Chapter Four

When it was time for bed, Nut brought up reed sleeping mats onto the roof so they could sleep out under the stars. Rose noticed that the Doctor slipped Nut a couple of jelly babies and Nut put them quickly in her mouth as she walked away. The Doctor and Rose put their mats near each other while Nefer's family did the same on the other side of the roof. Nut brought up a small mat for herself and laid it near the hole. Rose lay on her back, staring up at the stars. Without pollution or lights, the stars were vibrant and numerous and Rose thought they were beautiful.

"Up there is Nut, the goddess our little friend is named for," the Doctor said softly to her while she looked up. She arches over the land and the stars on are on her underside. Each night Ra, the sun god, rides through her insides in his solar barge and in the morning she gives birth to him. Geb is the god of the land we walk on and the god of air and Nut's father, Shu, normally stands between them and hold Nut up so she can't mate with Geb. But each evening, they come together and this causes the darkness.

He snickered when Rose made a face at that.

"Think of it, Rose, at this moment the gods are having sex and we're right in the middle of it," the Doctor said.

"Uh-huh," Rose said while the Doctor giggled. "Isn't Isis and Osiris brother and sister as well?"


"They're keen on incest in this country, aren't they?" she said while the Doctor sniggered.

"Well…here and now, yes. In your time, I think Egypt frowns on it," the Doctor said with a twinkle in his eyes.

He cleared his throat and intoned while Rose listened…

"Nut was married to the King of the Gods, Ra, but she was in love with Geb. When Ra found out, he was angry and said that Nut could not give birth to any children during the 360 days of the year. Nut was unhappy and asked the god of wisdom, Thoth, to help. At this time, the moon was as bright as the sun. Thoth got some light from the moon, so now the moon gets bigger and smaller each month. With this light, Thoth made five new days, so now the year is 365 days long. Nut gave birth to five children, on these five days. When Osiris, the oldest, was born, a loud voice said "The lord of all the earth is born. Which is me so you see what a distinguished lineage I have."

"Oh, shut up," Rose said while the Doctor giggled.

"You know much about the gods of Khemet, my friend," Meritamun said, raising his head to look at him.

"I studied the history of this land," the Doctor said to him. "Khemet is one of my favorite places."

"I am glad," Meritamun said with a smile.

"Khemet?" Rose whispered to the Doctor.

"Their name for Egypt. It means The Black Land because of the silt the Nile leaves behind after it floods. The name for the desert part is Deshret, which is where the word desert comes from. Deshret means The Red Land."

"Your knowledge will come in handy," Meritamun said to the Doctor. "Most of the subject matter for the tombs and monuments are of the gods and most of it is uniform, there are very few deviations. And there are specific colors that you must use and most of them have symbolism behind them. If you have knowledge of this, you can find a job easily."

"I do have knowledge of that," the Doctor said to him.

"Good. I will take you to the foreman tomorrow. You will probably have to show off some of your skills. He'll probably ask you to paint part of the tomb wall we're currently working on to show him you can do it."

The Doctor nodded.

"I'd be happy to show off my skill," he said.

"What about me?" Rose said.

"The foreman could take you to the palace and ask the vizier if you could be of use," Meritamun said. "Of course as a servant, you would be naked from the waist up."

The Doctor bit his lip to hold back his laughter when Rose widened her eyes in horror.

"Are you serious?" she said.

"I don't know what they do in Greece but here, servants must wear only a skirt to show their status."

"Slaves go completely naked, Rose," the Doctor said.

"Yes," Nefer said. "Servants are allowed to wear some clothing but slaves must go about completely naked, again to show their status."

Rose glanced back at Nut who was completely naked and felt anger all over again. She looked at the Doctor who had a bemused look on his face and she felt like slapping him. She was sure he knew about going topless when he suggested she be a servant and he was sure he was getting a private giggle out of it. She wanted to ask if she could be a painter as well but she had a feeling women weren't allowed to do it. Not for the first time, she felt the restrictions that being a female put on her and she hated it. She turned on her side and closed her eyes, trying to get some sleep. After five minutes, she opened her eyes and noticed the Doctor was now on his side, facing her while he watched her. She knew he rarely slept and he had to have something to do till the morning but she wondered what went through his head while he watched her sleep. Did he fantasize about her or did he think of loftier things?

"I could tell you more about Ancient Egypt while you try to go to sleep," he murmured to her.

"Oh…like bedtime stories?" Rose teased in a soft voice.

