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Since the beginning of time, there were kingdoms defined the history of humanity; one of the most beautiful civilizations was found in the sands of Egypt.
Then there was a Pharaoh named Akmenrah who ruled the upper and lower regions of Egypt. Nobles and kings of the realm gave respect to him. As a great ruler of Egypt, he imposed bondage as an agreement of loyalty. To honor it, the royal families must provide one of their daughters to be one of his concubines. Therefore a harem was formed as a bond, not only the women would reproduce, but it was also a sign of loyalty of their families to the Pharaoh. Soon the great Akhmenrah became obsessed with gold and treasures. He invaded lands, defeated kingdoms until his empire grew to be more powerful. When he decided to retire, he was already fifty years old. Pharaoh Akmenrah married the beautiful Princess of Asmatala; named Meshkenet. Her eyes were dark as twilight and she had a soothing voice that was so pleasant to hear. At the age of sixteen years old, Egypt had a Queen.
Yet, being powerful was not enough, the mighty Pharaoh needed a son to the throne, but his seeds had failed to blossom inside the Queen’s womb. Therefore the kingdoms within the rule of Akhmenrah presented their daughters to the Pharaoh. There was a chosen concubine from the land of Samaria ruled by King Kesekth who had a daughter named Femi, an Egyptian word which means, to love. Princess Femi embodied light hazel eyes, rosy cheeks, soft skin, and chestnut-colored hair. Whenever the sun’s rays strike on it, the color of her hair became radiant. She had a distinct feature that always in her beauty. Princess Femi bore a daughter from the Pharaoh. She named her Nefertari, which means beautiful in an Egyptian word. Nefertari surpassed the beauty of her mother, endowed with silky black hair and porcelain skin. Slender and tall like her father, and her eyes were light brown like the sunrise.
Ancient Egypt consisted of gods and goddesses. Each one of them possessed unique powers and symbols. One of them was Horus, the god of the sky and the god of vengeance. He was a relevant divinity of Egyptian gods, he portrayed a hawk-headed man. Eagle and falcon were his symbols. A deity chose to be served by Nefertari.
Femi preferred the deity named Thoth, the god of wisdom. Also known as Djehuty, Tahuti or Tehuti. He was the god of writing, knowledge, speaking, inventions, and moon. Femi’s headdress bore a symbol of a lunar disk or a crescent, and a dog-headed baboon. All these forms symbolized the attributes of Thoth.
It was a scorching afternoon in the whole kingdom, the heat from the desert permeated through the sands. Not even a wisp of cloud to the sky could not soften the unblinking rays of the sun. The desert animals took shelter in the shadows of the pillars. The air was thick and hazy. Hot temperature from the sun passed through the skins of those waiting for the great Pharaoh. The elites surrounded by slaves who were fanning and holding umbrellas provided them comfort from the unforgiving heat.
Rigid discipline and determination against the hot weather made the troops stood patiently in the desert, together with majestic chariots lined in a row. A thousand soldiers marched forward while the royal families watched them from their seats. The Queen observed them from afar. Her head was adorned with a golden headdress with golden bracelets on her wrists and her white dress rendered exquisite linen, ornamented with beads that complimented her slender figure. Queen Meshkenet, at last, the seeds of Pharaoh grew inside her womb and bore an heir for the throne. She held her one-year-old son on her lap as they waited for the ceremonial parade to start.
A gust of wind passed through the crowd as if giving a signal to begin the ceremony, the soldiers finally blew the trumpets. Followed by the hands of the hundred slaves pounding rigorously against the drums, allowing the thunderous rumble pulsate through the sands. Along with the arena, a massive shrine stood in two pillars with torches on each side. Giant statues of the Gods surrounded the temple with the group of priests kneeling at the altar.
Hamar, the high priest from Thebes, came out from the temple. His body displayed a tunic embodied in gold; he wore gilded jewelry as a symbol of the Gods. Stretching his hand to the sky, he gazed at the heavens with his kohl painted eyes and spoke in a loud, clear voice. “People of Egypt. The gods have favored us on this day. We are here to witness the shower of blessings and fulfill the wishes coming from the living God. The great Akmenrah!” His voice resounded with pride, he lowered his head to pay respects to the statues.
