Serving the God

by Nepher-Mery-Neter

One | Two |Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

This story contains explicit descriptions of sexual acts between the characters in it. Although the characters are teenagers who may be below the age of consent in the country or state where this is read, nothing written here should be taken as approval of, or encouragement for, sexual liaisons between people where such liaisons are either illegal, or objectionable for moral reasons. Although this story does not include safe sex practices, it is everyone's own responsibility to themselves and to each other to engage only in protected sex. It is a story. Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental. Nothing represented here is based on any fact known to the author.

The story is copyright 2002 by "Nepher-Mery-Neter". If you copy the story, please leave the credits, and my host's web address of present, and also the email address of I'd love to receive feedback.



Dark. Utter darkness. I lie trembling on my pallet. Trembling from fear, not from cold; for it is hot. Stifling hot. I am so afraid that I can feel the sweat dripping off of me onto the covering of my pallet. It is a cold sweat from acute fear, not from the sultry heat.

All I can see through the open window are the stars: countless millions of stars twinkling in the jet-black sky. There is no moon. My fear is so great that even the stars seem menacing, as if each is winking to the other, hinting that it knows dread secrets about me - secrets that could prove my undoing. I lie motionless, scared out of my wits that the slightest movement on my part may rouse the god. And the god is so close, so terrifyingly close. The god is sleeping in the adjoining chamber. And there is not even a door between us, just an opening.

I know that I shouldn't be afraid. After all, I have been trained for this since childhood. But never have I been so paralysed by sheer debilitating terror.

I was scared when they came for me when I was 8 years old - but not this scared. When the delegation of priests came to our home to invite my parents to relinquish me to the priesthood they were delighted and I was aghast. They were delighted for me: I would get an education which they could never provide; I would get status that they could never dream of; I would serve the gods and serve my people; I would be looked after, cared for, and would live in a security that they, loving as they were, could never give me. They were also proud, for you could become a priest in only one of two ways: you were either born into a priestly family - which I certainly was not - or you were selected by the Examining Board of the Priestly College: and they only chose children who showed a distinct promise of future ability.

Just as my parents were pleased so was I frightened. Despite the great honour and the promise of future status, I was only 8 years old and was really scared at having to leave my parents, my five siblings, all my friends, my home. But, of course, my opinion wasn't asked for and I was whisked away to become a priest.

The promises were fulfilled. I have learned to read and to write. (I suppose that is obvious, otherwise you would not be reading this. But I let it stand.) I have also learned to calculate - arithmetic, geometry, hydrology - everything that it is needful for a priest to know in order to fulfill his bureaucratic functions. I have studied the history of our country, its politics, its economy... I am not some lowly peasant, easily impressed into fear and submission: I am what you would call 'sophisticated', I suppose.

Again, I was scared when I was initiated into the priesthood. The first stage was circumcision. Apprehension was quite oozing out of me! But even then I was not as full of sheer terror as I am right now. We were all scared. Circumcision CeremonyThere were eight of us, each around 13 years of age. There were two priests wielding a knife, so we were arranged in two lines, four in each line. I was the first in my line. The priest who was to cut me was a kindly man who told me not to be afraid. He was squatting on the floor as I stood before him. He told me to rest my hand on his head, which I did. He took off my loincloth and smeared some herbal stuff on my 'henen'. Even now I can recall that despite my dread, the soft touch of his fingers was pleasurable to me. After a minute or so he touched it again and asked me whether I could feel his touch. I could not, which told him that the application had done its job. He told me to look up at the ceiling, which I did. A moment later he touched me on the arm: "All done," he said, giving me a broad, reassuring smile. He smeared some different stuff on a bandage which he wound around my 'henen', and gave me back my loincloth. It hurt for a couple of days, as if all the devils of Set were gnawing at it, but since then I have never experienced any pain at all from that operation.

After circumcision we entered into a period of intense religious study and religious exercises - fasting, meditation, catechism and so forth. When we were 18 we were initiated into the priesthood in the great hall beneath the 'Hu' - but I am forbidden to set down in writing anything about that! Others, I know, have written about these ceremonies: may all the devils of Set disturb their peace of mind to all eternity! Is what they have written accurate and truthful? Those who know, know; those who do not know, do not. And that is as it should be.

After initiation I began to serve in the temple of the Great God on the east bank of the river. Every morning I washed the god down and reverently dressed him in a new kilt. Every noontime I offered him food and drink, and every evening I set incense before him. I thus got used to being in the presence of the gods, so I do not know why I am so terrified right now at being in the proximity of another god. Maybe it is because this other god that I have been deputed to serve as his personal servant is different: I can hear this god breathing steadily as he sleeps, moving slightly every now and then on his bed. And soon, when this dreadful night is over, a more dreadful day will dawn and this god will summon me into his awesome, terrifying presence.

During the years that I was at the Priestly College I discovered things about myself. I began to realize that I was different from some of the other boys (but not from all of them). I was certainly more intelligent than some. Those less capable than me were usually those who came from the priestly families, while those who were just as intelligent as me - and even more so! - were, like myself, those who had been selected for the priesthood. Some were taller than me, some were shorter than me. (If you must know, my height is 3 cubits and a span.) Some had fair hair, some had brown hair, others - like me - had black hair. But all these were negligible differences; differences that normally people just don't notice or pay any attention to.

So how was I different? Ever since our circumcision and admission into puberty, of the eight boys in my group six started talking all the time about girls. They were obsessed by girls: they made friends with girls from the Priestesses' Wing and did things with them which were related and re-related with much bravado, much giggling and (I now understand) much exaggeration. But these boys showed no untoward interest in each other beyond natural puerile curiosity. But my obsession and that of one other friend was towards the other boys. In our eyes they were beautiful, desirable, attractive. All the things that they boasted they were doing with those girls I wanted to do with boys.

There was one boy in particular. Every time I just looked at him I felt hot all over. And I had ample opportunity to look at him all the time. And this was my agony. His pallet was opposite mine in the dormitory, so he was the first I saw in the morning and the last I saw at night. He was there when we went to our ablutions, he was there when we ate, he was there when we studied... He was there almost all the time. And he was, to my eyes, beautiful, desirable, alluring. But he was completely inaccessible. I did not have to ask; I just knew that he would reject any advance that I might make beyond simple friendship. Thus, for me, for a long while, almost every hour of the waking day (and many of the night too!) was spent in a paroxysm of bliss and agony intermingled. I could see him from afar as it were, but I could not approach. I knew every fingerbreadth of his naked body but could not touch. I could offer him the widest smile I could but I would never get more than a polite nod in return. So, I knew I was different. I just knew.

Maybe there were others. (There was one other, as will become clear very soon in this narrative.) So what was it that held me back? Not that my feelings were forbidden, for they were not; it was the very fact of being different. I wanted so much to be like everyone else. But I could not be. I could not overcome this all-encompassing desire for males, and for males alone. When we dressed, when we undressed and when we bathed I drank in their nude form with thirsty eyes. Some of the boys noticed this and would wink at each other knowingly, but I could not help staring nevertheless. I was like a child in the market place staring at the sweetmeats laid out for sale on the trestle but permitted only to look, never to eat.

At night, after the lights had been doused and the duty-priest had bid us good night and retired to his room, the boys would start whispering about their amorous escapades. In some cases, no doubt, these experiences were true even if the corroborative details were grossly exaggerated. In other cases I suspected that the escapades were just concocted in order not to be 'left out' and lose face. When we were about 14 years old one of the boys initiated us into the delights of masturbation, and it became an almost nightly ritual that after relating the latest sexual encounters - real or imagined - a silence would gradually fall as each fell into his own rêverie. The only sound that broke the intense silence was that of eight hands rubbing their 'henen' and pulling at it for all they were worth until they achieved sweet release, and sleep ensued.

It was, I suppose, inevitable that I would be drawn to the one other that was like me and that he would be drawn towards me in bonds of friendship. We would seek out some solitary spot for our earnest conversations which could become very tense emotionally. One day, at a certain point in our relationship, this other boy leaned in towards me and kissed me gently on the lips. A tingling sensation overtook my whole body, a rapture, an awesome paroxysm of sensual delight. He pulled away, uncertain how I would react, but I pulled him back towards me and our lips locked in a prolonged erotic experience. We were both hard, excruciatingly hard. While we were kissing my friend slipped his hand underneath my loincloth and took hold of my erect 'henen'. He began milking it and the familiar sensations flooded my whole being, but this time enhanced one thousandfold because it was the touch and action of a hand other than my own that was creating these sensations. My hips began to writhe uncontrollably. I could feel the seed surging within me. Sweet delirium. I pulled my lips away from his and gasped out, "Stop! It's coming! I can't hold back!" But he didn't stop, and I erupted all over his hand, all over my thighs and stained my loincloth. After a couple of minutes I returned the compliment, and then we both returned to our dormitory, hand in hand, each with an embarrassing stain on the front of his loincloth.

These trysts became more frequent, and I suppose it was inevitable that we were observed. When the other boys got to know what was going on between us there was a lot of sneering and teasing, and we were both ragged mercilessly as being 'queer', 'not normal', 'making do with second best'. But this was miraculously stopped one morning in school. Our teacher - the same kindly priest who had circumcised me - explained that most people were gifted with an attraction towards the opposite sex and that this was most necessary for otherwise how could the world be populated? But, he continued, a few people were specially chosen by the gods for their own purposes - purposes which we cannot fathom. It was surely a great honour to be one of the few that a god selected for his own special purposes, he concluded, and we should all respect that. Apart from one or two murmurs of 'better them than me' that lecture did the trick and we were accepted for what we were. Indeed, we were treated with a kind of friendly reverence.

We finally reached the age of 18. On the eve of our initiation ceremonies that same priest summoned me into his office. "Tomorrow you become a priest," he said. "Some god has selected you for special tasks. I do not know what those tasks will be, but I am certain that they will become apparent in time. You have been blessed with great gifts: you are smart, learned; you are of a kindly disposition; and you are extremely handsome." (This last was news to me!) "I must give you your new name, the name that will accompany you through life as a priest. I bestow upon you the name Nepher-Mery-Neter. You know that in our language that means 'the beautiful one, beloved of the god'."

So I became a priest and I became Nepher-Mery-Neter - but everyone calls me Neph.


