Nightmare In Egypt…Part 13/ Feras Werr

Sekhmet watched as the guards she sent to fetch Isis from her chambers emerged with their chores done. They stopped at a short distance from her in the court. Isis was resisting and thrashing about attempting to release herself from the guards grip but to no success. As soon as she saw Sekhmet she shouted, "What kind of insult is this? I demand that they release me now."
  "Have you forgotten the order rank you two faced serpent." Isis gave Sekhmet a dumbfounded look of wonder as she heard the insults. "Seti's orders are heard firstly, then Ramses's then mine then yours you harlot." Isis shouted, "Don't you dare insult me. If it wasn't for my brother you would still be a servant serving me and him you ungrateful slave!" 
"Are you sure he is still your brother?" Sekhmet walked up to Isis and gave her a very sharp look. "I believe I heard your brother which is also my husband once say that the penalty of treason is beheading." Sekhmet gave Isis a small smile and then walked towards her throne while saying. "Do I have to explain further or will you save us a lot of time and tell us of your disgusting scheme with Setekh."
Isis felt that a lightning bolt struck her. She swallowed very hard but maintained a lot of self confidence and denounced the accusation. "I know nothing of what you are talking about."
"We shall see. Satis!" Satis came running at her ladies calling. She stood obediently in front of Sekhmet eyes to the floor. "Yes your majesty."
I want you to repeat what you told me earlier today.
"I had headed to the temple as you told me to summon the head priest Setekh when I saw my lady Isis's chariot outside. Thinking that she was on the same errand as I was I entered but stopped when I overheard her with the head priest Setekh speaking words of treason."
Isis spat at the servant and thrashed about madly while protesting, "You're lying, these are all lies. Sekhmet you always hated me for not supporting my brother ever in marrying you. This is your way of squaring things with me."
Satis looked at Isis and said firmly, "I do not lye. I was born in this residence as my mother and father served here since a long time. I have served in this residence for my entire life and I will not betray my lord pharaoh Seti for any reason. I found it in my conscience to tell about your cheap conspiracy and to save our country from corruption. Our people saw prosperity and famine was curtailed from our cities ever since pharaoh Seti came unto the thrown." Satis realized that Sekhmet was eyeing her firmly as her boldness was out of the acceptable. Even speaking freely without being asked to was an unacceptable trespass from servants to their masters. Satis immediately went down on her knees and worshipped in front of her lady while saying, "Please forgive me your majesty, I allowed my feelings to guide my words and lost control of myself."
"Rise Satis, I marvel at your audacity. You have spoken better about Pharaoh
than his sibling." Sekhmet looked back at Isis and said, "I am also amazed at the filthy, disgusting and foul people that harbor accordingly only cheap ambitions with in them. Speak up and tell us what you heard also Satis."
"She was there to tell Setekh about pharaoh Seti's illness but he had already known about it and he said that he arranged it. I also heard her swear at pharaoh. They parted when Setekh promised to come tonight to her chambers."
"You have no real proof against me. Satis is making this up!"
"We shall see in due time. Satis, I was thinking of giving you a beating for being out of place a moment ago. However I will forgive you if you pick up that whip on the wall near you and give your lady Isis a strong whipping till she speaks up the truth."
Satis froze in her place totally perplexed. Isis wailed in protest. "I'm Isis sister of Mighty Seti, Pharaoh of the greatest power that ever existed, getting a whipping and by a slave! This is a bitter insult! I would rather be speared on the spot that go through with this!"
"Satis if you don't do what you are told…"
Satis knew the iron will of her lady to well. She picked up the whip while Sekhmet asked for a mobile whipping post to be brought from the prison cells. 
Isis showered Sekhmet and Satis with insults. She demanded continuously her release but nobody listened to her. Deep inside she was shaking with fear. She had never tasted the whip before. She used it on a lot of slaves and had seen them sizzle at its taste. She used it twice mercilessly on Satis but the tides have turned now. 
Six guards emerged quickly with a big rectangular wooden block that was waist high. They placed it in the middle of the court. 
