Just a quick explanation of why this mess is here, this is my irl current problem:
*What follows is a working document of the sequel to The Fire in My Blood*
Broad goal: The king, Tempestatis, and Cortex all want the same goal of having a working relationship between Imperium and Nympha. His government doesn’t. They work through Wash to make this happen. Meets Lunam/Maria Mater with Jude, Paul, and Aurelia. Captain Morgan joins with the company in order to form a three people alliance against the last of Joiner Petroleum’s main dome.
Mornings. I hate them. Hate everything about them. The sound of the word. The light I wish would seep through my curtains. The ever present snoring of my partner in my ear. How he could sleep through the awful impending chariot in the sky was beyond me. The pink and purple edging at the horizon behind the dome panels was enough to snap me awake every day and it drove me crazy.
Nebra burrowed into my arms, her sandy hair stuck in my stubble. At the peak of summer, having Ptolemy behind me and Nebra in front of me, I was hot, and not in the handsome way. Sheets had been kicked to the end of the bed. How I was going to escape when these two could sleep like stones until I move was not an answer I possessed. I brushed at the hairs tickling my cheek and looked around for my escape. A black haired woman relaxing in an upholstered armchair opposite the bed and chaise lounge at the end of it studied me with a thinly coated vanier of amused indifference.
“Want help?” She mouthed. I nodded my head and reached for her. She smirked, tapping the spine of her book on the footboard of the bed. A large hand circled around my chest, pulling me backwards. I wiggled in protest. Ptolemy only tightened down on me. Snoring returned in my ear. I glared at Seth as she failed to hide an amused smirk behind her book. Nebra at least sounded like she might be waking up. She rolled, her hip brushing against me suggestively. Ptolemy’s length was hard against my backside and asking for attention. His snoring had to be fake. Waking up to this position one would think would be an excellent thing in my book, right? If it wasn’t hot as Ra’s throne and I had to make for the restroom before getting tackled by the high priest for the Lighting of the Fire and Drawing of the Bolt, I might agree. I hate having breakfast at dawn. I’d prefer to start eating around lunch time.
If only there was a safe way to latch Ptolemy onto Nebra, I’d be free. That meant getting my ex-soldier turned lover to let go. Which is almost impossible. He’s cuddly in the mornings. So is Nebra. Seth doesn’t do cuddles. She also has the where-withal to sleep on the outside of the bed or in her own quarters to save from becoming the person in the middle. I, on the other hand, am doomed. This is my room, and my bed, and as Pharaoh of Hawria, I get the position of honor. Which currently has me trapped between my military and financial advisors. The health and education councilor over there has left me to the crocodiles.
A gentle, but firm kiss lets them know that I am awake, I understand their desires, but my need is more pressing. Which leaves Nebra curled up in a ball in Ptolemy’s arms and me making for the restroom. Seth, unphased with the chaos she was trying to start, is buried in her chair, once more catching up on some policy or another.
Needs met, teeth and hair brushed, and a servant after me about showing to the temple for the rites, I returned back to my private chambers to find Ptolemy and Nebra more awake then I left them. She had taken command of the situation, putting my man under her for a bit of morning fun.
“Want in on this, Henu?” Ptolemy asked, Nebra tucking an onyx hair behind his ear.
“You two enjoy. I am not ready to be awake. Cancel the chariot and let it rain. I want to go back to bed.” I flopped on the chaise lounge at the end of the bed and threw my arm across my eyes. Most days I would be keen on jumping in the middle of the invite. Or watching at the very least.
I had an early morning issue to handle and I was not mentally prepared for it. The servant who had insisted on helping me into fresh clothes that were just to be removed anyways for the ceremony and replaced with another more outrageous outfit, which was entirely unnecessary, as I said every morning, had slipped me my morning dossier and the first problem at the top of the list was a wab priest caught smuggling Mubkharatan out of Iunu.
My government officials insisted on placing me as a figurehead. Then I’d get these people I was expected to pass judgement on in a public way to maintain order. So they could say I wasn’t the figurehead we all knew I was. It irked me ten ways to Ra’s day that I had to fight my own government to keep the people I was overseeing safe. They rebelled from the outside. I rebelled from the inside. And we all were hogtied by the nobles.
I rose in frustration and tugged on my black robes over my skirts. The bell sleeves drooped well to the floor, dragging to remind myself I was chained to this outrageous destiny. Seth joined me in my efforts to be dressed, helping to drape a massive black Usekh across my collarbone.