Still night. Densest night. The only light comes from the stars. Still no moon. My paralysis of fear prevents me from holding up my hand; but even if it did not I doubt that in this deepest darkness I would be able to see it. From my pallet I can just about make out the opening that connects the room where I am with the adjoining chamber where the god still sleeps. I can hear his steady breathing, so quiet is the night. I can even hear the gentle rustle of the great river to which our country owes its very existence, as that god continues his eternal wishy-washy way towards the great sea. The Nile is the gift of the gods and Egypt is the gift of the Nile. The god of the Nile never sleeps. But the god whom I am deputed to serve slumbers as I await his awesome summons.

When I awoke yesterday morning I had no premonition that my life was about to change in this tremendous way. I rose as usual, leaving my dear friend still sleeping after our delightful exertions of the previous night. I performed my ablutions and, calm and fearless, went into the great sanctuary which houses the great god, Amon. Amon From the sacred font I filled a golden basin with water, and then I took a washcloth and towel from the sacred store. (As you know these articles had never been used before and would never be used again after they had touched the sacred body of the god.) I washed the god from head to foot. Amon was represented in pure gold and his phallus was engorged, reminding the faithful of the original act of creation from which all things derive. As I washed and dried him I always paid particular attention to the god's nipples, to his erect 'henen', to the 'kherui' hanging in the scrotum underneath, and to the beautifully rounded 'kheptu'. I always thought that it was a great pity that the faithful never really got to see those two delicious globes that constituted the god's 'kheptu' because they were always hidden behind. I paid these extra attentions in order to pleasure the god. I had a personal prayer that I intoned as I touched each organ, asking the god to allow me to receive the ministrations of my partner with as much pleasure as I was giving the god and to gratify my friend in turn in no less measure when I ministered to his needs. My prayers were invariably answered, and for that I am deeply grateful to the god.

Having completed the god's morning ablutions I repaired to the refectory for breakfast. I sat down at a table next to my dear friend. At the time of our initiation he had been given the name of Mery-Wosret. (As you are no doubt aware, this means 'beloved of the mighty one'.) I called him Mery just as he called me Neph. Anyway, as I was saying, by this time Mery had awoken and was washed and dressed. (He often complained that unlike the god, he had to do his own ablutions, and it would have been much more 'interesting' if I would give him the same ablutionary attentions that I gave to the god. I constantly reminded him, with a laugh, that he received certain other dear attentions from me that I could never give the god.)

Other colleagues were at the same table, some of them friends. As usual, gossip was rife. The gossip was usually of the 'have you heard' and 'did you see' variety, but recently it had been about one thing and one thing only: seventy-five days ago the great Pharaoh, Meryamon had gone to join his celestial father after a reign of only 15 years. For the regulation 70 days we had all been in deepest mourning, and on the seventieth day we had placed his mummy in a beautiful sarcophagus and deposited it amidst great pomp and circumstance in his eternal resting-place. (No, I shall not tell you where that is: I cannot know whether you are an honest person or one of those despicable creatures who disturb the eternal rest of our kings in order to steal from them precious artifacts that are meant to serve their 'ka'.)

It was now time for the new pharaoh to be installed and crowned with the double crown, the red and the white of Upper and Lower Egypt. Since Meryamon had died comparatively young his son and heir was only 17 years old. The gossip coming out of the palace was that the new king, had already scandalized the ultra-conservative royal priesthood by two enunciations. Firstly, he had announced that he would take the throne name of Min-Wosret. Min is the name of one of our more 'interesting' gods. He is always depicted with a simply enormous 'henen', sticking out provocatively a couple of handbreadths. Being almost as young as is the new god we sniggered and wondered whether the new son of Amon really was endowed as lustily as 'Mighty Min'. Mery even blasphemously suggested that maybe the choice of name did not describe the pharaoh's actual endowments but those he would like to have possessed. We all laughed.

The second enunciation of the soon-to-be-crowned Min-Wosret was much more startling, and caused even us concern - and we certainly did not belong to the ultra-conservative royal priesthood. We were the future. With us things would be different. (Our mentors at the Priestly College listened to such protestations of ours with polite attention, but we well knew that after we had left they had a really good laugh.)

His divine Majesty, Min-Wosret, had announced that he would not take a wife. Not even one.

The king had to have at least one wife to serve as queen. It was not just a question of the succession (though that was important enough for the stability of the Kingdom of the Two Lands). The king was a god, and by virtue of his office he was the incarnation on earth of the Great God. The weal of Egypt depended on the god incarnate regularly re-enacting the original act of creation by his divine father. Out of himself Amon had produced the seed from which heaven and earth had been created. Geb and Nut were thus created directly out of the god's sperm. They had then copulated and Geb's sperm had impregnated Nut who then gave birth to everything that there was on earth. At least once in his reign the pharaoh-king-god had to ritually impregnate his royal consort in the little chapel behind the statue of the Great God, his father - otherwise nothing in Egypt could grow and the kingdom would wither and die of starvation. If the king refused to take a wife to be his consort the ceremony could not take place. It was unthinkable. It was unheard of. Mery and I had our own private thoughts as to why the god refused to take a wife, but that was pure and irreverent speculation on our part.

For four days the king's intentions had been the talk of the college. The teacher-priests could be seen talking earnestly and animatedly in small côteries, but they were extremely careful to speak only in whispers, so we had no idea what they were talking about. On the fourth day after the obsequies of the late king I got a message from my gentle and kindly mentor that he had to cancel a planned meeting with me since he had an urgent and unexpected interview with the High Priest of Amon - the head, apex and very incarnation of ultra-conservative sacerdotal thought and habit. He was gone for several hours before he returned and he sent a message for me to attend upon him in his office immediately and without delay.

Tepemkau (for that was his name - and he really was 'the best of souls'!) asked me to sit down because he wanted to talk to me about a very serious matter. I was immediately worried and felt an unpleasant hot feeling in my stomach.

"I hope I have not done anything wrong, Lord," I said, keeping my voice as level as I could.

"No Neph," he said with a wan smile, "you have done nothing wrong - nothing that I know of, that is." I heaved an audible sigh of relief.

"Neph," he began again, as if searching for the right words, "I want you to cast your mind back, if you can, to the talk we had the night before your initiation." I nodded that I recalled it well.

"I told you then that I thought that the god had singled you out for an important task in life, even though I did not know what it might be." Again I nodded my recollection.

"I think I now know what that task is," he said, carefully studying his hands as they rested on the table, and carefully avoiding my eyes. He paused for a very long while.

"Yes, Lord?" I asked, by way of encouraging him to continue.

"I have known for several years now that the god created you to be different from most men in several things. The difference that concerns us at this moment is connected with your relationship to Mery." My heart heaved and then did a somersault within me. I hardly dared breathe. Again he paused for a very long while. Then suddenly he began to speak again, as if he had found the words he had been seeking or found the courage to say them.

"Neph, where most men find their sexual pleasure and satisfaction in women, you find both in men. Or, to be exact, in one man in particular, at the moment. Is that not so? Am I representing you accurately?"

"Yes, Lord, that is true. Mery gives me great pleasure and great satisfaction, and he tells me that I give the same to him. We are very good ... friends."

"Then, Neph, you will understand me when I tell you that there is someone else just like you. I am not referring to Mery. I am referring to someone else. Someone of very high station, who also can only find his sexual pleasure and satisfaction in men."

"Lord, I know that there are many like us. But what has this to do with me and the task allotted to me by the god?"

"Neph, you are a very beautiful man. Even those whose chief delight is women will grant that you are a very beautiful man. That is why you have the name Nepher. No man whose chief delight is men would be able to resist you. That is why we have decided that you are to be relieved of your post serving the god Amon, and you will be transferred to another post. 'We' is myself and the High Priest of Amon in consultation. As from this moment you are seconded to the royal palace and you will be the personal companion and sacerdotal servant of the great god, his glorious majesty, Pharaoh Min-Wosret. Pharaoh Min-Wosret needs the company of a male just like you."

I was stunned and confused, both of which states combined to make me stupid as well.

"Lord, how is it possible that I can help the Pharaoh? What possible service can I give the great god? I am unworthy of this... this honour... this task."

"Neph, do you think that the High Priest and I would have appointed you to this task if we did not think that you were suitable for it?"

There ensued a long pause while I digested the implications of this answer, which was itself a question.

"Lord, what will be my duties to the Great God in the Great House?"
"The same duties as you have performed up until now for Amon: you will assist the god in his ablutions, serve him his food, help him dress..."

That didn't sound so bad. I was used to that kind of service. Then Tepemkau continued. "You will also serve as his constant companion when he is at leisure from his official duties."

It would not have been a pleasure to serve as the constant companion of Amon: he didn't have very much to say, to say the least. But being the constant companion of this new god would be different: he would speak to me and so forth.

"There is also one other aspect of your service to his divine majesty. You will have an intimate relationship with the king, such as you have had until now with Mery."

I was thunderstruck! I was rendered dumb. By all the devils of Set! Me? Hug a king in joyous embrace? Me? Kiss a pharaoh and explore his mouth with my tongue? Me? Caress and finger the monarch's 'kheptu? Me? jerk-off the royal 'henen'? Me? Fuck the 'powet' of the god incarnate? Me? Me? Me?

"I can't do this, Lord. I, I..." My voice trailed off into silence. I had no words. A terrible creeping terror began to enter my flesh, my bones, my whole being.

"You can do this, Nepher-Mery-Neter, and you will do this - and more. Egypt needs a king with a consort. If the king does not perform the sacred ceremonies at the appointed times, Khemet - our beloved Egypt - will indubitably suffer calamities that do not even bear contemplation. Pharaoh is the incarnation of Amon. He is also the incarnation of Geb. He must regularly produce out of himself the sperm of prime being, just as did Amon the creator; he must sow the seed of fertility, just as did Geb into Nut. But in order to produce the sperm of prime being the pharaoh must have a consort who is 'the hand of Re'. He must also have a consort to play Nut to his Geb, a consort to receive the divine seed. Since Pharaoh resolutely refuses to take a wife, you, Nepher-Mery-Neter, must be the royal consort and play your part in these essential ceremonies."

There was a weight on my chest, crushing the breath out of me. There was a whirlwind in my head sending my thoughts flying in all directions. I must take a hold of myself. I must regain control of myself. I breathed heavily several times. Resistance was useless: I had taken an oath of obedience to the will of the gods. I must obey even if it should cost me my life. I croaked out a question, but my voice was so strange that I was not sure that it was me saying the words:

"Lord, when must this be?"

"You are seconded to the royal presence as from this moment."

"Lord, may I take my leave of Mery?"

