Nedjem Bit
(Sweet Honey)
*chapter 1
By Sakata Ri Houjun

Warning: Yaoi. Ancient Egypt story that follows the past relationship between the High Priest Seth and a neglected servant he rescued. Other pairings will spring up throughout.

AN: This was a chat that was conspired between me and the ever-talented Sibby. What started out as something fun grew to such un-godly proportions that I had little choice but to create a fic to contain it all. Of course, other people have contributed to this fic: Ginga-san, Ekindu, and Jamie.

~***~

A whisper of billowing linen was the only sound that followed the Hem-netjer-tepey* as he stalked from the grand chamber that served as a dueling arena for the Pharoah's most trusted, the massive alabaster halls ringing with absolute silence at his departure. As the keepers of the Sennen items, the six chosen priests gathered every day before their ruler to train and hone their skills, strengthening the control they weilded over dark magic and the creatures they summoned. However, the training was for far more than just to exert power over your opponent; it was to also proove true strength of heart among the gaurdians, for if they could not stand together, then surely the empire would crumble before their enemies. Yet, for the newest member initiated into the revered ranks, the pressure to succeed weighed heavily upon his young shoulders.

Barely a man in the eyes of the gods, the son of one of the original Sennen protectors had advanced beyond leaps and bounds, prooving himself to be worthy of his rank and station. But even as his fellow priests witnessed his first loss at the hands of the Pharoah's closest advisor, Mahaado, it was certain that Seth still had a long way ahead of him. Even Tutenyami admitted secretly to himself as he watched Seth duel that he was vastly impressed by the strength and skill that his newly titled High Priest showed, a cool demeanor in those azure eyes that intimidated even him. But Seth had one major flaw that prevented the brunette from suceeding in this match: he relied too much on strength alone.

Though such power could surely summon the strongest of beasts from the sacred Temple of Tablets south of the Palace, it was Mahaado's sheer might stemming from his heart and the loyalty housed within that brought forth victory to the soft spoken priest. Not one of the spectators present missed the brief flash of fury that glittered within the peircing depths of the High Priest before he made his hasty departure, but no one made a move to stop him lest his wrath was turned on them. In the short time Seth had come to work among the Sennen gaurdians, all learned to bear with the High Priest's temper, affording the imposing brunette space and time to cool off else he became unbearable to work with.

To Seth however, this was not just a mere defeat, but a crushing loss to his pride. He had no choice but the leave the stifling arena and the staring eyes of his predecessors, progressing straight past the startled gaurds and out of the palace, angry at himself for losing so quickly and against such a weak spirit creature as well. Seth didn't stop until he had passed the walls surrounding the immense courtyard, knowing full well that his father and fellow Priest, Akunadin, certainly did not approve of his loss to Mahaado. But this didn't matter to the teen as he progressed through the city, Sennen Scepter shaking in a white-knuckled grip. As he moved through the bustling marketplace, the press of common people parted out of fear from the presence of one with such regal and holy bearing, bowing their heads, some even whispering prayers of reverance. But Seth paid them no heed, far too lost in his anger.

Just as the High Priest reached the outskirts of the bazaar, a slight commotion caught his waning attention. From among the throng of awed people, a slender youth streaked out, his bare feet pounding hard across the packed sand. His skin gleamed a dark bronze, hair a myriad of golden blonde, streaked from the sun and hanging about his eyes. His clothing was nothing more than a simple tunic, tattered and worn in a few places, a pair of bracelets on his wrists the only ornamentation. Seth halted in his steps, wondering what this wayward youth would want of him, finding that his anger, though strong and consuming his thoughts a moment ago, was abating out of curiousity.

Half a heartbeat later, he found his answer as a grating voice carried out harshly through the tightly pressed crowd. "Don't run away from me, you damn brat!"

The youth turned his head to look fearfully behind him, and in that instant he bumped into the unyeilding hardness of Seth's body. Stumbling back, the blonde looked up, a rich honey gaze staring, widening further in fear at the sight of the High Priest in his full reignment, those hard blue orbs sending a chill through his body. This became the perfect oppurtunity for the one who shouted to make his appearance, an aging man of medium build shoving his way through the crowd, looking as though he had once been muscled but evently grew soft over time, clothed in the rich robes of a merchant. In one hand, he carried an ornate bottle of beer, the other raised in a meaty fist which instantly struck the blonde youth squarely upside the head as soon as he drew close enough, sending him sprawling to the sand in a tangle of quivering limbs.

Much to Seth's amusement, the red-faced man apparently was too infuriated, and perhaps intoxicated, to take notice of his presence though he stood scant feet away, observing everything. "Don't you dare try to run away from me again you stupid child!" One sandaled foot roughly kicked into the side of the cowering youth, no sound escaping despite the strength of the blow. "You want to escape so badly, I'll send you to hell!" With that prononcement, he chunked the half-full bottle which slammed into the blonde's shoulder with a sickening thud.

Something sparked within the High Priest's bosom and before the merchant could utter another scathing threat to the cowering boy, he stalked forward, putting himself between the two, his scepter raised athouratively in his hand. "Enough!" The brunette fixed the man with a hard stare, all the anger he had felt before at his defeat earlier now focused at this drunken fool. "No more, shewtey!* If you want this boy you must pass first through me!" By now all business in the market had ceased around them to watch the scene unfold; a few hushed whispers murmured softly throughout the crowd in speculation.

