The moonlight shines through my window, brightly, and I get up, walking over to the window, almost as if I'm drawn to it. My eyes are wide and as I stare out the window, I can easily make out the glittering sand, as well as buildings in the distance. I push the window open, unable to stop myself, and I climb easily out the window, sliding along the side of the building, down to the ground. I land on my feet and I glance around me, the air stiffling and heavy. I begin walking, again unable to stop myself. It's almost as if I'm sleep walking, but awake and coherent, though unable to keep myself in one spot. It's like an outside force, something that I cannot fight, cannot control, and I hate it. Somehow, I know exactly where I'm headed, and then I'm at the tomb. I climb down the 16 steps leading inside, and go down the narrow walkway leading to the pit, and I climb down the ladder to the entrance to Nefertiti's chamber. Inside, the air shimmers and I hear the sound of whispers, which makes me swivel around, looking for the source of the whispers. Unfortunately, I see no one, leading me to believe that it's all in my imagination, or some bizarre, crazy dream. Then, the air shimmers more vividly, and a small figure appears in front of me. Her hair is long, dark and wavy, her skin less than a shade darker than mine, and her face startles me the most. It's identical to mine, but with a hazy, hazel/green eye color several shades darker than my emerald green eyes. Other than the eye color, we look very much alike. Like my eyes, hers widen, and she gasps.
"Suzanna was right." She exclaims, and, remarkably, her voice is similar to my own, except for the fact that she has an old fashioned accent, as well as a perfect Ancient Egyptian language that I've only heard myself, and my father speak.
"You're her." I whisper. "Nefertiti."
"Amaunet." Nefertiti says. "Suzanna said you would come. She was certain. You know what to do?"
I shake my head, unsure of what she's talking about. "What do you mean?"
"You read the inscripted prophecy?" She asks, her eyes wide.
"Yes. I don't understand it though." I say, and my voice trembles. My words weren't actually the truth. My parents and Alistair hadn't realized that the prophecy was true, much less that I am the only female descendant of Nefertiti, and the girl mentioned in the prophecy. I had known it since the moment I laid eyes on the inscription. I understand that I'm the one that Suzama had written about, but I don't understand how I'm supposed to stop a race that descends from a demon that relishes in death and misery.
"You are the light in the darkness, the spark that will bring the Setians down. You are different from everyone else. No one else can stop them from rising." Nefertiti says, "If there were another way, I'd gladly take it. But since there is not, it is indeed up to you, daughter."
I remember reading somewhere that Nefertiti's daughter's had all died giving birth to sons, and their sons had sons. Every so often, a female child was born. In the inscription, it said that all of the female children were killed sometime before they find out they are related to her. I'm the only female in that long, long line, and while I have lots of cousins, all of them are males. I am the only female in her line left, making me like a daughter to her, though many generations removed. In a way, I know that we're almost like the same person. We are nearly identical, we share a name, and we're the only known people to travel through time and space.
Maybe I hadn't stated this, but Nefertiti is as solid as I am, she is not a ghost or apparation. She is real, no matter what my brain keeps telling me. She is not my imagination, and I'm not dreaming. I feel the connection we share, and I feel the life force in front of me.
"I can't save the world." I whisper. "I'm still a kid."
"You are not just a kid." Nefertiti says, her hair bouncing as she steps closer. "You are the many times great grandaughter of royalty. You are special. You carry royal blood, and you've lived many lives, Amaunet. You are a different, as I said. Every one of my female descendants that was killed off was actually you. You've been reincarnated many times, and this, sadly, will be your last life. I don't know whether or not you will succeed, but none of the other incarnations has made it this far, thus, makes me believe you will succeed. Not only for your sake, but for the entire worlds'. If you die... I will be stuck here, and the Setians that have risen will destroy me, and everyone else that's here, causing Set to rise from the nether realm. I'm not sure exactly what will happen. Suzama said it was best if I didn't know everything that could happen because it could cause the events to take place. She knew that we would someday meet, and she knew that you would be the one. You'll meet her. She's like you, an Old Soul, as they call it. One who has been reincarnated many times. Though, you are the only known one to have lived quite so many lives. She'll explain it more to you in depth. We don't have time right now for this."
"Don't have time?" I ask. "Why? What's going to happen?"
