A 1-post collection

Fanfic Time: Recycled Souls part 1

Warning: this is yet another unfinished fic. I kinda lost the umph to write more some time ago. It’s still lurking in the back of my head, so tallyho!

Disclaimer: They own it, I just play with it. I own this, so please don’t steal it.

Archiving: If you want it, email cat@internutter.org for a clean copy.

Info: Yet another bizarre idea that accosted me in the wee small hours. I got a million of ‘em. The names are made deliberately -er- 'familliar’… see if you can spot them all!

                          Recycled Souls

  Egypt. 3750 BC.

  They said he was Bast’s child. A God in his own right, and none could deny it. His legs were made like a cat’s, as were his eyes and ears. Almost every inch of flesh was covered with a fine fur, like the desert beasts. He even had talons and a tail.

  His name was Kirut, but few used it, and he was looking for something. It had taken him ages to escape his worshippers and priests, but he'd done it. A combination of trickery, deceit, planning and raw luck… but now he wandered the marketplace, disguised as one of the desert nomads.

  The heavy folds of cloth hid all his unusualness from casual passersby, and the stout staff helped him keep his balance, since he'd tied his traitorous tail to his waist.

  He had dreamed this, and now it was real.

  There was something here. Something he had to find. Something he'd been missing all his life. The Gods had given him the dream in order to guide him to this all-important goal.

  There, at the slave-market.

  Kirut made his way over to where merchants were bidding on a woman. She was not willing, nor subjugated - not yet - and fought with her captors.

  She was beautiful.

  Her skin was the brown of the traders who came by sea from the east, the land of the lotus, where silk came from[1], where little men in saffron robes sat on mountains to achieve knowledge from the Gods.

  These men, the ones surrounding him, would put her fire out. Brand her. Beat her. Break her.

  And that was plainly wrong.

  Kirut cleared his throat. “Whatever the bid is,” he announced, “I'll double it![2]”

  He bought her for thirty sacks of temple grain, and the same number of gold and lapis necklaces. She didn’t look all too pleased at her rescue, and cursed at him in her native tongue.

  He led her away from the market, heading straight for the temple, heart aglow. She - epithets aside - had difficulty keeping up, what with the chains about her person.

  His guard, his loyal, trusted guard, tried to stop him re-entering the sanctum.

  “It is forbidden,” one announced.

  Kirut simply unwound part of the burkha. “You forbid me?”

  The man fell to his knees. “My lord!”

  Kirut grinned, his cat’s teeth catching the light. “You serve me well in being vigilant, and you will be rewarded. In this life, *and* the next.”

  The man got back up. “Yes, my lord. Thank you, my lord. Er…” He looked at the girl, who tried to spit at him. “What–?”

  “A gift from the Gods,” Kirut explained. “Find someone who knows the languages of the Lotus-lands, and bring them to my chambers.”

  “At once, my lord!”

  Kirut lead the girl into the sanctum, and had servants bring her water and food. Food that could be eaten with the fingers, of course. She still had the look of one seeking to bury a knife into the nearest chest. And, as an extra precaution, a guard to hold her chains.

  She ate with only her right hand, a custom of some in the Lotus-lands, and kept her left delicately curled away from the food.

  Kirut tried as much conversation as he could, given the language gap. He tapped his chest. “Kirut.”

  “[Freak,]” she said.

  “No, no. Kirut. It’s my name. Call me Kirut.”

  Her left hand gestured. No doubt it was rude.

  Kirut laughed. “Yes. I know. You’re in a strange place and you never wanted to be sold, yes? But you have my vow… Once you know I won't harm you, and I know you won’t harm me - I will never treat you as a slave. You are my equal in my eyes.”

  “[By all the Gods and Goddesses, may your next words curse you until the stars vanish from the skies!]”

  “I will love you forever.”


  Sometimes, the Gods listen, because they love to play games with souls and fate - and irony. Watch the dance play out… across the breadth of time.


  She spat at him, too. She didn’t understand.

  Kirut looked to the floor. Women were magic. They bought forth life from their bellies, bled without dying or becoming sick. They had a link to the moon itself. All he had was the face and body of a cat.

