This weekend was Elle Strauss’ First 250 Words Blogfest. I had every intention of posting the first page of Hatshepsut on Saturday and then was waylaid by a migraine that mucked up my entire weekend.
If I could have gauged my eyes out or trephinated my own skull on Saturday I would have. Unfortunately, both those tasks are difficult to accomplish when you can’t get out of bed.
So now, without further ago, here are my 250! (Better late than never, right?)
Her sister was dead.
Hatshepsut reached out to touch a clump of papyrus reeds as the skiff bobbed its way across the Nile. Soon she would become the next Great Royal Wife. The title should have gone to Neferubity; would have, had her sister not passed to the Field of Reeds. Now Hatshepsut’s greatest responsibility in this life was to marry her brother and bear Egypt’s future heir. The thought made her wish she could trade places with her sister.
The morning was still cool enough; Re’s scorching heat had not yet wrung the sweat from her pores. The rowers gave a hippo wide berth, but the lazy river cow only yawned before submerging itself below the silty waters. Hatshepsut’s eyes burned with the tears she had shed at Neferubity’s tomb, but donkeys brayed and children laughed as the boat neared the East Bank. Life continued here in Egypt’s capitol, despite Neferubity’s absence from this world. The rowers–young men scarcely clad in loincloths–grunted as they tied up the royal barque. One almost tripped in his haste to help her onto the dock.
Even though she hadn’t heard it in almost two years, she knew that voice.
Her brother. And future husband.
Thutmosis had been in Canaan on a military campaign with their father for the past two years and wasn’t expected back for several months. Hatshepsut was shocked as her brother hobbled toward her, leaning on an ivory walking cane. His lips pursed every time he put weight on his right foot.