The little, smooth bone needle winked and flashed in the brightness of Ra's great Eye as it pierced the soft, white square of silk held in her ancient hands. Though she trembled with the shivers of age, the needle's aim was forever true; darting in and out like one of those silvery fish that so often flopped out of the water of the ever-running Nile. Though the task at hand was, by all means, a simple one, the emotion and dedication the old woman put into her work made it all the sweeter and more meaningful. This was no mere craft; this was a way of life- her last act of living.
Setting her needle and thread down, she rubbed her wrinkled hands together, arthritic fingers stiff from working with such delicate instruments and materials. Though the day was hot- Ra's Eye directly above in a cloudless sky, staring down with all the intensity only a god could muster- she was cool in the comfort of a palm-tree's shade, and a drink of water was greatly welcome to her parched lips and throat. Licking her lips once, her tiny tongue catching the last drops of moisture, she brought her fingers to her face and gently pressed them to the greatly-wrinkled skin around her eyes, massaging them tenderly. Her sight had long-since degenerated, leaving her near-blind and certainly struggling to see anything more than a few feet in front of her, but her deep, boundless knowledge of her craft had kept her producing her wares even long after the Eye's intensity had robbed her of vision. She had been a mistress of her art for so long, now, that all she needed was the feel of her needle between her fingers and the softness of material in her free hand to find her way.
But no longer.
This would be the last time her jittering fingers would ever rub against the slippery silk of her work. The last time she wove thread into shape. The last time she pressed dye into the material and stained it into pattern forever. For she was, indeed, ancient- even by the standards of her long-lived people. She had kept to the Old Gods' laws, and had been thusly rewarded with a long and eventful life. She had married, she had birthed, she had seen life and death in equal measures, and had seen more than the youngsters- running and playing and laughing like their time was endless- could ever dare to dream of seeing. But eventually Anubis grew tired of waiting, and longed for a new soul to join his company. She knew, as she had known for so many years, that today was the day. She supposed that the knowledge of the day of her death had been given to her to counteract the wonders of an elongated life, but in truth- it was a blessing. Knowing the day when it would all come to an end had given her the drive and the reason to accomplish everything she could have possibly wanted.
She had worked, loved, lost, given, taken, lived. Lived much better and much more fully due to knowing when it would all be taken away from her.
And now she was making her final mark upon the world.
With a gentle sigh that was neither contented nor despairing, she drew the little wooden rectangle that lay at her side closer, lifting it with shaking arms and placing it on her lap. It was almost too much for her, almost too heavy, too much effort- but she took in a long, calming breath and found the energy she required.
"Not yet, not yet," she muttered. "Too soon, too soon- let me have this one, last thing."
With new strength imbued in her fast-dying muscles, she lay out the small piece of fabric on the wood before her, and placed a pot of red dye beside it. Any time someone enquired as to how she got the dye such a deep red, she replied with a smirk and a twinkle in her milky eyes that the red was extracted from the hearts of mummified virgins, which gave her the purest colour any could hope to obtain. She had told this tale for so long, now, that even she believed it to be true.
Reaching out to her side,…