SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Chapter One
"The Final Sentence"
The gods of all Egypt, past, present, and future had gathered to meet in the dark voided space of a realm suspended between the mortal and immortal worlds, where nothing existed, but their ethereal forms.
The air was still, as the deities seemed to hover within the ongoing darkness encompassing this world, and silence filled the empty void, except for the slow beat of a mortal's heart.
No time existed while in this place, nor life, nor death. It was a place where all things came to be and all things would always be. It was eternal, the realm of the gods and Imhotep, High Priest of Osiris, at least in life, was surrounded by the entire collection of deities from the Old Kingdom.
They stared at him, their eyes judging and searching his soul, wondering what was to be made of this fallen man.
Imhotep did not look up to them, his eyes only stayed fixated upon the black void, which somehow allowed managed to act, as a flooring, keeping him from the oblivion, which existed below. Strangely, he could feel nothing beneath his feet; in fact, he couldn't feel anything, except the broken heart, which somehow still continued to beat within his chest…
The gods did not move, but they had reached their decision for this one, and Osiris, ruler of the underworld, god of reincarnation and the dead, finally spoke.
His voice was deep and booming in the blackness, echoing to Imhotep's ears and forcing his head to come up and meet with his gaze of its own accord. The mortal held no fear in his eyes, only a look of death, shooting straight to the core of his shattered soul.
"Imhotep…Come before me," spoke Osiris, lifting himself to his full height and waiting for the mortal to obey his words.
Imhotep stepped forth, having to draw the will power to do so. He prayed that this was some sort of judgment, but yet fate had not yet been so forgiving to him. His entire existence was now a Hell in itself, far worse than it had been before.
Osiris smiled slightly, picking up on the man's thoughts. Bitterness had truly filled this one.
"Thine's drive for thy one thou loves, hast proven most undying. Even now dost thy thoughts dwell upon she…" he started slowly.
"Tell me, was thou love truly worth so much to thee, for thy to risk thine life, so foolishly time and time again? For thy to doom thine own life, as a mortal man, along with thine's soul if only to have thy love returned to thee? And to bring disgrace upon thineself and Egypt for crimes thou hast committed?" he questioned.
Imhotep remained silent and Osiris could feel the man's pain increasing at these words, but yet he continued.
"Thou killed a living god upon the earth, Pharaoh Seti I. Thou stole the Book of the Dead away from its holy resting place after I had entrusted thee with the secret location as a blessing and honor for thy commitment," he said, his voice still booming, but yet staying even, absent of any anger, or emotion whatsoever.
"Thou touched thy woman belonging to thine Pharaoh, suffering the worst of fates, and yet when resurrected, twice even, thy's first desire was to be with she...but both times thou failed..." he reminded him. "And dost thou know why?"
Imhotep did not answer, his eyes downcast, as he tried to fight off the pain. Osiris looked to him, unfazed by the man's agonies.
"Because thou let thine hatred blind thee. Thine's hatred towards the men, which took she thou loved from thee. Thou let it consume and corrupt thee; let it drive thee from thy one thy held most dear. And in the end when thou finally had all thou had longed to hold, when thine own love only longed for thee, thy turned from her in thine pursuit of power, but in the end, thou lost it all, did thou not?"
Imhotep shut his eyes, wincing at just how right he was. He had let his own Anck-su-namun become second to him in his pursuit of power. He had gotten her and yet still had yearned for more, to give her everything, to make up for what they had lost, and to grant them the immortality that would ensure that their souls would never be separated ever again, and in the end…not only had the O'Connells defeated him, ripped him of his prize once more, but Anck-su-namun, the one he had loved more than life itself and longed for for more than three thousand years, had left him without even a second glance; the one he had trusted beyond anything…
"I see thou dost agree," said Osiris, sensing the man's thoughts. "Tell me, Imhotep…Dost thou love her still?"
Imhotep lifted his head and made his gaze connect with his god, the one he had once been loyal to over anything, or anyone else.
His gaze was empty, hollow and his voice emotionless.
