L.D. Walters graduated college in the field of Graphic Design. She writes YA fantasy but is not limited to one genre. L.D. Walters has been a lifelong writer and first began creating worlds and characters in the 6th grade. Sheis inspired by movies, television shows, nature, and reading novels that transport her into the story itself.
A New Dynasty Of An Old Story
I am the Radiant One, brother of the Radiant Goddess. Wesir brother of Aset; my son and his mother Aset have saved me from my enemies who would harm me. I am Wesir.
“Wesir, Seth, Heru, I will ask you one more time. What duty must a nisu perform to keep his kingdom flowing?” The three adolescent boys shrugged. All morning their private tutor had been trying to fill their human brains with knowledge and yet the same foolish answers escaped their mouths. "I know what duty I'd like to perform." One adolescent joked, bouncing his eyebrows while snickering. Slouching in his armchair, the adolescent appeared shorter than most men, but when he stood, one would have to crane their neck to capture his facial features. Strong cheekbones, full lips, and black kohl that lined his warm brown eyes. He had bare callused feet, strong muscles, and a masculine torso clothed in linen. The other boy, identical to the sassy one, snickered. "Definitely, Seth. Have to keep it flowing." The third adolescent shook his head tossing back his false black hair as his golden-brown eyes objected to the comment. Their tutor leaned against a shelf of scrolls as his fingers curled into a fist. Beneath his feathery face, his temper fumed. He was quite an unusual figure with his long curving bill, skinny neck, and small round head connected to human shoulders. At first glance, one would say he was Djehuti, the deity of knowledge and wisdom. He glared furiously at the Seth. Pupils of charcoal, glinting with the gleam of wisdom and knowledge, now burned in frustration. “That’s not funny Seth, how did you come up with such a disgusting answer?” “I was just agreeing with you. I don't know what you think I meant. Do you have a dirty mind?" Morning light poured in the window as sparkling hues of gold burst from the reflecting walls and created specks of light showering the ceiling, floor, and occupants. The scrolls that surrounded them were stacked on shelves lining the room. Wesir folded his thick lips, holding back the urge to laugh. Seth grinned at his comedic skills taking effect on his twin. Placing an arm around Djehuti’s craning neck Seth declared: “Also, have a nice vacation.” Ducking under Seth’s arm, Djehuti quickly removed a scroll from its slot and whacked the prince over his head. “Ouch!” Seth cried. “What was that for?” Djehuti ruffled his feathers as his long, curved, beak turned red with frustration. “Well, I don’t know, hmm, let’s see.” Raising a finger to them, he declared, “First of all, I am sick and tired of teaching a trio of hooligans! If neither one of you can listen to my teachings, then none of you deserve my knowledge!” He gathered his scrolls, scattered across a short table, and strode over the marble floor. As he was leaving, Djehuti spun around in the doorway and exclaimed: “Good luck ruling Abdju on your own! I quit!” Seth rose from his armchair and ran to his tutor. Just like last time, he apologized, hoping to persuade the deity to stay. “Oh, Djehuti, I was only kidding.” Seth jogged down the corridor passing several, tall, bulky pillars intricately decorated with hieroglyphs. “Besides, you have always been in denial about quitting.” “Well, this time I mean it, Seth!” Djehuti stopped halfway down the corridor sighing deeply. “Maybe not now, but perhaps someday you’ll understand that knowledge is great power. Only by faith can you choose your own path.” Djehuti then chanted a spell. Hieroglyphs peeled off the large corridor walls and began to circle the deity. Faster they swirled until creating a cyclone. The once dark images connected to each other forming splotches of ink. Smoke rose from the funnel curling over intricately decorated pillars that bordered the peristyle garden. Unbearable fumes curled and twisted across the floor. Finally, the indoor winds subsided. The cyclone died. Seth waved the smoke away expecting to see Djehuti gone. Instead, a soot-covered ibis stood in place choking on the smoke violently. “Perhaps,” cough, cough. “I’ll…ack! Take the mortal way out,” Djehuti wheezed. “Now, I am going to quit.” Seth reentered the tutoring room. He stood in the doorway, brushing a strand of black hair back. “Well, at least we’re free. Come on, let’s go down to the Nile and give Tawaret a water rash.” Wesir sat in his turquoise armchair with legs crossed. “I can’t believe you. That is four attempts this month. How many times can you make Djehuti quit? You, my brother, are good.” Seth grinned casually. Heru-ur stood up straightening his yellow tunic that complimented tan skin. “Wesir, don’t encourage Seth. His rude remarks made our tutor quit and that’s worse than being fired.” “In my defense, I tried to reason with him,” Seth explained. Heru shook his head. “One of these days your humor will get you into trouble. Oh, wait, it already has!” Seth narrowed his eyes. “That’s because you’re always telling father!” “Our father, given permission by Atum to raise us, has been substituting as monarch over Kemet. He hired Djehuti to teach us how to manage the realm of human affairs. Not only that, but one of us will become nisu, ruler of this land. If we don’t learn a certain amount of knowledge, none of us will be the next heir. You, for your part, are a nineteen year old delinquent!” “And you are always itching for a fight!” Seth clenched his fists. Wesir stepped in between them. “Please, don’t let this escalate. We’re brothers. We should look out for one another and not bicker.” Both folded their arms and turned their backs to each other. “Please…” Wesir begged. Heru released a sigh. “For Wesir.” “For Wesir,” Seth agreed. Now that they ceased bickering, Seth grabbed a scroll and pretended he was Djehuti. “Now listen to me, I am Djehuti an annoying bird brain.” He wrote these words, speaking in a high pitched voice. “I make sounds when Atum talks to me and I am very flatulent!” Wesir burst out laughing while Heru chuckled lightly. A woman with sandy brown skin speckled in gold entered. Her yellow kalasiris fell to her ankles and covered her shoulders loosely. “Well, whatever is so funny?” Seth gasped as he threw the scroll behind him. “Mother, we…” Wesir spoke up. “We were just contemplating about the mastabas, on the possibilities of…expanding upon them…when we became nisus.” Nut’s eyes, sparkled with stars, sunrises, and sunsets. “And what plans did you have in mind Seth?” Heru silently snickered as Seth tried to think of a way out of this situation. “Uh…” Was all he could say. Then an idea hit him. “What if the mastabas had steps reaching to a point? It would be known as a pyramid.” “Hmm…interesting idea Seth. You’ll have to take it up with your father though. Speaking of your father he wishes to see you three immediately.” “Whatever for?” Heru inquired. “He wouldn’t say.” Nut beckoned them to follow.
