Leg Post 101 is the first post in NeS related media to contain a trigger warning, in this instance over the possibility of extreme violence. opens with Ramesses I dying and considering his life and the coming reign of his son, Seti. He believes his son is a great orator and would do well, except that Ramesses is concerned over Seti's relationship with the foreign witch, Sauda. After the death of his father, Seti is easily swayed and controlled by Sauda, who is made vizier by Seti. They march out to battle against the Hittite Empire and manage to conquer the city of Beit She’an and due to plague in Hattusa, the Hittites cannot respond. The post switches into its trigger warning material, in which Sauda and Seti are joined by several dark mages and together they sacrifice children in order to enact a spell that would grant each of them their single-most desire, whatever it may be. Seti wanted a son who would have a grand and lasting legacy that would last throughout the annuls of time. Sauda wanted to dominate a god. She didn't want to make the mistake of her predecessor, Ay, who tried to control Aten and assert Aten upon the populace. Instead she took existing gods that the people already worshipped and merged them as one, to fabricate Amun-Ra, and control this deity. Years later, however, Sauda insists, to Seti, that she is unable to control this new god after all, even though she is now high priest of Egypt. The conversation is overheard by Seti's diseased daughter, Asiya, who believes both Sauda and Seti had changed, especially her father. Even with the birth of a son, Seti seems hollow. Sauda wants to do the spell again, much to the horror of Seti, but she believes she can do it without him, now that she has the cultural title of high priest. She only needs his consent. When he refuses to go to war with Canaan, or allow her to kill Egyptians, she wants to kill slave children. He agrees. His son is named Ramesses II after himself. Asiya had a slave-maid named Miriam, who was able to bring the finest linen for Asiya, who needed it because of her lesions. During Sauda's culling of the slave babies, many of which were Hebrew like Miriam, Miriam's mother left with her baby brother to try to save the child. While Asiya was bathing, she spotted a baby in a basket, floating on the River Nile, and Miriam recognised it at her brother. She was initially afraid for her brother, but Asiya wanted to keep the baby herself, as she feared he would be taken by Sauda, and came up with a lie that would convince her father the baby was not Hebrew. Miriam was surprised by thge kindness of Asiya and suggested the name Moses, which was his real name unbeknownst to Asiya, for the baby.
Ramesses I lay dying. He had reigned just two years but he believed he had done great works during those two years, and greater still when he worked as vizier for Horemheb. Horemheb was an emotional, fretful man that presented a stoic, solid veneer. The man constantly worried about things, feared people and their intentions. Ramesses had acted as much as a councillor as a vizier.
Unlike his predecessor, and friend, Ramesses I had children, most notably his first-born son, Seti. As soon as he had ascended to the throne of Egypt, Ramesses, being the wise forward thinker that he was, declared Seti as his heir. He had a granddaughter, which ensured his legacy, though the girl was not truly suitable and he hoped another child would present a better option. The previous generations had been such a turmoil that it caused great stress to the kingdom and the people of Egypt. Thebes, the capital city, was under strain in patriotism after it, and its gods, had been abandoned in favour of Aten. The patriots were ever more fervent than they used to be, feeling the need to assert their cultural identity, while others had become disillusioned with the whole concept of a Theban identity at all and some even questioned the need of gods or, worse still, kings.
While Tutankhamun had paved the way for patriotization and Horemheb had surged in popularity by those same patriots, using the slogan of “Make Thebes great again”, Ramesses had attempted to act with facts and precision, rather than haphazardly pander to the public.
He tried to think of what man Seti would become as king of Egypt. Had had noted how religiously zealous Seti was, likely influenced by the cultural return to the old gods that renewed greater devotion to them by many of the populace. But he was also a great commander of people, able to spark up a grand speech far better than he, Ramesses, ever could. The greatest worry for Ramesses was Seti’s great secret, one which the man kept in collusion with the foreign witch…
Sauda: “The king is dead. Long live the king.”
Seti: “My poor father.”