"No, Neph, you may not." Then, his grave face breaking into a fatherly smile, he added: "I will explain to him myself. I shall comfort his sorrow and wipe away his tears, that I promise."

Yes, I thought to myself, but who will do that for me?

Then suddenly it became clear to me, in a sudden flash of heartrending understanding. I would be cut off from Mery. I would never again feel his lips on mine, sucking out from me my very being. I would never again feel the body of my gentle friend next to mine in peaceful slumber, his arm casually flung across my chest in unconcious embrace. I would never again let my hands glide over the inviting mounds of his 'kheptu', teasing the tips of my fingers into the cleft. I would never again feel in the night the fingers of my beloved wickedly searching out my 'henen' and stroking it oh so gently until it became so erect that it hurt. Never again would I enclose his engorged organ in my willing lips. Never again would I rejoice in the feel of him inside me, pouring his very being into the depths of my bowels.

How strange that we never truly appreciate the wonderful things that life has given us until they are wrenched away from our grasp by cruel fate.

And then something far worse came to my realisation. It was none of these things that I would miss most. It would be Mery himself that I would miss, his gentle 'ka'. My heart would yearn for the company and unselfish friendship of that dear, dear soul which circumstance was now tearing from me without even granting me the opportunity for just one farewell kiss.

"Lord, can I collect my things?" How vacuous can one get?

"All your needs will be taken care of by the exchequer of the Great House."

No time, no farewells, no personal effects. This was the very death of my life. Now I knew what the final passing from this life would be like. The pain was the leaving behind of all that one holds so dear.

The life I knew was ending. What would await me on the other side?

Tepemkau clapped his hands twice and a servant appeared in the doorway. "Bring me my cloak, the night gets chilly." I hadn't even noticed the onset of night. The cloak was produced.

"Come, Nepher-Mery-Neter, Beautiful One, Beloved of the God; I shall escort you to the Great House of the Great God, his glorious and divine majesty, Pharaoh Min-Wosret, life, health, happiness!"


Dark. Still dark. I can feel the dank darkness surrounding me, enclosing me in a suffocating cocoon. The stifling humidity gradually lifts, which means that dawn is imminent. The dread of the night will soon make way for the terrors of the day. All that I fear most will confront me at the start of the day. A gentle breeze rises outside from the river, which makes the branches of the trees outside quiver. They cast dark shadows on the white walls of the anteroom in which I lie, seeming to me to be the strands of a spider's web into which I am being lured and entrapped.

I catch myself and strain my ear to hear the slightest sound from the bedchamber on the other side of the opening. Nothing but the god's steady breathing. He slumbers still. The first pale glimmer of light fighting to disperse the dark of the eastern sky, which I can easily see through the window from my pallet, means that dawn is nigh. And dawn means that in an hour or so great Re will rouse himself from his night journey through the underworld and will rise once again in all his warmth to illumine the land. Dawn heralds sunrise, and sunrise heralds the awakening of the god who still sleeps in the adjoining chamber.

But yesterday, at this time, I would still have been asleep in the arms of my beloved Mery. Yes, in all the time we had been together we had never spoken of love, but now that he has been taken from me I realize that I have received and given true love. In my blissful sleep I would dimly be aware of the comfort of his lithe body pressed up against my back, his right arm thrown carelessly across my chest. As light would dawn he would always be the first to awake. He would gently rub my nipple until it roused me into consciousness. The moment he realized that I too was awake his 'henen' would gently begin to rouse itself and poke its head into the cleft between my 'kheptu'. I would turn over and kiss him on the mouth, and he would then laughingly push me out of bed saying, "The god awaits!"

The god awaits! Who would be tending to the needs of Amon in my place? None of my business.

The god awaits! Yes, very soon the new god that I must serve (and service) will awaken and will require my ministrations.

I lie motionless on my pallet watching through the window as light begins to fill the eastern sky. From far off I hear vague sounds of life reviving from death. Birds begin to sing their hymn to the morning and men and women begin to arouse themselves to the call of a new day. Just outside the closed door I hear the guards softly exchanging passwords as the shifts change.

How did I get here into this antechamber?

Tepemkau had escorted me from the Priestly College to the Great House. At the main gate he whispered something to the guard who immediately saluted smartly and let us pass through. As we approached the steps leading up to the main entrance of the palace an old man appeared in the entrance-way; he had obviously been awaiting our arrival. Tepemkau crushed him in a warm hug. They were obviously old friends

"So this is the man, eh?" said the High Priest of Amon (for it was obviously he). He eyed me from top to toe. "Yes, Tepemy, you are right. He is everything you said he is - and more. He will do. He must do. He is our only hope."

I was not sure whether he was talking to Tepemkau or to himself, but it was clear that his next words were addressed to me.

"Young man, the weal or woe of Khemet lies with you. If you succeed (as you must) you will be an unsung hero; if you fail (may all the gods forbid) you will be a sung villain for all eternity. If you succeed in the task that fate lays upon you no one should ever know of your success; if you fail in that task your name will resound throughout all future generations as the wretch who caused the downfall of the Two Lands. May all the gods be with you. Come, let's go."

And with that blessing he led us inside. I was introduced to all the personnel of the privy staff. They were told in my presence that I was to be in attendance upon the Pharaoh at all times. It would be me who assisted him in his personal needs; it would be me who served him his meals whenever he dined in the private apartments; and it would be me who was in charge of his wardrobe. I was to sleep in the antechamber to the royal bedchamber unless the god himself should direct otherwise. As long as the great god was in his private apartments all summonses into the divine presence were to come through me and through me alone.

Before he left kindly Tepemkau asked me whether I wanted anything to eat. It was by now very late, but I knew that my stomach would be just as unable to digest food right now as my mouth would be unable to taste it. All I could taste was the acrid taste of fear.

"I shall be leaving you, then, Neph." Turning to the High Priest he asked when I would be introduced into the royal presence.

"Pharaoh - life, health, happiness! - has already retired for the night, so he will be introduced in the morning, I suppose."

"So where will he spend the night?" asked the ever-solicitous Tepemkau. The High Priest turned questioningly to the head chamberlain.

"Lord, the only instructions that I have is that he is to sleep in the antechamber. I dare not place him anywhere else on my own authority."

"Very well," said the High Priest. "Take him to the god's apartments and leave him in the antechamber. Is there a bed there for him?"

"Yes, Lord, there is a pallet already in place for him."

"Then let us go. Take your leave of Tepemkau."

This last was a peremptory instruction to me. I turned to my kindly old mentor and he instinctively gave me a bear hug. "Go with my blessing, Neph," he said, and then he added half-whispered in my ear, "Just be natural and you will do splendidly. Just be yourself." With that he released me, turned on his heels, and swiftly left the building.

"Lord and ... er ... sir, would you please follow me," said the chamberlain. He led the way and we followed - the High Priest and myself, and a guard bringing up the rear. We passed through what seemed like endless passages with small rooms on either side - obviously offices of some kind or another. Finally we mounted five or six steps. There was a guard standing motionless before a portentous door. He was so obviously a sentry that I guessed we must have arrived at our - my - destination. Behind that door was my fate. Our arrival brought a soldier hurrying along the passage towards us. He was obviously the duty officer. The High Priest spoke to him: "The Nile flows swift today." I thought to myself, what a stupid thing to say. The last thing in the world that anybody would want to know at this moment was the state of the Nile! Besides, everyone knew that at this time of the year its flow was slow and sluggish! But the officer just bowed and responded, "Swift and sure." Suddenly it dawned on me that a password had been offered and recognised.

"Officer, this is the person of whose arrival you have been advised in advance," said the High Priest.

The officer bowed, completely ignoring me, and signaled to the sentry to open the door. Silently, the door swung on its hinges. I was rooted to the spot. I could not move. Somewhere inside there was - my god! - my god. The High Priest gave me a not-too-gentle push from behind, almost propelling me into the dark beyond the door. Just inside I stopped and heard the doors close behind me.

Dark. Utter darkness. It took a few moments before my eyes got used to the dark. I could make out that I was in a small antechamber that gave access to a larger room. All I could make out was a window through which the dense night let no light come and a pallet on the floor. As quietly as I could I lay down on the pallet. I felt like a condemned prisoner in his solitary cell.

And now day is dawning. The long night is over. Soon, very soon, too soon, I shall come face-to-face with the Great God, his glorious and divine majesty, Pharaoh Min-Wosret, life, health, happiness! And I am alone, defenceless, solitary, abandoned. Oh Mery, where are you? I need your loving presence. I need your reassuring support. The god will waken from his slumber soon. How will I ever be able to meet this challenge? I begin murmuring prayers to every divinity I can think of - Amon, help me; Re, be at my side; Osiris, be with me; Isis, forget me not; Horus, be my support; Thoth, give me strength; the list goes on and on - even Set, assist me.

Suddenly, the sun is up. Through the window I see the giant disc of the Aten rising gloriously behind the eastern hills. Once again Re has conquered the evil forces of darkness and the underworld and steers his boat triumphantly and brilliantly into the clear blue sky. The Great House awakens to a new day. From all around come the sounds of activity commencing and I faintly hear the reassuring sound of people - real people - passing to and fro beyond the great door of this antechamber. From a distance the delicious smell of fresh bread baking is wafted through the window. Suddenly I realize that I am hungry. I haven't eaten since my noonday meal yesterday.

And then my blood freezes. The god stirs! I drag myself up from my pallet to meet my doom standing, like a man. There is a creaking sound. (I later learned that this was the sound a bed makes when someone moves on it: I had never actually seen a bed!) Then there is a shuffling sound as someone stands up. The god rises! Then there is a yawn and a grunt like someone makes first thing upon rising when you stretch your limbs.

Then, suddenly, the god appears in the opening. A young man, about my age, with a pleasant face, and a head of thick, curly, black hair stands in the doorway, arms akimbo; and stark naked.

I prostrate myself in the divine presence, but instead of abject terror all I can think to myself as I lie flat on my face is: "He is simply gorgeous! Delicious! Delightful!"

"Who are you? What are you doing here? Stand up, man! Don't grovel like that!"

I rise to my feet and look straight into that glorious face. His eyes look straight at me, and I cannot help but notice their most distinctive quality: those eyes are full of twinkling mischief.

"So, answer me. Who are you?"

"I am Nepher-Mery-Neter, sire, if it pleases your majesty."

He was now looking at me with a different look - one that I had seen on men's faces so often as they turned in the street to look at me, then look quickly away, then turn back to have another look when they think I cannot see them.

