[livejournal.com profile] writers_muses - 48.1.F - You know me too well

Jan. 2nd, 2009 09:36 pm
sekhmet_mrytamn: (khepera)
[personal profile] sekhmet_mrytamn
The Hippo Hunt

I found my love by the secret canal, feet dangling down in the water
He had made a hushed cell in the thicket for worship
to delicate this day, to holy elevation of the flesh.

He brings to light that which is hidden, breast and thigh go bare, go bare.
Now, raised on high toward his altar, exalted,
A tall man is more than his shoulders. *

The sun had just crept over the horizon when Neb Tjeti left the enclosure of his private estate with his retinue. He was a man who always rose before first light. In his duties as First Prophet of Imen in the ancient city of Waset, in the far south of the Red Land, great Temple City of Upper Kemet, Tjeti rose many mornings to serve in the naos of his Father, Imen, the Unseen. There he washed and cared for the statue of the Netjer, caressed the warm stone with oils and applied kohl to the Netjer's eyes, dressed Him in fine linens, woven by the priests and noble women of the temple of Isut-ipet. He left fragrant flowers and wine, sweet fruits and good bread, all for the use of the divinity within the sacred shrine. This duty he performed in the morning, and in the evening he repeated his purifications, himself in a state of purity.

But not even a High Priest in the service of the King of the Netjerw served all the time, and this morning was for Tjeti's pleasure. With a few of his fellow priests, all young and strapping nobles, plus two of Medjay elite, and their servants, punters and bearers, Tjeti made his way to the shores of the Hap, where hunting skiffs waited. The men were boisterous, full of the spirits of men that are on their way to prove themselves and to court danger. Today they hunted on the blue waters of the Hap (blue this far south where the fertile band of land was thin and the desert creeps close to that narrow strip of life giving mud), astride their skiffs, like Cretan bull riders balancing on their beasts. Tjeti stood tall, in just a flashing white kilt and loincloth, his favorite harpoon in hand while his servant, Tepi, punted the skiff not into the fast waters but to a slow and marshy inlet.

It was here that the great water horse wallowed, the great beasts of the Hap, the hippos potamios in Greek, deb in Kemetic. Today the hunters were after the massive bull hippo, a terrifying beast that led his cows to feed on the fields of Waset's peasants, causing great hardship to the people. Further, such a beast was wild in his rage, unpredictable. He had already attacked and killed one poor farmer that had the misfortune to be in his way. Today the bull hippo was to provide sport for the noble hunters.

Such an undertaking was not without danger for the hunters. Though hippo harpoons were massive and lethal weapons, weighted and barbed to pierce the thick hide of a bull hippo, still they were wielded by men and men were puny in comparison to the water beast; associated with Set for his destructive rages. Tjeti stood tall on his skiff, tall for a man of Kemet though apparently the ebon men of Ethiop stood much taller. The priest was six foot in height and built like a bull himself, slim of limb but muscular and broad in the shoulders. Only the two Medjay with their Nubian origins came near him in height. But no man allowed on the hunt was not capable of defending himself - for death was too close when men when against the deb.

It was noon before they sighted the herd in the water, their backs humps just above the glittering surface. The animals raised their heads, and exhaled through their noses, spraying water from their nostrils. The bristles on their massive muzzles quivered. The bull opened his mouth and roared, huge white teeth like pegs, lethal jaws. Their black skin had a reddish gleam from the red oil that oozed from their pores. Each skiff, with its hunter and punter, maneuvered to cut the bull off from the cows, letting the females slip off down the river with their calves. The hunters circled the male, as he leaped and bolted in the water. He submerged and they couldn't see where he had gone when he came up right under the skiff, the one that held the young official and noble, Kha. Kha and his servant were thrown upwards and then back so that they came down in the water with a great spray of water. There was much shouting as the remaining hunters circled the bull again, pushing him into shallower water so he couldn't pull the same trick again. Meanwhile the sodden Kha swam to his skiff and turned the slender reed boat upright. No use to try and climb back on he had to push it towards the shore.

Tjeti was eager to make the kill so he made sure that he was always in the forefront of the hunters. Tepi called out a warning to his master when they nearly came to close to the enraged red maw of the bull hippo. Peshed was the first to spear the beast, pushing his harpoon into the rump of the animal. The bull shot forward a few feet in the water, setting up a wake that nearly toppled Tjeti; forcing him to bend down and grab the side of the skiff while Tepi jammed his pole down into the mud to stop them from going over. Meanwhile the bull, blood pouring from his haunch twisted and turned to face Peshed, his great jaws open wide as he bellowed in injured protest. He grabbed hold of Peshed's boat before the hunter could twist away. He was thrown into the water while the bull grabbed the reed boat and crushed in between his teeth. Unfortunately he caught Peshed's servant too, crushing the poor man's leg along with the skiff. The screams were terrible as the hippo shook the punter, whipping the body like a a wife shaking out her dusty rug.