  “My lord! I found a trader who speaks the Lotus Tongues!”

  Kurt smiled and leaped up, causing the man to cower. Oh. Yes. He did rather resemble a lion. “Please… accurately convey my words to the lady, and vice versa. If you can teach her the words of the Nile… I will give you your own weight in gold!”

  “…my *lord*…” the guard whispered.

  “This is worth more than my life,” said Kirut. “I must know her.”

  The weedy little man swallowed a little drool. “[Lady, do you know these words?]”

  The girl gasped. “[You speak my tongue! Help me, kinsman… I was taken in war and bought to this land against my will! Please… get me *OUT* of here!]”

  “[That is difficult, lady… the cat-man… he is a God, you see. He has bought you as a slave, an–]”

  “[A *slave*? Gods, no… please… I will not be branded like an animal.]”

  Kirut smiled. “This is good. You can talk to each other? And understand? What’s her name? Has she told you her name?”

  “[The cat-man wants to know your name, Lady.]”

  Fearing the burn of a mark, not knowing why a slave-owner should bother, she said, “[I am Amahde.]”

  Kirut purred with delight the moment he had her name. “Am - ah - de…” he said. “Amahde… Amahde… So beautiful…” He grinned at the guard. “Her name is Amahde…”

  “[What spirits have posessed him?]” said Amahde.

  “[I think…]” said the merchant, “[He may be in *love*…]”

  Amahde’s face fell. “[*That*?! In love?]”


  “[Most definitely,]” said the merchant.

  “[NO! I will not let that *thing* lie with me! I’ll sooner die!]”

  “What is it?” asked Kirut. “What is the matter?”

  “The lady Amahde believes you might rape her, my lord.”

  “What? Never! Explain to her, please. Tell her… I will never touch her in any way that she does not wish to be touched.”

  “[The cat-man says he will not, if you do not want him to.]”

  “[Good. I don’t even want to be near it.]”

  “[Him, my lady. He is definitely male.]”

  “Tell her that I will never harm her, and that she has the freedom of the sanctum.”

  “My lord, is that wise?”

  “She has as much freedom as I,” said Kirut. “She has the right, I know it.”

  “[What did he say?]”

  “[He says - you are as free as he is, lady Amahde… He says he will never hurt you.]”

  “[What of his guards?]”

  “My lady wants to know if the guards will hurt her.”

  “They will try not to,” said Kirut. “I know from personal experience that - they can sometimes harm by accident.” He knew, because the man who’d erroneously stabbed him had then cut off his own hand. Kirut kept him on as a brusher - someone who helped him groom his fur - and confidante. “And I don’t want her to come to harm.”

  “[The guards will stop you leaving, Lady. They may not want to, but they might hurt you.]”

  “[Then I am a prisoner?]”

  “[As much as he is, Lady.]”

  “Ask her if she plans to run or hurt anyone,” said Kirut.

  “[He wants to know if you want to escape or hurt people.]”

  “[Of course I want out of here,]” said Amahde. “[But I’ll wait and make a plan.]”

  “She says she will stay and see what occurs, my lord.”

  “Excellent,” Kirut smiled. He walked over to her and carefully withdrew the pins that held her shackles tight. “Amahde… You may have anything you wish within these chambers.”

  {Pom! Pom! Pom!}

  “My lord, the priests seek your divinations…”

  Kirut groaned. “I’ll be with them soon. Give me time to prepare.” He handed the shackles to the guard. “Take those away,” he ordered, then backed out of the room. “My apologies, my lady Amahde… Duty.”


  Amahde rubbed her wrists and ankles and watched him go. “What did he say?”

  “He’s true to his word, Lady,” said the merchant translator. “You have the freedom of the sanctum. He has duties to attend to, and you may help yourself to anything you desire. That’s - all.”

  “Duties…” said Amahde. “What *is* he?”

  “A sort of a God, Lady,” said the merchant. “I’ve been here before and visited the temple, here. He sits in judgement, accepts tribute, and sometimes - people.”


  “They give themselves - or their children - to the temple, Lady. They see it as a sort of payment for favours in the next life.”