"It most certainly does please my majesty. It pleases other parts of me as well! It fills certain parts of my divine anatomy with feelings of pleasant anticipation!" I was embarrassed as I always am when men look at me like that, drinking me in as it were.

"What did you say your name was?"

"Nepher-Mery-Neter, sire."

"You just bet you are!" I was astounded (and gratified) at this reference to the meaning of my name - the beautiful, beloved of the god. "And you can certainly be beloved of this god, if you please!" He laughed - an infectious laugh. I couldn't help letting out a small giggle. He still stood in the doorway, completely naked with a semi-erect phallus, a broad grin on his face and a mischievous glint in his eye. His youth, his handsome appearance, his infectious humour - and his appetite-arousing nudity completely wiped out of my mind all fear.

"By the way, if you haven't guessed, I am Min-Wosret."

I just couldn't prevent myself from saying, "You just bet you are!&quot.

He looked down at his 'Mighty Min' and roared with laughter. "Well said, well said!"

He touched his 'henen and said, almost apologetically, "It's always like this first thing in the morning. I've just got to piss, I'm bursting. Which of all Set's devils has taken the piss-basin?"

I espied underneath the bed something golden, knelt down, retrieved it and presented it to him. He grinned at me mischievously and the winked.

Rather innocently I said, "I have never seen a golden chamber pot before!"

"Almost everything around here is gold. I think they would cover me with gold if they thought they could get away with it. Here, let me show you how we use a golden chamber pot." He handed me the pot, indicating that I should hold it for him in position and then, with no more ado, he aimed directly into the basin and let fly a golden shower of his own. When he was finished he gave his 'henen' a couple of shakes and then indicated that the pot had fulfilled its function.

I stood there, rather stupidly, still holding the chamber pot. He laughed and said, "Take it to the door, hand it to the sentry on duty and tell him to drink it with the compliments of the god." Again he grinned that mischievous grin.

I took the basin to the door, opened it to give it to the sentry. "I suppose you know what you have to do with this," I said before I handed it to him. He saluted me smartly and responded, "Yessir! Yessir!" I closed the door as he took it. To this day I do not know what he did with it - or any of the others that thereafter I handed to him daily thereafter.

I turned round. Min-Wosret was standing there, still completely naked, holding out his arms towards me, drawing me with invisible chains to his embrace.

"Come to me, Nepher-Mery-Neter. Come to me. Come."

I came to him. I came.


Egyptian bedroom furnitureLight. Brilliant light. Warmth. Cosy warmth. I am drowsy, waking up slowly and reluctantly from a deep, satisfying sleep. The sun is shining through the window. I don't have to see it because I can feel it, warming the world anew, warming me, warming the god who holds me in his embrace. I am lying on a bed - a novel experience for me - and the god still slumbers beside me. I am lying on my back. His head, with its shock of black, thick, tight curls is lying gently on my chest, his right arm thrown carelessly across my left side. My right arm is trapped by his body and I dare not move it for fear of disturbing his dear rest. My left hand cradles his head as I feel his soft breathing on my chest.

Oh all ye gods! If this is like the bliss of the next world let us die now and live forevermore in this embrace.

As I lie on this bed, waiting for the god to wake, I recall to myself the events of the previous day: how I came to be lying here naked on the royal couch, with the Lord and Master of Upper and Lower Egypt cradled naked in my embrace, the greatest ruler in the world entirely in my power, the Lord of the Two Lands, the Son of Amon, the Master of Khemet, Pharaoh Min-Wosret - life, health, happiness! - both his and mine.

After I had disposed of the chamber-pot he took me in his arms and gave me a huge hug. I clung to him feeling the power of his embrace, a sudden sense of security, of coming home. "Neph," I said to myself as those strong arms held me tight, "this is what you have been waiting for; this is what you have been dreaming of; this is what your soul has been yearning for, praying for, pining for ever since you can remember. This is it."

I clasped him to me, feeling the power of his smooth back, stroking the soft, smooth skin. I felt his hands doing the same to me. We stood like that in joyous embrace for quite some time - I don't know how long - like a tad short of eternity. I did not want that moment to end. My face was buried into his shoulder and I inhaled his intoxicating aroma. Then I felt his hands travel upwards along my back until they took hold of my head. I could feel his fingers tousling my hair. Then he pull-pushed my head back until we were gazing into each other's eyes. "May I?" he whispered into my ear, nibbling it at the same time. "Yes please," I replied, whispering the words almost soundlessly into his ear. I closed my eyes as his lips approached mine. Contact. Something exploded in my head and all I could see were stars crashing around in my brain. A surge of something or other, exquisitely painful, wracked my whole body enervating it beyond measure, beyond imagination.

He crushed me to him as his tongue invaded my mouth and ruthlessly scouted all round the newly conquered territory. I initiated a counter attack. Our tongues locked in joyous, scintillating combat. "Dear Horus, let me die now. Osiris, father of Horus, never let this moment end."

But, of course, it did end. It had to end. We had to come up for air. He released me, reluctantly. He cooed into my ear, like a dove, "Oh my beautiful one, my beloved, you are what I have been seeking all these years. I was beginning to think that you did not exist, that the gods had not created you yet. But here you are, flesh and blood, hot passion, ready lips. I have found what I have been seeking. Come home, my beautiful one, come home to me and never leave me."

How his manner had changed! The mischief in his eyes had given place to a rapturous glaze; his body was hot to my touch; all his manly strength seemed to have left him - except in one limb, which was erect, taut, demanding and as hard as can be. All his power seemed to have been concentrated in that one place. Mine too, except that my erection was covered by my loincloth.

Panting, gasping we both tried to catch our breath. Finally he said, "Nepher-Mery-Neter, we must talk." Then, his voice taking on a tone of authority that I had not heard from him before, he added, "We must talk right now."

"Yes, sire."

Yes, your majesty. Yes, your divinity; Yes, my Lord and my god. I am yours to command. Do with me what you will.

He sat me on the edge of his bed, pulled up a stool for himself and sat facing me.

"If our relationship is to develop the way I hope it will you can't keep calling me 'sire' and I certainly can't whisper sweet nothings to a mouthful like Nepher-Mery-Neter. What do they call you?"

"Neph, sire."

"And Neph it shall be for me too. But, Neph, when we are alone I don't want you to call me 'sire', I don't want you to call me 'god' - and all that stuff which is for the outside world.&quot:

"What shall I call you?" I almost bit my tongue as I forced myself not to add on 'sire'.

"Well, you can't really call me Min, because that would be an irreverence before that god - and we shall both be needing his ... mmm ... special qualities." Again that mischief in his eyes! "Why don't you call me 'Wos'? Yes, I should like that, Neph. Neph and Wos, Wos and Neph." Mind you," the authoritative tone returning, "that can only be when we are alone. In private I never want you to bow, prostrate or 'sire' me again. But in public you will have to grovel like all the rest. And for it to be 'public' requires only one more person to be present."

"I understand, and you may rely on me," I said. Then I continued, "What I don't understand is how this has turned out so differently from what I expected. You are not what I thought you would be." I still could not bring myself to call him 'Wos' yet.

"I know; I guessed as much. I had given the High Priest of Amon strict instructions that you were to be introduced into my presence as soon as you arrived. The old fart must have been so anxious that he didn't even realize that I meant that it was to be so if you arrived during the day. Last night, I heard the door open at an hour when it should never have been opened. I heard someone being pushed inside, and I guessed that they had found what they had been looking for. They had found you.

"My first reaction was to jump out of bed and throw you back out of the door by the scruff of your neck, but then I thought that you might be scared, so I lay still waiting, listening."

Scared? Terrified, more likely. Terrified out of my wits!

"Then I heard you saying your prayers and I realized just how scared you were. And then I thought to myself, 'Hey! But he's scared of me! This won't do at all!' So I decided to do everything that I could to ease the tension."

I was amazed that he had thought of the poor wretch huddled on his pallet in the antechamber. It was so like him, I later realised. I think it was that one gesture more than anything else that made me his willing slave for life.

"So, I let you see me at my most vulnerable and I talked as well as I could to put you at your ease. Your quick response to my little joke was something that I had not expected, and I began to think that maybe you were not the wimp that I had assumed the old farts would dig up from some brothel. And then I looked at you. Neph, I don't know whether anyone has ever told you this, but you are exactly what your name says: you are beautiful." I blushed and mumbled, " So are you, so are you."

Now his voice again took on that tone of authority. "Neph, do you know why you are here?"

"Yes, I think so."

"What did they tell you?"

I briefly told him of my interview with Tepemkau. "I was told that you refused to take a wife and that this was because you could only love men. That the kingdom needed the traditional ceremonies to take place, ceremonies that are usually performed between the pharaoh and his chief wife."

"So you think that you are substituting for chief wife?" I nodded, blushing. Suddenly he exploded. "May all the devils of Set damn them, damn them to all eternity! The stupid old farts! The idiots! The nincompoops!" He stopped, having temporarily run out of expletives that were sufficiently expressive of his anger. Then he turned to me, with a serious look in his eyes.

"Neph, I don't want a substitute wife. These ceremonies, the creation and the planting of the seeds of life, are not mechanical actions. They require love. Love! Love! Love! Don't they understand the meaning of that word, the stupid old... old..."

"Farts?" I suggested. And all his anger was blown away. He roared with laughter.

"Neph, you are a man after my own heart. Do you think you could love me? Do you think you could help me perform these ceremonies as they should be performed? If they can't be done from love and affection they can't be done - not by me, at any rate!"

"I don't know. I hope so. I think so. I want it to be so. I want to love you. But could you ever love me?"

"You will have to show me how, Neph. You will have to coach me to love you. Can you do that?"

"Only if you coach me as well," I said as honestly as I knew how.

"Then I shall be your pupil in love and you shall be mine." He got up from his tool and sat next to me on the bed. "What duties did they tell you you would have here? - apart from the ceremonies."

"They told me that I should be in attendance upon you whenever you were in your private apartments and that I would have the same duties towards you as I had previously towards the god Amon."

"And what were those duties, Neph?" I looked at him and could already see the mischief in his eyes.

"Every morning I would wash the god and dressnew kilt him in a new kilt. Every noontime I would offer him food and drink, and every evening I would set incense before him."

