Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Funerary Belly Plate Scene

Playing in the background: "Tougher in Alaska" on the History Channel
Meters swum today: None. See below re: overslept.
Kilometers swum in July, Swim for Distance Month: 7.7 of 40.2

Good news, everybody. Despite my failure to find a malleable female with an available belly for sugar cube counting, I've finished the scene with the Egyptian funerary belly plate that caused such chaos and disruption earlier. Here's the relevant snippet from Spellbinder.

 He picks up the briefcase, which is small but oddly heavy for its size. It’s a good thing he hasn’t ordered breakfast because there’s barely room on the table to perch the thing on the edge. He expects it to be locked but it opens on the first try. Inside, the case is lined with black velvet, a drape over the center portion. He pulls back the drape and raises his eyebrows. A square plate of what looks to be solid gold, about the size of a hardback book and covered with Egyptian hieroglyphs, glints in the dim light. “I didn’t think you collected Egyptian stuff.”

“I don’t. I’m Greek, Minoan and a little Chinese. But I, ah, happened onto this one piece, you might say.”

“You might say,” he agrees, tapping the plate with an experimental finger. Definitely gold, and a high purity from the softness. “What is it?”

“It’s the funerary plaque from the tomb of Princess Ankhneferaten,” she says. “Amarna dynasty. She was King Tut’s great-aunt.”

Don Cristobal lets out an appreciative whistle. “Looks like she had a few bucks. What’s it for?”

“They stuck it over the incision, on the stomach, where they took out the guts. When they were making the mummies.”

He pulls his hand back. “I hope it’s been cleaned since then.”

She smiles, though it’s not a friendly smile. “It’s three thousand years old. I imagine it’s been cleaned a few times.”

He looks back into the briefcase. The eye of Horus winks up at him. “I guess you could melt it down,” he says. “Sell it for the gold.”

Iliana does a pretty good job of suppressing a shudder at the idea of somebody melting down a piece of Egyptian art. “I wouldn’t. It’s pretty rare. There’s only six in the world.”

“Yeah? Why’s that? Curses? Ancient magic?”

“No, because it’s made of gold. And it’s small. And portable. Tomb robbers couldn't resist them.”

Don Cristobal grunts. “Well, it’s awful nice of you, ma’am,” he says in a bad John Wayne, “but I don’t reckon I know what I’d do with–”

“You’d take it to Morocco,” Iliana says, tossing a business card on the table. “And you’d call that guy.”

“Fariq Al-Saud, Dealer in Antiquities,” he reads. “Ten Charles de Gaulle Way, Marrakesh.” He looks up. “Why him?”

“Because that’s who I stole it from,” she says, shaking her head at his denseness. “And he’ll be very happy to see it again. I’m sure he’ll make you an acceptable offer.”

“Well, it’s nice,” he admits, “but I’m kind of not in the market for an Egyptian funerary belly plate at the moment, so–”

“I’m not selling it,” she retorts. “I’m giving it to you.”

He frowns. "What are you doing that for?”

“I asked you to leave the kid alone,” Iliana says, and smiles sweetly. “This is just my way of saying pretty please.”

Thanks, again, Tammy, for making me sound like I know what I'm talking about -- always a challenge in this business.

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