A sound startled me out of my trance. Without bothering to think, I grabbed the eggs and looked for another exit. I almost didn’t catch it. There was a door of stone, hidden with the rest of the wall. It was partially open, but not enough for me to have noticed it before. I followed the door through more tunnels. I found myself in a basement. A quick escape? Quickly, I changed my clothes into pants and a tunic that I found in an old wooden chest in the basement. I undid my braided hair.
I needed to leave. The city. I grabbed a bag and put the scaly eggs inside. Then I left the house, which was deserted, probably because the people were at my wedding. I was at the city gate when I heard them ring the warning bells. The lions. They were going to be coming after me.
Hurrying, I ran as far as I could. The gate opened up behind me, allowing for the lions to chase after me. Once I hit sand, I could no longer run. Tears were brought to my eyes. Was this it? Was this the end? The lion’s pounding paws behind me sped up my heart. Arrows whisked past my ears.
I turned back. One. Two. Three times. Each time I could see more lions or more arrows. I wished my eyes were betraying me. That there was nothing behind me at all. I tripped. I fell. I looked back, but the lions didn’t go in for the kill. Instead they surrounded one of their own. I looked ahead of me. Then back at the lion. I sighed. Picking myself up and I walked towards the beasts.
She was injured. Arrow to the back. And she might not live. The large cats looked at me in solemn gazes, but didn’t attack. They backed away to give me room. I put my hands around the arrow shaft. The she-lion whined, her head falling to the ground. One. Two. Three! I pulled, hard. It came out, but blood did too. I used my hands to slow the bleeding, but it was gushing.
One of those idiot archers just killed their own hunting lion. I removed my hands. There was nothing I could do there. I went to her head.
“Shh. It’s ok. I’m here.” I whispered, pulling her large and extremely heavy head into my lap. The other she-lions came closer, dropping their foreheads on the dying sister’s body. When she passed, I sensed men coming out of the gate. Looking for the lions. Looking for me. The lion next to me gave me a look. Go. Get out of here. Your destiny is not over yet. I nodded, and left.
The sun was glaring above me. My lips were cracked and bleeding. My tongue had never felt dryer. I had gotten away, but I was left alone to die. Who knew if I was even walking in the right direction? The bag of water I stole was empty. My hands were stained with blood. The food I brought was gone. I felt myself tilt forward, but there was no catching myself. I fell forward into the sand, the heat burning my skin.
I didn’t know for how far I had walked. I didn’t know where I was even going. A shadow fell on my face. I looked up. A beautiful woman stood beside me, wearing a light blue dress and a golden crown shaped like a throne.
“Who are you?” I murmured.
“I am Isis. Goddess of magic, health, marriage, and love.” My eyes opened wider. Her hands were marked with an ankh and a staff.
“Isis?” I murmured, curious. She gave me water and food, and I ate.
“You are my daughter, Kamilah.” She said, her eyes softening as she saw me back to health.
“What?” I asked, almost taken aback. I touched the necklace my mother gave me. The ankh. It was simple, and on a leather tie.
I remembered my mother very little. “My mother died.” I said.
“No, I disappeared because I had to go back to my duty as a goddess.”
“She was a slave and I was a slave.”
“You were always meant for more. I am a friend to slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden.”
“I don’t know what to do next.” I said.
She smiled. “I will take you to a palace. It is not owned by anyone at this time, so you can live there until you are ready to go back to the city and take it for yourself.”