"Then those shall be your duties with me. Except that you will offer me food three times a day, not once. I must be a much more active god than Amon; I couldn't survive on such meagre rations. And also, I can do without the incense. The only sweet smell that I want you to offer me is the fragrance of your own body. For that, evenings will do just fine," he added with a huge grin. "But now it's morning. It's time for you to wash me and dress me. I can't go around all day stinking of sweat and stark naked." He saw that I hesitated, uncertain.

"Go to the door and tell the sentry on duty to bring you a basin full of hot water, a wash ragwash r and a towel."

I went to the door and opened it. The sentry jumped to attention and saluted me. "Bring hot water and washing untensils for his majesty," I ordered. Again he saluted smartly: " Yessir! Yessir! Right away, sir!" I closed the door, and within the minute there was a soft knock. I opened the door and took from a chamberlain another golden basin, a golden jug, a wash rag of finest linen and a large towel. I turned to carry them into the inner bed chamber and I heard the doors close softly behind me.

"At least the water isn't of gold," I quipped. I set the basin on the small stool upon which he had sat earlier. I offered him the wash rag. "Would you like to wash now?" I asked.

"Is that what you asked Amon every morning?" he asked, and I could see the mischief in his eyes and feel the boyish mirth almost ready to bubble forth.

"No," I said; "Amon needed me to do it for him."

"We agreed that you would do for me everything that you did for Amon. So, Neph, here I am, ready: wash me - and make sure that you do a thorough job!"

He stood up next to the basin, feet apart and arms akimbo. I dipped the was rag in the warm water and applied it to his face. He didn't flinch and I cleaned around his eyes, his nose, his mouth and behind his ears. I dipped the wash rag once again into the water, wrung it out and washed his neck. He raised his right arm, thus indicating that I was to wash his armpit. Then the same with his left armpit. I washed his chest, paying particular attention to the nipples. A smile played on his mouth.

I stepped behind him to wash his back and then ran the wash rag over those two globes that were his 'kheptu'. They were firm and round. If I had been doing this for Mery (as he so often demanded and never got!) I would probably have stuck a finger in there; as it was I did not dare. But he would not let it pass: "Next time, Neph, I shall expect to be cleaned everywhere!" Again I dipped the wash rag in the warm water, wrung it out and applied it to the back of his thighs - so rounded and sturdy - and then I worked round to the front. I washed down the front of his thighs and started moving down towards his knees. "Neph, don't even think of missing out so important a part of my anatomy!" I squatted down in front of him and I came face to face at very close quarters with his genitalia. He parted his legs so that I could wash between them and his 'kherui'; then I very carefully washed the sack itself with its balls inside. He had a triangle of thick hair, just as curly and tangled as the mop on his head. Now I took hold of his 'henen', longer than mine, but not too thick. It was circumcised just like mine - since he, too, had been initiated into some priesthood. I ran the rag over it while holding it with my left hand. It began to swell and grow in my hand, so I quickly let it go.

Now he made me repeat the whole procedure all over again, this time using the towel to dry him. All this time both of us were acting like children, with giggles and splutters at almost every move. When I had finally finished to his demanding satisfaction I asked him where I would find his kilt or loincloth. "Forget that for now," he said, very seductively. "Now it's time for me to perform a little service for you." His hands went to my waist and he loosened my loincloth and let it drop to the floor.

"Yesssss," he breathed, looking down at the centre of my being. "I knew you would be as beautiful there as you are beautiful of face and beautiful of 'ka'." He sat down on the edge of the bed and held out his hands towards mine. "Come to me, Neph. Come to me. I offered him my hands and he took them in his and gently pulled me towards him. For a moment he rested his head on my chest, then he sat up again. My 'henen' was hard, erect, firm, pointing directly towards his heart. His right hand let go of mine and he gently touched the tip of my 'henen'. I did not move. Then he gently, very gently, stroked the underside of my phallus, drawing his fingers gently and slowly from the stem towards the tip. I shuddered. He did it again. "To me that feels good," he said; "does it feel good for you too?" I nodded, not trusting my voice at all. Now I felt his fingers gently, oh so gently, massage the sack that was hanging between my legs, feeling the 'kherui' inside. Then he let go of my left hand too and I felt both of his hands stroking the'kheptu' of my backside. He said nothing, but let out a long sigh of contentment.

Then he slid down from the bed and knelt before me. The god, the pharaoh, the Lord of the Two Lands, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, was kneeling before me! With his hands still resting on my 'kheptu' he pulled me closer to him. And now I felt the soft touch of his lips on the tip of my 'henen'. He kissed it and then lay the side of his head on my stomach. I heard him breathe in deeply. Without moving his head he whispered - to himself, maybe - "Even the smell of you is perfect." Suddenly he roused himself and again took his seat on the edge of the bed.

"You are beautiful, Neph; you really are beautiful. I could love you if you would let me. Please consent to be mine. Please." Pharaoh was begging me. Me. But at that moment he was not Pharaoh, he was not king. "I do love you, Wos; I love you already. You say I am beautiful, but you too are beautiful, and your spirit, your soul, your 'ka' is even more beautiful than your body."

"Then come and show me how much you love me, and let me show you how much I love you," he breathed, At one and the same time he pulled himself onto the bed and pulled me after him on top of him.

We kissed, long and hard. To begin with it was just wild passion, but then it settled down into a gentle meeting of lips and mouth and tongue. His lips we so full and their taste was like the food of the gods. Gently he turned on his side so that I fell off his body and lay by his side. He leaned over and kissed first one nipple then the other, kissing and sucking. His hand stroked my chest and then one finger travelled down, across my tight stomach and down, down. The finger pulled at the hairs above my 'henen' and then his hand found my 'kherui' again. It felt so good.

I lay my head on his chest and his hands took hold of the back of my head, stroking my hair. In all this time we said nothing, just enjoying the feel of this physical expression of mutual love. Then I stretched out my right hand and felt for his 'henen'. It was erect and straight. I had always noticed that when mine was erect it sort of pointed upwards towards my belly; but his pointed straight ahead. I took it between my fingers. His whole body shook. I withdrew my hand in alarm, but he whispered "It was pleasure, not pain. Go on. Please go on." I took it between my fingers again, feeling its pulsating strength, feeling it straining away from his body. Holding the skin firmly I began to massage his manhood, up and down. At first I did so very gently and very slowly. Soon his hips began to writhe and he began to moan - little groans of pleasure. His breathing began to come in gasps. He whispered, "Faster, Neph, faster. Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh gods in heaven!" I did his bidding and started pumping faster and faster. Suddenly he lifted his 'kheptu' from the bed and arched his body. "Here it comes," he almost screamed out, and almost instantaneously the white milk that held his divine seed squirted forth, time after time. He must have ejaculated at least eight times, probably more. My hand was covered with the white sticky liquid, and so was his abdomen.

He lay back, exhausted. Then he pushed me on my back and lay down on top of me, kissing me furiously and passionately. When he stopped he fell back onto the bed. "Thank you, Neph. Thank you, my beautiful one. Thank you, my love. No one has ever done that to me before. You are the first. You may be the only one. But that is what you must do for me in the first ceremony; your hand will be the 'Hand of Re' which will draw from me the very seed of life itself.

Again he lay his head on my chest. I cradled his tousled hair as he lay like a child. Then he began to slide down the bed until his face was level with the centre of my being, my very manhood. He looked up at me with that mischievous glint in his eye, and whispered, "Payback time." I lay back as I felt his lips kiss my erect staff of life. Then his mouth began to engulf the whole organ. It was warm and wet. His head began bobbing up and down under my hands as he began sliding his lips up and down the shaft. This had never been done to me before: Mery had not wanted to. But the old familiar tingling sensation overtook my whole body, that rapturous and awesome paroxysm of sensual delight. His lips began sucking and milking my 'henen' and the familiar sensations flooding my whole being were now magnified one millionfold. This was the kiss of the god! My hips began to writhe and I began to feel the seed surge within me. Ecstasy. I gasped out a warning: " It's coming! It's coming! I can't hold back!" But he didn't stop, and I felt my seed erupt inside his mouth.

I was horrified. What would happen to me now? Would he ever forgive me for defiling his sanctity? Had I lost everything in one moment of bliss?

He looked up at me. There was love in his eyes. It twinkled, it sparkled right out of them. And then he grinned at me, and that mischievous twinkle took over in his eyes. "Delicious!" he said, "Sweetly delicious. Food fit for a god!"


Morning. Hot outside. Very hot. But here, inside, it is cool. The enormous columns create a shade from the hot sun. I shall walk down the avenue of rams. If I look to the side I can perceive the shapes of people on both sides, staring at me silently. I know they are there, even though they are mostly hidden in the shadow cast by the enormous columns. If I look up I can see, so far, far away, peeping through the top of the forest of columns, the disc of the sun, blessed Aten. If I look ahead, I can see the retinue of fellow priests chanting our way out of this place. If I look down I can see the sandals of the man walking next to me. And it is his presence that gave me the strength and the determination to do what had to be done. My god is with me at all times, guiding me, encouraging me, loving me. Even now, it is his confident stride that gives confidence to my own steps.

How did I get here into this place? What have I done here, in this place? Why did I do what I have done in this place?

We spent several days in glorious solitude. We never went out and no one ever came in. We made love to each other all night and all day, stopping only for food - and even then not always! We were in love, and we were in the throes of a newly discovered love. My love for Wos was different from my love for Mery - or rather, the same love found different ways of expression. From Mery I sought and found quiet, constant companionship, a reliable rock on which I could anchor my life. Mery was there for me even when he was not. Mery was the one I could come home to, whose loving presence would soothe away the frustrations of the day. With him beside me, and inside me, I could find the peace, tranquility and inner steadfastness I needed to face the world again.

With Wos it was different. Being with Wos brought delirium, a drowning of the senses in passionate embrace, a sensual intoxication. I wanted, needed, to feel him - all of him - next to me, beneath me, on top of me - wherever. Being with him did not bring peace and tranquility so much as an enervation, a heightening of all the senses, a passion to feel, experience, live.

May natural instinct was to cosset and shelter Mery so that he could do the same for me. With Wos my natural instinct was a physical demonstration of love. I wanted, needed, to experience him and pleasure him so that he would want and need to experience and pleasure me.

And he did.

