Nefertaru's Story by Deborah White

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Nefertaru's Story by Deborah White

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Summary: This is the story of Nefertaru, a dancer and priestess at the temple of Sekhmet in Ancient Egyptian times. She appears briefly in both Wickedness and Deceit but is at the heart of the plot of both novels. Sekhmet was the divine consort of the god Ptah, who in later Ancient Egyptian history became merged with the god Thoth.
Date: 7 January 2013

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External links: Author's website



This is the story of Nefertaru, a dancer and priestess at the temple of Sekhmet in Ancient Egyptian times. She appears briefly in both Wickedness and Deceit but is at the heart of the plot of both novels. Sekhmet was the divine consort of the god Ptah, who in later Ancient Egyptian history became merged with the god Thoth.

Listen, while I have breath still. The story must run, I know that. How it will end, I cannot know, but at least I may tell how it all began…

It is dark. Night falls swiftly here in Egypt. The little oil lamps are lit. Their smoky, flickering light makes the shadows dance on the house walls. But I’m not afraid. How could I be when my mother is with me? She is singing. She is happy. When she calls my name, Nefertaru, and holds out her arms to me, I run to her and am held close. Breathing in the scent of her skin, I feel safe and loved. I will keep this memory burnished bright as a bronze mirror, and whenever fear threatens to engulf me, I will be reminded that not all is darkness. That I was loved once.

My mother turns at the sound of my father’s voice calling out to her. I struggle free from her embrace, thinking I will run to him as I always do when he comes home. But my father is not alone. There is someone else with him. A man wearing the leopard’s skin and papyrus sandals of a priest… and so tall he has to stoop down as he comes through the door. A stranger whose face appears dark and distorted in the lamplight. Or is he a stranger?

A memory surfaces like a crocodile beaching on the riverbank. A face is peering down at me as I lie in my cradle. It is a bad memory and I begin to cry. My mother pulls me to her and tightens her hold. I can feel her tremble. Her face turns grey as ash when the stranger speaks these words, It is time now. I have come for Nefertaru.

I start at the mention of my name and my mother cries out and says that I am just a child. My red hair is still worn in the side-lock of youth. But my father steps forward and pulls me away from her… and GIVES me to him. Like a gift! An act of such betrayal I can never forgive him… in this world or the next.

My mother begins wailing as if someone has died and she is in mourning. At first my father tries to calm her, but grows angry when she struggles to break free from him. Then a cloth is pressed against my nose and mouth and I fall into the arms of the god Tutu, who takes me down into a deep and dreamless sleep.