The Sun, Moon and Stars.
Ardeth, lead a caravan into the desert, traveling to the temple of Mefdet, the goddess of protection. Standing in front of the statue stood a young man, clearing praying, having a tattoo on his wrist, a sacred symbol meaning 'protector'. The boy was not Egyptian though. His golden hair, bright jewel colored eyes and rather pale skin compared to the naturally darker tones of the locals made him stand out. He was tall, lean, showing signs of strength and the possibility of growing even stronger.
"Where are you from?" Ardeth inquired, coming towards the boy once he had finished his prayers.
"From the Orphanage," The boy answered, looking at the older man curiously.
"And before that? You do not look like others from here," Ardeth pointed out.
"I don't remember," The boy replied, his gaze casting down.
"Your name?" Ardeth asked.
"Rekhu," He answered, his head raising in pride.
"And your tattoo, your mark?" Ardeth gestured.
"I have had it for many years, they gave it to me because I protected the other children in the orphanage from a fire." Rekhu answered.
"You are very brave," Ardeth praised.
"One must do what must be done, to bring justice and safety." Rekhu recited.
"You are right, come, I am Ardeth, leader of Medjai, the Pharaoh's loyal guard, you would become a great Medjai as well," Ardeth offered.
"You must speak to the woman of the orphanage," Rekhu reminded him and turned, leading Ardeth to said orphanage.
Ipy, the woman running the orphanage came out when she saw Rekhu, a Medjai following behind him.
"Rekhu?" She called out, looking from him to the Medjai.
"Ipy, this is Ardeth..."
"Leader of the Medjai, the Pharaoh's royal guard," She finished with a knowing smile. "We have been waiting for you," She said cryptically with a humble bow before turning to Rekhu. "Your new family has come for you, go, pack your things and say goodbye to your friends, you will be leaving soon." Ipy instructed.
Rekhu nodded and walked toward the large house where others came out to greet him.
"How did you know I was coming?" Ardeth inquired of Ipy.
"Come inside, eat, drink, there is much to tell," Ipy invited and turned for him to follow into her humble house.
Once they sat down and broke fresh bread with roasted onions and garlic and drank fresh water did she begin to explain.
"Rekhu came to me from a caravan of travelers from far north, his family had died in the desert but he was strong, he survived, he had barely learned to talk, they were looking to sell him as a slave but I saved him. I felt the gods moving me to do so. I raised him, he has been extraordinary, having a knowledge rarely taught but heavily instinctive. He is always looking to protect others, he searches the house and the beds, looking for bugs and snakes, killing all to protect the other children. They look up to him, he is their natural leader. I have prayed to the gods for his destiny to come to him, and here you are, he was meant to go with you, to become a great Medjai," She explained.
"I will take him with me, train him, his destiny shall prove true." Ardeth replied before taking a coin purse from his waist. "For your other orphans," he said, placing it in her hands.
"Thank you great Medjai." Ipy graciously accepted as she went back into the kitchen to prepare a bundle of food for Rekhu for the journey.
Once outside again Rekhu came forward, a pack slung around his shoulder. Ipy came forward, hugged him tightly, kissed his head and gave him the pack of food.
"Make the gods proud Rekhu," She said, stroking his face for what she felt would be the last time.
"I will miss you," Rekhu said, uncertainty washing over his face.
"I will miss you too, but your destiny has come, do not be afraid, you are Rekhu, protector of all and loyal. You will be just fine, you will be well taken care of, you will go on adventures greater than your dreams, you will find happiness and peace, the gods have told me such things. Now go, become the great Medjai you were meant to be," Ipy encouraged before hugging him again and turning him toward Ardeth.
"Come Rekhu, there is a long journey ahead of us and much training to learn." Ardeth said as they traveled back to the caravan, getting Rekhu his own camel for the journey.
A few years later...
Seti's favorite wife had passed, leaving his favorite daughter Nefertiri on her own among his other children from his other wives. Despite being surrounded by people, he feared for his daughter's loneliness and safety.
Seti called for Ardeth to discuss the problem.
"I have the solution to your problem, I have a soldier who is fair like Princess Nefertiri, who's destiny has brought him from far away, he has had the sacred mark of the Medjai since he was a small boy, it is by the god's will that he was brought to me, I have been training him myself and he is devoted and loyal, I would trust even your life Pharaoh Seti, in his hands." Ardeth praised.
