The Temple of Amun was visible for leagues, not because of the grandeur of the buildings alone but because of how they were swept clean of the sand.
It wasn’t a Temple in a city, it was a Temple in and of itself, and a city had crept up to huddle against its skirts, though secular work didn’t dare come any closer than a half-day’s walk.
The reason Naida and her friends could see it so far away was a combination of two things. One, they were so high in the God’s airbarq and two, the Brooms of Amun, each one towering thin and dark and full of dust a hundred cubits into the lapis blue sky, dancing all around, twisting in dust dervishes that gathered up sand and carried it away in cartloads.
The Brooms kept the desert at bay and the acolytes that were tasked with sweeping were the youngest, least powerful of the priestesses and priests. Not one dared come anywhere near them as they flew between two Brooms. Naida blinked and Kurama yipped when one of the Brooms opened a pair of fiery eyes and winked at them before casually plowing into a dune and making it vanish, in effect.
The square, solid blocks of towers and the perfectly cut stone walls looked sharp edged enough to cut one’s sight and made the eyes water and blink. It didn’t brood, or hulk, or even lounge against the sand. It just was.
Lines of palms lead to the Temple itself and avenues of ramheaded sphinxes shone bright as if wet against the pale sandstone, every statue painted, gilded, with gems for eyes. On the walls gigantic images of the God in all his forms loomed, surrounded by his titles and cartouches.
The barq of the Sun God settled down with barely a hiss against the sand and Re stepped out onto the first stone of avenue leading to the Temple doors that stood open. Lotus columns and painted obelisks stood behind the Avenue of Sphinxes and behind them palms waved overhead. Every Sphinx had a plinth made of water brick, another trick of the Amun priesthood. They could build with bricks made of water, as if they were solid.
“Amun,” Re said in a conversational tone as the barq behind him vanished. “We haven’t had a chance to chat in a while. I think We should.”
The first two Sphinxes stood up and their plinths became fountains as they stepped down. Naida found they were much, much bigger than Temis and even though they had the heads of rams instead of lions, they seemed much more dangerous somehow, as if they might consider butting heads with a mountain, with you in between, without noticing.
Re tapped His foot and it rang all the way down the road, like a wave in the fabric of creation. “You two should really reconsider annoying Me. I know your God has the title ‘King of the Gods’ but you see… My title is ‘Creator’ as well as ‘He Who Shines’. You really want to upset me that much? I’m going to come in here and nothing and no one is going to stop Me.”