The booming sound from the drums continued across the desert, the slaves beating endlessly in a synchronized rhythm, it was loud and thunderous yet it had a distinct crescendo of subtlety and tone. The Pharaoh arrived at the temple. The place slowly became quiet after the priest prayed and stopped the slaves from beating the drums. Everyone bowed their heads to the great ruler of Egypt. Akhmenrah carried his symbols on his chest. The crook and flail, the power used by Pharaoh. It was an attribute of the god named Osiris until it became the emblem of Pharaonic authority. The shepherd’s crook stood for kingship and the flail for the fertility of the land. Pharaoh Akhmenra was arrayed in beautiful linen aprons or kilts, known as a shendyt. It displayed his power, prestige, and association with the gods. The kilts were covered in exotic accordion pleating and wrapped counterclockwise around the Pharaoh’s body. On his feet, he wore an ornamented sandals made of feathers.
The people knelt to pay tribute to him. The great Pharaoh bore a stern expression in his angular face, his hands in position across his chest as he grasped the symbols of power. He commenced to speak, his voice traveled in the desert, “The Pharaoh came to you, the male God of the second cycle of the two lands, God who rules with the arm, Amun-Ra, master of the two feathers. Great by the crown upon his head, King of the Gods who is inside Karnak, Amun who rules more than all the Gods. They do not take their backs from you in their names of the Gods.” His tone reverberated across the temple; he bowed his head, adorned with a blue crown called Khepresh. Draped in a sapphire cloth of leather headdress and decorated with bronze and gold disc. The azure top was a symbol in battles and ceremonial occasions.
“I, the living God. The messenger of the gods. I declare this day to honor our great god, Ra, the sun god. I will decree the offerings to begin...this is your Pharaoh. Heed my voice, follow my message, honor the gods and let us all be gracious of the glory to the sun. I, the pharaoh bestows the beginning of this day,” The sunlight illuminated his craggy face, wrinkles bored intensely into his skin as he spoke to the crowd with his powerful words. He lifted his arms towards the sky; the slaves pounded the drums; combined by the trumpets echoing across the sands. Under the heat that spread over the place, the spectacle of blood was about to start. Every beat and rumble of the drums conceived a throbbing pain in the heart of the young princess. Nefertari turned her eyes away from the arena but Femi sensed her discomfort. The mother held her daughter’s chin and raised to meet her eyes. “What bother’s you, my child?”
Nefertari bored her eyes at her mother, the corner of her eye crinkled when she forced a smile. “Mother, the sight gave tears to my heart. Why should I behold the fight? I’m your only daughter witnessing the blood be spilled. My other siblings were inside the palace; they were dancing and singing to please the gods,” she pleaded in a soft voice. Femi clutched her hand to ease her fear.
A brisk wind suddenly swept the desert; allowing the sands to twirl within the air. It looked like smoke, blurring the view. Nevertheless, an enthralling image within swirling sands began to appear. Chariots drove by brave Egyptian generals vibrated on the ground. Thundering hooves from the horses signaled danger, the rhythmic pulsation from the ground had conveyed a sheer terror. With the stallions galloping around the field, their manes strode in graceful movement, and the soldiers pulled the reins to stop on their feet. It was a sight to behold from the grim nature of the special event.
Three men and a woman were brought at the arena. A black cloth hid their faces; it resembled a veil for the bride instead of white; the color portrayed the symbol of death. The men had been accused of robbery, rape, murder and the woman was guilty of adultery. They stood at the center of the desert, with the blaring sun to guide their impending death.
The priests chanted a prayer in a monotonous unison. “Hail to thee, Amun-Ra, Lord of the thrones of the earth, the oldest existence, ancient of heaven, support of all things. Chief of the gods, lord of truth; father to the gods, maker of men and beasts and herbs; maker of all things above and below; Deliverer of the sufferer and oppressed, judging the poor; Lord of wisdom, lord of mercy; most loving, opener of every eye, source of joy, in whose goodness the gods rejoice, thou whose name hidden. Hail to thee from all creatures from every land, from the height of heaven, from the depth below the sea. The spirits thou hast made extol thee, saying, welcome to thee, father of the fathers of the gods; we worship thy spirit, which is in us.” The priest bowed their head with their eyes closed, then smoke coming out from the brimstone emanated a sulfuric aroma. It passed to their senses, a silent reply from the divinity.