"Their coming." Is all she says, her voice quiet.
"Who?" I ask.
I am interrupted by yelling, and I glance at the door to the room we're in.
"Amaunet, are you in there?" Alistair's voice is close, right around the corner, and I glance at Nefertiti in panic. Her eyes hold a strange light, and she gives me a look.
"A suitor, perhaps?" She asks me, grinning.
My cheeks flush and I don't say a word.
"Amaunet!" Alistair's voice is loud, and he walks into the room. But he doesn't even look at me. His eyes fall on Nefertiti. "Amaunet, what are you doing here?" He asks, reaching forward to grab Nefertiti's arm.
It's almost as if he doesn't see me at all. "Alistair." I whisper. He doesn't look at me, he is still waiting for Nefertiti to answer him.
"Um." Her voice is quiet, and she says "You can see me?"
"What? Of course I can see you. Are you sleep walking still?" He asks her and my eyes fill with tears.
He can't see me or hear me. At all. Nefertiti has taken my place, and I see that she is now in MY clothes, as I am in hers.
"Perhaps." Her voice is quiet and she glances away from Alistair to look at me. Only she sees me. Her eyes are worried, and she has an apologetic look on her face.
"Let's get you home." Alistair says. "Your parents are probably worried sick."
Alistair leads the way out, leaving Nefertiti and myself alone.
"I-" She starts, then shakes her head. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize this would happen."
"It's not your fault. The prophecy is coming true. Just be careful. Hopefully... I'll be safe. Then I can come back." I say.
"You be careful. We've already traded lives. The Setian's wont know until they see you in my time. You have a certain light that makes you known, only they can't see it in your time. So they wont notice me at least for a week or so. Maybe longer. Hopefully. Here." She holds out an amulet that had been around her neck. "Take this. It will keep you safe. It's charmed, a magic that many people in your time believe in still, but it'll be better for you to have it. You're the most important part of the prophecy. Take care of yourself, Daughter, and remember that enemies lurk in unlikely of places. Trust no one but Suzama." She says quickly.
"Right." I nod. "Um, about Alistair.. You should know..." I trail off.
"You love him." She says, easily. "I know. I could see it. He loves you. He'll be upset when he finds out I'm not you, but hopefully I can tell him the truth, for your sake and his. I'm going to do my best to keep it a secret from most people, though. You never know who is a Setian until you come across them in a fight."
"Alright." I whisper. "What do I do?" I ask.
"Secret door beside the artifact that made this room open. Only you will be able to find it. You wont be able to come back until something drastic changes, though. Everything you need to know will be given to you."
"You'd best be going." I whisper. "Tell Alistair that I love him."
"I will." She gives me a smile. "Princess." Nefertiti walks out, and I'm left alone. I no longer hear either of them, and I walk to the artifact, and look around it. A small shimmering crack appears and I touch it, my fingers and hand sliding smoothly through the crack, disappearing. I walk forward, my whole body going through it. I fall to the ground, hitting my head hard on the sandy ground.
I open my eyes to bright sunshine, and a pounding headache.
"Princess Nefertiti!" A voice yells, and I look up.
'I'm not Princess Nefertiti', is the first thought that pops into my head, and I have racing thoughts that enter my mind quickly. 'This is who you are now', 'You are a princess, you are betrothed to the future Pharaoh Amenhotep IV'.
My heart races, and I have trouble breathing.
"Princess Nefertiti! Are you alright? You took a nasty fall!" The man's voice echo's closely and I glance at him. His face is grungy, and his eyes are charcoal. His hair is dark as night, and and his skin is tan, so dark that it makes me look white. I don't know him, and I don't say anything. His eyebrows furrow in confusion, as if he's seeing me for the first time, which, of course, is right. He'd seen Nefertiti many times, but he'd never seen me.
"I'm quite alright." I tell him, my voice nearly silent, and I look around. The tomb is no where in site, and the ground is just as sandy. The sun is high in the sky, indicating noon. How is it possible that I traveled through thousands of years to end up in the daylight in a world I don't recognize? A world that seems so natural and isn't anything like I had pictured it? But, somehow, it also still feels like home.
The man gives me a peculiar look. "Are you sure you're alright, Princess?" He asks me, concerned.
