Leg Post 120 continues immediately after Leg Post 119 with Setne, Hermes Trismegistus and the ten-year-old priest Bay, confronted by a mummy within the Tomb of Osiris. Setne confesses that he would usually just run away under such circumstances, but they decide they should get Bay to set the mummy on fire with the torch. They are interrupted by the angry Nahktneith, also a mummy and wife of Djer, who protests about being woken up and Djer, once pharaoh of Egypt, asks them to quieten down. Now with a rapport, they settle down and find Djer very friendly and eager to help them with information for the quest to find the Book of Thoth. He admits that he was given the book by Thoth himself but didn't use it for much, save inventing the smoking of cannabis. He then confirms that many of the artefacts were stolen from his tomb and taken to the Tomb of Hatsheput at the Theban Necropolis, which would be seen in Leg Post 123. With this information, the two men intend to head to the Theban Necropolis but, as they reach the exist to the Tomb of Osiris, they are met by Sauda. Setne knows she is cunning and manipulative, but he finds himself being beguilded by her beauty, words and sensuality, which she uses strongly upon him. Likewise, she butters up Hermes with praise of Grecian wisdom and the old man's evident intelligence. Despite Setne's best verbal attempts to remove Sauda from their company, she inserts herself into their adventure, keen on finding out what they want to keep from her.
Hot and Cold
Hermes: “What do you usually do about now?”
Setne: “Run in the opposite direction.”
They both glanced behind them to see the wall still standing there.
Hermes: “Any Plan B?”
Hermes: “The torch!”
They both look at Bay, who suddenly looked like a deer in the headlights.
Bay: “Why are you looking at me!?”
Hermes: “Burn the mummy!”
Setne: “Quickly, Bay! Before it eats us!”
The mummy recoiled.
Djer: “Eat you!? Now, now! There’s no need for all this!”
Hermes: “I believe it’s zombies that eat people, not mummies.”
Setne: “What’s the difference between them? Aside from bandages?”
Hermes put a ponderous hand to his chin.
Hermes: “You’ve got me there.”
There came an angry growl of a woman to one side. From the sarcophagus of Nakhtneith, wife of Djer. The mummy start upright and glared at the humans and her husband.
Nahktneith: “Could you all please keep it down!?”
In the silence that followed, she, grumpily, lay back down.
Nahktneith: “Some of us are trying to sleep! It’s decades before I should wake up.”
Djer put a finger to his lips. Or he would have if he still had lips. Or still had a finger, for that matter.
He motioned for them to all step aside, into an alcove and he whispered to them with a raspy voice.
Djer: “Sorry about the wife. She’s not her best so early in the century.”
He itched one of the bandages on his shoulder, which threatened to fall off. The men stepped back in awkward disgust, as though Djer had just farted a prime, stinky methane load. Only worse.
Djer: “I don’t suppose you brought some ceremonial wine with you?”
Bay: “No sorry.”
Djer: “You must be a new priest? You’re very short.”
Setne: “He’s ten.”
Djer: “Ah! A fine age! I got married to my wife at ten!”
Hermes: “Oh dear…”
Setne: “I would like to say things have changed since then. But they haven’t.”
The mummy then pulled a small stick from the bandages and popped it between the remains of his mouth.
Djer: “Would you mind?”
Bay, confused, held out the torch as instructed and the mummy lit the little stick.
Setne: “Uh, are you sure that’s a good idea? Fire, rags…”
Djer: “Don’t you start. I get enough of that from the missus.”
He glanced back, sudden afraid she heard him. He blew the smoke from his lit stick into the alcove, away from her direction.
Djer: “So, I think you were saying something about the Book of Thoth?”
Hermes: “Yes! Do you know something about it!?”
Djer was startled and patted his hand on the air.
Setne: “Not so loud! You don’t want her to give us all an earful.”
Hermes: “Do you know something about it!?”
Djer nodded, much to the horror of the humans as it looked like the head might snap off the fragile neck.
Djer: “What you said was spot on earlier. They came and took it away. The book was given to me by Thoth himself and they just took it. Assholes.”