The charioteers advanced towards the offenders. They carried a long whip; lashing at lightning speed. “Ahhh!!” A man darted from the ruthless straps, but the horse’s hooves trampled him. A spear ruthlessly pierced the woman on the spine; her blood sprinkled on the sand. Another offender attempted to survive, he runs with his life, but the other soldier threw another spear, it flew straight to his direction, made its way like a rocketship with tremendous speed, puncturing his spleen. “Hah!” The man screamed in pain and stumbled in the sands. Then one soldier slashed the sword on the thigh, breaking his bone as he swung his sword and it sounded like a broken twig torn in half.
“AAHHHHHH!” A wailing cry from the helpless criminal resonated. Their blood spurted like a fountain, showering across the sand. The wheels of the carriage developed a sheer horror on the young princess’s skin. Nefertari shuddered from the echoes, she stared with an open mouth, uncertain whether to breath or scream.
Femi grasped her daughter’s cheeks. She smiled between the shrieking agony lulling in their ears. “Look into my eyes, listen to my voice.” She whispered a lullaby to the young princess. “Don’t look...don’t turn.” Femi squeezed Nefertari’s hand as she sings then she guided her daughter to turn her eyes in front and watched the horrors unfold. Nefertari blinked, but she managed to lock her sight.
The humidity from the wind brushed their faces; whispering air danced within the sand. A gush of blood trickled from the whip. Then a soldier riding on a horse galloped his way, the edge of his sword darted in the air; with one swift it landed a vigorous blow to the captive’s neck. Scarlet blood oozed down on the blade; a lifeless head soared into the sky. Nefertari turned away her gaze and closed her eyes with a terrifying sensation coming from her skin as if a thousand spiders crawling all over her body. She imagined herself losing her head when she saw it flying through the air. It made her shiver down to her neck; the scene had tortured every bit of her flesh.
Femi squeezed her daughter’s cold and clammy hand then continued to sing. “Fair child hear your mother’s voice and take her love to your heart.”
“AMUN RA!!” The woman cried in pure despair, crawling on the sand with wounded limbs.
“HAVE MERCY ON US!!” a desperate outcry resounded from the weeping prisoners.
Nefertari turned her face forward and opened her eyes. She saw the woman begged for her life in the midst of scorching sun. The woman knelt on the sand and screamed for mercy, but the whip answered her pleas.
“Don’t be scared, my fair child,” Femi sang in a hushed voice.
The chariots were fast approaching; the wheels rumbled on the ground; accompanied by the screams of a woman from a raging whip.
Nefertari watched the scourge of violence unravel. She could only clasp her mother’s hand, sighed, and fixed her eyes on the bloody scene.
“I’ll be here to wipe your fears,” Femi spoke the words in harmonious words to quell the young girl’s fear.
The roaring wheels from the carriage thundered again on the sand. “Don’t look...don’t cry.” Femi murmured and kissed her forehead. The wailing pleas from the prisoners reverberated across the desert. The fear and apprehension of the young princess gradually lessened.
At last, the gruesome carnage finally ended, only two remained, a man and a woman. Their skins were falling out from their limbs.
High priest Hamar rose from his seat, conveyed in a loud, deep voice, “The gods will take our gracious gifts. No one will be spared. Oh, gods from the heavens above heed our words.” He looked up to heavens and lifted his hands as a tribute to the gods.
To end the sacrifice, one among the royal families must kill the life of the survivors. The smoke from the burning remains of the vulture would decide for the next royalty to kill. The fume of sulfur ascended to the air, rushing to the statue of the goddess named Sekhmet. To the deity which the smoke lingered, the person who served the god would be the one to kill.
Femi felt a slight discomfort; her throat went dry. It occurred to her that Princess Nefertari must learn to kill, and her hands would someday shed more blood. The realization made Femi gripped the arm of the chair and breathed deeply.
Princess Hamitha went to the temple, one of the daughters of Pharaoh. She was fifteen years old, three years older than Princess Nefertari. Hamitha slipped on the golden mask of a lioness on her face. Sekhmet was the goddess of war, and it served as a symbol. An old priest bowed his head, and he asked her to choose a weapon. The princess gladly picked the arrow.
