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By the Power of Sekhmet - Part 3

Frosticle Jan 28th, 2017 (edited) 229 Never
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  1. Fading sunlight filters in past the large sandstone columns, washing the hallway in an orange light as Inaros rolls his way down it. Returning from the library, books and scrolls in hand, Inaros takes a minute to stop by a balcony that overlooks the front of the palace, pulling himself out of his chair to lean on the railing.
  2.  
  3. The front yard of the palace is hardly different from the back, gardens decorating the area with monuments and sculptures scattered throughout it. The largest difference, however, is the view, with the city expanding out from below the property, which is only now beginning to wind down for the night.
  4.  
  5. A yawn to his left startles him out of his reverie, and looking to his left, Inaros can see a Sphinx woman laying against one the pillars, seemingly asleep. Her cat-like ears twitch as she sleeps, a small smile plastered across her face as her chest rises and falls.
  6.  
  7. He sighs, ignoring both the Sphinx, whom he recognizes to be the one he met in the baths a few days ago, and the growing pain in his leg. Inaros looks out towards the desert to the east, the sky beginning to turn dark overtop the silhouette of the unfinished burial tomb, its near complete pyramidal shape casting a large shadow behind it.
  8.  
  9. Shaking his head in an attempt to cast out the thoughts that plagued his mind whenever he remembered his time there, Inaros sits back down in the wheelchair, unrolling one of the scrolls and beginning to read.
  10.  
  11. Struggling at first, he soon settles into a comfortable pace, moving from scroll to scroll as he makes his way through the short stack of writing. Topics ranging from mythical tales from far off lands, to instructions on how to properly sow a field, Inaros stumbles on only a handful of words, his reading having improved drastically since Nanu began teaching him.
  12.  
  13. A small shuffling followed by a “Watch ya doing there?” comes from over Inaros’ shoulder, rousing him from his peaceful reading. Turning his head around, he sees the previously sleeping Sphinx staring at the scroll in his hands from over his shoulder. “Reading? Boring!” she exclaims, walking around his side to sit on the railing.
  14.  
  15. Making eye contact with the woman, Inaros asks , “Senet, right?”
  16.  
  17. “That’s right! I’m surprised you remembered me, after all, you seem oh so invested in your Anubis friend, aren’t you?.” she teases playfully with a wink, causing Inaros to blush.
  18.  
  19. “It’s not like that, I’m not sure where you got that idea from.” he says, looking away bashfully.
  20.  
  21. Senet laughs, “I’m sure it isn’t, you two only spend every minute of your day together, after all.”
  22.  
  23. “Look, what is it that you want? I’m trying to do some reading here.” Inaros says impatiently, waving the etched papyrus in his hand.
  24.  
  25. “I don’t want anything, I’m just keeping guard over the palace, that’s my job!”
  26.  
  27. “If that’s your job, then why were you just sleeping against the pillar?” he asks, looking up at Senet with an exasperated expression.
  28.  
  29. “What the guard captain doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” she replies with another wink.
  30.  
  31. Inaros shakes his head, returning to his scrolls and ignoring the lazy Sphinx. Having lost his place, he backtracks and continues reading, trying to block out the presence of the Sphinx who was now enjoying the view of the sun setting over the desert.
  32.  
  33. Looking back up after finish the scroll, Inaros reaches to his side to grab another, before spying Senet looing at him from the corner of her eye, sporting an unsure expression. “What’s up?” he asks, rightening himself in his chair.
  34.  
  35. The blond haired Sphinx immediately looks away from Inaros, absentmindedly toying with the sword sheathed at her hip. “I, uh…” she trails off before taking in a deep breath, “I want to help you.” Senet says bluntly, breaking the silence and pushing back from the wall, looking down at the man. “I have an idea, and I owe it to both you and Nanu for what happened.”
  36.  
  37. “Wait, what?” Inaros asks, looking up towards Senet in confusion.
  38.  
  39. “I want to help you. I have an id-“
  40.  
  41. “Yeah yeah yeah, I heard you say that. But please explain. How do you ‘owe’ us anything? Where’s this coming from?” he interrupts, still startled by the Sphinx’s sudden confession.
  42.  
  43. Senet leans back against the wall, folding her arms over one another, looking away with a contemplative gaze etched on her usually smug face. “I thought Nanu would’ve told you, but I guess it falls to me. You know how when we ran into each other in the baths a few days ago? How Nanu acted when I walked in?” Inaros just nods, waiting for her to continue her story.
  44.  