"You're going to pay for this Sekhmet, I swear by the gods!" Isis kicked about and resisted but was no match for the firm grip of the guards. They made her go down on her knees and bend over till her upper body was pinned to the surface of the block while her hands were strapped well to it. She gasped as Satis tore down her gown till the bottom of her back and walked back a few steps. 
Sekhmet ordered, "Show no mercy."
Satis knew she was going to enjoy this. She nodded to her lady and lashed the grounds underneath releasing a sharp whip crack. Isis's heart filled with terror at the sharp sound. Her death stricken body grew pale. She noticed the deep canals that were dug underneath her tied up hands. She gulped hard as the strife of prior victims tied up to the post flashed within her mind. Her body began to shake with the woes of anticipation. She knew the first lash was coming very soon and held her breath in. The whip fell fiercely on her back and her body jolted involuntarily. As the full scorch of the lash climaxed within her she gasped and tears came to her eyes. A red welt showed as Satis raised the whip again and gave her a second strong lash. Isis screamed madly as the mounting pain was unbearable. Her body gave snake like convulsions and her nails clawed the wood. The whip whistled as the third lash came down tearing her skin apart. She twisted crazily and cried for mercy. The ensuing lashes cruelly worked her back. Her back turned into a raging conflagration. Her wailing and howling was tremendous and echoed through the residence. She shrieked wildly for mercy but Satis was deaf to her agony. Satis was elated to make her taste a portion of the lashes she had heartlessly given her in the past. The severe begging and the harsh welting on her victim's back were fueling her will to inflict more suffering, to make every lash burn properly. Isis's body fluctuated and careened massively as the lashes followed. She fell into a hysterical frenzy of screams. 
Pharaoh Seti heard faint screaming in the near distance. He sat up questioning through gestures the cause of the commotion. His two doctors tried to make him lye back down but to no avail. He felt that something was wrong. He motioned with his hands his will for the doctor's to help him get up. The doctor's felt indirectly happy for his movements which were a clear indication to them that his illness wasn't sever and his body resisted it. But they knew that movement so soon would have a negative setback on his health. They tried to make him lye down again but to no avail. They knew what a stubborn man he was when he locked his mind to something. The doctor's too were baffled by the commotion in the backgrounds but the palace's events were strictly none of their business. They knew that well. After several attempts to change his mind they obeyed and helped him walk out of his chambers. As they walked him down the corridors it became apparent to him that his sister was screaming and crying. He gestured the doctors to quicken their paces. By the time he reached the court he saw Satis lashing his sister. A storm of panic swept through him. He waved his arms and attempted to speak but could only release weak inaudible sounds that got lost within the turmoil in front of him. Sekhmet was only concentrating on the lashing in front of her and failed to see her husband signaling at a nearby distance to her. The doctor's saw how distressed their patient was and wanted to return back in fear of a sudden setback but he resisted and kept pulling back to the direction of the court.   
On the twentieth lash Sekhmet ordered Satis to cease. She approached Isis and gave a smile at the site of her worn out back. She knelt down and looked at her victim that was lurching madly under sever exhaustion. Her "AAAAIIIIYYYY'S!" and AAAAAWWWW'S!" were thundering through the court. She yanked her head up and said in a very calm indifferent voice, "Believe me this is only a small appetizer. I can sit here all day and watch you boil in your agony. It's up to you, should I ask Satis to continue?" Satis released another whip crack and smiled at the idea. 
Isis Yelled, "Mercy! Mercy! I will speak," Then paused for a small while. She continued in a worn out feeble voice, "I confess and I admit to treason. I… and Setekh betrayed Pharaoh… and plotted to seize the throne from him…we also arranged for the spies to enter...and attempt to murder Seti."
Sekhmet ordered the guards to untie Isis. "Take her to a prison cell. Throw her in there till I order otherwise."
Seti watched as the guards dragged away his weeping sister. He didn't believe what his ears were hearing. He felt the pain of a thousand knives stab his chest. He cried and released anguish moans that caught the attention of Sekhmet. Sekhmet shrieked with shock and ran towards him. Darkness prevailed all around Seti as he fell down to the ground. 
