Chapter Seven

Rose changed into a fresh linen skirt for the banquet. She also had to wear a gold collar that fastened at the back of her neck and draped down the front to just above her breasts. Two Isis were etched into the collar, her arms outstretched with feathers on them, making her arms into wings. One wing formed the back of the collar while the other wing touched the tip of the opposite Isis on the front. There were inlaid stones that colored Isis's dress, hair and wings. Rose thought it was beautiful but it was pure gold and it was extremely heavy. She also was required to put on a black wig that weighed a ton and made her sweat. Then she had to put a solid gold band around the wig to hold it in place and last but not least, she had to put a small rounded cone of perfumed fat on top of the wig that was tied on and secured by a small piece of twine that went under her chin.

Rose frowned at the cone when Tawaret brought it to her and told her where it went.

"Why?" she said to her.

"Because this will keep you cool and perfumed. The fat will melt and drip down on your skin throughout the evening."

"Are you joking? I'm going to have fat dripping down from my head while I play?" Rose said in disbelief.

"All the women must wear one," Tawaret said.

Rose groaned as she took the tiny lump of fat from her. She was thankful the Doctor wouldn't be at the banquet while Tawaret helped her put the fat on top of her head and tied it under her chin before she did the same with her own cone of fat.


By the time, she entered the massive banquet hall, the fat was already melting and driving her crazy as thin rivulets of smelly perfumed fat dripped through the wig onto her skin. And since the other musicians were wearing one, the smell was so intense Rose felt like puking.

The banquet room was more of a relaxed setting than the throne room. It had a dais with thrones and a long wooden table that held the food but the majority of the room was covered with plump pillows where people could recline and eat off gold plates and drink from gold goblets. The musicians sat near the thrones along with several servants who were going to be dancers. Slaves would do the serving and refilling of the food and clean up afterwards. Rose's stomach was growling, she hoped that the servants were allowed to eat a little something, at least after everyone else had finished. The other musicians were preparing and tuning up their instruments but since she only had her tambourine with her, she was the first to take her place.

She assumed it was dignitaries that were attending but to Rose's surprise, it was the laborers that had worked on the palace. Hatshepsut was throwing them a banquet as a way to thank them for their services. And lo and behold, the Doctor had been invited. And…the first thing he did when he entered the room was look for her. He found her immediately since she told him she was going to be with the musicians and Rose waved at him, hoping he wouldn't make a comment about the dripping fat going down her half naked body. He sauntered over to her while the other laborers came into the room. He had cleaned himself up and was wearing a fresh linen kilt, white skullcap and a narrow gold collar around his neck. Rose thought he looked handsome that way, especially since the eye makeup made him look very Egyptian. At the moment she was still by herself so she was glad she could have a moment alone with the Doctor.

"Greetings, I got to attend after all," the Doctor said when he came up to her. "It was in honor of everyone who worked on the…"

Then Rose sighed when the Doctor froze and stopped midsentence, got a whiff of the perfume and made a face before quickly backing away.

"Bloody hell, that reeks!" he said, holding his nose. "Phew. What did they do to you, Rose? You smell like you bathed in a barrel of perfume. Ugh!"

"It's this stupid cone of fat, it's dripping all over me," Rose said, pointing to it. "And believe me, it's worse when all the women are sitting together."

"Okay, activating my respiratory bypass for the remainder of the night," the Doctor said. "Although…"

He ventured over and got a quick whiff of the perfume before shutting his breathing down.

"Smells like frankincense," he said to her. "I think. It's so strong, I can't be sure because it's overwhelming me. Oh, you poor lamb, having to smell that rubbish perfume all night long."

"And have it drip down me," Rose said, pointing to the rivulets of fat going down her breasts.

She then realized perhaps that was the wrong thing to do since the Doctor was now staring intently at her breasts for a moment before he remembered himself and jerked his head upwards again.

"So, where is Tawaret?" the Doctor said.

"She plays the harp so she's tuning it up and getting it ready. All I do is beat this thing," she said, holding up her tambourine, "so there's not much for me to do except smell."

The Doctor chuckled.

"Well, the laborers are presenting Her Majesty with a carved statue of herself as a gift. I had nothing to do with it but since I'm one of them now I have to do the presentation with everyone else. They're getting it ready so I came in to say hello and tell you I was here. Supposedly, we're having a sumptuous banquet tonight."

"Yes, wish I was a part of it. I'm hungry," Rose said.

"Well, I'll try to sneak you something while I'm dancing with the dancing girls."

"Gee thanks. I get to eat and watch you gyrate with the tarts," Rose said dryly.

"Well, I could throw a roast duck at your head and yell, "Here ya go, Rose! Bon appetite!" if you prefer.

"No, I prefer the sneaky way," Rose said while the Doctor chuckled.

"Damn, I would have loved to see you duck the duck," the Doctor said.

"Whatever," Rose said, rolling her eyes while he giggled.

"You look beautiful," the Doctor said. "A little greasy and smelly but beautiful all the same."

"Thanks, you look handsome," Rose said, her heart filling with love for him at the compliment.

The Doctor looked over when Meritamun entered the room.

"They're getting the statue ready, my friend," he said to him.

"Okay, be there in a minute. Here's Athena," he said, gesturing to Rose.

Meritamun's face lit up when he saw her.

"Ah, I wonder what became of you. Are you well?" he said to her.

"Yes but I don't like being greasy and smelly," Rose said.

"I know. I never understood that either to be honest," Meritamun said. "It's something the royal court does. My sympathies, young Athena, it smells horrible to be honest. Not you, that…stuff that's dripping down you."

"Tell me about it," Rose said, wishing she had the Doctor's bypass system.

They looked over when the other musicians began to file into the room, holding their instruments.

"We better go get ready," Meritamun said to the Doctor.

The Doctor nodded.

"Good luck. I'll keep my eye on you," he said to Rose.

Rose nodded and the Doctor squeezed her hand before he followed Meritamun out of the room.

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