October 17th, 2012


Splendid Things Gleam in the Dust: 1

About : When Marcus and Esca have to make a trip to Egypt, they find the ancient land hides dangers they had not expected.
Words : 16669 excluding notes, wtf brain?
Written for: eagle-rbb 2012

This is the longest thing I have written in one go, and to be honest, it could, with terrifying ease, have been much longer.  It kept growing more plot in a thoroughly alarming way.  There are so many lovely original sources for Egypt, all full of ideas!  The source that I started with was either a prayer, or a sort of spell:

"A Plea to a Local God for a Husband's Attentions.
It is Esrmpe, the [daughter] of Kllaouc, who is complaining about Hor, the [son] of Tanesneou.

“My lord Osiris, lord of Hasro! I complain to you, do justice to me and Hor, the son of Tanesneou, concerning what I have done to him and what he has done to me. Namely, he does not make love with me, I having no power, I having no protector-son. I am unable to help myself, I am childless. There is no one who could complain concerning me before you because of Hor … I complain to you … Osiris, listen to my call! Look how he has treated me! Open the way for your messengers … Osiris, lord of Abydos, Osiris … Isis … Ophois, Hathor, nurse of Anubis the Osiride, the cowherd of … do justice to me!”

Frankly, it only got odder from that point in...

Lovely images supplied by ningloreth, who also beta'd and supplied many helpful thoughts on things like mudbrick building techniques and whether one can really write a whole fiction all about the issues around dutiful and legally-correct incest without it becoming a bit ... icky, and has generally been a lot of fun to collaborate with!
Thanks also to seascribe for betaing and helping me work out how to get to the end (which at one point I feared I would never reach...)

Although this is an Eagle of the Ninth story, it also owes a lot to Gillian Bradshaw's Roman Egypt novel, Cleopatra's Heir, which I love, and is set about a hundred and sixty years earlier.  If anyone has read that, yes, it IS no coincidence that Claudius Hieronimianus says he has a Friend of the King, Egyptian traders and Roman citizens among his ancestors.  He doesn't know the whole story, of course.
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