Ancient Egypt · Blogging · Fantasy · Fiction · Historical Fiction · History · writing · Young Adult

Life Before Death: Book II of Shattered Destinies

Here goes something.

Namely, my latest writing project. I have been hard at work writing and putting together my debut novel; a book entitled ‘Life Before Death’. It is the second book in a trilogy named ‘Shattered Destinies’, and I am also using excerpts from this novel in progress for my Masters Dissertation.

Historical fiction has been a point of interest to me since first drafting a mere 1000 words of this novel; something done quite by accident. I bonded with the concept and genre so much that ideas for a trilogy of young adult fiction entered my head!

My next blog entries for quite some time will be focused around this novel in progress. Depending on feedback, I will post up the story in sequential order, or choose snippets that I’d like to have read.

Please comment or message me with feedback on which method would be preferable!

And now, without further adieu…


Prologue

There is something magical about death.

“We were all assigned a place in this mortal plane of existence from birth.” My father reads aloud from one of his favoured tomes; The Book of the Dead. He often did so while I was perfecting brush strokes: when I should otherwise be focusing. “It is one of our jobs, as part of the higher tier, to maintain Ma’at and the will of the Gods.”

“When we venture into the next life, will I still have to be a scribe?” I ask while practising the sacred Ibis bird symbol, my tongue sticking between my tightly pressed lips.

“He struggles to show you how much he cares.”

“That is the order.” He snaps in response, as he always does (in some form or fashion), and held up his papyrus scroll to better read in the dim light of the palace library.

“But what if I do not want to be a scribe?” I press him further.

“The Gods have granted you this gift, and you shall utilise it.” He never gave me the room to argue, and today was no exception.

“He has never been good with words, that father of yours.”

“Why can I not become a priest instead, like you? Priests can read and write too.” I look at him with a fixed stare, smile bright on my face with adoration. His place in the natural order was much more fascinating than mine.

He drops his papyrus in frustration, and turns on me, his amber eyes burning into my own with pure fury and irritation.

“Do you know why we do not have female priests? Because women ask far too many questions, that is why. You shall be a scribe, under the tutelage of the great Menes, and keep the balance in our society. That is final.” He never made this argument before, and I was stumped. I feel my smile melt and my hand tremble, unable to stop myself dropping the freshly dipped brush onto my papyrus.

Black ink spreads and soaks into the porous material much like the silence that absorbed both of us, and I look down, ashamed, at my work.

“There are no other girls learning to become a scribe under Menes either…” I mutter, my voice so quiet that even a master of whispers would strain to hear. But father heard me loud and clear.

“That is because others in the order have birthed sons. I am the only one with a daughter.” He spits, and snatches up his papyrus scroll to read elsewhere.

The dusty smell of the library became much of what I knew. Two name-days sped by seamlessly, although they were barely celebrated. Father never found time for me after that fateful day, but mother was constant as ever.

“Do not fret, you will reconnect with him.”

She made our home a haven for me to return to after long days in the library, eyes itching with papyrus dust and nose clogged with sharp scents of ink. She was the softness to my father’s cutting edge. Even though she did not understand my work as father did, she would listen and nod attentively while I spoke of my day’s grievances. She insisted that I always found a joy of the day too, and kept my outlook positive.

My place in Ma’at no longer seemed so bad.

Oh how quickly that balance could be shifted, shattered; just as my own natural order did during my eighth year…

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