This is my first ever FanFiction, so I hope you all enjoy!
Here we meet our main protagonist, Cleopatra but don't worry! Doctor Strange will appear in Ch 2 and onwards.
Please review and leave a comment!
Chapter 1: The Eye of Horus
12 Years in the Past
The wind ripped through the ancient halls, amplifying the eerie howl that so often accompanies it. The torches casted the hall in a dim light that contrasted beautifully with the night sky outside. All residence of the House of Life were in their proper place; either in bed, tending the flames or standing guard. All except one player was not in their proper spot this night. She was not in her bed along with the other scribes, neither was she in the library studying for their practical the next day. She was hiding in the shadows, sneaking from the dormitory to the underground vaults of the House, where ancient items and relics were being guarded. As quiet as a mouse, the girl crept down the stone stairs, pausing so often to hear if footsteps were coming or going her way.
The underground level seemed almost unforgiving and dark as it was much colder than the floors above. Nevertheless, the girl brushed off the goose bumps forming on her golden skin and continued her silent mission to the vaults. The torches illuminated the ornate and detailed walls of the House, depicting the duties of the Priests' and Priestesses' in vibrant paints and gold. The girl paused on her quest and looked at the wall, admiring the craftsmanship that had survived dynasties. The particular mural she paused at depicted a Priestess, beautiful and strong, holding back the forces of evil while wearing the relic of a pharaoh, the nemes.*
'One day, I'm going to be as strong as you', the young girl promised in her head to the Priestess, dark eyes filling with awe.
'I look forward to that day', the Priestess responded back, whilst turning her head to face the girl.
The young girl smiled and continued to maneuver and hide behind smooth stone columns, the sound of voices drawing closer until she reached her destination. Concealing herself behind a column, making sure her body hid within the shadows, she peaked her head from behind the stone column to see the scene. Several torches brightly lit the corridor presenting a large stone door covered in hieroglyphics, being safeguarded by 3 guards, all equipped with spears and amulets. Their uniform consisted of nothing more than a white skirt and an identical bald head with protection spells tattooed upon them. Their faces were set into hard lines, as if waiting for havoc to come, ready for a fight. Standing before them was another figure, heavily covered in dark scarlet robes and a hood that concealed their body and face from view. Under their right arm was a medium sized box, plain and worn, much unlike the House of Life it stood in. Even being a distance away, the young girl could feel the mystic powers flowing off the individual, it made her dizzy. Clearly, this person was one with great power.
"No interruptions during the journey, I presume?" asked one of the guards to the mysterious figure, face still not at ease.
"It was very smooth, I even had time to visit my favourite tea shop before stopping by." Responded the hooded figure in a delighted feminine voice.
'I know that accent, I think it's British. But what would a Brit be doing here? Maybe she was the deliverer the Council was waiting for.' Thought the young girl, trying to get a glance at the visitor's face.
Hearing more footsteps approaching from behind her and she attempted to conceal herself more in the shadows as additional figures arrived in front of the large stone door, the crowd continued to grow. They hurriedly walked past the column, not noticing the girl crouching on the floor, and began to talk in hushed voices among themselves. The girl recognized the individuals as she resumed her spot behind the column, some members of the Council of Elders were present. Grimacing at the thought of being caught by one of them, knowing well that she'd be punished for months if she was discovered. But she had to come, she had to see the relic for herself that had put the entire House of Life in high alert for the past month for this very night. She had to see why everyone was so high-strung about this particular relic and not all the other ones the excavation team found on the daily from ancient ruins. She knew that curiosity killed the cat, but she thought herself more as a lioness.
"- are you sure that you were not being followed?"
"How can we be sure that this is not a fake?"
"Perhaps if we tested the relic now, just to be sure that it works…"
The questions and the rising uneasiness of the situation made it all the more tense. The apprehension and nervousness made it more suspenseful, were they going to open the box now? Surely, the relic was not that important that it would make even the Council of Elders nervous, was it?
Come on come on, open the stupid box so I can go back to bed, the little girl thought to herself. Open it already.
Lost in her own thoughts, the young girl did not hear the footsteps coming from behind her this time and yelled when her upper arm was grabbed in a tight vice-like grip.
"Spying on things that don't concern you," snarled a guard tightening his grip on her little arm, "maybe, you've got someone on the outside who you're working for, eh?" His hooked nose an inch away from her face.
"No, no! I would never betray the House," yelled the girl as all heads turned towards the pair. "I was just curious, that's all. I swear it!" The Elders muttering and ticking their tongues in disapproval of the little girl.
