Author: NWHS

Mistress of War and Sickness

Chapter 5: The Goddess vs. The High Priestess

Astral Plane

Part 1

Storm knelt in the middle of her circle of protection and meditated. She remembered how she came upon the book of magical spells and enchantments written in ancient Egyptian. She remembered how she spent the last month reading and re-reading each page committing them to memory. She had no idea why she was so drawn to the book, why she could read and speak a long dead language, or why she was given the book by the old woman. As she delved deeper and deeper into the book of spells Storm couldn't shake the feeling that she was reading the personal spells of the woman she met on the streets of Cairo. The pages of the book were papyrus and emitted the same aura that Storm felt when she was in the presence of the old woman. The book of spells seemed to contain the spirit of a nameless witch or perhaps a mystical mutant thought Storm. She didn't have any answers to her multitude of questions but now as her 15 minutes dwindled to only 3 she knew that if it had not been for that anonymous old woman and her book of spells she would be consumed right now by Sekhmet's rage.

Sekhmet looked at her burnt hands and arms and let out a blood curling growl. Her eyes were yellow and she bent over on all fours preparing to strike her prey as soon as the fire and water wall came down. She had waited so long to be free of the confines of the golden ankh which had served as her prison for thousands of years. She was ready to feel a body surrounding her spirit and the warmth of having blood flowing through her heart, veins, and organs.

While she had no intention of keeping the body long she did however want to experience all that a male human body could offer. She reflected back to how Ororo's body trembled with need when she was kissed by her mate. This strong feeling fully awakened a part of Sekhmet that she thought existed only with her long lost body. She eavesdropped as the couple lovingly discussed how much they missed each other and how glad Ororo was that T'Challa had taken her up on her offer to visit the new X-Complex.

Sekhmet surmised that it was this particular male that bonded Ororo to her physical form and prevented her from living the life of an eagle instead of a chicken. Sekhmet had no intention of making the same mistake for she planned to do what Ororo would never do become a true omega level mutant and become one with the elements of nature.

With one minute left before the shield would no longer be a barrier between the two Storm rose to her feet and readied herself for the growling lion woman who crouched only a few feet away. Storm closed her eyes and could see the last page of the old book which read "You have now prepared your mind to accept divine guidance and are in a position of equality. It is important for you not to lower yourself to the sordid position of your adversary and refrain from initiating Curses and Black Magick. Words are audible statements of intent and as such are important ingredients to any spell castings. Choose your words carefully. Never forget the purest form of protection is to have faith in your actions and deeds." At the time Storm felt that that last page was written specifically for her. Now that she was eyeing down a rampaging goddess she knew the words were written for her and she would follow them to the letter.

Sekhmet leapt at Storm bearing her gruesome teeth as soon as the circle of protection disappeared into the sand from whence it came. She was indeed as fast and as ferocious as any lion Storm had seen on the plains of the Serengeti. With one long stride Sekhmet was upon Storm ready to fulfill her promise to rip her throat out.

Storm propelled herself upward just in time to avoid the attack. She wasn't used to fighting in the astral plane and had to adjust quickly to the new environment. Her movement wasn't pretty but it was effective and saved her life.

Angry at Storm's evasion and her inability to reach her Sekhmet growled, "Circle of Magick, Protect with Concern, Bad vibes Resolve, Reflect and Return."

Storm fell immediately to the ground. She propelled herself upward again only to be knocked backed down by an invisible dome.

Sekhmet laughed that devilish laugh and asserted with glee, "You are not the only one child who can erect a force field. But unlike the one you created to keep me out this one will keep you in and on the ground well within my reach."

She smirked at Storm knowing that she had taken away a major offensive and defensive strategy. She was indeed pleased with herself and could taste Ororo's blood as she spoke. "Your little magic spells pale in comparison to mine child and the sooner you realize that the sooner you can accept your fate."

Of course Sekhmet was deceiving Storm for she had no magic at all not since her essence was ripped from her body. When Sekhmet attacked Storm's circle of protection it was not done so in an attempt to reach Storm, as Sekhmet wanted her to believe, for Sekhmet knew all too well that she couldn't penetrate the elemental field. No her goal was to siphon enough magical pulses from the field to make the invisible dome that now served her will. Sekhmet knew that if allowed to have full reign of the astral plane with her flight ability Storm could wage a long distance battle and defeat her in a manner of minutes if not seconds. She had to guarantee that the battle would be a ground one thus giving her a distinct advantage.

Storm looked around and quickly assessed her current situation. She had planned to use her ability to fly to her advantage but now it wasn't even an option. She could see the self-satisfied smile on Sekhmet's ugly animal face and knew she was very proud of herself and thought Storm now vulnerable to her speed, agility, and strength. But Storm knew better.

During her marriage to T'Challa Ororo discovered one of her husband's biggest assets was his uncanny ability to out think and out plan his opponents. He had a contingency plan for almost every eventuality. She learned from him well and used those last 15 minutes protected by the elemental force field to devise several contingency plans.

