DISCLAIMER: All character's from, 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy Returns' are owned by Universal and Stephen Sommers. The story and additional character's are mine.

AUTHOR: Katrina

TIMELINE: Set two years after, 'The Mummy Returns'.

SYNOPSIS: Ardeth and his friends have to stop a person bent on awakening an ancient God.

THE SCROLL OF RAMESES

Jessica Dorling put down her pen then removed her wire rim reading glasses and tiredly rubbed her eyes. The large library she was in, was dimly lit by low burning oil lamps dotted around the walls and her own small lamp that illuminated her desktop and not much else beyond.

She checked the pocket watch her father had given her and grimaced as she noticed the time. Half past nine at night, fourth time this week. Much as she loved being employed in Cairo's, 'Museum of Antiquities', she didn't really want to call the building home.

She felt a pang of guilt over worrying her husband unnecessarily then quickly quelled the feeling. Michael wouldn't even notice she wasn't home. He was too wrapped up in finding out the history behind the strange artefact he'd unearthed two weeks earlier while out on a dig.

Of course, before that it had been transcribing a scripture that was from the time of Rameses II and before that, it was tracing the lineage of some little know pharaoh…in fact, as long as she'd known him, there had always been something he was working on.

She sighed and leaned back in her chair. After seven years of marriage to both Michael and his job, she thought his lack of attention towards her wouldn't still hurt so much. She was wrong.

When she'd first met her husband she'd been blinded by his mature good looks and exotic tales of the world. Thinking herself in love, she had embarked on a whirlwind love affair that resulted in them marrying just eight months after they'd met.

Michael had been due to go on another trip and would've been out of the country for at least a year. Not wanting to be parted from him, she'd pressed for them to wed before he went so that they could still be together.

Her parents had fiercely objected to the marriage, trying to convince her to wait until he returned to see if both of their feelings remained steady. There'd been so many times since then that she'd wished that she'd listened to them.

She had only been twenty-two at the time, headstrong and Michael was her first love. He, on the other hand, was a good deal older at forty-four and flattered by her attention.

At first, she thought that their marriage had been good. She longed for a child and although there hadn't been the passion between them that she'd expected after having read some of the more racier novels of the day, she hadn't worried because she was with the man she loved.

Her dream of having children was soon crushed though when sexual relations between her and Michael ceased within the first couple of months of marriage. That was her fault…she just wasn't pretty enough. At least, that's what she'd assumed when he failed to become aroused by her. She never once thought it might have something to do with him.

Leaving Michael though, was not an option she'd ever entertained. She might not be in love with him anymore, in truth she wasn't so certain now that she'd ever really loved him, it had been more of a hero-worshipping crush. But, after all was said and done, she believed in her marriage vows and hadn't spoken them lightly.

Over the years however, the emptiness and loneliness that had become her world, took its toll and she'd become a shadow of the lively young woman she'd once been. After living permanently in Egypt for the past two years, she no longer bothered wearing much make-up or shopped for pretty dresses, much preferring to stick to functional, bland clothes that helped her fade into the background and protected her from the heat.

Her long, brown hair, that once flowed freely around her shoulders, was now always styled into in a bun so severe that it almost dared any strands to work their way loose.

Her once naturally warm and friendly countenance had slowly disappeared as her self-confidence waned under her husbands neglect. Unfortunately, this had caused her to withdraw to such an extent emotionally, that she now appeared cold and aloof. She had no friends, no love, no life.

Jessica closed her eyes and absently kneaded the back of her neck with one hand, trying to ease some of the tension. She knew she should pack up her things and head home. If she left it any later the drunks and troublemakers would be roaming around outside and she didn't fancy bumping into either.

She opened her eyes again and let her hand drop back onto the desk as she stared at the page she'd just written out. It was some sort of protection spell that had been found inside the sarcophagus of a young woman. One more line of hieroglyphics to decipher and then she could go.

Ten minutes later, Jessica was just trying to work out the last symbol when she was suddenly greeted by a richly accented voice out of the darkness behind her.

"Good evening, Mrs. Dorling."

"Oh!" gasped Jessica as her body jolted with fright. She turned towards the voice, her hand covering her heart in an effort to slow the rapid thumping.

A tall man dressed in black emerged from the shadows at the back of the room, a look of contrition on his face. "Pardon me, I did not mean to frighten you," he said bowing his head to her respectfully.

Jessica recognised him as the friend of her part-time work colleague, Evie O'Connell, and let out a sigh of relief. "Oh, Mr. Bay, it's just you." Back under control, she schooled her features into its usual cool expression and waved a hand at him in a dismissive gesture. "Please, don't apologise. I didn't hear you come in, you just startled me that's all. Is there something I can help you with?"

