Ancient Egyptian tree
Pianki, Lord Harrab
Tanus’ father, one of the grandees of the Egyptian nobility. He is of dark complexion with eyes the colour of polished obsidian, a man with more physical strength than beauty, but with a generous and noble heart – some say too generous and trusting.
Tanus, Lord Harrab
A proud young army officer. Before his twentieth birthday, he has achieved the rank of Best of Ten Thousand. Son of Pianki, Lord Harrab, and the beautiful daughter of a freed Tehenu slave, Tanus inherited his father’s generous nature and his mother’s beauty. Tanus is a commander of a regiment of Pharaoh’s own elite guard and takes his orders only from Pharaoh. He enjoys the full protection of the double crown of Egypt. His god is Horus. Tall and fair, with red-gold hair, he has the common touch, which springs from his transparent honesty and forthright manner. Men trust him and follow him willingly wherever he leads them, even to death. Honest, noble, and trustworthy, lacking in guile, stealth and deceit. When he sets his mind on a course of action he is not easily dissuaded.
The beautiful daughter of the evil Lord Intef, she grows up to marry the Pharaoh and become Queen. Since childhood, she has only loved Tanus. As a child, she ran errands for him and performed chores around the hunting camp. There she picked up the lore and the wisdom of the outdoors, until she knew every fish and bird by its proper name, and could wield a harpoon or a hunting-bow with equal skill. She was a good and moral child, fully aware of the duties and obligations which law and custom placed up on her. Aware of her high gift and her place in society, she is in awe of her father’s authority and temper. She has large, dark-green slanting eyes, and wears a chain with a gold figurine of Hapi, goddess of the Nile, made by Taita. She is loved for her beauty, her gay spirit and her sweet disposition. She is an intelligent, diligent scholar, with a bright, thoughtful and enquiring mind and a ready sense of humour. At her marriage to the Pharaoh, her father gives his slave, Taita, as a gift. She begins married life dependent on Taita’s own modest savings. However, Taita ensures she has soon accumulated a comfortable fortune and a long list of favours owed by her new rich and powerful friends. She sings duets, composes riddles and writes stories with Taita, and this makes both of them popular and in demand at court.
The eighth of that name and line, and the weakest yet of a weak, vacillating dynasty. On his head he wears the tall double crown – the white crown of Upper Egypt with the head of the vulture goddess Nekhbet, combined with the red crown and cobra head of Buto, the goddess of the Delta. He lost the Delta almost ten years previously. Another pharaoh rules in Lower Egypt, his own version of the double crown. There are constant wars between them, dividing and tearing Egypt by internal strife. His palace is on Elephantine Island, 10 days travel from Thebes by swift river galley. Like his ancestors mamose devotes much of his life and treasure to the building of a vast tomb of granite and marble, while living in a palace with mud walls and thatched roofs. He is short, with hairless, almost feminine hands and small, neat feet. A weak, dithering old man who is obsessed with lack of male heir., his face is etched with lines of worry. Beneath his glum exterior he is a kind and decent man.
King Arkoun’s nearest neighbour and arch enemy, who claims to be King of Kings and ruler of the Ethiopic state of Aksum. Masara is his favourite daughter. he has a long white beard and silver hair down to his waist. As a young man he was the most handsome swain in Ethiopia and had 200 wives. Some women killed themselves for love of him.
The favourite daughter of Prester Beni-Jon, sold to Arkoun for a horse-load of silver bars.
Tall godlike son of Queen Lostris and her lover, Tanus, he is loved by his troopers, who follow him gladly wherever he leads them. All his council – except Lord Naja – advise him not to ride into battle, against the Hyksos but he sees it as his destiny to drive then out and reunite Egypt. Only then will he wear the double crown with justification and the approval of the ancient gods. Tamese lost fourteen children to the 'Plague of the Yellow Flowers'. Only two girls and Prince Nefer Memnon survive.
Prince Nefer Memnon
Son of Pharaoh Tamose, grandchild of Queen Lostris and her lover Tanus. 'Nefer' means pure and perfect in body and spirit. His divine name is Seti, one of the five names of power given him at birth, long before his accession to the throne is assured. He crawls at an age when others are only beginning to sit up. He walks when others begin to crawl, and grows up to become a great horseman and charioteer. Closer to Taita, his tutor, than his own parents or siblings, he is taught that battle and glory are the reasons for his existence on earth. Before he is married, the king has to be ordained in his sovereignty. To be ordained, he must have reached his majority, or become an adept of the 'Red Road'. On his succession to the throne of Egypt, he takes the royal name Pharoah Nefer Seti. His wife, Mintaka, remains at his side at his principal queen.
Taita the Warlock
Known as Al-Ker, 'elder brother' in the slave's quarters, he is Lord Intef’s wise, god-fearing and formidably gifted eunuch slave. His god is Horus and he is particularly obsequious to Seth. He stands in awe of his master’s authority and temper. Despite his emasculation, which happened after puberty, he has the feelings and desires of a complete man towards women. Despite his slave status, he is a man of substance: he practises as a doctor, has precedence even over some free-borns, and is in overall charge of the palace accounts. He writes and draws accounts of what he sees around him, loves birds and animals and has a small menagerie. He is supremely talented: he describes himself as a scribe, a sage and an artist, a physician, a musician scribe, an architect, bookkeeper, adviser, confidant, engineer and nursemaid. He also sings duets, makes up riddles and composes stories. He is an expert at the chess-like game of bao. He likes his food, and is a wonderful cook. One of his favourite dishes is roast wild goose with figs. In his later years he travels in search of greater lore and knowledge, a quest that leads ever deeper in to the mystical world of the adepts and their hidden arts, to emerge as a great wizard.
