"Atem"- common language of the region (English in England, French in France, Spanish in Spain, etc…"
"Atem"- unknown language or dialect.
A Different Day
October 1, 1794
The birth of little Atem did not change anything on the plantation. It was not the first birth that occurred there, nor was it the last. In fact, if one were to count the number of births since his, they would find that the number of births easily numbers in the dozens. For any other plantation, not only would the number be staggering, but it would also severely impact the productivity of the slaves in a negative matter. The main plantation of the Quintus family is however quite different from the standard plantation.
Beginning with the layout, the entire property is separated into quadrants which are divided by a pathway shaped like a cross. These quadrants are further separated into four sections that are split by a fence with each section being one thousand acre in size. Every single one of these sections are tended to by one thousand slaves with one hundred overseers to act as supervisors. In the middle of the entire property, one can find the dwelling of the Quintus family, a castle that only a family of their standing would even bother to possess.
Four thin, round towers form a protective barrier all around the castle and are connected by towering, heavy walls made of light green stone. Rough windows are scattered generously around the walls in seemingly perfect symmetry, along with symmetric crenelations for archers and artillery. A vast gate with heavy metal doors is the only easy way in, but easy is a very relative here.
While the layout of the plantation is very different from the standard plantation, which are much smaller, the schedule and duties of the slaves are quite close to what one would find in the average plantation.
Those who survive the first few years and are fully inducted into the plantation system occupy a variety of positions. In general, slave laborers on all plantations are organized into work groups, or ateliers, usually one or two major ones and a smaller one. The first are composed of the strongest and healthiest slaves, both men and women, doing the heaviest and hardest work, such as the tilling and clearing of the soil, digging the ditches and canals, planting and cutting the cane on the sugar plantation, as well as the cutting and clearing of trees and extraction of rocks, which were tasks undertaken by the men.
In the smaller or secondary atelier, one would find the less robust, the newly arrived Africans not yet integrated into the regular work force, women in their seventh or eighth month of pregnancy and others who are nursing infants, as well as children between eight and thirteen who were not yet ready for the major atelier. Work in these smaller ateliers are generally lighter and more varied, such as planting foodstuffs, fertilizing plants, or weeding and clearing dried leaves from the sugarcane. To close off the entire compound are walls that stand at fifteen feet tall.
As with all mornings, the slaves are awakened at five in the morning by the sound of a huge bell. Waking with a start, Atem quickly makes his way out of the bed that he shares with Adanna to find that, like all mornings that he can remember, Adanna has already been up for a while.
"Good Morning Danna." greets Atem as he makes his way to a corner of the shed where said woman is currently cleaning her face with a wet cloth. With her back to him Atem is able to see the countless scars that Adanna has 'earned' throughout her time as a slave, which is to say her entire lifetime. Over those scars, Atem can see the scabbing injuries that Adanna has received from her most recent whipping, causing him to wince at the memory of Adanna's pained screams.
It had been a morning as normal as today's where they had been awoken by the sound of the huge bells in the plantation. While Adanna had easily awoken, Atem had ended up sleeping for five more minutes despite Adanna's urging for him to awaken. Unfortunately because of him they were late to work, an action that the overseers did not take kindly to. As punishment, Adanna had been whipped twenty five times before another overseer had poured salt into the wounds. Afterwards Adanna had been forced to work as if nothing had happened. Ever since that day Atem had vowed to never put her in such a situation again, and if he is being honest with himself, then he is doing quite well. Every morning, he wakes up with the bell, and even before the bell sometimes, before washing himself with a wet cloth and going to work with Adanna.
"Good morning to you too little Atem" greets Adanna, shaking him from the painful memory. Making his way over to the same corner as Adanna, Atem picks up his worn out and stained cloth, submerges it into the small bowl filled with water, and proceeds to clean himself with it.
Finishing, he wrings it out with as much strength as his small frame can muster before beginning to dress himself in the standard uniform of all the male slaves on the property, tan shorts and a tan short sleeve shirt.
"Did you give thanks to Amun for the day?" asks Adanna as she finishes putting on her tan dress, the uniform of all female slaves.
"No Danna." quietly answers Atem as he looks away from her, not wanting to see the disappointed look that she is sure to give him. Rather than do as he expected however, Adanna makes her way to him and kneels in front of him.
"You must pray, little one. It is the gods who give us the strength to live. It is they who give us the perseverance to continue even in our current situation." says Adanna as she gently cups the face of her surrogate son.
"Live Danna?" asks Atem as he steps away from the woman who has raised him for the past four years. "What life? We do the same things everyday. We suffer at the hands of the same people everyday, and all for what?" sadly questions the boy as tears begin to well up in his eyes.
"You've always been more receptive and understanding than you should be sometimes. Up until now it has brought me nothing but joy. Which is why it pains me to tell you that I don't know, little one." sadly answers Adanna as she wipes the tears that fall from his eyes. "However, I do know that the gods will come to our aid one day, and on that day we must be ready. Until then, we pray to them for strength and the perseverance to continue." she tells him with a smile before standing up. "Now come, we must not be late." she says while they make their way out of the shed.
As they make their way outside they are met with a crisp autumn day with the sun still hidden in the horizon, yet close enough for the morning sky to be lit up.