"Yes -" I cut off, searching for a name for the man in front of me. "Nenkhsekhmet. I'm alright, Nenkhsekhmet." I say, gazing at him.
Nenkhsekhmet, named after his own many great grandfather who was an official of the 4th dynasty, is the official in charge of my safety. No, Nefertiti's safety. He just thinks I'm Nefertiti, because, who else could I be?
"What happened?" I ask him, my head still sore, and the sunlight beating down on me isn't making me feel any better.
"You fell off of your donkey, Princess. Are you really sure you're alright? Perhaps we should go see Penthu." He suggests.
Penthu. The Chief Physician. Doctor. My heart begins to race, and I quickly shake my head. "No, I'm quite alright." I say quickly, slowly standing up, and straightening my kalasiris sheath (Dress). The torquoise amulet around my neck hangs long and bounces as I stand straight. My hair is braided and woven in beads and gems, heavy and it still hangs down to my waist. My leather sandals are adorned as well in gems, emeralds though. I look like a princess...
"Only if you are sure, Princess. We must get back to the palace before the hour is up. The Pharaoh's son arrives soon, and the Pharaoh wants you on time to meet him. You must make a good impression for the prince. Soon, you will marry him, Princess. It would make both of your lives easier if you could make a good impression for a change."
This seems to be an argument they'd had countless times before, and although I am not Nefertiti, I must put up a similar fight to what she would. The words rush out of my mouth before I can stop them. "Why must I marry a man I don't even know? Shouldn't I have a choice?" I ask, my voice raising to a volume I rarely have spoke in, in my whole life.
"We've been over this, Princess. Your parents want an alliance with Egypt so if anyone tries to attack the Mittani kingdom, we'll have people to help us out." Nenkhsekhmet says, "And anyways, you are only to marry another royal. Your parents don't want you to marry a commoner. Just be happy that your parents want an alliance with Egypt and not the other awful kingdoms. The sons of those kingdoms are all unfriendly and cruel." Nenkhsekhmet tells me. "Now, lets get a move on, Princess. You need to be back soon." He helps me onto a donkey that looks familiar, and I realize I'm beginning to tap into Nefertiti's memories.
I nod, remembering the other countries and the sons I had been forced to meet, and hadn't had any connection with whatsoever.
"Perhaps he wont be so bad." I murmur, and Nenkhsekhmet and I ride on to the palace. Women and men dressed in clothes that are dirty and shredded rush outside to help me down from my donkey, and they talk quickly in Ancient Egyptian, but it's broken and it sounds more like that of my father's than my own. They must not have come from Egypt. From the looks of it, they are servants.
Nenkhsekhmet snaps at one of the servants. "Get the Princess cleaned up, please. And make sure she gets something to eat as well. She took a nasty fall earlier, and she needs nourishment."
"Yes, Sir. Yes." The servant, a woman with long dark brown hair, says, and takes my arm to guide me inside.
"Thank you." I say, and realize for the first time that I'm not speaking English, but Ancient Egyptian, and hadn't even noticed. I easily understand everything that is said, and it startles me.
"Your welcome, Princess." She says, and I listen to her voice, trying to determine her age. She's quiet, and though she looks as if she couldn't be much older than me, her voice makes me think she's around the same age as my mother.
"Do you know the son of the Pharaoh?" I ask, trying to figure out if really is better than the others.
"Prince Amenhotep?" The woman says. "Everyone here knows him. He's been away for the past two years. His father wanted him out of the city so that he would be safe."
"Safe? From what?" I ask.
"From the invaders, of course." She tells me.
"And it's safe now?" I ask.
"Of course." She says. "Also, Pharaoh wanted you to meet him. A union is required to form an alliance between the Mittani kingdom, and Egypt's. Now, follow me." She tells me.
"Might I ask your name?" I ask.
"Sitamun." She tells me with a small smile. "You're the first to ask me, Princess."I blush, and look away. I'm not behaving the way a princess would. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." I answer, following her to a small washroom, and there are two other female servants there.
"The hair is clean." A woman in her mid to late thirties, with short black hair and black eyes, says, touching it gently. "The rest needs work." She tells the others. I blush at that, realizing I'm covered in dirt and sand from my fall earlier.