"Let me see him," Seti replied and at once Rekhu was shown in, he was tall, tanned for being as naturally fair as his daughter perhaps, but strong, intimidating, just like a Medjai should be. He did have unusual light eyes and the mark on his outer wrist was clear as day. Seti was impressed.
"He knows all forms of combat and weapons, he has even come up with his own fighting techniques, he is intelligent, intuitive and courageous. He often hunts large game and shows no fear without being reckless. I have yet to find his equal in any other soldier." Ardeth added.
Rekhu struggled to remain composed as his teacher who had been like a father to him praised him to the Pharaoh.
"Very good, what is your name?"
"Rekhu," Rekhu answered respectfully.
"You are to be my daughter's, Princess Nefertiri, personal guardian you will watch over her at all times, keep her safe." Pharaoh Seti charged.
"Upon my life I will do as you command." Rekhu replied with a bow.
"Bring Princess Nefertiri to me," Seti commanded one of the other guards.
Seti climbed the steps to sit on his throne as Imhotep stood next to him and Ardeth and Rekhu stood off to the side.
"May the gods shine their favor upon you father," Nefertiri greeted as she came into the room, walking right up to the steps before her father's throne and bowing respectfully.
"May they also shine their favor upon you daughter," Seti replied lovingly.
"What is your wish?" Nefertiri asked as she stood upright to face her father, a serene smile on her lips.
"I have chosen a personal guardian for you daughter, Rekhu has been training under Ardeth and comes with very high praises." Seti explained as he gestured for Rekhu who took a small step forward and bowed.
Nefertiri's smile vanished as she looked at him intently for a moment.
"Am I in danger my father? That I am in need of a personal body guard?" Nefertiri asked curiously.
"It is best that every child of the Pharaoh be protected, you most of all my beloved daughter." Seti answered dote-fully.
"Yes father, as you wish, he will be with me always." Nefertiri complied with a gracious smile and a respectful bow. "Is there anything else you wish?" Nefertiri inquired again.
"Only for your safety and happiness." Seti replied, gesturing that she was free to leave.
"Of course father, I share the same wish for you, good day father," Nefertiri bowed again and turned to leave, Rekhu and Ardeth following her.
She went to a private sitting area so that the three of them could be alone.
"I charge both of you to be completely honest with me," Nefertiri started as she took the highest and most comfortable seat while the two Medjai took two seats opposite her.
"Why exactly do I now have a personal body guard, has there been a threat against my life?" Nefertiri demanded from Ardeth since he was in charge of her father's guards.
"The Pharaoh fears for your safety since he feels your siblings are jealous of you and do not treat you with as much kindness as you deserve," Ardeth answered carefully.
"The occasional disrespectful comment does not warrant a personal body guard. I don't see how his presence will move them to be kinder to me," Nefertiri countered.
"But it will halt any escalation of bad behavior. You are the only daughter of the Pharaoh's favorite wife. You are precious to him, your happiness and safety is your father's main concern, he is taking a precaution." Ardeth explained.
Nefertiri's gaze switched from Ardeth to Rekhu, looking him up and down with more scrutiny than before.
"The Pharaoh said that you came with very high praises, what are they so that I may know them too." Nefertiri demanded.
"Princess, his destiny is to protect what is precious, what is more precious than you? He has been my personal student for many years, he has no equal in my army, he is fiercely loyal, intelligent and trustworthy, no harm will come to you when he is near," Ardeth praised.
"Is that so?" Nefertiri inquired, but looking straight at Rekhu who had yet to say anything.
When Ardeth began to speak, Nefertiri held up her hand to silence him before gesturing for Rekhu to speak.
"I am your protector, your personal guardian, my life is in service to you," Rekhu managed to say despite feeling nervous. He had never had The Princess Nefertiri look at him, let alone so directly, she was intimidating herself, not to mention strikingly beautiful.
Nefertiri was satisfied with his answer and stood to signal the end of the private meeting.
"Thank you Great Medjai Ardeth for your best soldier to protect me from all danger," She graciously said.
"Nothing but the best for you Princess," Ardeth replied as he bowed.
Nefertiri then left the room, Rekhu following behind, beginning his new life as Princess Nefertiri's personal body guard.
"How well do you know the palace?" Nefertiri asked over her shoulder as they walked through the corridors.