As they passed the luscious green courtyard, five girls collected lotuses and chased each other. One, who sat on the edge of a marble pool, caught Seth’s attention. He stopped in place to gaze out at her. Her ebony eyes locked onto his. For a moment, there was a connection between them. The calling of Seth’s mother interrupted their moment. He snapped out of his trance and ran to the throne room. A wide turquoise area opened up to him. Sunlight poured through the clerestory over the center where the golden throne stood against a background of sky and pillars. In a low seat sat a man. The nemes headdress wrinkled as he gripped his crook and flail tightly. His sandy shoulders flexed when he rose. Rage swelled his golden-green eyes. A wide usekh-beaded with jade- shimmered with flecks of gold matching his cheek length blue hair. Nut stood next to her husband. Her iridescent wings shimmered in the midday sunlight as her back faced the open pillars. Geb raised a scroll, descending from the throne. “Do you three have any idea what I am holding?” Wesir, Seth, and Heru shook their heads. “It is a scroll stating that Djehuti is an annoying bird brain who doesn’t take his job seriously! Well, let me tell you something. Djehuti takes his job very seriously. In fact, he handed Atum, my grandfather, this scroll thinking it was your record reports. Do you know what happened?” No one responded. Geb cast his eyes down glaring at all three of them. “He was about to become a former deity thanks to whoever wrote this!” Seth fidgeted while gritting his teeth in shame. I accidentally sent a mocking scroll to the Hall of the Deities! “Wesir!” Geb snapped. Wesir gulped. “Yes, Father?” “I know you can’t lie. Tell me, did Seth write this?” “Yes,” he confessed. Seth exhaled a deep sigh while a satisfied grin spread across Geb’s thick lips. “However, it was supposed to be an apology letter to Djehuti. I sent the letter. I am to blame.” Wesir lowered his head in shame. Geb’s eyes switched to Heru. “Is this true?” “No father,” Heru spitefully shifted his golden eyes to Seth. Rage boiled inside of Seth. His brother had betrayed him! Geb abruptly grabbed the back of Seth’s hair and hit him over the head with his crook. “What were you thinking?! You are a bad influence on your people. Observe Wesir and Heru, do you think they mess up? No, because they are responsible. It’s time to grow up!” His strong fingers released his son. Seth fell to the floor with a throbbing scalp. Wesir helped him up as jealousy began growing inside of Seth. I hate how father always compares me to Heru and Wesir! Standing in front of the throne steps, Geb added, “You are dismissed.” Seth clenched his fists hard staring at Heru with hatred. Shaking his head, he stormed out of the room. Wesir bowed and quickly chased after him as Heru silently walked out. Down by the banks of the Nile, Seth sat watching the herons stalk their prey. Anger swelled within him while his thoughts replayed the events. He rubbed his sore scalp trying to soothe it. Wesir whistled a tune, sitting next to his brother. “Could you maybe whistle somewhere else?” “I’m just trying to cheer you up,” Wesir replied. Seth’s brown eyes glared at his brother. “I really don’t like it when you try to cheer me up.” Wesir chuckled to himself, playing with a reed. “Do you remember wanting to give Tawaret a water rash?” Seth nodded. Wesir pointed to Tawaret, who was teaching a group of hippos. “In three…two…one.” A giant bubble popped forcing the hippos to swim away. Wesir and Seth laughed hysterically. As the huge hippo Tawaret rose out of the water, a red rash appeared on her gray thigh. The two laughed even harder. Her round eyes shot to them. “I see you Wesir and Seth! Wait until Geb hears of this.” Tawaret began swimming towards them when a catfish latched onto her stubby tail. She shrieked as Wesir and Seth turned to head home. “Father never approves of me Wesir. He thinks I’m a bad influence on you.” Wesir lowered his head, kicking pebbles with his turquoise sandals. The blazing evening sun finally set, turning the sky to a deep blue. Seth gazed at the twinkling stars his mother wore. “Seth, I know Father doesn’t approve, so, let’s make a promise to one another.” Wesir raised his right hand and declared, “I Wesir, son of Geb and Nut, so do promise not to become jealous if my brother takes the throne of Abdju.” Seth smiled. “I Seth, also a son of Geb and Nut, promise to be happy for my brother if he becomes Nisu of Abdju." However, a foreboding chill that the promise would never be fulfilled rippled over him.
Out in the Courtyard
Bursting sunlight shot over Aset face. She groaned awakening. Sitting up, she examined her stately room. Vibrant hieroglyphs swathed every corner of the marble walls and lapis lazuli ceiling. Her ebony eyes traveled to the open balcony curtained with thin linen. A slight breeze billowed the sheet, like flowing waves. Aset climbed out of bed careful not to wake her sleeping twin, Nebet-het. She quietly drew back the curtains, stepping outside. An orange glow fell across her russet face. Gold coalescing with ribbons of orange traversed the morning sky. What is my destiny? Am I meant for more than just being a princess? She watched her mother Nut change the sky’s color. Baby blue rippled across hues of purple and golden orange. Turning, she silently exited her room. Aset snuck into the luscious green courtyard. Her bare feet lightly slapped the granite stone trail before she sat on the pool’s edge. A bee buzzed past her ear. She dipped her hand in the warm water stirring the floating lotuses. Aset breathed in the morning air catching a faint whiff of papyrus. A fine looking young man with rust tinted skin approached her. Aset lifted her head. Braided false hair covered his head while a white tunic clothed him. His eyes smiled at her. “Hello,” he greeted. “What is your ren?” Aset gently pulled her hand out of the water shaking it dry. “I’m sorry, I don’t know you well enough to tell you my ren.” “Well, I think you should.” She sighed. “Very well, my ren is Aset.” “That is better.” The courtyard doors opened as five girls came running out. Aset smiled, brushing a strand of raven hair behind her ear. “You must either be Heru, Wesir, or Seth.” “How do you know?” “For Nut had only three boys. Which one of them are you?” Seth grinned at her. “I am known as Seth, the future of Abdju.” “Oh, so you’re the delinquent and trouble maker of Abdju.” “Very true,” he agreed. “I have an idea for the mastabas.” Aset smiled. “Tell me about mastabas.” Seth’s entire face lit up. She calmly sat there as he told her about a pyramid. Not once did she interrupt or criticize him. When Seth had finished, Aset stood. “You will definitely become nisu.” The flute whistled. A girl with long black hair, wearing Aset’s face, bounded towards them. Her ebony eyes smiled. “Aset, it’s time to go.” “Seth, this is my twin Nebet-het.” Nebet-het nodded in acknowledgment before pulling Aset away. “I must go. Meet me here tonight so you can declare your love to me.” Aset smiled. “O-Okay,” Seth stuttered before walking off with a broad smile on his face.
Wesir pored over texts in the royal library. The nisu must hold peace in his country. A nisu must be good for all. The nisu- “Studying?” Heru-ur stood over his brother. “Yes, Heru-ur. I’m very nervous.” “Why? You know this stuff by heart Wesir. Oh, and just call me Heru. The honorific isn’t necessary among brothers.” Wesir pulled out another scroll. “Will you help me study?” Heru-ur sat next to Wesir. “Yes. According to this scroll, one of us should rule the throne of Kemet.” “But why?” “When our great-grandfather Atum made himself, there was no land. So, he created our grandparents, Shu and Tefnut. But they left him to go create the world. Great grandfather missed them though, so he removed his eye to search for them. Shu and Tefnut returned with his eye. He was so happy to see them that tears fell from his face which became the first humans. The fragile beings, however, had nowhere to live so Grandfather Shu and Grandmother Tefnut mated to give birth to our parents, Geb and Nut.” “May I ask what this has to do with my question?” “Be patient brother,” Heru-ur ruffled Wesir’s hair. “Now, that there is a people to govern and fertile land, one of us shall be the first nisu of Kemet. But to do that, Atum made us mortal so the humans wouldn’t burn when they looked upon us.” “I understand now. Thank you, Heru-ur.” Heru-ur smiled. “My pleasure little brother. You best get ready.” Nodding, Wesir rolled up his scrolls, slid them on a shelf, and departed for his room. ***
He stood in front of a burnished copper mirror as his servant tied a sash on his white shendyt. Wesir stepped down from the stool admiring his reflection. With a wave of his hand, he shooed away the servant. What if Father chooses me? I’m not ready. No. Heru-ur is more qualified than I am. He can rule Kemet with strength. And Seth, he could rule with kindness. Wesir left his room fully clothed in white. His simple reed sandals slapped against the smooth marble floor as he walked the corridor. Pillars of white with bands of green and yellow bordered the peristyle garden. A familiar sight of warm brown eyes made him hide behind a pillar and peek. Seth smiled as Aset talked with him. Instant love overcame Wesir. Her radiant hair gleaming in the sun’s glow, the hourglass figure taunting him, and her beautiful face similar to Nut’s. If I become nisu, I shall take her as my bride. The flute whistled. Wesir ran to the throne room as the sun lowered, spilling darkness over Kemet. He panted heavily with beads of sweat pouring down his face. Heru-ur entered also clothed in white. “Why are you all sweaty?” Heru-ur observed his brother. “I-I ran from -the courtyard. Is father here yet?” “No. And neither is Seth. Typical.” “Why are you so…I don’t know, mean to him?” Heru-ur gasped. “Me? Mean to him? He’s the one who starts the fights!” “Alright, alright, I’m sorry. Just don’t get mad please.” A few minutes later, Seth ran in the throne room grinning broadly. “Seth, where have you been?” Wesir asked. “Out in the courtyard.” “What are you smiling about?” Heru-ur glanced at him with skepticism. “I met a girl.” Heru’s brows raised. “Who?” “Her name is Aset and she loves me,” Seth explained. Wesir’s mouth fell open in shock. “Our sister?” Seth nodded. “She relates to me, other than by blood.” Wesir’s heart sunk as a new dilemma presented itself. But I love her too.
