It was dusk, but we weren’t at the lord’s house. We were at the temple of Wadjet, the house of the Oracle.
“Why are we here, my lord?” I asked, following his lead and dismounting the horse.
“Why else do we go to the Oracle? To hear our prophecies.” He said, and led the way inside. He left Salia and his guard outside with the horses. I had never been inside the house of the Oracle before, but we were always allowed a day off in the week to go pray at the temples. We took turns, one day was a few of the girls, and the next was the next few girls, and so on so that there were always girls in the house to tend to the master and the chores.
The fires were still lit inside the temple. The lord led the way down a side staircase to a separate room. An old, frail woman sat in a chair made of bones. The colors of the bones were faded, and blood had obviously coated them. Her hair was wispy and white. She wore an old, grey, fraying tunic. She did not stand. Her eyes were far away. I walked closer until the color came into view, but there was none. I took a step back, a gasp escaped my lips. Her eyes were milky white. An unnatural being sat before me and I wanted to run. The lord gripped my arm.
“Speak your name and learn your prophecy, but be warned, there’s nothing you can do to change your future.” The voice of the woman was ghastly, as if she hadn’t had a drink in a thousand years. I was frightened, but my new master bid me speak my name, so I could not refuse.
“I am Kamilah,” I whispered, staring into space, letting my future fall to pieces at the hand of the man that now owned me.
“To be truly free with golden round upon your head and irons broken below,
Seven battles must be won, and seven palaces razed,
Mother of ancient beasts, sister of feared hunters,
Daughter of magic, betrayer of hemet.”
I looked at the old woman when she spoke of things I couldn’t understand.
“What?” I looked at my new master in confusion. Tears were coming to my eyes. He looked deep in thought as if he was making sense of her words. Or at least trying. I ripped my arm out of his grasp and walked towards the Oracle.
“Golden round? Irons broken? Seven battles, palaces razed? Mother of… sister… Daughter of magic? I’m not even married!” I shouted at her. She didn’t flinch. “I would never betray my husband!” She looked up at me, a skinny eyebrow raised.
“That depends on to whom you get married.” I flinched. She was right. I would fight a husband I didn’t love, probably betray him.
I touched the leather and iron neck-chain, the symbol I was a slave. This iron? I thought about a golden round. The seven high masters wore them. I saw once when I was in the market buying food with Tabia. We had to hurriedly drop to one knee as one of the high masters passed on his horse, back from hunting a slave who had tried to escape. Was she saying that I would be a master? No. I would break all those damned irons off every slave in the city.
“Let’s go.” The master said, walking out and back up the stairs.
“Seven battles you say?” I asked her.
“Seven battles.” She confirmed, and I left.