Flight of Destiny
Ishza had of course, allowed Sutekh to kiss her. she had secretly wanted him to, and when he had, she enjoyed it immensely. His kiss was slow, passionate, tantalizing.
When Sutekh's lips broke contact with hers, she was left wanting the High Priest to kiss her again. "Master!" She said breathlessly.
"I'm sorry-" He apologized, "I shouldn't have-"
Ishza was daring and caressed Sutekh's cheek. "Don't be sorry, master. You have treated me well, though you may not realize it."
"Master, I assure you, much worse has been done to me. You are a good master to me. I would do anything for you, and I would do it willingly."
Sutekh kissed Ishza's cheek sweetly. "I am glad to hear you say such, but if I ever ask too much of you, let me know and I will not ask it of you. Alright?"
"Aye." Ishza agreed.
"Thank you, Ishza. You are a good slave."
"Aye, that I may be, but I wish I weren't."
Sutekh bit his lower lip. He could understand perfectly why. If she were no longer a slave, she could do what she wanted to more freely, even find a husband if she wanted to. He tried to get her mind off it. "I think we should head back."
Akhenaten had been right. There was a long walk back to Thebes that night. Ksunamun went as far as she could, but ended up being carried by Akhenaten more than half of the way. When they had reached Thebes again, the crowd had greatly thinned. Most of the High Priests and lesser priests had departed, save for Atemakhu.
Ksunamun was fast asleep by the time they'd returned to the palace. When they were inside, Akhenaten swiftly bade his mother and Atemakhu, who were going to have a conversation in the Throne Room, a good night. Akhenaten then carried Ksunamun up to their bedchamber tentatively, and laid her on the bed, being sure not to rouse her.
As he begun to change from his sweat-drenched robes into a light cotton night garment, something moved, attracting his gaze. It was little Bastet, who had jumped up onto the bed. The tawny kitten was purring very loudly, and Akhenaten found this quite amusing. Akhenaten chuckled quietly as the clumsy little kitten settled down on Ksunamun's pillow, and curled into a small, furry ball.
Akhenaten arched his back, trying to relieve the tension that had built in the small of it. He twisted his torso from side to side, cracking his vertebrae. When he was satisfied, he sat lightly on the edge of the massive bed, and said a little prayer to Isis, and to Atem-Ra, before extinguishing the one, dying torch, and lying down to sleep.
The Prince had been very tired, though he'd refused to admit even to himself just how tired. The march from the palace to the Valley of the Kings and Back again had taken its toll on him, even though he was physically fit. He sighed with contentment as his head hit the pillow. His bed seemed more comfortable - and more inviting - to him tonight than it had been in ages. It was not long at all before sleep had stolen over him, claiming him like a hostage.
When Ishza and Sutekh had returned to Sutekh's estate, it was two hours shy of dawn. Both were tired as they trudged up to Sutekh's chamber.
Ishza instinctively prepared a bath for Sutekh in the Bathing Chamber. She knew that her master would sleep better if he had a nice soak.
She started a fire in the fireplace, and placed flat, smooth stones at the base of the flames to heat. She then left the chamber, and went downstairs, where she asked a few of the male slaves to fetch a bath's worth of clean water for her. They brought her wooden pails full with haste, knowing that the bath would be for their master.
When the large, rectangular bathing pool, which was hewn of polished stone, had been filled with water, she took a pair of tongs and picked up the stones one by one. She placed the heated stones carefully at the bottom of the pool.
Silently, she crept into Sutekh's chamber, and found him wearing just his under-tunic. "Master?" She called timidly.
He turned to her. "What is it?" He looked exhausted.
"I've prepared a nice hot bath for you, master. You will sleep well if you bathe first, Sire."
The High Priest scratched his chin pensively. "Aye, that does sound nice." He nodded, "Alright."
He followed her to the Bathing Chamber, and his eyes lit up when he saw the pool, filled with inviting water, so hot that small tendrils of steam issued from its surface.
Ishza turned to face the wall. "Let me know when you're in the water, master, that I might scrub you."
"Very well." Sutekh was amenable.
Ishza heard the muted sound of Sutekh's under-tunic being lain on the floor, and the slight splashing as he entered the pool.
"Alright, Ishza." Sutekh said at length, his voice ragged, "I'm in."
Ishza turned and saw that Sutekh had sunk in, the water lapping at his shoulders. He was facing away from her. She quickly grabbed a cotton cloth and knelt by the side of the pool, directly behind him. She dipped the cloth in the water, which was nearly scalding to the touch, and began to wash Sutekh's shoulders, and his neck.
Sutekh let a groan escape against his volition. "This is relaxing," he confessed.
Ishza smiled secretly. "This is nothing, master." she poured some rare oils into the water from a small vial, "I can do much more to ease your tension."
Ksunamun woke abruptly. It was dark - pitch black, really. For a second she wondered where she was - and then she realized she was safe in bed. Akhenaten had brought her back, and put her here. She could hear his slow, rhythmic breathing to her left, and feel one of his arms slung around her waist. He was quite obviously asleep. She decided she'd check to be sure anyways. "Akhenaten?"
There was silence. She turned, facing the Prince, but not seeing him. "Akhenaten?"
His breathing sped up slightly when he woke, but his reply was groggy. "What?"
"Oh, I'm sorry to wake you," Ksunamun murmured, "I thought there was a chance you might not be asleep."
"Aye, well, I'm awake now. What's the matter?"
Ksunamun snuggled up to him. "I think I've had enough sleep." She paused, "I don't know what to do. I know you're tired, and it would be unfair of me to ask you to stay up with me just because I do not want to be bored, but-"
Akhenaten had silenced her with his lips. "Don't you fret. I know just how to get you to sleep again."
"You will see." Akhenaten chuckled merrily despite his fatigue.
Ksunamun heard the bed squeak, the sound only just barely audible, as Akhenaten sat up and swung his legs over the side so that his feet connected with the floor. He lit an oil lamp and in the faint light, Ksunamun saw Akhenaten stand, and begin to pace around the room, looking from place to place.
"What are you looking for?" She wondered blankly.
"It won't matter if I do not find it," Was all Akhenaten said in response.
Ksunamun watched in silence as Akhenaten flung open a large trunk and rummaged through it.
"Ah! Here it is!" Akhenaten smiled contentedly as he took a lovely, ornate golden lire in his hands and brought it back to the bed with him. "Well, I found it," He said needlessly, "And I suppose I do not need to tell you what this is now."
"Nay, I can see it is the most beautiful lire I've ever seen."
"I do love this little instrument." Akhenaten agreed.
"Why did you not tell me you played?" Ksunamun probed.
"I was waiting for the right time - I wanted to surprise you." Akhenaten admitted as he strummed a little, tuning the strings.