lords could claim such a thing. Rhapdosis’ dark beauty was contrasted by Typhone’s pale beauty. Unlike Rhapdosis, Typhone was sold to The General by a Roman ambassador to curry favor in war around the time she was 13. Typhone always knew her role as a status symbol and was comfortable. Higher than a common kitchen or house slave, but still a slave, Typhone always had a stuck-up personality and was lazy. After The General’s death, her position was thrown into chaos as well.
Rhapdosis trailed her eyes over her. Oiled, washed, and dressed in the thin shift, she was restored to her full beauty. Her gorgeous blonde hair was piled on top of her head and confined with a think leather strap. It took a closer look at the dark circles under her pale eyes, and faint bruises on her legs to see the wear of the last few weeks’ events on her. Rhapdosis felt an unfamiliar twinge of guilt when it came to her archenemy. Typhone was lashing out because she was scared too.
“I have a heart that I would like to continue to beat. I will not be cut down in a slave’s bathroom because she cannot stop crying,” Typhone bit back.
Rhapdosis’ response was cut short as the sound of jingling and footsteps drew everyone’s attention.
The head of house appeared. An older bald man, he stood rather short and pudgy. He wore the traditional skirt and belt however he had chest straps indicating his rank and position in the Vizier’s home. Despite his shorter stature, he had a commanding presence. Mouth set in a hard line, he ran a critical eye over all the women in the room. His eyes lingered on Rhapdosis first her hair, then her face, then a slow trail down the rest of her. She reflexively crossed her arms in front of her, trying to provide more coverage than allowed by the dress. She felt naked.
“You, Khem,” he said pointing to Rhapdosis, “bind your hair.”
Taken aback by the derogatory term for her dark skin, Rhapdosis’ jaw dropped. She barely had time to think before the man threw something in her direction. A thin strap of leather landed at her feet.
Rhapdosis recovered quickly, picking up the string.
Rhapdosis had thick curly hair that brushed the top of her chest. It took hours to dry at any given time. She was grateful to at least have been given the order while it was still damp. She did not know how the man would react to the time and struggle that would be Rhapdosis trying to manipulate the mass on top of her head dry.If she had to guess, she assumed his reaction would be violent.
Assured that she had taken to the task, the man gestured at something in the hallway that the girls could not see. Three female slaves entered the room carrying various objects. They were not dressed as were the girls from the General’s house Rhapdosis noticed as she worked her fingers through her hair, detangling as she went. The first had a large trunk that despite its size she did not struggle to carry. The second slave had a box containing various jars, while the last slave placed a smaller trunk, though similar in design on the ground.
Just as Rhapdosis tied a knot around the braid, the trunks were opened revealing the contents. The large trunk contained traditional Egyptian wigs, while the smaller contained various pieces of what looked like jewelry. As the box containing the jars was unpacked, Rhapdosis realized that it was the infamous face paint that the Palace women were known for. In what she had heard of palace life from the slaves that had visited with the General and his wife were what she thought were just exaggerated like fisherman’s tales. She would never imagine slaves wearing jewelry and face paint. She had sewn the mysterious jewel from her homeland into the scarf she wore to cover her hair in the General’s home. She nearly panicked when the removed it from her hair they were careless ass the tossed it away from her not seeing the jewel. She was able to retrieve it after her bathing in the guise of drying her hair with the rag. Her heart had not stopped beating. The jewel was now tucked safely in the braid that now contained her hair.
The slaves were now handing out the wigs to the girls. The skipped over Typhone who was annoyingly smug. What Rhapdosis thought was jewelry was being also being passed around. The jewelry reached her before the slave that was passing out the wigs did. She was given one thick golden circlet that appeared to be a necklace and four smaller ones that jingled with each small movement. Rhapdosis fingered the larger of the items first. A cold feeling spread throughout her body as she fingered the designs on the necklace. It glistened a soft gold that did not shine brightly. The light provided by the torches on the wall danced menacingly on its surface.
That cold feeling turned into one of disgust as she realized what the design on the necklace was. She applied pressure to a small ridge she felt on the rim of the necklace. As the necklace split in two, she realized that it was not a necklace at all.
It was a collar.
Bile rose in her throat as a darkness settled over her thoughts. The reality of her situation was hopeless. Maybe Thea was right, death would be better.
“Put them on.” Came the Head’s voice.
Rhapdosis didn’t have to look up to feel the weight of his stare on her form. This was the worse type of punishment that she had ever been through. She had seen her fair share of lashings and worse. But nothing compared to the feeling of shackling yourself. Marking your place as someone else’s property cause a flurry of emotions in Rhapdosis that she had never felt before.
She found herself again pushing down vomit as her unsteady hands fastened the collar around her neck. At the click of the two sides connecting, the sting of tears pushed against her eyes. A sudden yank by the collar that she just snapped cause her to yelp out loud. The head of house had pulled her up by her collar. She yelped loudly immediately gaining everyone’s attention. Her hands flailed wildly looking for purchase. The hard material held her weight painfully at her neck. She grabbed the collar with both hands to relieve the pressure. She was able to get her feet steady. The Head of house was no taller than Rhapdosis, so she was bent awkwardly at the waist, intentionally holding her at the uncomfortable angle. Violently and suddenly snatched from her thoughts as she was, the tears flowed freely from her eyes. She could not fight them. For the first time since she had been viciously taken from her homeland, Rhapdosis felt truly terrified. The memory of that incident was always fuzzy, but she always remembered the fear she felt. Even that fear faded over time. This fear was new.
“I heard you have a mouth on you.” He snarled at Rhapdosis, shaking her slightly to ensure her attention was fully on him. “If the Vizier didn’t have a special interest in you, I would have shown you what we do to mouths that don’t listen.” The Vizier laughed evilly at the petrified look on her face. With Rhapdosis still in his grasp he addressed the room of scared girls.
“I have heard that the General allowed his slaves some comforts and freedoms.” He ground out, “We do not award this type of behavior in the palace. You belong to the Vizier and I am his hand here. You have been chosen to work and live in the house of a God. You get to belong to the right hand of a God. Do not forget that ingratitude is a sin. You are in the House of the Grand Vizier. We cannot allow this behavior in his home. Show ingratitude for you position and you will be facing a punishment you won’t soon forget.” At this he released Rhapdosis.
She scurried away from him and pressed herself against the cold wall by the other girls. She felt Thea grab her hand. Rhapdosis couldn’t tell which one of them was shaking.
“You will be prepared for presentation to the Vizier at his dinner tonight there, you will be assigned your duties by the Vizier himself. You should be honored such a great man will personally decide your fate. Ingratitude is a sin. Sora will lead you out when we are ready for you.” The slave woman Sora stepped forward as the Vizier exited the room.
A strange sound somewhere between a whimper and a gasp escaped Rhapdosis as soon as she could breathe. She realized she had been holding her breath since he had grabbed her. No one spoke as the other slave women continued to pass out wigs as if nothing happened.
The Grand Vizier was having a great night. The General that had been a thorn in his side for years had finally done him the favor of dying last moon. He had been entertaining the idea of simply ridding himself of the nuisance however he was saved the hassle. The Pharaoh, who was growing more and more unwound, was listening more to him Ghebnut, than he was the priest Aksept. Teb, the other advisor was aging and could easily be convinced to Ghebnut’s side if he was given the right motivations.
Along with the General’s timely death, was the perk of the sudden opportunity to dissolve his estate. With Pharaoh increasingly leaning to his Vizier for advice, the queen did so as well. The Vizier chuckled to himself as he recalled the ease, he had manipulating the Queen and the General’s widow.
He proudly surveyed his dining hall, a buzz with guests and merrymakers. He hated this part of being a part of the Royal Court. Entertaining people who weren’t worth his time felt beneath him. He assured himself that this time of foolishness would come to an end soon enough. The Vizier could admit however, he enjoyed showing off every now and then. He took a deep drink from his goblet and sat it on the table. Scanning over his guests, he noted the people of import there.
His first wife sat at her table surrounded by her courtiers and the General’s wife while some of his favorites from his harem loitered around him. He raised a glass to Caius, the roman senator and Praetor who was becoming more and more useful. His eyes locked with a dark figure standing towards the back of the hall. A self-satisfied smirk returned to his face as he mockingly raised a glass to the man. In no surprise to him, the man turned from the Vizier and melted into the shadows.
The Vizier slammed his cup on the table. How dare he disrespect the Grand Vizier in his own home? One of the women jumped at the sudden action.
“Are you okay my love?” she questioned pushing her chest against his arm.
Annoyed at the fact that the Priest who disrespected him so openly was one of the few people he could not openly retaliate against the Grand Vizier searched for distraction. Seeing his faithful head servant, the Vizier beckoned him over with a raise of the fingers.
“Are they ready?” he asked him.
“Yes, Vizier.” He said after bowing deeply to him.
“Bring them in, I’m getting bored.” He said dejectedly. He stood up, not waiting for his wife to move, she fell ungracefully back. She huffed indignantly and folded her arms across her chest, pouting.
With a simple lift of both arms, the room eventually fell silent. The Vizier loved the feeling of power even one as slight as this.
“Em Hotepfriends, loyal subjects to the Pharaoh, and all guests tonight. Thank you for breaking bread with us tonight. In celebration of the Pharaoh’s godly awakening.”
The people in the hall returned the peaceful greeting dutifully, cheering at the Pharaoh’s awakening while waiting for the Vizier to continue. “I have a special offering that the Great General has sent to us from the Afterlife. Even as he lives in the land Ma’at, he still works in service of the Great Pharaoh.” The Vizier briefly thought he may have oversold his fake deference to the General, after all, it was well known that they were not great friends. However, in the haze of drink, greed, and the desire to curry favor, all guest in attendance roared in honor of the “Great General”. The Vizier looked over the widow and offered her a deep bow she gave him a graceful nod of the head.
The doors of the hall opened to reveal Heb, the head house slave leading a trail of slave women. Their bare feet chimed at every step due to the golden anklets around them. While they kept their eyes downcast, their beauty was obvious. Excited chatter broke out across the crowd. The Vizier slowly walked down from the raised platform that he was eating on while Heb whispered hushed instructions.
Rhapdosis kept her eyes firmly down. Whatever this new hell was, she was determined to survive it. She would not die in this collar. Not here. She heard the heavy steps of the Vizier behind her as he descended the steps. Her plan was to not draw any more attention to herself. Heb had given her all the attention she would ever need from anyone in this place. The Vizier started at the end furthest from her. Thea was on her right side, Typhone to the left. She leaned over to briefly touch shoulders with the younger girl. It was the most support she could risk. Typhone seemed to be the one handling this new environment the best. Her eyes sparkled at the finery she glimpsed on their entrance and through the glances she took. She even found herself suppressing a smile. This was the luxury she wanted to be surrounded by. She was tired of living on the outskirts of Capitol with the General. As lost in their own thoughts as they were, the girls barely heard the Vizier making his way down the row. He would ask the girls what they used to do in the General’s house and what skills they had then dismiss them to various parts of his house hold, some, he even gifted to people in attendance.
“Ah, the beauties!” the Vizier exclaimed loudly once he reached Typhone. The attention of the room refocused on the girls. Typhone looked up proudly at the title, while the other two continued to stare at their feet.
“Do you remember me little rabbit?” the Vizier’s feet came into Rhapdosis’ view almost comically lining up directly in front of hers. When she didn’t respond immediately, Rhapdosis felt a rough thumb on her chin as she was forced to look up. She fought the urge to jerk from his touch. “I asked you a question slave.” He spat quietly. He would not be disrespected by a slave.
“Yes, Vizier.” Rhapdosis replied, though the response was quiet and demure, something bothered the Vizier in the way she held his eye contact. This one he would have to have for his self. He would enjoy teaching her.
“I remember you as well Grand Vizier,” at that, his attention slid to the pale Grecian slave who had spoken next to the dark one in his grasp.
“Caius!” Called the Vizier. He released Rhapdosis’ chin.
Thea immediately grabbed for her hand. Even if she wanted to hide the contact, Rhapdosis no longer cared. She needed any comfort she could find. Her heart was racing.
Typhone was the only Grecian that Rhapdosis had ever seen. She couldn’t help the way she stared at the Greek man who appeared at the Vizier’s side.
Tall and physically fit, he had short brown hair peppered with grey that waved slightly. Dazzling green eyes stood out from strong cheek bones and a thick, neatly trimmed beard. He wore what she assumed Greek soldiers wore. A white tunic was covered by a golden breast plate that had the form a perfectly fit man on it. His skin was pale like Typhone’s but tanned from time in the sun. He wore a strange leather skirt that was made of multiple thick strips of leather and was decorated by various golden buttons and lion’s head. One look at the man let you know he was a warrior.
“Do you want a woman from your own land? After I’ve had her of course” The Vizier chuckled, “I’ve never bedded a Greek slave before.”
Caius perused over Typhone’s form. Emboldened by her eagerness to earn favor where ever she landed, she leaned forward, smiling suggestively at her countryman. Caius and the Vizier made lewd comments about her as they discussed the pros and cons of Greek women. They even went as far as exposing Typhone’s breast to debate various nipple coloring. Typhone ate up the attention, putting on quite the show. Rhapdosis held her breath hoping that Typhone’s show would pull all the attention that she wanted and more leaving none for her and Thea.
“I however have been with many Greek women, Egyptian women, and many in-between,” Caius’ voice boomed, at his suggestive eyebrow wagging, the room laughed. “I have not however been with a creature such as this.” Rhapdosis jumped at the sudden feel of a soft touch on her arm. “Where is she from, Ghebnut?”
She felt Thea’s hand tighten on hers. She knew better than to remove herself from his touch. She forced her eyes to remain firmly on the ground.
“She is from a place that no longer exists.” He said smugly, “We salted the land after rebellion. She however, is mine. I have waited yearsfor this one.” His intentions clear in the tone of voice. “The General refused me of this once.”
Caius stepped back from Rhapdosis. She tried to get her heart to stop racing.
“A man refused you and survived?” The soldier joked, “I would pay for her.” He said suddenly becoming serious.
It was a woman who spoke next. “Do not feel slighted gentlemen,” the widow spoke from her seat near the front of the room, “He never let anyone touch his favorite. He didn’t even touch her”
Rhapdosis hadn’t seen The Lady at the feast. She was still dressed in her dark mourning robes. Unfortunately for Rhapdosis, it seemed like time had little effect on her former mistress’ distaste for her. Rhapdosis directed her thoughts into seeing if she could make the floor open and swallow her whole.
“She has never been touched? What did you do in the house?” Hearing the hunger in his tone scared Rhapdosis. Not one to make the same mistake twice, Rhapdosis responded quickly stumbling over her words.
“I-I-I- helped The General keep the house and minded the children.” She rushed out.
“She’s being modest,” The Lady stood and glided to the floor. The Greek had never let his attention slip from the beautiful slave with the mesmerizing eyes. He noticed with interest as her dark skin seemed to pale as the lady drew closer.
“She balanced the accounts, managed orders, brokered deals and went to market for him,“ while impressive accomplishments for any slave, the way The Lady sneered made it feel as if she was accusing the slave girl of crimes. “We never dressed them up though. It’s a shame.” The Lady fingered the edges of Rhapdosis’ wig, lost in thought.
“I refuse to lose a smart useful slave, apologies Caius.” The Vizier beckoned Heb forward who silently watched the proceedings with a sharp eye, “This one will be my new body slave.”
The Vizier liked the way the slave commanded the Greek Praetor’s attention. Having a beautiful distraction around would always prove useful. It was simply a bonus that he would be able to do whatever he wanted to her, whenever he wanted to do it, because she would be at an arm’s reach. The Vizier had to steel himself before his arousal showed. This powerful feeling inside him grew as he was getting everything he wanted. He possessively snatched the slave girl pulling her close against him. The dark kohl the slaves had lined her eyes with made the striking blue pop out more against her dark skin. The earlier defiance that he spotted in her was no longer there. “I told you and the old fool that I always get what I want eventually.” He licked her ear causing Rhapdosis to flinch away.
“Caius here take this one. She’s young, she’ll be easy to train.” He released Rhapdosis and pushed Thea’s young form in his direction. She whimpered loudly as the Greek grabbed her, forcing her to turn.
“She’ll do for now, I still want that one when you’re ready to share.” With that, the Greek pulled Thea to his table and forced her on his lap.
The Vizier returned to his table leaving a shaking Rhapdosis locking eyes with a terrified Thea. The feeling of hopelessness returned. There was nothing they could do and there was no one who could help.
“I can’t believe he doesn’t remember me!” Typhone huffed, oblivious to the terror in Rhapdosis and Thea, “I’m going to be his favorite Rhapdosis. He might even make me a wife! You better stay out of my – “
Heb appeared interrupting Typhone’s one sided conversation. “I will show you to your chambers.”
“We get our own chambers?” Typhone said with excitement as they followed him towards the exit.
Rhapdosis kept eye contact with Thea for as long as she could. This was the only thing they could do for each other. This was possibly the last time they would see each other. Rhapdosis burned her image into her mind.
As she lost sight of Thea as they went further away from the crowd, Rhapdosis heard the only thing that could make her feel any feel any lower exit from Heb’s lips.
“The two of you will share a room.”
The Vizier by ElisesThoughts
Sooooo sorry I'm such a liar. I apologize. Life tackled me yesterday. This chapter is a little dark. As always, comment!
It had been three days since the feast. It had been three days since Rhapdosis had seen Thea as well. Rhapdosis’ days were filled with learning the Vizier’s schedule, the household schedule, duties and responsibilities with Heb. Heb was cruel, but not unfairly so. He was surprised at Rhapdosis’ intelligence. It was rare to have a slave able to read and have a head for numbers. Much less a foreign female slave. Rhapdosis had caught on quickly, even spotting a miscalculation in a bill that Heb was showing her. Once he realized that she was a quick learner, he became less rough on her. He stopped referring to her as Kheminstead he called her ‘a little Sphinx’. According to him a learned foreign female slave had to be up to something even if he couldn’t find anything in her performance or behavior to suggest it. Rhapdosis had taken the violent lessons she learned on her arrival to heart.
Rhapdosis had formed a plan her first night that she slept in the chambers she shared with Typhone. Unable to sleep with her new roommate’s loud snores, her mind raced with plans of escape. She knew she was going to have to run away. There was no hope for her here. She would die in these walls or be sold somewhere worse if she fell out of whatever grace was keeping her here. The risks associated with her escape no longer bothered her. She had no allegiance to this house, the palace, or the people in it. Rhapdosis doubted the palace would even kill all the slaves here. It seemed like the higher up in power you went, the less the laws applied. All the people in the forsaken palace could be tortured in Isfet for eternity as far as Rhapdosis cared.
She promised herself that she would survive this part, being the “Body Slave” of the Royal Vizier. Whatever was asked of her she would do and do well. Hopefully, her mind would become useful enough that they wouldn’t need her body. This was something Rhapdosis doubted. But, the reality of thatsituation was too painful to think about so she would keep her hopeless dream alive. She would impress both Hep and Vea. Maybe they would advocate for her. She prayed to the Gods constantly. Never really a true believer, she rarely prayed. She knew these Gods of Egypt weren’t the ones that her people worshiped however, no one would tell her about her homeland. She was forced to learn the Egyptian story of their Gods and Goddesses. Ra, Isis, Osiris, Anubis, Mat, the list would go on. Now an adult, Rhapdosis found comfort in the memories of her lessons in the General’s house. Maybe his gods would protect her. Her people’s Gods never did she thought bitterly.
The morning was spent in the Vizier’s harem, known as “The Lilly Garden” or “The Garden”, taking stock of the women and the children’s needs. This was a job that usually went to Vea. Vea despised the task, feeling as if catering to the Vizier’s various wives, mistresses, and their children were somehow beneath her position as head maid. Rhapdosis found herself enjoying the task more than expected. She always felt at peace with children. The women of the Harem were different. Women were complex and the wives and mistresses of a member of the Royal court were no exception. If anything, they were more difficult because they lived a life of constant competition for favor for them or their children. They were suspicious and untrusting of the pretty slave girl sent among their ranks. She was more competition than the old, mean Vea was to their positions. It could be devastating to fall out of the Vizier’s favor as a member of his Harem.
It was now twilight in the capitol of Thebes where the palace was located. Rhapdosis was standing in The Vizier’s council room with the ever present Heb and one of the place scribes who never bothered introducing himself. The Council room was in the West wing of the Royal Palace. The council room was more of a large hall that overlooked the Nile river. There were large pillars where a western wall would be however the pillars allowed for unobstructed view of the Nile and the setting sun as was intended. view of palace’s stock. Normally, royals like the Vizier would have a scribe doing the work that Heb had been training her for. This particular scribe was thorough in showing Rhapdosis the books and the system for keeping the Vizier’s records. He was not inclined to repeat himself, giving Rhapdosis a sharp glare anytime she asked a clarifying question. The competitiveness of palace life was wearing on her. She realized that she was taking this particular scribes “high position” in the Vizier’s household therefore she was a threat. From the moment they had been introduced the scribe was rude to her. Scribes are learned men. Often, they take young male Egyptian Citizens to study the complex hieroglyphics that form the Egyptian writing system and mathematics. He was doubtful that Rhapdosis was even able to do what the Vizier had told him that she could do after all, it took him years of schooling to earn his position. There was a nagging feeling that he was intentionally speeding through his explanations to make it difficult for Rhapdosis to take up his tasks.
“Here we have the amount of cattle, carts, hay and food from last month,” the scribe said flipping through the papyrus sheets so fast that they became a blur. There was no way she would have been able to see them clearly.
Rhapdosis looked over to Heb who was quietly leaning against a pillar observing the pair bent over the general’s desk with a hawk’s eye. There was a beat and she realized she would receive no help from him either. Rhapdosis hoped that she would be able to pour over these records in the near future to figure them out for herself.
The large doors that separated the Council Room burst open suddenly, causing all three in the room to jump startled. The Vizier strolled through the room with two servants shuffling hurriedly after him.
“Em Hotep, master.” Rhapdosis scurried from behind the desk to stand next to Heb as they bowed low and greeted their master in unison. Rhapdosis could feel her pulse begin to quicken. This was the first time she had seen him since the Feast. She knew she had been on borrowed time; the Vizier did not seem to be the type of man that would forget anything.
The Vizier said nothing as he approached the dais where the scribe was still standing. While not a slave, the Scribe was not a royal. It was likely that he came from noble blood because of his position, however he did not have to bow to The Vizier like Heb and Rhapdosis. Instead, he gave a slight bow of greeting to the Vizier.
“Move,” the Vizier said harshly, causing the scribe to hurry out of the way. The Vizier plopped into a chair at the table and swiped the books that Rhapdosis and the Scribe had been studying. One of the slaves that followed The Vizier in scurried over to pick them up just as quickly as they had been knocked down.
“Wine!” came the next booming command from the master of the house.
Rhapdosis and Heb were still staring at the floor, waiting to be dismissed or acknowledged, they were not to move before then. Rhapdosis heard the familiar pitter-patter of feet on stone and the tell-tale noise of a drink being poured. There was a flash of hope that the Vizier was either going to be if not already too drunk to have any concern for Rhapdosis. The sound of deep gulps and the goblet being refilled boosted her hopes. With a relived sigh, the Vizier spoke again.
“How is my new body slave behaving? Is she as quick witted as her mistress said?” The Vizier asked.
Rhapdosis risked looking up from her bowed position. When she did, she realized with a jolt that the Vizier was looking directly at her. She cast her eyes back down quickly. This pleased the Vizier.
“She has learned how the household operates and she spent the morning with the women in The Garden. They reported no issues…” Heb responded. Now that he had been addressed by the master, he was free to stand up straight.
“Is that so? Women are always complaining about something or the other. That is quite an accomplishment. What about her learning?”
“Vizier, I’m glad you asked.” Came the nasally voice of the scribe, “I don’t believe that a house slave deserves the honor of being your scribe. I can understand the attraction that you have for her b- “
The rest of the scribes’ response was cut off as the Vizier stood. Like a flash of lighting, the Vizier struck. The Vizier stuck the man in the face with his fist. Rhapdosis gasped unaccustomed to witnessing violence, the other slaves in the room barely reacted.
