LitFest Tour – Stories from the Regions: More Tales from The Golden Delta

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River Sacrifice
By Deoridhe Quandry

The Third Handmaiden to the Left bowed low when the Pharaoh passed, her eyes lowered to the ground so to not grace even the edge of Hatshepsut’s slippered feet as she passed. When the echo of her steps vanished, she joined the other women in gathering up the thick mats of reeds, piling them up in a corner of the room so the room could be swept clean again, and then she was free! Most of the others were gathering in their small groups, chattering brightly; she joined their numbers long enough to be remembered, moving from group to group for plausible deniability, and vanished into a narrow fissure in the stone while everyone was looking somewhere else.

He was waiting by the shoreline, his boat pulled up and turned to resist the inexorable tide, the shadow of Bastet’s head concealing the expression on his face as the sun set across the sands. She felt his smile against her skin as she flung herself down from above, his arms wrapped around her hips, his face pressed against her stomach as he swung her in an arch and let her slide down his body, smothering her laugh in a kiss. It was several moments before anything passed between them but breath – and even then their voices were ragged with laughter and passion.

“I missed you.” said one voice.

“Today seemed to last forever,” replied the other.

“Will anyone miss you?” they asked together.

Off in the distance, the high pitched echo of a howl signaled the movement of jackels, hunting for prey in the cool of the night. In the wake of that cry, he pulled her toward the river, her delicate kalasiris already slipping from her shoulders to be left abandoned on the sandy shore. His shenti was even less of an impediment, shed with eagerness as both washed away the heat of the day, relaxing into the Nile and each other. In the darkness, their bodies and spirits became one and the river surged around them, bringing life to the desert once more.

In his cave nearby, Hapi, the Lord of the River Bringing Life, smiled.

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Assignment: The Golden Delta
By Gwen Enchanted

The Amazing Catwoman:

Well, first of all, it’s too fucking sunny here. Delicate drow skin, even when expertly painted by one of the amazing women at 7 Deadly s{K}ins, is very delicate. I still can’t seem to change from my drow skin, probably thanks to Herself’s magic or something, is really not handling the sun and sand of this Golden Delta well. I hope they assign me someplace shady tomorrow.

The Realm seems amply protected by magic, so I don’t know why they need me here anyway. I haven’t been issued a staff yet, so I’m armed with only a dagger and a sharp tongue.

You can read more at: https://threetwistedknots.com/2016/04/22/assignment-the-golden-delta/

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The sculptor well those passions read
The start of a story by Saffia Widdershins

“There,” said Ink-tan, leaning back a little from his workbench.  “You see?”

Atnos-tan leaned forward, conscious of the stiffness of the new sandals on his feet, how the hessian robe scratched his neck and arms, and how the leather band, designed to hold his hair out of his eyes, was too tight and made his forehead sweat.

“Yes, Father,” he said obediently, but Ink-tan slapped his hand down on the wooden bench in sudden fury, making the sand fly up and Atnos-tan want to sneeze. He shrank back a little.

“Master,” growled his father. “In the workshop, I am your Master. Do you understand?”

“Yes Master,” he said obediently.

“Then watch,” his father-master said, and went back to rubbing the harsh brush of the fried kokan plant against the sandstone jar before him on the bench. Slowly, under his skilled hands, a pattern was emerging, and a face. When it was completed, it would be ready to hold the bones of a great nobleman who needed to make his final voyage to the afterlife in an urn with a recognisable face, for how else would the gods know his true worth?

Atnos shuffled from sandal to sandal but tried to do it quietly. When his Father had said he was now ready to serve in the workshop, he had imagined that he was be bringing home his first work to show his mother. Instead he had been told to stand and watch. The most exciting time of the day had been when he swept the floor clean of sand, and his father … master had said even that was not good enough and made him do it again.

Behind his father’s head, from this angle, was the frame of the solid stone door, with those curious symbols carved into them. He remembered when he was very small asking his father what those symbols meant.  But Ink-tan could not read.

Now Atnos-tan stared at the frame and at the blue patch of sky, and thought he could hear the shouts of Jokki and Lania, playing by the blue, blue water. Did they miss him? They had nearly finished the reed boat they had planned to take out on the river … would they wait for him before they set sail?  By the time his father closed the workshop it would be nearly supper time.

“Don’t sigh like that,” said his father. “You may ask me questions, you know.”

His sand-scored hands added pressure to the kokan, tracing what was becoming the line of a nostril. Despite himself, Atnos leaned in a little, intrigued. Yes … he could see the proud face, the harsh lines between nose and lip.

“Is he dying, father?” he asked.

There was a long pause. The brush swept to and fro, accentuating the line, making it almost a sneer.

“No,” said his father at last. “But great men prepare their monuments early, less they be forgotten.”

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