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A New Dawn

A New Dawn

Isolated and alone, or is she?

Far from her homeland of Egypt, Nefe must adapt to Canaan and learn to live the rest of her life in Damaski.

Can she accept Panna as her sister? Can she befriend Paebel and learn Akkadian? Will Niwa accept her into the estate she had built in Paaten's absence?

Find out in A New Dawn, a story of love, trust, and healing—a bonus ending to King's Daughter

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Main Tropes and Themes

  • Sweet Romance
  • Healing
  • Family Disunion
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Friends-to-Lovers
  • Happy Ending

What is this story about?

Far from her homeland of Egypt, Nefe must adapt to Canaan and learn to live the rest of her life in Damaski.

Can she accept Panna as her sister? Can she befriend Paebel and learn Akkadian? Will Niwa accept her into the estate she had built in Paaten's absence?

Find out in A New Dawn, a story of love, trust, and healing. 

Who is this story for?

Perfect for fans of sweet romance, family strife, and Egyptophiles.

Anyone who loves Ancient Egyptian historical retellings, the bonus ending to the King's Daughter complement of The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles offers a sweet and satisfying ending for one of Nefertiti's daughters.

A New Dawn is a must-read for anyone who loves tales of love against the odds and healing families.

Grab this sweet historical romance today.

Content Disclaimers

The author rated this book for ages 13+ for closed-door romance and adult themes.

A New Dawn will contain spoilers for the Lost Pharaoh Chronicles' complement, King's Daughter.

Chapter 1 Preview

New Beginnings

The clear mountain river water rushed past her toes. Nefe gripped her long wool tunic and hiked it up over her ankles as she stepped further into the Abana River.  The chill refreshed her feet still aching from the amount of walking they had to do to get to this place called Damaski. The Nile’s black muddy waters flashed in her memory.

I never even left the royal harem most of my life, and now I am going to live in Damaski for the rest of it. 

The horizon drew her gaze as she waited for the sun to rise.  She remembered the stone floor of one of her father’s many Aten temples. Only her father and mother were allowed to worship the Aten, the sun-disc god, looking into his full face, so her back was to the East as she looked out into the pre-dawn sky. 

I miss you, Father and Mother. Father told me he would be one with the Aten when it was his time to leave this life. I can only assume both of you are one with the great sun-disc god. Show me how to live here, Father. Show me what you wanted for me, Mother. Especially now, without Ankhesenpaaten by my side. 

“Please hear me.” Her plea to her parents rested on her lips. “Please see me,” she whispered.

“I see you,” a voice said behind her. Its choppily spoken Egyptian made a corner of her mouth raise in recognition. 

Paebel. A different type of rush beat in her chest at the sound of his deep voice. I would not even be able to speak to him if I were still in the palace at Aketaten. 

Every morning since she had arrived in Damaski ten days, a decan prior, she had snuck out of the house early to watch the sunrise and worship the Aten. Paebel had probably waited for her to leave and see where she went before the rest of the household rose and ate for the day. There was not much secret-keeping on this estate except for one: her true identity. 

She peered over her shoulder at his large frame. 

“You are out of the home early.” Nefe turned her eyes back to the western horizon. She wanted him there with her to share in her Egyptian heritage and half of his, but part of her wanted to be alone. This was her worship time.

“So are you,” Paebel said. “Why are you standing in the river?”

Because my feet still ache. She chewed her lip in thought. But I do not want to say that. He will ask why. And I do not know what to tell him. Because I was a princess, a daughter of the King of Egypt, who never had to walk so far and in under such horrid conditions in all of my life to get to this place.

She made up an excuse. “I am warm from the hearth in your parents’ home and needed to cool down.” 

Nefe heard a small splash of water, and soon he had picked her up and moved her to the river shore. 

“I did not understand you.” He mumbled through the words he was not sure of, and repeated his question: “Why are you standing in the river?” 

She shifted on her feet as she glanced to the sun as the tip of the disc came over the horizon. I cannot worship anymore. 

“Why did you follow me?” she countered and crossed her arms. Her head tilted to the side. 

“Did you not want me to?” A teasing smile arose on his lips, but faded at the lack of one on hers. He rubbed his neck and muttered, “Mīnu zakāru?”

She pursed her lips and sighed. How can I live in Damaski? I do not even know the language very well. Her head shook at her thoughts. Not at all, really. Paebel speaks more Egyptian than I do Akkadian, and he seems to want to speak Egyptian more than I want to speak Akkadian too. 

Mīnu?She was not going to try to pronounce the other word he said.

