By Jane Richards
The troops arrived at midday. They had ridden hard from the capital to bolster the men that had already accompanied him. After a short delay to rest the horses as well as the riders the large troop began their trek towards Memphis.
"Tepi, how are you doing?" Nekhi asked as they cantered along at the front of the company with the King and Queen. "I noticed you changed into more comfortable clothing before we left," he grinned.
Tepi, following her mothers' example, had changed from the snug white linen dress to a more utilitarian full skirted riding dress made of a less delicate material. She also wore a riding cloak with a hood to protect against the heat of the god Re shining down on them. "I'm just fine, Nekhi. I wouldn't think of complaining, anyway. I'm the one who asked to come, you know. How would it look if the kings' daughter began to whine about the discomfort associated with this journey?"
"You know we are very proud of you, don't you?" he asked. "Mother and you are very brave to go on such a long trip. Especially when there will probably be fighting going on. Will you help the priests in the medical tents?"
Tepi answered without even thinking. "Of course. I found I was a lot of help the last time I did. When we were coming back from rescuing you in the delta. The medical priests said I was very good at tending the wounded. After we got back home I asked one of the temple workers to teach me some of the things I should know. She showed me a papyrus that told lots of information. It had been written many years ago and contained many of the medicines used."
Many days later the troops were nearing the area in which reports had shown that the enemy was pushing to the south. It seemed eerie and quiet. On the horizon Tepi could see the Akhet [pyramid] with its' shiny electrum tip glinting in the sun. The troop stopped at an oasis. This would be where the medical tents would be set up and where Queen Tetisheri and Princess Tepi would stay. Hopefully out of harms' way.
Nekhi poked his head into the tent in which Tepi seated. "It's time for dinner. Come on, I'll walk you to Fathers' tent. He wanted us to have a family dinner tonight."
Tepi arose and they both walked to the large tent in the middle of the camp that had been set up under the palms in the oasis. There they sat with the King and Queen as well as the Vizier and other nobles of the court. They proudly felt a part of this group who were protecting their country.
As it turned out the battle was a brief one. Tepi was kept busy in the medical quarters tending to the wounded and helping the priest with the medications and surgeries.
The King suddenly appeared at the camp with his troops. He looked haggard and tired but very triumphant. They had successfully pushed the Hyksos back into the northern parts of the Nile Delta.
A procession of troops accompanied the King, Queen, High Priest, Crown Prince and Princess to the ancient city of Memphis. Through the streets the people rejoiced at being freed from Hyksos control. The Governor of the province was reseated in his capital city by the King and a great feast was prepared for all. The people of Memphis organized games and feasts in the streets to celebrate their freedom and the uniting of their province with the rest of Egypt.
As they rested after days of celebrating Nekhi and Tepi decided they would love to see the Great Horizon/Akhet [Great Pyramid] and the Hor-em-Akhet [Sphinx or 'Guardian of the Akhet']. They had been near it when Tepi had rescued Nekhi from the Hyksos but there hadn't been time for any sightseeing. Their minds had only been intent on escape. Now, they had time and decided to ask permission to be shown these ancient symbols of Kem [Egypt].
With a guide and a group of soldiers to protect them the two proceeded to the plateau on which the giant pyramid and lion-bodied statue stood.
"Have you ever seen anything like this?" queried Nekhi as he bent his neck to see the top of the huge edifice. It had smooth, pink, limestone sides. The top was covered in electrum [a mix of gold and silver] which shown in the sun like a beacon. Around it were smaller pyramids, the tombs of many court officials and relatives of the king who caused this to be built.
"I really don't think we'll ever see anything like this anywhere," whispered Tepi in an awed reverent tone. "Just think. This was built centuries ago and is still as good as new!"
Next, they saw the guardian statue. It was the giant body of a lion with the face of an ancient and unknown king. The guide told them that it had been freed of sand many times. Sometimes it had been buried clear to its' neck. The people of Memphis had always felt it their responsibility to keep the sand away. The king whose image was carved on the face of the statue was said to be that of the grandson of the great king who built the pyramid but he wasn't sure of this. Not far away from the guardian statue was the remains of a mortuary temple with a ramp leading to a smaller pyramid. The whole complex included three pyramids; the large one and two smaller ones and several satellite pyramids that were much smaller. These other pyramids had no limestone sides like the Great Pyramid.
When returning to Memphis Nekhi and Tepi talked to each other about these wonderful buildings. They were tired but very happy when they arrived to rejoin their father and mother, relating all they had seen to their parents.
"While you were gone we received some news from the palace," their father informed them. "It seems that someone we know very well has been caught and questioned about your kidnapping. My sister-in-law, it turns out," he continued grimly.
"Shemsi?" they both said at once. "How could she do this again?" asked Tepi. "Wasn't she imprisoned in her estate?"
Nekhi added in disbelief," I would have thought she had learned her lesson from the first time, father. What would make her hate us so much?" Their father sighed and looked across at their mother. "You two will find that there are many people who will do anything for their own reasons. Some for power, some for gold and some for purely personal reasons. Just keep your guard up, be careful and when the time comes, do the best you can for your country and your people."
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