“What is with these ceremonies, Seth? Why? Why do nobles insist on them. They aren’t even related to where our ancestors came from on Earth. We’re comprised of a bunch of Eastern Europeans and East Asian peoples. The common people’s language isn’t even a language. It’s pigid. It’s some weird blend of Korean, Japanese, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Latvia. Why the hell did this segment of Joiner Petroleum’s board decide it would behoove the people to participate in a culture that has nothing to do with where they came from?” I hissed, fingering the obsidian stones inlaid into silver housing.
“And this is the problem with a Pharaoh having an ancient history degree,” Seth quipped, flicking my fingers and retwisting my necklace for me.
“But, Seth,” I whined.
“We’ve talked this out before. It is what it is.” She pulled the collar of my robes tighter over the top the necklace and helped with the belt.
“I mean, come on. Malak is comprised of Native and Latin American populations and Joiner nobility celebrates Norse religions. Why Ancient Earth religions so far removed from the majority of the population? Or Easimal who were originally from the Middle East and India who now follow the old Roman and Greek gods? The hell are they thinking?” I whispered under my breath at her fidgeting.
“I’m your health and education advisor, Henu, not your philosophy muse. You’re mad about what’s in the dossier.” She nailed my problem on the head and pointed me to a low stool.
“You at least have the academic background to get me when I start in getting annoyed at this situation. I hate these presumptive ceremonies.” I squatted down to the stool, my knees cracking.
“The boy?” Her fingers tugged through my thick brown curls. I nodded mutely, pulling at the edges of my robe. “He rescued a mother and her child. The baby burned her house down and she would not give her up. The boy caused a distraction such that the two were able to escape into the labyrinth.” She filled me in on the contents of the dossier to reiterate what I had read as she twisted the mass of ringlets into some semblance of a bun at the back of my head. It’d all be taken down shortly, but I appreciated the ritual. The summary helped. I hated reading legalese.
She tapped my shoulder when I was done and leaned over my shoulder to draw her arms around me in a reassuring hug. “Thanks, love.” I kiss her forehead before rising and heading for the door. She caught my fingers in question. I gave her a reassuring smile. “Send Ptolemy when he’s done. I think he’d do best here.”
“If you call for him now, before the council arrives, you might keep the boy safe.” She got me out the door, placing a glowing coal in a silver dish in my hand.
Seven white robed priests met me in the hall, their heads draped in gauze that swept to their knees. Creepy spooks. I don’t think I’d ever get used to their dawn appearance. Having resided as Pharaoh king of Hawria for over fifteen years, I still was not ready for all the religious rites I was made to participate in. I bowed to them formally and they returned the ritual. I presented the coal Seth had handed me to the one priest holding the incense burner and lit the sticks within.
Fifteen years back, I had been chosen by the last Pharaoh to take his place when he was dying of cancer and had no relatives he trusted to take his place. I was no more than the Sirdar for his royal battalion to command outside of the military. Ptolemy, Fariq of the Hawria military, had been a close friend due to our comings and goings. In the Cliff War when rebellion from some of the nobles rose against my newly acquired status, a protester blew his leg off. He was slated for discharge and would have ended up homeless. Instead, he now occupies my bed and runs my military for me. He, however, could not join me in the rituals of the temple the priests were dragging me off towards for the billionth time. My concession to the nobles of Joiner: leave the temple intact for the sake of the people. I was still a heretical heathen, but by allowing the rituals to continue, the nobles felt their position retained and left the people from conscripted militia services.
We proceeded through my hall overlooking the rocky cliff above the bay of Nile. Lattice work blocked off the kaleidoscopic refraction of the dome panels bombardment of solar radiation, diffusing sparkling ripples across the opposite wall. The oozing purples and greens brushed against red lacquer columns bolstered by climbing cerulean dragons and gold mythical birds. Waving blades of cattails and marsh grasses painted lovingly into plaster walls danced in the dim hint of dawn. Tugging fingerlings of agarwood and sandalwood smoke drifted around me as we emerged from my compound into the back courtyards and buildings behind the temple of Re. The punch of sea salt echoed against the biodome wall. The slap of waves at the shore, distant behind the bustle of the temple staff preparing for the Lighting of the Fire and Drawing of the Bolt.
The priests ducked into the backside of the Temple under a black painted lintel, silver charms and wards painted in a flowing mix of hieroglyphics and kanji.