“What to say?” His hand fell to his side as he took in a deep breath of the crisp morning air that surrounded them.

She shrugged her shoulders in response. “I do not know what to say.”

“No, no,” he laughed. “‘Mīnu zakāru’ means ‘what to say.’”

“Oh,” she said and lowered her eyes. I hate looking like such a fool in front of him. Perhaps I should learn from Paaten. Her lip curled in debate. Not Paaten. I have already taken too much of his time. Maybe Atinuk—he speaks both languages. He could teach me, and I would not feel such a fool in front of him. Her mind drifted back to the barge on their way from Aketaten, and she sighed. He would show me no leniency.

Two of Paebel’s fingers touched the bottom of her chin and lifted her face to his. His eyes, a perfect blend of green and brown, pulled her from her thoughts in the growing sunlight. 

He opened his mouth to speak and broken and hesitant Egyptian words came forth. “I followed you because every morning when I rise, you are not sleeping alongside my sister in her cot. I wanted to see where you were going.” He gestured toward her feet. “I see you come to bathe your feet, but why?”

“Not to bathe, but to . . . ” Her voice trailed off. Can I tell him about the Aten? Can I tell him about my father’s temples? I don’t even know. What did noble women do in Egypt? That was the story Paaten told everyone. I am the daughter of a military comrade of Paaten whose two wives died, my mother and Tadukhipa, and rather leave me as an orphan, Paaten and Atinuk decided my life would be better off in Canaan as they had promised my parents and Tadukhipa. She felt the need to scoff at the ridiculous story, but she refrained in the presence of the man standing before her. Everyone on the estate seemed to believe it, even Paebel. But it left her in a predicament. What could she tell? What could she say that would not contradict the story the master of the estate had told them all? 

Everyone in Egypt worshiped the Aten, I think. The ports of Per-Amun made it seem otherwise. 

“But to what?” Paebel asked taking a step into her space and lowering his hand.

Her breath caught in her throat as her heart beat in her ears. I hate when he does that. I am still becoming familiar with the idea of marriage, especially marriage to anyone other than Pharaoh. She stepped backward and noticed the small disappointed dip in his chin. “I came to see the sunrise. It reminds me of Egypt.”

“See the what?” His brow knit.

“The sunrise.”

He pushed his bottom lip out and shook his head. “I do not know what you say.”

She pointed to the sun-disc in the distance.

“Ah,” he drew a circle, “šamšu.” 

“Oh you are saying, ‘sun’; the sun is our Aten-disc.”

“Aten . . . as in Paaten, like my father’s name?” 

She nodded. “Yes, šamšu.”

Then she drew the circle and lifted its imagined circumference up in the air. “Sunrise; the Aten rise.”

Ah, that is šiḫit šamši in Akkadian,” he told her and lifted his hand as well.

Why does the Akkadian language have to be so backward? It is “the sun rises” not “rises the sun.” I will never learn this language.

She stopped in her thoughts, noticing his awkward lazy grin and his head full of soft curly hair that soaked up any light from the dawn. He did not have his headdress on, and his hair made his face even more attractive. Those curls highlighted his high cheeks and strong jaw. Her eyes grew wide at the passing thought. Hair? I find a man with hair attractive? What is happening to me? It is this place. Never in my life. Hair is repulsive. Yet, she could not turn her eyes away from his visage. A soft pink hue lightly flushed her cheeks, and she hoped she could blame the sun’s warmth for its cause. She pulled her gaze away and looked at the Aten gallantly owning the sky as it did every morning. 

My life will never be the same. I know this, and I must accept it, she thought before saying, “Well, I have seen the šiḫit šamši.” Nefe squared her shoulders to the two main houses in the distance at the back of the estate. “Shall we eat our first meal of the day?”

“Yes, and I shall be glad to finally eat it with you.” Paebel’s teasing tone returned, and she could imagine those full lips smirking at her. She pressed her lips into a thin line to keep from smiling as well.

“Yes, me too,” she said. “I mean, with you, I . . . ” She sighed, giving up, and began walking back toward the house. 

Paebel kept stride with her. His furtive glances made her repress some chuckles, but a few managed to escape. “You stare at me too long,” she muttered.

“You stare at me too long, too,” he said with a smile. 

Because not everyone looks like you, she thought with a grin and threw him another glance before stepping through the door of his home.  

“Nefe!” Panna rushed into Nefe’s waist and wrapped her arms around her. 

