Sooooo sorry I'm such a liar. I apologize. Life tackled me yesterday. This chapter is a little dark. As always, comment!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
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!)