An hour later, I'm finished being bathed, and I'm in a clean kalasiris,my hair still braided, and Sitamun applies Kohl and gems to my face, and lipstick to my lips. Without anything to see my reflection, I have to trust that The servants know what they are doing.
Sitamun smiles and says "You look lovely, Princess. The prince will be stunned by your beauty."
I incline my head, showing gratitude. "Thank you, Sitamun. Is there anything I should know about Prince Amenhotep?"
"He is brilliant and kind, and that's all you need to know, young lady." A different servant says, shaking her head. "You'd best learn your place. You need not know anything about him. It's he who has to know everything about you, Princess. You have no choice in the matter."
"Hebony, the girl meant no harm. She should know who the son of the Pharaoh is. He's met all of the princesses that live around here and along the East and West of the Nile. She's the only other princess around here. He went looking for a bride in many different kingdoms, but none of the princesses were what he was looking for. She could very well be the one. And if Pharaoh hears of your rudeness to the princesses, there will be problems." Sitamun says. "Princess Nefertiti asked, now should I tell her, or will you?"
Hebony glares at Sitamun, and I clear my throat. "Ladies, I am waiting. What is Prince Amenhotep like?"
Sitamun answers me. "He's smart and kind, and is known for his sense of humor. He is kind to the servants and slaves, and he adores his parents. He is good, Princess. You'll like him."
I nod, tossing my hair as I stand up. "May I have something to eat?" I ask.
"Right away, Princess." Hebony says, mockingly, shootings a glare at Sitamun. She brings an assortment of fruits and cheese as well as some meat that looks like beef and pork.
"Is this...-" I start.
"Beef and pork Princess, just the way you like." Sitamun tells me with a smile.
I nod. "Thank you." I say, and slowly eat while thinking about what Nefertiti must be doing right now. Is she asleep in my bed? Or is she staring out my window at the moon and stars, missing home as much as I am?
Sitamun takes my arm, making me stand. "It is time, Princess."
How does one act when they know they are meeting their future husband? How should a princess act when meeting her future husband?
Somehow, I feel as if I really am a princess... I feel as if I really am Nefertiti. Is it supposed to be like this?
"Head up, shoulders back, Princess." Sitamun tells me. I do as she says, letting my hair fall around me, but not in my face. Something tells me that I have to face this head on. The room we walk into is open and spacious.
"Ah, Princess Nefertiti. We've been waiting for you to arrive." The Pharaoh speaks and my eyes fall on him. Late 30's, early 40's, he is tall and rather thin. His eyes are dark, and his hair is black. His skin is much tanner than all of the servants, and his eyes are quick to look me up and down. I refuse to look away.
"Sorry, Pharaoh. I fell from my donkey riding back from the market, and had to get cleaned up." I curtsey politely, and smile.
"Fell? Surely you should be looked over by the Physician?" Pharaoh Amenhotep the third says, and I hastily shake my head.
"I'm quite well." I reply, "A little fall isn't anything to worry about."
"Very well, Princess." Pharaoh says. "You know my wife, Tiye."
"Yes, Queen Tiye, you are looking well." I smile and curtsey. She actually does look well. She's beautiful with long black hair and twinkling black eyes.
"Thank you, my dear. If you aren't feeling well in the next few days, let me know and I'll send for the Physician."
"Thank you." I say, my face downcast. I notice that the servants have left, leaving me alone with the royals.
"And this is my son, Prince Amenhotep the fourth." The Pharaoh says, his hand out towards someone.
I glance up and my eyes meet those of the prince. His hair is nicely trimmed, braided in what looks like a hundred dark brown braids, his eyes are a warm, chocolate brown, and his skin is as golden as his father's. His eyes light up when they meet mine, and I stare back in wonder at the boy in front of me. He is tall but muscular, and I've never met someone like him before. I hastily remember that he's a royal, and I curtsey.
"Your highness." I say with my head bowed.
"There's no need for that." He says, taking my hand and making me stand up. His palms are smooth and soft, and I look up into his eyes for a long moment. He gazes into my eyes for a long time before smiling and pulling slowly away.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Princess." He tells me, smiling still.
"It's a pleasure meet you, too." I answer quietly. His eyes remain on me.
"Well, shall we eat dinner, and discuss the business?" Pharaoh Amenhotep the third asks.