"I will get to know it well," Rekhu answered, slightly embarrassed that he didn't know every inch of the place.
"Then let us explore it," Nefertiri offered as she gestured for him to walk a bit closer to her, to her side but only a stride behind her.
After a few hours of exploring she retreated to her private suite to change and get ready for dinner.
"I make a rule, you are to remain outside of my personal chambers when the doors are closed, at the door way when they are open and enter only when invited or you feel or know that I am in danger," Nefertiri explained.
"Yes Princess," Rekhu answered.
An hour later the Princess emerged, ready for dinner with her maids in attendance.
"Ladies, this is my new personal, royal body guard, Rekhu," Nefertiri introduced.
All of her maidens nodded at him and smiled since he was very handsome.
After a few months Nefertiri noticed her father favored one of his mistresses above all others. Ankh-su-Namun. Nefertiri could see why, she was just as old as herself. She was beautiful, a bit lithe but she had ambition. In Nefertiri's exchanges with her, she knew immediately that she was not to be trusted, she gave Nefertiri an uneasy feeling, like Ankh-su-Namun was out to get her. There was something in Ankh-su-Namun's tone and careful choice of words that Nefertiri found threatening.
Now, more than ever she was grateful for Rekhu. They had become almost friends, he was a good listener when she was bothered by something and he had learned to read her well.
In return Nefertiri often gifted him with the finest weapons and garments, even giving him special social status so that he could enjoy meals with her when in private along with her maidens as well as access to the entire palace and beyond.
But soon a young Prince came to the palace to pick a possible future bride.
The Prince was unusual looking by normal Egyptian standards of beauty and handsomeness. But he was polite, kind, well educated and very involved in religion. Nefertiri along with her sisters came out to meet him at the platform built on the Nile. Nefertiri as well as her half sister Nefertiti caught his eye immediately, they were both extremely good looking, Nefertiri was pale, like moonlight, Nefertiti was darker, which he found more appealing. By this time both half sisters had gotten body guards and at the feast both of them were seated on either side of him.
The entertainment was Ankh-su-Namun showing off her fighting skills against other fighters who were considered some of the best in the land.
It was when she won that Seti announced that he would be marrying her, she had already been his 'protector'. Sex slave in the eyes of his children but he had promoted her social status so that she was now equal to them which they had to accept whether they liked it or not.
"Didn't she fight well?" Akentaten posed.
"Very well," Nefertiti agreed.
"So well that I think I will learn the art myself," Nefertiri spoke aloud.
At this Aketnaten and Nefertiti looked at her strangely.
"A Princess should not have to learn such things, this is why we have body guards sister." Nefertiti reminded her.
"Yes, I agree," Aketnaten added.
But Nefertiri was not bothered by their disapproval, in stead a plan started to form in her mind. If she learned to fight just like Ank-su-Namun and she 'accidentally' gave a fatal blow, she and her sisters would be free of Ank-su-Namun's threats.
Once back at her private suite, Rekhu took his station by her doors.
"Rekhu," Nefertiri addressed.
"Yes Princess," He answered formally.
"Tomorrow, you will begin to train me to fight like Ankh-su-Namun," Nefertiri commanded.
Rekhu looked at her strangely for a moment. Was his protection not enough for her? There was a little hurt in his face that made Nefertiri realize how he could have taken her words.
"Rekhu, you have been a most excellent body guard, I wish to learn the art, it is a desire, not a need," She qualified.
"Yes Princess," Rekhu finally agreed. "We should start early in the morning, when it is still cool." He suggested.
"Agreed, a private courtyard so that we are not disturbed." Nefertiri added.
"Most wise Princess," Rekhu complimented.
The next morning the Princess came out of her chamber in an outfit that was not appropriate for sparing.
"Princess, your jewelry will get in the way," Rekhu gently reminded the Princess.
"I am aware of that Rekhu, if we are seen in the palace by the other guards and servants I must look myself, I will take it off when we reach the courtyard." She whispered as she gestured for him to lead the way.
When they reached the courtyard, Nefertiri gave the command to have all the guards leave and to close and lock all the doors so that she and her private party would not be disturbed.
Once her orders were carried out, her maidens took off her jewelry, her makeup and her royal robes revealing a simple cotton shirt, loose to allow easy movement. and a sash around her waist that went down to her mid thigh. In the early morning light the garments almost blended into her skin so that she could appear naked, thankfully Rekhu's tan and slight sunburn from the day before hid his blush.
