An Ancient Evil!

A lone figure stood on a sand dune, his gully suit flapping in the cold wind of the African Desert. He looked up at the sky and wondered at the cosmos of existence. In the night sky he could see the many star constellations he was taught about in his youth. And to his right was the form of a half-crescent moon shining brightly, complementing the starry night, like a beacon from heaven.

But despite this peaceful night, Storm Shadow was uneasy. He sensed a foreboding that chilled his soul. All was not right with the world and soon an ancient force was about to be unleashed upon it, like the forces of hell upon an unsuspecting world, and many lives will be sacrificed. The spirits of his ancestors were warning him of the impeding doom, and he was concerned.

Cobra had come to the land of pharaohs in search of an ancient relic thought to be lost to history. But in an ancient book turned up in a dig just outside the Valley of Kings a couple of weeks ago it told of this ancient relic and its horrific history, an artefact called the Staff of Power.

The story of the artefact was told like many stories of the ancient past, like a mortality tale, and it described a king who possessed this powerful object. He was not obsessed with power, instead he used it to give his subjects a life of peace and prosperity and riches for as long as he was ruler. But one of his subjects murdered him in the middle of the night and used it to become king, building a great empire on the backs of his subjects. He was a tyrant and a butcher, killing anyone he pleased for pleasure. He erected monuments to himself and conquered his neighbors with ease. But one thing that the staff could not grant him was eternal life and he died in office. It was said that the staff was then stolen and buried somewhere in Egypt, but the location was not written down. Also, the king's name was never mentioned in the story and neither was the period in which he supposedly ruled, so no one knew when the king reigned. However carbon dating by archaeologists placed the age of the book at about 5,000 years ago, before the great Egyptian civilization rose to power and after the Sumerian civilization had fallen. It was determined, judging by the ancient writing, an ancient form of curaform, small symbols in clay used to tell a story, that the book was indeed genuine, much to the dismay of archaeologists. And in this place, where Storm Shadow stood, this is supposedly where it is buried.

Storm Shadow thought such things should stay buried and voiced his opinion to Cobra Commander, but Cobra Commander ignored his fool-hardy warnings believing Storm Shadow was being cowardly and assigned him to guard duty outside their underground facility, deep beneath the sands of the desert. The only indication of anything underneath where he stood was an artificially constructed dome covered with sand that doubled as a backdoor entrance. If he didn't know what it was he wouldn't know anything was there, but a normal sand dune.

Storm Shadow wrapped the gulley suit around his body as the wind chilled his body and walked down the sand dune to the bottom, sand filling his boots. This was no place for a ninja of his calibre, he thought. He should be engaged in something more to his skills. Though he was happy he wasn't fighting. There had been enough fighting in world lately and it deserved a rest. With Cobra here in secret operations not bothering the world people's lives weren't in jeopardy for petty reasons he never fully understood.

But he was cold and doing guard duty was not what he had in mind as contentment from the annals of battle, a Viper should be doing this. So he activated a control device, and a door opened up in the sand and he went inside. The door closed behind him. And he walked down a narrow set of metal steps that lead to an elevator. He looked into the retinal scan and it scanned his right eye, reading the cornea. A computerized voice said, "Scan confirmed. Access granted."

Storm Shadow heard the elevator rise and moments later the doors opened, he got inside. There were twelve buttons on the inside control panel and he pushed the one that would take him to the personnel level where his quarters were. Once he arrived he traveled down a dimly lit corridor and used the finger print scanner on the outside of his room to gain access. Here he got undressed and took a shower. And it was true what they say: sand gets in everywhere.

After a cleansing shower he dressed in a towel and laid on his silk, sheet covered bed. It was a standard bed for all high official Cobra members. Cobra Commander believed comfort for his loyal men was paramount. But to Storm Shadow, this was yet another way Cobra Commander wasted his money. He would've been perfectly comfortable on a cot. But as he laid on the bed he was thankful his years as a solder were over, though it had taught him some valuable life lessons. Now though, he benefited from the comfort of his status and he enjoyed it.

