The Story Starts Here

Chapter 1: Mean Girls

Saturday, 9 July 2016

60: Drunken Snakes and Cats

Kyan settled down on his heels and stared into the bowl of water he’d been using to scry what on earth had happened to the High Priest and to the God.  Overnight all the images had changed and Amun now, sometimes, had the Re-Harakhet, Face of Horus of the Morning Sun, on the Golden ‘King of the Gods’ golden body.

The demon Amat had appeared at the doors to every temple of Amun overnight.  It was the strangest thing but suddenly everyone who had to walk between the eater of filth suddenly became very devout and payments for the resolution of sins was up.  But Kyan had no idea how this had happened, or why.

The bowl in front of him stayed stubbornly blank, except for odd flashes of someone’s hands in a very specific position… very like a prayer pose, except it wasn’t palm to palm it was finger to finger.

And then came the snake nightmares and the invasion of every one of the Candace’s cats into his bedroom, making it almost impossible to sleep because they insisted on lying on him in the heat and standing on him, or kneeding organs that really didn’t need to be kneeded.

He’d tried to close the doors and they came in the windows.  He’d blocked the windows at the expense of getting any fresh air at all and they knocked over the grates or the blocks or even the glass, pushing through anything he could put up.

“Bast… Leave me alone!” He finally prayed and put down fish-oil and milk in the outer courtyard, which finally left his sleeping quarters clear of cats.  And his nose appreciated the stop to all the sneezing, but finding lions and cheetahs in his courtyard, licking every last scrap of fish oil out of the lamps and off the offering plates was still disconcerting.

And the snakes.  Something was calling the snakes called ‘Wadjet’s Children’ into every nook and cranny in his home.

He’d had to put down saucers of beer everywhere and had drunken serpents and even the occasional drunken cat snoring in every corner.  And then the mice and rats showed up because all the predators were drunk or asleep.

Every piece of clothing he had, had nibble marks that his seamstresses struggled to hide and re-sew and if he managed to put anything away in a clothing chest somehow the vermin managed to chew their way in!

And the mess they made of his kitchen!  He couldn’t even store grain in a jar because some enterprising rat had figured out how to pee through the seal!

He rubbed his hands over his bare head and knocked the bowl over into the lotus pool.  The Candace was entirely consumed by her pregnancy and no one, no one was paying any kind of attention to him.  If he had more information he could be effective but he had no letters from Aegypt at all and the High Priest was missing and the statue of the High Priest in Najat had changed… it had gone from a proud-standing leader to the crouching demeanor of a night-soil sweeper, complete with broom and bucket, both astonishing large.  It made the High Priest look like a classless fool.

“Ana!” He leaped up and strode into his dressing room. “Ana!  Let me attend on the Candace!  I need to be appropriately dressed!  Ana!”

Behind him, in his bed, a drunken asp reared its head and hissed derisively after him.

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