Nefe slowly rested a hand on Panna’s shoulder. A large smile and beaming well-rested eyes looked up at her. Panna had asked to be her sister when Nefe first arrived. It had been a question that had put finality to her life in Egypt. Ankhesenpaaten had turned back and abandoned me, and although I hope she is alive and I will see her again, she is probably murdered and entombed with Mother. 

Nefe smiled back but a twinge of sadness crept into her heart as she stared into the eight-year-old girl’s eyes.  Ankhesenpaaten, I miss you.

Panna rattled off in Akkadian, and Nefe could only understand the word “meal” and decided to fill in based on context. “You are sad that we missed the morning meal?” Nefe asked in a combination of Akkadian and Egyptian, glancing between Panna and Paebel. 

“Yes,” Paebel nodded. “See, you can understand pretty well already,” he nudged Nefe in the arm with his elbow.

Nefe lifted her chin. I have not the heart to tell him I guessed at what she said. It took Nefe a moment to realize Panna was still speaking to her, but this time she had no context.

“She is asking what we were doing so early,” Paebel said.

“We . . . šiḫit šamši.”

“Why?” Panna asked and Nefe knew that question, but how to answer it in Akkadian seemed an impossible task.

Paaten came to the door and eyed his son and then glanced at Nefe. “Lā ezēbu aḫiš daʾmu šanītu.”

“What did you say?” Nefe asked.

“You will have to learn Akkadian. I asked you—”

Nefe countered, a little insulted. “It has only been a decan since we arrived in Damaski—”

“Here, a decan is called a week, and it is seven days, not ten. We have been trying to teach you this tongue since we left Aketaten. You should learn quickly. Now,” he said and dipped his chin to her, probably in secret acknowledgment of her birthright, “Lā ezēbu aḫiš daʾmu šanītu.

“I do not know what that means.”

“Do not leave the estate alone in the dark again.” Paaten narrowed his eyes at her.

A feisty rebuttal came rushing to the tip of her tongue, but she bit down hard to wrangle it. He probably thinks I am being unsafe. He did give up his family for my safety; I suppose I can grant him this command until he thinks it is safe. She nodded. Even though, I will not be able to worship the Aten like I did with my father. 

“Good,” he said with a curt nod. 

I already gave up everything else; what is one more aspect of my life in Egypt that I can no longer do? I am in Damaski now; I should start acting like a Canaanite anyway.

Paaten glanced once more at Paebel while she thought and then left. 

“Why does Father act that way toward you?” Paebel whispered as Panna took them both by the hand to the nearby table and pushed them down to the cushions. 

“I do not know what you mean.” Nefe had understood what he asked even in his broken Egyptian, but she did not know how to respond. It is easier to pretend like I do not understand him.

Niwa emerged from her room with a freshly washed face. A smile rested on her lips until her gaze drifted at the small space between her son and Nefe. Panna was placing milk and bread on the table spread before Paebel and Nefe and chattering away in Akkadian. 

Nefe locked eyes with Niwa, but as soon as their gazes met, Niwa left the house as quickly as she appeared from her bedroom.

She does not like me. Why would she? Her husband gave up his life with her and his family to serve mine. 

Paebel poked her arm. “Why does Father act that way toward you?”

“I do not know what you say.” 

He gave her an incredulous stare and repeated his question more slowly. 

I will have to answer something. He knows those words are correct enough for me to understand them.

She bit her lip as if trying to understand what he asked before responding. “Something about a promise he made my mother, I mean, my father.” Nefe swallowed the lump in her throat for lying and averted her gaze to the bread sitting before her. She quickly took a bite. Why can I not tell Paebel who I really am? Surely, he can be trusted. He is the son of Paaten, after all. 

His stare pierced the side of her face; she grabbed her cup of milk to down her bite of bread. 

Maybe I will ask Aitye. She would know why this secret is kept from him.

“Panna is asking you to loom with her for the day.”

Nefe nodded, half-listening to Panna’s Akkadian chatter and Paebel’s translation, until she realized what he said. “Loom? I know how to weave, not loom.” She stared at him. 

“Well, Panna can teach you.” He gestured toward his sister before taking a bit of his bread too. “Maybe it will help your Akkadian too.”

“How can she teach me if I cannot understand her?” Every day since she had been able to get by not having to speak much Akkadian because she either helped Paebel with his chores or helped Aitye take care of the homes or cook. Rather, Aitye was teaching her how to cook.

“It is looming. You thread the . . . ” He pinched his thumb and forefinger together, and his lips pursed to the side as he tried to think of the word in Egyptian. “You just put the . . . through the loom.” 

“That was very helpful. Thank you.” Nefe’s eyes grew wide, and her eyebrows raised high on her forehead.