Four priests entered the turquoise throne room carrying a small crook, flail, hedjet- the white crown of Abdju-and the jewelry of a nisu. Geb trailed behind them, his head bare. The only thing covering him was a fine green shendyt of grass. He stood before all that was present and then spoke in a clear and calm voice. “Wesir, Seth, Heru-ur, I have made my decision on whom shall rule Abdju.” Seth breathed nervously. I hope he calls on me.I studied all night for this. Geb cleared his throat. “My successor is…” Everyone held their breath. “…My son Wesir.” Heru-ur forced a smile. Seth, however, tightened his throat. His legs shook beneath him as anger dug its roots in him. Everyone in the room clapped when Wesir stepped forth taking Geb’s crook and flail. Geb placed the hedjet crown upon Wesir’s head before stepping down from the throne. He beckoned for his son to take it. Wesir hesitated for a moment. “This is it, I am about to take my rightful place as nisu.” He halted at the base of the throne. Geb snapped his fingers. “I almost forgot that a nisu shouldn’t take his place without the proper attire.” The priests, wearing leopard skins, placed golden bands around his arms, legs, and wrists. In addition, they put an eleven beaded iridescent collar around his neck, while others tied the postiche to his chin. “Stop, stop!” Wesir yelled. Seth’s head lifted while Geb’s face filled with worry. “I can’t become nisu, without…” Wesir paused. He gazed at Seth then at the throne. “I can’t become nisu without a woman by my side.” Geb clapped his hands. Nebet-het and Aset entered the room. “Which one my son?” Wesir pointed to his sister. “Aset.” Seth’s heart skipped a beat. The power is taking him over. Seth clenched his fists, turning his knuckles bone white. All the rage, fury, and pain swelled within him. His eyes flickered blood red then returned to normal as he stormed out of the room. A servant walked past the angry prince. “Prince Seth?” Seth pushed him out of the way, exiting the palace. He stormed into the night until halting at the Nile’s edge. All the pain, words, and memories overwhelmed him. “Arghh!” Tears streamed down his face in rage. He stood staring at the sky until the moon lowered, each beam slowly fading. Wesir stood by his brother with regret embedding his face. “Seth, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” “You knew,” Seth accused with tears gushing from his eyes. “You knew that I loved Aset! I am done Wesir. I can’t take being your younger brother any longer!” Wesir tried to hide his surging tears. “Goodbye brother,” Seth said in remorse as he sadly walked away.
Two Years Later, Everything Changes
Nile waters ran between the steep and narrow banks of sandstone spreading slime upon drear, barren shores. A brilliant palace of gold shimmered across the mottled horizon. Despite the cheery brightness, it held an evil ruler. His skin, rust tinted as clay, eyes brown as the desert, and a voice as deep and dark as Nubt itself. A guard entered. “My Lord Sutekh, this papyrus letter came for you.” Sutekh’s menacing eyes fell upon the guard. “A letter? No one has sent me one since...two years ago. Who is it from?” Trembling, the guard gulped. “It’s from….your brother my lord.” Sutekh snatched the scroll. You are invited to attend the Nisu Wesir’s, twenty-second annual banquet to celebrate his birthday. We would like Prince Seth to join the assembled guests at the banquet. Sincerely, Aset, Queen of Abdju Aset’s signature sent happiness, an emotion barren to him for so long, rippling through him. That’s it. I need to steal Aset away from Wesir. Then a horrible idea formed in his mind. “Ackhame, have my carpenters make an ornate chest with the finest wood and jewels in all of Kemet. Then send one of my messengers to Abdju with a gift from me.” Nebet-het entered the room. He cast his eyes on her. For a moment, his thoughts returned to the day of their marriage. * “May you two be blessed!” Geb raised his goblet of water to them. “As a gift from your mother and I, your mortality is ending. We have begged the deity Atum to grant you special abilities. As I am the earth, you shall have power over the desert and all the creatures within it.” “T-thank you father,” Seth smiled, finally proud he won his father’s approval. “Drink this,” Geb presented his flowery goblet of wood to his son. “Its from the Waters of Chaos where Atum created himself and my parents Shu and Tefnut. Drink now, and allow your abilities to come into being.” Seth nodded. He took the goblet and as the rim brushed his lips, the waters instantly turned to red sand. Panicking, he cast the vessel to the floor where crimson grains flowed from the mouth. “That’s peculiar. Usually, one has to drink the whole goblet,” Geb’s face furrowed in concern. A tingling erupted over Seth’s lips turning rough, and granular. It soon spread through his limbs increasing. Sand, red as blood, cralwed up his arm until burying his head. Seth stood still unable to move. I’m trapped! Help! His breathing slowed to a halt as his heart stopped for a second then slowly restarted. The sand slowly melted into mud releasing him. Seth inhaled, gulping in air while coughing. I feel...powerful. “The transcendence is complete. Remember, not to shirk your duties. Someone is always watching. She sees everything. I mean, everything,” Geb’s eyes widened. Seth chuckled. “I won’t disappoint mother.” With his new power, he wrapped his arms around Nebet-het tightly, finally happy. “How did I ever deserve someone like you?” Nebet-het’s lips widened, exposing her perfect teeth. “Fate.” She leaned forward until their lips touched. Everyone in the room clapped. Seth’s eyes turned to Aset entering their new palace at Nubt. His heart skipped a beat as old emotions surfaced. Her russet skin is still beautiful. Anger replaced his love when Wesir appeared next to Aset. He had clasped her hand, entwining his fingers with hers. Nebet-het ran to Aset hugging her as Wesir approached Seth. “Congratulations, brother.” “What are you doing here?” Wesir discreetly gulped. “I-I’m...sorry.” “Sorry?!” Seth’s anger turned to rage. The sand outside the throne room stirred like rippling ocean waves. “I don’t expect you to forgive me Seth,” Wesir tried to explain. “I don’t!” A red geyser of sand shot forth raining grains onto the jasper floor. “Son, control yourself!” Geb reprimanded. “In this state, you could make the whole desert explode!” Calming himself, Seth inhaled rapidly through his nose. “Leave, Wesir.” Tears brimmed on Wesir’s brown eyes. “I hope someday you will come to forgive me brother. Come, Aset.” Aset rubbed her arm before casting a saddened glance to Seth. She then took Wesir’s hand and exited the throne room. *
Lord Sutekh’s eyes watched the master piece his carpenters had spent hours carving. Things were going according to plan. Sutekh grinned. He would get his revenge on Wesir. When I went away dear brother, my name was no longer Seth but Sutekh. I no longer hail to you Wesir. When I come, you shall hail to me. “My Lord Sutekh, the chest is ready,” a carpenter announced. “Excellent,” he hissed. “Ready my boat for Abdju.” “Yes, my lord.” Nebet-het entered. Her long raven hair fell over the shoulders of her crimson kalasiris nearly covering her jasper usekh. “Ah, Nebet-het, my dear wife, we are going to Abdju to surprise our brother.” His arm wrapped around her shoulder. “Now, we can’t tell anyone about our plan, shh, it’s a secret.” Nebet-het lowered her ebony eyes at him. The kohl around them creased. “You’re only going because of Aset.” She tied a pleated shawl around her shoulders until the knot draped over her bosom. “I know what your scheme is for Wesir and don’t think I’m going to stand by and watch.” Sutekh grabbed her wrist, pulling her towards him. “Now, you listen to me. You will keep your mouth shut otherwise you will not have one. Guards, take my wife to the boat.” He pushed Nebet-het toward the guards. They grabbed her arms but she smacked them away leaving for the boat. When the last of the cargo was loaded, Sutekh’s eyes fell to his magnificent ship. A thick wooden hull plastered with white floated in the harbor. Bright colors of red, gold, and blue, painted intricate illustrations across its narrow stern and prow. Sutekh ascended the ramp ready to leave. Yellow planks creaked beneath his gilded sandals as he sat under a dome canopy next to Nebet-Het. The sweet scent of tamarisk floated across his nostrils. “Pull!” He ordered. The sailors on board rowed forward. Sutekh leaned over to the sparkling blue water. He was suddenly reminded of how he and Wesir would give Tawaret water rashes. “Ugh! Filthy water. The sight of it makes my stomach churn.” Nebet-het gently dipped her hand in the Nile. “How can you say such a thing