She smiled, sweet and sympathetic. She had practised over and over to perfect the smiling that her old mentor, Ay, had taught her. He had been an artisan of human emotion and though she had killed him to protect herself, she missed his presence in these uncertain days.
She had used magic to limit her aging, though it had nothing to do with vanity. Having a frail, old body would limit her abilities both physically and socially. She was able to manipulate men and women more easily with a pleasing visage, and the pharaoh was no exception. Ramesses I had not trusted her, which she admired. He was a very smart man. His son, Seti, was her plaything.
Sauda: “But we must not waste a moment of your reign, pharaoh.”
He had appointed her as his vizier, much to the shock of the people. She was a foreigner and a woman. Yet, the pharaoh’s greatest talent lay with his eloquent speeches and he was able to sway them enough to accept his decision. She almost fancied he had a bit of magic on that tongue, the way he was able to persuade so elegantly. If he had been as cunning as she, or Ay, he might have made a great protégé of her own. Alas, he had just enough wit to have selfish desires and the will to enact on those, but not enough intelligence to plot and manipulate within her league.
Seti: “You are right.”
He worse traditional Egyptian white. In the dusty lands of Egypt, pristine white was a great luxury. He wore a grand headdress that looked very heavy and made his head look far too big. He had the refined facial features of his father and was strongly built in body, though he was outmatched by many of his own soldiers that stood over him. He was guarded at all times. He had insider knowledge of the deaths of his predecessors and he wasn’t prepared to take any chances. He had one daughter, Asiya, but she was weak and diseased and unsuitable as an heir. The man was desperate to provide a suitable legacy not only for himself but for Egypt. He didn’t want to repeat the turmoil of the past, which had been his father’s greatest fear.
Sauda used that.
The commanders were in agreement until the pharaoh announced he would ride into battle personally. He was quick to settle their protestations on grounds of his safety and placed the onus upon them to keep him alive.
The army travelled across the Levant. They quashed any rebellious factions in the region, who might have been left to the local militias had the military arm not been traversing the lands. Finally they reached the more serious fortifications and they laid siege to them. Many cities surrendered instantly, but those that required capture were done quickly and efficiently. The final major conquest was of Beit She’an. The Hittite Empire was unable to send enough troops to defend it, as so many were dying of plague in Hattusa and trying to maintain order there.
The city was claimed and murals to the great victory were being erected, especially murals created that presented the king himself.
Once he sat upon the throne of the city, Seti would need to enact the second part of the plan. The distasteful part.
Sauda: “Here. The sacrificial blade.”
He presented him with a small knife. It was very short, the blade barely able to pierce too deeply into the body of a man. But it was not designed to be used on men.
The soldiers marched through the streets of Beit She’an and stole away with the first-born children of these Levantines. None were older than ten, that being the accepted state of adulthood, and the youngest of them were mere days old. Dragged, kicking and screaming, the parents were beaten or killed when they resisted. Some fled when they heard the news spread throughout the city, carrying their children down to the River Jordan in hopes of escaping by boat. But the soldiers were there waiting. Mothers were drowned, still clutching their babies, fathers were gutted and left for carrion.
A large meeting hall of the palace of Beit She’an was converted foruse by the mages. They had been summoned from all corners of the world by special invitation by Sauda herself. She couldn’t invite just anyone, only the blackest of hearts would be able to perform such dark magic.
There were plenty in the world that dabbled in dark magic, or “black arts”, thinking themselves naughty for using such sinister magic. Yet, very few had the stomach for the true depths of dark magic and what it required.
A girl was brought in, stripped and then shoved into bath of cold water to remove the muck that the Egyptians presumed was on all of the Levantines. The girl was too horrified and confused to even cry as she was then thrown onto the table. She looked up at the light that beamed down onto her. It was an orb of pure magic, burning with aether, that stung her bare skin. Seti stepped up to the table. He had needed a break to rest.
He slammed the knife into the girl’s stomach and sliced across. Her intestines spilled out and the mages were quick to gather up pieces and drain blood into the cauldrons around the chamber. She had managed to scream for a short time before clinical shock paralysed her brain, which Seti was very grateful for. He had gotten through a dozen children so far and had hundreds more to go. When they screamed, it hurt his ears.
