Chapter Five

Thutmose walked with Rose as they went around to the front of the palace. There was a long causeway at the entrance with guards on both sides standing at attention. Each guard held a huge shield and spear and they stared out impassively at Thutmose and Rose and didn't acknowledge either one of them. The entrance was huge, nearly twenty feet high and made of wood that was painted gold. On either side of the door were stylized lotus blossoms and red and blue designs. The palace was made of limestone and it shone brilliantly in the sun. The causeway had palm trees lining either side of it which provided a bit of shade and relief to the guards. Rose felt for them. It wasn't even midmorning and already the heat was beginning to be oppressive. The sun shone down on her hair and made her feel hotter than she already was. She could see why the Egyptians shaved all their hair off.

There were two guards standing at the doors and Thutmose announced himself and his reason for visiting. One guard nodded and went inside while the other watched them. Again, Rose noticed the guard staring intently at her blonde hair but he also noticed he was glancing down at her breasts from time to time.

It took twenty minutes for the guard to return and tell them that Hatshepsut would see them now. The palace was massive. The windows were high up as in Nefer's home but there were more of them now along with lighted torches on long poles set into gold bases. The interior was also limestone and shone in the sunlight. The lotus design was also here but there were numerous paintings of Hatshepsut and the gods along with hieroglyphic writing. Most of the furniture was either wood with gold trim or pure gold. Rose was just dazzled by it. She'd only seen recreations of things like this in books and now here she was, in the flesh, walking through a Pharaoh's palace in Ancient Egypt. It left her speechless and not for the first time, grateful that the Doctor chose her to travel with him.

After fifteen minutes, they reached the throne room. The doors were twenty feet high and pointed with gold but they had etchings on them. On one side was Amun and on the other was Hatshepsut. Each time Rose saw a depiction of Hatshepsut, she was dressed as a man complete with false beard but some of the depictions showed her breasts while she was dressed as a man.

The doors were opened and Rose stepped inside with Thutmose. Without the Doctor to guide her on what to do, Rose felt a little uneasy and hoped that she wouldn't do something to offend anyone. Inside the massive throne room were potted palm trees along with the paintings and designs on the walls. At the back was a dais with two thrones on it. Sitting on one was Hatshepsut, dressed as a man. On the other was an actual man, a teenager who was dressed as she was, in kilt and cloth headdress, but without the false beard. Hatshepsut held the crook and flail in her hands, the symbol of her power. All around them were courtiers and children. The courtiers were dressed in fine linen with skullcaps while the children were naked and wore youth locks. Up near the dais was one man who looked a bit fat. He looked like he was in his thirties with a slightly lined face. He wore no skullcap and had a leopard skin draped over his shoulders. Thutmose nodded to Rose and they slowly approached the thrones. Rose watched Thutmose and when they stopped five feet from the throne and Thutmose dropped to his knees and touched the floor with his forehead, Rose did the same. She glanced at Thutmose but he didn't get up again and they stayed that way until Hatshepsut commanded them to stand.

"Your Majesties," Thutmose said. "I have brought a woman who wishes to become a servant in the palace and serve you."

Both Hatshepsut and the teenager turned their attention to Rose. Rose noticed the teen seemed a bit sullen but Hatshepsut smiled warmly while she studied her.

"Where are you from and what is your name?" Hatshepsut said to her.

"My name is Ro…Athena and I'm from Athens, Greece, Your Majesty," Rose said.

"Ah. Sadly, that land is not yet under my domain but it is nice to see someone from so far away who wishes to serve my majesty," Hatshepsut said. "Have you had any experience being a servant?"

Rose wryly thought of all the times she had to rush around getting things for the Doctor but somehow she didn't think that counted as being a servant.

"No, Your Majesty, but I'm a quick learner," she said, thinking how hard could it be.

"Very well, I have need of an attendant," Hatshepsut said. "One of mine recently died of old age. You may take her place."

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

"But you must shave your hair," Hatshepsut said to Rose's dismay. "You must dress as we do and you must take a Khemet name. I have trouble pronouncing Athena and I don't want to waste time struggling with your name while I am giving you a command. Is this reasonable?"

Rose figured she could always wear a wig until her hair grew back. She didn't think her mother would be thrilled to see her shaved head but she felt it was a fair trade if she could be the servant of an Egyptian Pharaoh. She told Hatshepsut she would comply and she smiled and nodded.

"Very well…" she said. "From here on, you shall be called…"

Rose waited while Hatshepsut thought that over for a moment. While she did, Rose considered asking for Isis but then wondered if that would be considered blasphemy.

