When they came upon the settlement, it was only ashes. Dead men lay where they had fallen, and those few homes that remained were empty. The Nomarch of Ament had taken the surviving inhabitants of Khaset, presumably as slaves or trophies of war.

“This is inexcusable,” said Zau. “We must write to the Pharaoh at once, to inform him of this barbarity.”

“Why bother?” said Apis. “The pharaoh is a useless old fool. He married the great-aunt of Ament to his second son.”

“That is not a license to murder,” Zau replied.

“It is when the pharaoh sits about playing with his favorites and doing nothing to restrain the nomarchs,” Apis said. “He is too busy dallying with his favorites like Sasenet to challenge someone upon whom his power rests.”

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