The Doctor shrugged. Rose closed her eyes and listened while the Doctor spoke about the myth of Isis, Osiris and Seth. Listening to his soft voice recount the myth, she felt herself slipping away into Dreamland.


"Wake up, Athena!"

Rose frowned when the next thing she heard was the Doctor's voice in her ear. She opened her eyes and saw him kneeling over her.

"Wake up, time to get up and be Egyptian," he said to her.

"Don't you mean…Khemetian?" Rose said.

"Exactly. Time to be Khemetian and get up. Our friend is going to help us with our makeup," he said, nodding at Nut who was standing nearby with a small clay pot and a horsehair brush.

Rose sat up and groaned at the slight ache she had from sleeping on the hard roof. She brought her knees up and watched while Nut walked to the Doctor and knelt beside him. The Doctor slipped her another jelly baby and Nut giggled softly as she slipped it into her mouth. The Doctor bent his head down and Rose watched while the Nubian girl painted his eyes in the Egyptian style.

"What is that for, just for looks?" Rose asked him while she carefully painted around his eye.

"That and it reduces the glare from the sun," the Doctor said. "You're very good at this, aren't you?" he said to Nut.

When she was finished, he rewarded her with two more jelly babies and chuckled when she eagerly ate them.

"I'm getting you addicted to those, my little friend," he said, patting her head.

Nut turned her attention to Rose. Rose leaned in and held still while she applied the kohl makeup to her eyes. While Nut was doing that, Rose glanced at the Doctor who was kneeling behind Nut and watching. She thought the Doctor looked odd with the makeup on but in a way she thought it also accentuated his eyes and made him look sexy. When Nut was finished with Rose, the Doctor gave her two more jelly babies and laughed when Nut grinned and ate them while hurrying away with her pot and brush.


When everyone was made up and ready, Meritamun kissed Senemut and Nefer goodbye and Rose and the Doctor followed him out of the house. They walked through narrow streets towards the palace. On the way, kids played and slaves hurried to and fro, doing their business. Rose noticed that both kids and slaves were naked but the children had the youth locks while the slaves did not. There were a few adults out, also doing their business, and some stopped to say hello to Meritamun or to stare at the strange newcomers with him. Rose was painfully aware that most of the stares were directed at her blonde hair. The Doctor, as usual, seemed unconcerned with it all and even said hello to some of the gawkers.

The palace was bigger than everything else and it was in the center of the city. The walls were painted with stylized paintings of the gods and Hatshepsut. Rose could see some scaffolding and some painters working on some of these huge figures. Meritamun pointed to the scaffolding.

"That is our work area," he said to them. "We're working on Her Majesty giving tribute to her father, Amun. That is what you'll be working on as well if you're accepted."

"Brilliant," the Doctor said.

"Meanwhile, I'll be running around topless being a dogsbody," Rose muttered under her breath.

She poked the Doctor in the back when he sniggered at that.

Meritamun led them to the worksite and pointed out the foreman. He was wearing a white skullcap with a heavy linen kilt and Rose noticed he had a bit of a bulging belly and was a bit fatter than the other workers.

"That is Thutmose," Meritamun said as they walked towards him.

Thutmose was giving instructions to workers and pointing out what he wanted done while another man with a shaved head and kilt walked beside him, writing down things on a piece of papyrus. He noticed Meritamun and smiled but he quickly frowned when he noticed the Doctor and especially Rose.

"Women are not allowed on site," he said sternly to Meritamun.

"I know, sir, but this is Athena and Apollon. Apollon wants to apply for a temporary position as painter and I wondered if you could take Athena to the vizier afterwards so she could ask if they have need of servants in the palace."

Thutmose looked her over, grunted and nodded. He looked at the Doctor and gave a disapproving look to his hair.

"I suggest you shave your head, barbarian, for hygienic purposes. Actually, both of you should do that."

The Doctor stole a quick glance at Rose and bit his lip again at the horror on her face.

"For now, though, show me what you can do," he said to the Doctor. "I want you to paint Amun's leg here," he said, walking ten feet to the right to a stylized half finished leg and foot.

The Doctor followed and accepted a pot of paint and a brush from one of the workers. Rose drew near with Meritamun and they and Thutmose watched while the Doctor expertly painted part of the leg of the god with red ochre paint. Rose glanced at Thutmose and could tell he was impressed by the Doctor's skill. After two minutes, he told the Doctor to stop and told him he had a job. The Doctor beamed and thanked him. Then Thutmose turned his attention to Rose.

"And you, you will follow me. I'll take you to see the vizier," he said to her.

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