A Pendant Snippet

A Snippet from the Pendant. 

There were five little rooms like the ones we had woken in. All of their doors were open except for one. I walked towards it quietly and peeked in through the gaps in the wooden rods. There was a man sitting cross legged on the floor. His tunic was dirty and torn and he looked very angry. But he also looked like someone I could trust, and he looked nearly as tall as Ukani, though it was hard to tell when he was sitting.
“Who are you?” I asked quietly. The man jumped to his feet at the sound of my voice, and I could see that he was about as tall as Nefru had been. And he looked strong enough to support Ukani easily, and fight too.
“Hai! Who is there?”
I looked over at Anhur and Ukani who were looking at me curiously. I nodded and turned back to the stranger.
“I will ask the questions. Who are you?” I said, trying to sound very sure of myself.
“I am Capturer. I am Sefkh son of Se-isi son of Sebek of the house of -”
“Ast! I care not of your name. I wish to know why you are here.”
“Oh. I was captured in the desert about a week ago. And if I ever get my hands on the Son of Set who -”
“Be quiet. He was truly a son of Set, and I hope that you may kill him someday. But right now, I need your help, Sefk son of Se-isi. My friend is badly wounded and we need to get him out of here. We have escaped from our cells. Will you help us escape from this place entirely?”
“Of course. Just let me out.”
I lifted the bar and opened the door. Sefkh shot out and grabbed my hand.
“Ra! You but a child!” he said, releasing me, “take me to your friend.”
I pointed to where Ukani and Anhur were waiting, and Sefkh ran over to them and relieved Anhur of his burden. He seemed well fed and in good health, and he was certainly quite strong.
“Now,” he said, “I’ll wager you were not conscious when they brought you in. They usually do that, from what I have learned in a week. But Sefkh outwitted them. He pretended to be asleep, but he was watching all the while. I know how to get out of here. Follow Sefkh, and he will lead you to safety.”  
Anhur and I walked on either side of Sefkh, Anhur giving Ukani extra support on his right side. There seemed to be no guards around anywhere. There was no sound either. A dead silence hung in the air. Finally, we reached what seemed to be the stables. There was only one guard here, and Sefkh put his finger to his lips, and slipped into the shadows. The guard was walking first in the stables, then in front of them. But when he went in again after Sefkh had gone, he didn’t come back. After a bit, Sefkh himself beckoned to us from inside the stables. There were horses instead of camels, and the guard was tied up on the floor. Sefkh carefully began to saddle one of the horses. His movements were fluid and silent. And the horses did not even seem to notice him. The horse he chose first was a huge beast, and large enough to hold two riders as well as another horse could hold one. Sefkh reached for another saddle, but just then we heard the sounds of shouting outside the stables.
“Quickly! Get Ukani into the saddle. Now!” Sefkh was hoisting Ukani up even as he spoke. Anhur pushed me towards the horse.
“Take Ukani away from here. We will hold them back. Go!”
“I cannot ride!”
“Sefkh, you must go, I will stay here with Reniseb.” Anhur lead the horse out of the stables through a back door as he spoke. Sefkh shook his head.
“I can protect her better than you. Ride hard. Get him out of here. Now!”  Sefkh shoved Anhur towards the horse, and without another word, the old man mounted.
“Take care of her,” he said, and rode away. Sefkh grabbed my arm and pulled me into an empty stall. But it was no use. The Snakes were so numerous that they captured me and Sefkh without any trouble. But instead of taking us back to our prison, they through us in the back of a covered trader’s cart and tied us to metal rings in the wooden floor. In a moment, the cart was moving.
“I am sorry,” Sefkh said quietly.
“No matter, Ukani is safe. That is all I care about.”
Sefkh nodded. “I too loved one so much that she was all that mattered. But she was taken from me. Tell me, little one, how does a pretty maid like you come to be in a place like this?”
I could no longer restrain myself. I had to tell someone. So, during the long ride, I told him everything about the Pendant; I told him all that had happened since that first dream which had started all of this. I told him of Rhea’s story, and how she never finished it. I told him of Pharaoh, and Tiye and Tseskos. I told him about my father, and my mother and how she died. I even told him of falling in love with Ukani; of Sipthah and his treachery.
He listened to me quietly. It had not yet been midday when we had reached the stables. But dark had long since covered Egypt before I finished my story. When I finally finished, he took my hand in his and said, “Reniseb, if I can, I will help you find the Pendant; for this is something which affects all of Egypt. If I can assist or protect you, I will.”
“Thank you. I am already in debt to you.”
“Think nothing of it.” He said, smiling.
“I shall try not to if it makes you happy, but it will be very hard. Where do you think we are going?” I asked.
“Into the snake's nest.” He said grimly.
“Hathor protect us.” I replied.
The cart stopped just then, and we could hear the guards coming around to get us. Sefkh smiled kindly.
“Courage, little one. Courage, for our loved ones, and for Egypt.”
I nodded. Courage. I had found my courage. Or rather, I had stumbled upon it it the dark. It was not in holding on that I was brave, but in letting go. In forgetting myself and thinking of those I loved. Ukani and Father. Mother, Tseskos, Tiye, even Amenhotep. Nefru and Anhur, all of them. It was for them that I could be brave, not for myself.

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