"I shall call you Apet," Hatshepsut finally said with a nod. "Thutmose, please take her to see Senet, she will instruct her on her duties."

"Yes, Your Majesty," Thutmose said, bowing.

"Welcome, Apet, to our household. Serve us well," Hatshepsut said to Rose.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," Rose said, relieved she hadn't managed to cock it up and end up tortured or killed.

Thutmose nodded to her and both of them headed out of the throne room.


Senet turned out to be a middle aged woman who apparently did not suffer fools. She took one look at Rose and sent for some servants to shave her head. When Rose tried to protest, Senet gave her a look that could kill a crocodile and Rose shut up. While her head was being shaved, she wondered if the Doctor was undergoing the same thing.

After getting her head shaved completely, she was dressed in a simple linen skirt that went up to her waist and a small gold colored belt that had strings of lapis lazuli going down the front of it. Rose was embarrassed and a bit chilled by being topless. She prayed the Doctor wouldn't see her like this because she could imagine him dying laughing at the sight of her.

After that, Senet followed her like a second shadow, watching her like a hawk and berating her if she didn't clean something properly or did something wrong. By the end of the day, Rose felt like slugging her. She was relieved when Thutmose came and got her and asked her to come with him. She was sore from cleaning and tired and she wondered if Thutmose came to get her so she could go back to Nefer's house. But to her horror, Thutmose took her to the Doctor who was waiting for her in an antechamber. She blushed when the Doctor's eyes bulged for a moment before a grin spread over his face and he shook with silent laughter. To her disgust, the Doctor still had a full head of hair and wasn't naked with his penis hanging out.

"So, they shear you did they, little sheep?" the Doctor said when Thutmose left the room to give them some privacy.

"I'm gonna kill ya," Rose growled at him.

"For what? I didn't know they'd do this to ya," the Doctor said.

"Oh yeah, right," Rose said. "You're enjoying this, aren't ya?"

"A bit, yeah," the Doctor said before patting her shoulder. "If it makes you feel any better, Meritamun is shaving my head tonight."

"Good. I get to sit there and laugh at ya while he's doing it."

"Um, no you won't. You're staying here," the Doctor said.


"You're part of the queen's retinue now, you can't leave. I'm just a laborer. Laborers go home at night."

"But what if I make a mistake?" Rose said desperately.

"Oh, I'm sure someone will correct ya."

"Yeah. Her name is Senet," Rose said. "Speaking of, I have an Egyptian name now."

"Really? What is it?" the Doctor said.


She noticed the Doctor's amusement at that.

"Um…did you choose that for yourself?" he asked.

"No, Hatshepsut chose it for me. Why?"

"Because Apet is a hippo goddess. Maybe Hatshepsut was trying to hint at something," he said.

"Shut up," Rose said when the Doctor giggled hysterically.

"Actually, she is one of the goddesses of childbirth and supposedly she gave birth to Osiris. So…Hi, Mum!" the Doctor said.

"Like I said, shut up," Rose said.

She tried to give him an angry look when he ran his hand across the top of her shaved head but she giggled when he leaned over and kissed it.

"So, Chrome Dome, you get to serve the queen while I stand outside and sweat and paint pretty pictures," he said to her. "I'd say that's a fair trade off for a shaved head and baring your breasts…oh, and being named after a hippo goddess," he added.

"Yes, I thought that as well," Rose said.

"Well, don't worry then. Your hair and mine will grow back and most people around here are naked and semi naked so you'll get used to it. Of course, I won't let you forget Apet and what it means but I'll save that for later," he said to her. "And you'll do just fine. I trust you and you're more than capable of handling the situation. If you didn't, I wouldn't let you travel with me."

"Just be careful and take care of Nut. Don't let them beat her," Rose said.

The Doctor smiled at that and nodded. He glanced at the doorway and saw Thutmose peeking in.

"Better go now but I'll see you around," the Doctor said. "I might not get to see you every day but I'll check in on you from time to time. And don't worry, this won't last forever. Probably a few days and we'll tell them we'd rather not do it anymore and move on. Sound okay?"

"A few days is all I think I could manage. Cleaning this place is hell," Rose said.

"Try painting it," the Doctor said.

He kissed Rose's forehead and wished her luck. Rose rolled her eyes when he ran his hand over her bald head one more time before giving her hand a squeeze. Rose watched with a sigh as the Doctor left her and walked out of the room.

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