Princess Hamitha must take the life of the prisoners. She checked the target, prepared the shaft and scrutinized the distance. Hamitha’s arms were adorned with beaded jewels; she was a proud descendant from the tribe of Thebes. She raised the arrow to the heavens, but she abruptly turned the weapon towards Femi. Her recklessness revolted a shock from the crowd.
The Queen stood from her seat, the Pharaoh creased his forehead. Hamitha shifted the arrow to the captive and released the bow. It hit right through the chest of the struggling prisoner. She took another arrow and killed the remaining one. The hands of the hundred slaves drowned the tension by filling the air with the thunder from their drums.
The incense of the sulfur engulfed the air, together with the blaring sun that never ceased to warm the sands of Egypt. Princess Hamitha discarded her mask; leaving a venomous smile to Femi.
Nefertari saw the disrespectful manner of her sister. A foreign feeling started to grow within her heart, hatred for her sister. The young princess breathed, she finally learned the real world inside the walls of the palace and quietly vowed to protect her mother. Her fear had faded from the bloodshed, replaced by a heart filled with courage.
As punishment for her actions, the Queen prohibited Hamitha from attending the royal court for a month.
As time went by, Nefertari grew to be more beautiful; she became the favorite of Pharaoh and the Queen. She was the envy among her sisters and the object of the desires of her brothers. The years changed the Pharaoh; his health had weakened, and his body was already frail. The heir to the throne, Prince Amhra was too young, and he was only six years old. The Pharaoh and the Queen must decide on the marriage.
“AHHHHHHH!!” Hamitha’s scream filled the hall. She rushed forward with a long dagger. Her enemy evaded the attack, stepped backward and lunged the golden shield.
The opponent of Hamitha let out a deep breath; the chest heaved from fast breathing. Her face had a golden mask of a Falcon while Hamitha displayed a mask shaped like a Lioness. A thin piece of golden cloth and light steel covered their chest. White linen wrapped around their waists. Both of them wore golden bracelets on their wrists and feet. A small tattoo was visible on their waistline; a symbol of their gods. Judging from Hamitha’s expertise, she was great in dagger throwing and archery. The falcon excelled in sword fights and racing the chariot.
The Lioness rushed ahead with a darting dagger, but the Falcon eluded the offense by swiftly moving to the side and ducked her head under the shield. Escaping from the attack, the Falcon struck the sword against her golden shield. The clang resonated across the hall; it taunted Hamitha for being weak.
Their weapons gleamed, creating a spark from friction whenever they attacked each other. The Lioness was in a fury, while the Falcon was swift and calculated in every move. The Lioness roared in anger, with all her strength, she advanced toward the Falcon. Hamitha tried to strike the Falcon right on its face, but failed; the enemy evaded the dagger again by swerving the sword towards Hamitha’s side. Causing the Lioness to lost her balance and stumbled to the floor.
Gasped of surprise was heard from the crowd. The Pharaoh smiled at the agility and grace of the Falcon. Queen Meshkenet pursed her lips in amusement. The Falcon stepped closer; she knelt while Hamitha was lying on the floor. Pointing the sword over the throat of Hamitha, she pierced its edge on the skin until a drop of blood fell from the surface. Behind the mask of the Falcon, hatred flashed in those light-brown eyes. Hamitha’s chest heaved with labored breathing; she blinked her eyes in anticipation of possible death.
The drum was pounded, the booming sound saved Hamitha.
The Falcon bowed to Pharaoh and the Queen; she removed the mask to reveal the beautiful face of Princess Nefertari. The Lioness stood and bowed down to the Pharaoh and the Queen. Hamitha’s face was marked with weariness, and her eyes were filled with envy.
“Your downfall will come one day Nefertari...I will pray to the gods. I swear to crush you, and I will leave a smile on your tomb.” Hamitha hissed with hatred; she left the hall with a fury in her heart.
Inside the temple, Nefertari walked along the aisle. Hamar, the great priest, waited and lowered his head as the princess approached him. “High Priest Hamar. I am honored to grace your presence,” she acknowledged. Nefertari wore a headdress of an eagle and red tunic that matched her porcelain skin.
