|To Manifest Me Rightly
Author: Aenigmatic PM
[COMPLETE] Ardeth Bay's recurring dreams are more than just a figment of imagination. Gradually he finds out it has its roots in a time long past.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Ardeth B. - Chapters: 27 - Words: 72,674 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 40 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 03-17-03 - Published: 11-15-02 - Status: Complete - id: 1068053
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For the sake of pure mush.
Egypt, ca 1269 B.C
The sun was high overhead as she walked in the cavernous opening; in the daytime all that was esoteric had dimmed, replaced by gnawing scepticism and doubt, confusion and loss. The spare vegetation in this desert land bloomed briefly, before they withered under the intense heat, or those that lived and survived were fat, bulbous and resistant - survivors, she called them, marvelling that they survived better than man, that man's soul that had made him distinctive was to also make him weaker than the most slumbersome creature of the sea, more breakable than the most short-lived creature of the land.
Hamunaptra loomed over her, foreboding and vaguely sinister, as she dismounted and walked slowly down its passages, emptied out except for the burning torches that were attached to the grand walls. Nefertiri had died the year before; her last unlikely companion and ally in the hostile Egyptian world spent at last.
Go back to your home, Enheduana-Rai, Nefertiri had urged her gently. The great blows of life cannot be avoided, but you can still live it amply. To lie every sunrise to set, your lies are in vain.
Nefertiri, I hear you; it has also occurred to me much of late, but have you not remembered that my home exists no more? What is left of it?
Move north, the queen had urged then. Return to the neighbouring lands, ride far and away, and live again. Any woman of the harem will be easily replaced.
We are old women now, Nefertiri, she had smiled in fond reminiscence. Can you remember the days when our body listened to our commands in an instant, obeying without question? The days when our limbs and our hearts had minds of their own, stubborn and free, and we granted them their every wish, indulging them, as our spirits soared to greedily eat all that life offered?
Nerfertiri had laughed along, but said nothing for a long time. We, old women? Enheduana-Rai, the old is also timeless, many speak of dreams that they hope, but we say proudly that we lived them. Dreams. I see you shake your head, I see that wounds do not heal that easily, dreams are never necessarily good - it first acquaints us with pain and then force us to hold its hand, because no beauty can be fully embraced if we never felt pain.
Where she would have bristled a long time ago, she had still found that nothing in the land had any greater power to wound her than his death all those moon cycles ago.
It seemed as if Hamunaptra lit up with each step that she took, splayed in colours symbolic of her emotions, red colouring the spot where only anguish had clouded the eyes, solid genial greens and blues of the gentler emotions softening the harshness of the political world she had lived in.
Your name, once a death knell, still brings no peace. Ten long years, Aretas, but my heart is as wounded as it was the day you left. Truly that hour foretold the sorrow for this! Aretas, maybe you will not like to see this broken woman who kneels before your grave.
There was no menace in the silent tombs; they stood dumbly, testaments to both unjust and just ruling that were part of the Egyptian dynasties, that would be recorded with more awe and reverence than objectivity.
I have come to see your grave once more and perhaps for the last time, where my heart is trapped with you. My kisses had brought seals of love, yet sealed in vain! Sometimes I saw no end in sight, except to grieve again, until I thought I saw you and felt you, and our souls ate at each other.
She got up after an unknown lapse of time, the slight wind blowing at the edges of her robe, and moved her legs, mechanically putting them forward one in front of another, paying no heed to the insurmountable landscape and distance before her, walking, sometimes running, physically free but still mentally fettered, until she was but a speck in the desert and its shifting sands.
And so they slept that night, with their arms tight around each other; individual memories of Rai and Aretas circling them, finally descending on benevolent wings and embraced their hearts, mingling, becoming one. The completed jigsaw and monumental testimony of their lives together replayed over their slumber, bringing them through the legacy of time immemorial, from the splendour of Thebes to curse of Hamunaptra to the regal Nefertiri and her lover Djosyn; her suffering, his death, from anguish of Rai to the upheaveal of Egypt to the tyranny of Sahure to the death of Aretas and finally to the so very different lives that they now led.
Paradisiacal it was, laced with intensity of emotions that one could possibly experience in lifetimes to come, all ambiguity finally falling away as they both woke up, weeping against each other.
"Good morning." He felt deliciously warm, unperturbed by the mess that she thought she looked.
"The same to you," She acknowledged, smiling.
"Will you stay?" He asked her.
"That is certainly a question that one asks immediately when one wakes up! Well, you know the voyage back to England is long and seasickness if something that many wish to avoid," she grinned into his chest.
Ardeth felt his heart leap, revelling in their rebirth and the weavings of the tapestry that Allah had revealed to him.
"But what will I do now? Continue my academic job? The scrolls are done," She fell silent.
But he did not want her to sink back into the mood of melancholy that she often carried with her.
"You can do the Medjai a big favour by cleaning our annals and putting them back together once more. From what I heard the last time, it lies in disarray begging for a female touch."
She raised a brow, looking at him in amusement.
He laughed then, and held her hand, placing a kiss on it.
"What will happen now?" She questioned him, her mixed eyes meeting his.
Ardeth smiled briefly.
"Maybe the better question is, my dear Dr Khalan, what do you want for things to happen." He whispered against her.
I must be found.
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly.
The great Hugo von Hoffmannsthal wrote that the main difference between living people and fictitious characters is that the writer takes great pains to give the characters coherence and inner unity, whereas the living people may go to extremes of incoherence because their physical existence holds them together. Up to you to challenge that!
I hope in any case, that you have liked this very bittersweet story.