But there was a part of him that was unhappy. He had sacrificed so much to get where he was today, so many friends and family had been killed or murdered for his ambition. And despite all he had accomplished, he had in the long run done nothing that would constitute of value.

He missed his uncle very much, and several years ago he had discovered his assassin, who killed him in Japan. It was the changeling known as Zartan, an agent of his own evil creation, who made his home in the Bayou swamps of Florida, and who was affiliated with Cobra.

He went after him and cornered him. But he couldn't kill him. His hands were on his bow, the arrow was about to fly, but something stopped him. Over the years, with everything he'd seen, so much death after his time back from 'the war', he had lost the need for revenge. And as the very person whom he spent half his life looking for was working for the very organization he pledged his loyalty too, he left Cobra and retired from life to start up a dojo. But his peace was not to last as he again got involved with the clash between Cobra and G.I.Joe, offering his services as leader of G.I.Joe's Ninja Force, once again joining his blood brother Snake Eyes in battle. He felt he could make a difference, make amends for the wrongs he had committed while in Cobra employ, but years later he found himself back among his enemy, forced to endure countless hours in the Brainwave Scanner until he conceited to pledge his loyal to Cobra again.

He didn't know what he wanted now. He was so confused. And his brain hurt when he thought about it. He told himself it was best not to think about it and cleared his mind of thought. He got into a sitting position and tried to meditate, closing his eyes, but the evil he felt in this place was so overwhelming he couldn't concentrate. He felt someone was watching him and looked around his quarters. But he didn't see anything. He went back and tried to meditate again closing his eyes, and again he felt a cold stare of something looking at him and looked again.

His skills as a ninja gave him an acute second sight and he felt the presence of something here, in his quarters. He couldn't see it, but he knew it was here. Suddenly the temperature in his room dropped thirty degrees and he could see his breath, a sure sign of a paranormal entity. He felt cold and his skin tightened as goose pimples formed on his skin, but he did not leave his position. If this spirit wanted to speak to him, it would have to do it on his terms. He would not be frightened by it, though in his mind he was. But he didn't show it.

The lights in his quarters shut off and he was engulfed in darkness. He felt something brush against his arm and then against his chest. And then it touched him in such a way that it felt intimate, caressing his upper chest as if attempting to arouse him. He jumped off the bed and stood in the darkness. "Don't do that," he said to the entity. "Speak to me. What do you want?"

But the entity said nothing.

It again attempted to arouse him by touching his chest, but Tommy Arashikage stepped away from it and hit a wall as he backed up. He was cornered and the only semantic of the room he had was what he remembered what it looked like before the lights went out. And from memory the door should be near to him. So he eased himself along the wall and felt for the door knob. But apparently the spirit didn't want him to leave and threw him across the room back to the bed.

"What do you want?" Tommy asked the spirit again.

You. A soft voice said, sounding like a whisper, and when it did speak, he felt a cold breeze blow pass his ear, and it brought a shiver down is spine. It sounded female. But he couldn't be sure.

He felt it tugging at his towel, and he jumped up from the bed again. Quickly the temperature got a lot colder and he felt his skin tighten and his muscles start to harden. The spirit was creating what was known as a temperature vortex when all the air in a room turned very cold. The spirit was angry and Tommy was feeling its emotion. It got hard to breath.

He reached behind him and found the door knob, twisted it, and ran outside, throwing the door open wide. He pressed his back up against the wall opposite his quarters, and as he looked inside his room all he saw was darkness. Then the door slammed shut, leaving him outside alone. The temperature was normal here, not affected by the spirit.

His heart raced and his muscles ached with cold. But things soon returned to normal as they warmed to the new temperature. And as he stood out in the hall wearing only a towel he knew he was right. This was an unholy place.