I am partaking this year and I'm not alone this time. After returning to the community of Compuserve I will have a lot of wonderful thread mates to commiserate with. I am so excited.
So without further ado I am going to post another segment of my current WIP "Unquiet My Heart."
Unquiet My Heart copyright 2012 Debra J. Giuffrida, all rights reserved.
With a string of copper debens and a small bag of barley in each of our hands Tepi and I set out to the marvelous market here in Waset to purchase a gift for MaatKaRa and if we were frugal shoppers perhaps something for ourselves.
Brother had arranged a carrying chair for us. It was wonderful. Four armed guards lifted us up as we sat inside pillow-filled luxury.
“Tashi, I feel so rich,” Tepi said spreading the curtains aside just enough to stick her nose through. “I can see everyone through these curtains; do you think they can see us?” I pulled her back.
“Stop that, Ahhotep,” I hissed taking my sister by the shoulders and facing her forward. “They can see you and some of them aren’t very happy, so sit up straight and don’t stare at anyone. We’ll embarrass brother.” What I didn’t want to admit to my sister was I felt ill as we sat within this grand carrying chair watching as people stepped out of our way. When the runner in front of our chair yelled at them, I cringed and whenever he hit slow movers with his staff I felt their pain wash over me in great awful waves. It hurt so much I was afraid that welts would rise on my arms and back.
With relief we arrived at the market and the first thing I noticed when we were handed down from the chair were the raw smells. Breathing deeply the aroma of spices and burning incense filled my nose.
“Too bad we have already eaten, Tashi, do you smell the bread?” Ahhotep stuck her nose in the air, closed her eyes and sniffed. “Oh,” she pulled on my arm, “look over there, melons. Do you think we could buy some? We haven’t had any melons since we left Imet,” Ahhotep said pointing to the stall where there were great piles of green striped fruit.
I looked around at the many sellers of produce; their stalls were overflowing with lettuce and onions and all manner of vegetables and fruit. Ahhotep and I walked hand and hand down the aisles under sagging awnings past the farmers and we soon found ourselves in front of a weaver’s large stall. His tables were stacked with neatly folded piles and thick bolts of cloth. The colors were dazzling—reds and blues and yellows and mixtures of each. We kept on walking listening to the vendors sing out the qualities of their wares and watching as other nebets haggled over their purchases. We wove in and around buyers and sellers and stepped over children playing in the dirt. It was loud. Babies cried, dogs barked, it was wonderful.
“Oh, Tepi, look at these beautiful earrings,” I said walking up and reaching for one of a pair of delicate earpieces with green faience beads that dangled from small chains of gold. “These would look lovely on you.” I held them up next to my sister’s ears.
“They are lovely, Tashi, but they look expensive. Besides, Sen gave us these deben to buy a present for–”
“Expensive? Nonsense, we have more than enough to buy for ourselves too,” I said putting down the earrings and moving on towards a necklace.
“Ah, nebet, I see you have exquisite taste,” the approaching vendor said reaching over and holding up another pair of earrings for me to admire.
“I do? Yes, I do, but I prefer this pair,” I said passing over the vendor’s choice and reaching for a pair of large circles of gold with what appeared to be rubies set into a delicate filigree. “These,” I said turning to the vendor, “what are their price?”
“Oh Tashi, they are absolutely beautiful.” Ahhotep reached a hand out to touch the earrings but I drew them away, holding them up to my ears.
“What do you think?”
“They are very expensive, nebet,” the vendor said, “those are real gems from the mines deep within WaWat.”
Turning back towards the vendor I looked him full in the face. The door within my ka opened and I allowed the vendor’s ka to walk through. “Their price, neb?” I asked again watching and listening.
“Well, it is difficult to say, they are very rare, such as your beauty, lovely nebet,” the jeweler said brushing my hand with his fingertips as he reached for the earrings. “They highlight the delicate color of your skin,” he continued, smiling, his eyes assessing me. I want more than your deben little mew, I can make you purr. His ka spoke and I pulled my hand out of his reach.
“I am sure we can come to an agreeable price for this pair as well as that green pair and,” I paused looking down my nose at the rest of his wares, “something that would be suitable for the Per A’a.” I heard Ahhotep’s sharp intake of breath, and I was sure her eyes were wide and pleading.
“The Per A’a?” the jeweler sputtered. What does this one have to do with the Per A’a? He looked up and down the market then turned to rummage in a large leather strapped chest.