He cut open the chest and yanked out her still-beating heart. Sauda took that and added it to yet another cauldron, wherein all the hearts were being placed. It slapped wetly against the other organs at the bottom.
Two soldiers, who had been hired from the prisons of Cairo where they were convicted serial murderers, dragged the girl’s body from the table and throw it from the balcony into a pre-dug pit outside. Some of the parents had learned of the pit and were gathering now, screaming and crying for mercy or vowing vengeance over the children who had already been discarded.
The next was brought in. A baby of two months. Dunked into the water and dropped onto the slab. Seti hated the babies most of all. They were the easiest and, strangely, that made it harder…
They worked throughout the night and day, without rest. Sauda used magic to restore their bodies to stave off fatigue and the great work continued on and on. Blood and guts piled up. The stink was horrendous. Flies buzzed everywhere.
One of the mages had caved. As dark as his own acts had been in the past, he couldn’t keep up with all of this. The other mages granted him a mercy by blasting his head apart. Quick and painless. Seti himself had almost collapsed, but they needed him to enact the deed. Only a being of great power could make the sacrifices. If Sauda did it, it was a killing. But Seti did it, it was a sacrifice thanks to his position as pharaoh. Dark magic was filled with rituals and rules and specifications that made it an ordeal to even find the right circumstances in which it could work.
Beit She’an had been specifically chosen for it contained a nexus of magic. It was a lesser nexus, sometimes called a mini-nexus, by mages, but it could still be used. The larger nexus in Giza would amplify the power of the Beit She’an nexus once the spell was complete.
With a cauldron full of hearts and more cauldrons brimming with blood of children, the procedure could commence. The mages heated the room with their light sphere and removed their clothes, for fear of static build-up that could interfere with the precision of the spell.
Sauda dipped a goblet into the cauldron of blood and poured it down her throat. Much of it covered her body, but enough went down her throat. It was vile. But she used magic to keep her body from retching. She then ate a heart. It was tiny, probably from a new-born. The other mages followed suit while Seti, wide-eyed, watched at the back of the room. The hearts were served on silver platters, like gourmet meats, and the goblets were fine silverware from the royal palace stock.
It took another day for them to drink and consume the human remains. When done, they initiated the incantation. This was the shortest part. A solitary poem written in an ancient and forgotten language. None of them understood the words, only that it worked.
The world froze around them.
It wasn’t just time that was frozen, it was reality itself. They were suddenly looking at the fabric of reality itself, the pages of reality as written out before them. Each of them would be granted their wish – their alteration to reality. What everyone wished for was their own private concern.
Seti had considered immortality but he knew he couldn’t live forever with such horrors in his mind. Instead, it was his legacy he dreamed of. He wanted a son. But not just any son. He wanted a great and powerful son whose name would last throughout the ages. He needed the very essence of a great pharaoh of the past. And thus, it would come to be.
Sauda wanted something more ambitious. She wanted a god that she could bend to her will. To be the master of a deity who be tantamount to being a god herself, without any of the negative downsides of being subject to faith. But she knew of her predecessor’s problem. Having a god was one thing, but keeping that god sustained through faith was more difficult. She already knew what to do;
The powerful patriotism of the Thebans would be enough to empower her chosen god but she wanted more than a city god. She wanted Ra. Even with the reality-warping spell, she doubted she would be able to gain control of a primal deity like Ra, but she believed she could change him.
She took the reality code for Ra and merged it with the code of another god. The city god Amun. With Amun-Ra crafted, she entered code to make her the controlling influence on the grand deity and left.
Once the mages and Seti had all finished fulfilling their desires, reality cracked back into existence. The room swirled around them and the walls seemed to fall apart and put themselves back together – reality was being rewritten.
Non-Story Note: Trigger warning over.
Seti was sat at the dinner table. While his family reclined, lazily, upon the pillows, Seti sat, cross-legged, and stared grimly at the soup in front of him.
