Maya returned to the palace as the sun was rising, she had had no sleep that night and knew that she was going to be scolded for shirking her duties, but her head whirled with the new information of her real family.
Her mother and father were dead, her brother and sister were slaves just like her, and her twin brother was the prince of Egypt.
She paused at the doorway and leaned on the edge, inside, everything looked the same in the palace, but inside her, everything was different. She didn't know if she could trust just yet, but something told her it was the truth.
"Maya! Come over here!"
It was Neta, the woman who had been her mother for years, even though Savta was her primary mother figure. Maya went over to her, and didn't know what to say. This woman had risked a lot to pass Maya off as her own, they all must have.
"Maya, where is your head? Come, we have to scrub the floors of the hall."
She paused, and carried buckets up behind Neta. They sat down on the floor and used the brushes to scrub. It wasn't so hot as it could have been, but Maya was sweating still, nerves getting the best of her. She desperately wanted to ask her mother what had happened, but didn't want to risk anything.
But she had to know.
They finished washing and went back into the kitchen, where Savta was grinding grain. Maya went to help her and soon they were alone, tasks for the others set out across the palace.
"Yes my dear girl?"
She hesitated, then slowly asked, "Am I...really Neta's child?"
Savta stopped grinding to look at Maya, she could see the questions in her eyes, "What have you been told?"
Maya told her about going after Moses and meeting the two people, and how a part of her wanted to believe them, but couldn't. There was no way that Moses was her brother, that all these women were not her family. Savta sighed heavily, the burden upon her shoulders was coming to light.
"I suppose it was to come out some way sooner or later. When you were a babe, I desperately wanted a child of my own, so I prayed to God so much, and one day, while I was by the river, you came down floating in a basket. A gift from God. I heard rumors of the queen finding Moses in the river, but I never thought the two of you were of the same blood. Maya, what did Moses do?"
"He ran, I haven't seen him since."
Some other servants came through the doors, talking loudly, and the two of them stood and continued their work, no evidence of what they had been talking about.
The noon meal had been served and clean up was afterword, but a great commotion from the construction site halted their work. Servants ran towards it, and Maya joined them. They came upon a fallen guard, killed from a great height. And a man running desperately away from them all.
The prince Rameses was calling after him, and Maya realized it was Moses. She broke out into a dead run after her brother, fearful of where he would go. He was to far ahead though.
A thundering chariot passed her, the prince clinging to the seat. He stopped at the gates and was trying to reason with Moses, who furiously pushed him away. Maya tried to run faster, but she tripped into the dust. She looked up to see Moses gazing at her, sorrow in his eyes.
Then he turned and ran into the desert.
"Moses! Come back!" she called, but to no avail. Rameses called as well, but nothing brought him back. Maya began to cry a little, she had only just found him, and already he was gone. Lost to the world. She put her hands to her face and let tears fall through the cracks, when a gentle tug on her arm made her look up.
The prince was pulling her up into the carriage, he said not a word, he knew how much Moses was a friend to her, but she doubted he knew their real relationship. They arrived back at the palace and she got off, it would be improper for a servant to be riding with a prince. Rameses looked at her with a shared sorrow in their faces, only they would share this pain.
It was months without any word from her brother, but she went to her other siblings to learn more about her family. Their father had died before the two of them were born, sickness taking him. Their mother had died from exhaustion, trying to feed to children and the sorrow of losing her other two had been to much.
Miriam and Aaron were kind to her, and while it would take time for them to be a family, they were glad to call each other friends.
There were other relationships changing as well.
Even though they had never told her the truth, she stilled loved Neta and Savta with all her heart. They were not her blood, but they were her family and she would always be grateful for the sacrifices and dangers they took to protect her.
A strange one appeared as well, the prince Rameses had taken to her, often talking to her as she worked. It was not unusual to see him out near the river with her as she washed clothes. It wasn't something anyone could understand, as no one went close to them to find out. But there was something there, something more than sorrow.
"Maya, what do you suppose he is doing right now?"
"I would suppose he has found a new kingdom to rule, one without someone like you bothering him."
It was snipes like that that lifted his spirits, to think that Moses was fine and that he had not changed. But Maya always said these things, because she could not bare to think of what probably actually happened to him. She knew there was nothing in the desert but sand and death.
One day she had been setting up bowls in the royal hall when Rameses appeared next to her. He didn't say a word, he just stared at her. then he said, "Your eyes are the same as his."
Her eyes widened and she didn't reply, and he just walked away.
Rameses was being tortured, his brother had pushed the guard off, killing him. Part of him was relieved that he had run, but he desperately wanted his brother back.
The only solace he had was in Maya, he knew that she and Moses had always had some sort of bond. It wasn't romantic, but it was a deep friendship that went beyond prince and servant. She was also the only one who he could share his pain with. It was as though she had lost a brother too.
It had only been a few months when he actually began to look at her. He noticed how her calloused hands would gently wring water out of clothes, her eyes would sparkle when she laughed, and her hair shone in the sun. It wasn't something a prince should notice of a servant.
But he couldn't help it.
He knew he was betrothed, and his fiancé was a kind woman, never forcing herself upon him, but she was a little dull. Maya though, always had something to say. He saw why Moses would talk to her all the time.
It was one day though, when they had been laughing at an old story of Moses pulling a prank on the high priests, that he looked at her again, but this time, saw his brother in her. It frightened him for a moment, and then he went away without a word.
Then he told her that her eyes were just like Moses'.
Her eyes had widened so much in fear, and a nagging thought was in the back of his mind, but he chose to ignore it. When he saw her again, he asked her if she would take a walk with him.
To walk with the prince was something familiar, she had always done it with Moses, but never with Rameses. He never noticed what Moses was doing with the servants.
But Maya wondered what the prince could possible want, his brow was burrowed in concentration and his lips were pursed as if to speak a word at any moment. He abruptly stopped at the riverbed and asked, "Maya, what do you think of me?"
She was taken aback for a moment, then said, "What do you mean sire?"
"I mean, me. The one you have been talking to for the past year."
Maya regarded him, the prince was looking for an honest answer, not for someone to tell him what he supposedly wanted to hear.
"I think that you are still grieving, you lost a brother, it is understandable. But instead of trying to throw yourself deeper into your role as the sole prince, you talk to me, a lowly servant. Why?"
Rameses listened to her carefully and ran a hand over his shaved head, "I think what you say is true, I don't know why I talk to you though, maybe it's because you were as close to Moses as I was, but..."
He trailed off and pointedly didn't look at her. She touched his arm, "But?"
He looked at her hand touching his arm, and it felt very warm, warmer than what he had ever felt. He clamped up and said, "It's late, I'm sure you have work to do."
Rameses walked back towards the palace, and Maya stayed where she was, uncertain of what had happened, and what she was feeling.
Moses had settled in to life in the camp, it made him feel like he had an actual purpose in life, working with his hands was something that he was actually talented at, but he never knew that since as a prince everything had been done for him. He was happy here.
But there were moments, moments of deep pain, where he desperately missed his family, his mother, father and brother. Even after what his parents had never told him and how the pharaoh had been cruel.
He also thought of his blood family, of the woman who needed him to know who he truly was, to the man who was terrified of what would happen to them, to the woman he had grown up with. What had become of them, he wanted to return to them, but he couldn't go back, not yet.
I wish I could say I have an excuse for not posting for so long, but I don't...I FEEL LIKE SUCH A HORRIBLE PERSON! But I definitely promise to write and post more!