Where possible, you must find witnesses who saw them, preferably men of Kemet. His face, as perfectly molded as a statue of royalty, was drawn and pale, accenting a small livid scar at the corner of his mouth. Like the outer document, it was nothing more than a list, naming no names, pointing no fingers. A proud officer in the service of Queen Hatshepsut, it was Lieutenant Bak's great misfortune to lead his charioteers in a raid of a house of pleasure frequented by Egyptians of very high station. Below was a hole more than half a cubit square.
He had to look at other possibilities, at other potential suspects. Bak thought of his own, similar prayer to the lord Amon, greatest of the gods. The flame sputtered, sparks cascaded to the ground. Bak bowed his head and offered a silent prayer to the lord Re, the greatest of all physicians. He looked away, pretending to examine the room. Another officer leads my men. The most obvious idea was the least appealing, for it was born of his own past behavior.
Word will spread from mouth to mouth as fire spreads in a field of dry stubble. Then he used it as a prod, forcing others to scramble forward. She sat on a low three-legged stool, her back straight, her hands clasped in her lap, her head held high. Her voice and face were positive and determined, his negative and glum. He turned slowly around, watching them walk on down the street. He was the senior lieutenant in Buhen, in charge of the garrison infantry.
Until we got away into the desert, I got no enjoyment from it at all. She has lived in Missouri, New York, California, and New Mexico and now makes her home in Northern California. So he seemed, in bearing more than appearance. Twenty or more other men, clerks and soldiers, were standing around the chamber, watching the activity. Bak did not know what to think.
That Nakht had spoken during the afternoon to the three officers, and possibly to his translator as well, and they had all been atop the wall near the time of his death, meant almost nothing. Bak walked beside him, half-blinded by the glare. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. The soldiers, the traders who come and go, the prisoner-miners who pass through, and the camp followers who serve their base needs—all must learn to behave as they would in any city of Kemet. Some bring nuggets they find in the wadis or the granules they wash from the rock. Bak thought of her quiet grief the previous night and could not bear to disrupt her unhappy task.
And your wits as well. He was convinced he would never like this vile city or the onerous task of policing it. A murmur rippled through the surrounding crowd. He seemed troubled, said he wanted me to stay in the audience hall. She wore a multicolored skirt dyed in a chevron pattern; other than a dozen or so bronze chains bearing a multitude of colorful stone amulets, her upper body was bare. She bawled, swept her head back and forth. He dropped it in the hole, laid the ingot beside it, and replaced the block.
Laughing derisively, he sped across the barrel-vaulted roof of the storehouse. The ceiling, supported by a central pillar, was higher than those of the adjacent rooms, allowing the faint early morning light and breeze to filter through high windows. In the second case, you must trust me to report it when the time is right. The way they hefted their spotted cowhide shields and heavy, head-high wooden staffs told him they were. I thought it an empty and brutal place where no man could walk without thirst or hunger, heat or poisonous creatures. Before you went inside, did you see anyone entering this building or leaving it? They know it passed overhead and they know those men were on the wall sometime during its passing.
The man leaped up the stairs and through the opening. The most obvious idea was the least appealing, for it was born of his own past behavior. Bak spotted the missile, ducked. He wanted no one to disturb any telltale signs. Then he used it as a prod, forcing others to scramble forward. Does that not prove mistress Azzia innocent? He turned to the men behind him.
When finally I did return, I was sent here to the southern frontier. Bak dropped to his knees, and the deadly point whizzed past his head. It cooled his tired legs, soothed his knotted calves. Not a lowly place like mine, but one in the capital itself, where the wealthy and powerful play. Bak put on his coolest, most haughty expression and raised his baton of office.