The tall bronze door closed with a resounding gong, reverberating in the otherwise still air of the early evening. Amenhotep's eyes sought out the window, looked to the fading rays of the beloved sun, Aten Amon Ra, the daily bringer of life and light to lush and fertile lands of Egypt. He watched as the sky darkened, the yellow of Aten darkening and fading into nothingness. The stars slowly emerged into the night sky, each one a greeting and a reassurance that Aten would return tomorrow to bring his light once more.
He examined the rest of the room. The bed resting on the floor was lush and thick as was to be expected from the love bed of a pharaoh. A bottle of wine and a loaf of bread rested on a small tray of bronze next to the bed. Even a burner of incense waited nearby for him to put to light. An oil lamp occupied the center of each of the four walls. The ceiling ascended out of the reach of any man, four man-lengths in height, and flowing curtains of red linen shot through with gold thread decorated the corners. A single bronze pot with a cover occupied one corner. No chairs or tables awaited him, nothing to read or upon which to write. No games for him to play. Nothing for him to do but wait. Wait for Aye.
Wait for his sister.
"But why must it be thus?" he had asked the priest, Heran, that morning.
"It is the way of all Gods, young Amenhotep," the priest said delicately. "Although you will be expected to take a foreign woman as your first wife and thus make stone our friendship with a neighboring kingdom, you and your sister must first introduce one another to the ways of love. Many pharaohs have come to understand that they are indeed Gods fit to fly on the wings of Ra only after they first know their sister in this fashion. It is this mingling of the blood of two Gods that arouses a power like no other, a power immeasurably greater than any other. You wife shall not know of its power, nor shall any other man know of it. It is for you and your family alone. You and the blood of Amon."
"But should I not somehow be... skilled? Taught? How can I do this with only the book knowledge given to me by my teacher, Namse?"
"You will have what you need to do your duty as befits a king, young Amen."
He had not argued as hard as he should have, he thought now. His father, Amenhotep III, had solidified a great nation and strengthened an even greater empire. But now his father was approaching the end of his years and needed a son who would lead the nation on in its prosperity. But Amen had never wanted the task. If he admitted it to himself, he hated the priests and the rituals and all that went with the task of being pharaoh. He would give much, if he had anything at all to give, to escape the burden that seemed sure to fall upon him in the next few years. His father would live to see his son's twentieth birthday but perhaps no later than that.
He fervently missed his uncle, Amenkut, who knew more about the world as a scholar than did his brother. Amen's father was a man who reveled mostly in the ways of the warrior. His mother, Tye, was of no advantage in this either. As the first of Amenhotep's wives to bear a child, her fertility had made Amen the royal heir. But she had little practical knowledge of the world outside the walls of her home in Syria. Amen sometimes suspected that she had lived her entire life behind royal doors. He truly loved his mother but he also pitied her.
A loud clang on the bronze doors made him look up from his musings as he saw Aye being shoved rather abruptly into the room. She turned to glare at the door, a look that could have felled birds from the sky, as it closed again with that final sound. Then she turned that baleful look to him. "Brother," she snarled.
"It is not what I want either, Aye. I begged them not to demand this of me. It is not fitting and I am not ready."
Her look softened somewhat. She no longer directed it at him but continued to show her upset at the prospect of being forced into this awkward arrangement. "We must make the best of it."
Amen nodded slowly. "They are probably watching. It is not as if we can just sleep the night away and say in the morning that we fulfilled our duties. They will examine the bed for signs of blood and seed."
"Priests," she snarled. "I hate them."
"As much as do I," he acknowledged with admiration. "I am not happy with priests. I am not happy with the way they convinced my father to enshrine Amon Ra at Kharnak, as if somehow that made all the difference in the world. 'The Hidden Sun,' indeed," he said sarcastically. "The light of the Sun is there for anyone who wishes to see it. And I am not happy with this." With a wave of his arm he gestured to encircle the room.
She walked down the three steps into the room itself and joined her brother. "Your feelings on the Gods and their places in our lives are well-known, brother."
He gave her his best smile, the one he reserved for few. "I hope I am not making such a noise as to give rise to questions about my fitness for the throne."
"The priests would not dare."
"No, perhaps not. But they could make life difficult for me." He stared out the window that looked down upon the great garden to the rear of the palace and wished for a rope. "Are you hungry, my sister?"
