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On the second obelisk of the Teeth, we discovered another inscription.
Though very worn by time and the elements, the hieroglyphs
were still legible, but of a variety I was not familiar with. A few pointed
prods of my staff woke Grunstein and set him to work translating the ancient
script (I suppose this proves he is good for something, at least). It
would have taken him weeks to study the entirety of this inscription, but
we had only until sunset — Abdullah and his men insisted we had to depart
before dark. In the few hours we had available, what Grunstein did
manage to decipher made extremely interesting reading.
The inscription told of the great River Napaat, and the high priestess
of the river god who cruised its waters in a gilded barge crewed by eunuch
slaves. A loyal servant of the pharaohs, her power brought wealth
and glory to the dynasty. Barbarous kings from far and wide brought
annual tribute to her temple.
When she died, she was mummified within her ark, which was buried intact
in a great tumulus along with its crew to serve her in the afterlife. According
to the curse-script chiselled upon the obelisk, she would serve her
masters in death as she had in life, and sail the waters of the underworld
to bring divine retribution on any who defiled the lands of the great river.
We had no time to decipher any more of the legend. With the fading of the
light, Grunstein and I were all but dragged away from the hieroglyphs by
our native porters. Abdullah never ceased scanning the darkening skies,
eyes wide with fear, until we were far from the ancient monuments. He
asked me what the two of us had found from our translation, but I thought
it best not to tell him. These Qassari are evidently even more superstitious
than our own men.
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