  “They think they can *pay* for Karma?”

  “No, Lady. They believe they have one life, and afterwards, go into another one forever. There, they live amongst their Gods in a paradise.”

  “No other lives?”

  “Only two.”

  “How limited,” said Amahde. “No wonder they worry about it, so much." Another thought occurred to her. "This cat-man… he has power over the next world?”

  “They say he has visions… that’s all I know.”

  “And how much freedom does he have?”

  “He only sees the sun from inside the gardens, or when he’s bought out for festivals.”

  “Then we are *both* slaves of this building…”

  “You don’t know, Lady… there may be perks…”

  “What perks can there be,” asked Amahde, “in complete *captivity*?”


  The representative of the Goddess Bast sat in full glory on the throne. Some whispered that the Goddess had blessed a childless family with her very own son.

  It was a limited blessing, since that child was quickly given to the very temple that the boon had come from. He accepted offerings with grace and praise, dispensing them to the temple as logic saw fit. He sat in judgement, mostly over water rites, but sometimes… there were other matters.

  Bast was, after all, a fertility goddess.

  “She refuses to lie with me,” said the man. His name was Laniss. “She kicks and struggles and bites like a wild animal! No man can hold her.”

  “Yet you appear to have the girl in chains,” said the young God.

  “She’s *mine*. I bought her to be my *wife*. She belongs to me and she should do as I *say*.” Then, Laniss said exactly the wrong thing. “She's only a woman.”

  The young God descended from his throne, looking exactly like a statue coming to life.

  Laniss swallowed.

  “What’s your name, child?” he asked the chain-bound girl.

  “Kiteh,” she answered.

  “And your age?”


  The Godling straightened and glared at Laniss. “Barely old enough for *blood*,” he said. “From whom did you buy her?”

  “Her -uh- her parents?”

  “They must have been poor to sell such a jewel… Hear me now, man. There is no such *thing* as 'only a woman’, and to teach you such, you must labour *as* a woman until such time as this - *child’s* moon blood flows twice. Until then, she will enjoy the safety of the temple. After your sentence is over, you may attempt to *convince* her to wed you.”

  Laniss stood and boggled. “Buh… buh… buuuhhh…”

  The Godling returned to his seat. “So let it be law.”

  Temple attendants stripped Laniss’ raiment from him and replaced it with a woman’s shift. Burly guards held his arms while more attendants shaved off his beard.

  Still more freed Kiteh from her chains, yet she still knelt to worship the living God.

  The next case stepped forward whilst the chaos of the last was still being swept away. A blushing beauty.

  “My Lord… bless me. I have been married three years and there is no child in our home.” Her name was Tabehta.

  “What have you tried?”

  “My lord?”

  “Children must be made, woman. Know you not that?”

  “My mother died when I was but little, my lord… I know nothing of what you speak.”

  “You’ve not lain with your man?”

  The supplicant went pale. “Lain - with?”

  The young God sighed and pinched the bridge of his feline nose. "Ngh… Find you a priestess of the temple, one who knows much of men, and ask *her* everything she knows of making life. Then go to your husband and *share* that knowledge. Physically. If you beget no child after *that*, then send here for physicians.“

  Tabehta looked vaguely dissapointed. "Thank you, my lord.”

  The God smiled on one side of his face. “Thought you’d get a personal 'blessing’, child? I’m not like that. If that’s all, I–” He stood, then fell as if he’d been hit by an invisible force.

  Attendants pulled him upright, fanned him, laid wet cloths across his temple… and mopped blood from his nose and mouth. Some bought pillows, one bought a soft mat. They laid him down and held his twitching limbs. One held a wedge of leather between his teeth.

  It was over as suddenly as it started.

  Tabehta had fled.

  Kiteh remained. “What happened?”

  “The Gods visited him,” said an attendant, “with a vision of the future.”

  “What did you see, lord?”

  “Mountains… Stone mountains by the nile… temples in ruin… a great city… in dirty clouds… There was hardly any green.”

  “You should rest, lord. Perhaps the gardens?”

  “Please…” he almost looked - weak. Not like a God at all. “I like the green.”