Sutekh? The water is beautiful this time of year.” “I just hate seeing beautiful things.” “What has happened to you? I miss the old you,” Nebet-het proclaimed. “The one who loved me.” His only reply was a cold silence. Sutekh inhaled sharply. Up ahead, the palace of Abdju radiated in light. Its white limestone balcony shimmered while the thick rectangular palace loomed over a market place conglomerated on a plateau below. Sutekh stared at the palace remembering his childhood. His heart thumped loudly in his chest. What would Wesir think of him? Remember what he did to you, a raspy voice inside of him growled. He stole your throne and your love. Sutekh then grinned remembering what he must do. Fertile fields colored the plateau while children, women, and men thrived in this paradise. This should be rightfully mine! All of this! When the ship docked in a harbor, a sailor helped Lady Nebet-het out while Sutekh walked down the ramp. “No need to say anything about-” “The fact you’re denied, children?” Nebet-het sneered. “Of course not, dear husband.” They approached the shimmering white doors. Suddenly, the guard pointed his spear at them. “Sorry sir, party guests only.” Sutekh’s deep eyes narrowed. “I am a party guest! Now let me through!” Nebet-het sighed. “My dear husband Seth, the guard is only doing his duty.” The guard’s eyes widened. “Prince Seth, please forgive me. I didn’t realize…” Sutekh raised his hand, silencing the man. “I will look past your mistake.” “Please, go on inside my lord.” The guard opened the doors. Sutekh entered the palace. He passed through a roofless courtyard filled with lotuses growing around a stone pathway that led to a shay pool. Turning, he came across two more great double doors that were opened for him by two massive guards. A three-walled room made of turquoise greeted him. His black sandals slapped against the smooth marble floor. Servants buzzed-about putting on the final touches for the banquet. The minute Sutekh glimpsed Wesir sitting on the golden throne, tears sprung to his eyes. His brother was dressed in a blue tunic while a nemes rested upon his head. Green and gold jewelry adorned his umber skin with bracelets, armlets, and rings. Was all this jealousy really necessary? Would it hurt to forgive him and develop a new loving relationship? Yes, an evil voice raged inside him. Remember his betrayal. Sutekh’s fists tightened, holding onto his envy and rage. Nebet-het ran to her twin. “Aset!” Aset’s ebony eyes lit up as she embraced her sister. Sutekh unknowingly smiled. That light brown skin untainted. Those thick lips painted red. And Aset’s kohl round eyes sparkling. “Nebet-het, I am glad you came. My dear, dear, sister it has been too long.” “Yes, it has,” Nebet-het agreed. Heru-ur entered. His golden eyes lit up at Nebet-het’s return. He instantly embraced her. “I need to tell you something Heru,” she whispered. “Both of you.” Nebet-het ushered Aset and Heru-ur out of the throne room. Sutekh, meanwhile, approached his brother, bowing before him. “Wesir, my brother.” Wesir rose from his throne. “Seth?” “It is Sutekh now. I received your invitation. I’m assuming the banquet is tonight.” “Yes. What has happened to you? You look so much older." “Ah yes, well, I suppose I have lived too long in the sun’s brilliance.” Wesir’s face soon filled with a beam. “Well, no matter your appearance you will always be my brother.” With a step off his throne, he added, “It is so good to see you.”
Wesir leaned his arms on the railing of the viewing platform overlooking Abdju. He smiled as ibises walked on the plateau while hippos yawned in the Nile. His brother Seth had changed so much. Worry for him consumed his thoughts. Am I the reason Seth’s appearance has changed? Ever since that night, I’ve blamed myself for everything. I could have asked Nebet-het to marry me but I didn’t love her. Will he ever forgive me? He released a heavy sigh. The noon sun moved across the sky until setting in the West. Colors of orange, yellow, and red traversed the twilight creating the melancholy romance of Abdju. Dread suddenly swept over Wesir. He shuddered as a chill ran through him. Why am I feeling this? Ever since this morning, it has been nagging at me like a warning. Against what though? “Wesir.” Aset hugged her husband from behind. “Where is Heru?” “Nebet-het whisked him away to talk. I politely left them to be with you.” “Do you regret it?” “Huh?” “Do you regret marrying me?” Aset pulled away from Wesir. “What do you mean?” “When I became nisu, I chose you as my wife. Partially because I knew Seth loved you.” Tears dripped from his chin until splatting on the floor. Aset gently wiped a thumb across his cheek. “I thought I was in love with Seth but the truth is, it was a mere infatuation. Learning to love you was the best thing for me. I would never change that.” Wesir turned to her. All the fears he had clung to dissolved. Leaning forward, he caressed Aset’s face before placing his lips on hers. Aset hugged his neck returning the passionate kiss. He scooped her up and set her on the bed. She giggled tracing a finger over his abdomen. “I guess we have a few hours before the party.” “Wesir, I…” Heru-ur walked in. He flung a hand over his eyes in embarrassment. “Please, forgive my intrusion.” Aset snickered when he left. Wesir laid beside her laughing uncontrollably. “How awkward for him.” “He’ll probably have nightmares for weeks,” Aset chortled. The laughing ceased. Wesir interlaced his fingers with hers. So small compared to his. I made the right choice. He then resumed making love to his wife.
Sutekh stood in a secret corridor, instructing men to carry a heavy chest inlaid with glittering gold, bright turquoise, and smooth burnished copper. “Be careful with it. This is the only one of its kind.” A woman- with midnight skin shimmering with purple tints, a golden disk pendant around her neck, and a white dress-neared Sutekh. “The party is in a few more minutes. Thank you for assisting me.” The woman smiled. “My pleasure Lord Sutekh. As queen of Nubia, I was only too happy to help. Now, I must depart.” Once she left, Heru-ur emerged from behind a pillar. “Seth!” Sutekh halted and turned around. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my brother Heru-ur, eldest of us.” “I know of your plans.” “Oh?” “You will not kill Wesir today or any other. I will make sure of it.” Heru-ur turned away. With rage surging through him, Sutekh threw a dagger at him. The broad blade lodged deep in Heru’s nape. Heru spun around, choking on his own blood. Sutekh caught him in his arms. “Shh, my dear brother, death will be swift to Wesir. He will not suffer for I loved him the most and loathed you more. Always snitching on me to father who made sure I was slapped. Now, I don’t know how you came to get this information but I assure you, dead men do not speak.” Heru-ur’s blood flowed rapidly even when he stopped breathing. Sutekh kissed his forehead without remorse. *** After hiding Heru-ur’s body and cleaning all the blood off himself, Sutekh stood in a sea of friends, nobles, and royal subjects. “I would like to make a toast to my brother Wesir. May he live long in prosperity.” As everyone echoed the toast and drank their fill, Sutekh also added, “I have here a chest. Whomsoever it fits shall keep it.” He clapped his hands together. Two of his servants brought out an ornate chest decorated with turquoise, gold, and copper before removing the flat lid. Everyone in the room awed in amazement. Several people lined up to try it out but none succeeded. Finally, it was Wesir’s turn. Almost time brother…just lie down…that’s it…a few more inches… Nebet-het pushed her way through the crowd as Wesir climbed inside the chest. “Wesir, don’t!” Sutekh’s eyes jerked to her. Curling his lips in a sneer, he snapped his fingers. Nebet-het’s mouth forced shut. She tried to speak but her delicate lips remained closed. Sutekh grinned as Wesir laid his head down. The chest automatically closed and nailed itself shut. Chanting a spell, the chest vanished from sight. Instant murmuring and chattering echoed throughout the room. “Worry not, it is only a simple trick.” Everyone clapped unaware of Sutekh’s true intentions. He immediately left the throne room, entering the warm night air. Once he was far from the palace, he waved his hand. The chest appeared, except, cedar wood replaced the lavish gold, smooth turquoise, and burnished copper. Wesir yelled, scratching his fingernails against the wood. “Scream all you want Wesir, no one will hear you. With you gone, I will take my rightful place as Nisu.” Black magic circled the coffin in uneven wispy waves. It carried the chest to the Nile sending Wesir to his death. “Two years later, now everything changes,” Sutekh laughed to himself.