*****
"Our Pharaoh is asleep but will not wake very easily." One of the two doctors spoke sincerely to Ramses and Sekhmet. "We have to thank the gods that he has quite a tough body but…the future is totally unclear presently."
"I don't understand what you are saying," Answered Ramses. Ramses moved towards his ill father and sat beside him in bed. He picked up his hand and kissed it passionately.
"We have dealt with cases like these in the past. We don't know what causes it. The body is in a deep sleep breathing normally but doesn't awake…" The doctor shook his head and said, "I have to tell you that all the cases we dealt with, well none of them woke and died in a very short period of time. I'm afraid our services are of no use anymore. He rests in the hands of the gods." The doctors excused themselves and left Pharaoh's chamber. 
Ramses asked Sekhmet, "Is that what Satis heard Setekh say, that he arranged for my father's illness. But How?"
Sekhmet eyed Ramses as he sat beside his father totally helpless and sorry. She was frustrated herself as her life was all crashing about her very strongly and quickly. She threw up her hands and replied, "I don't know. I haven't got a clue. But with Isis's confession, it is no longer obscure that they are responsible. Setekh will answer your questions."
"She must have had him drink or eat something. I will show that harlot and her bastard lover. I will leave for somewhere shortly but when I'm back I will personally order that Isis meets an agonizing death along with the priests of the temple. I will bury them tomorrow in their tombs after a very painful death. This should serve them right for putting my father into this misery!" 
Sekhmet never saw her step son more determined towards an issue like he was right now. She feared his expression that shot spears of death at his present experiences. She replied concernedly, "Ramses, no, don't be hasty. We don't know what kind of black sinister evil we are up against. You saw how Setekh killed the spy in the prison fortress."
Ramses stood up with a confused expression on his face. He looked at Sekhmet questioning her advice, "Do you expect me to see my Kingdom crumbling down and sit here hands folded. Muwatallis is hammering our armies in Sidon and Tyre and Setekh waving a dark war in collaboration with our enemies to steal my throne. You ask the impossible of me!"
"Your father always held on you massive aspirations for the future." Sekhmet placed her hands on his shoulders and begged, "Don't do anything impulsive and foolish. I forbid you to leave here without telling me what you are going to do Ramses."
Ramses removed her hands and walked towards the door slowly. Sekhmet always felt that Ramses inherited his father's stubbornness and firmness. She knew that there was no power on earth that could stop her step son from changing anything in his mind. Ramses answered, "You don't know what kind of fire is blazing inside me. I really don't know but what I'm going to do is within the lines of going to that temple and beheading that two faced serpent Setekh. I know that my father and you love me a lot. But I wish to confront that evil minded bastard tonight." 
"Ramses, with your father ill I'm responsible for you. You will do as I say and stay here. Satis heard Setekh say that he will visit Isis tonight in her chambers. He will come to us. You don't have to go to the temple. In our palace we are stronger." Sekhmet walked up to Ramses and caressed him warmly between her arms. She continued in an earnest voice, "Your strength is needed very dearly when the upcoming war begins. Please think about the consequences if anything should happen to you. The army needs the son of Pharaoh to be there and lift up its' spirits in battle. If anything should happen to you things are going to worsen."
"Believe me the worst is happening to me right now. I will not leave Setekh behind to play around and toil with the safety of my people and kingdom. I won't be able to concentrate on battle if my home is in anarchy! Forgive me mother. I know ever since my natural mother died four years ago you have taken good care of me. You have been a true mother to me. I used to envy all my brethren for having heir natural mothers to take care of them but ever since my father married you my life changed and I was well taken care off. Thank You. But I'm afraid this once I will have to break your order and do what my post as leader asks me to do. My people will never respect a weak charactered leader. They need a pharaoh made out of steel to govern their Empire." Ramses felt a strange feeling creep inside him. He felt as if he will never see his mother again. He had never had such a gloomy feeling come over him before, not at even the ill sight of his father. A disturbing brief dizziness came over him and left swiftly. Was this an omen from the gods of upcoming gravity? 