"I thought you might have forgotten that we mere mortals sometimes need to eat," she laughed. "Although they tell me that the blood of Amon runs in me."
"The blood of Amon, the blood of Amon," he repeated in a jibe. "I shall never understand this obsession with the blood of the Gods. Why is it more important than the light of the Gods, the warmth of the Gods, or the power of the Gods? Of all the things the priests prattle about, the blood is the least useful." He gestured towards the table. "Eat. Drink."
She smiled into her cup as she drank some of the honeyed wine set on the table beside them. She also took a flame from one of the oil lamps and lit the incense in the brazier. Amen noticed the gesture. "You are not serious about performing this ritual, are you?"
"Do we have a choice?" She rose from the bed and walked to window where he stood. "Come. Let us do this... willingly."
"Hardly," he growled, giving her a mere glance before looking out the window again. The sky had darkened and Seb, the moon, had risen, his reddish face looking down on the people of Egypt.
Her hand touched his shoulder. He did not turn to look at her. "Am I ugly, Amen?" she asked.
"No, of course not, my sister Aye. I am not unhappy with you. I am unhappy at priests who have shoved us in here at this time with no thought given to our wants."
"We are royalty, Amen. Our wants are often secondary to the needs of the Gods and the Empire."
He turned and regarded her with sadness in his eyes. "To suffer for the Gods above, who would have none of what they desire without the people below worshipping them." He took her hand in his. "Come, you are right. Let us perform this little ritual and be done with it. You were always wiser than I in these matters."
"Because I give in so easily?" she teased.
Because you know when a battle is hopeless and know how to make even surrender sweet." He led her to the center of the room to sit on the pad that would be their first love bed. "Drink," he said, refilling her cup. He poured some for himself.
She took the cup and took a deep draught from it. He watched her drain the cup half dry and asked, concerned, "You do not want to be insensate when I lay hands on you, do you, sister? Are you afraid that my skills may not be up to tonight's task?"
She took a small napkin and wiped her mouth. "No, brother. I am merely more thirsty than I thought. I would like to have my senses for every moment of your touch. It is not you I wish to hurl my reluctant invective at."
He moved a little closer to her and she started uncomfortably. "You were the one who lighted the incense," he pointed out.
"I am not... completely ready myself for this."
His eyes roved over her face and shoulders, down over her breasts and waist. "Last year at the Festival of Amon Ra, you wore the headdress of a woman of the court for the first time. I remember seeing the Aten gleaming from it, the sun shining off the gold leaf and your dark hair and I thought you were the loveliest creature I had ever laid eyes upon. You stood next to mother and led the procession yourself with such poise and confidence." He touched her thigh with his open palm. "And now you are so... unready."
Embarrassed at his glowing descriptions, Aye looked away. "And you, brother, at father's side, looking so powerful and strong in the tall headdress of Horus Ra, looking so much like the god you are destined to become." She turned her whole body towards him. "And now we are just two children again, locked in a room and told how to play." She caressed his cheek with her hand. "And play we must or they will never let us out of here."
He looked into her eyes and saw that she was right. And again, he saw that without the makeup, the headdress, the finest uniforms the Kingdom had to offer, she was still a beautiful creature, someone to be held and adored. He surprised himself with the sensation of warmth in his sex, arousal he had not expected so soon or with quite so much intensity. He wanted to touch her but he was not sure what to do with her after that.
Aye solved his curiosity for him by exploring his waist for the golden cord that held his tunic closed. She found the frilled end and tugged until the tunic came loose and hung from his shoulders. He returned the gesture, finding the cord on hers and untying it as well. She waited passively as he found the edges where it hung down below her waist and began pulling upwards. His eyes followed the cloth even as he dropped it to the floor beside the bed and when he turned back to look at her he was momentarily stunned by the sight of her naked body. Aye was trim and smooth, her body a flawless jewel skillfully created by royal tutors and athletes who worked her daily to make sure she would present the perfect wife to whatever minor princeling to which she would be for the sake of the Kingdom. Her skin was a perfect brown in color, her breasts the size of pears and the hair between her legs sparse and only softly curled. "You are... lovely, Aye."