Sekhmet stalked Ororo waiting for the perfect time to strike and end the battle between goddess and high priestess. She rushed Ororo again and was slammed into the invisible force field by a strong gust of wind. She shook it off and rushed in again faster and more aggressive this time. She knocked Ororo onto her back and tore into her right arm. Ororo screamed in excruciating pain. Blood flowed warmly from her body as Sekhmet continued to pull the arm until she freed it from its socket. Ororo screamed again and a huge bolt of lightning struck Sekhmet in the back which propelled her hard against the field.

Ororo looked down at where her arm use to be in absolute horror and at Sekhmet who lay against the dome with Ororo's arm still in her mouth. She was dazed by the electrical blast and Ororo knew she only had a minute or two before she would revive and prepared to finish the job.

Ororo closed her eyes and forced herself to focus on the spell and not the pain. She quickly scrolled her memory of all the spells she had memorized and found the page labeled "Heal Own Limb." She sank back into the sand in agony and prayed to the Bright Lady to give her the strength to recite the spell. She looked up toward the dome and whispered, "Return to me that which has been taken. Return to me from the one who have been forsaken. Return to me that which has not been given freely. Return to me from the one who have been deemed unworthy." She repeated the chant three times.

Sekhmet awoke from the lightning blast to find the ripped and shredded arm no longer in her possession. She looked across the dome at a now standing Storm from whom hung two perfectly intact arms.

She jumped to her feet and yelled, "How?" She winced as she stood fully feeling the pain from the lightning attack.

Storm smiled the same smug smile that Sekhmet had given her and said, "I thought you said my lightning couldn't hurt you. Release me Sekhmet before this goes any further. I can hurt you even here and you know it as well as me."

Ororo called another bolt of lightning to her hand and released it into Sekhmet's body. Sekhmet convulsed in pain but refused to fall. She ran at Ororo again only to be stopped by a fireball magic missile that knocked Sekhmet off her feet and back against the dome.

Eyes aglow Ororo chanted, "Release me and go back from whence you came. Release me or I will be forced to put you to shame. Release me and go back from whence you came. Release me or I will be forced to end this murderous game. Release me and go back from whence you came. Release me or I will be forced to imprison you in the ankh that bears your name."

Ororo spoke the chant as she walked closer Sekhmet. Gone was the fear she had when she first entered the astral plane. Gone was the doubt that she could wield the power of her ancestor Ashake. Ororo Munroe had just created her own mystical spell. This binding spell was not in the ancient book for Ororo to simply read and recite. No, in this place and at this time Ororo had ascended to the position of High Priestess and Sekhmet now cowered at Ororo's feet.

"Do you wish to see me dead Ororo Munroe Queen of Wakanda, Princess of Kenya, and daughter of Ashake?" asked Sekhmet humbly.

Ororo said nothing.

Sekhmet continued head downcast and body prostrated in the same way that the ancient Egyptians bowed to her when they begged for their lives, for their freedom, for mercy from the goddess of war and destruction. She gave none shelter and feared that she would find none in the woman who now towered above her.

Sekhmet played her last card and said, "You told me you believed that all life is sacred even mine."

At this Ororo's eyes returned to her normal blue and her fury subsided giving way to compassion. She knelt down and took Sekhmet's face in her hands. Gone was the lion face and in its place was a beautiful teary-eyed and frightened young woman. Ororo spoke soothingly, "I have no desire to harm you I simply want you to release me and I will in turn release you from your prison."

Sekhmet doubted Ororo's sincerity for how could a woman who she had attempted to kill and take over her life not to mention her body be so generous in return. She had never known humans to be so, so, so humane. Or perhaps they were and she refused to see any good in them; but here before her was the embodiment of all that she wanted the world to be and she was ready to destroy her and her world. For the first time in thousands of years Sekhmet realized that her father was wrong in his judgment and condemnation of humanity when he brought her forth and right when he turned away from her murderous rampage.

Ororo stood and held out her hand to Sekhmet. "Rise my child and we will leave this place together not as enemies but as two souls seeking the path of wisdom of righteousness."

Sekhmet took the olive branch and revealed the most angelic of smiles.

Part 2

Ororo's breathing slowed and came within normal range and her temperature dropped to 98.6 degrees as quickly as they had spiked over seven hours ago. T'Challa detected all of these changes even before his wife opened her gorgeous blue eyes. She smiled when she saw him sitting next to the bed holding her hand against his cheek.

Without saying a word T'Challa stood and started to remove the constraints from Ororo's wrists and ankles. Once finished he re-took his seat and said, "Welcome back." He gently and loving stroked her hair and pulled a small flute from a case under his chair. "Rest beloved for your soul is tired and need rejuvenation."

T'Challa played his flute for his wife the same way he did when they met so many years ago. He hadn't played in so long and only his wife was privy to this softer side of him. He played for his wife the song of his heart and his soul and knew that it would reach her even as she slept.

Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Two Days Later

"I call on the Powers of Earth, Moon, Sun, and Stars. I call on the Elements of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. To the Spirits of ALL that have past and those yet to come. To the Gods and Goddesses, Ancient and Young come hear my song. Come see my view. Bless Sekhmet now, as I Bless you."

Ororo released the ankh and it floated up into the atmosphere until it joined with the stars and they seemed to glow even brighter in the night sky. As Ororo descended to the ground to rejoin her husband she looked back once more and said, "Be at peace Sekhmet."

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