“I won’t push you, Wash. You said anything. Keep everything. Keep it and share it when you’re ready to, if you ever are, if it’s ever of interest.” I whispered in his ear, pulling his robe back around his shoulders. “I’ve taken you as a consort to protect you with my name. These rooms are yours to live in with Ptolemy, Nebra, and Seth.
*Ptolemy’s prosthetic is out for maintenance when a hinge pin cracks.
Wash: “I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do. Do I help? Do I ignore you? Do I get up and get things? Am I allowed to ask? How do I not insult you by accident?”
Ptolemy, getting his crutches under his arms and standing up.”I’m no invalid, Wash. But thanks for asking. So many people treat me like an infant when I’m like this and it’s fucking infuriating. Just don’t get under foot”
“What foot?” Seth asked from behind her book.
“The foot I can still trip you with,” he threatened, reaching out to her path in jest. Seth jumped over it and continued walking.
“I would say you’re losing your footing, but your jokes have always fallen flat, Ptolemy.” Nebra mused over a set of needle point.
“What do you say, Wash?” I skimmed down his chest. His nipples tightened under the stimulation. His cheeks were flush and his eyes glittered.
“You’re glowing, and feel like heaven.” His fingers tumbled across my shoulders. Ptolemy’s hands held tight at my hips.
“But do you want this?” I pressed, kissing the corner of his jaw.
“I told you before you had me summon Ammut.” His breathing was harsh and his skin was hot to the touch. The room was floating in eddies and streams, fish swimming about our heads.
“Yeah, well, thought I’d ask again. You hit a weird spot with your Repercussion. Your inhibitions plummets to absolute zero.” I glanced at the crystal glass on the table. Seth had seen to fill it with his addiction, his vice, his need.
“Are you even going to remember this?” Ptolemy asked, his belt hitting the floor behind me.
“Whether I remember it or not, I’ve wanted to see what my powers could do when I’m like this,” Wash whispered, his hands trailing heat down my chest to the waist of my shendyt.
“Lost to your mind?” Ptolemy whispered.
“I’m not sure about this,” my voice caught in my throat when he tugged at the folds, my skirts falling away.
“You’re the one who has me against a wall here.” Wash’s fingertips danced magic across my tip.
“Yeah, and you’re going to be the one who isn’t going to be in the right mind to say no if I do something you don’t like.” I tensed as his hand setted around me. Ptolemy had thankfully backed off for a moment.
“Don’t do anything I won’t like then,” Wash whispered. The river around us shot through with pinks and golds. The floor had turned to sand swept back and forth in the waves.
“Easy for you to say, virgin. I don’t know what you like and don’t like.” I swallowed.
“You’ll know if I don’t like something.” His eyes flicked to follow the line of the fish swimming through shafts of light around us.
“Won’t you just need more if your mirages persist?” Nebra asked from the couch.
“Just have to wear off the initial reaction. Maybe an hour or two.” He reached for the glass. I had expected him to drink the honey straight. His eyes though told me I was sorely mistaken. He tipped the glass, the golden viscosity dripping across my shaft. “Wash?” My voice caught in my throat.
“You told me a long time ago to keep everything. Does keeping you count?” He sank to the tile at my feet, his robes spilling around him in soft heaps of white and gold.
Ptolemy had hold of my hands before I could touch Wash’s soft brown curls. “Nope. I’m watching this, Henu.” He pulled my wrist above my head and back to rest at the base of my neck, exposing my chest.
“Ptol-ah!” Tight heat wrapped around me, threatening to strangle me at the source.
“You’ve been pushing him off, scared you’d send him hiding like a jaroba. Watch for a bit,” Ptolemy’s voice inches down my spine, leaving me shivering as Wash ducks to take me to the hilt. My hierophant, his fingers crawled up my thighs to cling to my hips.
“This isn’t watching,” I gulp.
“It is for me.” Ptolemy was practically purring, his chin tucked into my shoulder, his hard desire pressed to the curve at my lower back.
“Join in then, pest,” I hissed, a shiver running up my legs as Wash’s tongue dipped to trace my head.
“I think I’ll wait. What say you, Oasis?” Ptolemy asked.
Wash smirked, his tongue darting to find more honey. “How long do you think he’ll last?”
“He is Apophis descended upon us, My Lord!” Adom protested adamantly.
Nour (Tempestatis) muttered quietly to the black haired man next to him who was watching the lectern priest. The black haired man shook his head and asked a question, motioning with his head my way. Nour motioned appeasingly to Adom and myself. Ptolemy shifted closer to my shoulder, staring the two down. The red haired man next to the one Adom was proclaiming to be Apophis flinched at Nour’s tone and shrank back a little.