“Are. You. Questioning. Me?” with each word, a blow struck the man. He had fallen after the first blow he barely had time to cover his face before more fell onto him.
“No! No! I would never!” The man cried. This seemed to appease the Vizier enough.
“Get him out of my sight,” the vizier hissed. Guards that were stationed at the door rushed to drag the man out, leaving a tear drop sized drops of blood from the dais to the door.
There was silence in the room as the Vizier straightened himself. He returned to his seat and continued to drink as if nothing happened.
Rhapdosis’ mind raced as she replayed the scene in her head over and over. The Vizier’s sudden and extreme shift in mood gave the impression of two different people inhabiting one body. She wondered who she would get when he spoke to her.
“So Little Rabbit, are you smarter than him?” he asked her with a sneer, enjoying the obvious discomfort of the slave girl. “Come closer.”
“Yes, Master.” Rhapdosis answered, she hoped that the Vizier’s first question was rhetorical, unsure what answer she would give.
She took the two short steps onto the dais where the Vizier was sitting at the table. Rhapdosis positioned herself on the other side of the table from the Vizier, hoping that it was close enough. She could smell the wine on him from across the table. He held a glint in his eye as he enjoyed making his new slave uncomfortable. The closer she got to him the darker the glint in his eye became. Rhapdosis had to fight the urge to cover her chest with her arm or pull at the dress. Those movements would not have been received well.
“Closer rabbit. “The words felt like slime across her skin. She stepped around the table, just about arm’s length away from him.
This was the first time she had been this close to the Vizier and could look at him truly. By his physique, one could tell he had been fit in his youth. He seemed to be only a few years younger than the General, but time had been kinder on him. The General was tough like leather, years of war and outdoors did that to him. The Vizier had a round belly, and a salt and pepper beard. His skin was pale for an Egyptian. His time inside evident by lack of tan. His hair was hidden under the Vizier headdress. The vizier’s thin lip spread into a wicked smile.
The Vizier grabbed Rhapdosis and forced her into his lap. She struggled against the offensive touch on impulse. It did not seem to bother the man. In fact, he seemed to enjoy her fear.
“Remember this, when I say com here. This is where I want you.” He said through tight lips. He punctuated his point by dragging his wet tongue across Rhapdosis’ neck. She froze in fear.
“Oh, you like that?” He said suggestively.
“No please.” She said as she struggled uselessly against his grip. He had circled his arm around her, with one hand resting on her bare thigh as the other ran across her breast and stomach. Rhapdosis wanted to throw up.
“Not like this.” She prayed silently, she wasn’t ready.
“Leave us.” The Vizier commanded.
Rhapdosis watched as Heb and the two slaves that entered with the Vizier walked towards the door.
“No! No! Please!” Rhapdosis begged to no one in particular. Heb nor the other slaves even looked back at her. She was starting to panic. There was a foreign object poking into her behind as she continued to struggle against the Vizier, growing larger the more she moved. It was terrifying. He continued to drag his hands across her body despite her pleas. She could smell the alcohol on his breath as he continued to lick, nibble and kiss her skin.
“The Gods have gifted you to me rabbit. Everything is turning to my favor. They knew how much I wanted you. The tide has finally turned to Ghebnut.” The Vizier pulled one of Rhapdosis’ shift straps down roughly, exposing her breast. He promptly grabbed it and fondled it roughly.
“No! Please. I’m not ready. I don’t want this!” In her panic, Rhapdosis managed to free one of her arms from the general’s grasp.
“Khataht! Whore! Bitch!”
In freeing her arm, her elbow had hit the Vizier squarely in the nose. He jumped up, making Rhapdosis hit the ground hard. He held both hands over his nose as he felt the pain of a damaged nose.
Rhapdosis scrambled away on all fours, intent on getting far from the room. It seemed like today was going to have to be the day she ran.
“Ahh!” Rhapdosis screamed as she felt a hand circle her ankle and drag her backward. The Vizier had recovered enough to notice her attempt at escape. His nose was already starting to bruise as blood adorned the Vizier’s nose, mouth and tunic from the nose bleed. He looked more terrifying than ever.
“Oh, you’re going to pay for that Rabbit.” He released her ankle and stood over her. She attempted to get to her feet when the Vizier grabbed her by the hair.
“I like when girls fight a little, that whore Greek woman couldn’t wait to warm my bed. You are going to learn what I like the hard way.”
Rhapdosis was back on the ground before she realized what happened to her. Her head banged against the stone floor as a result of the Vizier backhanding her hard across the face. He grabbed her head again and pulled her to her feet. He slapped her again, this time not hard enough to send her to the floor but enough to cause her head to whip to the right and have her seeing stars. The Vizier roughly pulled down the remaining strap of Rhapdosis’ shift. It fell to the floor ironically gracefully. Rhapdosis immediately covered herself.
This only increased the rage the Vizier was directing at her. Rhapdosis could feel his anger as if it was another person in the room. There was nothing like this feeling of dread that was settling across her. Rhapdosis thought she knew what fear was like, but this feeling of absolute terror was new.
“You stupidkhataht.” Even his voice was changing in his rage, becoming deeper and more menacing “You belong to me, there is nothing that I can’t, see, touch, or do whatever I want to.”
He struck her again, this time in the stomach with a closed fist. She reflexively dropped her hands to protect herself from more attacks. It was a needless move, the Vizier grabbed her around the neck and began squeezing. Rhapdosis scratched at his hands. Her ears began to roar as her throat closed in on itself. She tried in vain to take in a breath. As her lungs began to burn, she started seeing spots. When she was on the brink of collapse, the Vizier let go of her neck and shoved her in the direction of the table. Her back hit the sharp edge hard. The Vizier spun Rhapdosis around and with a meaty hand her forced her to bend over the table. She struggled briefly until the hand returned to her neck.
“You will be still, or I will make this worse for you.” He whispered menacingly in her ear. He was fully dressed bent over her nude form. She froze, ice ran through her veins at his intention.
“Not like this, not like this,” her mind repeated. She tried to ignore the hand trailing over the most intimate parts of her, but she couldn’t. Her senses were on high alert, making his touch painful. Bent over as she was, she could only see the door and the moon, now high in the sky, taunting her. Lost and defeated, Rhapdosis stopped struggling. She stared at the night sky from the view between the pillars, transfixed by the stillness. It seemed like no one’s Gods would save her.
“Good little rabbit, just like that.” Rhapdosis felt the general stand up again. When she heard clothes rustling, she closed her eyes tightly.
Suddenly, the doors to the hall opened. The woman who entered froze as soon as she took in the sight before her. Rhapdosis’ eyes flew open at the loud bang of the door. The sudden interruption surprised both occupants of the hall. Rhapdosis scrambled out of the Vizier’s grip to cover herself. Picking up her dress, she quickly pulled it on as she scurried out of reach. The Vizier allowed the movement for he was just as startled by the visitor; however, he did not show it.
“Ghebnut, surely you can have your way with slaves when we’re less busy.” The woman hissed.
Rhapdosis stared at the woman trying to figure out if she was an ally. The woman had obvious status in the palace. Her sharp words were not challenged by Ghebnut, indicating that she had to have some measure of rank. She wore a long thick wig that with golden adornments throughout. She wore a fine light pink robe with a dangerously low neckline. It shimmered in the moonlight as she continued her approach to Ghebnut. Her jewelry twinkled in the low light, showing off her wealth. There was no denying the woman’s beauty. Her skin was the color of sand, smooth and bright the woman appeared to do no labor. She had large brown eyes and an enviable figure. The woman looked only a few summers older than Rhapdosis at most.
“Kiyah,” the Vizier said through tight lips, angry at the interruption. He cast a look at the slave in the corner that sent chills down her spine. They would finish their business later.
“Did you hear,” she asked, ignoring the venom in the Vizier’s voice, “The Royal Mother and Princess Tyiaphet have taken ill, the doctor says it might be the Cursed Sickness.”
Though the words she spoke were dark, her tone was one of giddy joy. Rhapdosis was confused by her excitement. The Cursed Sickness was deadly. She had only ever seen one survivor. She would never forget the woman’s skin, marked with scares of the sores that the curse built up. It was believed if you were taken with that Curse, it was because you displeased the gods.
“Interesting….” The. Vizier said thoughtful of this new development.
“Interesting? This is it, the sign! My son- “the woman began giddy with enthusiasm but was cut off with a sharp raise of the hand by Ghebnut.
“Everyone doesn’t need to know your thoughts Kiyah.” He said gruffly, inclining his head towards Rhapdosis who was shaking in a corner. The slave girl had tried to make herself invisible to the people in the room. She was holding her injured stomach, praying that he was at least done with her for the night.
Kiyah had paid no mind to the slave girl and dismissed her with a wave of her hand.
“She’s a slave,” Kiyah said with an eyeroll, “Just tell her to shut up or get rid of her. I need to talk to you about what is next.”
While Ghebnut hated being ordered around by women, especially in his own home, he knew the determined Kiyah would not leave until she was satisfied. Frustration ran through him as his night’s plans changed drastically.
“Come here Rabbit.” He said to the slave girl.
Rhapdosis walked over as quickly as she could with her injured stomach. She kept her eyes firmly on the ground. As soon as she was in arms reach, he again grabbed her by the neck. The Vizier did not apply pressure as he had the first time. Instead, he applied a steady amount of pressure to her neck. Not enough to cut her supply of air off but, enough to cause discomfort.
“We are not finished little rabbit.” He whispered in her ear, “I will see you soon.”
With that he released her.
Rhapdosis flew from the room as hastily as she could. Her mind racing with ways to ensure that she never saw the Vizier again.
Bonus: I have been penning this little wearwolf mystery story (are you really an interet writer if you hsven't written a wearwolf/vampire/supernatural story) but I think i'm only going to post it to WattPad at first so that i can get my readership count up. You'll get a sneak peak soon!
See ya next wednesday (I promise!)
The Palace by ElisesThoughts
Hello! I'm treating y'all early because I will be working all day tomorrow (literally reporing for 5:45am). Enjoy this chapter.
The quiet tapping of feet mixed with the light jingles of metal cuffs echoed through the high ceilings of the Royal Palace’s empty hallways. Rhapdosis flew through the abandoned hallways blindly. With no knowledge of the palace’s design, the girl ran with only one clear thought; escape. She stuck to the shadows to avoid being spotted, thankfully the hour was late, and the hallways were clear. So far, no one had seen the terrified slave trying to escape the palace. Her mind was racing, thoughts circling one another, incomplete, fractured. The all-consuming fear that possessed her made rational thought difficult.
Seeing an unlit, smaller hallway, Rhapdosis scampered to it, desperate to catch her breath. She leaned against the wall with her hand over her heart. She forced herself to take deep breaths to calm her burning lungs. Gathering herself, she was able to quiet her chaotic thoughts enough to try to formulate a plan.
Looking around at the hallway she ducked into, Rhapdosis knew that the most important thing to do was to figure out where she was. It had been less than 30 minutes since she had fled the Vizier’s hall. She believed that no slaves would be looking for her tonight, Heb had left her with the Vizier after all. And the Vizier…
Rhapdosis pushed the thoughts of him away. Would he send for her after his visit with the beautiful Kiyah? She had no way of knowing how long that he would be with the mysterious woman, putting the pressure of time on her. The only thing that Rhapdosis knew about her location was that it was in the opposite direction of the Vizier and the quarters that she shared with Typhone. She estimated she was in the East wing of the palace. An area she knew nothing about as the extent of her tour was the Vizier’s wing, the main hall, and the baths. The thin hallway that she was in looked to be a servant’s passage. It would be dangerous to follow the hallway to its unknown destination. There was no way of knowing where it would lead to or who would be on the other end. Running into anyone would be potentially fatal. No one in the palace knew her, and she could not blame any servant for reporting a potential runaway. A noble wouldn’t hesitate to out her and a guard might flat out kill her because he could.
Poking her head back out into the large hallway, she looked both ways. It looked like every other grand hallway in the palace. She leaned back against the wall, throwing her head back in frustration, she let out a deep sigh.
What was she going to do? Fringes of regret began to color her thoughts. Rhapdosis doubted she could even make it back to her chambers if she wanted to.
“Gods help me,” she prayed quietly. Deciding to take her chances with the servants’ hallway that she was already in, Rhapdosis trailed her fingers lightly along the wall to feel her way. The deeper she went, the darker the hallway became. By the time Rhapdosis felt the smooth stone of the wall transition to the rough wood of a door, she couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face.
She delicately felt over the light wood, looking for a handle. Her hand froze when she touched cold metal. Grasping it tightly, she sent up another prayer before she pushed open the door.
An extremely tall man made an imposing figure in the dark. He was staring into the fire, a pensive look on his chiseled face. The scowl on his face would make it difficult for any observer trying to accurately guess his age. He appeared young, but the stern look on his face aged him greatly. The flames’ heat kissed tanned skin while the light illuminated a muscular body and darkly tanned skin. His hands were grasping the sides of the large bowl where the flame was housed. Such heat would normally bother a human, but the giant seemed unaffected. He looked as if he was searching through the flames for the answer to a question that only he knew. His ears perked up at the almost imperceptible sound of a door opening and closing in the distance. His scowl deepened at the intrusion. No one was allowed in the temple this late without his permission. He tilted his head towards the noise. He could hear a faint jingle in time with soft footsteps. He could tell that the mystery intruder was trying to cover the sound however, no one would be able to escape his hearing. He stood up straight, realizing that the intruder had entered through a servant’s entrance in the temple.
His annoyance slid to curiosity as he heard the light steps in a strange pattern. The person would take a few steps then stop, then proceeded to tip-toe again. The man stepped away from the fire and melted into the darkness provided by the large pillars of the temple. He would watch and see what the intruder had planned before he would turn them over to the guards. There were a number of enemies in the royal palace, he would prefer to know what this one needed.
The man was surprised when a small woman emerged from behind a pillar. Surly, if someone was sent to kill him, they should at least look capable of it. His interest peaked, he watched the girl take a few hesitant steps and look around. She approached the fire that he had just departed from. She held her hands to the flames. He stood entranced. As she warmed her hands, he was able to see her perfectly. She was not as small as he originally thought, though she was at least two heads smaller than him. She had the shape of a woman barely hidden by the thin and revealing shift she wore. He realized with distaste that it was what Ghebnut made his female slaves wear. A strange feeling of possessiveness rose in him as he imagined what the girl must endure serving him. He continued his perusal of her figure, eyes lingering on the bit of thigh and breast exposed by the outfit. When he finally dragged his eyes to her face, he felt that strange emotion swell more in his chest.
Without a doubt, she was one of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her light-colored eyes seemed to change color with every flicker of the flames. Just as he had been earlier, she was staring at the flames lost in thought. A dimple popped in and out of her cheek as she clenched and unclenched her jaw. There was another emotion on her face he realized, fear. He took a closer look at the girl, this time ignoring his carnal response to her. Even in the dim light he was able to see a series of dark bruises around her neck, barely hidden by the necklace she wore, and faint traces of blood spotted the corner of full lips. He nearly growled in anger, feeling rage build in himself. His distaste for the Vizier was already legendary around the palace, this only added fuel to the fire. On instinct, he took a step forward. His movements halted as the girl walked away from the fire.
Her head turned slowly as her gorgeous eyes took in the temple. Her eyes landed on the giant statues of Ra and Ma’at that stood impossibly tall in the center of the temple. He watched as the girl slowly made her way to them. In front of the colossal statue of the eagle headed god and his partner, the woman again appeared tiny. He watched with interest as she melted to the floor before them. She sat on her knees as she looked up at the gods. He could not see her face now as he was behind her however, he saw her shaking. Confused, he left his observation point moving silently closer to the strange beauty. The closer he came, the better he could hear. First, he heard her shaky breaths. Then, he realized, she was crying. She threw herself into a deep bow, genuflecting in front of the statues, sobbing audibly at this point.
“Please, please!” He could hear her loudly whispered pleas as sobs wracked her frame.
He should leave the girl to her own devices. He knew that he had work to do in this palace. It was beyond important for him to complete his task and this girl would undoubtedly prove to be a distraction. The best he could do for her was to leave her alone and not call a guard. Despite these being his thoughts, he found himself approaching her, drawn by a force beyond his control. The closer he got to her, the more overwhelming his attraction grew. He could smell her now. She smelled of flowers and the ocean. He was almost directly behind her still shaking body. Lost in her despair as she was, she didn’t even notice his presence. He reached out as if to touch her but drew back. She was frightened, his touch might cause her to scream, giving her own position away. The man moved a few paces back, rethinking how best to alert her to him.
The man took some decidedly heavy steps towards the girl, hoping to catch her attention. It worked. She stopped shaking and shot up immediately, looking around for the source of the noise.
At the sound of heavy steps, Rhapdosis searched the dim temple through tear filled eyes, looking for the source of the noise. She thought she saw a tall figure not too far away, though it was dark making it difficult to see clearly. She backed away, till her back hit the legs of the Ra statute.
“Who’s there?” She whispered harshly with false bravado.
“I could ask the same thing.” Came a deep response from the darkness.
Rhapdosis was surprised by the soothing quality of the rumbling voice. The partially hidden man emerged from the shadows. Rhapdosis’ heat jolted as he came into clear view. He was strikingly handsome. His beauty felt other-worldly. His skirt hung low on narrow hips, his hair was covered in a strange headdress. She knew that the headdress had some significance,
He was impossibly tall and ridiculously fit. His muscles protruded from him with sharp hard angles. High cheekbones and full lips on a face that seemed carved out of stone it was so perfect. Rhapdosis felt her mouth open and close as she floundered for words. He was staring at her intently, eyes roaming over her body yet not saying anything. She felt his eyes linger at her neck and face and watched with fear as a dark, dangerous look came across his face.
Though she had no way of knowing, the man heard her heart rate pick up again. He tore his gaze from the bruises and locked eyes with her. She had yet to respond to him, but he could tell that her body was. His mouth dried as his senses picked up her body’s response to him. He could hear her heart, see the goosebumps rise and nipples harden through the thin shift and her smell.
Taking a deep breath, he indulged himself in the smell of her attraction to her the smell of flowers and the sea intensified. He took a step closer, subconsciously, to her intoxicating smell.
Rhapdosis was terrified, confused, and warm.The mysterious man was doing things to her that she had never felt before. She was baffled by the strong pull she felt towards him. The attraction she had felt to Jordan in her youth was barely a drop compared to this man and he had barely spoken to her. She was frozen in place as he drew closer to her. His eyes were impossibly black, power radiating from them. Rhapdosis felt a pressure around her as he grew closer, as if the air grew heavier with his presence.
Now, an arm’s reach away he slowly extended his hand to her. Frozen in place and a flurry of emotions, she didn’t move. The dark stranger’s strength was obvious by his ripped body, yet he approached her as if approaching a wounded bird. He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, igniting a fire in its wake. His eyes softened as he lightly traced a hand over the rapidly darkening bruises.
“What happened, little one?” He asked softly.
Tears threatened her eyes again, as she thought back to her near rape at the hands of her new master. She would not speak it. She brushed his hands off of her immediately regretting the loss of warmth but refusing to let another man control her.
“Do not touch me.” She hissed, “I do not have to answer you.” She stepped forward, hoping that the attractive stranger would move back at her approach.
He did not.
Though he would not say so aloud, he was proud of her courage. Many would not stand up to a man such as him yet, here was this servant who was physically standing up to him as well as speaking to him as if she was his equal. He grinned at her. Now less than a hairs’ length apart, the man leaned down so that he was closer to her height.
“Do you know who you are speaking to? Shall I return you to who you do answer to?” He meant to only tease her for he had not yet figured out what he was going to do with the beautiful servant. Yet, her reaction to his statement him regret his words immediately.
The fear that had left returned with a vengeance to her face. The blood drained from her face.
“Apologies,” Rhapdosis fell to the floor, forehead to stone in a deep bow, “Apologies p-p-please don’t tell him I’m here. I’ll tell you anything” She spoke quickly, words running together. If this man told the Vizier that he had caught her mid-flight, she feared punishment would be worse than anything she would have endured had she had just been killed for being a runaway.
She heard the man kneel next to her. She felt comforting strokes across her back as his hand lifted her head from the floor.
“I did not mean to frighten you little one. It has been a time since I have teased a person. I am Aksept, the high priest of this temple.” He was looking into her eyes now, genuine regret flashed through them.
Aksept the high priest. Thehem-netjer of the Royal Palace.
Rhapdosis stared at him cautiously. The priest of the royal temple would have a high position in the Palace, maybe second only to the Pharaoh himself. This man would know the Vizier well. She was determined to watch her words carefully with the strange, attractive priest.
“Who are you?” his voice whispered almost in awe of the beauty in front of him. He still had not removed his hands from her person. The fingers that were lightly tracing her halted as he realized that the necklace was actually no necklace at all, it was a collar.
“I am Rhapdosis,” she breathed. She cast her eyes back to the ground. It would not take a thinking man to put together her appearance and her reaction to understand that she was trying to run away. This man in front of her was confusing. She was unable to tell if he was friend or foe despite the unsettling attraction to him. He looked at her pointedly, waiting for more information from her.
A large part of her wanted to tell him everything. It was a disturbing feeling. The longer they stared at one another, the warmer she became. It was unexpected and uncontrollable. She wanted to believe that he would protect her, save her. If she told him everything, maybe the priest would be able to help.
“I am the new body slave to the Royal Vizier.”
Aksept felt a familiar anger start building in his chest at the confirmation of his suspicions. The Vizier was always a jackal. Slaves in the palace were an everyday part of life. Aksept could not figure why this particular slave struck such a chord inside of him.
“He hurt you. Now, you are running.”
Rhapdosis looked into his eyes again, trying to predict what he was going to do with her. Would he touch her too?
“Yes.” Was the simple reply.
The Priest’s hand now trailed gently from her bruised neck to her face. He gently ran a thumb across her smooth dark skin, fascinated by the contrast. She leaned almost imperceptibly into his touch. The movement so slight, he wondered if she even knew she had done so.
“That is foolish,” he whispered, her scent again drawing him in.
Rhapdosis was in a haze, every stroke of his thumb across her skin sent fresh shivers down her spine. Was he getting closer to her?
“I’m scared” she admitted.
The words snapped the Priest out of the spell the siren before him had placed. His hands fell from her face as he gathered himself. He had a task to complete. It was not like him to lose focus. Yet, he cared about what happened to this particular slave. He decided he would help the misfortunate girl, if only to remove the distraction from the palace.
“I will help you.” He stood and offered the girl his hand. She placed her smaller one in his. The now familiar rush of warmth that came with his touch returned, spreading from their interlocked palms to the rest of her body. He pulled her up with a strength that she had not prepared for. She stumbled awkwardly, tripping on her own feet, she fell into Aksept’s broad chest. He wrapped an arm around her waist to steady her. The heat between the two flamed immediately as electricity crackled around them.
Rhapdosis couldn’t help but feel the muscles of the man steadying her. His muscular arm flexed, pulling her in closely. Aksept was again ensnared by her scent, cursing the servant’s wig that covered her hair. He wondered what it looked like.
“Why would you help me?” Rhapdosis refused to be seduced to her death by a beautiful stranger.
“I am no friend to anyone who abuses women.” He spoke harshly “Ghebnut is no friend to me.” The way Aksept snarled her master’s name sent a shiver down her spine. She could not tell if it was one of fear or due to another carnal reaction to the man in front of her.
“Why should I give you my trust?” Her head tilted up at the man still embracing her.
At her question, the man stepped away from him, suddenly serious. Rhapdosis gasped in shock as the high-ranking man slowly sank to one knee before of her. He held both of her hands in his.
“You will give me nothing,” his lips left tingles on the back of her palms as he lightly grazed the tops, “I will earn it.”
DARKANDLOVELY: Ma'am!! Ma'am. I am crying literal tears. You were one of my first reads when i discovered this website years ago! I am fangirling so hard.
Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. I probably will come back to edit this real soon.I was rushing to get this out.
See ya next week!