He chuckled. “I thought so.” 

He finished his bread and his milk in silence as did she. Panna sat watching them and waiting for an answer.

Please do not make me endure a full day of not knowing anything and looking like an incompetent fool to an eight-year-old girl. Nefe closed her eyes and felt the cushion beneath her move as Paebel scooted closer to her. His hand held over her shoulder before it hesitantly plopped down. 

“Look at me, please, Nefe.” His voice was soft and warm, so she obliged. “I know this is a new life for you; I know how scared you must be—”

“I am not scared.” Nefe straightened her back, but her chin quivered. I am terrified, she thought.

His head bobbed in agreement, and a polite smile arose on his lips. “We are all family on this estate. You are safe, and you are welcome here. Panna wants to be your friend and a sister to you.” His thumb rubbed her shoulder but then abruptly stopped. His polite smile became a sheepish grin as he slid his hand away from her shoulder. “We all want you here. Learn with Panna. She knows no Egyptian, but she will talk all the time.”

“I always see your mother looming with Panna. Is that not her trade?”

“My mother looms because she wants to; her goods are valuable in Damaski because they come from this estate and everyone knows my mother. But yes, she has loomed for a long time.”

What other choice do I have? I can either loom, clean the homes like Aitye, or pull weeds like the rest of the women on this estate. A heavy sigh escaped at the dreadful thought.

“Panna,” she turned to the girl and muttered in Akkadian, hoping it was right, “Teach me . . . ?”

Paebel’s beam in his eye was contagious as he leaned over and whispered in Nefe’s ear. “You even said it right.” 

Nefe chuckled and turned to face him. “You only say that . . .. ” Her voice trailed off as she realized how close his face was. A chuckle she had never heard passed her lips in a soft, giddy giggle. What sound did I just make? What is happening to me? Why is my heart racing? Quick, look away. She turned back to Panna and licked her lip to appease her suddenly dry mouth. Please leave Paebel. I cannot be this embarrassed in front of you. 

As if answering her silent plea, Paebel patted her back. “Well, then, I will leave you two women to loom.” 

Nefe’s breath fell out in a heavy release once the door closed behind him. She peered over her shoulder to make sure he was gone before turning to Panna and again saying, “Teach me?”

Panna squealed. “Yes!” She grabbed Nefe’s hand and half-pulled her to the loom. Panna sat on her stool next to the loom and then patted the top of her mother’s stool next to her. 

Nefe shifted her weight on her feet as she stared at Niwa’s stool, remembering that faded smile before the morning meal. But, she brushed it off and sat down. 

Paebel said everyone welcomes me, she reassured herself.

Panna spoke too fast for Nefe to really understand anything, but she was able to pick up a few words like “loom” and “thread.” Before long, Nefe could thread through one layer and pull the bar down and do it once again. This is tedious work. Nefe looked at the one line she made in a rug that would be bigger than Panna when finished. Panna said something about “slow.” 

Either she is saying this is slow work or that I am slow. Nefe’s shoulders sagged as she peered at Panna quickly weave the thread through and lower the bar in about a quarter of the time she had done hers. Definitely telling me how slow I am.

Niwa entered through the door and stopped mid-stride when she saw Nefe. Her bright green eyes became clouded, and no smile rested on her face. 

It seems she does not want me here. She even told Paaten something about Egyptian women and sleeping in caves when we arrived here. Nefe shifted on Niwa’s stool. Maybe she is protective of her loom. It was her trade . . . or still is her trade?

Niwa seemed to come out of a trance, and the cloudiness in her eyes disappeared. Her gaze scanned the loom, fell momentarily on Panna, and rested again on Nefe. 

“Greetings, Mother!” Panna called out. 

It was the first full phrase Nefe understood from the child. 

“Greetings, child. Nefe.” Niwa walked up to the loom and stood beside it.

“I know we loom in the mornings, but I wanted to teach Nefe,” Panna said and again did a quick weave through the fabric and lowered the bar. “See?”

Nefe was surprised she had understood that. Maybe if she sees me trying to speak her language, she will want me here. So she opened her mouth and tried to speak in Akkadian. “Panna is teaching me well.”

Niwa nodded but did not say another word.

Product Information

eBook File: 1 MB

Paperback Size: 5" x 8"

130 pages

Includes: Exclusive Cover and Interior Formatting

Printed on-demand by Lulu Direct

Book Details

Publisher: LLMBooks Publishing
Published: June 2021
ISBN-13: 979-8524538956
Genre: Historical Fiction

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