"Yes…" he answered.
He knew there was no use in denying.
Osiris glanced to the other gods and smiled. He had known that that would have been Imhotep's response.
"But she does not love me, so whatever reason you are subjecting me to the painful reminders of her, I would appreciate it if you would hasten it and finish the judgment," he said, completely uncaring over what would happen to him and that he had not been called upon to speak once more.
There was nothing left for him. To have Ahemait devour his soul and make him cease to be no longer, would be a true justice for him.
The gods remained silent at Imhotep's openness, but inwardly were amused. Osiris eyed him a moment and finally let loose a small smile.
"Thou is not yet here to be judged," he explained.
"Then what is it that I am being kept here for?" Imhotep interjected.
"Thou fell into the abyss, thy opening into this world, whilst mortal. Dost thou not wonder how it is thy heart still beats? …Thou still lives," the god told him. "One cannot perish whilst in this realm, for time dost not exist; nothing exists."
Imhotep looked up to him again and then the other gods. Even something as that sounded hard for even him to comprehend, even after all his years in the priesthood and now to be standing right there in the center of it all, but he did not care to go into a debate about the incorrectness of such a statement, nothing mattered any longer to him, and if they wanted to believe so, he would not argue. All he wanted was to have no existence at all.
Osiris laughed. Such arrogance still thrived somewhere within his once High Priest. It seemed this man would always hold true to his ideals. He had proven that many a times. The gods' opinions did not even matter to him, that part of him had died long ago. A lesson was to be taught. Imhotep had still not learned…
"Imhotep, since thou hath not died whilst at Ahm Shere, none of us can truly hold thee here within this realm; however, according to Shait, thy maker of fate, thou wouldst have perished anyway, had thou not released hold of thy ledge…"
Imhotep waited, feeling his end not quite as soon as he would have hoped and his pains plagued him even more.
"Therefore, thou must be allotted thy time on earth thou wouldst hath had left to thee, had thou not fallen into this world...Thine's Anck-su-namun hath been reborn. Time hast passed within the mortal realm and thine love is now once more a grown woman," spoke Osiris and waited for the coming argument.
Imhotep's face contorted into an ironic, almost sadistic looking smirk.
"Lord Osiris, why would it matter to me if Anck-su-namun has been reborn? She has proven her love for me was not as pure as my own for her. She did practically everything, but pry my fingers from the ledge to help me to my death. So if you are wanting to send me to her, I must say that you are wasting your time, unless you only wish to further my torments for some personal enjoyment of yours. I have existed far more than any human should and I say that you should end it now and stop letting me go on in this endless, unholy existence. Without Anck-su-namun, I have nothing, I am nothing, and so that is what I wish to become. I ask for your judgment," he said coldly, but his eyes flashed with what looked like oncoming tears being held in against their will.
"What thou asks cannot be done and…"
Osiris waved a hand out before him into the expanse, which exceeded infinity. A tiny spark of light began to break through from the darkness, flooding out from where it had begun in an ethereal mist with each urging of the god's mighty hand.
It swirled around his fingers, spiraling out with every motion and expanding to nearly the size of the mortal of which it was placed before, who only watched on emotionlessly.
But Imhotep fooled only himself, for Osiris could feel the great burst of emotion, which yearned within this man to break free of its prison.
"Anck-su-namun loves thee still…"
Imhotep adopted a facial expression at last through his stubborn pride, and looked at Osiris as though he were mad, but the absurdity of the statement caused him to hold his tongue, and instead Imhotep took watch at what he saw coming to be within the portal now before him. Two figures; two very familiar figures.
Each was draped in a black garment, long and flowing with each step taken. Both strode confidently down a long staircase, which descended deep within an ancient temple. The smaller of the two, trailed slightly behind the larger, carrying within their grasp a book made of obsidian, as both surveyed the room, which they now occupied.
It was Anck-su-namun. And... himself.
It was Ahm Shere. Just before his powers had been stripped by Anubis…
Imhotep spun around, growling with rage.