Bellowing thunder roared as flashes of white lightning crackled across the darkened sky. Warm rain fell slowly in a drizzle until each drop became bigger, growing into a raging storm. Once fertile fields now flooded with murky brown water. Panic overwhelmed the city of Abdju. Merchants, anglers, and traders went out of business as the floods took everything. The once limestone streets were now a watery grave for the people who could not reach high ground. Thirty days and thirty nights passed and the storm still raged on. Finally, the rain ceased and the clouds parted as if nothing had happened. In the palace, Aset’s throat tightened. She shivered as a subtle wind blew against her clothed back. Light shone upon her, entering through the balcony behind. On any other day, the room would be filled with servants bustling about. Unfortunately, this day was not like any other. Dread and silence echoed among the large pillars. Mother, why did you have to flood the city? Aset carried a heavy heart as she gazed at Sutekh. She remembered the day Wesir had chosen her. It was for protection from Sutekh. Aset discreetly placed a hand on her stomach when the baby kicked. Tears welled in her eyes. If Sutekh knew I was with a child, he would surely kill me. “May I be excused?” She quaked as a queasy knot tightened her insides. Sutekh turned his head. “Of course, my queen.” Aset shuddered, rising from her throne. She held back the flood of tears as her feet carried her outside to a, horrifying view. Bodies lay all around, floating on the street surface. A chill ran through her. Aset’s legs buckled beneath her. She collapsed on the Nile banks sobbing. “Wesir, what has Seth done with you?” She wept. Nebet-het tripped as she ran to her sister with good news. “Aset, they have found Wesir.” Aset’s ebony eyes lit up. “Where?” “In Lebanon. Aset, the King of Lebanon...how do I say this? One of his servants found a corpse inside his pillar.” Nebet-het breathed in heavily. “Though they have not freed the body, the servants have identified the corpse as…” Aset shook her head while clenching the ground. “No, no, don’t say it.” “Wesir’s ring was found on the body.” Aset continued shaking her head as tears welled in her eyes. She swallowed hard. This can’t be real. The realization of the truth hit her. I need to bring Wesir home to Kemet. Rising, she wiped sand from her palms. “I’m going to free Wesir. Tell Sutekh I have gone to Lebanon to bring him good fortune.” “No! I don’t want to lie to him.” Without another word, Aset spread her iridescent wings and took to the sky. She sailed through the clouds as the breeze of freedom rushed across her skin. Below, Kemet grew miniature in size. Verdant fields on a grid system channeled blue water through canals while tiny farmers planted seeds in them. Her shadow rippled over the Nile until the strength of the wind restricted Aset from flying forward. “Mother, help me.” Nut whispered the words of wind to her father, Shu, deity of air. He swooped around Aset, rerouting the wind to sail south. A smile tugged Aset’s mouth. Kemet’s landscape took her breath away. Farms, hills, crevasses, oases, large gleaming cities beckoning in the distance, with the broad Nile Delta flowing north. A map of the whole world surrounded her fingertips, floating through her thick black hair. Aset descended from the high altitude nearing her destination. The roaring ocean sent waves crashing against the coast of Lebanon, spraying sea salt across her nose. Tamarisk trees grew on each shore. Shrub tops whipped while their twiggy trunks swayed in sync with the waves. Landing on the balcony, she breathed in heavily. Aset quietly snuck inside the Lebanese palace. She hastily found the pillar that trapped her husband. With the help of Shu and a flap of her large wing, most of the wood melted away revealing the cold, corpse of Wesir. She could no longer hold it in. Tears gushed forward until an echoing slam alerted her. Aset forced her sadness to retreat. She slipped her mind into action mode. This was not the time to mourn. Holding back the flooding tears, she snatched Wesir then lifted herself into the night sky. As Aset soared, rain fell in sheets. Her wings slowed their rhythm down. Finally, she landed near a boulder in Iunu, not because of the rain but for what Sutekh had done to Wesir. Depression seized her insides, twisting them into knots. She crawled under a huge boulder while spreading her wings over Wesir. Hail to you Wesir, he who brought peace to Abdju, now a withered corpse. “I wish I told you about the baby. I wonder what it’s going to be. I hope it is a boy,” Aset said, gazing upon his corpse. Tears then swelled to the surface. “You are not dead! Come back Wesir! Come back to me! Don’t leave.” Sobbing, she shakily kissed her husband’s purple lips hoping that all this was a dream. Aset eventually closed her eyes clutching Wesir’s stiff hand.
Whooshes of air whipped Aset. Her eyes slowly fluttered open. Surprise startled her. This was the first time she became airborne without her wings. “Worry not Queen Aset, your mother ordered me to bring you and Wesir home safely,” Shu whispered in a still small voice. Tears sprung to Aset’s eyes as warmth shielded her from the cold air. I didn’t think there were any more tears to shed. Then reality hit her hard. Wesir was dead. “I’m sorry…” Shu tried to say. “That’s okay grandfather, the pain is good. It makes me realize life is not a dream.” As the beautiful white city of Abdju rose over the horizon, Shu whistled into the palace. He gingerly set Aset and Wesir down in her room. Without a word more, Shu whooshed away. Aset opened her turquoise chest before grabbing Wesir’s frigid arm. The cold shot through her body. She dropped it. Skin is not meant to be pale blue. Iridescent tears dripped from her eyes. A slap of sandals interrupted her lamenting. Fear raced through Aset. If Sutekh finds me here with Wesir…she shuddered. Aset grabbed Wesir’s arms, trying to heave his stiff body into the chest. A shadow grew closer. Her heart thumped madly as she held a tense breath. She trembled fearful of her capture. Nebet-het entered. Aset fell to her knees shaking with relief. “You returned! Did you find him?” Nebet-het inquired. Shallow breaths escaped Aset’s full lips. She slowly nodded trying to calm her throbbing heart. Nebet-het gasped at Wesir’s pale blue flesh. Kneeling, she embraced Aset. Tears balanced in both of their eyes. A golden statue of Inpu watched them. The golden shendyt turned crimson while his smooth black skin melted into rust-like tint. “Well, well,” Sutekh’s chilling voice startled them both. They shot to their feet as intense terror seized them. Aset’s blood froze. She held a trembling breath, trying to hide her anxiety. “I see that Wesir has returned. Aset, you have betrayed me and must pay the price. Guards, arrest her.” A pair of burly guards seized Aset’s arms. Their unforgiving fingers pressed hard into her skin. Resisting, she flapped her iridescent wings. A talon sliced one of the guards. He didn’t wince or shriek as a normal human would. Sutekh flexed his strong hand. Black magic sliced Aset’s iridescent wings. A rippling scream shot from her lungs and pierced the air. “Take her to the dungeon.” The guards obeyed, dragging Aset away. *** Sore bruises throbbed Aset’s body. She laid upon the gritty sand weeping. What was Sutekh doing to Wesir? Nebet-het opened the creaking door. Aset bolted upright. “Sister, what are-” “The door was unlocked. Something’s wrong. No one has seen Sutekh.” Aset raced out of the dungeon until appearing in the throne room. All servants, scribes, and guards chatted noisily. “What’s going on?” She demanded. “Queen Aset.” A guard bowed. “Sutekh is nowhere to be found. The spell he put on us broke.” Hope choked her. She stood still taking in the news. Could this be a dream? Joy filled her face. Her soul lifted. Everyone was finally free. A gale of wind whooshed in from the balcony. It quickly formed a man with shoulder-length blue hair. “Grandfather, what is it?” “I know what Sutekh has done with Wesir,” he panted. “He has cut Wesir into little pieces and scattered them over the world.” “The whole world?” Nebet-het asked. Shu nodded in confirmation. Aset turned to her sister. “Nebet-het, travel with me to collect our brother’s pieces.” Nebet-het stared at her twin. “Your wings sister…” Shu stepped forth. “Look inside yourself.” Aset closed her eyes. She imagined the broken wings melding together one feather at a time. Shu faded away into the wind, circling her. A warm aroma of rain engulfed Aset. The iridescent wings gradually became whole. Aset lifted them. Their vibrant hues shimmered in the fading light. She touched a talon before hovering above the floor. Nebet-het spread her own iridescent blue wings. With ease, she lifted off the ground. Both took off in flight to find Wesir.