"There, am I dressed appropriately now?" Nefertiri asked in a teasing tone.
"Y-Yes Princess," Rekhu stuttered as he tried to gather her thoughts back together, like what to teach her first.
"First Princess, you must learn how to stand and how to breathe," He began...
Within a week Seti and Ankh-su-Namun were married and off on a honeymoon. Giving the rest of the royal family a reprieve.
When they returned however Nefertiri noticed a bond, stronger than friendship between her new step mother and her father's Vizier Imhotep. There lied a great danger, if something happened to her father, Ank-su-Namun would still remain queen and Imhotep would easily become Pharaoh and that meant none of her siblings let alone herself would be safe.
She took a private audience with just her father and herself as soon as she could.
"Father, may the gods bless you with a long life and wealth," Nefertiri greeted, coming forward and embracing her father, smelling the perfume of that snake in the grass Ankh-su-Namun on him.
"May the gods grant you the same dearest daughter," He replied, holding her face and kissing her forehead. "Now what is this that I keep hearing that you are learning to fight?" He inquired as they sat down.
"I greatly adore Ankh-su-Namun's skill, I wish to be more like her since she has found such favor in your eyes father, it is only a desire, not a need." Nefertiri placated which seemed to please her father greatly.
"She is indeed a great woman, all my daughters would do well from learning from her." Seti praised.
Nefertiri put on an agreeable smile even though her mind told her that all of his daughters should run as far away from their new step mother as possible.
"She is so lovely and beautiful father, she walks with such grace, but I fear for her father." Nefertiri baited.
"Because she is so beautiful, I worry that another man may try to take her, not allowing your divine seed to take root, if there was only a way to keep that from happening, perhaps a body paint applied to her skin so that if anyone did touch her, it would show and whomever had the paint on him, you would know to put to death for she is yours and yours alone. You should make a law that no man should touch her," Nefertiri suggested.
Seti thought over his daughter's words carefully. She was right, Ankh-su-Namun did belong to him and she was very beautiful and he had noticed other guards' eyes stay on her longer than they should.
"You are right my daughter, you are wise, this will be a great protection for our family and the royal line. I will make the command and it will be done," He agreed.
"Thank father, I wish only for your happiness and good health, may the gods always smile down upon you and our great kingdom," Nefertiri said graciously as she got down on her knees and bowed to kiss her father's hands that were on his knees.
He reached up to tenderly stroke her face and hair. "You are proof that the gods smile down upon me my favorite daughter," He praised lovingly before lifting her head and leaning forward to bestow a kiss to her forehead.
Upon leaving the private room she passed Ankh-su-Namun in the hall and Nefertiri could not help the victorious and smug smile on her lips.
"May you be protected from the dangers of mortal men," Nefertiri greeted cryptically to her step mother.
"My Sai are protection enough," Ankh-su-Namun retorted, not understanding the full meaning of Nefertiri's words.
Once out of anyone's sight and hearing range Nefertiri whispered to Rekhu that her plan had worked and that her father would do as she suggested. She may not like her step mother but the threat from her would be less great now.
Nefertiri even went to her sister Nefertiti and told her the news.
"Well done my sister," Nefertiti sighed in relief. Nefertiri had not been the only one to receive veiled threats but with Nefertiti and Aketnaten becoming closer, she was looking to moving away from all of this for Aketnaten was looking to make himself a city to solely worship the sun god Aten and Nefertiti was very supportive in this.
Within a few short weeks Aketnaten gave Nefertiti a magnificent bundle as a marriage proposal and Nefertiti accepted without even looking through it closely.
Nefertiri was happy for her sister, Nefertiti was now free from Ankh-su-Namun's threatening nature and could now have a family of her own as well as have a much bigger pull in politics that Nefertiri never cared for.
Author's notes- if any or all of this seems familiar that is because this is a fanfic of VioletNoir's fanfic "For Whom the Sun Shines," I have her full permission to use aspects and characters from her story and she has my full permission to use anything I create in her story. But out of respect for her story and characters, there will be a few stark differences. We both walk a fine line between historical accuracy and staying true to the film while trying to stay true to these characters. So don't freak out and scream 'copy cat'.