The Royal Proclamation by ElisesThoughts
"Better late than never, but always late is better." Or whatever the fuck Lil Wayne Said.
Rhapdosis stared at her reflection in the simple looking glass in the servant’s bath, transfixed by her own reflection. She trailed a finger gently across her throat, stunned by the unblemished skin. Turning her head from left to right she looked for any physical signs of the time she spent with the Vizier, yet she could find none. Rhapdosis had been preparing herself for the worst, he had not held back when he struck. However, her skin was as smooth and clear as ever.
“By the God’s Rhapdosis, are you becoming vain with The Vizier’s favor on you?” Typhone sneered next to her, “He enjoyed his time with me as well. You are not special.”
“I am not vain,” She spat back in no mood to deal with Typhone’s petty jealousy, “I do not want his favor you can have it.”
Rhapdosis moved from the wall that contained the glass, sitting on a heated stone, she proceeded to wash herself with the rag provided to them. The cloth moved across her damp skin, soothing and calming her with every stroke. As she washed her face, her mind slipped back to the mysterious priest she met in the Temple. The High Priest she reminded herself. His words and promises repeated in her mind in the days since. The attraction she had to him pulled at her mind, ensuring he was never far from her thought despite it being two days since her poor escape attempt.
Aksept had taken her back to her chambers in the Vizier’s wing. As he led her through the winding halls of the palace, he only spoke to her once.
“You will see me again. Do not attempt to run. It is foolish.” They stood at the entryway into the Vizier’s wing of the palace. Distinguishable by the large cat statue that represented his station at the grand entryway.
He stroked a thumb against her cheek before turning on his heel and departing. That was the last time she had seen him.
Rhapdosis had not seen the Vizier since then. She was hopeful that her dark savior had kept his promise. In the Vizier’s absence, Rhapdosis had begun to officially take over the responsibilities of both being the Vizier’s official scribe as well as body slave. Keeping the ledgers was easier than expected. Despite the previous scribes’ attempt at sabotage, she found the ledgers uncomplicated and a little unorganized. Her task was to prepare and keep inventory of supplies needed for a long voyage. Where, when, and for whom the voyage was being prepared for she did not know, however, she was determined to show her worth. Rhapdosis believed hopelessly that she would be able to prove her value beyond bedding her.
“There you are girl!”
The woman looked up from her thoughts to see Heb at the door scanning the room for her. When he located her, his eyes narrowed.
“The Vizier will be returning shortly, we will greet him.”
Fear spiked through her like a flash of lightening. She dressed quickly, braiding her wild curls into something that could be hidden beneath her wig. A young slave girl was standing at the door with her dress and wig. She could see Heb just beyond pacing the halls, no doubt impatient for her. Rhapdosis slid the dress on quickly while the young girl helped with the wig on top of her head.
“Master is returning to the palace from the Pyramids. There will be a meeting in the throne room.” The curt man told her as soon as she emerged from the baths, “This is an honor, you are to take record and be silent.” He cut his eyes at Rhapdosis who was looking at him. She had worked hard to keep a neutral face. Ever since Heb had left her with the Vizier, she was reminded that he was nothing like Hapetset, the man who raised her. She would not forget that. One unexpected side effect of the incident was that Heb seemed to have more confidence in her.
The morning after, Heb arrived at her room in the morning before the sun had even peaked through the horizon. She had yet to sleep, replaying the events of the day before over and over. Despite Aksept’s promise, she continued to think of ways to liberate herself from her shackles. Heb looked her over thoroughly as she stood in the door way, taking in the dark circles under her eyes and the haunted look in them. However, when he ordered her to work, she did not complain and completed the tasks with vigor. Unable to find any flaw with her work, a begrudging respect for her was formed. Now, there was less bite to his commands, more trust in her handling of tasks.
Rhapdosis trailed behind the man, debating on asking the question on her tongue. Would he consider it disrespect? She decided she would take her chances. They were alone at the moment, meandering through the vaulted halls of the palace.
“Where has master been?” Rhapdosis kept her eyes on the ground. While she would not look up, she could feel Heb’s eyes on her.
“None of your concern.” He shot back at her, “A smart slave doesn’t ask questions.
“I only wish to know so that I may best serve Master. I didn’t mean any disrespect.” She monitored her tone closely, aware that her words would be judged harshly. There was a beat after her response. She chanced a look up and saw Heb staring into the distance.
“Some members of the royal family are ill,” he said through tight lips, “Master went to the old temple with the High Priest and the Pharaoh to read the omens.”
The High Priest.
Rhapdosis felt a warm sensation in her stomach at the mention of the priest. She briefly remembered the woman that she had seen in the Vizier’s hall mention that some of the royal family had fallen ill therefore he couldn’t have done that before they even met. Yet she still felt that the Vizier’s absence was not only due to their illness. She hid a smile as Heb continued to lead them through the palace.
They arrived at the main palace entrance to a flurry of activity. The main entrance of the palace gave an unparalleled view of the city of Thebes. The palace sat at the top of hundreds of steps. A warm breeze caressed Rhapdosis’ skin as she took in the view. From the palace, Thebes looked beautiful. The brown clay buildings were organized into neat rows some bordered by streets, others by the canals used to keep water flowing. The Nile sparkled like a rare jewel behind the city. The distance gave the allusion of peace and serenity, hiding the truth of suffering and chaos that the city’s lowest inhabitants lived through. A horn sounded in the distance, alerting those in the entryway that the Royal Party was approaching.
“Come here girl!” Heb yelled at her, snatching her from her sightseeing.
Rhapdosis hid her eyeroll as she lined up next to the man. She looked over the others gathered in the hallway. The Pharaoh’s servants and party were easy to distinguish. They stood at the head of the entry way. They were all dressed in more detailed garbs, telling the story of the royal family. The Pharaoh had the largest party waiting for him. There were a scattering of priests, servants and royal courtiers. The only common thread was all the slaves had their collars that gleamed in the sunlight.
The sounds of a royal arrival drew closer and closer. The activity in the entrance rose to a fever pitch. The sounds of the nearing approach were cut as a trumpet sounded.
“His holiness, a God Among Men, The Reincarnation of the Chosen one, the God King, the Morning and Evening Star, The Great Pharaoh Amun-Ra!” A crier called from the wings.
The entire hallway fell to their knees as the beginning of the party arrived. Various well-dressed lesser nobles entered first, followed by a large retinue of Magi, the pharaoh’s personal guard. Rhapdosis waited quietly on her knees next to Heb who was scanning the arrival party closely. She noticed a few priests straighten up as the next group broke through the entry way. She followed their line of sight. That’s when she saw him.
As soon as the name crossed her mind, he caught sight of her himself. As their eyes locked, Rhapdosis felt a now familiar heat coil in her stomach like a snake. He looked even better in the sunlight. He was dressed more formally than the last time she had seen him. The Priest wore his familiar headdress as he did during their first encounter. The robe he wore today differed from the skirt that he wore. It went to his knees in a fine royal blue. The golden trim hinted at the wealth and position a man of his station would have. He wore a gold necklace that stood out against his tanned skin. The robe allowed a view of a well-defined chest that could have been carved out of the smoothest stone. His dark eyes were hidden behind full lashes that were rimmed with kohl. The effect made it nearly impossible from her to take her attention from him. His eyes trailed over her figure casually. Was he as affected by her as she was by him?
“Avert your eyes, insolent girl!” Heb hissed nudging her sharply in her side, “You should not look to the High Priest at all! He is above your station.”
“Apologies.” She ground out, ignoring her rising annoyance. This was not the time to be reprimanded. She stared at the ground in front of her, determined to ignore the feeling of those dark eyes on her.
The Pharaoh’s golden carriage appeared then, carried by four bald slaves. The Pharaoh’s carriage was covered with large red drapes and more gold detail. Hieroglyphics around the edge told the story of the first Pharaoh, Osiris in grand detail. There was nothing quite like the grandeur of the Pharaoh. Two more carriages appeared behind the Pharaoh’s carriage. While smaller, they were not any less grand each needing four slaves to carry them. Rhapdosis’ heart panged at the thought of the effort the enslaved must have exerted to carry those carriages up the stairs. The slaves set the carriages down gently, and more slaves rushed forward. The female slaves laid petals at the entrance to the carriage while the males were taking various items from the party members who arrived. The Crier stepped to the Pharaohs’ carriage. He tapped a large lion headed walking stick on the ground twice. The sound reverberated through the hall drawing immediate silence.
“The Great Pharaoh Amun-Ra” He yelled as he slowly drew back the curtain.
“Em hotep Pharaoh” the entire room echoed. Slaves like Rhapdosis and Heb bowed deeply, touching forehead to stone, with arms stretched out in front of them. Those on their feet with status bowed deeply at the waist.
Rhapdosis could hear the rustling of curtain and the jingle of jewels and stones as she assumed the Pharaoh exited his carriage. They were not to look up until the Pharaoh had spoken to acknowledge them.
“Fine, fine” a nasally voice responded. Was that what the Great Pharaoh sounded like? A sick child?
When Rhapdosis heard Heb move she did the same. When she took in the scene before, she could only blink. She watched as The Vizier appeared out of one of the smaller carriages with an ancient man that looked as if he was one strong breeze away from the next world. The Pharaoh drew her attention. Rhapdosis had never seen the Pharaoh before. The General had never brought her to the palace, and she had not been allowed to enjoy any of the public festivals that Pharaoh would have blessed. In her imaginations the Pharaoh was a larger than life figure. The God King, The Morning and Evening Star, The God among Humans, would have to be a massive man to lead the mighty and powerful land of Egypt. Even the statutes of the Pharaoh that each Royal and titled home had a statute of “The Pharaoh” to protect them. The statue depicted a handsome, physically fit man. The man who stood in front of the gathering was nothing like her imagination had conjured.
He stood at the head of the hall, short and pudgy. Rhapdosis was unable to dispel the image of a pale fish from her mind as she perused the Pharaoh. His skin was pale and sallow, Thin lips were drawn in a tight pucker, as if he smelled something sour. His attention was not on the man whispering urgently in his ear but on the beautiful woman that had emerged from the third carriage. With a start, she realized that was the beautiful Kaya that had interrupted the Vizier who was strolling seductively over to the Pharaoh.
“Rhapdosis!” Heb spat at her. She was drawn from her daydreams at her tone. She realized now that he looked as if that was not the first time he had called her. Vaguely she realized that it might have been the first time he had said her actual name.
“What?” she replied curtly.
Heb seemed to anger more at her tone however he knew he could not reprimand her like he would’ve if they were alone. “The Vizier is summoning us.”
Heb decided that the look on her face at that news was enough punishment for her at the time.
The Vizier indeed was staring pointedly at the two of them. They rose silently, heads bowed to attend to their master.
“The Pharaoh will be making an announcement soon,” The Vizier said to them as soon as they were within earshot, “Girl, I trust you have been keeping up with your duties? I would hate to have topunishyou.” The tone suggested that the Vizier would not hate punishing her at all.
“Yes, master.” She replied demurely, eyes still on the ground. She was pleased that her voice betrayed none of the white-hot fear coursing through her just by being near him.
“Have you counted the grain supplies? Ordered the excess? Inventoried stock?” he said, tone taunting and sinister.
A sharp finger under her chin caused her eyes to meet with his dark one. Something unsettling ringed the edges of his iris. His breath smelled like day old wine. She winced as he smiled at her obvious discomfort.
“I missed my pretty little slave. Still not warmed up to me yet? Did you miss me?” he smiled evilly.
Rhapdosis tried to jerk her face out of his grasp but the motion only caused him to switch from a finger to him grasping her chin painfully.
“I asked you a question, girl.” He growled, annunciating every word. That strange double-timber returned to his voice as his anger grew.
“Y-yes master.” She struggled through clenched teeth. Would the humiliation ever end? Most people were still milling around the hallway busy with arrival duties and greetings though one pair of dark eyes were observing the interaction between the woman and her owner. Blue met black momentarily, the connection severed when the girl was released.
“Good little Bird, come along.” The Vizier’s tone instantly reverted back to his regular false cheery voice.
Rhapdosis pointedly stared at the ground as she followed behind Heb and her master. A strange sense of embarrassment fell over her. Was she embarrassed about her position as a slave? Was the embarrassment due tohim bearing witness to it? The royal party drifted to the throne room as the Pharaoh led the group. Slave women were furiously laying petals before his every step to ensure that the Pharaoh would not touch sacred ground.
As they entered the Royal Throne room, a male servant handed Rhapdosis papyrus and a quill. At her confusion he replied, “Are you not the Vizier’s scribe?”
She nodded quickly, taking the materials thrust at her noticing that Heb was watching her closely. The Vizier was talking in hushed tones to one of the Magi. The man was tall and strong. His black uniform was decorated with medals and coin indicating a high rank.
“You will record the Pharaoh’s words,” Heb whispered.
The crowd had filled the throne room, a cloud of anticipation lingered above. From the bits of conversation that littered about, Rhapdosis gathered that the King rarely held court, famous for his eccentric personality he was a bit of a recluse. The court hushed as the trumpet sounded.
“The Queen of the Nile, Her Majesty, Queen Nefertari!”
The queen strolled in with a look of annoyance on her face. She was as beautiful as the goddess she was named after. Tall, slim, with a long neck and sharp eyes, she was dressed to suit her position. Rhapdosis was in awe of her. The queen was trailed by her ladies-in-waiting, and a legion of female servants. Rhapdosis watched her former mistress trail behind the queen, a smug look on her face as she past the crowd. The Royals gathered around the thrones as the queen took her position. The Pharaoh himself paid little attention to the queen as she settled into her throne.
Rhapdosis felt a sharp nudge in her side. She turned to find Heb nodding urgently as the Vizier’s retreating figure, indicating she should follow him. She scurried behind him as he approached the great thrones. She noticed a few other servants and scribes to the left at a raised table with quills at the ready. As the Vizier took his place next to the King, the high Priest trailed slowly up the steps. His eyes again found hers. The warm feeling that he sent through her was now familiar. She quickly averted his gaze instead looking to Heb who was already frowning at her. Rolling her eyes, she readied herself next to the other scribes. The man immediately next to her scoffed and moved. Paying him no mind, she enjoyed spreading out her materials in the additional space. Rhapdosis would waste no thought or mind to the snub, familiar with the disdain of the other scribes in the palace at this point. Some did not like the fact that she was a woman, others did not like the fact that she was ajnabi – foreign, and the reset would not stomach the fact that a slave could read and write.
The sound of the horn blasted again through the throne room, signaling for silence. All eyes turned to the dais where the God King stood. A strange expression, part excitement, part disdain, was on his face as he scanned over his subjects.
“Egypt is rotting,” the man spoke as silence fell, “I now know why.”
The courtiers watched the king with rapture, to them he was a God. All Rhapdosis saw was a strange man with a funny voice.
His next words drew large gasps from the crowd. “The Gods of old no longer protect this land nor its people! No longer will we worship the god Ra of Thebes!”
Rhapdosis’ eyes widened in shock. The words the Pharaoh spoke were blasphemous. Her eyes darted to the handsome priest. While his expression was stoic, she could see tension in his carved jaw, his fists clenched at his side.
“I have visited the great pyramid with my architect, interpreted the signs with my advisors, spoken to thetruegods themselves. My royal proclamation is this;”
The Pharaoh raised his arms above his head, his eyes unfocused as he entered a trace like state. Rhapdosis and the other scribes readied their quills, prepared to do record whatever came out of the King’s mouth.
“I am no longer to be called Amun-Ra, I am Amun-ten, servant of Ahkten, Protector of the New Egypt! No longer will the capitol rest on this unholy land. We will move to the new capitol, El-Armana. It has been declared” His high-pitched voice rose as an unnatural excitement filled him.
The courtiers began to whisper furiously. No longer follow Ra? Move the capitol? Rhapdosis furiously recorded the Pharaoh’s words in neat hieroglyphics, thoughts moving as fast as her hands. The King’s words were unprecedented. To move an entire capitol seemed impossible. Rhapdosis paused her writing as memories and thoughts of the last few days clicked into place. She had been preparing the Vizier’s household for this move before the Pharaoh had even announced it. How was that possible?
She looked to her master at the right side of the Pharaoh. The Vizier was glowing with pride. Chest held high with his hand on his hips, he beamed at those gathered below him. Still, Rhapdosis could see the sinister edge to his pride. The taste of ash was in her mouth. Something about the man was not right and it unsettled her very soul.
“All Hail King Amun-ten, The Morning and Evening Star, Servant of Ahkten, Protector of New Egypt!”
Rhapdosis ignored the sinking feeling in her chest and the warnings signs going off in her head as she sunk to their knees with the rest of the room to repeat the words:
“All Hail King Amun-ten, The Morning and Evening Star, Servant of Ahkten, Protector of New Egypt!”
Okay a whole lot of filler I know I know. But I promise it is necessary. You might get a bonus chapter from me this weekend. I *finally* got some time off.
Rate, Comment, Review! Literally your comments fuel me.
P.S. Do you think this is hard to read being so close together? I think I need to increase my paragraph indentation. These are the things that keep me up at night.
The Departure by ElisesThoughts
I'm late! I know! I do have a good excuse though.
Rhapdosis found herself in increasingly peculiar situations the longer she spent in the palace. Her life was far from normal. She began her life the daughter of strangers in some foreign lands. Raised by the kind man who most likely directly caused her parents demise. Sold now to a psychopath who wanted her in ways that terrified her yet, recognized her potential as more than a just a bed warmer. Finally, on this strange evening, she found herself in the private office of the God King Pharaoh himself. In a room with the four most powerful men in Egypt; The Pharaoh, The Royal Vizier, The High Priest, and finally Imhoten, the ancient man she had spotted at the royal caravan’s return, was The First Architect.
The First Architect, a man supposedly touched by the gods themselves, a builder of the Great Pyramids that all the Pharaoh’s erected to leave proof of their prosperity, wealth and power. Pharaoh, now Amun-ten, was already revered for his great power. Imhoten and the Pharaoh had erected his first pyramid, the Great Pyramid of the Nile when the Pharaoh was just a boy of 16. It was the talk of legend. It was said that the Pharaoh used the entire kingdom of Phoenicia to build it as slaves after he conquered their country. The whispered tale spoke of the defeated king had been buried alive as a slave during its construction. Rhapdosis had heard tales of the monument’s sides that were as smooth as silk. Worn down by the labor of thousands the sides ran perfectly flat. She had dreamed of such a structure however it seemed impossible.
To see this man of legend in front of her, wrinkled, small and pale was disconcerting. A man capable of creating a marvel, anointed by the gods themselves, should not be as short as she was, nor should he be as hunched over as a camel. He sat in a stool before the Pharaoh who was flanked by The Vizier studying papers on the table. The High Priest was at the window in the Pharaoh’s study goblet of wine in hand, staring intensely at Rhapdosis.
His dark gaze penetrated her like a steak through the heart. He stood behind the Vizier who was studying the route to El-Armana. She was grateful her master could not see the way that the priest was looking at her. His eyes burned into her in a way that was far from holy. Getting lost in his dark swirling eyes was easy, fighting the all-consuming urge to fall into them was difficult. Rhapdosis knew that a fate worse than death would befall her should she even entertain a man. Her Master would enjoy every second of her punishment. The Priest seemed to have no fear of repercussions as his stare never wavered. There probably would be none for a man of his station to sleep with a slave girl. No, the fault, punishment, and blame would rest solely on her shoulders. The thought stirred a familiar anger in her, one that would always appear should her thoughts linger too long on her station as a slave. She rejoiced in her anger. It was an emotion known to her unlike the ones that the Priest stirred in her.
She wrapped her anger and frustrations around her like a blanket, the familiar warmth allowed for her to focus on the task at hand instead of wandering thoughts with confusing emotions. Rhapdosis looked to the papyrus in front of her. Her neatly written hieroglyphics detailed the intricacies involved in moving a capitol, the numbers of horses, mules, camels, food for the voyage, ships for royalty, and other items were spread before her. She was to be seen, not heard unless one of the men posed a question to her directly about something that had already been discussed. The Pharaoh only spoke of her once when she entered the room trailing demurely behind The Vizier.
“Have you brought entertainment, Ghebnut? I believe we have actual work to do.” The pharaoh’s high-pitched voice said with distaste as he eyed Rhapdosis with distaste.
The Vizier chuckled, “No, your Grace, I know your preference for Egyptianwomen. This is my new scribe, Rabbit.”
Rhapdosis’ eyes widened at the dehumanizing name he gave, embarrassed. Not even her name mattered to her Master.
“Emhotep, Pharaoh” Rhapdosis kneeled, greeting the ruler. She knew it was an honor that many people would kill for, being in a room with these men. However, she could not stop feeling as if she would kill to leave.
“An ajnabi female slave is your new scribe?” the Pharaoh asked incredulously.
“Take your place, Rabbit.” The Vizier said to her, then he addressed the Pharaoh, “She was a gift from The General’s widow. She is quite gifted.”
Rhapdosis took her seat at the scribe’s table in the corner of the room. She allowed herself to look at her surroundings. Egypt was a wealthy country and it showed in the Pharaoh’s office. Everything – including the table that she sat at was gold. Rubies, sapphires, and jewels she couldn’t name glistened in every corner. Golden statutes of Sphinxes, Anubis, and the New God Ahkten with glistening emerald eyes surrounded them. Intricate hieroglyphics decorated the walls in vivid colors. By smell, they were fresh, Rhapdosis could read the depiction of this new god’s rise to power, his anointing of the Pharaoh himself before the people of Egypt.
As she read the tale of Ahkten devouring Ra, defeating dark armies that had sent the sickness that was quietly spreading across the Egyptians, her eyes had fallen upon the Priest. His brow held high in surprise at her appearance. The scared girl with a fiery sprit sat before them, not a just a body slave as she had said, but a scribe as well. He was unfamiliar sense of pride that was welling in his chest. He knew she was special from the moment he first laid eyes on her.
“How much stone do you need then?” the Vizier’s voice snapped her out of her thoughts, though the question was not addressed to her, his tone put her on alert.
“15,000 Deben” responded the First Architect, his voice was full of gravel and soft.
Rhapdosis recorded the large amount wondering what that amount of stone would be used for in the new capitol. It was not enough to build a new castle, but more than enough for a large home. Transporting that amount would pose a huge issue. Rhapdosis’ mind began to play with the numbers in her head. It was strange, she always excelled at mathematics to everyone’s surprise. She enjoyed playing with numbers, finding different ways to arrange them in her mind was as fun as a puzzle to her.
They already had over 700 horses and 300 camels just to move the contents of the Palace and its’ people.
“How many carts and horses would that take? Can it not wait?” the Vizier spat, “You are wasting our time.” He spoke dismissively to the old man.
“Majesty, we must build a temple.” The Architect spoke to the king directly, ignoring Ghebnut, “The gods of old and new must be praised.”
“The gods of old are dead.” The Vizier spat, his anger grew at being ignored by the Architect.
The Priest now spoke, pulling his attention away from the siren in the corner pointedly ignoring him, “Be that as it may, all gods must be worshiped, or we risk their wrath. The Gods will see our lack of respect and punish us. Times are changing Ghebnut.”
“You don’t believe in the New God, you are sabotaging us!” Hissed the Vizier.
The High Priest approached the Vizier aggression radiating in each step. He looked more like a warrior than a holy man at that moment. Rhapdosis felt a rush a pleasure at the look of fear that ran across the Vizier’s face.
“Do not question my loyalty to the Pharaoh.” He growled, his deep timbre reverberating throughout the room.
“Calm down, Aksept. I know you are a most loyal servant.” The Pharaoh spoke offering his hand to the man. Aksept bowed and kissed the royal jewel on his finger. The Pharaoh then offered the ring to his Vizier “As is Ghebnut. We know you are… unhappy with the new changes. It is because of your loyalty I allow you your – initial hesitations. However, you are right. I am a God and we must be worshiped properly. Now, how many carts would we need?”
The men hesitated, and a quiet fell over the room.
“650 carts, 1,300 oxen, your grace” Rhapdosis spoke and all eyes fell on her.
“Are you sure, child?” the architect spoke to her kindly.