“You think they’re dangerous, m’Lord?” Ptolemy whispered in my ear.
“I believe Adom is making them dangerous,” I returned.
“Who are you?” Ptolemy demanded of the congregation littering our throne room.
“Infidels,” Adom sneered too close in my ear.
“Yes. We’ve got that, Adom. Please, for once in your milk-paste life, shut up and let the adults do their job before I call forth Anubis to gather you,” I returned the hiss with my own. He paled at the reply. Wash clinked his staff, dismissing the man from the diase.
“Thank you for seeing us, Pharaoh Ramses,” the blond man greeted pleasantly when the chaos surrounding me had died down.
I snapped my focus back to him. “His Eminence joined with Re almost two decades ago.”
The man’s face sank in confusion and disappointment. “I am so sorry, sire,” he bowed, his hand hovering over his heart in uncertainty. Adom moved forward in anger. Wash stalled him, descending the dias to place his hook across his path. The blond man glanced back to the man with the tattooed number on his cheek and exchanged a couple quiet words and a shake of his head.
“You do not serve me, I am neither your king nor pharaoh, do not address me as such.” I motioned the title away.
“What is an appropriate title by which you would have us to call you?” He bowed carefully at the hip. He had been raised in Hawria. His actions were measured and stiff, a sign of high breeding.
“I am Henu,” I answered before Adom could put his foot in his mouth again. Next time he did it, I’d make him choke on it.
“Henu, sir, forgive me that I would make such an ingracious mistake. I come to you as herald,” he swallowed, his eyes sweeping the tiled floor as he drew his hand to indicate the three men and the woman at his side.
“You would dare suggest there be any being higher than the embodiment of His Holiness!” Adom screeched, pushing past Wash. A humanoid female jackal rose from the floor in front of him, bearing a pair of knives. The priest shrieked, backing up a pace from the apparition. “Anput! Please,” he begged, fixated on the woman. The woman pursued him, her eyes fixated on him. The knives in her hands flicked in and out as she spun them. Adom turned and ran as she chased him to the door of the throne room leading to the main temple. The woman evaporated at the door.
Wash returned to the diase, a gleam of sweat at his temple. His fingers were shaking. I snapped for a servant and demanded a small bottle of honey be brought to me immediately. He stood just out of reach for me to be able to draw his fingers into mine unnoticed and I didn’t like it.
“Man is Ustor?” the man with the black hair nodded to Wash, concern creasing his lips thin.
“Ustor?” I asked, unfamiliar with the term.
The black haired man turned to his translator and asked another question as the red head slipped fingers to the herald’s hand. I rose at the motion, fixated. Ptolemy stilled me with a hand on my shoulder. The woman and the brown haired man closed rank around the red head at my suddenness, not the black haired man like I would have assumed by the way he was deferred to. The guards flicked concerned glances amongst themselves, spears coming down around the room.
“Hold!” I demanded, silencing my men. They looked to me, none to thrilled as I eased out of Ptolemy’s grasp and descended the diase about the same time my servant returned with a cut glass bottle of warmed honey on a tray. I took the bottle and motioned for the guards to leave us. They hesitated before a ripple of water rose around the group in the center of the throne room and myself, rushing out towards them. Crocodiles fell and rose through the water and the floor. They gasped, racing from the room to follow Adom.
With witnesses gone that I cared about ,I handed the bottle to Wash as he sank to the ground, laying his staff across his lap. He guzzled the fluid as he studied the tiles in the ceiling.
“He is Ustor.” The black haired man reiterated.
“What is Ustor?” I asked before Ptolemy put himself in front of me as bodyguard. “Ptol, please. Let’s try for civil.”
“I do not trust them, sir,” he raised his lips in disgust but stepped aside.
“Tempestatis?” the black haired man asked the blond.
“Your priest, he is Mubkharatan?” the blond man, Tempestatis asked.
“How are you so fluent in Hawrian?” I demanded, his cadence chewing at me in it’s stoic familiarity. The blond turned to the red head at his side and the black haired man, mumbling again. The red head let go of his hand. The black haired man asked something harshly before stepping aside to give the man room. The blond nodded and pulled the grey scarf from around his neck, a bright white scar flashing. Fingering the buttons on his shirt, he sighed with frustration. He turned his back to me and shrugged the garment off. A massive ibis headdress in black, teal, and red stared back at me, stretch marks and age fading the pattern. Not possible. My heart beat harder in my chest.