"Ny! Do not show me such visions!" he shouted, flinging a hand behind him, as if to push it all away.
"All I ask is for a final death, a complete death. Do not remind me of her, do not show me her, I want nothing more to do with HER!"
"Silence, Mortal!" shouted Osiris.
He had finally had just about enough of this man's childish insolence.
Imhotep turned and glared at the god. What could he possibly do to him that would be so horrible for his behavior, as it was!
He shook his head and turned back around.
"Thou WILL listen, YOUNG ONE, and thou WILL be reminded of whatever I so wish! What thou dost not know, Imhotep, is that when thine powers were lost at Ahm Shere, so too didst thine Anck-su-namun lose a part of thyself…"
Imhotep lifted his head up and turned around once more.
"What is this you speak of? She lost nothing! She did not step onto the scorpion as I!" he insisted with confusion and unrelenting determination that he was right.
He had to be. He still refused to believe, or hear a word of this nonsense.
Osiris said nothing. He only turned his gaze to his right, causing Imhotep to follow with his own eyes.
The great god Anubis now stood before them, his arms folded over his broad chest, and his head held high, as Osiris turned back and addressed the mortal.
"Anubis took back thy soul of Anck-su-namun."
At that, Imhotep finally felt the life surge back into him.
"WHAT!?" he cried at the top of his lungs, and immediately started a march for Anubis, all rationality about his actions leaving him completely, but he was instantly halted by some incredible force no sooner than he had begun, and was sent careening backwards to where he had started.
Imhotep fell upon the nonexistent flooring and looked up with shocked and questioning eyes, but did not strike again. The gods all smiled at Imhotep's new concern with the subject.
"Thy act was done to ensure nothing hindered thine's upcoming battle with thy Scorpion King. As is the duty of Anubis, all must be made to remain fair, as thou already knows. Had thine's Anck-su-namun had within herself thy soul, thy love for thee would have brought she who held you most dear, to interfere with thy battle. No choice was left for the gods to be made. Thy soul of Anck-su-namun was to be removed, not only for that reason, but as punishment for thy blasphemous actions in calling back to Anck-su-namun her condemned soul."
Imhotep's eyes widened, disbelieving all of this; how his very world could be ripped apart so many times and in just one, little moment. He did not know what was right anymore; what was true, but one thing remained clear to him...
His jaw and fists clenched tight, a visible muscle flinching along his jaw line. His entire body was wanting to attack the nearest thing it could come in contact with; to wipe it from all existence the way everything he'd ever known and understood had to his life.
He was betrayed; betrayed by his world and the very gods he had respected and served. He was furious beyond reason, and yet completely at the mercy of these beings who called themselves gods.
All he had ever wanted was his love, and they had taken her from him, time and time again! And now, now they found reason within themselves to blame it on him! Him! How could they ever-
Imhotep stopped, a breath leaving him, as though he'd been socked in the stomach.
"How could I have been so foolish?" he suddenly asked himself.
The gods were right. His anger, his hatred…everything…He was the reason he had lost his Anck-su-namun…
"Thy Anck-su-namun loves thee still. Thine's love's fears overcame thine heart, whilst she lacked thy soul, which brought to she thy true, undying love and courage required for thine's rescue," Osiris explained further, fully enjoying Imhotep's thoughts about his mistakes.
Imhotep kept trying to process all of this. It was all happening so quickly, and he had so many questions and inner turmoil spanning within him, that he could not think straight, but when the last few words spoken by Osiris broke through, he without hesitation, shot his head straight up to the gods before him with renewed hope in his eyes.
"True and undying?" he asked, urgently, stepping forth.
"Yes...Anck-su-namun and thee are one. Thine souls halves of the other; mated as one," said a new voice.
It was that of Hathor.
Imhotep looked to her, speechless; tears in his eyes.
Gods…he and Anck-su-namun…
Hearing the confirmation that Anck-su-namun was a part of him, and him of her, was Heaven. They were meant to be... They're love was bond to their souls...