"Mother I love you. What ever happens to me always remember that I love you. I have to leave." He knelt down and kissed her feet in full respect to her. He stood up and raced off.  
"Ramses what is going on! Ramses come back!"  Sekhmet raced briefly after her son but she was no match for the brisk strides that he took. She watched him leave with nothing in her power to stop him from facing Setekh. She wept and cried hard as her son's words lit a blaze of uncertainty in her breast. 
*****
"Setekh! Setekh!" Ramses screamed strongly. His voice echoed mightily within the big spacious walls of the temple. He withdrew his sword in anticipation of the confrontation and shook it vigorously within his grasp." Crawl out from under your rock you untrusting scorpion!" Moments passed with no one appearing, not even the twelve temple priests. 
"Where are you?! If you are a man, which I doubt you are, you will show yourself!" No sounds were heard but their breathing and the crackle of the fires that lit in front of the statue and the middle of the temple. 
Ptah and the twenty soldiers were circled around their leader in case of any unexpected danger. Their eyes roamed alertly in the spacious room they were in. "Spread out and search the temple premises. I want that scoundrel alive now!!!" The soldiers burst out in teams of two and began their search. Ptah remained with Ramses and made his safety his top priority. Bird wing flapping in the background was aroused from Ramses's screaming. 
Ptah thought out loud but still in a restraint voice, "That bird must be quite a big one for it to produce such noise." 
"What did you say Ptah?"
"Nothing of any relevance but…" The bird flapping was heard again. Ptah turned around till he got a glimpse of the bird. It was an extremely large creature. It circled randomly near the high ceiling of the temple for some time then headed for the entrance. He impulsively picked up his spear and hurled it at the bird. The bird dropped to the floor and danced about from the pain. 
"By Amenram Ptah, this is no time for target practice." Ramses right away noticed the extraordinary size of the bird. He took a few steps back and exclaimed. "Great gods what is that thing."
"Wait Ramses." Ptah ran up to it but to his amazement it managed to fly back up. It headed straight at him targeting him purposely. Ptah and Ramses ducked down allowing it to fly over their heads. It circled around and took a dive at them again. Ptah and Ramses covered their heads with their arms as the creature neared. It clawed at Ptah's arm making him scream with pain. Ramses was nearly paralyzed with fear from its size. It was almost his size with wings open. He gave it a hard blow and it hurled backwards in the air a distance dragging Ptah with it before releasing him. Its powerful grip at Ptah's arm caused a sever laceration as it yanked backwards from the blow. Ptah folded his injured arm and screamed as he fell to the floor. The guards all came back from their search at Ptah's screaming and threw their spears at it shooing it away. The bird flew awkwardly out of the entrance. 
Ramses hurried to where Ptah was to check up on him. "That was a very large vicious eagle," Ptah said worn out by the blow. 
"I didn't have time to notice its' type. I was dead worried on how to make it go away. But why by the gods did you attack it? We could have avoided this whole contact."
"It had the shadow of a human being Ramses. Didn't you notice?" Ramses exclaimed, "Setekh?!"  
One of the guards brought a piece of cloth and wrapped Ptah's arm with it. "Lord Ptah, we will need to go to the doctor's. We must move you quickly." Ptah nodded. As the guards helped him up he said, "Ramses, I fear that we will never catch Setekh. We are obviously dealing with a pure illusion. He's just once step ahead of us always."
"I will deal with him eventually. Believe me Ptah the hate that I harbor in my heart for this black personality will never go away. I will slay him with my sword. I want guards set up throughout the temple. Confine our twelve priests within the temple. Place two guards to check each one. They may not rest without being guarded firmly. As for Setekh, give orders to any guard that sees him to take his life. Make his treason known throughout our kingdom. Tell the people that any person that helps him hide will be executed along with him. Give your orders to the commanders in chief as of tonight to hunt him down in all our cities till they find him, even if they have to organize a house to house search. This will prevail till I'm back from war. As for Isis, send her off to work with the slaves that are working at the new temple in Thebes. Give your orders that she may be treated like all the other slaves Ptah."