“The house of Thoth died out with the death of the heir sixteen years ago!” Wash protested from the ground.
The blond man turned back to me, the sign of Horus branded above his heart. “The son of Thoth destroyed his own house as a Mubkharatan.” The man put a hand over the sign of Horus and bowed once more. “I am Nour Abubakar, rightful heir to the House of Thoth, servant to the House of Re.”
“Nour Abubakar? They call you another name, Tempestatis? You are now of Easimal?” I pressed through the shock of discovering the house of Thoth had not fallen. Surely the documents had been preserved.
“I am known as Tempestatis amongst my people due to my Catalyst.” He held a hand out for a gentle twister of flame to rise from his palm, the red head touching his bared back.
“And the others?” I asked, flicking a glance to the rest watching Nour for direction.
“Co-leaders, Maria Mater and Nigrae Lunam of Easimal, Nigrae Sanctus, and Detractisque Corticibus. We come in order to seek an alliance with Hawria in the protection of the Mubkharatan,” he explained. “It is good to see one cared for so close to the royal head. Times must be changing if it is so.”
The brown haired man slipped a metal box into Nour’s fingers as the man sank to the floor across from Wash and dumped out a stack of metal circles. The others closed rank around him as he carefully sorted the stacks over and over in a pattern.
“Hawria not first language. Difficult. I am sorry,” Lunam apologized.
“You are of Malak?” I asked, motioning to my cheek in mimic of where his tattoo was intersected by a deep scar.
“No longer. Memory Hades Purge?” he asked. I shook my head at the term.
“Do you remember The Roar of Sekhmet?” Nour asked from the ground as he continued counting the tokens. It had been quite a few years since that fateful day in Malak. I nodded, turning back to Lunam. Nour spoke for the man. “Lunam is Nefertem, son of Sekhmet.”
I turned to the black haired man in horror. The man who had wiped out almost fifty thousand people in one day stood in my throne room trying to formulate my language and appearing abashed for doing so poorly. The man asked after the titles Nour was using. Nour replaced the coins back into his box and rose, handing the box back to Corticibus who shoved it into a thick canvas bag. Ptolemy drew his sword at the name, pushing me behind him. Wash looked up at me in confused terror before scuttling from his spot of the floor, the bottle dropping with a clank.
Lunam chuckled at Nour’s explanation of the name. The red head, Sanctus shared the humour. I studied them and their ease. Wash slipped his fingers into mine and reached a hand out to draw up the blue green depths of the bay of Nile around us, fish swimming over our heads. Lunam stared around at the space in enthralled fascination, not the reaction I was expecting. I had hoped for terror. The superstitious of the palace were easily swayed with Wash’s power. His fingers tightening in my hand as he worked crocodiles into the convincing illusion. The man knew no fear. He approached one of the creatures, running his fingers through it, breaking up part of the image into swirling eddies.
“Catalyst beautiful. Consumptionist. You are healthy to perform large picture?” he asked before saying something to Nour.
“He says that your priest has a beautiful Catalyst and is honoured to be shown such a large feat. He wishes to know if it is taxing for your man to do this. He is a consumptionist and does not wish to put him under too heavy of a burden with his Repercussion for such a performance.” Nour pulled his shirt back on and buttoned it.
“Why is this not terrifying?” Wash whispered, flicking a glance between me and the group on the floor. I shook my head unsure.
Sanctus whispered something in Lunam’s ear before approaching. Wash pushed back against my side and Lunam wasn’t thrilled with Sanctus getting close, studying his movement. The redhead was about the same height as Wash, if slimmer in the face, his fingers delicate as he reached out, a couple words dripping from his lips. I caught his name Sanctus, but the rest was lost on me. Wash glanced up to me in question. I shrugged, just as unsure as him as to what to make of it. His fingers slipped from mine and he stepped forward shaking his hand. “My name is-,” he went to introduced himself before pulling his hand away, startled. He turned to look at me, swallowing. “You told me you had no family, sir.”
“None that I am aware of,” I nodded.
“He feels like you.” He drew his hands to his chest, staring at the hand Sanctus had dropped to his side.
“You are a Providentia, Henu?” Nour asked me as the group closed the gap with us. Ptolemy sheathed his sword, leaving his grip on the handle.
“I don’t know that word,” I shook my head.
“You are an energy source for Mubkharatan,” he explained. There were other’s like me?
