One - Intruder
Nikaria Sharpe gazed at the brown-paper covered package. She did not know if she wanted to open it or not. She knew if exactly what its presence meant; he was not coming home. It always happened like this. Something would come up at the newest excavation site or he was needed elsewhere. Gifts were his way of placating matters, apologizing for leaving his daughter alone,
Not that Nikaria minded being in complete charge of their large New England estate. Nearly fifty rooms - - and she had them all to herself. Still, that did not take away the feeling that he was trying to buy her off. Here, sweetheart, a present so you can ignore the fact I am never there. That was the statement the package made.
The seventeen year old sighed deeply and reached for the letter accompanying the package. Her father was in Egypt again. The man who was supposed to take his place had been called away on other business so he had to stay and supervise in the meantime. Typical. He sent his love and hoped she would enjoy the present.
She ripped the paper off and slit the tape that held the box closed. After digging through an endless sea of white packaging peanuts, she unearthed an exquisite treasure. As soon as she set her eyes on it, the anger and apprehension lifted. It was too beautiful to be angry with.
From the box she drew a golden ankh embellished with brilliant jewels. It was six inches long and one inch wide. It was well crafted; its surface was smooth and unblemished. It looked like it had been newly made. "Amazing…" She breathed, letting her fingers explore the object. She loved it,
To make sure nothing would happen to it she placed it in the artifacts room among her and her father's collection of antiquities. Most of Nikaria's were Egyptian in origin. They held significant personal pride for her. Her mother had been born and raised in Cairo, and since Nikaria had never known her it made her feel closer to her to have a piece of her mother's, her own ancient history.
A soft whining sound brought her attention to one of her furry housemates. Serapis, her German Sheppard, was nudging her hand and begging pitifully. Nikaria grinned and shook her head. She bent and patted him softly. "Okay, okay." She said. "The food-mobile is coming." His ears perked and he licked her wrist appreciatively. She could only laugh and head out for the kitchen.
The moon rose high above Sharpe Estate. One by one the lights went out, leaving only one to pay homage to the darkness. Nikaria was in her bedroom, readying to go to sleep. Unknown to her something was changing below. The house seemed to shift.
Down in the artifact room a soft glow began to emanate from the gold ankh. The jewels sparkled mysteriously in the mixture of moonlight and magic. A gentle windless breeze spun around the room, whispering softly in the crevices and over the occupants like voices from the past.
Suddenly the glow exploded into shards of bright light, blinding and pure. In an instant, it was gone, but something new replaced it. A shape within the darkness that moved inside its safety, swift and graceful.
A crash broke through the stillness startling Nikaria. She froze and listened. Years before Mr. Sharpe would have had servants filling these halls, but Nikaria preferred her privacy so she alone. A strange, unexplained noise was a cause for worry, especially in the Sharpe home where thieves would know there was an abundance of valuables.
She rose from her chair, gripping her brush in her hand tightly as if she might use it as a weapon. She hesitated at the door, unsure if she should continue or not. After a moment's consideration, she plunged into the darkened hallway. The house had grown still again, but Nikaria knew she was no longer alone. She could sense someone else in her house. She could sense someone moving.
Why did he always have to get into situations like this? Whatever it was, it liked him in trouble. Never before however had he encountered anything like this. It began as a simple retrieval mission. Get the Blade of Osiris and get back in one piece. Naturally, things did not go how they were intended and he had to take a detour.
Sphinx glanced around the room where the portal had taken him. Where was he? The place was unfamiliar and strange. To make matters worse it was very dark and he could not make anything out in the area around him. He didn't know what kind of people would be near so he had to be very careful not to get caught.
He began to make his way to the first sign of light he saw. Hopefully he would get some clue of what he was dealing with and how to get back to where he was supposed to be. Maybe Imohtep would find a way to contact him and give him some help.
Nikaria felt like she was in one of those awful horror movies she always watched and she was about to be one of the hapless victims. In a way she also felt foolish creeping down her own stairs. What nonsense! However, she wasn't thinking whatever lay down those stairs was nonsense. She took robbery very seriously. It had happened before, and that time her father and some associates had luckily been in. He offered having some kind of security on the place, guards or the like, but Nikaria refused.