"I am glad you think so, Amen. Come, let us get that off you as well." He helped her remove his own clothing, dropping it into the pile with hers. Like hers, his body was the product of years of tutoring and mentoring. He practiced daily with knife and bow although his guards assured him that he would never have to use them. Having bathed nude with the few friends he was allowed, he knew that his sex was neither too large nor particularly small.
He felt his heart grow stronger of its own desire and his erection grew under her gaze. Embarrassment and youthful need battled for his attention and need finally won as he pulled her down on top of him.
He felt a shock as her warmth and weight fell upon him. She giggled as she recovered, looking down on him. "I thought you were determined to not go through with this."
"You are right, sister. Let us give them good theater for once." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "Something they can take home and keep themselves excited while they try to make love to their hairy, ugly wives."
He saw her smile as she lowered her head to his, her lips coming dangerously close to his own. Like a thunderclap her kiss coursed through his body. He moaned with a need he had tried to suppress but could not hold back any further. Her nipples brushed against his chest and the smell of her clean and oiled hair aroused him powerfully. He felt overwhelmed by her. He tried to give what she gave and found himself floundering against her own desire. "You want this," he said.
"Yes," she said. "Yes, brother. I have wanted to know love since I began bleeding. I have watched you and wanted you." She spoke in breathless gasps, as if their kiss had hit her as hard as he. She kissed him again as they rolled over onto their sides, legs and arms tangling desperately as they held one another, discovering each other for the first time.
Amen felt her belly press against his, felt the smoothness of her thighs against his legs. He felt her hands grasp for his sex, close on it and rub softly, sending such pleasures through him as he had never experienced before. "Aye, what is it that you do that I cannot do for myself?"
"Maybe we are as gods, brother," she sighed as her lips kissed his chest. She was kissing her way down to his sex, performing the ritual she might one day partake as the Hand of Amon, the Pleasure of the Creator. He could hear his breath loud in his ears as he anticipated the touch of her lips on his hardness. She came to it, licked at the underside carefully, tickled his furred scrotum with her tongue. He felt her tongue slide along the left of the shaft and come to the exposed crown. Her open mouth enveloped the head of his sex. He went rigid as he felt her warm mouth close along the length of it until she nearly choked herself.
She crawled back into his arms, gasping as hard as he. "I just wanted to know what it tasted like."
"Do you like it?"
"Yes," she said with a smile. Her voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper. "Certainly you taste better than the statue in Karnak. But I want to save you for myself."
"What do you taste like?" he asked.
"Why do you not find out for yourself?"
"I can do that?" he asked, surprised. The Dawn Rituals of Amon were about placing one's hands and lips on the penis of the god, Amon, who had climaxed into his own mouth and then spat out the universe. Amen could recall no tale of anyone placing his lips on a woman's sex.
"What stops you?" she said with a smile as she rolled over onto her back. "Come, brother, find out if you like the way I taste. And see for yourself what you are getting into."
He laughed. Aye's humor had always appealed to him. He crawled on hands and knees down to the edge of the bed, looking down between his sisters thighs. He had seen few women naked in his life and his training had not prepared him for just how complicated her vulva was. The smell was musty but not strong-- she must have bathed recently. It was not unpleasant but he could not for the Aten figure out why it affected him the way it did. It made his head light and asked him to crave her in ways he had never been told about. He kissed her vulva, carefully parting the sparse hair and tasting her with his tongue. Aye moaned softly, her own desire as strong as his had been. He could not understand her desire; he had not yet touched her inside. "Kiss me again," she gasped.
He complied. Her taste had a strange, almost oily sensation to it, something he was not accustomed to. But he found himself liking it.
He shook his head. It was time to give the priests, himself, and Aye what they all wanted. He crawled the length of her body. "Are you ready, sister?"
"It will hurt," she said.
"I know," he said. "I promise it will stop soon afterwards."
"You cannot promise that."
"I am a god," he said, half-joking. His stiffness probed between her open thighs, the head finding her sex and resting against the opening. "Now?" he asked.
She reached up and clasped her hands on his arms. "Now," she breathed.
Amen pushed, hard.
Aye's back arched with the pain, a small whimper the only sound she made as he entered her. He was so concerned for her he did not even feel the way her body surrounded his sex. "Aye?"
"It... burns a little, brother."
"Should I stop?"
He nodded, withdrawing from inside her. He looked down between them and saw her blood on the sheet beneath them. Ashamed at having hurt one of the few people he truly cared for, he gathered her in his arms. "Shh... " he said softly. "It will pass."
