Wow so it's been like forever since I've updated this story. Mostly because I started working on a Resident Evil story after I hit a bit of a wall with this one. However, I had some inspiration to write for this story again after going to London and looked at some ancient Egyptian artifacts. So here is a new chapter for this story, hope you like it.
Even though Virginia knew she wasn't supposed to she couldn't help but try and recreate the event that happened the library with the scroll and the fire. However, she had promised Ardeth and Amar that she wouldn't do anything with ancient arts. She couldn't understand why they were so weary of the subject, but she felt guilty for wanting to practice them. She felt as though she was betraying their trust, and yet her curiosity was getting the better of her.
It had been three months since the night in the library and she had been back in the village training constantly since then. When she had free time she would ride out into the desert to a secluded oasis she had found to practice the incarnation, or at least what she could remember it being like. Yet try as she might she was unable to make anything set on fire. Perhaps she had just imagined that the incarnation had actually worked, after all it was rather late in the evening.
She sat on a nearby sand dune and stared down at a shrub that was beside the pool of water. She focused on the shrub willing it to combust but was unable to make anything happen. She was so focused she didn't even hear Ardeth approach.
"Is something troubling you?" He asked, standing beside her and looking down at her with concern.
"What?" she said his voice jarring her out of her thoughts. "No, just thinking."
"I hope you are not worried about meeting the other Medjai tribe leaders." He said noticing from her vacant expression she was still miles away.
"That's today?" She panicked. She had remembered earlier on in the week when Ardeth had mentioned they some of them were coming to see her she hadn't realized this day would be upon them so soon. She didn't want to disappoint anyone, and even though she had done well on her first mission about a week ago, she wasn't sure she was familiar enough with their way to life. Her Arabic still needed a work and sometime she would mispronounce something in a way that would often cause Amar to tease her. Ardeth always made a point to scold him for it, but Virginia knew it was only in jest.
"Yes, there is a meeting of the twelve tribes today. I will introduce you to them when the meeting has ended."
"Why do they want to see me? Do they do this with all the new warriors?"
"There has not been a female Medjai warrior in over ten thousand years and she was a very special case. Do not worry you are diligent in your training and have passed every test given to you thus far, I do not expect you to fail in this task." He reassured. He knew Virginia was often worried about disappointing him and he wanted her to know he believe in her.
"How can you be so certain that I will not fail?" She said with a sigh. She looked over at the shrub she had been trying to set on fire moments ago. For some reason she felt compelled to keep trying that spell and the fact that she could not recreate the event was troubling to her for some reason.
"Come with me," he said reaching out a hand to help her up. She accepted but her brow was knitted in confusion, because she did not know where he would lead her. They walked until a few paces before they stopped and stood looking out at the vast desert stretching out before them. "I want you to tell me what you see."
"I see the desert."
"Yes, and all the way to the east is Cairo, nearly 2 days ride from here. If I recall you made that journey in a day to try and find your brother. The journey people take in life tells a great deal about a person. Your journey tells me that you care a great deal for people and that you are tenacious. You do not quit and that is why I know you will not fail."
"Then I will do my best not to disappoint you," she said looking over at the warrior that stood beside her. He looked out at the desert, scanning the distance with his piercing gaze. Sometimes she felt as though his eyes could look right into a person's soul. They stood there for some time just looking out at the desert before Ardeth told her he must return to greet the twelve tribe leaders.
A while after he left, Virginia returned home and decided it would be best for her to change into a fresh pair of robs. After all she wanted to look her best for the twelve tribal leaders. Once she had changed she entered the kitchen to speak with Ardeth's mother, she thought the distraction would help to calm her nerves.
"Is there anything I can help with?" she asked when she entered the kitchen.
"Mind the soup, keep stirring it and add spices as needed," She ordered not looking up from the dough she needed. "You will do fine today, dear."
"I just don't understand why they want to meet me."
"Woman are rarely chosen to be members of the Medjai."