She was thinking about why she hadn't taken him up on that offer. All she would have had to do was call down to them and then lock herself in her room until it was over. No, no, things were never simple for Nikaria. Things never went right and she was always finding herself in a mess. It was usually her fault, but she would never admit it. Never in a thousand years.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs she was feeling even more silly. She had not heard anything since the initial sound and she was beginning to wonder whether there was even anything to be scared about. Perhaps it was just one of her pets. If that was so then she would find the situation very ironic because she had them to make her feel better, not to scare her witless. If she would have considered it she would have been laughing even before she reached the middle of the foyer.
Suddenly, from the dining room a shadowy figure came loping at her. She cried out briefly in surprise before she was knocked off her feet. She went sprawling on the hard, cold floor, the brush skittering away as her fingers lost their grip. For a moment she was frantic, she couldn't even scream. Then she noticed Serapis's bright blue eyes staring at her. He was wagging his tail enthusiastically at seeing his owner.
She shook her head and reached out to scratch his ears. Now she felt stupid. It had been her dumb dog the whole time. She leaned back on her hands, allowing herself to catch her breath. Serapis sat down, tail still wagging madly, and watched her as if wondering what all the fuss was about. "You nearly killed me, you idiot." She said, but affectionately. She was just glad it wasn't a psycho killer or something. "Get upstairs, you." She ordered, climbing to her feet.
Without much more Serapis took off up the carpeted stairs, his footfalls thudding against the floor in his dash to get to her bedroom. His favorite place was the cushioned area at the corner of Nikaria's room beside the curtained balcony veranda, and when he wasn't taking up space Nikaria would curl up on the satin mountain with a book and picture herself some Arabian princess. She smiled at the thought as she retrieved her lost brush, and began to follow her pet.
Just as Serapis disappeared inside her room she was stopped again. This time she knew it wasn't her imagination or just one of her furry menaces. Only real danger left that horrible creeping sensation going along someone's spine and making their heart slow to a crawl. She didn't know how but she found it within herself to turn around.
Brilliant eyes were watching her from the artifact room. They widened in realization that Nikaria knew that they were there. Then movement.
Nikaria needed no other incentive to move herself. She spun, hoping she would no trip, and ran. She could just see herself being murdered in her foyer. It would be a scandal, it would. Professor Adrian Sharpe's seventeen year old daughter, who was neglectfully left on her own, found murdered and mutilated in their home. She probably wouldn't be discovered for months! Oh, God, what if she was never found at all!
She scrambled up the stairs, feeling the intruder's presence close behind her. She tossed back her brush, not even taking the time to see if her pathetic weapon made contact. "Serapis!" She shrieked. "Serapis, come!" Her voice was thick with fear and she wasn't even sure that real words had come out. As far as she knew they could have just been strangled syllables.
In response to her screaming her pursuer seemed to remember that he, too, had a voice. He tried yelling at her, but she didn't understand a word he said. It sounded like… Egyptian? Good grief, thieves were getting stranger and stranger. She knew a little Egyptian, the ancient dialect, from studying some of her father's books, but she hadn't been at it long enough to decipher someone's desperate hurried ramblings, especially when she was thinking only of survival.
She wanted to turn around and see who had broke into her house, but was afraid that he was be directly behind her, allowing him to immediately grab her. He? Nikaria had already determined the intruder was male. His shape, while encased in shadows, was definitely masculine, at least she could never picture a woman having a physique like that. She thought it funny how she could pick up details such as that in just a few seconds. Fat lot of good it was doing her at the moment…
The last thing he wanted was the one of the first things to happen. He was discovered. It was a girl that could be no older than he looked. Dark hair, dark eyes, and completely scared out of her mind. It did not appear that anyone else was in the residence, but he couldn't be sure, so he had to stop her before she warned anyone about his presence… Maybe if he explained the situation to her.
However, that didn't seem like too much of a plan at the moment. She didn't seem to understand anything he was trying to tell her. And frankly he didn't understand anything she had been saying. The only word he made out that sounded familiar was the named 'Serapis.' That wasn't going to help them out at all. Things just kept getting worse.
Oh yeah. Old story based on one of my favorite games. Probably won't get a hit out of this, but I'm posting it just in case there's a fan like me out there. R&R if you feel froggy. - Mizu