“Yes, my lord,” she hesitated at the title, not sure how she should address the man, “The General added a wing to his estate for Mistress, we imported stone from Cypress for it.”
“And you have a head for numbers?” he asked again, a little surprise colored his tone.
“Yes, my lord.”
“Ghebnut, let me borrow your slave.” The Ancient man declared suddenly.
Ghebnut barked out a laugh, “Surely you jest. She is mine! I haven’t even had the time to fully enjoy her myself! What would an old man like you do with her?”
Rhapdosis’ eyes widened at the sudden outburst. Her mind mused ruefully at the fact that men spoke of her as an object passed as easily as a goblet of wine.
“Surely, your carnal desires can wait in the name of the King.” The man spoke haughtily.
The Vizier paused, aware that The Pharaoh had not said anything and was observing their conversation with interest. The Architect had invoked the Pharaoh’s name, therefore he had to be careful with his next words.
“What do you mean?” The Vizier asked suspiciously.
“I need a scribe with a head for numbers. My mind doesn’t work as fast as it used to. I recently had to flog and dismiss my last scribe for an error he made that resulted in the delay of my next Pyramid. Just for the move, I shall return her to you after we are underway with construction in the New Capitol. I can guarantee she will remain untouched in your name under my protection.”
Rhapdosis’ eyes widened. Had her prayers been answered? Escape would be much easier from this ancient man than it would be the eagle-eyed Vizier. She cast a hopeful glance at the Priest who had yet to say a word after returning to his brooding spot by the window.
He was again looking at her with an unreadable expression. Did he have something to do with this?
“There are many scribes with heads for numbers. Get your eyes off of mine!” he spoke. Rage filled him. He was the second most powerful man in Egypt! Who dare try to take his things from him? He marched over to his slave and grabbed her by the arm roughly.
As much as she tried to fight it, she let out a quiet yelp when she tripped over the chair, she had been sitting in. Her shin connected with the solid gold railings of the fine chair painfully. Her eyes watered as she tried to keep up with her master on a throbbing leg.
The Priest appeared before them faster than she could keep up with.
“Release her.” He said placing a hand on the Vizier’s chest. At the connection his eyes widened in confusion, then surprise, finally they settled on anger. The emotions crossed his face so quickly, Rhapdosis doubted she saw them at all.
The Vizier released her quickly, shoving Aksept’s hands away forcefully.
“Do not lay your hands on me! You cannot tell me what to do with my own property.” The two men again faced off, tension palpable.
“Enough, enough.” The Pharaoh spoke though the men did not move. Rhapdosis stood frozen behind her master. She rubbed her arm where the Vizier had grabbed her. She could not tear her eyes away from The Priest. He was positively radiating with a rage that she had never seen before. It was entrancing. His anger made him appear larger, more dangerous. More lion than man. Over her? Even the Vizier seemed to balk before him. He glanced back to his slave.
She felt his gaze and quickly averted her eyes but, not fast enough. He saw the look of rapture on her face as she looked at the Priest. A different kind of anger filled him. He would teach her to never look at another man like that again.
“I said enough!” The Pharaoh’s voice bounced off the walls as he yelled and stood between the men. The immediately turned away from one another, The Vizier glared down at his slave who refused to meet his eyes.
“Your majesty, I just want to expedite this. Why interview and search for a scribe when we have one right here who has already served your most famed general, and your royal Vizier? I only wish to make the transition to El-Armana a swift one.” The old man spoke resolutely.
“And I shall grant your request,” answered the Pharaoh, “I have commanded it.”
The Pharaoh cut his eyes at the Vizier, “I do not like my advisors to lose control of themselves. Especially over slaves. She’ll come back to you, no one will touch her. She’s just a slave. There will be plenty to busy yourself with in the palace and many more women for you.”
“Yes, Pharaoh.” The Vizier bowed and placed a closed fist over his heart. His voice betrayed no hint of his emotions yet, when he righted himself, the look that he cast at his slave caused her breath to catch in her throat.
“Come child, we have work to do.” The ancient man stood, grabbing a golden walking stick with the emblem of a falcon on its head. He hobbled to the door without looking back.
Rhapdosis hesitated, unsure what to do next. The Pharaoh strolled back to his desk as if nothing had happened. The Vizier had yet to avert his angry glare from her person. The Priest again had his mask of indifference in place. Yet, his eyes never lingered away from the girl at the center of the conflict.
“Girl!” came another shout from the old man, this time at a larger distance.
“Pharaoh,” She bowed deeply in the King’s direction. He dismissed her with a wave and barely a glance in her direction.
“Master,” she rushed into another bow in the direction of the Vizier. She did not wait for a response, knowing she would not get one. Finally, she bowed to the high priest, “Hem-netjer“
Rhapdosis hoped that by addressing him by his formal title she would avoid angering her master further but would still be appropriate. Not waiting for a response, she hurried out of the room to catch up with the old man.
“Now, how much wood for the temple? Walk me through it.”
Sheets of blueprints fluttered as Rhapdosis flipped through the plans for the new temple.
“The outside façade will need at least 15 cubits per face, that puts us at 75 cubits, which will run at least 35 trees. Plus, the inside pool will need at least 25 cubits, and the alter, with renovations to the pillars....” she trailed off, arranging numbers in her mind “At least 250 cubits, 300 if you want to be safe, my lord.”
“Ah!” the wrinkled man exclaimed triumphantly, “Write that down and send out the order.” He clapped his hands and a young servant boy appeared. The First Architect placed a treat in the extended hand of the boy and left a second on the desk near Rhapdosis’ hand.
Rhapdosis wrote down the extravagant order and placed the royal architect’s seal on the closed note. It had only been a day since she had been transferred to the service of the First Architect and though she would loathe to say it aloud, she was enjoying herself. She handed over the note and immediately picked up the candy. Slaves rarely enjoyed the fine sweets from foreign lands. This particular one was called chocolate. After the old man had given her one when she first entered his office, she discovered a new weakness.
The old man was not as feeble as she initially believed. His mind was far from dull and she had a sneaking suspicion that the hunch-back and cane may be more for show. Rhapdosis thought that it would be easy to get away from a greying old man who traded people like objects. To her dismay, she found a sweet old man with treats in his pockets and a gentle smile on his face.
“Call me Imhoten child. I have already told you this. We will be working together for some time now.” He stood as he stretched his limbs. Pops and cracks filled the room as he bent in a way his cane suggested he could not do.
“That is inappropriate my lord.” She replied through a mouth full of chocolate.
He laughed, “So proper! Follow me.”
Rhapdosis was led out of the architect’s make-shift tent and into the heat of the midday sun. Workers, servants, slaves and craftsmen all clamored about as they secured various items to carts and animals. The men and women moved non-stop, shouting directions and questions at one another. They were to depart from the capitol in the evening and last-minute preparations were well underway. Rhapdosis followed Imhoten through the crowd, ducking and weaving through the myriad of people.
Sweat beaded on her forehead as she hurried to keep up with the man. She almost ran straight into him when she realized he stopped abruptly to observe something in the distance. Rhapdosis stood beside the latest man to control her fate as they observed the bustle, she could now see below them. The architect’s camp sat on a hillside behind the castle. To the left, the castle’s stables and the Pharaoh’s menagerie. To the right, the ground dropped dramatically providing an unobstructed view of the Nile and the Royal family’s private docks.
“I knew of you, child before you entered those chambers with Ghebnut.”
Though the question was addressed to her, his eyes remained overlooking the busy docks. His hand extended to reveal another piece of chocolate in her direction. She took it quickly and popped it into her mouth. She chewed slowly, hoping not to have to respond to the man’s statement.
She was saved when he continued, “I knew your master very well… I would even call us friends of sorts.” He chuckled bitterly at some lost memory.
Rhapdosis watched men load a decorative cargo ship that would carry the royal family to El-Armana while others who could not afford a boat would take the road. Its golden flag, and silk sails shone from the banks of the river. Many nobles and rich citizens would follow in their private ships to keep up with the royal family. She wondered vaguely how her Master would travel to the capitol.
“He never spoke of palace life and business with us, my lord.” She responded after swallowing the treat. Rhapdosis licked her lips as the last traces of the treat appeared, already craving more.
“No, he would not have spoken to you about much. But he did speak of you Rhapdosis, often.”
Her brow lifted in surprise. She did not know he knew her name for all he had referred to her as “child”. Her master had been kind to her, but he was kind to all who served him. She never thought her name had been spoken in rooms with men such as Imhoten.
“He cared deeply about you. What happened to your people… Weighed heavily on his heart.”
“My people?” Confusion colored her voice. Would someone finally explain where she came from?
“That is for another time. You will be safe with me it is what they would have wanted. I will keep you from Ghebnut as long as I can”
Her heart beat quickened, a foreign feeling swelling in her chest. Was this hope? Relief? She had not felt this way since she entered the Vizier’s control.
“They? Did the High Priest speak to you as well?” Rhapdosis cared not that she spoke out of turn. She would be free of the Vizier, she now had allies just as powerful as he.
It was the architect who now looked surprised, “I have not spoken to Aksept of you, nor has he said anything to me. Are you familiar with the High Priest?
Rhapdosis stuttered, casting her mind to find a justifiable reason for her words.
“N-no, my lord. I have heard… tales of his distaste for my master. I believed he may have spoken on my behalf after he attempted to intervene in front of the Pharaoh.”
She kept her eyes low to the ground, her words sounding feeble to her own ears. Would he except such a flimsy excuse? There was a beat of silence, then a hand holding a chocolate treat entered her vision.
She smiled in relief as she took the candy from his wrinkled hand.
“The priest is indeed a gentleman and his… distaste for your master is known to me.”
As she righted herself, she chanced a look in his direction. He was smiling softly at her, yet his eyes held a glint that let her know he didn’t truly believe her poorly constructed reasoning.
As she opened her mouth to respond a voice carried a name she hadn’t heard in ages.
Rhapdosis turned quickly, recognizing the voice immediately.
“Jordan?” she said shocked, her first true friend stood before her a free man.
Still as handsome as ever, he had cut his ponytail and now his ear length hair waived gently around his face. He was tanned and more muscular, probably from a better diet and working his craft in the months she had last seen him as a slave. His clothes were that of an Egyptian citizen of a good station; clean and well-made. She felt ashamed of her slave garb and shackles in front of him in all his glory. Freedom suited him well.
“Ah, so you know my newest blacksmith! Wonderful! He will be traveling with us as well.”
“I can’t believe it.” He whispered, approaching them slowly. He was transfixed by her appearance. Jordan had sent many prayers to the gods in her name after he was released, now she stood before him as beautiful as he remembered.
“Me either.” She returned, facing her oldest friend. Maybe her fortune had truly changed for the better.
My excuse? I moved lol. Please comment/rate/share!
See ya next week!
The Road by ElisesThoughts
UPDATE 1/3 - Look for A/N at the end of today's update!
The High Priest of Egypt paced his chambers like a caged lion. A black cat with gleaming green eyes watched, head moving back and forth with the man’s steps. The cat watched as the priest’s mind raced as he replayed the past months moment-by-moment, looking for signs missed, or clues ignored that would have alerted him sooner.
The Vizier had always been a hateful man. Power-hungry, greedy, spiteful and jealous, men like that were not a new phenomenon. Wherever there was power, there would be men who would stop at nothing to acquire it. The signs were there, subtle, but present. The hunger in Ghebnut’s eyes, the wicked determination, the supernatural hold over the Pharaoh and his unrelenting passion and devotion to the New Gods, it all made sense. Aksept had not paid attention to the man as he should have. It was his own arrogance that made him blind. It was not until the Vizier put his hands on the strange girl that he truly gained Aksept’s full attention. That was when Aksept sensed it. As he touched the Vizier’s chest, he felt a familiar malevolent presence. It was him.Egypt was in the worst kind of danger. The kind that came from within.
Aksept ceased pacing and looked over his chambers. His items were already packed by his servants, leaving an already sparse room looking almost completely bare save for one feline companion. Aksept’s eyes landed on the cat that was watching him with keen interest. He sighed deeply, as if he understood what the animal’s intense gaze meant. He should head to the docks to board the boat undoubtedly waiting for him…
“The time is coming soon. I feelit.”
The cat blinked slowly,and rolled onto its back. Aksept approached the resting animal and stroked it’s back lightly.
“How could I have been so blind? How could I have not seen such danger approaching?”
Contrary to popular belief, prophecies were not rare. Any person claiming to receive a message from a God or a Goddess with enough believers could be a prophet. The times were ripe for new prophecies; Plagues, new Gods, and the moving of the capitol had split Egypt into two. Those who devoted themselves to the Pharaoh and his commands without question and then there were those who were too fearful of the old gods, those who whispered of blasphemy, fearing the plague was retribution for the King’s Proclamation.
However, Aksept was the High Priest of Egypt. He knew the prophecy that mattered. He had waited for centuries for this moment. Had he become lazy in his efforts? Too comfortable. Distracted.
Suddenly, Aksept’s thoughts turned to a certain woman with haunting eyes.
“Wekha! Shit!” Aksept jumped as the animal’s sharp canines’ bit into his finger.
He glared at the cat who was licking its back as if nothing had happened.
Aksept picked up his sword, a thick golden blade. Encrusted with rubies and opal, the sword looked like art it glistened brightly in the sun, often emitting a glare. As ornamental as the golden blade was, its razor-sharp edge and lightweight feel made the weapon deadly. He sheathed the blade in a plain scabbard, camouflaging its splendor.
The man made his way to his wardrobe, donning a sand colored overcoat. It was the kind worn commonly amongst Egyptian men while traveling through the desert sands. It was thick to protect the wearer heat from the heat of the sun yet it’s lightweight linen would allow for comfort. He wrapped his head in a deep purple turban, leaving enough of the silken material to hang loosely over his shoulder, should he need to cover his face in a sand storm.
He decided that he would travel with the servants, for they would know more about the Vizier’s plans than anyone else.
The thought that he may happen to run into a particular servant did not cross his mind at all.
“Jordan, I swear to the gods if you do not leave me alone, I will feed you to the crocodiles myself.” Rhapdosis huffed.
“If you would just talk to me, I would not have to bother you so.” He rolled his eyes at her with a gentle smile on his face.
Rhapdosis cut her eyes at Jordan. She used to find his boyish charm amusing. Now, it simply felt childish to her.
His carefree attitude made her resent him. In the recent days, all she felt was a slow anger growing in her chest. She tried to squash the feeling down with a deep breath. Anger wouldn’t help her here. Lately, she seemed to be angry constantly. Jordan’s intentions were honorable. They were just two days into a week’s journey.
She found herself idle for the first time in her lifer during this trip. The Architect told her to stay close however, there would be little to write during travel. For the past two mornings she would wake him to get the same response.
“Go enjoy yourself.” He would laugh, handing her chocolates as he waved her out of his tent. “Its too early for work.”
“Enjoy myself?” she repeated the strange words. Never had she been given those orders.
When they were travelling, Rhapdosis rode alongside a silent grey man who was pulling at the reigns of the camels pulling the Architect’s carriage. He made no attempt to speak to her and she returned the favor. When they camped, Rhapdosis enjoyed her own tent. Small, yet private, she enjoyed the space and the silence. Yet, she grew bored quickly. They rested twice a day the first would be at high noon, when the sun shone to its fullest, scorching the earth. The stopped to avoid sun sickness and to make sure none of the valuable animals they were transporting fell ill. She began to busy herself with nothing, eventually deciding to walk around the camps to see if anyone needed aid.
She wandered aimlessly. No friends, no acquaintances save Jordan. After the first day, Jordan noticed her directionless wandering while they camped waiting for the extreme heat to pass. He approached her as she sat astride the Architect’s carriage and appointed himself her companion.
Jordan easily fell back into conversation as if no time had passed. As if nothing bad ever happened to him. His enslavement was a thing of the past. His future was promising.
Rhapdosis’ own bondage was in her past, present, and future. Briefly, her mind drifted to thoughts of escape. However, the Road of Kings was dangerous and if the bandits, thieves, or slavers didn’t get her the weather surly would
“What would you like to discuss, Jordan?” She replied evenly.
He answered her with a dazzling smile, “What is the Pharaoh like?” his voice filled with excitement and wonder.
His happy demeanor and child-like joy brought to mind someone else, for they were polar opposites.
Her mind began to drift to the Priest. She hated herself for it. Her mind would start to compare Jordan with the man. Whatever feelings she may have had for Jordan paled in the visceral reaction she had to the man. She had barely spent any time in his presence. Rhapdosis did not understand her mind’s obsession.
She glanced at the man next to her, wondering how much attention he paid to her. She could never speak freely in fear that his loyalties may reside with someone else. If he had loose lips, any words that she spoke could travel to the wrong ears.
“The pharaoh is a great King.” She spoke, eyes gazing at the horizon. The sands looked endless.
“Come on,” he grumbled, nudging her softly from the camel he rode on, “What is he really like? Does he look like the statutes?”
Rhapdosis was able to look upon the busts and figurines that the Pharaoh commissioned. In seeking to fully establish a new era, he ordered new renderings of the royal families image. Gone were the realistic, colorful, clay figurines of Pharaohs and Queens past. Now, solely black granite was used to carve their vision. Their eyes were wide and tapered like almonds. All angle’s of their faces were drawn to a sharp plane. It was unsettling. Yet, they were sent to every place of worship in the country. The unfamiliar style and appearance shocked many. Some immediately fell to their knees in worship. Others were deeply unsettled by the striking images.
Again, Rhapdosis glanced to the man to her left. His eyes never wavered from the beasts he steered through the dessert.
“He is a God-King… in human form.” She sighed, looking at Jordan reluctantly. Hopefully, he would understand her reluctance in speaking on the Pharaoh.
Jordan studied her with one eyebrow raised. A quirk of his she always found endearing. His eyebrows always rose when he was concentrating. She, gave him a true smile.
Jordan blinked in surprise at her sudden change in demeanor. He was beginning to believe the girl he grew up with was long gone but when she smiled at him, he sensed her again. He smiled back at her.
“Fine, I’ll leave it alone. How have you been? What is life like in the palace?”
As quickly as it appeared, her smile vanished instantly. Again, the cold woman was before him, a stranger in his friend’s body.
“I am a slave in the palace Jordan, how do you think it has been?” she glared at him, anger returned. Would she ever stop being so angry?
A horn sounded in the distance, indicating that they would be resting for the night, it also saved Jordan from a response.
“I’m s-sorry.” He stuttered “I have duties to attend to.”
Rhapdosis watched him turn his camel to an unknown destination, unsure if he was apologizing for leaving or did he just feel sorry for her?
Rhapdosis brought her attention back to the road, understanding why they had chosen this spot. A small outcropping of palm trees could be seen in the distance, indicating water and shelter. They would set the higher ups in the shade while the rest of the servants, livestock, and guard would surround it. They were half way through their trip to El-Armana.
She clenched her hand over her stomach as she felt the steady pull of hunger. Again she would have little to do while others made camp. Her own tent was set up by others. Her stomach making the decision for her, she decided she would attempt to assist the cooks if for nothing more than a few extra scraps.
“1, 2, 3!” Rhapdosis shouted to the sound of giggles.
She removed her hands from her face and looked at the suspiciously empty clearing she was in. A few tents were scattered about, as the smell of roasting goat lingered in the air. She took a few exaggerated steps towards a particularly large bundle of cloth near the tent closest to her.
“Ah! Oh!” she sighed, louder than any person would ever sigh.
She smiled as the cloth began to wiggle, indicating it was more than today’s laundry.
“The heat, Gods!” She dramatically cried.
A few women looked up from their various tasks. Some women were chopping vegetables, while others plucked small birds. A few older women sat in the shade, sewing clothes and weaving.
Rhapdosis followed her nose the moment she detected the smell of cooking meat. The women seemed well staffed, so her original plan went out the window. Then, she saw a woman struggling with her tasks due to two very energetic twin boys latched around her ankles. They could not have been more than 4 harvests, yet the poor mother could not manage.
Relief filled her eyes when Rhapdosis offered to take them off her hands. The woman thrust a roll of bread in her hands immediately and hugged her tightly. She could see many of the Egyptian women eyed her warily, so she stayed close to avoid more suspicion.
“I can’t take it! Anubis take me now!” she fell onto the cloth heap lightly as the children inside erupted in laughter.
“Ice! Ice!” they screamed her name as she wrapped arms around them as they attempted to flee.
“I win!” she laughed. Feeling genuine happiness as the kids laughed with her. Children always made her happy.
“Here, thank you.” The children’s mother was now above them. A bundle of cloth in her hand released a delicious smell.
Rhapdosis stood, helping the children to their feet. She eagerly took the bundle of food. Most people in the camp would be waiting hours before they ate.
“You are welcome back here anytime, Ice.” The woman said as she lead her grumbling children away.
“Come back and play!” One of the twins shouted as the other nodded in agreement.
“I will! Thank you for your kindness.” She nodded to their mother as she began to make her way back to her tent.
She strolled in the direction of the Architect’s tent. Weaving through the scattered tents and informal paths they created. She knew the Architect would be towards the center of the camp. A man of his station would receive the best camping spot and he would be surrounded by the guard for his safety. She was currently on the outskirts of the makeshift town created by their stop. Here were the servants cooking, cleaning, taking care of animals. It was an area full of servants focused on their various tasks. Those that were not working, were resting in the shade, some eating food, talking and laughing with one another. Everyone was relaxed, enjoying the freedom of the road. Few masters would travel this way. Very few people looked up from their tasks as she treaded through. She watched the interactions, jealous. All of her friends were long gone, sold away or released as a part of her first master’s estate.
Now, she searched for her new temporary master’s tents. They would be distinguishable by the royal blue colors of his emblem. As his scribe, her tent would not be far from her master’s.
Rhapdosis undid the bundle of food, her mouth watering instantly as she took in the aroma of lamb, carrots, and bread. She bit into the juicy lamb, grease running down her chin. She would be embarrassed normally, yet no one was paying her any. mind and she was hungry. Who did she have to empress?
So lost in her food, she did not notice a black cat studying her intensely. Suddenly, the animal darted in front of her. Running lightly over her sandaled feet.
“Ahh!” She screeched!
On instinct, she shot out her wrist to catch her fall. A sharp pain raced from her wrist to her elbow as it caught her body weight in the sand. Several heads turned in her direction curios about the loud noise.
Rhapdosis ruefully sat on her knees, clutching the throbbing limb to her chest. Her cheeks burned in embarrassment as a middle-aged woman rushed to her side.
“Are you hurt? Let me see.” The woman cooed gently, fingers dancing softly over her arm.
Avoiding the kind woman’s eyes, she scanned the area, eyes settling on a black cat, lazily licking its paw. As the woman touched her aching wrist, the creature looked up from it’s bath, staring pointedly at Rhapdosis. A brief moment passed and the animal switched paws, continuing it’s cleaning.
“Bastard.” She spat at the animal that she now knew ran in her path. She looked down at her wrist. Though her skin was dark, she could see the purple bruise beginning to form and she felt the swelling as the woman tenderly poked it.
Rhapdosis hissed at the prodding, a fresh wave of pain shooting through her arm.
“You should seek a healer.” The woman told her with a tsk.
The woman helped Rhapdosis to her feet. Once she was steady, the woman picked up the bundle of food Rhapdosis was carrying. Tiny bits of sand reached the food yet, not enough to make it inedible. She would dust it herself, later once regaining some pride and privacy.
“There is a healer here? Seeing slaves?” Rhapdosis asked timidly. Healers were not known to see servants in households. Unless of course there were grave conditions. Seeing one on the road to attend to slaves seemed unlikely. Not even the Architect was traveling with a healer.
“There has been a healer visiting us. He is a very kind man. I will take you to him.”
She awkwardly balanced the bundle with her good wrist as she followed the woman to the healer.
The Healer's Tent by ElisesThoughts
Unsurprisingly so, there was a line of people outside of the healer’s tent. Mari, the kind woman that led her to the tent left her almost immediately. She still had work to do. Rhapdosis thanked her, understanding her position came first.