Setne tried not to think of mummified assholes.
Hermes: “Why did Thoth give it to you?”
Djer: “I wasn’t the first. But it was given to me so I could learn the secret of magic!”
Djer: “But I just ended up inventing this stuff.”
He held up the blunt.
Djer: “I did learn some kind of secrets, I’m just not sure what those secrets were…”
He eyed the stick in his own hands suspiciously, as though it was to blame for his failure.
Setne: “Do you know who, specifically, took the book?”
Djer: “Yes! Of course! Someone called Hat-she-put. I don’t know where she put the hat, but she was named after it.”
Djer: “Yes, that’s what I said.”
Hermes: “I hope she isn’t as… animated as you are, or this could be a problem.”
Setne: “Could be a problem anyway. Her tomb is going to be… well trapped.”
Djer: “Oh, that’s how it is! The young ones even get better traps than we do. Nobody respects us anymore.”
Hermes: “Young… yet very dead for a long time.”
Setne: “Time to go either way. At least now we know where to go.”
Djer: “It was nice meeting you nice, alive people. We don’t get a lot of guests.”
Hermes: “Imagine my surprise.”
The human left, giving awkward waves to the wiggling fingers of the mummy, and quietly stalked back down the dark, dank passageway of the tomb. When they finally burst out into daylight, heat rocketed against their skin so suddenly they all jumped back into the cold of the tomb.
Setne: “Let’s… wait here and try to slowly adjust to the heat, eh?”
Hermes: “Now that we know where to go, finally we can get the book.”
???: “A book, eh? What book would this be?”
The two men froze.
Setne: “Please, no more mummies…”
They turned around.
Sauda: “I hope I look a darn sight better than a dirty, old mummy…”
Setne’s eyes bulged. He knew Sauda was a dangerous and manipulative woman, at least that’s what his father said, and yet she was a sight to behold and she was completely unabashed. She smiled straight at him and he knew he’d been caught looking. It was more embarrassing that she didn’t rebuke him for it and he cleared his throat, trying to regain some composure.
Setne: “Well, yes, um, we, ah, need to find a book. It’s nice to see your—you! Nice to see… meet you! Very… nice…”
Hermes frowned at Setne.
Sauda: “Sorry, sir. I am Sauda. It is nice to meet you. Are you Greek perhaps? You have such a fine, educated air about you.”
Hermes straightened up and nodded with far more elegance than he had given Setne.
Hermes: “Why, yes! That is a good eye you have, Lady Sauda. I believe you are the high priest of all Egypt?”
Sauda: “I am. Which is why I am always pleased to meet intelligent gentlemen like yourself. I’m sure you have much wisdom that you could bestow. The more you know, the better you…”
She made a tiny shrug.
Setne thought he had stepped into the sun again, because his face was so hot.
Hermes: “Well, yes! I believe that too.”
Bay: “High priestess Sauda! I am head priest Bay!”
He bowed and Hermes grabbed the torch before the boy set fire to Sauda with it.
Hermes: “Careful now.”
Sauda: “Just five minutes of meeting you and you have already come to my rescue! How fortuitous!”
Hermes: “Ineed, so it seems.”
He put the torch back into the sconce inside the tomb, while Sauda looked down at Bay.
Sauda: “And why didn’t you tell me there were visitors?”
Bay: “They didn’t want to meet you!”
Sauda: “Is that so…”
She looked up at Setne.
Sauda: “How cruel.”
Setne hoped the blood wasn’t rushing to his cheeks. Then he hoped it wasn’t rushing elsewhere either.
Setne: “We… didn’t want to bother you! We’re just looking for an old book, like Hermes said.”
Even the two steps she took towards him seemed to be carefully crafted to appear mesmerising in each tiny motion. Setne jerked his head upwards as he felt it lolling down.
Sauda: “And what book are you looking for in a mouldy old tomb? Perhaps I could be of service?”
Setne: “Um, nothing special. Just, ah, you know. Books! Hermes is an intelligent guy, like you said. He likes books. And… stuff.”