  Amahde explored the temple. It was a spacious cage. Large rooms with every comfort. Food on demand. They even let her into the kitchens. There were clean clothes and scented baths, and servants willing to give her whatever she pointed at.

  And there was a garden, too.

  She could tell it was made for the comfort of the cat-man, an imitation of wilderness surrounded by walls. Discrete musicians played soft tones, hidden in alcoves.

  And here, the deformed 'God’ slept.

  Amahde crept up to him, watching him breathe. He was neither lion nor man, caught somewhere in between. Yet, asleep, he looked almost like a child. A boy her own age.

  His eyes flickered open, and he smiled. “Amahde…”

  She recoiled, and sat heavily on a stool supplied by some faceless lackey.

  “[I scare you, don’t I?]”

  Amahde shook her head. “I don’t understand…”

  He sighed and slumped into his pillows. “[And I too tired to yell for your translator… Let’s try something else.]” He took up a fig, "[Fig,]“ and offered it to her.

  Amahde refused to touch him, or the food tainted by his flesh.

  ”[No?]“ He ate it. He picked up a pear. ”[Pear.]“

  "What *are* you doing? Are you *mad*?”

  “[Hmn… That’s too much for one fruit…]” he took a bite, then proceeded to talk with his mouth full. “[I wish I had the power to make you understand… but I only have visions that split my head apart. I can’t give insight… I can’t give knowledge…]” He took another bite, and appeared to just notice the golden adornments on his body. He shed them as if they were annoying, tossing them absently at her feet. "[There. Everything of mine is yours. For all it’s worth. None of it can bridge the gulf between us.]“ He was weeping. ”[Only one day, and I love you so much it hurts… I just wish I could understand you - or you understand me.]“

  The merchant, who went by the name of Pitra, appeared, escorted by an attendant.

  ”[There you are. You’ll have to teach me the Lotus Tongue,]“ he yawned. ”[Later in the day…]“

  ”[As you wish,]“ said Pitra. ”[What do you want of me now, lord?]“

  ”[I want to know… what she thinks of my lovely prison.]“

  When she was asked, Amahde told him in no uncertain terms. The air was hot and the buildings were stuffy and the food was nothing like what she was used to and the water tasted funny…

  And the cat-man was watching *her*. Listening to *her*. Most people watched the translator and not the speaker, but this creature had his full attention on her.

  "You are the strangest creature I ever met,” she announced.

  The cat-man took it as a compliment. “[Tell her my name is Kirut.]”

  “His name is Kirut, lady.”

  “Ugh,” Amahde made a face.

  The cat-man laughed. “[Now *that* needed no translation.]” He grinned. "[I find you refreshingly honest, Amahde. Stay with me? I’d just like to have - someone to watch over me… when I sleep…]“

  Pitra dutifully translated his every word.

  "I’d sooner cuddle a civet-cat.”

  “[As you will,]” the cat-man stood, somewhat wearily, and began to take his leave. “[Please, enjoy the garden. I will rest elsewhere.]”

  Amahde watched him go. “He’s very strange.”

  “Yes, my lady, he is.”


  “My lord? I thought you’d be in the gardens…”

  Kirut flopped onto his bed. “The woman I love is in them,” said the boy. “And she hates me.”

  Nogal exchanged the artificial hand on his arm for the brush, and began soothing the boy. “Nobody who lives on the Nile could hate you, my lord. Who is this lady?”

  “Amahde… She was being sold in the markets. I saved her from slavery. I don’t think - she understands.”

  “A foreigner?”

  Kirut nodded. “From the lands of the Lotus.” He sighed. “Neither of us can even understand the other.”

  Nogal barked a brief laugh as he brushed the child-god’s fur. “Not much different from any other relationship. Even when they speak the same tongue, women are a mystery.”

  “I want her to like me, Nogal. I want her to like me like I like her… and I don’t know how.”

  “Give her time, lord. Give her time. She’ll see the truth soon enough. Women can look right *through* men and know their hearts.”

  “Speaking of which, how *is* your lady wife?”

  “Still giving me hell about my hand, lord. She fears each new child will be born without one, too. Despite this will be the third since– the mistake.”