She was frustrated, having food in her hands that she was unable to eat for she could not both balance her food and eat it whilst standing. Her stomach began grumbling almost immediately. Thankfully, she would be next to see the healer. Sighing deeply, she tried to relax and ignore the hunger pains. A bad mood surely would not be helpful to the healer. She would be grateful for the treatment.
She breathed in and out, trying to force her mind to better places. Rhapdosis turned her mind to happier thoughts. This truly was the most freedom she had ever enjoyed in her lifetime. No master, no chores. Yet, she was lonely.
Just as she began to again turn to darker places in her mind, the healer’s tent flapped open. A mother held a small girl, no older than 3 summers slept gently in her arms. Rhapdosis watched the wonder on the woman’s face as she peered at the sleeping child’s face. She looked the picture of serenity. A faint pull deep in her chest surprised her. Would she ever have a child of her own?
She dashed the thought immediately. Any child of a slave, would be a slave. Her own child would not be hers, only her master’s. It sickened her to her stomach. Her child would belong to the Vizier, in more ways than one.
That would never happen, she vowed. She felt a fire of determination flare in her belly as she prepared to walk into the healer’s tent. .
Rhapdosis strode confidently into the tent. First, she would get her wrist attended to, then she would begin planning her freedom. A brief stomach rumbling reminded her to add eating to her agenda as well.
The tent was dim, a sharp contrast to the bright sunlight of dessert. Rhapdosis’ eyes adjusted slowly. She did not see the healer immediately.
“Hello?” she spoke softly to the dark tent.
Blinking rapidly she began to see details of the rather large tent. Infront of her was a table covered in boxes and glass jars. The tent was rather bare besides that. A wooden chair and bench sat to the right, a large, rather comfortable resting pallet to the left. Two large chest sat locked next to the entrance.
Motion caught her eyes as the tent opened before her. She had not seen the second entrance. Sunlight hit her eyes from behind the figure, casting him in shadows. She squinted to improve her vision yet it proved futile.
“You have found me.” A familiar deep voice grumbled smugly.
Rhapdosis’ eyes widened. The flap closed, again casting the tent back into shadows.
“You!” she sputtered, the High Priest of Egypt stood across the tent. She instantly flushed as she felt that familiar energy he cast onto her. He was dressed like a commoner. Yet as she inspected his clothes closely, she could tell the fine material it was made of. He still took her breath away. He was painfully handsome. His well built frame was covered in a russet overcoat.
She stood awkwardly as he approached her. With every step he took closer to her, she felt her heart beat quicken. Why did he make her so nervous?
“Me.” He said with a stern face, yet the hint of a smile peaked through his dark eyes.
“Why are you here to see me, little one?” he asked. An unfamiliar pleasure rushed through her as he ceased his approach.
Rhapdosis paused for a moment, gathering herself. Would this man always send a wave of confusing emotions to course through her? She was no longer a young girl mind lost to sense over attractive men.
“I must be mistaken. I was told I would be seeing a healer at this tent, not a priest… my lo-“ She began to bow to him yet he caught her gently by the shoulder forcing her upright.
“No, no, none of that here.” He said, “I am just a healer, Aksept.”
She frowned at him. Why would the High Priest of Egypt be amongst slaves and servants, masquerading as a regular healer?
“They do not recognize you here?” she asked, stepping away from his distracting touch. It sparked a warmth she did not want to think about while she was still in his presence.
“There are many who would not recognize me dressed like this. The servants here are not the ones from the palace. “
He looked at her through dark eyes, taking in the servants wig she wore. She was dressed in longer robes, fit for desert travel, yet she still wore the headdress.
Rhapdosis subconsciously moved to finger the wig she saw him stare at intently. She hissed as the momentarily forgotten reason for her visit throbbed. Reminding her what brought her here in the first place.
“Let me look at you.” He spoke, leading her to the wooden bench. Aksept removed the package of food she carried from her good hand and walked to his work table.
Rhapdosis tried not to stare at his broad shoulders and back as he tinkered with objects outside of her vision.
Her efforts were futile. Was she going insane?
The priest turned, catching her stare. His gaze darkened as they locked eyes. Neither looked away as he returned to the bench where Rhapdosis sat, cradling her wrist in her lap. Aksept reached for her wrist. The connection broke as his touch caused the injured limb to throb anew.
“Is the High Priest truly a healer as well or is this just a part of this deception?” she hissed at him.
She bit her lip as soon as the words left her mouth. Once again, forgetting her place in front of someone who could easily have her punished.
The priest barked a laugh at her wide-eyed expression, his gaze focusing on her plump bottom lip in her mouth.
“You have quite a mouth on you.” He said with a smile. “Does it seem so strange that prayer is so connected to healing?”
Aksept tinkered with a small jar in his hands, releasing a strong, sweet-smelling scent.
“Are we to pray to your gods over my wrist?” she asked skeptically.
Again the priest chuckled, sending chills along her spine. She enjoyed the sound more than she should.
“The gods, the spirit, the mind, the body” he whisked a glance over her that settled back on her suspicious eyes, “They are all connected. Are they not your gods too?”
Rhapdosis took in the raised eyebrow on his handsome face. She slipped back into her stoic demeanor, reminding herself that she should choose her words carefully. No matter who he was dressed as, he still was the High Priest of Egypt and she was just a slave in the palace.
Aksept noted the change in her immediately. Steel settled in her gaze as she pulled her ocean colored eyes away from his.
“My master’s gods are my god’s, forgive me. I spoke out of turn.”
Aksept reached for her wrist, drawing her eyes back to his own. He began lightly applying the sweet-smelling substance around her swollen wrist. His touch cast a warmth through her skin. Beginning at her injury and travelling through her whole body. She became more sensitive to her beating heart, hearing each beat through the rushing noise in her ears. He was looking down at her wrist as he massaged it lightly, the pain fading almost immidiately.
From this angle, she could see his long eyelashes and tufts of dark hair peaking through his turban. She wondered what his hair looked like. She touched her wig self-consciously, thinking about her own wild curls. Would he find them attractive or did he prefer the thick, long locks of Egyptian women?
As he finished applying the ointment to her skin, he sat back. She quickly averted her eyes back to the ground. Resuming her mock obedience. Aksept knew there was a fire burning in her. She was not as innocent as she wanted him to believe in that moment. He found himself annoyed that she was attempting to hide her true self from him. He wanted, no needed her to be herself around him.
“You may speak freely with me for here I am simply the healer, Aksept. You are the Architect’s Scribe Rhapdosis.”
She again looked at him through narrowed eyes. She paid no attention to the way her heart skipped a beat as he spoke her name.
“I am not sure that is appropriate, my lo-“
“Aksept.” He interrupted firmly. “You will call me Aksept while we are here.”
Blue eyes sparkled with a familiar anger as he interrupted her. It must be nice to have to opportunity to play below your station, knowing you would safely catapult back to comfot and luxury once they arrived at the new capitol.
“If my lord commands it.” She responded through tight lips.
Her defiant gaze returned to his, igniting a fire inside of the priest.
“I command you to do nothing, I may only ask this of you. Help me keep my identity concealed here.”
“To what end….. Aksept?” His name exited her mouth on a whisper, making it sound much more like a question.
He grinned satisfied at the sound of his name on her lips.
“I am… seeking information on Ghebnut.” Aksept spoke carefully, undoing a small roll of bandages, “Servants usually have the most information on their masters. They tend to speak more freely to healers than they would a High Priest.”
Rhapdosis was surprised by his answer. He did promise to help her, was this all for to aid her escape? She snuffed the small feeling of hope in her chest. Men made promises all the time and broke them just as frequently.
“Why would you need to do such a thing?” she questioned. Was he speaking truths or falsehoods to her?
Aksept began wrapping her wrist lightly, leaving the unanswered question lingering in the air.
“It is just a bruise, you should be fine in a day or two.” He responded, his voice sure in his diagnosis, “Try not to put it to use for at least a day.”
After knotting the bandage tightly, he sheared away the acess material with a small dagger from the inside of his coat.
Rhapdosis inspected it wrapping closely. He indeed bandged it neatly and whatever he put on her skin numbed the pain greatly. She was impressed, though she would not speak it aloud.
A rushed apology escaped her lips, “Thank you my, l- Aksept.”
Noticing her did not answer her question she stood to exit this tent and get as far away from this man as possible. Whatever he had planned for Ghebnut, she hoped she would end up free or forgotten.
“Do not leave yet. I wish to speak with you longer about your former Master.”
“Former? I am simply on loan to the Architect, I shall be back in his service again once construction is underway of the new temple.”
Rhapdosis already vowed that she would not return willingly to his service. One way or another she would be free of him. The Priest was proving to be deceitful in his appearance at least. There was no way she would entrust her freedom to him.
As if was reading her thoughts he spoke to her, rising gently from his seat on the bench.
“I haven’t forgotten my promise little one, everything I do is connected.” He spoke to her calmly as if she might flee from the room at any second. He was not far from the truth.
“Everything is connected, huh.” She repeated his words back to him, facing him fully now. “Twice you have said that to me. Rhapdosis made her way to a chair across from Aksept, who was still standing. She sat gracefully in the chair nonchalantly, she dusted an imaginary smudge off the him of her traveling robe. It was longer, with a much more modest neckline and hemline to protect her from the dessert heat while providing a breathable fabric. She hoped her calm demeanor would protect her from her abnormal attraction to him. She decided to speak with the man. After all, Ghebnut was no friend of hers. It was in no way related to spending more time with the handsome, mysterious priest.
“What would you like to know? I am unsure that I will be much help. I have not truly spent much time with him.”
Aksept sat down on the bench. He reclined into the bench, relaxing fully. He draped a muscular arm over the back of the bench. Rhapdosis watched as his muscles flexed with the effort. He was in full display, stretched across the bench, the picture of comfort. Yet, he watched her with a predatory gleam in his eye. As if in any moment he could attack. Reminding her of a certain cat.
Aksept opend his mouth to presumably respond to her question but he found himself interrupted by a loud strange noise.
Rhapdosis, who had moved from skillfully dusting imaginary dirt of her dress to picking at imagninary threads froze, eyes wide. Her stomach reminding her of her uneaten food with a thunderous growl.
She flushed, thankful for her dark skin as the priest chuckled.
“When was the last time you ate?” he asked through amused laughter.
“I was on my way to eat when I was sent here.” She spoke tersely, leaving out how she received the injury that led her to his tent.
Aksept noticed her omission and proceded to question her on it.
“How did you receive that injury little one?” His dark eyes gleamed in the dim light provided by various candles and small torches in the tent.
She huffed through her nose, still pointedly ignoring his eyes that she could feel on her body. If she looked at him, she might lose the ability to speak completely to his dark gaze.
“I was attacked by a jungle cat while I was eating.” Countered Rhapdosis haughtily, crossing her arms across her chest.
“And your only injury was a bruised wrist? You are quite the warrior.” He teased, standing up. The movement finally brought her eyes back to him.
He stretched, flexing his muscles, again making him appear decidedly feline. Deadly, yet beautiful, like a leopard.
He strode to his table, gathering her cloth pouch. She watched as he poured water from a brass pitcher into a matching cup that she had not seen on the table earlier.
As he untied the food, he froze, “There is sand in this food,” he spoke with distaste.
Rhapdosis stood, and joined him at the table. In the candle light she could see the dand sprinkled atop her food. It was more than she originally thought but still, edible.
“It is fine!” she hissed embarrassed, reaching for the bag of food. He held the package just out of her grasp, above her head. She placed her injured wrist on his chest lightly for support as she tried to reach it on her tip-toes with her good hand. He wrapped his large hand just under her injury as he lightly pulled her away.
Suddenly, Rhapdosis was hyper aware of their proximity to one another. Finally, he gazed at her round chestnut colored face. Her bewitching eyes arrested his breath, her full lips had him subconsciously licking his own.
A rush of heat pooled in Rhapdosis’ stomach as she watched his pink lips become wet with moisture. She bit her lip, slowly coming down from her toes.
“You are injured, let me take care of dinner for you. I am receiving information from you, I can provide you with food.”
Aksept’s words broke the spell that fell upon her from his touch. He released her at a slight tug from her.
He held the cup of water to her face. She grasped the cup with her hand, careful to avoid touching his fingers. She took a deep gulp to avoid responding. Satisfied at her compliance, Aksept treaded to the entrance that he first entered the tent from, her soiled food still in his possession.
Rhapdosis quickly downed the water, coughing when in her haste, water traveled through the wrong side of her throat. Thirst overtook her the second the water hit her lips. She recovered quickly, placing the cup on the table. Picking up the Priest’s pitcher, she refilled her now empty cup. She sipped slowly, surveying the various jars on the table. Now that she was close she could see some jars were labeled, others had strange symbols on them in a language that she did not recognize. One jar in particular contained a familiar herb, one used to induce sleep caught her attention.
The tent flapped open, revealing Aksept with two steaming bowls of soup. He approached her as she watched him silently.
“This will be easy to eat.” He motioned to the bowls in his hands. “We can eat here if you are comfortable. Aksept pulled a stool from under the table and motioned for her to sit. She did as suggested. As she settled in her seat, Aksept placed the bowl on the table as he remained standing. Gazing softly at Rhapdosis. She again avoided his gaze, it made her uncomfortable not understanding her own body’s emotions and reactions to him. Never had a simple look caused such a reaction in her.
Aksept watched her eat silently forgetting his own food. Her quiet slurps were the only noise that filled the room. She paused her eating and reached for the water, sipping quietly. After what felt like ages, she finally surrendered her gaze back to Aksept.
“Why do you look at me like that?” she spoke finally, her confusion turned to frustration. What was he doing to her?
“How do I look at you?” He asked, voice deepening with an unknown emotion. His eyes seemed to darken impossibly. A candle on the table cast a shadow across his face, lighting one side completely leaving the other in darkness. He was so beautiful, yet the energy that radiated off of him felt dangerous and powerful. The air became heavy as her breathing picked up. He placed his forgotten bowl on the table and got closer to her. Aksept leaned against the table, his stare never leaving hers.
“Likethat.” She breathed helpless to his enchantment. “Like you know what you are making me feel. I don’t understand it.”
Rhapdosis spoke freely, surprised that the words that she thought were safe in her head tumbled past her lips. Truly her sense of control slipped in Aksept’s presence.
He reached for her hand, removing the now neglected spoon from her fingers. Instantly, her skin burned everywhere his skin connected with hers. His hand swallowed her tiny wrist as he knelt before her.
She gasped. The scandal this would cause should anyone see the High Priest of Egypt on bended knee before a slave.
“My lord!” She protested.
Her objection was cut short by the Priest pressing her hand to his chest. Though covered, she could feel the warmth instantly. He studied her wide eyes as she took in what he intended her to feel.
His heart was beating rapidly. Neither spoke as the air charged with energy between them. Rhapdosis grew uncomfortably warm, then she felt it. Their heart beats both raced in time with one-another. The impossible flutter in her chest was mirrored in the man before her. She could feel the beating of his heart through their palm, in time with her own.
“Everything is connected.” He said firmly as if he had proved himself right with his infuriating saying.
Then, his lips crashed down onto hers.
The Connections by ElisesThoughts
THIS IS UPDATE 3/3 TODAY. I REPEAT. I UPLOADED 3 CHAPTERS. BEGIN WITH 'THE ROAD". LOVE YA.
Rhapdosis had experienced exactly two kisses in her lifetime before today.
The first was as a small child, no more than 6 summers old. Amari was the daughter of a kitchen slave and Rhapdosis’ partner in crime. They were around the same age and often assigned chores together in The General’s home. As children do, they often turned their chores into silly games. A rather vigorous game of feed-the-animals-while-hiding-and-seeking lead to a discovery that neither girl had ever seen.
One day, Rhapdosis and Amari stumbled upon a young couple in the girl’s favorite hiding spot. A small stall, tucked into the far wall of the stable was used for sick, injured or nursing animals, young children paying hide and seek, and apparently juvenile lovers.
Two servants, a girl dressed in house clothes and a stable boy in a degree of undress were entangled together. The curious girls exchanged mischievous grins as they creeped closer to the stall’s door. Tiny fingers grasped the edges as their eyes took in the scene before them.
The young couple were entwined with one another, laying on their sides. Their clothes were on yet rumpled from previous effort. They kissed passionately, the man’s hand held the girl’s hair tightly his other on her waist. Her arms wrapped around him securely as if space between them would cause pain. When they broke from their kiss, they said nothing to one another. Simply stared, lost in one another’s eyes. The children watched silently for a moment taking in the scene. They scurried away after a few moments. Cheeks pink at what they witnessed. They felt the rush of adrenaline that came with doing something they should not have been doing and getting away with it.
They ran to the safety of the kitchen laughing the entire distance. Amari stopped suddenly, grabbing both of Rhapdosis’ arms, forcing Rhapdosis to stop walking along with her.
“Ice! I want to try something.” Amari said playfully.
“What?” she asked, Amari always had the best games.
Amari placed her hands on both sides of Rhapdosis’ face peering deeply into her eyes in a youthful imitation of the scene they just witnessed. Her chubby face and missing front tooth was a far cry from the looks of the older servants. She could see the determination set in her friend’s eyes.
“What are you doing weirdo?” Rhapdosis teased, pulling at her friend’s wrists.
“Im going to kiss you!”
“Nooooo,” Rhapdosis whined dodging her friend’s first attempt at a kiss. It landed on her cheek.
The assult continued briefly until Amari’s mother screeched her name in shock as the girl’s attracted attention.
Rhapdosis froze, giving her friend the window of opportunity that she needed. Almost immediately, their lips touched. Silence fell in the busy kitchen. Rhapdosis managed to finally break-free of her friend’s grasp. She wiped at her lips comically and the room erupted in fits of laughter.
Finally, Amari’s mother stood between them. Though her back was to Rhapdosis, she could here Amari’s mother lecturing her. Rhapdosis felt an ominous tap on her shoulder. Looking up, the color drained in from her face. Hapetset stood a stern look on his face, arms crossed, and a thin reed in his hands.
Rhapdosis’ second kiss was with Jordan. The consequences were more severe than a few swatches across her thighs. Their punishment proved most effective. Jordan recovered quickly, mentally and physically. Though her physical scars healed mentally she was never the same. The incident caused her to grow up over-night. She vowed to protect herself however she could. There were no other kisses after that.
It felt as if an large wave of water crashed on to her, dulling all senses but one. Touch. Submerged in his kiss, she could feel him everywhere. His full lips soft against hers, his arm around the back of her head as he held her close. His other still held her to his beating chest.
No other kiss had felt like this.
The butterflies of her youth that Jordan used to set off in her stomach, paled in comparison to the roaring in her whole body now. Shock froze her body but the heat between them melted her right back into jelly. She leaned into him, her palm no longer splayed over his chest but grabbing at the material of his tunic bringing him closer.
At her touch, he shifted closer. Even on his knees, his lofty frame dwarfed hers in the stool she was perched on. The height difference forced her head back further. He took advantage of the new position deepening the kiss. Then, she felt his tongue caress her bottom lip.
One by one, her other senses returned.
Rhapdosis tasted the soup on his breath. She could smell the sand and heat of the desert on his skin, mixing with a scent that was uniquely his own. It reminded her of the incense of the temple.
She broke the kiss with a gasp- her thoughts of the temple snapping her to the present. Leaning away from Aksept she covered her mouth with both friends. She studied him carefully, both of their breaths heavy with desire. His broad chest peaked through his now-ruffled tunic with each breath he took. Their eyes met as he studied her through dark lashes. Neither moved or looked away.
Rhapdosis was no stranger to holding her tounge. She was a slave after all. Yet, his presence, his unreadable stare, confusing presence made her unsteady. She fidgeted in her seat under his unwavering gaze.
Why does he look at me like that?
She stood, suffocating in his presence. It was too much. These emotions in her chest were wild and raging like a storm over the emotion. Briefly, Rhapdosis wondered if this what desire felt like to men. It would explain their lack of self-restraint when it came to women. Rhapdosis was aware of what happened between women and men. She raked her eyes over Aksept’s figure flushing anew. There was no doubt in her mind that she desired him. To what end? What purpose would that serve? She was a slave.
She beat away the thought. She would either be free or she would die trying. Either option would prevent any meaningful connection between the two.
Rhapdosis was the first to speak, “I-I apologize. I need to check in with the master.” She mumbled. Her excuse was flimsy, but she needed to get out of his shrinking tent.
Bowing awkwardly, she turned to flee without waiting for a response.
“Stop,” his deep voice carried across the empty room, lingering over the space.
Her feet stopped immediately. Rhapdosis told herself it was because a superior gave her an order not because of who the superior was.
Fingers danced on her shoulder, causing her to jump in surprise. For such a large man, he made virtually no noise. A jungle cat was a fitting description of him. Rhapdosis turned to him, again taken aback at how close he was to her without her being aware. His intimidating frame towered over her, as his hand fell to his side. Rhapdosis took a step back from him. The closer she was to him, the farther reason ran from her.
“Why are you running from me?” He asked, eyebrow raised. There was no inflection in his voice, no clues to a hidden meaning.
Rhapdosis’ mind raced attempting to find logic in this chaos created by the Priest before him. Then, she felt the tendrils of ire building in her. It pushed away the chaos and confusion, giving her a thread to follow back into her right frame of mind. Her freedom would not be compromised by a handsome priest. Pretty slaves were everywhere. She could not afford this distraction.
“Do you want to bed me like my master wants to?” she asked with an even voice, “Are you intrigued by theajnabislave?” Rhapdosis trailed a finger down her arm as she referred to her dark skin. Ruefully, she observed his eyes trace the movement. “To what end do you want me here? Am I to warm your bed while my master is away? Perhaps you simply want me first.” She spat. With each word, she breathed more freely, releasing the anger behind it.
Aksept observed her rampage with a calm face then responded, “I promised to help you. I am trying to keep that promise to you. I am nothing like your master.”
“How are you helping me? You claim to help yet I have seen nothing. I. Will. Not. Go. Back. To. His. House.” She Annunciated every word of her final sentence clearly. “You seem to want my body. You can have it for my freedom.”
Aksept’s eyes deepened as his own anger began to surface making him look even larger, more dangerous. He took one step towards her, she gulped and took one back.
Rhapdosis’ anger slowly began to morph into fear. Had she gone too far? Spoken too freely? The priest recognized the growing fear in her eyes. They dimmed with fear instead of sparkling with rage. Her fists, once balled at her sides, began fidgeting with the hem of her dress. He halted his advances and turned to sit on the abandoned bench.
Rhapdosis did not move. Her mind begged her to flee to the safety of the architect’s tents. She should spend the time coming up with her own escape plan. It lacked any sense to stake her freedom on the word of a man no matter how powerful. Her body begged her to stay. Her confused heart ached at the idea of leaving like this. Her own emotions continued to baffle her. How could she feel so strongly about a man she just met?
“Come, sit.” Aksept pat the empty bench next to him lightly.
Rhapdosis did not move.
“I am not the type of man to force a woman, regardless of her position.” He spoke haughtily as if it was obvious that he was a man who was in no need of feminine attention.
Raking her eyes over his smug figure, she realized he probably did not have a lack of admirers.
Rhapdosis glared at his lazy smirk and relaxed posture. She slowly approached the chair across from where Aksept sat and stood behind it.
“Truly, I will not harm you.” Aksept spoke with a huff.
He paused only briefly, realizing she would not move any time soon, “I do not want your body for your freedom. I will not lie to you.”
At this she gave him a disbelieving look, but she allowed him to continue.
“I am drawn to you, Rhapdosis.” He breathed her name like it was a caress.
That warm feeling in the pit of her stomach began to unfurl hearing her name fall from her lips.
“I am drawn to you like I have never been drawn to someone before. I know you feel this too.” He motioned between them, eyes wrought with want.
Rhapdosis’ breathing became heavy. She was relieved to hear that she was not singularly affected by him. He felt her too.
“You are the high priest of Egypt.” She whispered aloud, though it was a response to him, it was also a reminder to herself. “I am nothing but a body slave in The Vizier’s home. I have no future here, while yours is bright and filled with riches and worship.”
“You will not be back in his home, I swear it.” Aksept spoke so fiercely that Rhapdosis believed that he truly believed it.
