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By Lauren Haney

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After a long silence, he heard the whisper of sandals approaching across the sand. The architect bent over, stared. “May the gods be blessed. ” What a strange thing to say, Bak thought. ” “We’ve toiled together here at Djeser Djeseru for over five years. ” Amonked sighed. “I can’t say I liked the man, but to die like that . . ” Bak eyed the half circle of men standing well back from the mouth of the tomb. From the size of the crowd, he guessed every man at Djeser Djeseru had abandoned his task to come and see for himself what had happened.

It was less than two paces wide, the air close and hot. He held the flame near the floor, looking at the footprints in the thin layer of fine sand that covered the stone. Two sets of prints coming and going, one shod, the other bare, those of Pashed and Bata, he felt sure. If any other prints had been left, they had unwittingly destroyed them. At times, he glimpsed short straight indentations near the walls. At first they puzzled him but then he realized they were the remains of tracks left by the wooden runners of a sledge.

Well over a hundred men and boys whistling, laughing, calling out to each other, or talking among themselves. None afraid of malign spirits, at least in the light of day. A nearly naked man, a workman if the dust and sweat covering his body told true, raced up the rubble ramp down which materials were moved from the terrace to the men building the southern retaining wall. He sped through the clutter of stones, drawing every eye, silencing the laughter and talk. Clearly agitated, he stopped among the columns below.

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