Third child of Queen Lostris and Tanus, believed by the people to have been sired by the ghost of the Pharaoh. The first word she ever says is Tata.
Second child of Queen Lostris and Tanus, but believed to have been be sired by the ghost of the Pharaoh. Taita is close to her. She refuses to sleep until he tells her a story.
Father of Lord Naja.
A mighty warrior and Pharaoh Tamose’s army commander, he is known as the Great Lion of Egypt. He is an Osiris man, son of Timlet and a Hyksosian. He is almost as tall and handsome as the Pharaoh Tamose. Ambitious, haughty and proud, he is a clever man, sharp and perceptive, cunning and devious with a voluptuous and sensual nature.
Eldest of Nefer’s two sisters. She has inherited in full measure her grandmother Queen Lostris’ celebrated beauty. Her limbs are smooth and shapely. She has milky skin, a mischievous smile, huge dark green eyes and a sweet singing voice.
Sweet and gracious, the younger of Nefer’s two sisters. When still several years from womanhood, she has long coltish legs and flat bare chest. She wears her long black hair in a side-lock that hangs over her left shoulder until puberty, when it is bobbed to her shoulders.
Grandson of Kratas, friend and companion of Nefer. Runs the Red Road with Nefer. Accompanies Taita on his quest.
Magara, Saak and Misha
Magara and Saak serve Princesses Heseret and Merykara. Misha is a statuesque Nubian maid with an imperious carriage and a legendary pair of buttocks and serves Princess Merykara.
Lostris’ father. The wealthiest man in the Upper Kingdom after Pharaoh himself, and growing richer every year. His titles granted to him by the king include Guardian of the Royal Tombs, the Support of Egypt, Pharaoh’s Companion, Nomarch of Karnak and Lord of the Necropolis. He is governor of all 22 nomes of Upper Egypt. He has eight wives, brought by substantial dowry or influential political connections, but only three children – Lostris, and two sons, Menset and Sobek. His palace is at Karnak. He is outrageously handsome, with long limbs and a flat, hard belly, and a leonine head. Crafty and devious, he is able to conceal his feelings for those around him. He has the patience of a crocodile, waiting years for the right opportunity to strike at his enemy. He prefers young boys to women and hasn’t visited the harem for fifteen years. Always harsh with those who fail him, he’s at his most dangerous when his tone is mild and his smile silky. He loathes Tanus and his family.
Leader of the Hyksos Shepherd Kings, a new warlike tribe from an unknown land to the east of Syria. Saltis is Asian, with amber skin and a hooked, aquiline nose. His beard is black and thick, cut square across his breastplate and plaited with coloured ribbons. His tribe is of Semitic blood and was originally a nomadic and pastoral people who had lived in the Zagros mountains near Lake Van. They are unable to read or write and their government is a harsh tyranny ruled by Saltis. Their success comes from their development of a form of warfare never seen before – horses and chariots. They can cross vast distances swiftly and no army could stand against them. Saltis two sons are the mighty men of the Hyksos legions, Princes Beon and Apachan.
Sobek and Menset
Lostris’ two brothers. The younger follows where his brother leads. King Apepi Son of Saltis, the Hyksos king. A tall man, he towers above all those around him. He wears the vulture crown on his head. He has dark eyes, a beard shot with silver and thick lips under a great beaked nose. Known to Taita as the bloody barbarian, mortal enemy of his country and his pharaoh.
Son of Saltis, Who commands the Hyksos infantry when the court returns to Egypt.
Son of Saltis. Who commands the Hyksos chariots when the court returns to Egypt. He is so tall he towers above his chariot driver. He wears the high golden helmet of Hyksos royalty and his dark beard is plaited with coloured ribbons. A superb swordsman.
Trok’s adored youngest son who Taita cures of fever.
Daughter of Hyksos King Apepi, born under the sign of the Cat. A striking looking girl with a determined, intelligent face. In the Hyksos way her face is broad her cheekbones prominent, her mouth large, her lips are full and her nose is strongly bridged, but each feature is finely balanced and matched to all the others and her neck is long and graceful. Her almond- (she is not Troh's daughter- Troh wants to marry her!) shaped eyes are truly magnificent under arched black brows. Her expression is alert and bright. Spirited and tough, she has the heart of a warrior and a queen. She has adopted the gentle goddess Hathor as her patron, rather than one the monstrous Hyksos deities. She is thirteen when she first sees Pharaoh Nefer Seti, nearly a year younger than him. She wears a blue lapis-lazuli ring on her index finger, engraved with her cartouche and knows the officers on Naja’s staff, who were once on her own father’s staff. She has a formidable memory, trained and sharpened over the bao board.
Thana, Soleth and Tinia
Thana is one of Mintaka’s slaves. She has a cast in one eye and a large nose, but is loyal, loving and true. Soleth is a one-time eunuch guard of Mintaka’s quarters. Tinia is Mintaka’s favourite slave.Tweet