“How can you swear on something you have no control over. The Pharaoh himself told my Master I will return to him.”
“Will you please sit?” Aksept implored, “I wish to discuss all you have seen in your Master’s home.”
Rhapdosis gingerly sat on the chair before the High Priest, eyeing him suspiciously. He took in her stare, bringing a small smile to his lips. She reminded him of Nile. She was calm and beautiful on the surface. Once one swam past the banks of the river, hidden depths were revealed. An undertow could pull you deep into the dangers of the water, never to surface again. He could see her annoyance building, like a current forming beneath the surface, as her unanswered question lingered between them. Just when she was about to be overcome by her own impatience he spoke.
“I have suspicions of Ghebnut and his intentions.” He leaned back into the bench, the picture of comfort, “I believe he has nefarious plans. The relocation of the capitol could only be the beginning.”
Though he looked relaxed, Rhapdosis could see the tension in his jaw, the flexing of the muscles around his neck indicated he serious. She did not speak, hoping to hear his plans for her.
“By harvest, he will be gone, and you will be free.” He spoke resolutely eyes burning into her own.
Harvest was a month away. They were to arrive in the New Capitol in two day’s time. The Architect would release her to Ghebnut as soon as they were settled.
“I will be dead by then.” Rhapdosis answered unemotionally. Her decision was made before she entered the tent. She would be free or she would die trying before she set would allow the Vizier to own her.
Aksept’s eyes softened at her response, understanding her meaning. “That is something I will not allow.”
“I am not asking for your permission.” She spoke tersely, “Unless, of course The High Priest of Egypt interferes.”
“What is your plan?” he challenged, “Are you to escape while we travel? A womanh alone on this road may fall to a fate worse than death. That is if the thieves get to you before the guards will. Where will you go? How will you disappear with your looks? What coin do you have?”
Rhapdosis cringed at each question. She knew she did not have a plan, that is what she needed to come up with.
“I will figure it out.” She spoke haughtily, “I am not just an ignorant slave. No one knows me here or in El-Armana. Surly I am not the only ajnabiin Egypt.” She crossed her arms over her chest defensively, refusing to give into Aksept’s logic. No more men would control her life.
“No, you are not the only foreigner to be a servant in Egypt but -,”
“Slave.” She interrupted.
“I am a slave here in Egypt. He will bed me the first moment he can, then my child will be a slave too. How would I escape with a child? I refuse to force this fate on another soul. I would rather die than do that to my own child.” She spat.
At this, Aksept released a deep sigh, and sat up. He leaned forward, closer to Rhapdosis. He rested his chin in his hands as he spoke.
“I will not let him touch you. When we get to the Capitol, you will remain safe with the Architect at least until harvest.”
“How can you know that? He told the Vizier he would need me just for the journey.”
“We have already spoken on the matter. Worry not.” He began to reach out his hand as if he were going to touch her cheek.
She hated that she wished he did.
“The Architect told me he never spoke to you.” She breathed. Anger dissipating, desire growing.
“The Architect is a sly old fox,” he said with a smile. He loved the way she looked at him her eyes peered deep into his soul.
Truly, Aksept was already lost to the woman before him. He did not understand why. He had seen his share of women, both Egyptian and foreign. Before she stumbled into his temple , these emotions that stirred in his chest he believed long gone. They returned to him fiercely, almost painfully. Fighting it was impossible he already learned. Control and reason must lead him now. This was a dangerous time in Egypt.
He focused with that thought in mind, “Did you see anything suspicious in the Vizier’s home?”
Rhapdosis blinked at the sudden change in topic. She cast her mind back through her memories as she responded, “Nothing I can think of… At first I believed the amount of supplies he ordered was strange yet when the Proclamation was made it made sense.”
“The Vizier made large orders before the Pharaoh announced El-Armana?” the priest asked incredulously.
“Yes, Heb and I were going over inventory reports… There was a large amount of stone coming in from the Romans yet the payment was not recorded.”
“Interesting.” Aksept spoke deep in thought, his eyes on the ground, “Any strange visitors?”
Immediately, Rhapdosis felt the color leave her face as she remembered the one visitor she saw in the Vizier’s home. She spent much effort forgetting that night except for meeting Aksept. The Priest noticed her change in demeanor, concerned at the fear that flickered in her eyes.
“What is it?” he prodded gently. He did not like the fear he saw in her eyes. The need to remove it permantly over came him.
“The night you found me in your temple,” she spoke so softly the Aksept had to strain to hear her, “The Vizier had a visitor it is why we didn’t – he didn’t…” trailing off she dragged her eyes from the floor back to Aksept’s face. The concern she found there warmed her belly. He didn’t look sad for her, just worried. There was a hint of determination hidden in his jaw as well.
“She was royalty, I saw her again when you all returned from the temple… Kaia, Kaya?” she finished scrunching her nose as she tried to remember the beautiful woman’s name.
“Kiyah.” He spoke firmly. What was the king’s favorite concubine doing with the Vizier?
“Yes, that’s it.” As she spoke, she pressed her memories to remember the brief discussion she witnessed between the two. All she could remember was how scared she was. How fast she fled when he dismissed her. “I remember her being speaking on The Royal Mother and one of the princesses falling ill with… excitement.”
“Was she alone? What do you mean by excitement?” he pressed her to elaborate her comment.
“Yes, she was alone. She was not sad, she might have said it was a sign? I was… dismissed after that.”
The priest took in her words carefully. He could not find a reason for those Kiyah to visit the Vizier. Especially without a guard. She was the favorite royal concubine. Her own brother commanded the Magi that protected the king. Surely, he would not allow his sister to roam the castle unprotected. Unless he did not know. Unless he knew.
They sat in silence alone with their thoughts. Rhapdosis used the time to study Aksept. His eyes were back on the floor as he was deep in thought. His hair was still covered, yet the turban was beginning to slip, showing more and more of the thick dark locks tucked beneath it. A few curls peaked out, but she could see his hair was long enough to be pulled back. She wondered how long it was. His long eyelashes flooded her with envy. If she had lashes like that, maybe she would not be forced to rim her eyes with as much kohl when she was in the palace.
His body was tense, unintentionally causing the muscles to relax and flex, putting on an impressive display. She trailed her eyes over his long legs and powerful thighs. Jordan was always physically fit. He caused many of girls to detour around the blacksmith’s hearth to watch him mold metal effortlessly. Sweat drenched and muscles ripping, even Rhapdosis extended her tasks to see the sight. Still, the way she felt about Jordan paled in comparison to the way this man made her feel fully clothed. Her mind drifted to what he would look like without his tunic, drenched in the summer sun. She had to breathe deeply, to release the pressure of her quickly bleating heart thundering in her chest. She fidgeted in her seat as the longer she thought about him the less clothes he wore, making parts of her tingle that never showed interest in any man before. He looked up from his musings, catching her heated stare on his figure. As if he could see the direction of her thoughts, he released a breath-taking smile. One that relayed he knew exactly what she was thinking. His eyes darkened as they traveled from her face down her body, narrowing on her neck like her could see her pulse quickening.
The moment was broken by a thundering horn. Surprise racked both of their features as the sound of shuffling feet could be heard from the inside of the tent.
“Come,” he spoke, voice heavy with want. He held out his hand to help her out of the wooden chair. The horn meant that an announcement would be coming forth soon. It was rare that the horn sounded during travel. There was a different, much higher one used for alerting to an attack.
Rhapdosis took his hand after a moment of hesitation. He was Aksept, not the High Priest in this moment. She relaxed when their skin touched. The feelings that he inspired in her now at least comforted her. The look in his eyes let her know that he felt it too. As Aksept lead her from the tent, she realized that a lot of time had passed. The sun was setting into the horizon only leaving twilight in its wake. Aksept did not release her hand like she initially expected him to. It was not until they joined a gathering of servants did they reluctantly part.
“The Royal Queen Mother, Nefertari and Princess Tyiaphet have traveled to the next life!” Thundered a crier. “There will be a day of mourning, followed by a feast at next night’s ride. By command of the Pharaoh!”
Immediately after his announcement the crier rolled up the scroll he read from and headed to the next part of the camp. The news would be all around the camp in minutes. The slaves muted their excitement. They had no attachment to the royal families death. They would not have to feign it with the Master’s far away. The slaves excitement grew from the idea of a feast. They would be able to take part of the feast as decreed in burial custom. All of Egypt would celebrate Royalty returning home.
Aksept and Rhapdosis exchanged looks. What would their deaths mean for an unstable Pharaoh, a vile Vizier, and a troubled Egypt?
I took a short hiatus but i kept writing! Its hard and time makes no sense once you get into the groove. I did not really do a through edit of these chapters but I promise I will soon! I'm trying to whip this story into shape by the "Wattys" (if youre on Wattpad please check me out!). I'll be pushing out a few more of these raw chapters in the upcoming weeks. This story will be finished by July 31st I'm claiming it in the name amen amen. Please continue to review, rate, comment.
I truly love my VC family.
I'll do a Q/A in the next update wednesday, July 10. So if ya have q's, drop em in the comments (Rate while youre there luv).
Started as a reader now I'm here!
Okay, I'm done.
The Feast by ElisesThoughts
I hope to have another one for you all by tomorrow! Thanks for your support!
“Weka! Weka! Weka!” Rhapdosis hissed to herself, pacing her tent. She was a fool. Carried away by fluttering heartbeats and handsome Egyptians like a child. Regret flooded her body as she replayed the events of previous day with Aksept.
How could she have gotten so carried away? He claimed he was a priest yet Rhapdosis was beginning to believe that he was more like a sorcerer, a demon sent from the underworld by Osiris himself. After the deaths of the royal family were announced, they stood in silence for a moment each lost in their thoughts. They remained there until the crowd dispersed each lost in their own thoughts. Rhapdosis move to leave first. She had yet to find her tent and needed to at least check in before anyone noticed her absence. She said these thoughts to Aksept who was still lost to his thoughts. He looked as if he was about to speak to her however, he was interrupted by someone calling for a healer. Rhapdosis used the distraction to leave hastily. She spared him one backwards glance. He was watching her retreating figure with a longing she didn’t understand. It was harder than she thought to walk away. Led filled each step. By the time she found her tent was exhausted.
Rhapdosis ceased pacing and threw herself on the make shift pallet in the suddenly stuffy room. As much as she tried to forget, her mind went back to the stolen kisses in his tent, the words they shared, and the promises made. She leaned back onto her bed, eyes staring at the ceiling but seeing nothing. He promised to help her, yet she never promised him that she would stop her plans to escape. The idea of crafting an escape plan and leaving now left a bad taste in her mouth. Throwing her face into her hands, she released a scream of frustration. She felt as if she was suffocating. Why should she wait for her freedom at his leisure? Why should she care about what happened to Egyptians? They were never friends of hers. As soon as the thought crossed her mind images of The General, the servants in his home that had been kind to her over the years, the young Thea, all Egyptians that showed her kindness… Was it her duty to help them? Would any Egyptian potentially sacrifice their freedom to save her? She doubted that wholly.
Rhapdosis stared at her carefully wrapped wrist. The pain had yet to return but there was a certain stiffness in the injured limb. Her mind danced with images of strong, graceful fingers wrapping her wrist with deft skill. She released another deep sigh, putting her thoughts to the side. Tonight, they would have a feast. The whole camp would be in attendance and she needed to prepare. By the fading light coming through the tent, she knew it would be time to gather soon. The day was spent with The Architect, finally putting her to use. After hours of planning and note-taking for the temple, she was chased out of his tent.
“It is past mid-day, child. You should get prepared for the feast tonight.” The old man spoke, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “We have made great progress. You deserve to enjoy yourself. You are too serious for a young girl.”
“I do not plan on attending the feast tonight, my lord.” Rhapdosis spoke softly, placing a top on the inkwell she had been using as she detailed The Architect’s words on paper.
“You do not plan on attending a feast?” He asked with surprise, “Surely you jest! What reason have you to skip? Is your wrist bothering you? I hear we have a talented healer in the camp.”
Rhapdosis felt herself flush, looking up sharply at the man who had a knowing smile on his wrinkled face. He was sly indeed!
“I have already seen the healer. I would rather rest and prepare for our arrival tomorrow, my lord.”
“I believe I told you to call me Imhoten and I will not hear of it.” Though his words were stern, they were softened with a chocolate placed into her palm.
“It is inappropriate, my lord.” She said carefully as she placed the treat into her mouth.
“Ah, indulge an old greying man. It has been a time since a girl as beautiful as you has spoken my name. I will escort you myself! If an old man like me can make it to a feast, surely you can as well. I’ll be at your tent just after sundown.” His soft smile made him look younger than his years.
Rhapdosis knew she was avoiding the feast to avoid him.She was in no mood for soul-wrenching talks and bewildering emotions. Instead, she wanted to spend her time coming up with an escape plan.
“My lord -,” Rhapdosis began but was stopped by a raised hand, “My lord, Imhoten I cannot- “
Rhapdosis was cut off by Imhoten resting a hand on her shoulder. “It is not up for debate. Times ahead will be difficult, you deserve some enjoyment. I have yet to see you smile. Now go, I will not be late.”
He dismissed her with a thunderous slam of his cane on the wooden table between them. At the noise, his servant boy came in as if used to the strange summons. The Architect turned to the boy having finished the conversation with Rhapdosis.
“Have Melin ensure that our friend Rhapdosis is prepared for the feast tonight. She will be seated with me.”
That was over an hour ago and Rhapdosis was no more prepared for the feast than she was when she first entered her own tent. She spent the time pacing and planning.
“Excuse me, are you Rhapdosis?”
Rhapdosis jumped, not hearing the small woman who spoke enter her tent. She was noticeably older than Rhapdosis yet thin as a reed. She was tall with long limbs, long grey-streaked locks arranged neatly atop her head. The woman was obviously Egyptian with a sand colored skin tone and beautifully brown eyes.
“I am,” Rhapdosis replied confused by the woman’s presence.
“I am Melin, I am to help you get ready for the feast.”
Rhapdosis stared dumbly at the woman. Being a slave, no one had ever helped her get prepared for anything. Had the woman not spoken her name, Rhapdosis would have told her she was in the wrong place. Surely, an Egyptian woman would not be sent to dress a slave.
“I uh, thank you?” Rhapdosis spoke, rising awkwardly for her bed.
The woman did not seem to hold any resentment for her task as she carefully laid out a bundle of cloth next to Rhapdosis. A fine, cream colored robe glistened in the candle light as the woman straightened it out for her.
“This cannot be for me.” She whispered in awe. Never had she seen such fine fabric meant for her. She ran her fingers over the bodice of the simple dress barely touching the fabric.
“Who else would it be for? The Architect sent this over just for you. You will be seated by the most important people here. You must look as if you belong there.”
Rhapdosis fingered the collar at her neck, suddenly uncomfortable. She might look the part but, she would never belong there. Rhapdosis said nothing as the woman asked her to take off her clothes. Quickly, Melin dressed her. Rimming her eyes with Kohl and brushing the wig atop her hair, Rhapdosis felt undeserving of the treatment. Just as Melin finished, the entrance of her tent breezed open to reveal Imhoten, dressed in his finery. He was trailed by a sullen Jordan who could barely meet Rhapdosis’ eyes. A flash of pain tightened in her chest at her old friend’s coldness. Yet, she could only blame herself. She lashed out at him the last they spoke.
“Ah ha! You look wonderful my child!” Imhoten bellowed cheerily, “Come now, we mustn’t be late!”
Rhapdosis stood gracefully from her chair, looking at Jordan who was studying the floor intensely.
“Yes, my lord.” She replied demurely, “Hello Jordan.”
He finally locked eyes with her and she saw his eyes soften slightly.
“Hello Ice.” He returned softly. He forced a smile that disappeared as soon as it appeared and turned out of the tent.
“We mustn’t waste time!” the Architect spoke hurriedly.
Rhapdosis found herself smiling at the old man’s excitement. Everyone loved a feast.
Jordan did not enjoy feasts. He preferred small family gatherings over loud rambunctious ones like this. A funeral feast was normally one a more somber celebration. However, as the arrival to the new capitol was a day away and almost no master’s were present, the servants, guards, and everyone else were truly enjoying themselves.
Jordan surveyed the table he was seated at. As a guest of The Architect, he was invited to eat at his table. The Architect had a jovial look on his face as he poured a pitcher of wine into Rhapdosis cup while speaking to her. He watched Rhapdosis unabashedly as neither of the pairs’ attention was on him. She switched a skeptical look from the Architect to the at the wine now in her goblet. Her river colored eyes took on an unearthly quality as the light blue mixed with the orange of the torches laid around. He always found her eyes bewitching. The fawn tunic she worse contrasted with her dark skin beautifully. He watched as she took a tentative sip of the wine. He was surprised as she released a shy smile and spoke to the smitten old man. He could not hear the words she said to him over the sound of music, conversation and dancing but he could hear The Architects loud rumble of laughter.
The man’s laughter diverted the attention of the other people seated at the table. A few of the Architect’s head builders, their wives, a Magi, a ranking soldier and the captain of the guard assigned to their large caravan. Jordan was seated across from the pair, between an unfriendly architect and an unfamiliar guard. Neither were conversing with him.
Again, Jordan returned his focus to Rhapdosis who was now sipping the cup of wine casually, much to the enjoyment of the Architect. She must have felt the weight of his stare on her person as her eyes suddenly found his. His heart beat skipped as her beauty always entranced him. He had her in his arms once yet now he felt as if he was looking at a stranger. ‘
Her eyes sharpened in his direction. Finally, she spoke to him loud enough for him to clearly hear her.
“What are you staring at? Surely, I am allowed a drink,” she bit out. He would have thought she was upset yet a small smile at the end of her sentence made him realize she was jesting.
“Is that your first drink?” he responded with a smile. There was the girl he used to know. The sharp tonged temptress that he grew up with.
Rhapdosis looked bashful as she admitted the truth to him and those at the table who now were listening, “It is.”
“How is that possible?” laughed a guard, seated closer to her. The flirtatious look in his eye did not go unnoticed by Jordan.
“I had no desire to lose my wits because of a drink,” She spoke haughtily, trying to cover her embarrassment. While her excuse sounded valid, Jordan knew that their former Master did not allow wine in his home. That did not stop a few who would sneak it into their chambers, but he knew Rhapdosis would not have done something like that.
She fingered her collar nervously, as the soldier continued to smile at her.
“Be careful, girls tend to feel the effects of wine faster than men. Who knows who you will be once you feel it?” The soldier spoke lecherously.
“Mind your words, soldier.” The Architect spoke with a firm voice, “You are dismissed.”
The soldier looked as if he wanted to reply but a sharp look from his captain made him think better of it. He rose with a stiff bow and departed.
“It is always the young ones,” The Captain said with a sigh. “Apologies.”
“None needed,” the old man replied
Breaking the sudden tension, a young child broke appeared at Rhapdosis’ elbow.
“Ice! Come dance with us!” he shouted, eyes bright unawares of anything but the girl’s attention. Another child appeared next, immediately burying his face into her back, shy of the audience at the table.
“What are you two doing here? I apologize.” Rhapdosis said to the kids reproachfully and apologized to the table. Though her tone was stern she still ruffled the meeker child’s hair.
The architect simply smiled good naturedly at the children. “It is no trouble at all, child. It is a celebration after all! Have fun! But first, you must finish your drink! It is custom.”
She eyed him sharply, “I am unfamiliar with this custom. It seems more like something from your mind.”
The old man now laughed openly, “Correct my child,” he barked in between laughter. It seemed as if the architect had already felt the effects of the wine himself. “Maybe wine will finally loosen you up. You should have some fun before we are hard at work in the city.”
Rhapdosis flushed in embarrassment, “I know how to have fun!” she said petulantly. Her goblet was now raised above the table indicating a servant to hastily fill it.
‘” Now there’s a girl!” the Architect hooted excitedly, “Come we all will join!” He held his goblet up as well. Soon the entire table joined in with full cups before them. The excited child whined to join in as well.
Before the adults could rebuff the child, Rhapdosis slipped him a drinking horn full of water. Her eyes twinkled at the child conspiratorially and she spoke to him excitedly, “The first one to finish their cup, wins!”
“Alas! It is. You will be a great mother someday!” the soldier next to Jordan jested.
Something unreadable flashed across her face for an instant. Had he blinked, he would have missed it.
“To the god Bes! We offer this to you. Fi Shihitik!” shouted the architect.
The table all joined in the cheers to the God of Wine and Beer and drank deeply. Out of the corner of his eyes Jordan could see Rhapdosis drinking, eyes scrunched in concentration. The boy next to her was gulping comically to the encouragement of his companion. The Architect was the first to slam his drink down and stood triumphantly. Walking stick forgotten. The rest of the table followed soon after, cheering and applauding.
When Rhapdosis drained her cup, she breathed heavily as if she had run across the desert. She let out a joyous laugh as the child next to her started coughing finishing his water. She gave him a sound thump on his back in aid.
“Dance! Dance! Dance!” the child said as soon as he could breathe again, laughing along with the rest of the table lost in revelry.
Rhapdosis stood and wobbled slightly, “Too fast!” She laughed, a smile on her face.
At that moment Jordan wanted nothing more to get up and dance with her. She smiled like she used to. Her face looked younger as she allowed each child to take a hand. He watched as she turned to address the table, though she began to address them formally, the architect waved her off. “Go! Act like someone your age for once! Pretty girls should be smiling and dancing!” The children tugged on her eagerly, leading her to the massive fire where people were dancing and playing games about. Jordan watched the sway of her hips on clumsy feet as she followed the children. Visions of her in his arm swam into his vision. Maybe the wine was affecting him too. He thought about going after her, his mind made bold by the wine. No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, did the Architect address him.
“Jordan! My man, let’s play a game!” The drunken old man pulled stones and dice out of the folds of his tunic. “You as well, Captain!”
Unable to deny a request from the Architect Jordan resigned himself to at least winning a few coins off the old man before seeking out Rhapdosis. A servant refilled his cup as he waited for the Architect to shake the bones.
Rhapdosis felt as if her feet were dancing on clouds. She herself felt as if she was floating among water weightless. She threw her head back with laughter as the two children urged her to spin faster with them. The wine made her head swim, but she could not stop smiling. She decided she liked wine even more than she liked chocolate. Chocolate never made her feel like this. Weightless. Happy. Carefree.
Far away were the dark thoughts of the palace, the Vizier, and the dangers of the future. The only thing she cared about now was making this feeling last as long as possible.
The beat of the drums carried the deep horns and lutes played by the musicians at the camp. All around were men, women, children dancing and playing games. The heat of the large flame did not deter the fun as the desert would oft get cold and drafty at night. It was the most fun Rhapdosis ever had. She could only recall dancing and frolicking once before, and it was nowhere near as enjoyable as this one. She had dined with Captains, Magi, and The First Architect. Drank wine! And now she was twirling, skipping and shaking her hips along with everyone else. Life without master’s was joyous.
The music changed slowly. Bass heavy drums led a marching beat indicating that the dance of the funeral feast was to begin. People began to separate by gender. Rhapdosis would normally not join in but she felt her feet join the women forming a ring around the fire. She faced her two little dance partners join the men enthusiastically line up across from her. The young woman next to her pointed to the older men trying to jostle them out of the way to line up across from her.
“It seems you are popular tonight.” She laughed, causing Rhapdosis to giggle along. The feast put all in high spirts.
The children put up a fierce fight until their mother appeared and dragged them out of the circle. She smiled at the handsome young man that won his place as her partner. He answered with a goofy smile of his own.
He seemed struck by the Goddess of Love, Hathor herself. Rhapdosis couldn’t help but send a wink at him and flirtatious smile. She felt like her old self again. However, her burst of confidence was ended once the man she winked at was shoved aside.
The man turned to challenge the man who pushed him aside but immediately balked. Rhapdosis held her breath as she raked her eyes over the man who set her aflame.
Aksept was there. Tall, broad, fearless. He towered over the man in both size and strength. He chose to attend the feast shirtless in a skirt of finery befitting a healer. It rode low on his defined hips covering thick legs and stopping at his knees. The material shimmered in the firelight giving him an otherworldly appearance. At his waist hung a sheathed sword, an odd decoration for a healer yet it fit him well. He wore a turban as always, that highlighted the perfect features of his face.