Asiya was especially concerned over the changes in her father. He had been a warm-hearted man once, though strict and professional at all times. He valued his family more than anything, cared for her despite her birth defect, for which everyone else scorned her.
He had grown hollow, however. He rarely ate anything but soup and he spent his hours staring blankly at the world. He no longer listened to music or admired paintings. He never read books with her.
Her new brother had been born just a month ago and she had hoped this would bring him some joy. Instead he just stared at the baby, as though his mind was elsewhere. Her mother blamed the wars. She said war changed men.
When the dinner was over, Seti had eaten just half of his bowl and a little bread. He rose and left the room without a word to his wife or daughter whereupon he was stopped by an irate vizier.
Sauda, like her father, had changed. She had once been all smiles and friendly words to her but since she returned from the wars in Levant, she had been consumed by religion. She was appointed high priest, as well as vizier, of the faith and was the pillar of faith for Amun-Ra.
Sauda: “It didn’t work as it should have.”
Seti stood and stared blankly at her. She was trying to keep her voice down, but Asiya was near the door and could hear them clearly enough.
Sauda: “I cannot control him. I have some influence, but I cannot make him do as I wish.”
Seti I: “Do I have my wish, I wonder?”
Sauda: “We must do it again!”
Seti stared at the ceiling, as though he saw a ghost, before his head lolled back and he looked at Sauda with more emotion than Asiya had seen from him in months.
Seti I: “A-again? You want to do that… again!?”
Sauda: “A second wish, my king. Surely there is more you desire?”
Seti I: “I cannot… It is impossible…”
Sauda sneered. That was something Asiya had never seen her do before. She never wore a single facial expression of negativity, certainly not one of disdain.
Sauda: “Fine. I do not need you now. I am high priest. That title should be sufficient. I just need your consent.”
Seti I: “We cannot war in Canaan again. We are fighting your own people now.”
Sauda: “I do not consider Nubia my home, Seti. You know that.”
Seti I: “You don’t consider Egypt your home either, Sauda.”
Asiya couldn’t believe they spoke to each other with simple names.
Sauda: “I can find children anywhere.”
Seti I: “You will not kill Egyptians, Sauda.”
Sauda: “There are more than Egyptians in Egypt. We have plenty of slaves…”
Seti I: “And what am I supposed to tell people?”
Sauda: “The slave population is too high. Culling is required.”
Seti groaned and turned away. His eyes locked with Asiya, who looked like a startled deer. Yet he didn’t see her. He was looking through her, as though he couldn’t see children anymore.
Seti I: “Do as you will.”
Sauda finally smiled.
Sauda: “Thank you, my king. Remember to take that tonic I gave you. It will calm the nerves and let you sleep.”
Seti I: “I will.”
Asiya was bathing in the river. The lesions on her skin grated and scalped every day and left disgusting messes on her bedsheets and her clothes. They itched and irritated when she was hot, so regular baths in the river were necessary to cool the irritation and soothe her poor skin. She often wept and lamented over her condition. She frequently begged the gods to heal her, but never did they do so. She could only imagine she was being punished from some unknown crime. Had she committed and offence, or was she destined to commit such an offence? Was she paying for the crimes of her ancestors or her descendants? She sulked at that. She would never have descendants. No man would want her and even if they did, she wasn’t sure she would want to have children lest they inherit this condition for themselves.
Her little brother was named Ramesses after her grandfather. Asiya was pleased by that, as it suggested he still held his family in great value deep behind the new veneer.
Miriam: “I have a linen towel for you, princess.”
Asiya glanced up to see one of her maidens placing the towel down. Asiya relied on Miriam to find her the best quality materials that were still soft and non-irritating for her delicate skin. Miriam was the daughter of a slave who worked in a clothmakers, which had been some providence that perhaps showed the gods’ pity. Most of her clothes and blankets were made of linen, a very fine and thin material. She only wore thicker cloth around her groin and breasts, to conceal her modesty. Many women would be happy to bare everything else, but Asiya hated her hideous body and the horrible lesions that everyone looked at with revulsion. So, she wore linen over it. They were still visible, but were drastically euphemised.