The guard dragged her towards the stone door in front of the crowd, tossing her to the floor. She scrambled to her feet but she felt the wind cut in front of her face by the four spears that were now pointing at her. She glanced up at the faces surrounding her, all shaking their head in displeasure at the naughtiness of the little girl. She glanced at her Elders, whom she knew dislike having her in their classes but surely they would speak up on her behalf.
"Intruding on the secrecy and affairs of the House of Life and the Council of Elders is a great wrongdoing, little one," said one of the Elders, a women with a flat face framed by her long white hair braided to the side, "such a wrongdoing must be punished, so it will not be repeated."
"No, please! I didn't see anything," yelled the little girl, hot tears streaming down her face. She looked around at the indifferent faces and her eyes fell upon the face of the hooded stranger. Her green eyes seemed to twinkle, "Surely, the child did not mean any harm. Curiosity is not a sin, rather, it is a gift." Said the foreigner, looking at the rest of the group.
They scowled at her and the same Elder spoke again with a growl in her voice, "With all due respect, Ancient One, you are in our jurisdiction and this child is under our authority. Disciplining her is our duty, surely you would not want us dictating the affairs of Kamar-Taj, would you?"
The Elders smirked at the rebuttal given, the Elder women snapped her finger and the same hooked nose guard grabbed the wrist of the little girl. The girl began to fight back, yelling and punching the guard, trying to free her wrist as the guard placed his spear tip to the girl's pinky finger, ready to dismember it.
Immediately, the corridor's temperature fell and all the torch lights flickered.
"No, I do not think that the Ancient One would appreciate it if you dictated the affairs of her school, Magnesia. Just as I do not appreciate you, or the Council of Elders, dictating the affairs of my House." commanded a strong voice at the end of the darken hall.
All heads turned to see who the new participant in the evening was going to be. As the figure approached, some of the guards gasped and threw themselves on the floor bowing. The guard released the little girl's wrist and fell like the rest. The little girl collapsed to the floor as well, but not to bow, rather to gawk at her hand and thought that she was mere seconds away from never being able to make another pinky promise with her right hand again.
"Ah, High Priestess, we were not sure you would make it to this evening's delivery," spoke Magnesia with resentment in her voice, "we assure you everything is being handled as we speak."
"If everything is being handled, Magnesia, than pray tell, why there is a child crying on the floor." demanded the High Priestess.
"She was spying on the affairs of the House of Life, we do not know if she could be trusted!" exclaimed another member of the Council.
"Yes, by slicing off her finger, that would teach her to trust us, or rather, resent us? Like I say, time and time again, your old practices are growing impractical by the minute, Council. It is just as the Ancient One said," the High Priestess bent down in her flowing white dress to the young girl, tipping her chin up, "curiosity is not a sin, rather, it is a gift." She finished in a soft voice, giving the child a kind look.
The girl glanced at the woman before her, she was already familiar with the sight. The young girl thought the Priestess in the mural was beautiful but she was nothing compared to the High Priestess. She seemed to step off the walls of an ancient mural of a queen, with long straight hair and darkly coloured eyes that one could drown in. Even at that moment of tension, the male elders and guards were mesmerized by her stunning features and aura. She was taller than most women the girl had seen in the House and donned a leaner frame. If the young girl had to describe her, she was kind but merciless at the same time.
The High Priestess' eyes were darting back and forth making sure the young girl was alright. "You may excuse yourself from the embarrassment you have caused the House of Life tonight, no less in the presence of the Ancient One." The High Priestess' curt voice cut through the air.
The Council of Elders hesitated for a moment, as if hoping someone would say something back to defend their honour. "Now." Commended the High Priestess, and with that the Elders vanished quickly down the hall, not daring to mutter a word.
"That includes you." Snarled the High Priestess to the guards, all of whom still remained in the bowing position. They quickly scrambled to their feet and rushed out of the corridor as well.
Once the sound of footsteps disappeared, the High Priestess spoke as she helped the child up, "I must apologize, old friend, they continue questioning my position and authority on a daily now."
"I know the feeling all too well Hatshepsut, my own students are starting to fall to the leeway." Spoke the Ancient One in a quiet voice.
The High Priestess sighed and wiped the tears of the young girl, who was stunned and didn't dare move.
"Really now, you must stop crying Cleopatra, life has far scarier things that it will hurtle at you."
Cleo looked up at the High Priestess, "I am so sorry, I did not mean any harm, High Priestess, I simply just wanted to see the relic." Apologized Cleo in a small voice.
The High Priestess let out a small smile, "All you had to do was ask Cleo," she turned facing the Ancient One, "if you would not mind, the relic please."
