Behind the Scenes: Exploring Some of the Backstory to Escape from Ancient Egypt
Today’s post is going go into the backstory that led to some of the explosive events that took place in the second book of the Neiko Adventure Saga Escape from Ancient Egypt as well as a teaser to some of the events in Book #3 Black Hand Vacation that is one of the subplots. Some of this backstory.
An Encounter 11 Years in the Making
There are hints dropped along the way in the story that something had been going on during the eleven years prior to Neiko’s arrival to Egypt between Ramesses and her friend Sito. Neiko had inklings that something was afoot, but she never quite was able to explore it since Sito was sworn to secrecy because Ramesses was going to tell her himself “at the right time” which was after Neiko settled in and after they spent some quality time as husband and wife. When she does find out it is going to put a lot of things in perspective and will surprise her. That didn’t work out because Neiko’s friends came back and took her away (as he saw it). This isn’t going to go unfinished or unpunished.
This will answer some of the questions of: “Why did he cross the line in some cases with Neiko in regards to excessive force?” “Was it really obsession or love?”
You see, Sito had been sent back in time eleven years prior to the events in Escape from Ancient Egypt as well as his twin brother and his two friends. Sito was the only one who met Ramesses first–so being eleven years prior in Egypt when Ramesses was 23 in the events of the story–he was 12 years old when he and Sito first met, and Sito was just his age when Seti took him in as a servant. As time went on Seti liked to hear about the story about where Sito came from–he didn’t tell him when he came from. Sito had more scruples than that. Ramesses–always being at this father’s side–was there to hear the stories. At first he could care less, at least until be began hearing about Neiko the Chosen One. Then he found out she was a girl. At about age 13, he was hooked. Then he began to fantasize about her and imagined them together like teenage boys do with a romantic interest (since they didn’t have TV back then and very few books). In his mind’s eye they had so much in common including being child warriors. What would it be like for a future pharaoh to have a warrior for a wife? Was she beautiful and strong? That wasn’t something that was very common. Are Indian girls pretty? Do they wear paint too? How would this warpaint look on Neiko? These are just a few thoughts out of many that went though the mind of a 13 year old Ramesses. There were few similarities and many differences between their cultures for sure, and not all Indian tribes and nations were the same in language and customs. Ramesses had no clue whatsoever that there were time period differences in culture to take into consideration that were 3 millennia apart!
As time went on Sito stopped talking about her when Ramesses was in the room in order to contain his curiosity and his infatuations, but he would eavesdrop. Then he would ask Sito questions and demand the answers. Sito would refuse to answer him and went as far as saying things like: “While I’m around, you’ll never have her”, “She wouldn’t like you; you’re not her type; she’ll reject you”, “You’re not fit for Neiko, even the chiefs would refuse you as a suitor for her” “My brother and my friends will make sure you never have her”, “You don’t deserve her”. Sito definitely was going to make sure Ramesses never knew what Neiko looked like, because he knew this would be trouble. Of course Ramesses had his own thoughts about that: “Who are you to judge me?”, “How do you know she wouldn’t choose me?”, “I will just have to make sure you and your friends aren’t around to interfere, then shouldn’t I?”
The contention between the two only escalates from there. Sito’s actions to try to deter Ramesses only increases his resolve as well as his desire. What usually happens when someone wants something badly enough and then another says they can’t have it? These two really begin to dish it out and some of their fights warrant the involvement of Ramesses’ father Seti where he must step in. Ramesses gets in trouble with his father for bullying a servant. Then Ramesses sees that as Sito is now interfering with his close relationship with his father. That only drives their rivalry to the tipping point. With passion and wounded pride in the mix on both sides, it’s a dangerous combination.
Sito’s efforts in keeping Neiko’s appearance concealed were but in vain. Sito carried photographs in his pocket of all of his friends including Neiko. One day when Sito was looking at his photos of his friends, especially of his childhood love Phoenix, Ramesses and some friends of his storm into his room and take his wallet, but initally they were going to rough him up or something. Ramesses goes through each one by one after remarking about how lifelike these small paintings are (photographs/photography were not around back then) and unwittingly his first introduction to the things of the future from where Sito and Neiko are from. Since there were no words for “photograph” Sito called it a “painting” or a “pictograph”. Ramesses bullies Sito about his childhood love being “so common–like you” which turns the knife in Sito for some payback. Neiko’s photo is the last in which he asks, “Who is this beauty? Is she Neiko?” Sito is so mad about the taunts about Phoenix and from the bullies playing keep-away with his wallet he slips up and says, “You don’t deserve to look at Neiko–” Too mad, too late, Sito let the cat out of the bag and Ramesses got what he was looking for. Then Ramesses decides to take the photo despite Sito’s objections. Just before Ramesses could take it away and beat Sito to a pulp for good measure, Seti comes in and forces his son to give back the “pictograph” and withdraw his challenge to fight him in a fist fight (which Sito would lose). Reluctantly, Ramesses agrees to not disappoint his father or risk further punishment, but this is far from over.