Rhapdosis felt every bit of the alcohol she consumed or so that’s what she wanted to blame the feelings on. He rested his heavy stare on her, and she matched it. Tonight, was about having fun her wine addled mind reasoned. She glanced at other couples making eyes at each other. Why shouldn’t she be able to enjoy time with a handsome man like many other servants were? After all, here, he was just a healer she was not just a slave anymore. Resolved, Rhapdosis cast a confident stare at her newest partner. His eyes grew darker as he enjoyed her stare. She felt emboldened by his reaction to her and fixed him with a devilish grin as the lute followed the drums and they began to move.
The circle of women moved in time with the men. Rhapdosis enjoyed watching him move. Smooth and lithe, he kept time with the rhythm easily. She herself glided along with the women with each beat of the drums. The horns began their deep, sensuous tones as the couples came together a body’s width apart from one another.
“Rhapdosis.” He spoke to her as soon as she was within hearing distance. He eyed her boldly, tracing her curves with his eyes, heat in his voice.
They placed hands together circling one another as the music continued. First hand to hand, then shoulder to shoulder.
“Aksept.” She replied equally as bold. She loved the way her name sounded on his lips. She wanted to hear it again.
They switched direction, neither one breaking their stare.
“You are enchanting,” he spoke again, lightly trailing a hand across the small of her back.
That was not in the dance as she could recall. Her heart fluttered at the contact. Warmth filled her skin, wine fueled her actions.
“As are you…” Chest to chest they were again, both palms up touching. Yet, she trailed them courageously down his muscular chest stopping only when she came dangerously close to the waistband of his skirt. Rhapdosis enjoyed each ridge and valley of his frame. Soft skin yet hard muscle underneath. What manner of priest had this physique she wondered? He grabbed her wrist as they spun again.
“You are drunk.” He spoke confidently. Aksept raised a humorous eyebrow at her he enjoyed the challenge in her eyes. Sparking a now familiar twitch in him down below. She had a devilish grin on her face as she wretched free, showing him her back which the dress she wore exposed freely.
“I have enjoyed some wine tonight yes my lord.” She spoke slowly twisting her hips. His eyes drank the sight in hungrily. Even the way she said ‘my lord’ sent bedroom thoughts to his head. Rhapdosis knew not what her words did to him truly, but she relished the reaction she was able to illicit from him.
His arms shot out and pulled her against him so quickly she did not see it coming. Before Rhapdosis even had time to stumble she was pulled against his solid form. This was not a part of the dance either. However, most couples had already partnered up while others had disappeared. No one was paying the handsome couple any attention.
“I told you to call me Aksept.” He whispered roughly into her ear from behind. His tone sent strange feelings pooling low in her belly. Rhapdosis could not explain why but she quite enjoyed the prospect of him upset with her. He looked dangerous and she liked it.
Rhapdosis decided to push him. She never before felt so bold. While not unawares of her attractiveness to men, she had always seen it as a reason to hide from men. Tonight, she would use them as she pleased. And this man pleased her more than she cared to admit. As she moved her hips against the front of him, she gave him a heated stare. Rhapdosis imagined what it would be like if this man was her Master. It would not be as scary of a prospect to lay with him as it was for her with her true Master.
“Aksept,” She whisper groaned his name as his large hands found her slim hips and squeezed them tightly.
Suddenly, she was spinning. Forcing a laugh out of her as he twirled her weightless. She even felt herself being lifted from the ground. Rhapdosis was forced to place her hands on his shoulders as she was spun around to face him. She had to shut her eyes as the spins and the wine forced her vision to go blurry. By the time she was able to open them she realized she had been plucked from the fire and was now pulled behind the crowd. Aksept had her against a palm tree in the midst of the camp. A tent was attached but empty as everyone was at the feast. Those who lingered about paid them no mind.
Rhapdosis knew what was coming as a now familiar look was on his face. This time she decided she would be no blushing maid. Her face raised to meet his in a devastating kiss. His lips crashed down onto hers passionately. Her arms grasped his shoulders desperately as the now familiar fervor engulfed her. Aksept had one arm above her head holding onto the tree as the other circled her waist and pressed her into him. Their tongues danced and when they finally did part, he rested his forehead upon hers.
They both panted heavily. Rhapdosis smiled brightly, tracing her fingers over the sharp features of his face. She wondered briefly how she regretted kissing him earlier. This feeling was incredible, and she wanted more. Aksept palmed her back sending sparks of lighting wherever he touched. She arched her back into his chest as his touch grew bolder, surer in response to her reactions.
“You are bewitching.” He ground out, his dark gaze focused on her face as he leaned into her touch. Her hands drifted to the back of his neck as she felt the soft hair under his turban.
“You have twice accused me of witchcraft,” she giggled, “Are you not the one bewitching me? Healers are known for dark arts.”
Rhapdosis was jesting yet there was a twinge of truth to her words. She was unexplainedly drawn to him. Maybe it was the result of dark magic.
He nuzzled her neck as she laughed again, enjoying how carefree she felt. Was this how freedom felt?
“I want you.” Rhapdosis declared suddenly.
He froze. “What?” he withdrew abruptly from her, forcing distance yet he did not release her.
Rhapdosis did not know where the idea came from and the words were out of her mouth before she seriously considered them, yet she found herself repeating them.
“I want you. In the way a man wants a woman. In the way women want men.” She said again, more confidently. She tried to pull him in, yet he resisted. Barely budging under her tugs at his neck.
Aksept’s face was a flurry of emotions. Yet just as quickly did the appear did they disappear. She recognized want, desire, lust, yet she also saw anger, fear… disgust? Did he not like her offering herself up like a common whore Rhapdosis felt all the confidence and warmth that she has been feeling immediately leave her? Sobered immediately, she began running through the consequences of her actions.
She was already claimed; her Master and the Pharaoh had already seen to where her body could and could not be. She risked her life and possibly his by what she proposed. If he told someone or if it was found out it could surly mean death or worse… for her at least.
Rhapdosis felt a roaring in her ears as she began to panic. Her heart beat in her chest. Aksept looked pained. He opened his mouth but Rhapdosis could not bear to hear his words, so she spoke quickly.
“I-I apologize my lord! Forgive me! The wine took me from my senses.” She pushed him back, this time he allowed it. She gave an awkward bow and hurried away. Rhapdosis did not know where she was going but it was far away from here. Far away from him.
This story is now "featured"! Im so proud. Wow. Thank you for the support and the reads! I love it.
The Nile by ElisesThoughts
2 updates in 2 days! If you haven't read yesterday's update, I'd give it a read. Some things will be revealed here. The action will start to pick up soon. We're at our half way point!
“What have you done now?” Imhoten’s eyes glistened with enjoyment as he watched his old friend pace back and forth drinking heavily.
Imhoten sat alone at his previously occupied table. The various guests had dispersed. Some to their tents, others to fire to enjoy the feast, drink and game longer. Only the old man remained at his table with one servant to make sure his goblet stayed full. It took more drink for the old man and his companion to feel the effects that addled humans so easily.
“I do not understand myself anymore,” Aksept replied wearily, drinking down another swig, “I have a task to fulfil and have not wavered from it in ages. She appears in my temple one night and everything is turned upside down.” His voice was heavy as if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“Even Gods are allowed to enjoy themselves. Even you.” The old man spoke, he enjoyed teasing his companion for it was eons since he had seen the serious God before him crack his composure.
Aksept was the name he took in this life cycle; his true name was rarely whispered as was the Architect’s. Gods among men, protecting Egypt as always. Times were changing that was to be sure. They could all feel something amiss in the air. In private, Aksept had told The Architect what – better yet whom- he sensed within the Vizier’s body. It was cause for concern, yet the older man brushed off the concern, noting that little could be done on the Road.
“We need to plan. We need to figure out what he has planned. I do not have time for –“
“You know the prophecy as well as I do. You know the goal, we just have to figure the means. Either way, it is not to be discovered here. I’m sure you have done all the digging you could already. Tomorrow we will be at this so-called “New Capitol” and we will figure it out as we have each time he has tried to rise. The girl – “
“The girl is an unnecessary distraction.” He finished soundly though the words felt wrong the second the past his lips. Something was different about her. Something drew him to her and it was more than just an attraction.
“Even you don’t believe that,” The Architect responded sharply, popping a candy in his mouth and rinsing it down with a swig from his cup. “If you have already gone this far for her, then it is already beyond your control.”
Aksept didn’t respond at first, knowing his words spoke truth. In all honesty it was beyond his control the moment she entered his temple that first fateful night. His mind drifted back to a few moments before when she asked him to take her. He drank deeply from his cup to avoid responding to the architect, though by the look in his eyes he already had his answer.
Gods, he thought. His mind going back to the moment where she offered herself to him freely. Had he been lesser, human even, he might have taken her there against the tree. He was disgusted with himself at the thought. Yet, she fled from him before he could form a coherent thought. He had a mind to chase her, yet his feet led him to his oldest companion’s table instead. He hoped for a voice of reason instead he found an enabler. He sat down his now empty goblet, his decision set like stone.
“Yes,” Aksept spoke sighing deeply. Now that his decision was made, he embraced the possibilities. It stirred long forgotten feeling inside of him as thoughts of the mysterious girl that fascinated him so filled his mind. This time he would not let her escape. His eyes hardened with resolve, “Yes, it is.”
The Architect watched as the old God stalked away, every bit the predator. Imhoten held up his goblet to be refilled. His time in this cycle would end soon and he would be back with own wife in more pleasant fields than this one. Yet Osiris, the once ruler, knew no peace. He deserved whatever serenity he could find in any plane.
Rhapdosis was sitting by the banks of the Nile on the fringes of the camp. Her legs drawn into her chest, her cheek resting on her knees, she wallowed in slightly drunk misery. The water looked still and tempting. How long had it been since she had a swim? When she lived in peace at The General’s manse, she and a few of the other women and children would take a dip and refresh themselves in the hottest months. Yet that hadn’t happened since he had taken ill.
Back then she figured her life to be simple and she missed it. Now she was lost. A slave in an evil man’s home. A scribe for an old man Architect. Now, a failed would-be whore for a priest.
Gods,she thought miserably, who failed at being a whore?
What came over her at that moment she did not know. For one moment in her adult life she wanted to make a decision about her own life. Not even her maidenhood was her own in the eyes of these Egyptians. Yet here, in the open desert, she felt like a true person. Her heart beat like these Egyptians’ hearts did. Rhapdosis witnessed slave women and royalty alike give birth, love their children, and cry when wounded. Yet and still they were true Egyptians and slaves were slaves. Was it foolish for her to act like she was not? Shame, hopelessness and embarrassment flowed through her.
Rhapdosis stared at the calm river. The full moon reflected on the glass surface surrounded by stars peacefully. She could let the Nile take her. Once before a seaman dined at the General’s house. Returned from a long voyage to the lands of the pale skins his ship was attacked by a gale. They lost half the oarsmen on the boat. When the Lady expressed horror at dying at sea, the Captain calmed her fears. He spoke of drowning as a quick painless way to go to the afterlife. It was a death that many sailors yearn for as warriors yearn for death on the battlefield. As the captain he had only on regret. That the storm overtook them before he made it back to the waters of Egypt. After all, the only thing Egyptians feared was dying outside of their anointed lands.
Rhapdosis rose to unsteady feet and tip-toed closer to the water. Unlacing her sandal, she sank her feet into the sand and mud at the banks of the small lake. The water was a refreshingly cool. She cast a furtive glance back in the direction of the caravan. The music was still going, and the fire cast a glow upon the sky. There was some distance between the closet tents. Even a smattering of trees stood between her and the rest of the camp. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the sense of freedom, maybe even the uncertain future, but Rhapdosis wanted to feel free. If only for a moment she wanted that feeling.
With a confidence she didn’t know she had she slid the dress from her shoulders. Revealing her nakedness to the moon she stepped boldly into the waters. She pulled her wig off her head and threw it blindly in the direction of her clothes and sandals. She tugged at her braids confining her hair and deftly undid them. Once she finished untangling her hair, she dived into the water.
Rhapdosis walked further and further away from the shore. Once she could no longer feel the soft mush beneath her feet she dove under the cool water. Cool fingers of water caressed her as she swam deeper and deeper into the water. Swimming came naturally to her as a young child. Rhapdosis had forgotten how much she enjoyed the weightlessness of it all. Her lunges began to burn slightly as she pushed herself further into the depths. Only when she felt the bottom did she turn back towards the surface. Kicking powerfully, she broke the surface, all her earlier troubles forgotten. Rhapdosis slicked her hair back. Now that it was wet and loose it fell down to her back in spiral curls thick and wavy. She floated on her back, stare turned to the heavens.
The stars glittered like jewels on a black backdrop, uninterrupted by clouds. The moon sat proud, round and full. A crowning glory for the sky. The Egyptians called the God of the Moon Konshu, the Traveler for he travelled the sky to bring forth the night as he protected those who travelled as well. She stared at the sky wondering if the Gods really existed. Their fabled land Kemet, the land of truth, order, and justice was said to be a paradise for those after death. Surely if there were justice the slaves would be free there and the Masters would be enslaved inIsfet, the land of chaos and evil. Yet if that were to be true, the Egyptians wouldn’t worship so fervently.
A cool wind drifted over her exposed body, causing her nipples to harden and gooseflesh to appear on the parts of her exposed to the elements. Rhapdosis again sank under the tranquil waters finding them warmer than the cools night air. When she surfaced, her hair again covered her face. Rhapdosis leaned her head back, using the water as a brush to sweep it back out of her face. She treaded the water looking at the far shore of the Nile. Rhapdosis fantasized swimming across the wide river and escaping to freedom. Though naked, wet, and with nowhere to go she kept it as a fantasy, tucked away.
Rhapdosis turned back to shore, for the hour was late and the alcohol was wearing off. She searched the shore line for her clothes and gasped aloud when she saw a figure standing where she estimated her clothing to be. She popped underwater in embarrassment and fear. A strong man could inflict unknown horrors on naked wet woman. Under the dark water Rhapdosis quickly considered her options. Would she be able to swim further down and escape? That plan would not work out. Running wet and naked through the camp would surly draw attention. A night flowing with wine and music as this would inhibit many a man’s senses.
She surfaced slowly looking to shore. The figure was clearly a man. It was obvious that he was tall and broad even from this distance. His features were washed out by the light behind him and she was too far from shore for the moon to be any help. Yet and still, the longer she stared at the figure the more familiar it looked.
She held her breath and watched as the man fiddled with his waist and she saw cloth hit ground. Her heartbeat quickened as she saw his hands remove a now familiar turban confirming her thoughts. It washim. Rhapdosis found herself wishing for another cup of the Architects’ wine. All liquid courage she had before was now gone. She had already been spurned once. What could he possibly want now? How did he find her? Why was he so damned confusing?
He stalked into the water sending ripples that danced in the moonlight towards her. Rhapdosis began to feel herself flush even though he was still quite a distance from her. What was he doing?
His approach was slow and steady. Though Rhapdosis was still treading water, when he was close enough for her to see his features, the water was barely atop his abdomen. By the time he was within arm’s reach, the water just skimmed his chest. A stab of jealously hit her as she felt her legs begin to tire from treading the water.
Her steady sway in the water contrasted with his stillness. Neither spoke.
Aksept reached out a hand and pulled at an errant curl stuck to her cheek. His face was visible now by the moonlight though only half was illuminated. The other side of his face was cast in darkness. She found it fitting for at times she felt he was one person and others completely different. To be fair, her own reactions to him often ranged greatly within short periods of time.
Desire then anxiety.
Trust then misgivings.
Happiness then Sadness.
Craving and disgust.
Excitement then anger.
Now, she didn’t know how she felt. A swirl of all emotions. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Her only hope to be burned.
He broke the silence first.
“This is the first time I have seen your hair.” His voice was deep, husky as he pulled at the curl fascinated as it sprang back into place.
She blinked, not excepting that. Egyptians that she met before that saw her natural hair often were curious but preferred the heavy dark locks of Egyptians to her own brown curls. Rhapdosis realized that she also had never seen his hair before. It curled more than she expected. Dark as ink and think, his loose curls rested on his shoulders. Untouched by water as of yet.
“And I yours.” She finally replied. Rhapdosis made to touch his thick locks but hesitated.
Something flashed in Aksept’s eyes as he watched her hesitate. He circled her waist and pulled her closer. Instinctively, Rhapdosis wrapped her legs around his waist and braced her hands against his shoulders. No longer having to tread the water. Her legs around his waist brought them closer than ever before. Everywhere their skin touched was set a buzz by something between them. Her heart beat quicker.
“You can touch me freely,” He said to her.
Rhapdosis didn’t respond. What would she say? Why did he come to her now?
“I offended you.” He spoke again dejectedly tightening his hold, “I meant no offense. I just – “ Aksept trailed off and stared at nothing. He seemed to be fighting an inner battle. When he returned his gaze to her, she wondered what side won. “I just do not know how to control myself around you. You scare me.”
Rhapdosis felt the laugh building inside her. It started as a small titter that eventually grew into a most unladylike chortle. Aksept watched her laughing and gave a rare smile as he enjoyed her beaming face eventually joining in with him.
Rhapdosis felt a tension that she held inside her since meeting him dissipate.
After all, he was only a man as she was only a woman.
“I,” laughter, “Scare you?”more laughter. “How ridiculous!” she snorted, overwhelmed.
He silenced her with a quick chaste kiss. The blank look on her face made him want to do it again. So, he did. Aksept was done denying himself. The second time she met him as an eager participant.
“Why are you here? How did you find me?” She bit out, resting her head between his shoulder and neck.
“You made me an offerand I will alwaysfind you.” He spoke, softly trailing his hands down her naked spine. His touch sent shivers through her and down to her stomach where the pooled.
His other arm moved from her waist to her thigh, pulling her closer against him. When she arched her back in response her breasts brushed against him. She felt something brush her bare bottom and that warmed her more. His arm that was tracing her spine moved to the back of her neck, throwing her heavy hair over the shoulder and exposing it to him. Aksept nuzzled and kissed the exposed skin. Biting every now and then, following with a searing lick in the same spot. His strong hands held her into place as she began to writhe against him.
Rhapdosis tangled her hands in his thick locks, for purchase. When she tugged harder than she meant to, he hummed in approval.
“Here?” Rhapdosis whispered passionately. The feelings that he sent coursing through her were overwhelming. She just wanted to move. Against him, on him, it mattered not. She just needed a way to relieve the pressure building inside her deep in her core before she exploded.
Aksept pulled away from her enough so that he could look into her eyes but no more than necessary for he loved the feel of her around and against him. The fertile banks of the Nile were a symbol of rebirth. Aksept could see no better place for them to seal their fates together. He knew once he took this step with her he would be forever lost to the woman Rhapdosis.
“Here.” He confirmed, sealing their fate with a passionate kiss - they sank lower into the cool waters of the rivers.
Did you know what/who our main man was? Do you have any predictions going forward? Next chapter will be MATURE. I can't wait!
The Nile pt.2 by ElisesThoughts
Songs were sung about blushing maids lured into debauchery by strong, handsome men. When the singers strummed their songs, the women were always shy, having to be coerced in some manner into the arms of the man who tricked her father or bewitched by false promises.
Yet, Rhapdosis did not feel nervous at all. Yes, her heart was beating uncontrollably. Her body felt aflame wherever their skin connected. Her mind was filled with thoughts of him. How right their bodies fit together, how there was no longer a chill in the water and the goosebumps on her skin were raised for another reason. It was as if he was everywhere.
Aksept held her with ease in the waters of The Nile. One arm was wrapped around her waist, hand gripping on her thigh, holding her impossibly close. His other hand was tangled in her curls almost painfully. He forced her head back as he kissed the long column of her throat. He only paused briefly when he grazed her collar.
“I will remove this from you, I swear it.” He growled. His lust filled voice excited her. She did not want to think of his words. They carried too much weight. Now, she just wanted to enjoy him.
Rhapdosis kissed him, rubbing her hands through his hair with ease. He deepened the kiss, taking control. His motions were sure, confident. Hers were less coordinated yet enthusiastic. She trailed her hands across his neck down to his muscular chest. He nipped her lip hard, but not enough to hurt when she tweaked a hard nipple of his. She smiled through his kiss and he went back to nuzzling her neck. When he bit her there, she let out a soft moan.
“I like that sound.” He rumbled. Hiking her up higher against him, he immediately took her nipple in his mouth. When he ran his tongue over it, she felt a reaction down low causing her to moan again, this time much louder. In this higher position she could do nothing but hold on to him as he continued his assault on her body.
Then, she felt his hand on her thigh move higher up her leg. He palmed her behind before she felt his fingers brush against her most intimate parts. Her breath hitched in her throat as his fingers stroked her again, surer. Rhapdosis dug her own fingers into the muscles of his shoulders.
“Gods,” she moaned as a finger slipped inside of her.
Aksept looked up at her face twisted in pleasure as he worked his finger in and out.
“Tell me what you want.” He spoke as he curled his finger inside of her creating a pressure that she had never experienced before.
A part of her recognized he spoke to her and by the dangerous look in his eyes, he was awaiting some sort of response from her. But words were hard to form as she kept losing herself in the sensations, he was creating inside of her. There was a pressure building inside of her that she did not understand, yet she knew she needed it and more.
After a beat he removed his torturous digit and began swirling small, slow circles on her button causing sparks to the pressure.
“Oh Gods,” Rhapdosis moaned again, this time much louder.
Something in her words made him give her a dark, devilish grin that nearly took what was left her breath right from her throat.
“I asked you a question,” Aksept said as he bit down on her other nipple and soothing it with gentle licks, “What. Do. You. Want?” Each word was annunciated with a tweak of her nipple, a sinful stroke on her down below, or a tinder kiss on her lips.
“Y-y-you,” her voice a staccato, punctuated with short breaths.
Aksept slid two fingers inside of her though he slid in with relative ease, he groaned as she clamped down on them immediately. He lowered her against him, working her to loosen her. She panted and moaned as his fingers picked up speed. Rhapdosis hugged his neck tighter as she leaned into it, arching her back into his fingers. The pressure was building inside of her. It was a unique sort of torture as she wanted it to end and continue at the same time. When she thought she would explode, he removed his fingers from her.
Before she could complain he spoke again, “Have me you will.”
Then, she felt the length of him between her legs. She wondered about the object she felt pushing at her entrance, ruing the darkness of the waters obstructing her view. Aksept slipped slowly into her. Muttering things into her ear not meant for her to hear.
Rhapdosis tensed in fear, she heard this moment full of pain for women. Yet, when Aksept ran a thick hand down her spine, telling her to relax and let him in, she did just that.
The water and her own wetness aided his slow entrance, “Gods, you’re tight” this time it was Aksept who moaned into her neck. Strain evident in his tone.
Rhapdosis couldn’t respond if she wanted too. It wasn’t pain she felt, but there was an unfamiliar feeling of being filled. Yet the sensation was quickly fading, making way for a more delicious feeling. She knew she needed more of that feeling. Her body clenched with want.
“Don’t do that, I am trying to not hurt you,” Aksept hissed, sounding in pain.
Rhapdosis replied, “I am not hurting. I want you.” She spoke confidently, clenching again, this time purposefully. She didn’t want calm and controlled. She wanted him to want her as much as she wanted him.
“Minx,” Aksept growled ferally as he grabbed her roughly by the hips and thrust himself into her fully. Rhapdosis let out a loud sob of pleasure that the man swallowed with a deep kiss.
She regretted her words immediately. He was larger than she could have imagined. Aksept’s length reached deep inside of her, stretching her in parts of her she did not know existed. That pressure that was building slowly before exploded inside of her, releasing a million sparks inside of her. Her body shook uncontrollably, spasm.
“No, you’re not getting off that easily,” Aksept rasped and began to move inside of her.
The friction was devastating. She her fingers carved rivers in his back as she hung on as her life depended on it. In that moment, she felt that was not far from the truth.