On the third day of our being together we were interrupted, as it were, by the request of an audience from the High Priest. On the instructions of Wos I told the sentry to admit him at noon. That gave us time to tidy the antechamber and remove all outward signs of our passionate activities. We washed, removing from each other, the sticky encrustation that our nocturnal activities had visited upon our hands, thighs, abdomens, genitals, faces... Of course, much precious time was lost because I washed Wos and then Wos washed me: it would have been more efficient if we each had washed ourselves. But efficiency was not exactly the goal that was uppermost in our minds... When we were ready, I set his chair in the entrance between the antechamber and the bedroom. This was for Wos to sit on in state. Facing it I placed a stool for the visitor to sit on. When Wos was dressed in his decorated kilt he took his seat in the chair, arms crossed over his chest with the crook and flail in each hand.

I admitted the High Priest and then disappeared into the recesses of the bedroom. The High Priest of Amon prostrated himself before the Pharaoh. This was no easy task for him since years of indulgence had lent a considerable bulk to his person. After Pharaoh uttered a clipped "Rise, priest!" the old dodderer hauled himself to his feet. "You may sit, priest." The High Priest eased his bulk onto the small stool.

"You asked for an audience of the god. Well, you have it. What will you ask, priest?"

"Majesty, Lord, Sire, Master - "

"Oh do get on with it man! I know who I am and what I am. I do not yet know what you want to say to me. So say it with dispatch."

The High Priest, used to being in authority himself, found this manner most disconcerting and disquieting. "Sire," he said, " as your divine majesty knows, it is necessary and customary for the Pharaoh - life, health, happiness! - to perform certain ceremonies at certain times, ceremonies that will ensure the continuing prosperity of the kingdom."

"I am aware of that, priest. So far you have told me nothing that I did not know. Be assured that I shall do everything needful to ensure the prosperity and stability of the Two Lands under my sway."

"With the greatest of respect, Sire, and with the uttermost deference, the college of the priests of Amon, the king's most faithful and devoted servants, would be pleased to hear from your divine lips the time when your majesty will be so gracious as to first perform the ceremony. When will the incarnation of Amon produce the seed of fertility and prosperity? I need not remind your majesty that your ancestors and predecessors have always performed this sacred rite for the first time at the very beginning of their reign."

"If you know that you need not remind me, why did you bother to do so, priest?" And without waiting for an answer he continued, "The first ceremony will take place three days hence."

"Sire, shall I appoint a priest to help you recall the intricate details of the ceremony?"

"The details are not intricate, priest, and you forget that I now have my own priest at hand - a priest that you yourself appointed for me. There is no need for another. Make all the necessary preparations. Priest, you have our leave to withdraw from our gracious presence." Now completely disconcerted, the old fart again prostrated himself with great difficulty. On being given permission to rise and leave he heaved himself to his feet. He seemed about to speak, but then seeing a regal blankness on the divine visage of the pharaoh he though better of it and waddled his backwards way out of the royal presence and the doors closed behind him.

The moment the doors were closed Wos set aside the crook and flail and called to me. "Sit down, Neph." I sat down on the stool vacated by the High Priest. "You heard what he said." I nodded. "I have set the date for the ceremony for three days time. Now you, my beloved priest, must recall for me the whole story, so that we shall miss no details."

I began to recite from memory my earliest catechism.

Chief among all the deities is Amon; He is the most powerful of the gods. Amon (whose glorious name means 'Hidden Within', the inner self) is the Creator of the universe. He was the First Being, and the Creator's First Act was to masturbate. He ejaculated his seed into his divine hand, and then drank his own semen. This act of self-impregnation gave him the power to enter into multiple, separate forms of himself. The first thing he did with that power was to become two new beings called 'Nut', Lady Night, and 'Geb', Lord Earth. These became the Great Mother and Great Father who had the first ever sexual copulation, and began giving birth to the many other gods. Thus masturbation is the act of Original Virtue, the means by which the Great God created everything that there is in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Pharaoh is the embodiment of Amon, the First Creator, and he must renew for his people that Original Virtue out of which all good things come. Therefore, Amon commanded that in a chapel behind his statue in the Great Temple of Amon the pharaoh shall masturbate and ejaculate the divine seed of life. He shall then drink his own semen before copulating with his Royal Consort, to associate them both with the Father and Mother, Geb and Nut. Pharaoh is the only person in Egypt allowed to perform the Rites of Amon in the Temple. But in order to show willingness and eagerness to receive the divine sperm, the Royal Consort becomes the 'Hand of Re' which engenders the divine ejaculation.

I stopped, my catechism at an end.

"In other words, Neph, the ceremony involves the following: in the chapel behind the great statue of Amon, in the presence of sacerdotal witnesses, I must permit the Royal Consort - you! - to jerk me off. Then I must drink my own ejaculate, and thus fortified I must fuck you in order to impregnate you with the seed of life."

I was silent.

"Neph, I told you that this would require love. Great love. As I told you on the day of our first meeting, if these ceremonies can't be done from love and affection they can't be done - not by me, at any rate. Do you love me? Do you love me enough to go through these ceremonies with me?"

I was aware that the destiny of Egypt was in the balance of my response. "Do you love me enough to let me do these things with you and to you?"


"Then I can and I will do these things for you and with you, and I shall do them out of love."

I looked into his eyes. I saw there a little moisture, an expression of his emotion. I saw there nothing but love. I hope he saw nothing but the same in mine as he returned my gaze.

"Well, if the great day is only three days off we had better have some rehearsals." He laughed, and his infectious laugh set me off giggling as well.

We spent the rest of that day 'rehearsing' the first part of the ceremony. I knew that the only problem that we might face would be the presence of onlookers. But there was no way we could rehearse that. The second day was the first time that we had ever tried what constituted the second part of the ceremony. I was a little apprehensive because 'Mighty Min' was considerably more prodigious than the organ that Mery was blessed with. Mery had always been able to slip in and slip out at will. Somehow, I suspected that it would not be so easy with Wos. And I was right.

We decided that the only appropriate position for the actual ceremony would be with me lying on my back with my legs raised onto his shoulders. He leaned over me, supporting himself on his hands by my side. "Guide me in, Neph," he whispered. "I don't want to have to start feeling my way around on the day." I reached between my legs until I found his erect 'henen'. I took it, feeling it pulsating between my fingers, and moved it towards my 'powet'. He pushed with his hips. I felt him enter and gave a yelp. He immediately withdrew.

"What's the matter, my love? Did I hurt you?" He was so solicitous that it was touching. He was truly pained that he had caused me pain.

"Yes," I said. "You are very big, Mighty Min."

He did not laugh. He was all concern. "What can we do?" he mused. "I certainly am not prepared to cause you pain!"

"The remedy is simple," I said. "Let's wait until after dinner."

"Certainly, my love," he said. He must have been thinking that I wanted to put off the difficult moment. If so, he said nothing. Actually my purpose was entirely different.

Dinner arrived on time and our first course, as I had guessed it would be, was ground chickpea salad swamped in oil to be eaten on pita-bread. I had guessed this because the royal kitchen seemed to have a regularly recurring menu. "Don't eat the hummous, my love," I said. He looked at me in alarm. Suddenly, I realised what he must have been thinking. "Oh no, Wos, I'm sure it's quite as safe as anything that the kitchen serves can be."

"So why not eat it, Neph? Our antics have given me a strong appetite. I'm starving."

"Trust me. We'll enjoy it later on. You'll see."

We rested after our meal until it was time for another 'rehearsal' - after all, we opened on the following day and we still hadn't got our act together! Once again I lay down on my back. As he was about to bend over me, I told him to fetch the hummous. "Now, Neph? Now, my love?" he asked incredulously. "Now," I said with determination. He brought over the plate of hummous, oozing with oil. I took hold of his hand and dipped it into the chickpea salad, generously covering his fingers. He was completely confused. I lay back and pulled him over me, and then guided his hand towards my 'powet'. Suddenly he understood. He inserted a hummous-covered finger and smeared the salad around the passage-way. Then he inserted two, three fingers until the entrance was completely lubricated. When he arched himself over me, I reached out and covered my own hand with the glutinous food. As I reached for his erection I smeared it generously all over with the hummous. Then I guided him towards my entrance and he slipped in with no trouble at all.

That night we slept in each other's arms. Wos was the first to wake the following morning. He kissed me on the forehead, saying gently, "Time to wake up, sleepyhead. Today's the big day." After only a few minutes' lovemaking we got up quickly and in a very short time (well, short for us at any rate) I had him and me washed, dressed and fed. At the appointed hour the Captain of the Guard came to provide us with an escort to the Temple of Amon.

Hypostyle at KarnakWe walked proudly through the hypostyle hall with its magnificent, overpowering columns, through to the inner sanctuary of the Temple; the sanctuary of Amon that I knew so well. Before us marched a côterie of priests in solemn procession, chanting a hymn. Behind us walked the escort guard, the captain proudly bearing the royal insignia. Behind the massive pillars on both side were assembled 'people' - those who had been lucky enough by virtue of prestige or pecuniary persuasion to gain admittance.

We were met at the foot of the great statue by the High Priest. I espied Tepemkau standing off to one side. I nodded to him and smiled, and he smiled back at me encouragingly. While the sacerdotal choir was still singing some interminable hymn the High Priest led us to the chapel behind the great god. Of course, I had never been in this chapel: that would have been sacrilege until this day and this occasion. The room was small. It contained a couch covered by cloth-of-gold and a small table on which there was a golden goblet, a couple of napkins of finest linen and a small jar that I had asked to be put there. There was room for only three other people besides the two of us: The High Priest, the High Priestess and Tepemkau.

The chanting stopped and suddenly there was complete silence. Every small move we made echoed through the chapel into the vast hall. The High Priest was standing in the entrance way to the chapel, so that he could not only see what was going on inside the chapel but so that he himself could also be seen by those assembled in the great hall. In a stentorian voice he called out, " Let the Hand of Re stand forth!"

I stepped forward and under the guidance of Tepemkau I prepared the king for the ceremony. He was seated on the couch. I placed on his head the huge, tall headress of the god. He crossed his hands across his breast and I placed into them the crook and the flail. He stood up, tall and strong. He was no longer Min-Wosret; he was now the god Amon incarnate.

Now the High Priest announced, "The god is present; the ceremony begins!" I could hear the rustling of hundreds of bodies outside making their obeisance. The High Priest nodded to me and I began the ceremony as Wos and I had planned it.