He was overjoyed, and moved to tears, as one trickled down his cheek. In that one moment he briefly felt that all the pain he had endured had been worth every second, if only to hear what his heart had believed for so long were true...She truly was his princess...
Imhotep almost did not know what to feel; what to say, but a hint of a smile had crept to his lips, as he thought of it all, but it vanished as another realization crept in...
Anck-su-namun and he would have been together... had it not been for-
"What is to happen to me now? You said she was reborn! Tell me what is to come!" he demanded, new hope arising within him, as he decided to forget all that had transpired before now.
All he wanted now was a new start; a new beginning with his Anck-su-namun, and to have the life they had always longed to have with one another.
Hathor smiled at the love this man had for the young woman after all these centuries. So strong did it thrive.
She gave a nod to Osiris, satisfied with what she saw.
"Thy will be given three hours to walk once more upon thy Earth. After which time, thy shall be returned to this spot, and be as thou were meant," announced Osiris.
Imhotep's hopeful expression vanished, to be replaced by one of confusion.
"As I was meant?"
"Thou will die, and thou shall be judged," he announced.
Imhotep exhaled, staring at him with rounded eyes, and his lips parted in complete shock.
"Judged!? But this cannot be! No! Let me stay longer with her! I have learned my lesson! I beg you-"
"Dost thou now protest to such a thing? Is it not what thy hast proclaimed to desire most? To be nothing?" Osiris smiled.
Imhotep's mind whirled. This was not happening! This was Hell! His own words!
"That was before-"
"Thy time of stating dost not matter," Osiris intervened.
"Thou hast three hours, no more, no less, and then thy sentence, which thou so ardently requested, shall be placed upon thee. That is thy decision, High Priest," he said to him, bringing forth his former title in life in an attempt to further put the mortal in his place.
Imhotep lowered his head in defeat, and nodded at the irony he was trapped by... There was nothing he could do.
"Send me to her then…" he whispered softly, his eyes shutting to his failure.
"Very well, but there are two matters of which thou must first listen..."
Imhotep lifted his head at this, wondering what they could possibly have to tell him of now.
"If thou should speak of to Anck-su-namun of thine's allotted time together, or of any words, which hast been revealed to thee while within this plane, thou shall be instantly returned to this realm, Anck-su-namun's memory of thee will be erased...forever, and thine's three hours shall be spent within a place far worse than any Hell thy hast already known."
Imhotep's eyes swelled to huge circles once more, as he tried to comprehend the logic behind any of this!
"Then how is she to know that it is our last time together!?"
"She will know not. That is how."
"You are asking me to keep something as that from her!?"
"I have never lied to her, since the day she came into my life. How can you expect me to start now, especially with something as this!?" he demanded, eyes burning with outrage.
Osiris only smiled.
"Thou can be expected to do it because thou knows what is to come if thou dost not. Thou can be EXPECTED to do it because thou loves she truly."
Imhotep shut his eyes, wanting to scream at the tops of his lungs to wake himself from this never ending Hell of a nightmare.
"And what am I to say to her when it comes time for me to leave? How can you make me leave her without an explanation!?" he cried, yet asking in a half pleading manner.
Osiris softened his gaze finally at Imhotep's falling will.
"Thou cannot TELL during thy three hours…" he answered.
Imhotep squinted his eyes in bewilderment.
"What?" he asked, feeling that perhaps he wasn't the only one, which had lost something.
"Thou will find thy answer. Now...thy hour approaches for thine's return to thy mortal realm."
"But what about the second matter of which you spoke?" Imhotep asked, lost once again.
He prayed this "second matter" would not be some other catch to be hurtled into all his hopes.
Osiris smiled at seeing Imhotep bring up this question himself.
"There remains a good for all of this, if thou so chooses, Imhotep..." spoke Osiris, happily.
Imhotep was overtaken by a look of curiosity, and found himself taking a step closer, praying it wasn't a foolish one.
"And what is it that I may choose?" he asked, a little hesitant, as his eyes searched the faces of the gods and goddesses surrounding him.
All together, Osiris and the other deities, shared a knowing look.