  “Tell her that if it is, then I’ll pay for its upbringing myself.”

  “My lord!”

  “I did the running away, Nogal…” Kirut yawned. “I’m the cause of the misfortune. It’s only fair that I pay for it.”

  Nogal kept brushing, even though he knew the boy was falling asleep. He’d harmed the Godling once, at the cost of his hand, and he felt like he should personally see to it that Bast’s son never be harmed again, not even by love.

  The steady thrum of his purr began to fill the air.

  Poor child.

  Nogal sat, and watched over him while he slept.


  Amahde got tired of the gardens and explored the prison once more. It was hot, and moving at least created a little breeze to cool the brow. She’d have to introduce the concept of fans to these mud-dwelling primitives.

  Then she found him.

  He’d fallen asleep in possibly the hottest room in this Gods-forsaken place, purring… while a man with a wooden hand sat and watched.

  The man looked up at her. “Amahde?”

  Amahde nodded.

  So did he.

  Pitra, trailing in her shadow, peeked in. “[Why does he sleep here?]”

  “[The lady was in the garden,]” said the man.

  “What was that about?” asked Amahde.

  “He sacrificed his comfort for yours, lady,” said Pitra. “Think on that.”

  “Yes… There *were* some reeds in that garden…” Amahde turned tail and almost ran back to the gardens.


  Kirut stumbled sleepily along, guided by some higher-order priests. His mind was fogged by sleep and heat. “Whuzzit?”

  “That foreign girl, my lord. She’s been touched by the sun[3]… Conducting strange rituals in the garden.”

  Kirut rubbed his eyes. “…’s too hot…”

  “Just a little further, lord,” soothed Nogal. “It’s cooler in the garden.”

  There, on the floor, was Amahde. Skirts hiked up so she could use her feet to wrestle with the reeds. Several temple girls - including Kiteh - were engaged as living clamps, holding the reeds in place where Amahde could not.

  Kirut sat and stared, watching her. “She’s working,” he slurred. "Doesn’t she know she doesn’t have to?“

  "Sit, my lord,” said Nogal. “Here. In the shade.”

  “How can he be touched by the sun?” asked a minor adept. “He’s been in the shade…”

  “Heat effects our lord, too,” Nogal touched Kirut’s brow with a damp cloth. “When he gets hot - he gets sick.”

  Kirut muzzily came back into focus. “What’s she making?” he wondered. "A plate?“

  It looked like a plate, with a long handle… except it was made of reeds - and a quarter the size of an Elephant’s ear. Whatever it was, only Amahde knew what she was doing, and her beautiful fingers flew.

  Kirut was entranced.


  Amahde finished the final twist, clipping the extra reeds short with a pair of shears. Only then did she realise the reeds had cut her, and the attending girls swarmed about her to ease her small wounds with balms and small bandages.

  Kiteh picked up the fan and puzzled at its purpose. The handle was too long to carry it as a tray. It was too short to be a staff.

  Amahde shook her head and showed her, creating a breeze. "Like this," she said. "Up and down. See?”

  The gasps and murmurs of appreciation needed little translation.

  Amahde addressed the cat-man. “Now we are even.”

  The cat-man looked almost hypnotized. His sigh of relief was almost a moan of pleasure.

  Kiteh smiled and waved the fan at him. She was crying. “[I finally serve him well! I serve him *well*!]”

  Later investigation revealed that Kiteh was slightly accident-prone, and had not learned from her mother anything that pertained to the hearth. She’d almost started a fire whilst washing *tubers*.

  Frankly, the child was a disaster, but she latched on to this one thing she could do. She even kept the fan with her while she slept. Amahde had found that out for herself one evening, as she tested the guards’ readiness.

  The guards were always ready. They may have viewed the God’s ability to fetch her as a small miracle, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t step up their measures to keep him in.

  She’d have to wait until he was 'taken out’. That would be her chance.


  “Now,” said Pitra. “Yesterday’s lesson?”

  “[Pear,]” said the Godling, pointing out the fruit. “[Date. Grape. Water.] Uh…” His taloned hand hovered over the meat. He sampled a little. “[Duck?]”