"I've come to see, Evelyn if she's still here," he replied.

"Mrs. O'Connell went home about half an hour ago," she informed him in a crisp tone and turned back to her work, thinking their conversation was at an end.

"I see, thank you," came his reply, then a pause. He took a step nearer to stand next to her desk. "Don't you think it's time that you went home too, Mrs. Dorling?" he asked quietly, ignoring her incivility. "Here in Cairo, it is not wise for a woman to be out alone late at night."

"Thank you for your concern, Mr. Bay but I'll leave when I'm good and ready," she retorted coldly without looking up at him.

"What about your husband?" he demanded with a frown.

She sighed in annoyance, trying to concentrate on her work. "What about him?" she snapped.

"Won't he be worried?"

"I doubt it," she dismissed with a snort of derision as she reached out to turn the page of the reference book in front of her.

Before she made it halfway there, his left hand snaked out and gripped her wrist, gently but firmly, staying her action.

Automatically, she looked up at him and felt the breath catch in her throat. Towering over her, Ardeth Bay cut an intimidating figure.

As usual, he was dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a long robe that fell almost to the floor, covering his boots, trousers and loose shirt. Since this was all she'd ever seen him in, she assumed it was his uniform.

His right hand, bearing a three pronged tattoo on the back, rested lightly on the hilt of a scimitar that was identical to the blade that was sheathed on the left side of his waist, the pair held in place by a leather belt.

An ammunition belt holding a few shells was slung diagonally across his chest from his right shoulder and even though she couldn't seen it, she knew that he carried a third smaller sword in a scabbard at the back of his waist.

Around his neck, he wore a heavy looking, ornate charm. Black hair fell to his shoulders in soft waves and his beard was neatly trimmed around his mouth, accentuating the slightly fuller bottom lip. His nose was straight, proud, and tattoo's were drawn high on his cheeks, defining his bone structure…tattoo's that told people he was a member of the band of reclusive desert warriors known as the Medjai.

The Medjai were direct descendants of the pharaoh's sacred bodyguards of ancient Egypt, sworn to protect man…from what though, Jessica had never actually been able to determine, for all her reading through the many books that the Museum held.

She knew that he had more tattoo's on his forehead but, this evening, they were hidden under a tall hat that he wore pulled down so low that it almost touched the tops of his eyebrows…thick, perfectly formed eyebrows that accentuated his warm, penetrating, dark brown eyes that seemed to bore deep inside her very soul.

Their eyes met and held, her senses focussing on the warm touch of his hand as his thumb moved, lightly brushing over the pulse beating erratically on the underside of her wrist. Tiny fissions of pleasure shot up her arm causing her to swallow hard, a warm blush creeping up her cheeks as she continued to stare at the enigmatic man in front of her. She was suddenly more aware of him than she'd ever been of another person in her entire life.

He released her arm suddenly and in doing so, seemed to break the spell his nearness had been weaving. Slowly, she let her hand drop to the desk and blinked a couple of times as though coming out of a daze.

She noticed that he was looking at her expectantly and somewhere in the back of her mind, it registered that he'd spoken. To her horror, she realised that she had no idea what he'd said.

Clearing her throat, she took a deep breath and tried to get back some of her normal composure. "I'm sorry, Mr. Bay, what did you say?" she asked, hating the small tremor in her voice.

"I said, love," he replied softly.

"Love?" she questioned, her eyes widening in surprise.

"Yes. The last symbol," he explained, gesturing towards the paper on her desk. "That's what it means."

"Oh." She dragged her gaze from his face and looked down at her work. "Oh! Oh, yes of course," she exclaimed, suddenly recognising it. She finished the verse, then glanced back up at him. "Thank you."

He nodded curtly, then quickly scanned the full translation before looking back at her. "Once you have packed up, I will walk you home," he told her in a tone that brooked no argument.

Jessica immediately bristled under his authoritative tone and began to reply stiffly, "Thank you for your offer, Mr. Bay, but…"

"No buts," he interrupted her brusquely. "It's late and you are a woman. A European woman at that. You would be a great prize for slave traders around here. It would not be right for me to leave you to walk through the streets at night, all alone."

She knew he was right and, in truth, didn't relish the idea of yet another trek home by herself through the small alleyways. "Very well," she muttered ungraciously and stood up.

Methodically, she put all of her pens, pencils, paper and books away then switched off her lamp. After retrieving her jacket from the coat stand by her desk, she turned and regarded him coolly. "I'm ready."

He politely held open the door then followed her along the corridor, out of the Museum and into the night.

END PART 1