A Place of Darkness by Lauren Haney

By Lauren Haney

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The structure was being built along the base of a steep slope of rock fallen from the soaring cliffs that formed a golden brown backdrop. Bak was impressed. The setting could not have been more spectacular—or more befitting a mighty sovereign of the land of Kemet. To the south and on lower ground, broken columns and a tumbled mound of stone stood atop a sandswept terrace, the ancient ruined temple of Nebhepetre Montuhotep. Bak had A PLACE OF DARKNESS 35 played among those columns as a child, brought into the valley by his father’s housekeeper, who had come sometimes to bend a knee at a shrine to the lady Hathor.

Each had brought along his tools of office: Bak carried his baton, Hori his scribal pallet and water pot, and Kasaya his spear and shield. The sun had tinted the cliff ahead a reddish brown, the colonnades of Djeser Djeseru a pale red-orange. The air was warm, barely stirred by a light breeze; the day might well grow unbearable. A smell of fish, onions, and burned oil lingered, drifting from the rough workmen’s huts built between 48 A PLACE OF DARKNESS 49 Djeser Djeseru and the ancient temple. Several crows hopped around a garbage heap behind the interconnected buildings, squawking, picking clean discarded bones, squabbling over the other meager offerings they found.

We do know Amonked. We know we can trust him to do what has to be done. ” Bak nodded agreement. The decision was a good one. Amonked was cousin to their sovereign, Maatkare Hatshepsut. They had come to know him several months earlier when he had journeyed south up the river, inspecting the fortresses that guarded the southern frontier. He had made many difficult-to-keep promises and had successfully followed through on them all. ” Nofery leaned back in her chair, one of the few in Buhen and an object she valued highly, and smiled.

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