Sutekh’s eyes scanned the terrain. Nothing, except the dark bitterness of the desert. Glittering stars above vanished one by one as the sky lightened bringing out red and lavender hues. Sutekh tilted his head frowning at a scene he used to enjoy. It’s all gone now… Rays of the sun mottled the sand in golden hues. Taking one step forward, he entered the barren land. Where could he stay? Abdju was a definite no. Once people were freed from the spell he placed on them, they turned against him. Particles of sand blew over the desert creating ripples among sloping dunes. Covering his muzzle with the edge of his hood, he recalled his hideous transformation. * Sutekh hacked Wesir into pieces. A sickening splatter echoed throughout the chamber until lumps formed on his tailbone, sprouting a long, forked tail. He ceased hacking. Agony suddenly encased him. His blood boiled while his skin bubbled. Fumbling for a reflection, he snatched a dagger from the wall. His nose stretched and curled into a snout as tall ears grew flat. Sutekh’s black hair molded near his nape. He gazed at himself once more. Beauty became a distant memory. Sutekh’s teeth began to ache. Rows of jagged, pointy teeth grew from his gums while his insides turned. Sutekh fell to the floor writhing in agony until long, pointed nails dug into the wooden altar. * Dismembering Wesir had turned him into a monster. He was now as evil on the outside as inside. The blistering noon sun shone down upon his back a few hours later. His rough granular tongue licked leathery chops. Sutekh’s throat thirsted for water while his stomach hungered. Perspiration formed under his cloak. Weakly, he pulled it off revealing a horrid face. A tattered linen shendyt covered his waist while a broad dagger rattled against his thigh as he pressed onward. Miles of soft sand surrounded him. The vast landscape went on forever. Rippling heat rose from the ground ahead and slowly formed an image. His dragging feet halted. Sutekh clenched his fists recognizing the person. “Have you pleased yourself killing me, brother?” Wesir asked. Fury boiled within Sutekh. He released a roar, unsheathing his dagger. Sutekh swung the blade wildly, screaming, “You’re dead! You’re dead!” He sliced through the mirage until Wesir vanished in uneven heat waves. Sutekh fell to his knees sobbing heavily. His long fingernails dug into the hot sand stirring up a cloud of dust. Dirt caked the insides of his nostrils, flat-tipped ears, and rust tinted skin. He contemplated his actions. It was no use. Why should he go on? Everyone hated him including his wife. Perhaps he should just die… Sutekh closed his slanting eyes falling sideways. For a moment, he regretted his actions. * A crack opened in the earth swallowing large amounts of sand. “Geb!” Nut’s face appeared above. “Close the earth now!” The immense crevasse mended itself as Geb’s face pushed up in the sand. “Do not tell me what to do woman!” Geb boomed, shaking the ground. “He deserves it!” “No, he doesn’t,” she said gently. “He is our son.” “No son of mine is he. He murdered his brothers!” “That may be true.” Her compassionate brown irises softened.“However, he still has a choice to be good despite his actions and redeem himself.” Geb’s sandy brow furrowed. “You always had hope for the hopeless which is something I will never understand. What if he doesn’t change?” “Then I will be patient enough to wait.” Both of their faces vanished allowing rain to pour from the clouds. * Moisture drenched Sutekh rousing him. He licked his chapped lips moaning in the wet sand. The clouds parted. Sun, bathed the raining desert. A figure swathed in light extended a hand towards him. Sutekh took it. “Who are you?” “The Great Warrior.” He looked away for a minute. When Sutekh stood up, the Great Warrior vanished. In his place, stood a shining man with golden skin. “Sutekh, you can redeem yourself. Guide me through the Duat and defeat my enemies. Bastet can no longer aid me. You must take her place.” Sutekh stared at Ra. A sun disk hovered above his falcon head. “I accept,” he said sincerely, wanting to repent.