"I hope you know I brought it here for safe keeping, after having it in Kamar-Taj's vaults for so long, not for it to be a show and tell item." Replied the Ancient One with a stern look on her pale face. "Yes, I am aware, and I will do well on my part." answered the High Priestess in a calm voice.
Cleo looked between the two sorcerers, if these two ever duked it out, I wouldn't know who to put my money on, thought Cleo as the tension slowly died as the Ancient One handed the worn box over to the High Priestess.
"I believe my job here is done, High Priestess Hatshepsut, I wish you good luck." Said the Ancient One as she began to draw a circle with her right hand while holding her left hand out, opening a portal to what seemed like a library, stepping through without waiting for a response.
The High Priestess continued looking at where the portal had been conjured and where it disappeared into sparks of gold. She continued looking for a minute until she returned her attention to the box in her hand. She seemed to be in a trance because her dark eyes glassed over, solely focused on the contents of the box. As quickly as she entered the trance she snapped out of it and waved her hand at the large stone door, opening it. She began to walk inside and looked over her shoulders at Cleo, smirking and winking "Always, put your money on me." Cleo smiled and followed her into the vault.
The room was large, dusty and bare except for a podium in the center of the room, the torches did little to make it seem welcoming. The High Priestess placed the wooden box on the podium and began to undo the lock and opened the lid, glancing in. Cleo was too short to see the contents of the box so she coughed a little cough, the High Priestess smiled and held the relic in her hand, showing Cleo. The relic was the size of the High Priestess' palm and was covered in gold, the center circle being black. It was shaped like the Eye of Horus, the ancient symbol of protection, good health and royal power. Cleo was captivated by the beauty of the relic, the craftsmanship showing through.
"Now, I have rewarded your curiosity Cleo, so reward mine," said the High Priestess in a low voice, "why did you go through all this trouble just to see the Eye of Horus?"
"Well… um… I heard that the relic the House would be receiving tonight is very important and powerful… and um I kind of wanted… not that I would… but would if I had the chance… er… use the Eye to find out where my father is." Cleo stammered through her reasoning for embarking on her night quest.
"Your father…" repeated the High Priestess, almost at loss of what to say to the young girl.
"Yes. My father, High Priestess" said Cleo with confidence growing in her voice.
"Cleopatra, I thought we have been through this before," the High Priestess said with weariness finally showing, "he is not to be sought and will do you no good if you find him."
"But, High Priestess, please, I need to know! I need to have someone to talk to when you are not there. I am so alone in this House, nobody wants me here. They view me as an outcast. I know that the relic that is to be delivered tonight would assist a person with locating whomever they desired!" Cleo exclaimed as tears once again began to pool in her dark eyes.
"I want you here, Cleo. You will always have me" responded the High Priestess with her dark eyes suddenly bearing a warmth to them.
"I know, but you are always busy and I can't just run up to you whenever I need you," Cleopatra spoke in a defeated voice.
"I will try to be better. But you need to understand that it is hard to be the High Priestess of the House of Life, doing my duties, dealing with the Council who are always trying to foil me, collect and examine relics and trying to be a mother in secret." The High Priestess said with a sigh as she looked into her daughter's eyes, searching to find understanding in them.
The High Priestess knew Cleo was a bright young girl as she found understanding in her daughter's eyes. "I understand, Mama, and I am sorry for causing you all this trouble." Mumbled Cleo as she looked at the floor.
Smiling at her daughter's timidity, the High Priestess held out her hand for Cleo to take hold of. "Come on, I know you have a practical test tomorrow and Senhu would scream if you came late to his class again, but let us go watch the stars tonight." She said.
Cleo looked up at her Mother and smiled toothily, her eyes twinkling at the thought of the stars. A wonder she always enjoyed viewing out from her dorm's windows at the night sky, appreciating the craftsmanship of whoever dotted the night sky with the little specks of light.
"Only if we can eat dates as well!" exclaimed Cleo as she took her Mother's hand. High Priestess Hatshepsut laughed at Cleo's request, "Very well, as long as you don't start a pit war again."
High Priestess Hatshepsut placed the relic back within the box and locked it, walking to the door with her beloved daughter, hand-in-hand. They turned back to the dusty and gray vault, the High Priestess releasing Cleo's hand and began to place a protection spell on the vault. Cleo watched her Mother at work, Yes, I should always bet on you.
Golden sparks of hieroglyphics began to appear at the doorway of the vault, Cleo's Mother allowed a smile to grace her lips as she continued the incantation. The heavy stone door shut on the relic.
*Nemes is the Pharaoh's headdress.