  “Yes, lord. That’s exactly right.”

  “At least I can offer her food.”

  “Now, what are they in?”

  “Ah… [Plate. Bowl. Cup.]” He pointed out each. “And they’re on [table], yes?”


  “I want to learn a phrase.”

  “My lord, it’s too early.”

  “I *need* to learn a phrase. Please? I need to tell her how I feel.”

  Pitra sighed. “My lord, she doesn’t like you.”

  “I know. I just want to tell her.”

  Pitra rubbed his head, wincing. “What do you need to say?”


  “You are more beautiful than the rising sun.”

  Amahde turned, agape at hearing her language from the cat-man’s mouth. He was carrying a large platter, upon which were dishes made of gold.

  The girl Kiteh was trailing behind him, as she always was, with the first fan. Amahde suspected she’d carry the damned thing into her afterlife.

  “What do *you* want?” she asked the animal-God.

  “Uh. I bring… food. Clean food. Uh. Pitra - teach… girls to make," he knelt to place the platter before her.

  A God. Kneeling at her feet. Amahde didn’t know whether to be stunned or sickened. Her grandmother had forseen this.

  "No man touch,” said the cat-man. “You eat?”

  That first phrase, the one he’d spoken so eloquently, had been learned by rote. These broken words were the ones he understood.

  She looked into his tawny eyes, and saw the human expression of worried love. Amahde had not eaten much because the food was strange and frequently cooked with the blood in it[4]. Now, he bought her foodstuffs prepared for her. Untouched by the hands of men.

  And, specifically, untouched by *him*.

  Amahde reached out and tried a piece. It wasn’t quite the taste of home, but it was close enough.


  Amahde nodded, trying the different dishes. Savouring the flavour. "Very good. Your servants did well.“

  The cat-man laughed. An unnerving sound for one who looked like an animal. "You eat good. You eat well. You are more beautiful than the rising sun.”

  Amahde tried not to roll her eyes. She’d be hearing that phrase a lot, now. In a way, he was almost clownish, capering about and stumbling over words in an effort to make her smile. Quite foolish.

  She could not, after all, permit herself to be soiled by the touch such a freak. She’d made that clear to Pitra, who in turn explained it - in his own way - to the cat-man.

  Judging from the way he and the other men were acting, Pitra had told them that she preferred not to be touched at all.

  It was going to be lonely.

  “If you bought me,” she asked, “why did you not brand me as your chattel?”

  “You are more beautiful than the rising sun.”

  Hardly an answer. Or maybe it was.


  It became a pattern. A dance. The Godling would rise with the sun and perform a morning ritual of cleansing, then break his fast in the rooms Amahde had claimed as her own, watching over her while she still slept. If she knew about such surveillance, she gave no hint, and none told her, for fear that she’d react.

  Their lord was the happiest in the mornings.

  When breakfast was done, attendants would whisk him away for his time in the temple. Judge, intermediary for the Goddess, and occasional visionary. He accepted praise, worship, tithes and people with equal grace.

  And everywhere he went, the girl Kiteh followed. She rose before the sun so she’d be prepared to fan her God at the least sign of heat or discomfort. Adoration was plain in her eyes to anyone who looked.

  But she was a child, and Kirut would not touch her as if she were a woman.

  In the heat of the day, Kirut would lie in the cool of the gardens, fanned by his attendant, and munching idly on the odd piece of fruit. If Amahde chose to be there, Kirut’s servants would prepare a miniature banquet for her, and the two would attempt conversation.

  In the evenings, Kirut learned the Lotus-tongue, and made further clumsy attempts to woo Amahde.

  But Amahde remained untouched.


  It was almost time for the river blessing festival. Kirut couldn't stop smiling. One of the few times he was actually allowed outside of the temple. He loved it. He loved outside.

  There were times, times like this, where he wished the river blessing could last forever. He wanted to spend as much time as he could under the open sky.

  And he was doing really well at the Lotus-tongue. Such a pity Amahde showed no desire to learn the language of the nile. In the end, it didn’t matter. As long as they could understand each other, all would be well.

  Amahde - beautiful, lively Amahde - came to look in on him as he was brushing his fur.