Lips curled in anger as the merchant looked up at the imposing priest, his inebrated brain not yet recognizing who it was that had bothered to step between him and the blonde youth. But eventually a spark of recognition blazed within and the red-rimmed eyes widened in horror as he moved to kow tow before the High Preist, heart pounding in fear for his very eternal spirit. "Forgive me, Hem-netjer-tepey! I was not aware that you had graced us with your presence!" the merchant sniveled pitifully.

From behind Seth, the trembling blonde chanced a look, realizing that someone had actually stepped in to intervene on his behalf. All he could see was the flow of purple and white linen and the flash of gold, yet he knew it was the ornately-dressed man he had bumped into, the one with the piercing blue eyes. His scared honey gaze flickered to his father, catching a glare that promised a thousand deaths over and he quickly looked away, as though just that gaze alone was causing him physical harm.

Khol-lined eyes narrowed further; Seth had not missed the glare shot at the blonde from the merchant and the plighted harm contained therin. "What has this boy done to warrant your rage? By the God Maat, I command you, shewtey djed!*" He had yet to move from his protective stance over the blonde, remaining between the two. The High Priest could not explain the compassion he felt for the petrified youth and the sudden need he felt to protect him. But the wounded look in those eyes compelled Seth to take action instead of walking away and ignoring this misfortune.

The ruddy-faced man chanced a glance up at the priest, the sun-lined face pulling into a beggarly expression of pleading. "Hem-netjer-tepey, that ungrateful wretch of a boy is my only son and therefore mine to do with as I please. He disobeys my orders and runs away, and so I am forced to punish him."

At the word 'punish', the blonde shivered violently, his arms moving to hold himself as he recalled such punishments that had been invoked with little or no provocation at all. This had not escaped Seth's attention whatsoever as he was continiously observant. The boy's body prooved testament on behalf of the blonde's defence, the evidence of just how much the cowering boy behind him had suffered only fueling the ire he felt towards the merchant.

The High Priest scowled darkly as he raised his scepter before the man and the Sennen item began to glow lightly, adding to the menacing picture Seth presented. "Tell me what has this boy done to deserve the quicking you have caused him." There was a coldness to his baitone voice that could freeze the desert itself as he spoke to the irrate man and Seth took immense pleasure in watching him cringe in reaction. "Djed!"

"... ... ..." The merchant was completely helpless to come up with an acceptable answer, transfixed in horror at the sight of the scepter glowing omniously as it was held in front of him.

"I command you to answer me, iew!* Or is it that you know you have a heavy heart." Seth smirked at his own words, knowing that this man was indeed lucky he was not the Keeper of the Sennen Scales else he would have surely fed his soul to Ammit. The High Priest then turned to the cringing boy, his harsh expression softening at the heart-wrenching sight presented him. "Can you rise, boy?"

With a jerking nod, the blonde clambered shakily to his feet, his head angled down towards the sandy ground, sun-streaked hair shadowing his wounded gaze. His arms clasped about his trembling body as though to ward off any more blows, seeming to expect being hit again. For all the world, he appeared younger than the High Priest, hunched over and cowering, refusing to glance up, even once.

"I'm taking him with me, you will have no say!" Seth tossed severely over his shoulder at the pudgy merchant, not even bothering to waste time looking at the despicable excuse of a human any longer. With that he strolled off calling to the blonde, "Ii."* All around, those that had gathered began to immediately go about their business, leaving the wretched merchant to stand out alone in the middle of the street.

The blonde youth hesitated for a moment, weighing his options. He would be leaving the only home he had ever known, but that would mean no more nights of fear and pain, no more beatings. But in following the High Priest, wouldn't he be willingly following a stranger who quite possibly did not care for him? He opened his mouth to protest about this new arrangement, but at the same time his father rose from the dusty street, eyes blazing with hatred. The blonde reacted instinctively, running off to catch up with the richly-clothed priest, holding his wounded side and keeping his head ducked low, looking no more than a beaten dog with its tail between its legs.

Through the streets, the humbled youth followed mutely after the taller man, his eyes trained low, focusing on the hem of the regally-colored cape that shimmered with each step the High Priest took. The brunette slowed his strides as they neared the walls of the outer courtyard, allowing the boy to catch up as he glanced over his shoulder. "What is your name, boy?"

The blonde looked up briefly, catching that piercing blue gaze once again only to look away, unable to keep the sliver of fear he felt out of his voice. "k-kasiya..."* the answering response came softly, but the depth of his tone indicated that the blonde in question was a bit older than he first appeared, perhaps even the same age as his new 'master', much to Seth's amazement.

"You will be staying with me, Kasiya. No longer do you belong to that man." He spat out that last part, as though talking with the shrewd merchant left a foul taste in his mouth. As Seth walked down the path of the gardens, the servants moved aside and let the regal priest pass, eyes lowered respectfully. Their voices were in hushed awe as the High Priest moved past, leading the newly aquired Kasiya back to the palace.

The blonde youth's heart was pounding hard against his ribs, not knowing if he should be thanking the gods for this miraculous savior who came to his aid, taking comfort that he'd never again be beaten or touched by his father and his associates. But then again, he knew nothing of the one who would be his rescuer other than what the occasional official from the Pharoah's court gossiped about in passing while he was silently 'entertaining', and even then it wasn't much. Kasiya's shoulders itched as he felt the eyes of strangers staring at him, watching him. He could hear them whispering, wondering why someone like him was being led away by the High Priest Seth towards the gleaming alabaster jewel that was the palace.

How ironic that he was asking himself those same questions.

~***~

*Translations:
Hem-netjer-tepey - High Priest
shewtey - merchant
djhed - speak
iew - dog (you'll see this used a lot)
Ii - come
Kasiya - a name that means 'depart'