Title: Dreams of Sand
Archive: Please ask first
Summary: The Ancient Sanguine Vampiris had a long and storied history, this is, but one tale of those times.
Spoilers: Kind of to EllyMelly's Children of the Sand and Love in the Time of Science.
Authors Note: This is something that's been working around in my brain and I've been talking to EllyMelly about. It's based in her history of the Sanguine Vampiris.
Dreams of Sand
Imhotep was old. Even by Vampire standards, he was old. He had survived dynasty after dynasty in Kemet. Unlike the others old ones, he had not walled himself away in Memphis as many of the others had done. He had kept among the people and guided them. It had been many years since had been known by his true name of Imhotep. He had many names. The latest of those has been Senenmut and like many other Pharaohs before he had counseled and guided Hatshepsut and also like many of his other names, he had created a background with Senenmut that would obscure the fact that he was not who he said he was.
He looked out over the river from the courtyard of his home. It was modest by royal standards, but still a palace to the general populous. He was going to have to leave this. Leave Egypt. Soon. His brothers and sisters were fools. They were so locked in their petty squabbles and machinations of power that they could not see that the world was changing. As technology and education grew, the world became smaller. The Vampires were losing their hold of power. They were not all powerful gods as they told the humans they were and they were forgetting that.
His path to this crossroads in his life had been as all great decisions, a serious of seemingly insignificant choices. Going to Heliopolis and not to Thebes had been the first. It was at Heliopolis he had met her. Orcades has been a slave brought from Mycenae to serve as a priestess of Isis. A offer of good will by the King of Mycenae. Orcades was highly prized not only for her great beauty, but for her power. She possessed a magic that Isis prized above all other. Not only was she a servant to Isis and a priestess, she was also part of Isis' harem of girls she fed on. Only the most prized and trusted of servants served as food for the gods. They held the gods secrets in their hands.
Imhotep had been in need and Isis has lent him her prized Orcades. Imhotep was not a brute. He needed to feed as was a necessity with his race, but he didn't terrorize and brutalize the humans he needed it from. He only ever took what he needed and didn't indulge in the gluttony that Seth and Ammonet did., draining their servants dry. Seth had a obsession with virgins. Debauching them and then drinking them dry. Such things were despicable to Imhotep. They had a duty to protect and sheepherder the humans.
Orcades was tall and willowy with hair of gold and eyes the color of fresh turned loam. When Imhotep had first seen her it was her eyes that struck him. They were quick and intelligent. They met his squarely as if measuring him unlike most humans who cowered and dropped their eyes when confronted with a god. She informed him she had been sent from her goddess for his service. He had welcomed her in and bade her to sit and join him for his meal before he took what he needed from her. That surprised her. She was use to gods who viewed humans as tools, not as equals.
Imhotep had made it his practice to spend time speaking with his servants. To make a ritual of it. Show them kindness to ease them and relax them to make the blood letting as painless as he could. Orcades proved to be as pleasant to speak with as she was to look upon. Her words, though slightly accented by her home in Mycenae, were quick and full of sharp wit. Her mind was bright and intelligent as her eyes. The evening flew on the wings of a kite as they spoke. When the time came, she offered herself willingly to Imhotep for his needs. Afterward, he gave her wine and let her rest in his rooms until she recovered herself to return to the servants quarters.
He would see her again ever few weeks as his need and her ability to be from her mistress would allow. Before he realized what was happening, he realized he loved her. He left Heliopolis not wanting to this to progress any farther than it already had. He had no sooner arrived at Thebes and an ache he had never known before consumed him. A pain in his heart that took the joy out of life and left only despair.
He found his thoughts turning constantly back to Orcades and her lithe form and quick mind. He stopped his work, his science failed him. The great builder and creator of the Vampires, was lost. The slip of a human girl the cause. Vampires were forbidden to take humans for lovers. Vampires were geared to the preservation of their race and human women were especially engendered to receive them. Long ago, the ancients had forbidden muddying their race by breeding with humans, but still—Imhotep loved her. He tried to turn his mind from those feeling. Focused on his work, but he watched as his works turned to sand in his hands. He didn't just love her, his body ached for her. She was meant to be his mate.
For centuries, Imhotep had shunned the company of women, even those of his own kind. Science had been his mistress. He worshiped her. Science was his sun and moon and nourished him as the great river nourished the land he lived in. Everything else was just a distraction from his work. He had designed and over saw so many of the great pyramids. The wonder of the Sphinx. So many great building projects he had dreamed of and then build. That was before Orcades.
He turned his great mind finding a way through this. He wrote a missive to Isis, proposing to buy Orcades. He claimed he found her pleasing to his tastes. He praised Isis for her training, her choice in slaves, her kindness in lending her to him in his time of need. He played to his sisters vanity and offered the one thing she prized most, a new temple in her honor. He knew his sister well and started working on the design making it ready to begin construction when she responded.
Sleepless nights and anguished days passed as he waited to hear back. He had nearly given up hope when finally word came from Isis that she was pleased by his request and would give him the slave and the funds needed to build her the grand new Temple. She would come to look over the plans herself and bring both the slave and the gold when she arrived.