Miriam had very brown skin, hailing from her heritage as a Hebrew of Canaan. Compared to most slaves, however, she was actually very pale. She had served Asiya ever since the princess was born and, therefore, spent most of her time indoors and out of the baking sun. Because she worked in the palace, she was expected to have higher standards of appearance than most slaves, so her hair was habitually washed and groomed, and her clothes were cleaned regularly.
As much as Miriam resented the enslavement of her people, she was also keenly aware that she was one of the luckier ones. Lucky because she worked for a nice princess in a nice place with nice things, but also because she was not a child. The past nights had been marked by horror for the slaves of Thebes and since the Hebrew people made up most of that population, they suffered the most. Children were rounded up and dragged, screaming through the streets.
Some of the Egyptians were unhappy with this, but many saw it as proper. The slave population was too high. Slaves humped like animals and shat out babies every day. They didn’t worship the true gods, they couldn’t read or appreciate culture and they were lucky they were allowed to live and serve in Egypt at all. The ungrateful louts had been living in caves and trees before Egypt civilised them. The savages needed to be kept in line and there were so many of the wretches on the streets that it spoiled the appetite for any decent Egyptian trying to enjoy their afternoon walk. So many jobs were lost to the slaves too, culling their numbers would provide better opportunities for hard working people. Some of the savvier traders and slavers, however, wondered why they didn’t just sell the slaves to other countries? While Ethiopia had abolished slavery, plenty of other nations in Africa still had slaves and there were some European countries looking for exotic specimens. They wouldn’t, of course, trade with the Hittites, Assyrians or Babylonians. They didn’t want to add to their numbers.
That morning, her own mother had to slip away with Miriam’s little brother. She didn’t know where to, but she constantly prayed for their safety even as she served the daughter of the man that condemned the boy to death. A part of her hated Asiya on principle. She often called her “the diseased brat” when she talked about her to other slaves or her family, but she knew that the princess couldn’t be blamed for any acts her father took and, she would admit, Asiya treated her well enough. As a slavemaster.
Miriam was preparing the oil for the princess’ skin. She used to hate the task, afraid that she might contract the disease herself, but over time she got used to it. It was best to use the oil after the girl bathed so the roughness of the lesions wasn’t so grating against Miriam’s own hands, which would revolt her. Then, Asiya called out.
Asiya: “Oh, look!”
Bobbing on the water was a basket. It was cheap and quickly crafted, but sealed well enough to be buoyant.
Miriam: “You should leave it, mistress. Someone’s trash.”
Asiya: “But it’s strange someone would throw away something so useful!”
Miriam was constantly surprised by her master’s appreciation of all trade goods. She actually hoarded a few things that would have been thrown away even by slaves. Miriam just rolled her eyes as the princess swam out for the basket. Even though she bathed in the river many times a day, Asiya still swam like an epileptic moose. Legs and arms everywhere. She pulled the basket back to shore with her teeth.
Asiya: “I suppose you want me to do something with it, mistress? Huh?”
Asiya had pulled back a cloth in the basket and found a baby’s face looking up at them.
Asiya: “By the gods! Who would do this to a baby!?”
While Asiya was looking around the riverbanks for signs of the person who abandoned the child, Miriam stared into the baby’s face. It was her brother.
Miriam was suddenly on edge and was desperately trying to think of the right words.
Miriam: “I will… I should take the baby to the city, mistress. I’m sure I can find the mother.”
She pulled the basket away from Miriam, much to the slave’s horror. She was on the verge of snatching her brother and fleeing.
Asiya: “They’ll kill it.”
Miriam: “What d-do you mean?”
Asiya: “Don’t you realise? He must be… one of the Levantine babies. His mother must have tried to save him and send him down the river to another city.”
Miriam was at a loss.
Miriam: “What… do you intend to do? If you’re right, your father will have the baby killed anyway.”
Asiya: “I will keep it.”
Asiya: “Yes! Why not!? I can raise a baby!”
She was climbing out of the river, towing the basket carefully and very closely. If Miriam wanted to snatch her brother, she would have to attack the princess first. She didn’t want to die, but she wanted to save her brother.