“This man is like me?” I pointed at Sanctus.
“Find,” Lunam put his hand out to shake mine. I studied it warily before taking it. He let go of it after a polite once up and down. “Yes, Providentia, same,” he declared, interest knotting his brows in thought.
“Your brother can do this too?” I pointed to Sanctus.
Nour snorted. “They aren’t brothers.”
“Same last name.”
“They’re married, Henu,” he told me.
“Wait, I thought he was married to the woman. Ma’at or something like that?” I asked, having already forgotten her name.
“No, they are co-leaders, not married,” he emphasized, his people asking questions under the fast interchange.
“Co-leaders, but not married? Concubine?” I looked at the woman, clearly older than the rest of the group by at least ten years.
Lunam snarled at the word and I had to step back. Fangs. His eyes, I could have sworn they were green. They were focused pitch black orbs and the temperature in the room was rising. Sanctus moved back, slipping his fingers into Lunam’s hand. A long tirade slurred against sharp teeth. He was military by the tone he issued. “I’m not sure I understand?” I glanced between Lunam and Nour.
“She is independent from him as he her. They do not share a bed. He thinks you’ve called her a whore. That would be my fault in teaching him our language. Give me a minute,” Nour explained over the tirade.
Lunam calmed under Nour’s explanation, confusion flitting across his face as he and Corticibus exchanged words until they all came to a conclusion. The woman asked a couple of questions before waving away the answers. Lunam nodded and turned back to me. “I am sorry. I do not speak Hawria good. Imperium is second language. I am started from Engill. Soldier,” he tapped his cheek to indicate the number and barcode.
“Why the fangs?” Ptolemy demanded, his thumb rubbing against the hilt of his blade.
“It’s secondary to the Catalyst, sir,” Wash cut in. I raised an eyebrow at his explanation. “Most Mubkharatan have something, a spare organ, appendage, something. Um,” he turned to the group to look at them all openly. The brown haired man and the woman exchanged a glance while Nour translated what Wash was saying. The brown haired man lifted his hands to show massive calluses that ran under every crease. The woman pulled back her sleeves to reveal a series of iridescent scales on her underarms. “Those! Yes. They’re different for each person. Usually relates to either how they perform their Catalyst or resolve their Repercussion.”
“And his,” I nodded at Lunam.
“His Repercussion. He’s a Consumptionist,” Nour provided cryptically.
Sanctus mumbled something to Lunam. Corticibus hedged against the comment, rolling up his sleeve. Lunam shook his head, flicking across Wash, Ptolemy and myself with a displeased grimace.
Nour regarded him with a questioning eyebrow before sighing in frustration. “You can either deal with talking to him with the fangs for the next couple hours or else we need somewhere a bit more private than this room. We would rather not terrify your people if they are already scared for mirages.”
“Ptolemy? Send word for Nebra and Seth to see to the teahouse, privately. Don’t need Adom overhearing something through the intercom,” I directed, retaining possession of Wash’s trembling fingers.
“You would trust them in the compound?” he whispered uncertainly.
“We will see,” I responded.
“Sir.” He bowed and left to hunt down Seth and Nebra.
“He will be fine to wait for a few minutes?” I asked, eyeing Lunam.
“He has done no more than get a little heated under the collar. He will tolerate his Repercussion.”
“How is he able to last so long without fixing it?” Wash asked with open curiosity.
“Stubbornness and desperation. He has spent years learning,” Nour explained.
“He is a Consumptionist, is there not a ready solution I could have a servant provide?” I asked, shrugging my shoulders. Ptolemy returned to the throne room and motioned for us to follow.
“If you want a dried husk for a servant,” Nour whispered under his breath.
The gold leafed building sat shadowed in beneath a canopy of ginkgo and weeping willow along the edge of a man made pond. A rock garden boarded it’s opposite side in mimic of the koi pond. On the porch extending of the pond, Seth and Nebra had prepared trays of finger foods and were enjoying the coolness of the water. Lunam mumbled something to Nour as we approached.
“They are your partners like Ptolemy and Wash are, Henu?” Nour nodded to my wives. I stalled at that assessment well before we reached the building.
“How did you know that?” I asked.
“Lunam,” he thumbed to his boss. “Anywhere private where he won’t be watched by palace staff?” He eyed the trees within the courtyard of my palace grounds. My inner sanctum. I would think it sacred ground to not be trodden on by servants of the palace, but it would not surprise me if there were those hidden within the shadows, persistently watching my comings and goings.