Later on the photograph goes missing, and of course Sito accuses Ramesses of stealing it and reports it to Seti. After the servants search his room and come up with nothing, Sito has no choice but to withdraw the accusation. Sito JUST KNOWS Ramesses has it, but he has to find it on him so he can report it to Seti, so Sito snoops in Ramesses’ private stuff but doesn’t find it (he has no idea where Ramesses could have stashed it), but instead Ramesses catches Sito in his private things. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t beat you for this and THEN tell my father?” Sito tries to make Ramesses come clean and give it back, but he never does and never admits that he has it. At that time Ramesses starts sporting that large scarab amulet that appears in the story. The photo never turns up again… Or does it?
As both Ramesses and Sito grow up in contention with each other in adolescence and into manhood, Ramesses’ passions for Neiko only grow and mature with him and season with time. When Nefertari comes on the scene, Sito hopes that the natural course of history would cause Ramesses to forget his passion for Neiko whom he had never met in person for someone whom he was destined to love. No chance. Ramesses is now planning how to incorporate Nefertari into the picture should he finally be able to find her. Should he find Hawote, Sito has already stated that diplomacy with the Indians was no hope–not that he would try. They refuse, then it’s war. He would have a reason to start one then.
Ramesses was going to fix Sito once and for all once he became pharaoh, but then Seti made Ramesses promise that he wouldn’t mistreat or expel Sito out of spite due to their turbulent past. Only if he should find just cause could he turn him out. Well, Ramesses was going to find one, even if he had to create a trap for him to fall into.
The Turn of Events of Escape from Ancient Egypt from Ramesses’ POV
The story is told from Neiko’s perspective so she has no idea all of this has been going on and the firestorm she was walking into. Francesco didn’t have any idea that all of this has transpired either when he executed his plan of revenge against her. Of course, Neiko’s other friends had no idea of the hornet’s nest their rebuffs and action would conjure up.
Most of the events after the battle on the street were self explanatory. Ramesses didn’t become “obsessed” with her after five seconds after they met on the street (Neiko knows nothing about the previous history, but she is wondering why it seems like he knows her). The driving motivator of him tearing Thebes apart after she ran off and the ultimatums to her friends and Senu were built around “this could finally be Neiko after all this time”. If she were, he wasn’t going to let her slip away so easily. This also explains why Ramesses was so ticked off with her friends at Senu’s party because they were hiding her from him when he finds out that her true name was Neiko and he had already had some suspicions. The photograph was the picture of a child. He was now looking at a young woman. Not only was he transported back to the past with Sito, they lied to his face and made a fool out of him. Wound a type A’s ego in public and then what happens? Yeah. Not to mention one of his own friends got caught up in it and that betrayal was a slap in the face too.
Fast forward to when the Indians were brought in, well…rather Neiko’s friends crashed in with Francesco. Ramesses was going to make certain this was the person he had been longing for before committing to his pursuit because he already knew ahead of time (ten years head start) that she was probably going to fiercely reject him and he wasn’t dealing with an ordinary woman. He knew that the relationship would have a tough start, but he got more than he bargained for. He is a very proud, Type-A, go-getter, with a very fierce competitive spirit, so he wasn’t going to be the loser in this race. He was prepared to fight dirty if Sito and his brother and friends interfered. Boy, did they ever. Sito knew that Neiko was outmatched and vastly unprepared for what she was up against, and he knew Ramesses was very well prepared for her. She wasn’t going to last long. She and all her friends knew she didn’t need to be romantically caught up with anyone from the past, especially someone as historically significant as Ramesses the Great. From Ramesses’ point of view, they had complete disregard for his feelings, but then again he was acting selfishly and not caring for theirs either. Furthermore, Ramesses tried a bit of hospitality for Neiko’s friends in hopes that it would ease Neiko a bit so he could win ground with her, but that backfired. Instead, her friends were all up in his business and in his face and basically right back into what he had to deal with when he was 13, but there were four troublemakers with the same agenda instead of one. He wasn’t going to have it. He was going to fight dirty and use excessive force because he was now ticked off.
When warriors dish it out, there are a whole lot more fire and sparks flying since they have a bit less self control in strong emotions. Normal people are like fireworks; warriors are like pyroclastic clouds from volcanoes. Neiko is not an ordinary woman; Ramesses is not an ordinary man. So in issuing excessive force he crossed the line with control so he could have a chance to use his powerful charm on her, but Neiko used her friends as a barricade to hide from him.
The issue of excessive force angered Nefertari quite a bit. She knew very little about what happened years ago and why Ramesses resorted to such questionable behavior. When she had an argument with him, Ramesses’ anger was further increased because she was getting involved, was on Sito’s side, and Neiko’s friends were causing trouble between he and Nefertari and standing in his way to winning Neiko which took him back when Sito’s actions caused issues with his father.