Ptah stared at Ramses with disbelief. Despite the strong acquaintance between them never did Ptah see such character and determination in his friend before. The distress they were in was beginning to form a very mighty personality in Ramses that Ptah feared already. A very solid leader was in the making.   
*****
Isis turned uncomfortably in her sleep. Tickles spread over various areas of her body. They were very light sensations that gently messaged and irritated her. For a few times she tried scratching the itchy areas but to no avail. They returned and disrupted her sleep. She turned on her back but was fully awakened by powerful stings. Her entire body ached as the pain propelled her to sit up in the darkness that was the dominant feature at hand. The memories gradually seeped to her mind. 
A small torch lit on a wall in the far distance projected thin beams of light that barely made things possible to see. Two soldiers that were on night shift were standing near it fully alert. The prison cell she was in was small, nasty and smelled like an animal stall. It seemed totally empty to her aside a saucer of some liquid and a piece of bread. The thought that she slept in it caused a deep feeling of disgust to soar through her. 
She stood up and walked feebly towards the bars that blocked her from freedom. One phrase kept rolling in her mind, "from the riches of royalty to a commoner's prison." She was locked up with filth instead of her royal chambers. Her once silky gown that she wore torn to a piece of rag. "This can't be happening to me, I'm in a dream, I will awake soon and find myself in my palace again." Isis hit the bars with her fists and demanded, "Get me out of here. I'm the princess of these lands; guards get me out of here. I'm commanding you!" Nobody answered but the echoes of her voice in the prisons around her.  
She thought to herself, "It's my entire fault, did I have to visit Setekh in that temple. I should have listened to him." Tears came to her eyes as her feelings for him surfaced, "Oh I miss you Setekh. Where are you? I miss being between your arms, I miss your sweet caress, how much I need you. If he only knew what was happening to me he would have come to my help by now. If he only knew what his love has done to me?" 
A strong surge of hunger crept within her. Isis didn't know for how long she had slept in the prison. Her senses told her that she hadn't eaten in long while. Her spirit was weak and she felt dizzy. She looked at the saucer and bread but didn't have the slightest appetite to taste the contents at all. The smell of lamb meat arose within her and captivated her senses. She would be having some upon her order with some remarkable wine. 
Another strong convulsion hit her stomach. All of a sudden everything seemed delicious, the thick anonymous liquid, the bread. She walked towards her modest meal and sat down. She picked up the piece of bread and broke a small morsel off. She dipped it in the saucer and ate. The cream was tasteless and the bread crackled as she chewed. Despite the neutrality of taste she felt her stomach rejoice at the portion of nourishment that had just settled in. Isis dipped another morsel of bread but stopped. Something was wrong. Suddenly she felt tickles rising up her back. She jumped and shrieked while trying to brush off what was climbing her back. She rammed her back against the walls but the gentle throbs were unaffected and continued their way up to her neck. Isis smacked her neck as hard as she could and felt something drop down. It faintly showed in the dim light. It was a big beetle. She stepped on it. It cracked underneath her shoes. A deep feeling of uneasiness came over her as she knew what was tickling her while she was asleep. Isis thought she was dreaming. 
Her hand had clutched firmly from the tension she felt at brushing off the beetle and mashed the bread she was portioning. She looked at the mashed soggy bread with disgust as her perception glowed with what was really crackling earlier with it in her mouth. Her stomach turned and toiled. Isis fell down on her hands and knees as the eruptions gushed from her mouth. Everything in her body shook and shivered as her stomach revolted against its new contents. She gradually settled into heavy breathing and groaning as the successive fiery feelings prevailed in her throat and chest. Another big beetle crept and mounted over her vomiting right under her face. Isis took off her shoes and started beating the beetle with it severely. The liquid splashed on her face and all around her. She beat the floor and screamed and cried her frustration out frantically then fell into helpless tears. No one was there for her. 

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