Before they can even make their way to work, a horse pulled empty wagon appears in the distance with two riders at the helm, one of the overseers and an unknown man dressed in red and gold clothes that only someone of the upper class can afford. The overseer is a man in his twenties with disheveled blond hair and brown eyes. He wears white pants, boots, and a white short sleeve shirt. On his waist is a black whip that has pulled the skin from the backs of countless slaves.
While the overseer is nothing impressive, the man accompanying him is exactly what Atem imagined a member of the Quintus family would look like. Well tended to and combed black hair, emerald green eyes with a piercing gaze, and an oppressive aura that quickly makes Atem fearful of the man. He wears a red tunic with gold accents, black trousers, and black shoes. In his hand he holds a black cane with a red jewel on the handle, while a glamorous ring rests firmly around the middle finger of his left hand.
"Is this the last one?" questions the well dressed man as they come to a stop in front of Atem and Adanna.
"It is m'lord." answers the overseer.
"She isn't the boy's mother is she?" asks the man.
"No sir. The boy's mum died in childbirth. A shame too since she was the finest piece on this entire property!" exclaims the man with a leer.
"Was she now?" rhetorically asks the lord before he turns his penetrating stare to Atem, causing the boy to shuffle in place as he attempts to hide his discomfort. "Come here boy." orders the man with an even tone that somehow makes Atem more fearful of him.
Knowing the price of disobedience as well as hesitation, Atem steels himself and makes his way towards the man with his head down.
"Look at me." commands the man.
Slowly raising his head up, Atem looks up at the man while doing his very best to look at anything but his eyes. Reaching down, the man grasps the boy's jaw and proceeds to examine him. He turns his head left, right, down, and even up in order to look at his throat. Then something strange happens. The man's hand begins to glow with circuit-like pathways, startling Atem and causing him to take a step back. Unfortunately for the scared child, the man's grip on his face is firm and he barely manages to step one foot backwards before he is pulled back by the man.
"I didn't give you the order to move." the man says with a glare just as his hand stops glowing and he lifts the boy and places him in the empty cart. "Let's go." he orders the overseer and they begin to make their way back towards the direction from where they came from.
While all of this had been going on, Adanna had simply been standing there, fearfully paralysed of exactly what had just happened, Atem being taken. No one knows why, but every year, at an unknown time, someone would descend from the castle and make their way around the plantation to examine the children of four years old and up to eight years old. They would examine them as if they were at the slave market, and choose whichever children satisfied them. They would then return to the castle with the children who would never be seen or heard from again. Then they would return the next year and proceed to do the same process, even if a child had already been rejected, they would be examined once again every year until they reached the age of eight.
As the sound of the wagon being led away resonates throughout the air, Adanna is pulled from her fearful paralysis and walks towards the leaving wagon.
"No, not again, not again, not again, not again." tearfully whispers Adanna as she watches the wagon pull further away. It was happening again. For the fourth time a child of hers is being taken from her. The first had been her daughter many years ago, and she had only recovered because she had to take care of a sickly Saruna. Then it had been her son, taken to the castle just like his sister. That time she had only recovered because she had Saruna to lean on, only for her to die, leaving her with Atem. The boy had grown on her enough for her to consider him her son, even though she considered Saruna to be her own daughter. Now however, they are both gone, a situation that she considers to be the worst possible situation for her.
She had survived many things as a slave. Whippings, harsh conditions, torture, and even countless rapes when she was younger, but this…this is not something that she thinks she can survive. Her children were her everything, they gave her purpose and a reason beyond the gods to continue living this harsh and miserable life. Now they are gone, and there is nothing that she can do about it.
As that thought is completed in her mind, Adanna stops walking and slowly kneels down on the ground as tears begin to fall from her eyes. This is it, this will be the last time that she sees of her child, and she won't even know what happened to him. Before she can further fall into despair however, a voice calls out to her, the voice of none other than Atem.
"Danna!" exclaims the boy from the back of the wagon. "Danna, wait for me. I will come back!" he screams, drawing the attention of the overseer to him while the lord simply ignores the boy's outburst.
"Shut up you filthy animal!" roars the overseer before he reaches in the back, grabs the boy by the neck and slams his face down onto the wagon. With stars swimming in his vision and pain assaulting his body, Atem lays in the wagon with a small smile on his face. He may have gotten hurt, but as far as he is concerned, it was worth it. Danna had received his message.
True to Atem's thoughts, Adanna had heard him loud and clear and chose to believe in him. Even if none of the other children ever returned, she chooses to believe in him and use his promise as fuel for her strength and perseverance. Atem will be back one day, and she will be there to meet him. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Adanna stands on her feet and without looking back at the wagon, begins to make her way to the fields to work.
AN: Here it is, chapter 2 of The Godslaying Pharaoh, as usual tell me what you think. The next chapter can be found on my pa tr eon a week before being published at pa tr /servantambrosius (without the spaces).
A few disclaimers:
1) Obviously I don't own Campione or anything that I take from other animes.
2) The first arc is gonna be dark. I'll try to not make it too dark, but this part of the story is important to Atem's development and I don't want to half ass it.
3) I only saw the Campione anime and never read the manga. Heck I didn't even know about the manga until I started planning the story, so to my manga fans I apologise in advance for any major screw ups.
4) Because I never read the manga my knowledge of that world is limited, as such there will be elements of other worlds like Fate to make up for my lack of knowledge and because I think that it'll make the story more interesting.