On the issue of excessive force it’s quite common when someone of military background to go here on a hot-button issue, and he has military roots that come from generations before. As we can see this is a very hot button issue. Nefertari has a more diplomatic viewpoint as most civilians do as opposed to excessive force. It’s about like the conversation in Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith between Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker about diplomacy (Padme) and “aggressive negotiations” (Anakin). Nefertari argues more diplomatic approaches and patience, and Ramesses is simply going to lay down the law and “aggressively negotiate”. Think about how someone from the military might handle a civilian scuffle like a mugger or some guy trespassing on his turf or becoming a police officer–it’s just instinct. Think about how military personnel are viewed to handle a civilian negotiations. Even when Ramesses misbehaves in this department, he is beaten out by others as well: like Ramses the Dark Pharaoh and Osiris Ten Scars and others.
Then we have Francesco in the other corner. Even though romance and passion are disgusting to him, he knows that it is a very powerful motivator that he could use for his on maniacal use: like sealing fates. He had in the palm of his hand the perfect storm to seal the fates of all the Indians. He hadn’t planned it this way, but boy it was ripe for the picking. If he had his way about it, Neiko’s four friends would end up dead, and Neiko actually had a life of luxury ahead, but it wasn’t a total loss since she would be out of HIS hair and now Ramesses’ problem. So, with that Francesco began pushing Ramesses’ hot buttons of his insecurities and jealousy when Ramesses found out about about Monchiska whom he viewed as a threat. After interacting with Ramesses and as a confidant and offering “advice”, Francesco found out what buttons to push and when. Francesco was fanning the flames for his own enjoyment and succeeded at pushing Ramesses over the edge and off the tipping point when he revealed to Ramesses WHEN they came from and later it is revealed that his hot passion for Neiko would be forgotten and everything “would be just the way it was/should be”. That didn’t sit well with Ramesses at all. He wasn’t going to let that happen. Losing now wasn’t an option.
So after Neiko’s friends were banished, and Neiko was devastated and grief-stricken, everything was able to calm down. After Ramesses realized what he had done (this isn’t revealed till book #3), he knew that he had crossed a line or two or three out of his intense anger and with danger and threats averted. Over the six month period before Neiko’s friends come back and they leave the past, Ramesses apologizes for the hastiness of his actions of vengeance and rage and he would “spend the rest of her life making it up to her”. During this period, he is finally able to proceed with the relationship like he dreamt of since he was 13 with walks on the beach, waterfalls, boat rides, and other things. He is then able to be patient and proceed the right way into a life-long committed relationship. After being completely husband and wife for awhile, he was going to tell her the truth about everything beforehand and it mean something, but that didn’t happen.
Sito and the others were back and Neiko escaped. Everything he worked and hoped for was in jeopardy as well as her very memory. She can’t return to the future. His heart just couldn’t bear the thought. It was time to end it once in for all. With home in her sights, chances were good she would spurn his good will and disregard what they had together. Then the threat of Monchiska taking her from him will be true. He was going to solve it with an army and a war.
The the rest is history. No pun intended.
It’s Not Over Yet
Who says that hell hath no fury like one scorned only pertains to women? Egyptian pharaohs bring curses. Before Neiko left in the portal, Ramesses left her a threat–no–a promise that he would be back and he would find her and death would not keep them apart. He would be back to recapture what they had and Monchiska better stay out of his way or if he is caught trespassing on his turf when he comes back to life, he’s a dead man. He has been warned.
When Neiko “just” gets back, Ramesses is already haunting her (Ramesses doesn’t hesitate to remind her that it’s been 3000+ years for him and his wait) and he doesn’t forget to her chagrin.
The last six months produces a budding relationship between Neiko and Ramesses that she only admits to Tito not long after Sito broke the truth to all the others but Neiko. She tries to be in denial to herself since he is dead in her time and it’s time to bury it with him. She definitely isn’t going to tell Monchiska about it since he already has insecurities about Ramesses (budding rivalry, and Neiko finds out why this keeps happening). Except he won’t stay buried–almost literally. The previous eleven years still stay a secret for now, something else is added to the table that will be revealed later, and now three thousand years has been added to his longing, surging passion. Some may call it obsession, but there are others we will meet in the series that will make Ramesses at his very worst look tame and benign (including the Dark Pharaoh from Book #1), and one of them being another Egyptian pharaoh who is far more dangerous and Ramesses has a rivalry with this person that goes WAY beyond what took place between him and Sito. They missed each other in life by only sixty years, but their animosity toward each other will stand in time. Other pharaohs don’t like this person either and stand against him in a loose partnership for his own ends. Ramesses’ deepest rival will make his debut in book #3 as well. Ramesses has other rivals as well, but none of them are anywhere near what these two kings will dish out.
Should I tell you?
Readers, I bring to you Akhenaten. You think Ramesses is a monster at his worst or think him proud? You haven’t seen “obsession” or “monster” yet. You haven’t seen “control” yet. Being the most hated pharaoh out of all of history by his peers from all three kingdoms and what Ramesses and his family did to try and erase his memory brings to the table in the rivalry some unique angles. Will Ramesses’ true undying passion be able protect Neiko from Akhenaten’s extreme, deadly obsession?
Only time will tell.
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.