Miriam: “But you said he’s a Levantine baby. He’s Hebrew. A slave! Like me!”
She looked around conspiratorially.
Asiya: “Nobody has to know that!”
Miriam was shocked. This kindness from her master. She knew Asiya was nice enough and kind for an Egyptian, but to show such compassion in defiance of her own father struck Miriam. She could barely accept that she had misjudged the girl so very much.
Miriam: “But… if anyone found out.”
Asiya: “Only you and I know of this. I will tell them the mother was a friend of mine who didn’t want anyone to know of the baby’s existence. I can make something up. You just have to swear you’ll not tell anyone, Miriam!”
Asiya: “He is of your own people, you wouldn’t want him to die, would you?”
More than you realise, Miriam thought.
Miriam: “Why? I mean why would you… take care of him like this?”
Asiya: “Don’t you have a heart, Miriam?”
Miriam: “Of course! You’re doing the right thing! I just… don’t understand why you’re doing this?”
Asiya: “You want me to tell you my father is wrong? Fine then. My father is wrong. How we can go around stealing babies from their mothers is… that is what I don’t understand.”
As Asiya held the baby in her arms, Miriam fell to her knees. In a different world, where everyone was equal, she might have loved this girl. For now, a newfound respect would suffice.
Miriam: “Of course I will keep your secret, mistress. But he will need a wet nurse. I know one who could feed him. Shall I fetch her for you?”
Asiya: “Yes, please Miriam! But remember, don’t tell the woman who he is!”
Asiya handed the baby over to Miriam while she dressed herself. Miriam was a little disturbed that the princess was putting her own clothes on, but more so that she held her own brother in her arms and couldn’t tell anyone. She looked down at his face. He had always been a quiet, well-behaved baby. Her mother claimed he had been sent by the gods. Now, Miriam believed it.
Asiya: “Oh… but what will I call him?”
Asiya: “How about Dave?”
Asiya: “Not Dave. How about… Jeff?”
Miriam frowned again.
Asiya: “Okay… what about Hullybumquatfeashillemiquiesenc’pac?”
Miriam’s jaw dropped.
Asiya: “No? I kind of like that name…”
Miriam: “What about Moses?”
Asiya: “Oh! That’s very pretty! I love it! Thank you Miriam! You’ve been so good! I know I am asking a lot from you, but please, please, please try to keep this a secret! We have to keep him safe, okay?”
She held out her arms to take the boy back. Miriam looked at Moses, then to the arms of the princess. She hesitated. She wanted to take him back to her mother, where he belonged. But since the gods had seen fit to send him to the princess, she had to accept that this was now where he belonged.
She put the baby in Asiya’s arms. The princess smiled happily down at the baby and Miriam’s heart swelled. She thanked the gods and ran, as fast as her skinny legs would take her, across the city to home.
"The 'Make Thebes Great Again' line was a reference to the Make America Great Again[Ext 1] slogan, popularised by Donald Trump[Ext 2]. The 'static build-up' during the dark magic ritual is a joke reference to static build-up when building a PC, a myth that you need to be naked to do so.
Much of the content of the post is a mixture of real world history merged with Christian[Ext 3] mythology and given my own spin on the subject. The events in this post had already been alluded to throughout the Egyptian Posts. The inclusion of the Moses story had never crossed my mind, it was Al Ciao the Writer who suggested it and I realised it would align with the narrative I had been working towards in the matter of sacrifice; the great crime of Ay to summon Aten. Amun-Ra[Ext 4] was, real world, a deity of Egypt[Ext 5] long before the date in NeS, but it fit with my narrative better.
The Trigger Warning came about after Al Ciao the Writer expressed his upset over certain subject matter; in particular the characters who had been raped. While I am adverse to the subject myself, it would be disrespectful to those who are victims of rape to pretend it doesn't exist and, especially, a great insult to characters, such as Medusa[Ext 6]. To that end, we decided to instigate a Trigger Warning system for any passages that may be excessive in their theme. ~ Britt the Writer