  Kirut grinned. “[You outshine the day, Amahde.]”

  Amahde rolled her eyes at him. “[The temple is like an ant-hill… Why all the preparations?]”

  “[River blessing day tomorrow!]” Kirut grinned. “[We go *out*. On river.]”

  Amahde’s lovely face fell open with surprise. “[*We* go out?]”

  “[Yes, yes! I mean it when I say you have my freedom.]”


  Amahde was stunned. She’d been waiting a chance like this and he just *trusted* her to stay with him. He must have known she’d easily leap from the boat or off the bridge and swim as fast as she could to a friendly shore.

  And it was happening *tomorrow*.

  “Then I must prepare, too,” she said.

  “You will make yourself so beautiful, you will stop my heart.”

  “You’re getting better every day,” Amahde told him. But not good enough to touch.

  “You inspire me to endeavour,” he said. “All I want is for you understand - I belong to you.”

  Amahde left then. She had to. The cat-man disgusted her and - ashamed though she was to admit it - she was starting to feel guilty about feeling disgusted by him.

  Amahde went through the colourful garments she owned, thanks to his generosity, and carefully selected the weaves that would give her the least trouble once waterlogged.

  Tomorrow she was going to be free.


  From the Scroll of the Living God, currently preserved at the Cairo national museum:

  The nation gathered unto the waters as his barge set sail for his blessing. And they threw flowers onto the waters and sang him songs, and they were joyous - for this year the Living God, son of Bast, had found a maiden pleasing to his eye. And she rode beside him on the water.

  And lo, the Living God stretched forth his staff over the water, and the waters began to rise.

  And the maiden, blessed by the Living God’s love, fell into the water and swam for the bank of the dead. And the serpents[5] that dwelleth there came to feast upon her flesh.

  And the Living God so loved her, that he threw himself into the waters, to do battle with the beasts. Mighty were his arms and strong was his valour, and the lady was pulled from the water. She was wounded, but she was alive.

  Yet there was a mighty wail among the people, for the Living God had himself suffered a mortal wound…


  With his eyes closed, at rest, he looked like a boy. Just a boy her own age. His wounds had been bathed and dressed, just like hers, but he hadn’t woken up since his guard pulled him out of the water.

  They’d speared four crocodiles to get him, and a feast was prepared of the lizard’s meat.

  A special priestess had placed a sliver of meat on the Godling's tongue.

  He did not eat.

  He hardly breathed.

  Servants came and went in absolute silence. The only sounds in the room were the harshly unquiet sobs of the fan-girl Kiteh.

  Amahde could not allow herself to leave. This was her mess. She had to think of a way to cure it, but all she could do was stare and weep.


  He must have known the risks. He must have known that she would still not like him even *if* his rescue was successful. And there was a higher chance they both could have been buried in a crocodile[6] and doomed to wander the spirit world forever, since they passed into it without any sort of blessing.

  He risked his health, his life and his *soul* for her. Just to have her near.

  And now, he wouldn’t wake.

  Amahde watched over him. It was all she could do.


  Nogal was a soldier, and he knew the smell of death. That was how he knew, even before the physician came from the room, that Kirut and his beloved were dead.

  He drew his sword. “If you helped them into the next life, butcher…”

  The man looked as if he’d seen demons come to life. “I did everything I could, guardsman. Everything in my power. The woman’s leg was infected. The rot spread through her entire body before she fell into a swoon like my Lord.” Tears fell, smearing the physician’s face with kohl[7]. “Before she did, she reached over to him and grasped his hand and spoke to him. The translator told me she said, 'your destiny and mine are together. We have forever to try again.’ Then she closed her eyes… and they died at the same moment. I’ve never seen the like.”

  Nogal took a deep breath and let loose a wail of pure anguish. A wail that swept across the sanctum, across the temple, and into the streets. Each ear that heard it took it as a sign that the Child-God of Bast was dead, and howled out their own grief into the night.

  And all of Egypt mourned.


  The cycle begins… but does not end. Two souls are reborn. In their first new life, a very many things are similar - but some things *must*, for the sake of learning, change.