Sauda: “I do believe, you are keeping secrets from me, Prince Setne. Why would you treat me so…”
She took another step.
Setne: “Well, it’s not that—it’s just—I, uh…”
Still stood in front of Setne, she turned her head to look at Bay.
Sauda: “Bay? What is the book they’re looking for?”
Bay, in duty mode, snapped to attention and even saluted.
Bay: “A book in the Theban Necropolis, Lady Sauda! I wasn’t paying much attention beyond that, on account of almost wetting my pants in front of scary mummies.”
Sauda: “What wonderful circumstance! I was planning to go to the Theban Necropolis myself! Perhaps we could…”
She laid a gentle hand on Setne’s chest.
Sauda: “Come together?”
Setne could hardly breathe.
Setne: “You—you mean go together, I think?”
Sauda put her hand to her mouth, little finger just between her lips.
Sauda: “Oh? What did I say?”
Setne: “C-c-c… Nevermind. Probably my mistake.”
He cast his eyes straight at the bright sky, quickly, to avoid looking into her face. Or anywhere else about her, for that matter.
Setne: “Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it!?”
Sauda: “Are we feeling shy, my prince?”
He tried to act affronted and snapped his attention down. His bluster quickly bolted from him as his eyes locked with hers. He was sure she had moved closer when he was looking upwards and now he didn’t know how to run away.
Hermes: “That’s done.”
Setne almost jumped out of his skin and whirled around like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Provided the cookies were planning to eat him, rather than the other way around.
Hermes: “We should probably leave soon. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the desert during the night. I have heard it can be very cold.”
Sauda: “Is there anything you don’t know, my Grecian friend?”
Hermes gave a rare smile. He looked like an idiot.
Hermes: “Well, of course! Many things!”
Nevertheless, he was brimming with pride.
Setne: “Well then. Let’s go.”
He managed to squeak.
The two men started but heard the distinct footfalls of a third. They stopped and turned. Sauda was gazing up at them both with wide ‘not so innocent but looking innocent anyway’ eyes. The eyes said, ‘we all know I’m naughty, but I’m going to pretend I’m not all the same’.
Sauda: “Don’t worry. I can keep up.”
Setne: “Yes… that’s the problem.”
Setne: “Well… it might… get dangerous!”
Sauda: “Then it’s lucky I’m with you two, isn’t it?”
Setne: “Don’t you need to… help Bay?”
Sauda: “He’s head priest here now. New priests will arrive soon. He’ll be okay.”
Hermes: “But isn’t he just ten?”
Sauda’s hands clasped before her excitedly and she grinned at Hermes.
Sauda: “Yes! Don’t we just grow up so fast in these lands!? I remember I was a full-time sailor when I was eight!”
Hermes: “Oh, I see!”
Setne could see it. The way she had Hermes wrapped around her finger. She was playing the gorgeous admirer of his learned ways. But the moment she turned her eyes onto Setne, she changed so dramatically into a seductress that oozed sex appeal. She knew the two of them and how to control their view of her with nothing but words and body language. If he didn’t know better, he would swear he was under mind control.
Setne: “Well, we only have two mounts.”
Sauda: “I don’t mind! We’re both adults. We can share.”
She smiled at Setne. It was a sweet smile that was deliberately filthy, her eyes screaming lewdness straight at him.
Sauda: “I ride very well.”
Setne swallowed, the coughed up the air and wheezed for oxygen.
Hermes: “Are you alright?”
Setne managed to nod.
Hermes: “I guess it would be terrible if we left you out here without a means of getting back. Of course, you can come with us.”
Sauda: “You are simply the kindest soul I’ve met in a long time. I have always said that Greeks are the most dignified people I have ever known. Thank you so much.”
She stepped in synch with the older man, like a beautiful pupil gazing up with adoration at her mentor, and together they marched towards the mounts with Hermes giving an animated speech about the damage the sun could do to such beautiful, young skin as Sauda’s.
Setne: “We’re in so much trouble now…”
He traipsed after them with no clue how to get out of this mess.