Standard Disclaimer: Warlords, et al, belong to Sunrise. My characters and concepts (including the snake-gods) belong to me, do not use without asking. If you ask, I probably won't say no.
First version finished August 1998. Revised July 2001.
Hi everyone! Well, this fic isn't really historically accurate, but I've kinda made my own little corner of Japan that sort of fits in with the rest of the feudal era, but of course the elemental-named cities where the Warlords have their pre-Talpa lives probably didn't exist. I've tried to include as much of the culture stuff as I can without knowing it backwards and forwards. ^^ The revision doesn't change much, for those of you who've read this before, just adds more detail that I was too chicken to put in before, more culture stuff, and probably a few more scenes. Call it a director's cut. ~_^ However, there are no lemon scenes still; you'll find those in "Annals". I hope you enjoy my story!

"Histories: Snake God"
By Amanda Swiftgold

Prologue - Soul

Attend! I tell you a tale of a feared child, a hated hero. I tell you a tale of power, of pain, of the strong, the weak, of life, and death. I tell you a tale of a soul led to darkness, in the service of a conquering power, led to light by an ancient force. Attend! This is his story...

* * * * *

Sekhmet ran the cloth down the blade of the old sword, polishing until the metal shone to his satisfaction. He nodded almost imperceptibly and stood, returning the sword to its place on the wall, displayed among other blades of many sizes and lengths. It briefly glowed, and he peered quizzically at it for a moment before shoving the thought out of his mind as a trick of the light. Sekhmet knew that he'd had the sword since he was young, and that it had been his first weapon, but couldn't remember just when or how he'd acquired it, or why it might glow. It didn't matter - he knew that too.

Moving toward the door, suddenly he stopped and glanced down, hands unconsciously brushing the front of his lightweight yukata. A familiar weight was missing from his neck, and he glanced around the room quickly. He must have forgotten to put it back on after his bath

Sekhmet finally spotted the mass of gold on a nearby table and picked it up, watching as gravity made it twist out into the form of a green orb on the end of a thick chain. The orb was the size of a large marble and was held in its place by two intertwining snakes made of gold. He smiled.

Hello, Father, he thought at the orb with amusement. Are you awake today? Must be so boring in there, all alone, for so long... Sekhmet chuckled and grasped the pendant's thin chain with both hands to fasten it around his neck, and as he lifted it the orb began to pulsate with a green glow.

Sekhmet lowered his hands slowly and peered at the small green jewel in the palm of his hand suspiciously. Suddenly, as if commanded, the golden snakes began to writhe, slithering out from around the orb and twining around Sekhmet's fingers. He jerked back in surprise and tried to pull them away with his other hand. There were two sharp pains in his finger and he looked at his hand blankly, as if he was watching this happen to someone else.

The snakes' golden fangs were completely buried in his skin, and a sudden burning spread throughout him, starting at those points. Sekhmet felt all the thoughts in his head dissipate like mist in the sunlight and sank to his knees as the emerald glow of the orb grew brighter. He stared, unable to look away, and the light flared and blinded him, shimmering colors swirling before his vision.

He saw faces appear before his mind's eye, people he knew he should recognize and yet did not, things he had hidden away for centuries, buried deep within him where he'd thought they could never return from. The black-haired woman with a sharp face and a tired, hidden smile; the man with a dark orange beard and cruelty in his eyes; the girl who stirred such feelings in him emotions he couldn't remember ever having felt before. An aching began in Sekhmet's heart, an aching that awakened the memories of all he had wanted to leave, of all he had suffered.

He tried to close his eyes, to block out the pain, the returning of the hatred he had endured, but found he could not. Sekhmet whispered softly, a sound that hardly broke through the blanket of silence in the room, "No! I don't want this Father, leave me in peace!"

He felt anew the lashing of the whip against his back, tried to fight against the angry fist and the biting word, listened to the screams as everything he had known for so long died, heard his own mocking laughter as he killed them all.

There, kneeling in the darkness of his chambers in the Dynasty stronghold, Sekhmet remembered