MinI stepped before Wos and prostrated myself. Then I stood up. I unfastened his kilt and pulled it away. During all this part of the ceremony he never once moved, but through all my ministrations he stood like a statue, unmoving, holding the royal insignia crossed across his breast. I knelt at his feet and took from the low table the golden goblet in my left hand. I ran three fingers of my right hand underneath his 'henen'; this always had an arousing effect on him - and it did not fail this time. When his phallus had reached full erection (which was something that only I could judge) I placed the goblet in a strategic position just beyond the tip of his manhood and at a strategic angle, and began the masturbation process, just as we would have done in his bedroom - except that he was standing up, unmoving, while I jerked him off.

He did me proud! I could feel through my fingers that he was about to ejaculate and held the goblet carefully in place. He never flinched or moved a muscle, but throughout he remained the embodiment of the god. He erupted with five or six squirts which landed beautifully inside the goblet. When I had milked from him the last drop and his manhood began to deflate, I deftly wiped the tip clean with one of the napkins. I stood up and showed the contents of the goblet to the three witnesses. The High Priest announced throughout the echoing building, "The god has produced from himself the very seed of life!"

I turned back to Wos. I dipped one finger into the goblet so that it was covered with his ejaculate and held it up to his lips. He licked it off my finger. We repeated this another two times. The High Priest now boomed out, "The god has drunk the seed of life. It has entered him and become a part of him."

I replaced the goblet on the table, took from Wos the royal insignia, and placed into his hand the small jar. I unfastened my loincloth and laid it on top of his kilt. Naked, I reclined on the couch, ready. Now for the first time Wos moved. He undid the lid of the jar and the chapel was filled with the most wondrous aroma of scented unguents. (We decided that this was better than using hummous.) He knelt between my legs; I raised them onto his shoulders and he oiled his way into my 'powet'. As he arched himself over me I generously smeared his erection with some more of the perfumed oil and he penetrated me with no difficulty at all. I could feel his massive organ filling my bowels. He began thrusting with his hips and in no time at all the divine seed was gushing into the very centre of my being.

The deed done, he stood up. He handed me the other napkin and stood in front of me so that the witnesses could not easily see how I was mopping up the divine seed of life that was oozing out of me. The High Priest unctuously announced, "The seed of life has been sown!" I rose from the couch, fastened his kilt back round his hips, placed the regalia back in his hands, made obeisance, and then put on my own loincloth again.

The High Priest called out, "Make way for the Lord of the Two Lands, the Son of Amon, the Master of Khemet, Pharaoh Min-Wosret, Amon incarnate!" And our procession started back through the great hypostyle hall.

It is hot outside. Very hot. But here, inside, it is cool. The enormous columns create a shade from the hot sun. I shall walk down the avenue of rams. If I look to the side I can perceive the shapes of people on both sides, staring at me silently. I know they are there, even though they are mostly hidden in the shadow cast by the enormous columns. If I look up I can see, so far, far away, peeping through the top of the forest of columns, the disc of the sun, blessed Aten. If I look ahead, I can see the retinue of fellow priests chanting our way out of this place. If I look down I can see the sandals of the man walking next to me. And it is his presence that gave me the strength and the determination to do what had to be done. My god is with me at all times, guiding me, encouraging me, loving me. Even now, it is his confident stride that gives confidence to my own steps.

Here and there people step from behind the columns to catch a glimpse of the god. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye I catch sight of a familiar figure. It is Mery. Has he come to rejoice in my day of glory? Surely this must be so. Yet, why is he sobbing great sobs and holding out his hands towards me in supplication? These cannot be tears of joy, for his face is contorted with anguish. And then he vanishes back into the crowd as our proud procession moves on.

At the moment of my greatest glory I am suddenly struck with remorse. Loving Mery, faithful Mery, Mery my true friend - why is he so distraught? As I stride on next to the king I too have tears in my eyes. And I do not know why.

There is no worse liar than he who lies to himself.


Night. Dark. It is cool, even chilly. I snuggle up to his warm body, trying to steal from it not only warmth but also security. Night, moving slowly and inexorably towards morning. In more senses than one it will be the morning after the day before. I am not even sure that it is the cool breezes coming off the river that are causing me to shiver. It has been, for me, a night of very interrupted sleep. Next to me the god sleeps soundly. Next to him lies this priest whose slumber is constantly broken by a recurrent image.

Ever since the recessional procession yesterday I have been haunted by just one sight of all the many sights seen that day that could have haunted me, for better or for worse. That one sight almost banished from memory the scenes in the sanctuary, the events in the chapel, the procession at the end, the triumphal progress back to the Great House. All I could recall, again and again, was the tortured, anguished, tear-covered face of Mery.

Eventually my tossing and turning woke the god from his sleep.

"What's the matter, Neph? Why can't you sleep? And why can't you let me sleep?" His words were light, but his eyes showed concern. I mumbled, "It's nothing; it'll pass. Go back to sleep." But he saw right through me.

He sat up. "Neph, stop playing the idiot hero. What is it that is preventing you from getting to sleep? Is it something that I have done?"

"No, Wos, of course not! Why should you think that?"

"Then it is either something that someone else has done or something that you have done. Which is it?"

"Both, really," I said. There were tears forming in my eyes. He wiped them away with a gentle finger. This simple gesture of love and caring breached the emotional dam that I had been trying so hard to contain. My shoulders heaved and I burst into uncontrolled weeping.

He clasped me to him, kissing my forehead and stroking my back. Gradually my sobs subsided. "I feel better now," I said, trying to regain control. "I'm sorry to have woken you, dear one. Try to get back to sleep."

He knew better than to argue with me. He lay back and was quiet, but I knew that he was still wide awake.


"Yes, Neph?"

"Do you think it's possible to love more than one person at the same time?"

"I don't know. I've never had to ask myself that question."

"You know that I love you."

"Yes, beloved, I know that you love me. I have not, do not and never will doubt it."

"How would you feel, Wos, if you woke up one morning to find me not here? Would you still believe that I loved you?"

"Are you thinking of leaving me?" There was a slight quiver in his voice.

"No, silly." And I realized that that was the simple truth. I would not, could not leave him. Not now, not ever. But that thought did not resolve my dilemma; in fact, it made it worse.

He lay quiet for a few moments, just gently holding me in his arms. Suddenly, he sat up again. "What a fool I am!" he exclaimed. "You had a lover before you came to me. Is that it?" I nodded assent. Suddenly, his tone changed to one of concern - concern for himself as well as for me. "You miss him, don't you? That's what it is."

I burst into tears again. Through my sobs I managed to say, "No - that's the - problem. I abandoned - him - and almost forgot - him." I was gasping between the sobs, trying to get the words out. Again he lay down. He clasped me to him, enfolding me in his arms, pressing our two bodies together. Gradually I calmed down again and he released me.

"Neph, I have done a very wicked thing," he said.


"Yes, me. You came to me and I accepted you - into my arms, into my bed, into my heart. But selfishly - and, for a ruler, unforgivably, I never questioned where you had come from." He fell silent, and I understood that it was my turn to speak.

I told him of how I became a priest, how I gradually came to understand my sexual orientation, how I became friends with Mery and how we then became lovers. Then I told him of my last interview with Tepemkau and how I had been whisked off to him - Wos - like a thief in the night.

"The fools! The cretins! The idiots!" he exclaimed. "But why do I blame them? It was my fault for pressuring them. It is I who am the fool, the cretin, the idiot." Then he added, "But I do not understand why this is suddenly bothering you now."

I told him of the face in the crowd yesterday. How I had caught a glimpse of Mery, his face stained with tears, his arms stretched out towards me, his features contorted with pain.

"You must go to him," he said. "You must visit him. You cannot leave him in this state. It is cruel, unkind, unworthy."

"You mean, I must go to him and say farewell properly?"

"I mean, you must go to him and visit him. Only then will you know what to do."

He drew me to him and kissed me on the lips. We made love, slowly this time, making it last, savouring every moment. It was reassuring. I knew what pleased him, what roused him. And he knew what pleased me and roused me. We complemented each other perfectly. His body was by now so familiar, I knew every part of it intimately - better even than I knew my own. Actually, that is not quite true. There was one part of his body that I had never experienced. During our 'rehearsals' he had been inside me many times; but I had never been inside him - it would have been sacrilegious to possess the god.

But this night, during our lovemaking, he suddenly stopped. "In this room, on this bed, you are not Nepher-Mery-Neter the priest. You are Neph, plain and simple. (Actually, not at all plain and far from simple!) In the same way, in this room on this bed with you by my side I am not Pharaoh Min-Wosret. I am your Wos, plain and simple."

Gallantly (and truthfully) I responded, "Not at all plain and far from simple." Then I added, "Wos, where is all this leading?"

"It is leading to payback time," he said with that mischievous twinkle in his eye. He took up the little jar of aromatic oils and began to anoint my 'henen', which immediately responded by standing to attention at this intimation of a royal command. Then he handed me the jar and lay back on the bed. I climbed into position and lubricated his 'powet' generously with one, two then three fingers. I arched over his body and lowered myself, searching, feeling for the way in. He grabbed my 'henen', shifted his position slightly and guided me inside him. He was hot. I mean that his body was hot to my touch, but also that I could feel the heat of his bowels surrounding my manhood as I pushed my way in. He pulled me down, kissing me passionately. "I love you Neph, I love you. Petcha! Petcha! Fuck me!" His hands reached for my buttocks and he pushed them, trying to force me into ever deeper and deeper penetration. Involuntarily, my hips began to thrust in and out of him. The surge was beginning deep inside me and with each thrust I felt his muscles squeezing me, until I could no longer hold it in and my seed exploded into the depths of his being.

My exertions subsided and I collapsed on top of him. He showered me with kisses and stroked my back with his hands. "That was awesome," he exclaimed.

We lay back, happily exhausted, and fell into a deep sleep in each other's arms. Morning came at last. We went through the familiar routine of me washing him, dressing him and feeding him, though the washing and dressing process seemed to take longer each day! After we had eaten he said, "Neph, you must go to him." I nodded both understanding and assent. "Call the captain of the guard." I opened the door and told the sentry that the pharaoh wished to speak with the captain of the guard. He arrived, breathless, almost immediately.

"Soldier, provide an escort for this man. The escort will accompany him wherever he wants to go, will stay with him as long as he wishes to be wherever he is, and will escort him back to this room when he wishes to return. Are my instructions clear?" The captain made obeisance and then saluted, indicating that the instructions were received and understood. Now the pharaoh turned to me. "Go with this man and return safely. Go now. Go."