If the man was to be saved they needed to fell the bull hippo quickly now. The two Medjay, brothers and experienced hunters, both speared the beast from the side as Tjeti moved in quick and with a mighty thrust of his harpoon shoved the point deep into the fatty neck and throat of the hippo. Red blood bubbled through the animals clenched jaws and then it cried out in pain and madness, smashing against Peshed's skiff so that his servant was thrown into the water. The hippo twisted his head, trying to escape the pain of the harpoon in his throat, but Tjeti did not let go. He clung with all his great strength to the haft and was whipped off his feet and into the water. Still he held on. The water wasn't soo deep where they had cornered the bull hippo but if Tjeti hadn't been so tall he would have been unable to keep his footing. As it was he struggled to sink his feet into the mud so that the hippo wouldn't send him floating and render all his strength useless. Bracing himself as firmly as he could, up to his ankles in muck, the water churned and black with the mud of the Hap, Tjeti leaned into the animal's neck, sinking the harpoon in deeper and deeper. Blood spouted from the gapping hole made by the heavy weapon, and at the same time the other hunters punctured the beasts hide in shoulders, haunches, and ribs.

It seemed like an eternity to the priest as he was drenched in hot blood and the muddy waters, his body leaning into the rough skin of the dying hippo, his feet buried in muck but still he was slipping. Finally it was over as the great and mighty beast pumped out the last of his life giving blood into the swirling waters and went limp, then rolled over. Now all the men were in the water, panting with exertion, their harpoons sticking from the hide, spent. Then the elation set in and they called to one another and called each other names and laughed, feeling that special bond that warriors and hunters of dangerous beasts share. Tjeti joined as loudly as the others, and wiping the mud and blood from his eyes, fished his knife from his belt and cut his harpoon free from the hippo's flesh, hacking through hide and blubber, and twisting until he could retrieve his favored weapon, handing it back to Tepi. Then the hunters all grabbed hold of the massive body and floated it towards shore. Tjeti laughed as he realized his sandals had been lost, sucked into the river mud.

Hours later Tjeti managed to return to his home, oxen dragging the body of the hippo on a sled. The other hunters tagging along, invited to dinner at the First Prophet's table. Peshed's servant had been sent to the temple healers. Prayers would be made on his behalf.

First, however, a bath...

The sounds of shouts and happy singing echoed throughout the courtyard and reverberated throughout the house. Sekhmet's husband had returned and, she smiled, judging the sounds of the jubilation outside the hunt had been a successful one. Sekhmet made her way through the large house, knowing that he would probably want to clean up immediately. As she made her way along the marble corridors, quickening her pace the closer she came to the passage that led to the bathing chamber. She managed to keep herself busy while her husband, the Hm Ntjr Tepe ne Imen had gone to hunt the deb.

The entire morning her nerves had been stretched taut. Attending to the concerns of both the business of the Temple of Sekhmet, and those duties that she shared with her husband filled her morning. In amid the correspondences and dispatches she had to write were the prescriptions for her patients that needed to be dictated to her assistants. All of these things had failed to keep her mind off her husband, Tjeti. Bull hippos could be dangerous, and though she had complete confidence in his abilities, she could not help but give an occasional thought to her husband's safety.

The bathing chamber was large and filtered light streamed through the slats within the columned hall. The vast marble room was that was filled with a profusion of plants and flowers and and vases overflowing with colorful blossoms. Dominating the chamber was a large bathing pool, at the center stood a tall muscular form with his back to her. Sekhmet watched her husband who moved only slightly in the water that came just below his shoulder blades. She could not hide a satisfied feline smile.

Sekhmet and Tjeti's relationship was one that had always been what most Kemeteu would have found to be ideal. From the moment that the Netjeru had brought them together their union was entirely steeped in passionate impetuousness. Their courtship had been swift, but the depth and intensity of their connection was undeniable. Somehow, Sekhmet thought, the Netjeru could not have seen a relationship between the First Son Amun and First Daughter of Sekhmet as otherwise. The rarity of bonds that went beyond the physical and the spoken to the realm of the Hidden.