Dead and Alive
Lebanon came into view. Crystal blue water with green tints surrounded the rocky coast. Aset landed near a chopped tamarisk tree. The shredded bark rubbed against her arm as she searched through branches and shavings. “Nebet-het, I need you to go to the Lebanese palace. There, you shall find a half-destroyed pillar. Search it. Grandfather says a part of Wesir is there.” “What will I put the pieces in?” Aset opened her hand until an iridescent bag formed. She handed it to Nebet-het who instantly took off in flight. Aset kept searching the tamarisk until a bloated purple hand caught her eyes. She tugged on the decaying fingers protruding from large roots. A squelching churned her stomach as it came free. An overpowering stench of death flooded her nose. She placed the hand in her iridescent bag, trying not to gag. Why am I calm? I just pulled out my husband’s hand. Tears flooded her ebony eyes. Trembling legs buckled as she, at last, fell to the shore weeping. Anger clenched her insides. Aset screamed, releasing the boiling rage. “How could you do this?!” She clenched rocks before hurtling them into the ocean. Her nose, eyes, and cheeks burned red. Aset panted, cradling herself. This should not have happened. “Why, why is he dead?” She lamented. “Dismembered…” Salty liquid dripped onto her lap until a vision unfolded before her eyes. The shadow of a man extended his hand. Aset took it. As sunlight masked his face, her eyes fell to a dagger hanging from his belt pulsating hot orange. “Who are you?” “You know Aset,” he spoke gently. “A great warrior,” she whispered. “When the time comes, I shall end Sutekh’s reign.” “He was…is no longer nisu of Abdju.” The Great Warrior chuckled. “Kemet will fall into his hand once more. You shall play an important role in aiding me.” His shadowy form became tangible until Nebet-het replaced him. The vision ended. “Aset, who are you talking to?” Security washed over Aset. Darkness would not prevail. Courage gathered around her as she took off in flight-ready to find Wesir. Our son shall avenge you. For forty days and nights, they searched the world for Wesir leaving no stone upturned. They already found his torso, legs, ears, and part of his face. Shu guided Aset and Nebet-het to a barren wasteland. Solid water traversed a white landscape. Aset shivered. Not even her wings could protect her from the piercing cold. Her sandal covered feet crunched under the soft ground. She removed frigid hands from armpits and began digging in the white sand. Instant pain swept over her as the grains melted on her skin. Is this sand? The cold burned her skin, her arms became stiff, but she ignored it. Aset finally uncovered Wesir’s other half of his face. Shakily, she placed it in her bag. Shu whisked them away from the terrible landscape. She clutched her numb fingers. Was that land…death? Her raven hair defrosted as warm rays of sunlight fell upon them. Shu gently lowered his granddaughters in Zawty, the cult center of Inpu. Aset gazed around. Palm trees forested foothills, valleys, and a gully. Her sandals pressed on soft grass while reeds cluttered the western Nile banks. “Grandfather, where have you taken us?” Shu regained human form. “Zawty, home to Inpu, come.” Aset and Nebet-het gave each other nervous glances. Since Inpu was the deity of the dead everyone feared him. Once, Aset heard a servant girl tell how Inpu lost his temper and slaughtered forty men. But of course, that’s just a rumor. Isn’t it? Shu knocked upon Inpu’s black door. Red hieroglyphs flanked the entrance. Aset gulped, translating them: death. Shu knocked again. A loud and disgruntled voice came from inside. “Whoever you are, go away!” Aset became perturbed. For forty days and nights, she had barely slept. She was weak, filthy, and wanted her beloved husband. “Open up!” She pounded. “No! Now, go away!” The voice boomed. Djehuti, carrying scrolls, approached them. “Afternoon…wait, who are you?” Aset immediately recognized him.“It’s me, Aset, daughter of Nut and Geb.” Djehuti’s brown eyes widened. “How is your husband?” Her face fell. In a choked voice she whispered, “He’s dead Djehuti. Sutekh killed him and dismembered his body.” Djehuti’s feathery face saddened. “I knew he was a delinquent but I never imagined Seth could do something so horrendous. Why have you come to see Inpu?” Nebet-het cleared her throat. “Shu says that Inpu is the only one who can successfully sew Wesir and make him whole again.” “Indeed he can.” Djehuti nodded in agreement. “So, why won’t Inpu let you in?” “Because he is stubborn!” Shu yelled. With a pound on the door, he added, “And a pain.” Djehuti rolled his eyes, sighed, and pounded on the door. “Inpu, open up or I will hieroglyph you again!” The door moaned as it opened. As the four entered, darkness swarmed over them. A putrid odor of rotting flesh lingered about. Powerful moans sent chills to Aset while Nebet-het shuddered. Khet braziers flickered to life. Bandages of linen lay scattered while statues of Inpu cluttered their path. His ego painted a picture for Aset. “Inpu? It is I…Djehuti.” “I know.” Sticking to the shadows, Inpu addressed her, “Aset, daughter of Nut and Geb, place the pieces of Wesir on the altar and leave.” Aset obeyed. She shakily dumped her husband’s body parts while keeping composure as Nebet-het did the same. “It is done. However, I will not leave.” “Insolent woman! You will do as told. Now leave and do not return until I summon you.” “No, you are not my husband. If you are so powerful, then why hide?” The room fell silent. Aset stood in place. “Well?” “I need not waste my anger on a mere woman. Now, do as I say or I shall curse you for all eternity.” Aset placed hands on her hips and declared: “Then curse me if you must! But I will not leave my husband!” “Very well, you can stay only if you help,” came Inpu’s reply. “I will not reveal myself quite yet. Djehuti come, we have a nisu to sew. Shu, take Nebet-het and leave.” Shu obeyed. He wrapped around Nebet-het before whisking them both out. Djehuti scattered the pieces of Wesir onto the altar and started reassembling them. As if by an invisible thread, Wesir became whole again. By midday, he was completed. Inpu’s shadow came before Aset. “Change yourself into a kite and beat your wings over Wesir. This will hopefully breathe new life into him.” Aset lifted her wings. Reddish-brown feathers dappled with dark patterns grew on every part of her body. Warm eyes glowed as a sharp beak formed. Beating her wings, she tried to breathe life into Wesir. He gasped then fell still. Aset had failed. Trembling, she shifted back into a woman and laid upon her husband’s corpse weeping. “Atum, hear my plea.” “I know how to help Wesir,” Djehuti declared. “How?” “We can swath Wesir in linen and make him a deity of the Duat.” Inpu instantly became offended. “That’s not fair! I am the deity of the Duat! I will not let some nisu of upper Kemet take my title from me!” “Now calm down Inpu,” Djehuti persuaded. “You will still be a deity in the Duat of mummification.” Inpu didn’t respond. Djehuti whistled an airy sigh. He threw a scroll at one wall. A portal, spiraling with blue and green, opened. “I’ll give you time to say goodbye.” Iridescent tears dripped on Wesir for the last time. She kissed his frigid lips. “Goodbye, my love.” Djehuti carried Wesir’s stiff body and threw him through the portal.
Prisoner of the Dead
Wesir moaned as he turned over. Pain seared his stiff limbs. His mind reeled. Everything around him blurred. He strained his brown eyes to get a glimpse of this place. Something off alerted him. Where was his heart-beat? Wesir placed a hand over his chest. Nothing pulsed. Green hands colored his sight. He shrieked, trying to rub off the discolored skin. Realizing the green was his flesh, he panicked. Where am I? What’s going on? Aset? Where’s my palace, my home? And why am I partly covered in torn linen? The blur clouding his eyesight cleared. A pink and mauve sky rippled above while ahead lay a desert with gates across it. Boats floated down a blue river streaked with ghost white. He turned behind him. Flanking the river stood many darkened entryways with hieroglyphs inscribed on door-less frames. Death soured his tongue as he licked his lips. A hand grabbed him from behind. Wesir spun, startled. A human-sized jackal stared down at him. His jet-black fur blended well with the dusky environment. He clutched an ankh in one hand while amber eyes threatened Wesir. “You must be Wesir. Welcome to the Duat or Afterlife…whatever you want to call it.” “Who are you?” Inpu chuckled revealing his sharp canine teeth. “Ruler of the Duat. Let me make one thing clear. I love my job, I worship it. I am not going to let you steal it.” “What are you speaking of?” “You’re dead and now a deity. Do I need to sound that out for you?” Wesir couldn’t believe his ears. “I’m…dead and a deity? How is that possible?” Inpu rolled his eyes, walking off. “Wait, I need answers,” Wesir called, chasing after him. Inpu chucked his ankh until it hit an ibis. “Djehuti, I made it clear he is not welcomed here.” Djehuti sighed. “Inpu, I believe this is your ankh.” “Djehuti?” Wesir stared at his former tutor. The two continued arguing. Fantasy began to cloud his reality. After all, Inpu didn’t want him here, he missed Aset, and was dead. His mind reeled. Impulsively, Wesir ran off. Adrenaline sparked inside him. Aset…my