Imhotep turned his household upside down as he ordered the preparations for a feast for the greetings of his sister. Secretly, he prepared a place for Orecades. A room filled with the richest of silks and tapestries, gold and lacquer furniture, gowns of the softest linens and silks, pillows in heaps and lotus blooms to scent the valley. A room fit for a queen. His queen.
The day arrived and he was up before the dawn. Sleep since he had left Memphis had been as rare as an oasis in the deep desert. Finally, Isis' caravan arrived and he moved to greet her warmly. She chattered away about what she wished for him to included for the Temple. Imhotep nodded and made the appropriate sounds, but his eyes were only for Orcades. She looked tired and worn. Dressed in her customary whites with blue sash, but there was something—he couldn't place. She looked—afraid.
The day dragged with interminable slowness. Isis' chatter grated on his nerves, but he dutifully showed her the designs he had made for her and she made her further changes of whim and whimsy that he would of course ignore, but would stay on the papyrus until time of construction. He would include them in a superficial way, but his design, as always, would be perfect.
Finally, night came and he could properly claim Orecades as his own. He found her cowered in a corner of the slave quarters. She looked small and frightened and not like the beauty he had dreamed of all these long weeks. He spirited her back to his quarters and then set her on his own chair and made her talk. What she said stunned him and he knew the reason of her fear. She was carrying his child. Their indiscretion all those weeks ago had born fruit in her fertile womb. She feared what would become of her and the child. Vampire law demanded their death and the punishment for Imhotep was almost worst than death itself. If found out, he would be made an eunuch. Force to spend eternity no longer a man.
He gathered her into his arms with promises that none would ever part them and he would protect her. He took her to the room he had prepared for her. He robed her in linen and silk. He bejeweled her with precious gems and pearls. He kissed away her tears and wrapped her in his arms. They were safe in their tiny Sanctuary within the walls of his home.
Weeks passed and Imhotep found his mind explode with ideas and his productivity grew. The temple for Isis progressed at an amazing pace. His greatest design. Imhotep kept few slaves and only those who had their Master's trust. Orecades had free rein of his house as its unspoken mistress. She reveled in his library and he taught her to read his own people's language. Something few humans were given the privilege to do. Hidden away from the world and the prying eyes of other her body blossomed with the bloom of motherhood. Their bond which had been formed so unknowingly in Memphis solidified and strengthened. He could not bare to be without her for more than a few days at a time. Her blossoming body so intoxicating and wondrous to him. Vampire males were very possessive and protective of their mates and offspring and a bond was at it's strongest when their love was with their child.
All was happy in Imhotep's household for those few months. The servants protecting he and Orecades secret from the world, but even as careful as they were, rumors spread like and insidious snake through the villagers. Stories of the great man's new slave he doted on. An unnatural interest between them. Finally, one brave fool, slipped over the wall of the courtyard and into the sleeping household. He slipping quietly through the sleeping quarters and found Imhotep sleeping with is pregnant lover. He nearly rousted the house in his rush to spread the news.
Imhotep cursed bitterly his own laxity of guarding his house and the villagers betrayal. They were found out. They must fly. The house was turned upside down in the rush to pack the camels. They would have to leave most everything. Only what could not be left behind would be taken. When the other elders learned of his indiscretion retribution would be swift and without mercy. The villagers gathered outside the gates of his courtyard, the angry shouts could be heard as they beat on the gate.
He gathered himself to face and meet them and garner the others the time they needed to get Orecades out, when he felt her take his hand in hers. She told him she would not leave without her husband. He twined his fingers through her, pulling her hand up to kiss it. He felt the air around them change as she drew the magic around her. He let go of her hand, drawing deeply in himself, his visage changing as he freed the Vampire within. The gates gave way under the weight of the villagers and mob rushed through.
Imhotep was never quite sure what had happened after that. Fire and wind howled as Orecades used her powers to manipulate the elements around them. He fought tooth and claw to hack their way through the mob. He did his best to shield Orcades, taking blows from clubs and blades meant for her. He was beaten and bloodied by the time he realized the mob was fleeing from them. He sank to his knees and Orecades took him into her arms, blood smeared her face and livid bruises marred her creamy flesh. She kissed him and told him they were free and he knew no more.
Days had passed before he knew himself again. His wounds were healing and Orecades and his servants had fed him and bound his wounds as he slept. They were far from Thebes and leaving Kemet. Their bedraggled caravan had joined others as they traveled. Other Vampires seeking exile from their brothers and sisters. A place where they could love their human mates and be Fathers and Mothers to the children they gave life to. There were stories of a land in the east that Vampires had settled. A place where they could live and love in peace. They needed builders, scholars, physicians, artist, craftsmen, all who could come and shared their dream.
Orecades settled beside Imhotep in the wagon he rode in as he healed. He pulled her close, his hand resting on her swollen belly. They would be at peace and together and that all they could ask for in this world. He pulled her close his mind already shifting to think on a new problem. Orecades was human and with that the limitation of a human lifespan. They had already overncome so much to be together, he would find away to overcome that to keep her with him.