"Has my husband become like the deb himself and decided to spend the afternoon in the water?" She crossed the room to the water's edge, careful not to get the hem of her new pleated linen sheath wet. The material she wore was tight and transparent, and she wore only the smallest amount of jewelry.

Tjeti turned to look at his wife. With a smile that was like the leonine grimace of Bes, the High Priest of Amun dove under the water and swam toward the edge of the bathing pool toward Sekhmet only to come up spraying water out of his mouth and nose as he broke the surface. Sekhmet laughed at her husband who proceeded to act like the hippo - submerging, then emerging, until at last he rose from the water again, roaring at her. Without warning, he lunged toward Sekhmet, pulling her into the water. Her shriek and laughter at being pulled into the pool rather than merely splashed echoed throughout the chamber. She was soaked, her new sheath ruined.

He did not let go of her wrist but instead playfully he pulled her into the center of the pool. The folds of sheath now wet, was completely transparent, the pleats relaxed about her form. With a simple yet skillful gesture of his hand the garment fell away from her shoulders, exposing her breasts to Tjeti's eyes and hands. Sekhmet responded to him, grateful that he was safe and she indulged herself in a low throaty laugh, only to kiss him ravenously.

Sekhmet loved her husband's touch and found herself licking the side of the hand that had moved aside her braids to expose her neck. Tjeti's were strong and well cared for. They were uncaloused and always scented with myrrh. Amun's son should be scented as his Father. Tjeti's mouth came down, covering hers before she could finish a sharp intake of breath, as his fingers parted her thighs, tracing down over her supple body and pushing his groin against hers. All moderation had fled now. As hungry as a lion he set about feasting upon her supine form. The strength that had slain the deb, was now turned toward her. Sekhmet tore at him with mouth, and hands, her body entwined around his in the water moaning softly, back and body arching. Neither lover in their ebullient state would be denied the other. She wrapped her hips around him fingers digging into the flesh of his back. Fired by her touch, he tore her shift from her body, the fabric pulling apart, tearing like tissue in the water. Tjeti stood upon the bottom of the bathing pool, grasping her now naked form to him, upright in his desire.
"I received news from Alexandria today, "., Sekhmet murmured to her husband as she stared into the polished copper mirror and carefully reapplied kohl around her eyes. Very carefully she rimmed the upper and lower lids, careful not to smudge her work. The water and their aquatic lovemaking had destroyed not only her garments but the careful work that she had done to her appearance. Now with guests in their home to enjoy the feast from the fresh kill, she reassembled herself carefully.

"Oh? " Tjeti asked ,"Who from?" He tied off the ends of his fresh linen kilt and arranged the folds carefully around him. Reaching for the broad collar held out to him by a young manservant, he dismissed the youth with a nod. As the boy retreated from the room, closing the door soundlessly behind him, Tjeti mused that the lad would most undoubtedly remain in Amun's service most of his life in one form or another.

Sekhmet placed the kohl pot back on the dressing table and picked up the crushed azurite dust, carefully applying it to her eyelids. "The Temple of Sekhmet. ", she continued, "It seems that the women physicians are having some problems with our present Per'aa. He also does not 'approve' of the notion that women can be admitted to the Temple school to be trained as physicians."

Tjeti chuckled softly, "Yes, and I am sure that you will have some choice things to say to our Per'aa in your correspondence, won't you?"

"What correspondence?" she asked, "I'm not sure I will even deign such a ridiculous notion with a reply!" Sekhmet said with a disdainful snort. Turning, she blinked into the mirror twice, now satisfied with her appearance she lay the ivory application stick aside.

Tjeti shook his head and smiled as he fastened the collar and counterpoise about his neck. The lapis and gold beads glowed against his skin.

"Oh you will, Sekhmet." he said grinning. He was well aware of his wife's habits, including the ones that kept her up late at night in her study rather than in her bed. " I will make certain that Chenmet leaves sufficient papyrus and oil in the lamp tonight for you in your study. I doubt if you will let another passing of Ra over the horizon before you have your answer dispatched and on its way to Alexandria!"

Sekhmet shot him a stern glance then let a grudging smile cross her lips. "You know me too well, Priest." she said.

Muse: Sekhmet Merytamun
Fandom: Original Character / ' En Intw Djerw Henet' / Highlander
Word Count: 2728 (not including poem)

*From "New Kingdom Love Songs" Translated by John Foster
Special Thanks to the Mun of Tjeti Amunhotep (Tjeti Priest) on Pan Historia


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