I prostrated myself and backed out of the room as protocol demanded. How ironic it was that just as I had not been permitted to leave Mery with a proper farewell, so now protocol prevented me from leaving Wos with a fond farewell. The gods seem to believe in measure for measure with a vengeance! I followed the captain to the mess, and he there appointed a soldier as my escort. Actually, he was a sort of yummie guy, and his kilt was a little too short for him. Under different circumstances he might have been able to seriously disturb my peace of mind. However, as we left the Great House I thought how great was the love that Wos had for me - so great that he was prepared to let me go to my former lover, trusting me to be true to him. Greater love than this has no man. Oh ye gods, make me worthy of his love. Osiris, Horus, keep me faithful to his love. Father Amon, hold me in the path of constancy.

Thus I made my way back to Mery-Wosret, beloved of the Mighty One.


Hot. Blazing sun. Sun burning overhead. Only the Aten to be seen in the sky. Heat like a furnace blowing in from the desert. Almost no one around. Everyone with any sense is keeping themselves cool inside. Two solitary figures are making their way from the Great House to the College of Priests. They are me and my escort.

We arrived at the College of Priests and half-ran into the shade inside the main portal. I decided that before seeking out Mery I would try to get some background information. I could try some of my former colleagues, but I was not certain that they would know everything that I wanted to know. But there was one person who would know even if no one else knew. I made for the office of Tepemkau. He was in, and I told my escort to wait outside.

I remembered the last time I had been in this office. How Tepemkau had informed me of the decision of the College of Priests that I was to become the pharaoh's 'companion' and that I was to take up my duties immediately, with no possibility even of farewells. How long ago had that been? Ten days? Twenty days? A month? Truly, I did not know.

When I entered his office Tepemkau rose to greet me with a broad smile on his face, and then held out his arms to me and we gave each other a mutual bear hug.

As we sat down for a chat he said, "You are looking very well, Neph. I am delighted that this seems to have worked out very well for you. I was really proud of you at the ceremonies - but let's not talk about that."

"You too are looking remarkably well, Tepemkau, my old and revered mentor."

"Not so old, if you please, and a little less revered," he said with a wink.

We spoke for a while about how I found life in the Great House. I did my best to continue the conversation on general terms without giving away any private secrets. I was anxious that someone far more important than I should not be compromised on any account because of some chance comment that I let slip when caution should have been the order of the day. On my personal relationship to the pharaoh I politely refused to comment at all. Tepemkau accepted that with understanding. No doubt there was a lot he could deduce for himself from my general good spirits.

I finally came round to the purpose of my visit. "And how is Mery?" I asked.

"Why don't you ask him yourself?"

"I caught a glimpse of him at the ceremonies but, of course I was not able to speak to him. He did not look well. I hope I was mistaken."

"Mery has not been well for some time now. About a month I should say, maybe less."

"What is the nature of his illness?" I asked solicitously.

"That is privileged information between a mentor and a priest. I do not think that his illness is physical. At least, the doctors were not able to find anything physically wrong with him. It is my belief that he has an illness of the ka. Let us say that, rightly or wrongly, he thinks that he has been abandoned by someone and from that moment he has lost the will to live. His situation deteriorates daily, even hourly. More than that I may not say. But, Neph, I strongly advise you to pay him a visit. I think a visit from you will do him more good than any medicine that any doctor could prescribe. Go to him, Neph. Go to him. I know he would love to see you."

I found Mery in his room - the room where I had spent more nights than I had in my own room at the College. He lay on his pallet curled up with his face to the wall.

"Mery," I whispered. There was no response. "Mery. Mery, wake up. Mery, it's me - Neph."

With an effort he turned towards me. He looked so frail, so haggard, so forlorn. My heart was filled with pity and remorse. The pity was for the state that my dear love was in; the remorse was for the fact that I knew that I was the unintentional cause of his piteous state.

"Is that really you, Neph, or has Set sent some new demon to torment me?"

"It's me, Mery, really me." I got down onto the pallet beside him and took him in my arms. Ye gods! He was so thin, so frail. I could feel every bone through the pallid flesh.

"Oh Neph, have you really come back to me?"

How should I answer him? Should I tell him the truth and kill him, or should I tell him what he wanted to hear?

"But Mery, I never really left you. You have been in my heart all the time my body has been away from you." I felt that I had told no lie if it was permissable to distinguish between what was lodged in the deepest recesses of my heart and what was in my fickle memory. I had never ceased loving him even when, in the most pasionate embrace of my other love, I had banished him from my active memory.

"They told me that you had been sent away by order of the gods and that I would never see you again."

"And they were wrong. You see me, you feel me here beside you. The god has been gracious."

"Will you stay? Will you be with me every day, every night? I need you, Neph; I can't live without you. I need to feel your presence, beside me, inside me. Without you I am just a shell, a husk, that is withering away, useless now that the fruit is gone."

What could I say? "I can't promise anything, Mery, because it is not in my power to promise. But I am here with you now. Is that not assurance enough that I have not abandoned you? Is my presence, here and now, not a joyful intimation of future possibilities?"

Even I knew that my words had the hollow ring of equivocation, that kind of double-talk at which priests are so adept when they want to explain the unexplainable and to rationalize that which is beyond reason. But for the moment Mery seemed to accept them on their face value - and reject them.

"Neph, I can't live on vague promises of better things to come. I loved you with all my heart and soul. And I found one day that you were gone - gone from my life. I do not believe that I shall ever find someone to replace you. I believe that what I felt for you is unique, a once-in-a-lifetime love. If I can't have you I shall have no one else. If I can't have you there is no point in my living."

"Is love so small that it can only be directed towards one object?" I asked. "Can there not be room in a loving heart for more than one love? Can not our capacity for love expand to embrace all those that we truly love? Must love be restricted to one and only one? Indeed, can love be restricted to one and only one?"

"I do not know the answer to all your philosophical questions, Neph. I only know that I love you and no one else. It would be a wrench if I had to share you with someone else, but at least I would know that he would feel the same wrench when you were with me. But, now that you are gone, it would not be sharing: it would be waiting - waiting all day every day, all night every night - waiting for your return, a return that may or may not happen. There would be no more certainty in my life. I would be a rudderless boat on the river of life, waiting to be capsized at the first collision."

I burst into tears again. I was on the horns of a cruel dilemma - a dilemma that it was not in my power to resolve. How different they were! Wos had a heart that was broad. He was so certain of my love that not only was he able to let me go and visit my old lover, but he initiated it, ordered it, organised it, orchestrated it. Mery wanted me and only me and firmly believed that there could be no other. And I loved them both. I can't say that I loved them equally, because love cannot be measured. But it is a fact: while I was with Wos I had not felt the loss of Mery too acutely. He was there in my heart, a flame that could be brought back to life at the next opportunity, but there was no yearning for him while I was with my other love. For Mery, on the other hand, my absence meant only emptiness and despair.

"How you must hate me, Neph."

"Hate you? How can you think such a thing? I love you. Where there is love there is no room for hate."

"When love is gone hate can usurp the place where love used to be."

"True love never dies; it holds its place in the heart always. If you were to die I would still love you; if you were to betray me I would be hurt, but I would still love you."

"Can you teach me how to love someone in the way that you say you love me and another? I am prepared to learn, I am prepared to give it a try."

"You can't teach someone how to love, Mery. People can only be taught how to hate. Love comes from heaven. We learned the capacity to love in Heaven before we were born. All we can hope for now is to forget the hate which we have unfortunately been taught. Let us have love between us, let us return to what we learned in heaven before we were born."

"Neph, I could live without you if I knew that at a certain time you would return to me. There would then be a purpose in my life, a goal. A future joy to look forward to." He didn't need to fill in the other half of the equation. I was silent, because he wanted me to give a promise, to give a hope, an assurance that it was not mine to give.

At that moment there was a scuffling outside the room. We could hear the voice of my escort remonstrating. "Here! You! You can't go in there! Stop!" But suddenly there was someone else in the room.

He was a begger, the kind of mendicant that haunts the bazaars and market places, asking for alms, promising to tell you your fortune in exchange for a small coin. He was dressed in rags and tatters, but he was tall and upright.

"What are you doing here?" I asked. "This is not the place to beg for alms."

"I have not come to beg for alms. I have come to offer a blessing. I bring you the word of the god. I have come to prophesy."

The moment he spoke I new his voice!

"Mery Wosret, hearken to the word of the god. I and I alone know the will of the god, and I have come to tell it to you. This man that you love is destined by the gods to belong to more than one man, but he shall not forsake you. You shall learn to share his love just as another must be prepared to share. Love is not exclusive, but inclusive. That is the teaching of the god. This man shall be with you one seven-day in every month. For those seven days you shall have him with you to love and to hold. This is the gift of the god to you, Mery-Wosret."

Now he turned to me. "You, priest, will remain here in this place for seven days. You will restore this man to health and vigour by your presence and by the love that you will give him. At the end of the seventh day you will return to the place from which you came. Is that clear? But you will not leave this man before promising him that you will return for another seven-day stay at the end of one month. Is all this clear to both of you?"

Mery nodded eagerly. I nodded my assent and understanding.

"My mission is accomplished and I shall leave. Do not attempt to follow me, priest, for that is forbidden you by the god." This last sentence he addressed to me and I fully understood his meaning. He turned on his heels and left.

During the next seven days I nursed Mery back to health and sanity. We spent the days talking and laughing together, and the nights in passionate embrace. At the end of the seventh day the time came for us to part. I feared there would be a scene, but there was not. He was content to bid me farewell and godspeed, and added confidently, "See you in a month's time, Neph." With that he kissed me and escorted me to the portal.

My escort had been faithful all that time, and he now accompanied me back to the Great House, back to the antechamber. And there, waiting for me, stark naked, arms akimbo, with the broadest grin on his face was Min-Wosret. "I have been waiting for you, my love," he said. "Hurry. Get naked! We must make up for lost time. Come, Neph. Come, beloved of the god. Come to me. Come."

And I did come - many, many times. And so did he. And oh so many times we managed to come together, at the same time - blissful release in unison.

From that time I ceased to call him Wos. For me he was no longer Min-Wosret, the mighty one of Min. I called him Yeb. For to me, ever after, his real name was Yeb-Wosret, the mighty-hearted. For surely there was never a god who loved more than Yeb-Wosret. In all the pantheon of all the gods of Khemet there was never a god with a greater heart and greater capacity to love and share than the one god that I loved, worshipped and adored: Lord of the Two Lands, Son of Amon, Master of Khemet, Pharaoh Min-Wosret - life, health, happiness!.

Nepher-Mery-Neter, priest of the god.
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