beloved… Wesir shot through dozens of dead people. Their bodies slowly walked on to the judgment hall. He pushed past them hoping to escape. Wesir tried to inhale but could no longer. Fear turned to terror. He needed to get-away. A gap came into view. Elbowing the deceased, Wesir ran through it expecting to touch the ground. Instead, he fell headfirst into the eerie Nile. A yelp escaped his lips before water smacked across him. Wesir tried to swim but the surface grew taller. As he sunk deeper, a thought flashed through his mind. * How could he do this to me, why? His fingernails scratched against the coffin lid until ripping off. Blood wet the tips of his fingers, smudging against the wood. Sutekh’s laugh faded as he drifted further away from shore. The memory of a sharp thud traversed his body. Air became dense. His heart pounded. Water filled the coffin until submerging his head. He held his breath, becoming lightheaded with every passing second. Unable to resist, he inhaled. The cold liquid filled his lungs as he convulsed four times. Finally, his heart slowed to a stop. * Inpu immediately yanked Wesir out. Water-soaked his linen bandages. “Number one rule in the Duat, never get too close to this Nile. It feeds on despair and can only be crossed by ferry.” “Thank you.” Inpu growled before going about his job. Djehuti helped Wesir to his feet. “Don’t worry about Inpu. He’s been benign for years.” Somehow that didn’t comfort Wesir. “In the meantime, Inpu shall be your mentor.” Inpu came running towards them. “No, no, no, no! I can’t be the stiff’s mentor!” Djehuti rubbed his beady eyes. “First of all, he has a ren. Secondly, you have no choice. I’m too busy teaching mortals so the responsibility lands on you.” “No, I can’t!” Raising his fist Inpu bellowed, “Curse you Wesir!” Djehuti rolled his eyes at the drama. Snapping his fingers, blasts of hieroglyphs surrounded him. In an instant, he vanished. Inpu glared at Wesir. “You are a curse. Djehuti wants me to teach you, fine. I’ll make your stay a thrill.” “Why do you talk differently than most deities?” Inpu walked off with him trailing behind. “How do you think deities are supposed to sound?” Wesir tried his best to keep pace with him. “Wise and powerful,” he skeptically answered. “Well, you’re correct. I am not like most deities. My speech results from various visits to the Human World.” A servant shoved a scroll in his face. Inpu signed it and kept walking. “Why would you go to the human world?” Wesir asked. Inpu finally halted. Wesir tumbled backward. “I needed a bobble-head.” “What is-” “You’ll find out in the future. For now, you wash Ammut. I hope you get devoured.” Inpu handed Wesir a linen cloth and patted him on the back. A creature with the head of a crocodile, leopard torso, and hippo rear roared while tugging at the chains wrapped around its short, stubby back legs and tall spotted fore paws. Wesir gulped as terror seized him. “Nice devourer, good boy,” he muttered. Ammut ceased roaring. Pools of brown eyes stared at him. “I am not a dog you fool; or a male.” Taken aback, Wesir’s mouth dropped open. “You can talk?” “Yes, good luck trying to wash me. I devour anyone who comes near.” Wesir stared at the whiplashes on Ammut’s yellow fur. “Are you a prisoner?” “Yes.” Tears balanced in her eyes. “For many years, Inpu has forced me to devour a person if they do not pass the weighing of their heart.” Wesir gazed at her with sympathy before kneeling. “I, too, was a prisoner. I always did what my father wanted. Even marry my sister. And now I am a prisoner of the dead.” “Come and wash me.” Ammut laid her head on his lap. Wesir nodded.
Tribulation and Reward
When Wesir finished cleaning Ammut, he played with her. Dirt no longer caked her yellow-spotted fur. “What are you doing?” Inpu demanded. Wesir ceased playing. The jackal had a confused expression on his face. “Having fun.” “F-f-fun?” Inpu sputtered. “Here in the Duat, there is no such thing as fun! I have maintained a well-balanced order and you’re ruining it!” Wesir stood up. “I understand what is going on here.” “You know nothing! I am the ruler of the Duat, not you!” “No, you’re just a dictator jackal!” Inpu’s face narrowed. His upper lip quivered in anger. As he bared his sharp, robust teeth, black nails lengthened, midnight fur encased his entire body while a threatening growl bellowed. On all four paws, the bony jackal lunged. Wesir ran. He kept waiting for his heart to beat but it didn’t. When a forest of turquoise trees approached, the overarching branches reached out sending more panic coursing through him. Their spaces between them tightened. He quickly wound his way through trying to find a decent path. The snarling growl of Inpu inched closer. Wesir finally turned. Sand crept in among the smaller stunted trees until mounds of sand dipped across a desert landscape. With no choice, he ran towards it. Large gates on the dunes opened and closed with a resounding thunder allowing a line of deceased inside ten at a time. Wesir gently pushed them aside, apologizing. Inpu, however, tore through the crowd knocking them down. The desert’s border! Hope-filled Wesir as the desert border, riddled with caverns, neared. He entered without hesitation. Sputtering fires lit up the strange area. Souls cried in agony. Ovals on the iron walls revealed tortured people. The condemned…. Great sadness washed over him. He wanted to help these poor souls. Suddenly, Inpu leaped through the cavern entrance. The chase began again. Wesir leaped over a stream until a chasm of fire blocked his path. Scalding flames roared within the boiling lake. The hot glow of orange surrounded him. With nowhere to run, Inpu laughed, slowly approaching. “I told Djehuti to not let you come here. Puny mortal, I should have cursed you as I did Sutekh!” Wesir backed up on the precipice. Inpu’s amber eyes glowed with delight while cornering him. “Now, prepare to meet the fires of the Duat!” He lunged forward ready to attack. On instinct, Wesir punched his muzzle. Inpu yowled in pain before skidding across the rocky ground. Linen wrapped around him. Inpu tried to tear through it but bandages slammed his mouth shut. Wesir stared at the bound jackal. Did I do that? Then he felt it. A little pump where his heart would be. His legs wobbled. Energy drained from him. Wesir collapsed on the hard rocky ground. * A great warrior swung an orange blade at his opponent. Shadows fell across the Nile darkening Kemet. Sutekh laughed menacingly. * Wesir awoke, facing the pink Duat clouds. Djehuti stood over him. “Inpu is sorry for trying to eat you. He has anger issues.” Wesir sat up dazed. “Why?” “A hard life,” Djehuti answered. “Everyone, even the condemned, saw how you stood up to Inpu. They would like for you to be their nisu.” “Won’t Inpu get angry?” Djehuti released an airy whistle. “He has finally realized what a poor ruler he’s been both in his previous life and this one.” Hesitation seized Wesir. Last time I became nisu, I chose Aset and broke my promise to Seth. Would now be different? “I accept.” The words rolled off his blackened tongue slowly. “Come with me.” Wesir followed Djehuti to a doorless room. Hieroglyphs swathed the iron walls and floor. A golden-green striped throne sat under a canopy of lotus stalks with cobra friezes. As Wesir walked the avenue, several creatures flanking both sides, bowed including Inpu and Ammut. He stared at the throne remembering how much trouble it caused. Rising, Inpu took Wesir’s open hand and placed an ankh in his palm. “You’ll need the symbol of life. After all, you are the embodiment of resurrection.” “I-I can’t.” “Wesir, take the throne. You’ll be a better ruler than I am now.” As confidence filled him, Wesir nodded. “Wait, there’s someone you should meet first,” Inpu said. “Ptah.” A man with deep blue skin glided towards Wesir. Ptah held a golden staff striped with blue while atop his head rested a skull cap. Wesir bowed in awe. A creator deity… Ptah faced Wesir with frail sapphire eyes. “Wesir of Abdjeu, do you wish to become Nisu of the Duat?” “Y-yes,” Wesir trembled. Ptah nodded. “Very well.” He raised his staff high above him before slamming it on the ground. Blue sparks wrapped around Wesir. Their delicate light swathed him in clean white linen from neck to toe, covering the grey rags he was wearing. A green striped crook and flail appeared in his hands. The white crown of Upper Egypt once again rested upon his head flanked by ostrich feathers curling at its upper ends. Wesir sat on the throne. Everyone bowed before their new king. A solar boat passed by on the Nile. Wesir turned his head. Ra sat in the center as Atum with the head of a ram. Sutekh held a dagger observing the area for any danger. His eyes locked onto Wesir. Surprise overcame them both. Sutekh’s eyes narrowed in anger. Wesir swallowed. Contentions for Kemet began.
I would like to express gratitude to Heavenly Father who gave me the gift of writing; My mom who always believed in me, Angela Perry who helped me take my short story to the next level, Renee Carver who was my first beta reader back in 2009, Liberty Anderson who drew pictures to accompany my story in 2010 which never saw the light of day again, lol :p, T.A. Barron who mentored me the best way he could, through his books, letters, and inspiring messages of never giving up, and finally Craig Anderson for being my surrogate father and beta reader.