In the morning, Teti, Katie, Sakhmet, Boston, and Alexis headed for town to shop. There was not much to get, and not really any shops to speak of. There were workers in wood, clay, and metal, but nothing that would transfer well into the future, unless they could find something in gold or silver. Sadly, Thinis had to import everything metal, and that was mostly copper and a crude sort of bronze.
To be honest, most people made what they needed for themselves, or with the help of neighbors, and shortly the shopping trip became a time for visiting Teti’s friends, old and new. Kidrash, the fisherman’s wife, was one of her oldest and dearest friends. Kotemmi was another.
“But she gave herself to the temple of Nut, goddess of the sky, who was once married to Geb, the earth, and whose sister Mut is supposedly married to Amun, but is not so secretly sleeping with Set for the past five hundred or so years,” Teti explained.
“Horus kicked Set out of the two lands some time ago,” Sakhmet said, happily.
“You mean, glasses?” Alexis asked, and she put her hand to her face to show what she meant.
“That’s the one,” Sakhmet confirmed and Boston giggled as Alexis dragged Boston to look at the linen, mostly white, which was used for clothes, sails, blankets, doors and windows, and almost everything.
“I swear,” Kidrash said as they stopped to wait. “Teti, you were irreverent as a child and you haven’t grown one bit.”
“I am,” Teti nodded. “But it is hard, sometimes, given the company.” She nudged Sakhmet and Sakhmet nodded, vigorously.
“Sakhmetet,” Kidrash rolled her eyes and called the girl as she knew her to be Teti’s cousin from Abydos. She scolded them as if they were making a joke, and nudged Teti.. “Your cousin is as bad as you,” she said. “Just don’t be that way around Kotemmi. She takes her worship seriously.”
“So do most of the gods,” Teti admitted. “But sometimes it is all too serious for me. My father, one of them anyway,” Teti winked at Katie. “He said life is too important to be taken seriously.”
They all had to think about that for a minute, while they fingered what vegetables were in the market. Boston screamed. Alexis threw her arm out to protect Boston, but the three big men had spears and were not inclined to stop.
“Red hair. I wonder if it is red everywhere,” one man said
Katie said something else. “Stay here,” and she meant it.
One kick to the knee, and Katie put the first man down, possibly with a broken knee. The second one was quick. He poked at her with his spear, but she dodged and grabbed the shaft, stepped in, while her foot found his middle. He let out a great “Oof,” and she doubled the affect by ramming the butt end of his own spear into his stomach. Then she twisted the weapon to block the third man’s spear.
The man paused. Katie said, “Run,” and the man did as some of the men in the market came up to grab the two on the ground and chase the third.
Sakhmet ran up and threw her arms around Katie, and praised her to no end. They were both happy until one of the men in the market mentioned that the disruptive element were guards from the temple of Mehit, the lion goddess.
“Mine?” Sakhmet got mad, and would have said much more and done who knows what if Katie had not hushed her and calmed her down.
When they arrived at the temple of Nut, Kotemmi came out to greet them. “Priestess,” Kidrash bowed. The others said hello, but minded their own business, except Sakhmet, who peeked over Kotemmi’s shoulder in an effort to see the temple inside.
“Red and Yellow hair,” Kotemmi said in a suspicious voice. “People told me, but I would not believe it until I saw with my own eyes.” Teti and Katie at least wondered what Kotemmi was suspicious about. Boston modeled her head.
“And it is really red,” she said, knowing the rest of her appearance was a glamour imitating humanity.
“Don’t push it,” Alexis said an aside while Sakhmet all but leaned into the temple.
“So how is Nut’s sister, Mut these days, if you know?” she asked. “Most of us don’t get to see her much since she has been skipping down to Kush and Nubia to visit, you-know-who.” Kotemmi raised both eyebrows as she tried to make sense of what Sakhmet was saying. She was about to respond, when another priestess came and whispered in her ear.
“But come. Everything is prepared,” Kotemmi said, and they followed her into the dark.
Teti took a good look at the candles, torches and braziers that gave light to the stifling gloom of the temple, and she wondered why the sky goddess didn’t have the roof removed to present herself. She supposed it would ruin all the food laid out on the altar if it ever rained. Teti caught the chanting from somewhere in a room behind the altar, and thought nothing of it. It was what priestesses did, but then Katie went stiff and her eyes glazed over. Boston fought it and let out a sharp sound. Sakhmet looked up from where Kotemmi was kneeling in front of a big statue meant to represent the goddess, Nut. It was like Sakhmet was preoccupied with trying to figure out how the sculptor got it all wrong. And Alexis moved.
With her wand in hand, Alexis stepped behind the altar and shot something into the back room. The sound from there became a muffled protest, like the woman’s tongue was glued to the teeth and the lips were glued shut. Then things got serious.
The second half of Avalon, episode 3.11 will post on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Don’t miss it, the Festival of Marriage.