I incline my head once again. "As you wish, Pharaoh." I say, and follow him, his wife and son to the dining hall, which is lavish and exquisite. The white stone keeps the heat out, and I am glad that the room is cool because there are many people in the room, servants, the cooks, and members of the royal family I had yet to meet, and with the body heat of all of these individuals, the room would get stuffy if not for the stone walls and floors, as well as the open areas.
The table is very large, and it is full of food, all of it looks extremely delicious. Even though I'd just eaten some fruit, cheese and meat, I'm still hungry. I wait for the royal family to sit before I take my seat, and a servant pushes my chair in for me, and I thank him.
Prince Amenhotep's eyes stay on me the whole time we talk and eat dinner, and he barely even speaks to his parents.
"Your parents have sent word that your sister had her baby a few weeks ago."Pharaoh Amenhotep tells me.
"Oh, did she have a son or daughter?" I ask, my face lighting up at the news. Nefertiti hadn't seen her sister since she'd come here, over a year ago, to go to school with some other royal children.
"A daughter." Pharaoh Amenhotep tells me, and I smile again.
"That's wonderful." I say, "She's been wanting a daughter since she had both of her sons."
"Yes, having daughters is very wonderful." He glances over with affection at his two daughters, younger half sisters of Prince Amenhotep, the eldest child since his older brother had died young.
I smile, and nod. Prince Amenhotep's sisters are both beautiful, all with shoulder length black hair and brown eyes. I notice, like their brother, their eyes are on me. Nefertiti had met them both a year ago when she'd moved here. They'd seemed fascinated by her the whole year. Whether it be because I look a lot different than they do, with my dark hair and very light eyes, or because I'm a princess from another kingdom, or even that I've traveled over many lands to come here, a place I'd never been before, leaving everything I knew and loved behind.
Memories of Mittani impose themselves on me at that moment. My father, King Tushratta. My mother, Ahmose-Nefertari. My sister, Mutbenret. I may not actually be Nefertiti, but I am related to her, and her parents and sister seem as if their my parents and sister. It's hard to separate who I am from Nefertiti.
When we finish dinner, we eat dessert, sweet honey cakes and fruit. After we finish, Prince Amenhotep walks me to my room, a beautiful room fit for, well, a princess.
"I had a wonderful evening." The prince tells me.
"So did I." My cheeks flush pink, and I let my hair fall forward to hide my face.
The prince stretches his hand out to caress my cheek. "Thank you for agreeing to meet me, Princess." He says, and his tan cheeks flush pink as well.
"Thank you for requesting the meeting, your Highness." I say.
"Amenhotep." He says, and presses a gentle kiss to my forehead. "Princess."
"Amau-" I cut off. "You can call me Nefertiti." I whisper.
"Nefertiti." Amenhotep smiles, "I should be going. I'll send the servants to help you get ready for bed. You look as if your a moment from falling to sleep on your feet."
"Thank you. Will I see you tomorrow?" I ask him, and Amenhotep nods.
"You sure will." He answers, and with another smile, he kisses my cheek, and rushes down the hall, leaving me standing in the doorway, watching as he walks quickly away.
Moments later, a few servants, Sitamun and Hebony among them, and Sitamun gives me a smile. "I think the prince likes you, Princess."
"I think so too." I say, smiling, lowering my eyelids, glancing out from under my long, thick lashes as blush rises once again to my cheeks. "He watched me all throughout dinner."
"Yes, well. We'll find out within the 'Morrow." Hebony says. "Just pray to the gods that this went as well as you think it has."
I nod, and let them dress me in a night gown.
The hair is warm, and I close the window before climbing into the large canopy bed with drawn curtains around it.
I find myself drifting off into a deep sleep, filled with memories of Nefertiti's childhood, and of mine. Stuff of mine, I'd never even known had happened. In most of my memories, I see Alistair, sweet, kind, loving Alistair, the man I'm in love with, just the way Nefertiti had fallen in love with Amenhotep the third, thousands of years ago.
I just hope I'll get to see Alistair again. As Nefertiti, I have feelings for Amenhotep, and it's hard to distinguish that love from mine for Alistair. But, I already miss Alistair, and he doesn't even know I am gone. Though he will notice, he already knows me as well as I know him. It's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time...