• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07


Write, Utu. You still train to be scribe, but write, however imperfectly you can, even as you draw my likeness with trembling hands. Write for a time beyond tomorrow, for tomorrow I will be gone.

It is vain of me to think, on the eve of my sacrifice, of all that will persist after my end, of all that will remain after my departure.

I am arrogant for a slave girl. It is a just decree, then, that I shall be gone sooner than the rest. They must teach a lesson to those who oppose, those who question.

I am young yet, but my mind had often wandered afar, thought upon great matters, lingered at the shores of belief and possibility, of all we are taught since birth, and forced to believe, or lose our life. Their words place a curtain upon our thoughts, and most do not stir the gossamer to peer beyond. The veil is sheer, but they take it as absolute. A muslin flap they mistake for a concrete slab.

As we have often whispered when we met in the moonlight by the Euphrates (o sweet Euphrates!), our murmurs never louder than the music of the river, we both have stirred the veil, and looked beyond. Perhaps, after that seeing, after that knowing, there is no path of return to these chambers of the blind.

I will die with my head held high. I will die with the painted symbol of this other pair of eyes that can look into other horizons, just above the place where you kissed me. Your gifts that I held in secret, today, on my last day, I wear them with pride, the amulet and the brooch in gold. Today, I have nothing to fear, for tomorrow, I will be gone.



I dare to hope that just as I looked past a veil of the mind, somewhere and some place beyond tomorrow, someone will find both this my likeness that you masterfully draw, and this your imperfect scroll, if the language of my eyes does not say it all. Like you and me, perhaps, that someone will be able to look past the veil in their mind, in their time.

They will see and read the story of a slave girl who was too haughty for her clan. These walls upon walls of our etchings, which speak only of men, of the glory of war and chariots, on these walls, my story will never have a place. Perhaps, in the time beyond tomorrow, it will find a home.

Then they will know of your Ningal, Great Lady to you, slave to the rest.