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 Ayat-Hea: New Beginnings

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Ayathea

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Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-06-26

PostSubject: Ayat-Hea: New Beginnings   Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:46 pm

The Hem Netjer wasn't pleased. He was the high priest of the Cult of Set in Khemi, and therefore one of the most influential men in all Stygia. He was high enough in the hierarchy that he didn't need to divert his attention to menial duties and needs of the cult, and could devote himself entirely to his own agenda and interests. Whenever something prevented him from doing whatever he'd rather be doing he felt outraged, angry that others would waste his time. Maybe he could have appreciated the beautiful woman in front of him more if he weren't so upset about the circumstances.

He skimmed his eyes across the letter she had brought him, tossed it casually on the low table in front of him and folded his arms across his chest. He looked the woman up and down: she was in her mid-twenties, dusky skin dressed in white priestly clothes that emphasized her voluptuously slender body, long and straight black hair hanging loose on her back. Despite the stunning visage in front of him, his annoyance was abundantly obvious by his expression. "So, you're Ayat-Hea, the 'Beloved of Set'. Given the wild tales I've heard of you, I expected more."

"It hurts me to disappoint you, high priest," she replied with a malicious smile, her tone laced with sarcasm. "Somehow I make do with what little Father Set has given me."

He grunted, leaning forward. "Who do you think you are to speak to me in that tone, girl? As far as I'm concerned you're nothing but a whore on a tide of good luck."

"Indeed I am," she replied. She was indeed young for her position, and had endured many indelicacies because of it. "I am a girl... a whore... an Arit Priestess not bound to your temple..." Her look then turned darker, her light emerald eyes gazed viciously into the Hem Netjer's. "I am whatever the Great Serpent wishes of me. Just like you."

He clenched his fists, and in his mind he saw himself grabbing her long hair and repeatedly slamming her head against the table until her skull split open. Even to someone as powerful as he, however, there were limits: and being reminded of that by a girl one third his age made him feel even worse.

"Why is a Priestess of Deeds moving into my city?" he demanded. "What is it that the Prophets deem me incapable of doing?"

Her look relaxed a bit, and she turned her eyes towards the window in the room. It was a beautiful day: she could see the Styx outside, with its calm yet treacherous dark waters, and beautiful dunes on the other side, framed by a clear blue sky. "I will be living in Khemi for a while, but I'll spend a good deal of time traveling abroad. I will also be keeping an eye on certain interests around here. You don't need to be concerned, it has nothing to do with your internal operations."

He kept staring at her, impassive. Her eyes turned to face him again, and her tone was now deeply serious: "Hem Netjer, I have no intention of getting in your way or interfering with your affairs. I have my duties, like you have yours, and that's all." She leaned in towards him, her generous cleavage and scented hair came into his focus. "I'd much rather see you as a brother and good friend than anything else."

He sighed and relaxed his arms, then raised his right hand to run his fingers through his graying hair. There wasn't anything he could do, at least not at present. "What do you need?"

She smiled. "I'll need a house. Nothing too big or small, but close to the docks. A couple of my slaves and some possessions are due to arrive from Luxur in a couple of days, I'd like to have this settled by then."

"That much is obvious. What about your mysterious duties here, is there anything in particular that you need of this temple?"

"There is, but Selemon, my personal scribe, is already looking into it." She then winked at him with a smile and straightened herself up. "I'm delighted that we've reached an understanding. I apologize for taking so much of your time and thank you for having me, Hem Netjer. Blessings of Set be upon you."

He nodded. She gracefully took two steps backwards and had just turned towards the door when he stopped her with one last question: "Is there any truth to it? The fantastic tale of you being offered as a sacrifice to the sacred python in Luxur when you were little, and ending adopted by Neb-Hotep?"

She looked at him from over her left shoulder. "There are only two who can answer that. First would be my adoptive father, then Hem Netjer of Luxur and now Second Prophet of Set. The second would be the sacred python itself." She then smiled broadly, showing perfect white teeth. "Pick whichever is less likely to eat you and go ask it. If you survive, please share it with me."

***

The tall, dark figure waited patiently outside the door. Well defined muscles on a skin completely ridden of any body hair except for his brows, his head and torso were tattooed with reptilian symbols. Selemon wasn't a devoted of Set in particular, he paid his respects to all the Stygian gods equally - to him, the tattoos represented the bond with the scaleless serpent that he served.

As Ayat passed through the door he silently moved in and started following her, keeping a distance of one step to her right. His height and build made him tower over her, and though he kept his gaze lowered to the ground, he was sharply attentive to his surroundings.

"Well?" she asked without looking at him, keeping her pace and elegant posture.

"The Priests of Texts have no recordings of this 'Sealladh', master." he replied in perfect Stygian, in a tone that only she could hear clearly.

Everything so far was as she expected: meaningless pride from the local high priest, lack of proper control regarding the foreigners constantly moving about Khemi. They continued walking in silence until they left the temple and reached her horse, waiting outside under the care of a temple acolyte. The tall man moved past her, between her and the animal, when she spoke: "We must continue inquiring about them. They aren't essential, but I feel they will make my tasks a lot easier."

"Who should we bribe, master?"

She shook her head. "I'm afraid this isn't something we'll solve through silvery tongue and gold coins."

"Then who must we kill?" he asked, his expression unchanged.

She sighed, finally allowing the tiredness of the voyage to show. "We'll see about that later. Now all I really want are a hot bath and a massage."

Selemon nodded with a soft, almost imperceptible smile, then knelt on his hands and knees in front of her. The priestess stepped up on his solid back and gracefully mounted on her horse. He then stood up, casually beat the sand off his hands and knees, grabbed the horse's reigns and began to conduct it towards the Serpent's Head Inn, where they were temporarily installed.

((I use material found in the "Conan RPG - Stygia: Serpents of the South", which isn't all canon but very colorful.))
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