"I know. I just... was not ready for it to hurt so much." She kissed his cheek. "Thank you for being so kind, Amen. Give me a little time. We will try again."
"I know. Maybe tomorrow."
"No!" she said. "No, tonight. I felt it, Amen. I wanted you. I just could not bear the pain."
"I am sorry, Aye. We will try again tonight."
"Thank you, brother."
He lay there, holding her against himself. He felt chilled and reached behind himself to pull a blanket over the two of them as they lay there, together.
Amen woke with a start. The oil in the lamps had all burned dry and gone out. Two great patches of pale light filled the wall opposite the window as the light of the moon shone through them. Aye lay on her side, less than two hands' distance from him, facing him. Her face looked at peace. He shook his head. They must have fallen asleep together. From the position of the moon he realized that dawn would arrive soon.
He rose and made use of the pot, his waking erection drooping in order for him to do so. He covered the pot again when he was done. The sound of his feet on the floor must have awakened Aye, for she was propped up on one elbow, watching him as he returned to bed. "We slept," she said.
"Yes," he said. "It would seem to be too late to complete the task the priests have set aside for us."
He could see her smiling mouth in the dim light. "It is still this night, brother, although that could well end soon. Can we not still complete it?"
He regarded her carefully. "It is possible," he said. He leaned closer to her. "And by now even the priests have returned to their warm and comfortable beds."
"Then you do not have to do this," she said.
"I would give you what you want, Aye. You are my beloved sister." He stroked her chest with his hand, his fingertips brushing delicately over an exposed nipple. "And a most beautiful woman as well. If you would accept my gift."
His actions had the desired effect. "I... I do accept," she said, kissing his cheek softly. "Immediately and definitely!"
He laughed softly and moved to mount her. His own sex was not yet hard again and her hands were busy between her own legs. "Amen... would you kiss me there again?"
He nodded. The smell of her again reached his nose and made him feel dizzy. He kissed her mound again. The taste was different now, mustier and less sweet but somehow still compelling. She spread her legs wider and he found in the darkness all the complicated little shapes of her sex. He allowed his tongue to explore them all, caressing and touching, before he crawled back up the length of her body. "I am ready, Aye."
"I am too, Amen."
He did not ask permission this time. He lowered his weight to her body and felt his sex slide inside her. This time, she closed her eyes and sighed deeply as he entered her and, this time, he felt the moist warmth of her sex grip him tightly. "It does not hurt," she whispered, almost sounding surprised.
His own needs took over then and he began to stroke her slowly with his sex. "Does this?" he asked.
"No," she said. "It feels good, Amen. Do more."
He nodded, loving her as his body wanted. She was smiling and that made this moment between them more perfect than any he could remember in his young life. They held one another, belly to belly, the breath of her mouth caressing his face as they loved one another. His hips knew what they were doing as they loved and he felt her press her own body back against his with each stroke. Sometimes one wanted more than the other and they would smile as their thrusts drew out of time, then back again. He felt his pleasure rising uncontrollably, quickly. She moaned softly as he thrust just a little harder.
The sun rose and its light poured into their room as his pleasure overtook him and he climaxed, the bright sun exploding inside his head as much as in his eyes. A loud moan passed his lips and warmth radiated from his sex. "Aye... Aye..."
"I know, brother."
"Akhenaten," he sighed, smiling, as he rolled off her.
He shook his head. "It just seemed so beautiful how the Aten rose and greeted us as my pleasure reached its height. It made you even more lovely." He looked at her and she seemed to glow. "Tell me, sister, what did you see?"
"I saw... I saw a god reach his pleasure. I felt a thrill I cannot put into words. The sun rose and touched your hair and your face and you closed your eyes and whispered my name. I know there is more for both of us in that and I want more of it."
"Now?" he asked.
"No," she laughed. "It will wait. But I do understand why they put us together first. I do not know if it is the blood of Amon or merely the teaching of our mentors, but the care and skill you gave me is unlike the terrifying experiences some of the serving girls Mother has in the palace have described to me about their husbands."
"Care is a luxury we can afford," he said, cuddling up close to his sister. "Next time, sister, we will find a quiet room where the priests cannot watch."
She sighed softly and held him. They waited for the priests to fetch them to morning duties.