Continuing on with my paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt…Nima and Kamin have been captured by a caravan master who plans to sell them to the pursuing enemy. Nima challenges the man to a game of senet, with her life and Kamin’s as the stakes and a blood oath between herself and the caravan master that they’ll each honor the outcome. Ptahnetamun, the caravan master, brings out a gameboard and they play, with Kamin, all the caravan workers and many of the caravan passengers watching. I thought you might like a glimpse of the game.
Based on my research and my consolidation of the differing views, painted sticks rather than dice were thrown to determine the number of spaces moved by a pawn. My sticks are black-and-white and earlier in the book I explained the points scoring system. Each player has five pawns. I actually played this game between Nima and her opponent several times to make sure I’d gotten the moves and counts right!
…it seemed the audience admired both the gaming and the cheating skills on display and was content to accept the outcome. The betting odds evened out, although still slightly favoring the caravan master to win.
Thunder rumbled as Ptahnetamun marched his fourth pawn off the board. His fifth was ten squares back, and Nima passed him by. There was an audible gasp from the crowd as she threw four white sides, sending her next-to-last pawn to safety. Now the game sat with one pawn belonging to each player still on the board. The wily caravan master was a few squares closer to claiming victory, but Nima was gaining on him, until finally both pawns sat crowded on square twenty-six, the House of Happiness, one of the few spaces that could be so shared.
“Yet only one of us will have happiness within their grasp this night,” Ptahnetamun said.
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Egypt, 1500 BCE
Nima’s beauty and skill as a dancer leads an infatuated enemy to kidnap her after destroying an Egyptian border town. However, she’s not the only hostage in the enemy camp: Kamin, an Egyptian soldier on a secret mission for Pharaoh, has been taken as well. Working together to escape, the two of them embark on a desperate quest across the desert to carry word of the enemy’s invasion plans to Pharaoh’s people.
As they flee for their lives, these two strangers thrown together by misfortune have to trust in each other to survive. Nima suspects Kamin is more than the simple soldier he seems, but she finds it hard to resist the effect he has on her heart. Kamin has a duty to his Pharaoh to see his mission completed, but this clever and courageous dancer is claiming more of his loyalty and love by the moment. Kamin starts to worry, if it comes to a choice between saving Egypt or saving Nima’s life…what will he do?
Aided by the Egyptian god Horus and the Snake Goddess Renenutet, beset by the enemy’s black magic, can Nima and Kamin evade the enemy and reach the safety of the Nile in time to foil the planned attack?
Can there ever be a happy future together for the humble dancer and the brave Egyptian soldier who is so much more than he seems?