The second most powerful man in Egypt, the high priest Hamar was the brother of Queen Meshkenet. He was a wise old man, a scribe, and a known scholar — a herbalist, blacksmith, doctor, and poet. Hamar smiled at his former student. Like the Pharaoh and the Queen, Femi’s daughter was also one of his favorites. He taught Nefertari an ancient language, it was a strange dialect, unknown to the Egyptians. “Hierse magnaber nishtakan lokhniéray traéûyu...genakha teroqna. [ “I have something to show you...your highness.” ] He lowered his gaze as he speaks.
He guided the Princess to the vast hallways of the palace. The walls were designed in ancient hieroglyphics with Egyptian gods painted on the edifice. The lights from the torches illuminated the way. They passed the rooms owned by the Pharaoh. It was private with all the golds and treasures collected by Akhmenra. When the pharaoh dies, all his possessions would be kept in a pyramid beside his tomb. They proceeded in a dim corridor, and the high priest lit the torch and handed over to the slave. They strode down the dark aisle towards the temple of the god, Horus. Hamar raised his hand to the slave, a gesture to stop in front of the door. Nefertari was the only one he allowed to enter.
Inside the shrine was spacious, surrounded by massive pillars. The fire from the torches were dancing from the chanting priests who offered prayers to the statue of Horus. The priests wore a white tunic; their faces were painted with symbols of the gods. Nefertari and Hamar knelt at the foot of Horus.
The priests finally ended their monotonous hums in their prayers. They assembled in a line, swung the scale of smoking incense and hummed a song of praise to their beloved Horus.
Hamar advanced towards the altar and opened a small box in front of Nefertari. “My princess, I will present to you the treasure from the sky.” He lowered his gaze, showing the most exquisite treasure in his hands — a rare kind of shimmering stone, with a unique color of green and blue. Its measure was comparable to the size of a human eye, and its texture was neither hard nor soft.
“What kind of treasure is this?” The princess narrowed her eyes.
“A fragment of star fell from the sky. My ancestors made weapons from the elements of the fallen rock. This was found inside the core. Nobody knew how to use this treasure, and considered a waste, without beauty, it has no value. I would like to ask your wisdom about this treasure I possess?” Hamar lifted his gaze then bowed and extended his hand to show the box.
Nefertari scrutinized the stone; her lashes fluttered while checking the details. “I am honored. There is truth in what you say; indeed there is no value without beauty. If it pleases your heart, I will carry this treasure when the gods of heaven take my life. It will not be a waste anymore. I will present it to the gods in the afterlife.”
A smile slipped from Hamar’s lips upon hearing the promise.
Out of nowhere, an old priest walked in the middle of the temple; he bowed to the statue of Horus. A strong gust of wind blew; the flames from the torches flickered. The color from his face started to drain as he prayed, he tore his white tunic; then turned his eyes upward and uttered a mournful chant with his disembodied voice. “You will be cursed; you will be cursed.” He repeatedly murmured, strangely, he glanced at the corner where the Princess stood.
“The sky...the s-star...the night has come...kingdom will fall into the hands of a warrior. Nobody will be s-spared.” The priest hissed the words to Nefertari’s direction. He crawled and knelt at the edge of her feet. His hands were shaking when he pressed his cheeks. “The gods have spoken, the curse was bestowed. Time will imprison the mortal.” He mumbled incoherently and choked on his sobs. He sat, rocked his body back and forth; as if he was telling a lullaby with a sorrowful voice. “The heart of Isis will be spilled in the sands. Darkness must take the soul, and tears must fall. A betrayal of Seth and the God Horus,” he whimpered in anguish. “B-betrayal will take your life...”
The princess stared in a fascinated terror too overwhelmed to move when fear loomed into her eyes. She let out a muffled shriek at what she saw. Her face suddenly went ashen from horror.
The priest pulled a sharp dagger from his robe, in a flash, he thrust it to his chest. “H-haaaahhhh...t-take m-my l-life,” a moaning voice came out from his throat. Coughing out blood, he pushed the blade further inside. Before running out of breath, his black pupils flared and transformed to white as he stared at her. Before losing his breath, he left a message in a tremulous voice. “You are cursed.”
“Pagan Prayers: Hymn To Amun-ra (egyptian).” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2019 http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/ppr/ppr16.htm.