“Aksept!” she whimpered as he continued his assault on her. He moved roughly, grinding into her hitting something deep inside her that brought the pressure back to her sooner than she thought possible. He moved her back and forth in the water as if she was weightless. The water splashed around them rippling under the stars.
“Say my name again” he uttered in her ear.
“Aksept. Aksept. Aksept.” She chanted as if her life depended on it. With each thrust, his name continued to spill from her lips.
“Rhapdosis, Gods!How could I think I could resist this? You’re mine.” He thundered. His onslaught continued as their pants and moans continued under the stars.
When she felt her core reaching its limit, she tried to tell Aksept she could handle no more.
“I can’t! I can’t!” she pleaded, “I’m going to – “ her words were cut off for she had no words to describe the feeling. He responded with a particularly deep stroke inside of her, brushing that sweet spot that was her undoing. Her body shuddered as she clung to him desperately. She released a cry as she clenched around him. He answered her with desperate strokes, prolonging her body’s climax.
He roared as he stilled inside her. The couple breathed heavily, as their heart beats hammered in their chest. Rhapdosis hung her head on his shoulder in exhaustion, fighting sleep as Aksept’s hands drew lazy circles on her waist where he still held her.
After a few moments, he slid out of her. Rhapdosis was surprised at the sudden loss of contact and the chill that ensued. Aksept said nothing as he moved them back towards the shore. Rhapdosis held on tightly, enjoying the sound of his beating heart synced with hers. She was exhausted in the aftermath of their love making. By the time they reached the beach where their clothes were, she could hardly keep her eyes open.
Aksept set her down slowly when they returned to land. In a daze, she realized she was completely naked out in the open. Shyness filled her as the thoughts of what they just did flooded her mind. Aksept’s back was to her as he slid into his skirt silently.
Rhapdosis wondered what happened next. Would he disappear now that he got what he wanted? She stepped into her own dress turning away from the handsome Priest. As she picked up her servant’s wig, she stared at it unseeing. Her mind flooded with thoughts about the future. What would she do now? What would he do? A sudden hand on her shoulder made her jump and nearly jump out of her skin.
“Whatever you are thinking of, stop it.” Aksept said as he turned her around and pulled her close to him, “You are in your head too much. I meant everything I have said to you.”
Rhapdosis craned her neck to meet his eyes, “I can’t help it.” She responded hopelessly, “It doesn’t seem real.”
The moon and the stars danced in the sky, bright and undisturbed by the lovemaking they witnessed. The music had stopped, and the fire was dim now, indicating a late hour. Rhapdosis was taken aback at how still the moment was. A momentous moment in her life yet, there was little to show for it. She was a woman now.
Aksept wrapped her in his arms. Their damp skin bothered neither. It was strange at how peaceful his arms made her feel. Rhapdosis leaned into them as he bent down to look her in the eye.
“It seems then, that I must prove to you that this is no dream.” He said before engulfing her in a world-shattering kiss.
The Great Pyramid by ElisesThoughts
Aksept discovered a lot about Rhapdosis in the night. He traced every curve of her body with his hands, then his mouth. Aksept would tease her to the point of tears, then have her begging him for more. His name a song on her lips that he wanted her to sing forever. She was not shy. He loved her enthusiasm for his touch. She lacked knowledge about his body and hers, but he eagerly showed her the pleasures the hid. They drifted off to sleep intertwined as soon as Rhapdosis could take no more and they were both well sated.
Now, the sun was beginning to rise slowly but surely in the East. The beginning rays of light peaked from outside of his Healer's tent. Rhapdosis had woke first. She sat up slowly, removing a heavy arm from across her chest. She allowed the blanket covering her to fall to her waist, as she peered down at the Priest who did not seem disturbed. She always rose early no matter how exhausted she was falling asleep. She blamed a lifetime of hard work and early mornings for that. The new soreness that she felt she blamed on the man who slept peacefully besides her. Aksept was sleeping soundly, resting his head on his thick arm. The other arm was sprawled across now subtly flexing, looking for her. Even in sleep, he was devastatingly handsome. His expression was relaxed in sleep, making him look younger. Briefly, she wondered how old he was. She brushed the concern away for it mattered not. She could not truly mark her age either after being stolen away so young.
At first, Rhapdosis traced his well-built form with her eyes as she watched him sleep. This was the first time she was able to look on him boldly and in the light. She saw faint scars that troubled her greatly. The most disturbing was a thick jagged line where his arm met his shoulder ad stretched to his neck. It looked as if someone had hacked at him with a jagged edge. It was faint though, for she could only see it up close. She ghosted her finger over the old wound not wanting to disturb his sleep
Rhapdosis was so engrossed in the scar that she did not notice Aksept's eyes opening and watching her movements. He languished in her soft touch and the comfort of her touch. They sat in silence until Rhapdosis finally noticed he was awake. Her eyes widened in shock, her mouth open and closed searching for words to fill the silence. Aksept smiled watching her fish for words making no attempt to aid her.
"I, uhhh, good morning?" she settled on, body flushing with embarrassment. What was one to say the morning after such intense pleasure? It had felt like a dream. She traced her eyes over his figure again, eyes lingering on the sheets pooling at his waist. As she thought back to the night before she felt herself flush even more. Aksept's eyes sharpened as she began to look more and more bashful.
Sitting up so that his arm now supported his head as he watched her, he spoke, "What are you thinking about, little one?" though it was posed as a question, the smirk on his face indicated that he knew full well where her mind went to.
"I am no little one. I am a woman grown." She huffed embarrassed. He always teased her.
"I know just how much of a womanyou are." Aksept spoke as he pounced.
He wrapped his long arms around her middle, tackling her down back onto the pallet they rested on. He buried his head in her neck, nuzzling the smooth skin, leaving kisses in his wake. A hand danced down the side of her ribcage causing her to squeal.
"I must go, Aksept. I haveto!" Rhapdosis giggled as Aksept pinned her wrists above her head, making her his prisoner inside of his tent. He trailed his wet tongue down from her neck, to the valleys of her breasts. She laughed as he nipped at her rib cage, a sensitive spot that he discovered in the night before. Her laughs turned to moans as his fingers slipped to her most sensitive area. To her surprise she was already slick with want as he eased inside of her.
"You don't have anywhere to be this early. The old man won't rise till much later. Are you running from me?" His finger curved wickedly inside of her as he worked it in and out setting off sparks behind her closed eyes.
"Ah ah, look at me, "he whispered hungrily in her ears, "I want to see those eyes."
He slowed his hands to a slow, tortuous pace. Rhapdosis forced her eyes open and found him hovering above her. His dark eyes looked impossibly black as he stared down at her. His full lips curved into a devilish smile as she returned his stare.
"Better, "he spoke as he picked the pace back up.
Rhapdosis began to pant as she felt the pressure begin to build in her stomach. She tried to keep her eyes open, yet she found herself closing them again. Again, he slowed his motions and she opened them again.
"You're so cruel, Aksept," she panted as he again began to work her up into a frenzy.
He smiled at her words, "You have seen nothing yet."
He released her wrists and kissed her deeply. She returned the kiss passionately. A particularly rough stroke of his finger caused her to gasp aloud and he used the opportunity to thrust his tongue in his mouth. He continued his assault on her in two places. Rhapdosis felt as if she would explode. Nothing ever felt like this before. In the back of her mind she wondered how she would be able to return to her reality after experiencing this.What she wouldn't give to live in this moment forever. Her hands found his hair and she tangled her fingers in the thick, curly locks as she anchored herself to him.
Aksept released her lips and peppered her with quick kisses. His kiss rained down on her face, neck, throat, the tips of her breasts, her stomach, the tops of her thighs and then back up, higher.
"Wait, Aksept – "Rhapdosis started as soon as she realized where his kisses were headed.
He silenced her with another touch to that spot deep inside of her that immediately sent stars to her vision.
"I am reminding myself how much of a woman you are Rhapdosis." he chided her as if reprimanding a child.
Before she could respond he pulled his fingers outside of her with a wet pop and replaced them with his mouth.
"Aksept!" she hissed, throwing her head back at the new sensation.
He pulled her down roughly and slid one leg over his shoulder.
"Eyes on me woman." He demanded harshly.
Rhapdosis stared at him helplessly. She was spread for him, no part of her hidden from him and his seductive commands. Aksept kept his gaze on hers as he lowered himself back to the juncture of her thighs. He bit the inside of her thigh causing a rush of pleasure through her. He looked every bit the predator as he moved back to her center, staring her down. The first long lick of her core sent another rush through her though she was able to keep his stare and return it haughtily.
"I am a woman" Rhapdosis thought to herself cockily, "I can keep up with him."
Aksept saw the challenge in her eyes and felt himself get even more excited. He wanted to remove that challenge from her eyes and have her wriggling and begging beneath him.
Aksept kept his eyes on hers as he licked her again. A flicker of pleasure ran across her face, but she quickly schooled it back into her confident stare.
Aksept leered at her then, forced her other leg on his shoulder. She gasped as she fell back breaking her arrogant stare. Aksept eyed her as a starving man would a feast. Then he attacked. He balanced long passionate licks with short firm flicks of his tongue around her button. Rhapdosis' essence quickly began to spill into his mouth, and he drank eagerly.
"Eyes!" he jeered.
Rhapdosis drug her eyes unseeing from the ceiling down to him and felt more heat rush through her. He looked positively dangerous. She stared as he continued to circle her nub, leaving her gasping for air. She thought she would explode from the sensation. Then, he slid a finger back into her.
"Aksept!" she screamed, as he continued his attack. He added another finger, curving them devilishly hitting the place inside her that made her flow like a river. She grabbed his hair roughly only encouraging him more as his mouth, fingers, and eyes worked her over. It was mere seconds before she felt her body screaming for release.
"Gods! Aksept! I – Please!" Rhapdosis panted. She was nearly at that precipice he brought her to when they laid together. She could no longer hold her stare as she felt the tension increase in her belly. Just before she fell over he pulled his fingers from her. She brought her eyes to him in need just as his heavy manhood entered her in one long thrust.
Rhapdosis let out a loud whimper as he filled her completely. Her legs were still on his shoulders, forcing him deeper inside of her. He leaned over her, nearly folding her in half. He pummeled her relentlessly, roughly. Rhapdosis thought she would die from pleasure. Tears welled in the corner of her eyes as he continued his steady pace. A gentle hand contrasted with his rough pace as it found her cheek as he brushed her hair from her face. Her eyes again latched onto his. He stared at her as if she was the only person in the world. There was an emotion that she couldn't name as he wiped an escaped tear.
His lips found hers again silencing her whimpers. In his kisses she became undone, finally pushed over the edge. He swallowed her screams as she reached her release. Aksept rested his forehead to hers as he followed her shortly after.
Spent, he collapsed on top of her snuggling into her neck. Rhapdosis enjoyed his heavy weight on top of her as she wrapped her arms around him, tracing patterns into his back. She felt the ridges of other scars. In the silence she absentmindedly drew nonsensical patterns on his back. Rhapdosis listened as he inhaled her scent as he slowly rolled off of her. She barely could move yet found the strength to roll on to her side to face him. His eyes were trained on the ceiling of his tent lost to thought.
Rhapdosis wondered what he was thinking about. Was it her? Did he regret what they did? Was he still planning on freeing her? Did he want to keep her for himself?
As soon as her mind reached those darker thoughts, he slid his eyes over to her. Briefly, she wondered what her face looked like to her.
"What are you thinking about?" his voice was filled with rocks. It surprised her when he opened his arms to her. Even more surprising was how quickly she felt herself slide into them. Rhapdosis leaned on his chest as he brushed her wild hair down before resting his head on top of hers.
"You." She spoke plainly.
"Me?" he responded surprise coloring his tone.
"Is it always like – this?" she questioned, running a hand down his fit body, "You make me feel... things." She answered. It was easier to speak her mind when she didn't have his intense stare on her.
"No, nothing is like this." He answered tracing her spine.
"What do- "Rhapdosis was cut off from a sound from outside the tent.
"Healer! Healer!" a voice called from outside of the tent. Rhapdosis sat up quickly, as fear coursed through her. She could not be caught naked, in bed with a man by any servant. Innocent rumors could mean punishment for her if they reached the wrong ears.
Aksept sat up as well, yet slower. "Calm yourself, "he whispered into her hair, "I will protect you. A moment!" He spoke to the caller outside.
Aksept stood from the pallet stretching long limbs. He lumbered over to a trunk in search of clothing. Rhapdosis pulled the blanket up to cover her nakedness. She watched as he shuffled through the trunk for clothes. Her eyes stared at him unabashedly realizing this was the first time she could see all of him clearly. When her eyes landed on the appendage hanging between his legs, she wondered how it was possible to fit inside of her. Aksept felt the weight of her stare on him and smirked, flexing his muscles. She even saw it jump up in greeting. Rhapdosis brought the blanket over her face in embarrassment. When his chuckle filled the room, she lowered her shield.
"Ass." She said, making him laugh harder.
He dressed slowly and dramatically under her stare. She knew it was for her enjoyment and enjoy it she did. By the time he pulled a turban over her hair she was smiling contentedly. He stepped out of the tent, careful to avoid it opening wide enough for her to be seen. Absentmindedly, she looked around for her clothes, briefly remembering them being torn from her person as soon as they returned to his tent from the river. She saw a familiar clothing not too far from the entrance.
Rhapdosis stood and immediately sat back down. Her legs were as worn if she had spent the day running with weights. An unfamiliar soreness lingered at the juncture of her thighs, but it made her felt deliciously naughty. She smiled and stood again, stretching. She plodded over to the clothing and picked it up from the pile of fabric. Stepping into it lightly, Rhapdosis let out a loud gasp when she realized she would not be able to wear this out of Aksept's tent. In the middle of the beautifully made dress was a large rip that extended from the top of her dress to her thighs. Her chest was fully exposed.
Rhapdosis felt sadness course through her. The dress was given to her by The Architect and by far the nicest thing that she owned and here it was ruined. This is where Aksept found her. When he saw the dress, he let out a bark of laughter.
"That is a different look. Surely, you will start a trend." He laughed as he approached her. When he saw the sadness in her eyes he was taken aback, "What's wrong? It is only a dress."
Rhapdosis stared at him anger building, "It's the nicest dress I own!" Rhapdosis snapped. She was going to say only dress but that was not true for the uniform of The Vizier's house hold was a dress she owned yet she vowed never to be forced into it again.
"I will get you in dresses better than this. You will own dresses for every day of the year." Aksept spoke as he embraced her. Rhapdosis was relieved that he could not see her face as she was fighting tears but she enjoyed the comfort of his embrace more than she cared to admit to herself. His words bothered her deeply. Her freedom would have to come first. She could not imagine a future that would allow her to own dresses. Where? How? Why?
Reality was slowly sinking in. She no longer could enjoy the freedom she found in his embrace. They would be in the new capitol soon and Rhapdosis was due back to her owner as soon as The Architect was done his task in the Palace Temple. The Vizier was plotting against the throne and her now nonexistent maidenhood. Rhapdosis was no closer to her freedom nor did she have even the beginnings of an idea of a plan to achieve her goal. Though the Priest promised her freedom, what could he do?
A sudden thought struck her cold.
Aksept sensed the change in her immediately. Rhapdosis stepped out of his arms.
"I need clothes." She spoke flatly, eyes trained on the floor.
Aksept felt her sliding away from him. She was reverting back to her servant face now. He saw it in the way she stared at the floor, head bowed. It was the way that she held interlaced her hands, thumbs crossed over one another, in front of her. It was the way servants stood in attendance. It disturbed him greatly. She was so much more than a servant.
"Rhapdosis, what is wrong?" concern laced his voice, "Is it what I said? I gave you my – "
"Word," she interrupted, "I know. I need clothes, my lord." She deadpanned, eyes still remaining on the floor.
He started to feel his own anger surface. Why wouldn't she look at him?
"My lord?" he barked, taking her by the chin roughly, forcing her eyes to take him in. He didn't miss the flash of fear in her eyes. Rhapdosis quickly recovered, her rage matching his own.
There she was. The Rhapdosis that he saw in her.
She was almost a full head smaller than him. Tough his touch was firm, he was not hurting her. The anger in his eyes contrasted with the almost imperceptible caress of his thumb. Rhapdosis felt herself getting angry. With him she did not have to bite her tongue, but a lifetime of servitude ingrained some things deep into her core. It was natural for her to hide her emotions in front of him. He was The High Priest of Egypt even though he had shared his sheets.
"You are The High Priest of Egypt," She hissed, pushing him away from her. He allowed her to move him though she had a feeling that if he wanted to it would have been like trying to push a pyramid.
"I am a slave!" her fury was her comfort. The night was over. Her task complete. "I wanted to give myself to you. Make a choice about my body without a man owning it for once in my life! You cannot buy me dresses," she spat the word like she was spitting a curse. "I belong to someone else, my lord."
Aksept narrowed his eyes as she stomped over to the trunk that removed his clothes from earlier. She bent over giving him a distracting view as she rummaged through the contents. When she found something suitable, she glanced over her shoulder and gave him a filthy glare. He raised an eyebrow in challenge. He was most definitely not looking away.
Rhapdosis huffed in annoyance. Aksept was insufferable. Yet, when he raised his eyebrow at her she felt herself warm from the inside out. Gods damnhim he was attractive. She did not turn as she stripped the torn dress and slid on a shapeless tunic. She took a thin strip of dyed fabric from his chest and used it a crude tie for her hair. When she turned around, he was smiling at her again. She wanted to strike him. To her annoyance, her shoes and wig were dangling from his hands raised out to her. Rhapdosis walked over to him smoothly. Yet, when she reached for her shoes, he did not release them.
"I am not interested in playing these games with you." Her voice was cool as ice. At least she hoped.
"Say my name."
She glared at him before tugging at the shoes and wig simultaneously.
"Aksept, please." Her tone was more desperate then she intended. Nothing in her life was easy or fair.
Instead of letting go of, Aksept swept her into his arms faster than she could see. "Oh!" She gasped as her vision spun with the sudden movement.
In two long strides, Aksept returned to the pallet where they had lain. Rhapdosis sat on the edge of the bed as Aksept kneeled before her. Again, she was taken aback by how large he was. Even with her sitting on a pallet and him on one knee, he was taller than her. He picked up her foot and rubbed it softly before sliding her sandal on it.
"I promised I would see you free and I mean it." Aksept massaged the other foot before placing the remaining sandal on it. Once his task was complete, he looked at her. Her cool blue eyes stared at him suspiciously her anger deflated but still present. "By harvest you will be free. I swear this to you."
Something in his voice took the last edges of anger from her. She would try to trust him. Yet her own plans would still have to be made.
Cautiously she reached out for him. He leaned into her hands on his face. Aksept followed her lead as she brought his face closer to hers. When their lips touched, he had to fight himself to control his urge to take her again. Her touch would always be his undoing.
He broke the kiss first. Aksept was breathing deeply trying to control his primal urges.
"At the tent, that was the Architect's man." He spoke as Rhapdosis looked at him questioningly.
"What?" She spoke mortified. How did he know she was here?
"He's looking for you."
"What?!" she repeated, this time more loudly. Rhapdosis shot up so fast that Aksept almost lost his balance trying to get out of her way. "Why didn't you say that first?!Gods!What will I tell him?"
"Obviously, I already told the man to tell him you were with me." Aksept spoke as if he said nothing but common sense.
"What?!" She screeched for the final time.
"The Pharaoh has sent me to escort you to the palace at once, my lord." A tall, black cloaked Maegi spoke to Imhoten.
The man made Rhapdosis very uncomfortable. He spoke with no inflection to his voice. He was gaunt faced and serious. Rhapdosis would have been surprised if he had ever smiled in his life.
"And he sent you, the captain of his personal guard to retrieve me? Must be pretty serious." The Architect mused from his chair.
Rhapdosis had flown from Aksept's tent. Her plan had been to catch the servant before he reached Imhoten. She had no idea what story she would tell but she cursed Aksept with every step. She made quite the spectacle, running through the camp in her shapeless tunic stolen from Aksept and wig in hand. Thankfully, the morning was still upon them and last night's festivities caused a late rise for many.
"Yes, it is a grave matter." Spoke the captain in his strange monotone.
He glanced over to Rhapdosis.
Rhapdosis anxiously tucked the hair of her wig over her shoulder. She was grateful that she had time to get dressed. By reached the Architect's tents, no servants were in sight. Rhapdosis, resigned to whatever fate lay in store for her returned to her tent. She quickly washed, pulled on her travel clothes. She wrestled with her hair as the curls had transformed into thick tangles, but she managed to find enough water for her to braid it under her wig.
The Maegicaptain had not yet arrived when she entered the Architect's tent. She was prepared to grovel at the old man's feet, yet his eyes lit up when she entered.
"My dear! I heard about your nasty spill the other day, but the Healer sent word that it wasn't serious."
Rhapdosis stared dumbfounded. She subconsciously grabbed at her naked wrist. The wrapping had probably come off at some point in the night. She had worn the wrap to the feast, but the pain had already faded. Now, there was none at all. After her exciting night, she had forgotten that it ever happened.
"Y-y-es my lord."
"Imhoten!" he sang.
"Yes, my lord Imhoten, I asked the healer if I would be okay to remove it this morning." As the words tumbled out of her mouth, she realized this is probably what Aksept meant. She felt a little guilty at how quickly she fled.
Imhoten grinned at her knowingly, offering her a chocolate, "Of course! Of course, come child. I will have a visitor soon. I may need you to record things for me."
After a few minutes the intimidatingMaegi entered the tent. Now, the man's gaze was fixed on her. She shuffled her wait at her small writing desk. Obviously, he was high ranking if he was the personal captain of the Pharaoh's Maegi. He had many jewels decorating his chest. Fearsome tattoos on his arms showed his title. The Pharaoh's mark bared on his right cheek.
"You may need to bring your scribe."
Imhoten looked surprised at that, "What is it Kajai?"
For a brief moment the Captain's face showed a hint of uncertainty. "The Great Pyramid has fallen." Tone unchanging yet his words startled them, "The peasants report that the very ground shook beneath them and the sound of the temple crash could be heard from leagues away. All that remains is the core stone."
The room fell silent. The legendary temple that was completed when the Pharaoh was just a boy. With its silky-smooth sides and bricks filled with conquered people. A pyramid falling was unheard of.
"I am afraid it has... changed the Pharaoh."
For the first time, Rhapdosis saw a crack in the stoic man's demeanor.
"We must hurry then. Let's go." The Architect stood. Immediately, Rhapdosis handed him his cane. They shuffled out of the tent in a sober procession. Two camels and a muscular horse awaited them. Two more Maegi stood guard on horseback chatting amiably.
The Architect graciously helped her onto the animals back despite her protests. Rhapdosis was surprised as the old man nimbly climbed on his own without assistance.
"A man never forgets how to ride," he said to her shocked expression.
"Hut! Hut!" Captain Kajai commanded as he nudged his war horse forward. The two Maegi snapped their back ramrod straight as their captain rode past. The made a solemn procession through the camp. The Sun was rising and preparations for the travel were being made. Many stared as the Maegi marched through the camp. Though the sun shone brightly this morning, they made a grave site and it was infectious.
"Once this news spreads...it will not bode well for the Pharaoh." The Architect spoke so low that Rhapdosis had to strain to hear.
"What do you mean?" Curiosity removed her normal manners from her tongue.
"The Pharaoh has forsaken the Old Gods, adopted new ones, and moved his capitol from holy land. The deaths of two memeber of the Royal family is not likely to go without suspicion."
"They believe this the work of the Gods?" Rhapdosis spoke. Connecting the dots.
"Times are changing," the old man spoke as if speaking a warning.
They fell into silence, each alone with their own thoughts. As they reached the edges of the camp a familiar face stood out to her. Aksept stood with behind the small crowed that lined their path. His dark eyes drank her in, and she returned his stare. Rhapdosis suddenly wished she had not fled without a proper goodbye. How long would it be before she would see him again? When she could no longer see him in the crowed, she turned back to the distant road ahead.Dread coiled around her stomach with each step they took towards the New Capitol.
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