The Story Starts Here

Chapter 1: Mean Girls

Friday, 10 June 2016

Chapter 45: Lady of Flame

           As He rose to his feet, the sand all around all of them changed.  It became a Nile river barq, but all the bundles of reeds were made of obsidian.  Re stood by the mast.  “Is everyone secure?” He asked.

            “Don’t know why You’re asking, but thank you,” Bhodi said.  “I am secure.”

            “Me too,” Naida said, holding on tight to Sybaris’s lamp. Kurama just yipped and Asteri chuffed a roar of a yes.

            There was a shadow all around the steering oar, a shifting veil of something, or someone and when Re nodded, the steering oar moved.  The moon’s crystal entourage swooped down and the black stone boat soared into the sky as easily as Bhodi’s blue lotus.

            Naida narrowed her eyes against the wind which seemed to have a mind of its own.  It lashed and tugged at the barq sailing through the night sky, malicious fingers of breeze yanking at her braids and her beads like a mean girl’s spiteful sniff.

            “Syb, are you all right?  This Sun God isn’t going to toss you back onto your island is He?” She glanced up to where he stood in front of the mast, staring eastward.  He turned abruptly and called to Naida.

            “May I speak with you and your godmother?”  Naida could almost see the raptor mantling over his meat the way the little boy moved.

            “Um… of course.” The barq under her feet was steady as a platform on the ground.

            In front of them the whole edge of the desert was beginning to show brighter as they soared toward the Nile.  Below them Naida could see a huge caravan, their shadows stretching black behind them as they trekked in the same direction that they flew.  The sun was rising.

            “I realize, oh Lady of Flame, that you should not emerge from your protection in the lamp, but what if it is not the serpent woman relative to Medusas and Sirens?”

            “What are you suggesting, Oh Glorious Radiance?”  Syb’s voice sounded out clear and loud as if she were just at the door of her lamp.

            “I am going to fetch Bast, as I said, I shall be busy with the High Priest of Amun, and Amun Himself.  Might I ask you to protect Bast and the little Pharaoh while I contend with Them?”

            “Protect… wait… Lady of Flame? She would be willing to present in me?”

            “Exactly correct.”

            There was a pause as the light of the rising sun touched the black barq and it was transformed from the gleaming black of night to the rosy gold of the day.  The sail became cloth of gold and clouds and the steers…thing became a golden rose wound around the oar.

            “The Sun Twins could not complain if I was not myself," she said.  "If I become Wadjet, I could come out and never be noticed by the Olympians at all.  I… would be pleased to be host to the Lady of Flame,” Sybaris said.  “Naida… this Goddess is a protector of children as well.”

            “I won’t LOSE you, will I?” Naida clutched the lamp to her breast.

            “No, no. We will both be here.” She said.  “Just as Re here is human and God at the same time.”

            Naida bit her lip.  “All right.”
            Re tapped on the lamp and called “Wadjet I13 Wadjet I13 Wadjet I13!”

            There was an enormous flash of green light and Sybaris poured out of the lamp.  But even though it was Sybaris, as her sleek black body passed outside it transformed into bright green scales, and her decorative emeralds multiplied.  Her black hair disappeared under the bright green and gold headdress and a ripple ran through her entire length.  Her green serpent eyes did not change.

            She coiled all through the barq, wrapping her elegant self around Naida just as she had in the cave.  “Re,” she smiled, showing far far more fangs than Syb ever had to Naida.  “Shall we defend the defenseless?”

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