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Friday, August 6, 2010

High Drama Blogfest- War!

I haven't done a blogfest in a while, but I couldn't resist D.L. Hammon's High Drama Blogfest. Next week I'll announce on a new sort of blogfest- one with haikus!

Yes, you heard me right- HAIKUS!

Here's my High Drama piece...

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The chariot rolled back toward the desert, night falling fast.

The closest Nubian corpse was just outside camp, a young man with a pale dusting of sand on his dark skin, his arms and legs bent at impossible angles. A scorpion skittered onto the open maw of a dead horse as the chariot drew near. The rebel had been cut down, a battle-axe in his abdomen. The purplish guts oozed to the outside of his tunic and crusted with a thick film of almost black blood.

Hatshepsut steeled herself against the urge to retch and forced her eyes from the sight of the man’s entrails. Nomti started to pull the chariot from the scene, but Hatshepsut’s hand on his arm stopped him.

“I only need a moment.”

Hatshepsut stepped down from the chariot and walked to the dead man. The lavender intestines quivered as she pulled the axe from his stomach with a sickening squelch. Hatshepsut looked only at his right hand.

Hemet, stop!” Nomti yelled. “Someone else can do that.”

“Egypt’s men died today.” Hatshepsut grit her teeth. “This is the only thing I can do for them.”

Stepping on the man’s outstretched forearm, Hatshepsut hacked into the dead man’s wrist.

The blade of the battle-axe dulled with congealed blood and the sound of bones crunching became too much to bear. Hatshepsut retched into the desert’s unforgiving sands.

Hemet--”

“Let me do this!” Unable to fight and barely allowed to witness a battle waged in her name, the least she could do was collect the hands of the enemy for the official tally of Nubian casualties. Trapped within the frail body of a woman and reminded of this shortcoming all her life, today of all days Hatshepsut craved equal footing with the men who had risked their lives for her. This was a weak sort of vengeance for the men who had died for her- she knew that. But it was all she could offer them.

Hatshepsut struggled to stand and made her way back to the half-butchered hand. Forcing herself to breathe and look at the texture of the sands above the mutilated wrist, Hatshepsut finally freed the hand from the rest of the arm. She threw the offensive appendage into the basket, scowled at the red slick of blood on her hands before stepping back into the chariot. They continued on their way in silence, stopping every so often to free a Nubian rebel of his right hand along the way.

Now the Nubians would pay for all eternity for their crimes in this life. If Ammit didn’t gobble up their hearts the instant those sacred organs were laid upon Ma’at’s scales, at least they would be forced for all eternity to roam the afterlife without a hand.


-----


There has been speculation as to whether Hatshepsut actually went to war during her reign- her monuments say she did, but Pharaohs have been known to pad the truth on occasion. Next week I'll talk about the historical evidence that shows that Hatshepsut really did go to war, and may have even freed some dead Nubians of their hands.

Yeah, she's a freaking rock star.

24 comments:

DL Hammons said...

Great scene with some excellent, very descriptive imagery! The emotional component was very compelling as well. I very much enjoyed this! Thank you for contributing to the blogfest Stephanie.

J.C. Martin @ Fighter Writer said...

Brilliant! My fiance is getting me interested in historical novels based in ancient Egypt, and this one excerpt far exceeds the complete novels I've read in terms of quality and readability! I want to read the whole thing! Ooh...is it published yet?

Amanda Sablan said...

Gore with a historical twist; nice.

The imagery here was excellent, and the emotions powerful! Great job! :]

J. L. Jackson said...

This is great! I love ancient Egypt. I saw your query on the Reluctant Queen and I am really excited about it. I am editing my YA version now. It focuses on her youth, of course.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Wow exciting excerpt! One thing that struck me was the first sentence. It made me think the chariot was rolling backwards..(like a car without it's handbrake on ;p) might just be me though :)

Francine said...

Hi,

Great atmosphere, got sand in my throat as I felt Hatshepsut's rengeful streak overriding inner disgust at her decision and acting upon it.

best
F

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This was so good, Stephanie! I was hoping you would post a bit of Hatshepsut for us today. I loved it! It reminds me so much of Wilbur Smith's River God series.

Mary Campbell said...

Wow - gruesome - but awesome details. I felt like was right there with her. Definitely want to read more.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great scene Stephanie - can't wait to read the rest once it's on the shelves :)

Love the images - she's a strong character!

Lola Sharp said...

Wow. Man, i feel like scorpions are crawling on me...and my organs are going to get eaten! Really strong imagery.
Great job, Stephanie. :)

Love,
Lola

Bane of Anubis said...

I remember reading this (or an earlier version of it). Very nice. My kind of gal :)

Amalia T. said...

I totally missed the memo of this blogfest, but I loved this scene the first time I read it and I still love it now. It says a lot about Hat's character and her feelings of responsibility toward her people, I think!

Charles Forgues said...

Interesting. I want to read more.

I'll follow your blog.

Summer Ross said...

I really enjoyed reading your writing. Your character is made very well and is very real in my head as I'm reading. The connection was set up right away. I think my favorite part was her vomiting. I know I'm weird. but i could just picture it so well.:) Thanks for posting this.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You and Hatshepsut may, all by yourselves, make Ancient Egypt and fierce warrior Pharoahs the next "Hot" thing -- no pun on Egypt's sweltering heat.

Your entry was riveting and reader-ensnaring. You made us root for Hatshepsut all the way.

And you definitely made me want to read more of her life.

And haiku's? I'm definitely there for your blogfest.

Thanks for the kind words on my blog about my own entry. The ghost of Samuel Clemens winks your way. Ah, that old flirt. Roland

February Grace said...

Wow. Just, wow. Tough chick!

Great entry for the 'fest!

~bru

Elle Strauss said...

Outstanding! For a moment I was in her shoes--great detail.

VICTORIA SAAVEDRA said...

The imagery was fantastic! Well done!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! This blogfest was a lot of fun!

aspiring_x said...

first, i love your passion for history!
second, i was SO drawn into this story! i really loved everything about it! can't wait until it's published!

VR Barkowski said...

Fabulous excerpt! The reader lives and breathes with Hat in this scene, her pride and determination are evident. And I love that you didn't "pretty it up." Battle *is* brutal.

Portia said...

I've always been a huge fan of Egyptology—and of Hatshepsut!—so I love this story already1 I love the character you've showed us here:

" Trapped within the frail body of a woman and reminded of this shortcoming all her life, today of all days Hatshepsut craved equal footing with the men who had risked their lives for her."

Wonderful!

—Portia

Donna Hole said...

Gross. I'm so glad you didn't shy away from the description though. This is one of those moments when I feel it necessary for emotional connection to have the indepth description.

I've been missing out the long time I've been away. I'll have to remedy that and visit more often. Thanks for sharing, and for your comments on my entry.

......dhole

Libbie H. said...

Really nice passage, Stephanie! Great stuff. :)