  45. “Well, that’s for a good reason I guess.” she trails off quietly, completely turning away from Inaros to look over the palace grounds. “To be perfectly honest, I-I’ve always been, um, jealous of Nanu,” she admits, voice wavering, “jealous of what she has, well, had, I guess.  The Pharaoh and all of those other important people always had nothing but praise for her, were always saying how ‘reliable’ and ‘impressive’ she was, so seeing her always being showered with praise made me bitter, I guess.”
  46.  
  47. Senet turns around and takes a shaky breath, “I had always been ignored, never once getting a ‘thank-you’ or a ‘good job’ from anyone! So to see her so… so…” she trails off, pausing to regain her composure.
  48.  
  49. “Then it happened. Y-your injury, I mean, um.” she says sheepishly, looking at Inaros.
  50.  
  51. “And?” he asks, beckoning her to continue.
  52.  
  53. “Well, god, I’m so sorry.” she says turning away again, fiddling with her paws.
  54.  
  55. “Look, Senet.” Inaros starts, “I have absolutely no idea where this is all coming from or why you’re telling me this, but you’re going to have to tell me what the hell you’re talking about. I’m not a mind reader you know.”
  56.  
  57. The Sphinx, again refusing to meet Inaros’ gaze, nods and continues, “After your, um, accident, I learned about what happened, the reason why the tunnel collapsed on you, how it was an oversight on the construction design and how Nanu was responsible for that. And, well, I gloated over her about it. I harassed her about her mistake, saying things like how it was all her fault and how funny it was how the Pharaoh stripped her of her title and-“
  58.  
  59. “Senet, stop, I think I get it.” Inaros interrupts coldly, waving her off and looking in the other direction. He sighs, trying to find the right words, “That’s, um, that’s a pretty messed up thing to do when you put it that way. Why, though? She was already miring herself in regret at that point.”
  60.  
  61. “We had kinda been friends before hand, and like I said, I was always so jealous of her, so I…” she trails off, losing her train of thought once more.
  62.  
  63. “…You took that as an opportunity to put her down to make you feel better about yourself.”
  64.  
  65. “Yeah. Pretty awful thing to do, right?”
  66.  
  67. Inaros doesn’t answer, instead biting down on his lip as he runs a hand through his hair. He takes a minute to try and gather his thoughts, before Senet says “That’s why I want to help you. If I can help you get better, then maybe Nanu can forgive me, or I can at least forgive myself.”
  68.  
  69. “And how exactly do you plan on helping?” Inaros asks the Sphinx, still skeptical about her proposition.
  70.  
  71. “We could get a prosthesis for your leg! Don’t worry, I think it’ll help you a lot. It might take some getting used to, but I’m sure it’ll help!” Senet exclaims, mood obviously on the upswing.
  72.  
  73. Inaros’ brows raise in confusion “A prost- prost…”
  74.  
  75. “Prosthesis!” she finishes for him. “You know, a fake leg to help you walk? I’ve been thinking about his for a while, and I’ve talked to someone in the city who can make them, we would just have to go see them, do whatever it is to get you one, then you can start walking again!” Senet by this point is bouncing from foot to foot, trying to contain her excitement.
  76.  
  77. Inaros bites his lip in thought, “I’m not sure if it’s that simple. Are you sure it’ll work?”
  78.  
  79. Senet grabs hold of the wheelchair and begins to push Inaros away from the railing “Of course! Now let’s go!”
  80.  
  81. “Wait, now? But what about-”
  82.  
  83. “It’s fine, it won’t take long at all.” Senet says, her trademark grin reappearing as they stroll down the hallway. “We’ll be back before you know it.”
  84.  
  85. -------------------------------------
  86.  
  87. Inaros looks around the dimly lit room, the only source of light being a few candles scattered around. Half finished chairs, well worn tools, stacks of all sorts of wood, and brightly coloured rugs lay strewn about, the cluttered mess of the shop feeling rather suffocating, almost reminding him of his time as a worker.
  88.  
  89. “So, how does it feel?” the gruff, grey bearded man asks while leaning on his cane, his wrinkled face stark in contrast to his lively blue eyes.
  90.  
  91. Inaros looks down towards the crude imitation of a leg and jostles it, the wooden brown finish slightly darker than his skin. “It certainly feels like it fits well, Nekonekh, should I try standing on it?”
  92.  
  93. “Of course! Just make sure you hold onto something while you do, it’s going to be hard at first.” Nekonekh, the elderly woodworker says, standing up and moving towards Inaros. “Don’t push yourself, it’s going to be a while before you can properly walk with it.”
  94.  
  95. Inaros looks over to the other side of the room at Senet, who was currently occupied by playing with some sort of wooden puzzle box she found. Grinning and pushing himself gingerly out of the chair, he steadies himself against the table next to him, the stump of his left leg slowly depressing into the prosthesis.
  96.  
  97. A pain jolts through his left leg when Inaros reaches full standing position, causing him to stumble slightly and lean against the heavy table. “Woah, slow down there son.” Nekonekh says, moving his way over to Inaros and steading him with a calloused hand. “Don’t put too much weight on it. Like I said, you’ll have to gradually get used to it before you even start walking. Sit back down and I’ll grab something to help you.”
  98.  
  99. Inaros sits, adjusting his new leg as Nekonekh retreats to another room in his shop. Fiddling with the straps holding it in place, Inaros looks up to see Senet walking over. “How is it?” she asks plainly, trying to hide her excitement.
  100.  
  101. “It feels okay, I think I’ll be able to make this work, it’s just going to take some time.” he says, a small smile growing on his face.
  102.  
  103. Senet squeals, her thin tail whipping back and forth behind her while her cat ears twitch fitfully. “Oh that’s great! Nanu is going to be so happy!”
  104.  
  105. Inaros laughs, “I’m sure she will be. I can’t believe we never thought of thi-”
  106.  
  107. “Here it is!” Nekonekh yells from the other room, stumbling out of the doorway with a second cane in hand. “This,” he says while waving the cane in the air, “is for you, my son.” Nekonekh thrusts dark wooden cane towards Inaros. “Take it! I have no need for it at the moment, unlike you.”
  108.  
  109. Taking the cane from the man, Inaros stands up again, this time placing most of his weight on both the cane, and his one actual leg. He finds himself only a little uncomfortable at first, and silently thanks the past week or so of exercises under Nanu’s watchful eye for strengthening his leg, or at least making him better able to tolerate the pain. “I think this is going to work.” he says, grinning at the older man.
  110.  
  111. “Of course it will work! I am the greatest woodworker in the city, after all! I never doubted my work for a second!” Nekonekh shouts, moving back over to his chair and collapsing into it. “Now you two run along,” he says, “I’ve got a few more things to take care of before the day ends.”
  112.  
  113. “Uh, what about payment? How much do I owe you?” Inaros asks, looking back towards the smiling Senet.
  114.  
  115. Nekonekh waves his hand, “Ah, nothing at all, my son. Your feline friend already paid in advance for this.”
  116.  
  117. “Did she now?” Inaros drawls out, sitting down into the wheelchair and laying his new cane across his lap.
  118.  
  119. Senet walks behind him wordlessly and begins to push them out the front door, briefly turning around to shout out “Thanks again, Nekonekh!” at the old man before pushing them out onto the street, night having almost fully fallen upon the city.
  120.  
  121. As the two make their ways back towards the palace, Inaros settles back into the chair and absentmindedly twirls the cane in his hands, watching the stalls and shops beginning to close down for the night. “Thanks for this Senet, sorry about being so dismissive earlier.” he mumbles out, looking down towards the prosthetic leg.
  122.  
  123. The Sphinx laughs at this, “It’s fine, I really don’t blame you for being a bit judgemental after what I told you. I’m just glad we were able to figure this out.” she says, weaving the two of them down the main road towards the palace.
  124.  
  125. Inaros watches the stone and mud buildings of various shapes and sizes crammed together move by as Senet pushes him, their presence dwarfed by the clear night sky above. The sound of families beginning to settle down for dinner mix in with the cacophony of merchants and tradesmen attempting to close their last deals or sales of the day, producing a gentle mix of sounds that only adds to atmosphere of the warm desert night.
  126.  
  127. Soon enough, they reach the main road that leads up to the palace form the city, the gently inclined sandstone allowing for an easy trip.
  128.  
  129. “Say, what do you think of surprising Nanu when we get back?” Senet asks, a predatory glint forming in her eyes as the two begin the trek upwards to the main palace gate.
  130.  
  131. Inaros looks behind him at the cat-woman “Surprise?” he asks, once more skeptical of her plans.
  132.  
  133. “Yeah! How about we go find her, and have you walk up to her to show off your new leg.”
  134.  
  135. Inaros thinks for a second, “Well, I haven’t exactly walked with this yet,” he says slapping his left leg, “only stood on it. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea.”
  136.  
  137. “Oh come on! Where’s your sense of adventure? You’ve gotta try it out at some point, why not by doing that?” Senet asks, jostling Inaros on the shoulder. “She’ll love it.”
  138.  
  139. A grin forms on the mans face, “Sure, let’s try it.”
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