"Yes, Ardeth was telling me, the last one was over ten thousand years ago."
"Yes…she was, if I remember correctly she was a very powerful healer and she controlled the four elements."
"The four elements?"
"Yes, earth, fire, water, and wind. Such abilities are rare, many believe they do not actually exist," She said turning her attention to some bread she was making.
"Virginia," Ardeth called from the other side of tent. "They will see you now."
"Breathe, dear everything is going to be fine," Mrs. Bey said as Virginia let out a sigh she didn't even realize she had been holding. The other leaders of the twelve tribes were a mysterious force to her, they held a great deal of power and yet she knew next to nothing about them. She followed Ardeth into the tent were the council of the Village Elders often met and she lowered her head in respect to the other tribal leaders.
They were older than she expected for she had just assumed that they would all be around Ardeth's age. In noticing this she felt a greater respect for him seeing as he was in charge of men at least 15 years his senior.
"You have a very pale complexion, are you British then?" Asked one of the leaders after scrutinizing her for a moment.
"I'm not sure." She said knitting her brow in thought. From what she knew she was born here in Egypt so she supposed technically that made her Egyptian but her heritage was certainly of some European or American decedent.
"It is important to know one's past." Said one of the other leaders in a manner that almost seemed to scold her.
"I don't believe it matters how I can to be here but rather how I complete my journey that matters." She firmly replied. The leader seemed satisfied with her answer and nodded his head before sitting back further in his seat. "Well we have heard great things of your training, and you have our permission to continue on your journey."
Ardeth stayed behind to speak with some of the other Medjai leaders while Virginia headed over to the stables to tend to her horse. She had decided to name him Kasim which mean divided because of his light coloring he stood out from all the other horse. She found that visiting Kasim helped to calm her nerves, even thought things had gone well today she had been mentally prepared for the worst so all of the pent up worry was still there.
She began to brush Kasim's mane all the while thinking about her meeting with the other tribal leaders, Ardeth's mother had mentioned that the last female Medjai had been able to control the four elements. Her mind wandered again to the library and the flame that had started on the table. For a moment she thought about at least mentioning it to Ardeth, maybe it would be useful to her training. She shook her head at the notion, it was silly that she was even considering it. She was unsuccessful in creating fire again. For all she knew it could have just been her mind playing tricks on her.
"I thought I might find you here," Said Amar who had entered the stables as well.
"And what made you think that?" She asked with a small smile.
"Virginia, you are always either with that horse of Ardeth," He said with a laugh.
"That's because I'm always training." She continued to brush Kasim's mane but looked over towards the tent where Ardeth and the other tribe leaders were. She had though Ardeth said he would introduce her at the end of the meeting so she wondered what they were still talking about.
"I'm sure he will be out soon, thought I must admit I am a little insulted that you do not find my company to be satisfying enough," Amar jested with a slightly wounded expression.
Virginia rolled her eyes, "You know that is not true, you are one of my only friends here Amar. I just want to know how I did."
"You already know the answer. Ardeth thinks very highly of you, just the other day he told me you were his best pupil."
"He said that?"
"Yes, why would I lie?"
"I know. He's just so difficult to read it's not fair. He can just look at me and it's like he knows exactly what I'm thinking."
Amar was about to respond when he noticed Ardeth walking towards them. Amar had known Ardeth since they were boys and he could read the Medjai leader quite well. Ardeth's shoulders were tense and his expression was blank but by the briskness of his stride, Amar could tell something was angering his friend.
"I need you both to pack your things we are heading to Cairo," He said quickly as he looked to both Amar and Virginia.
"Right now?" she asked putting down the brush and turning her full attention to Ardeth.
"Is something wrong, my friend?" Amar asked with concern.
"That is where the council believes it would be best for Virginia to continue her training." Judging by the way that Ardeth seemed to spit out these words it was clear that he was unhappy with the decision. "You will be staying in an apartment near my Uncle's museum. A woman who works for him will be living there as well and will be informed of this before we arrive. Amar and I will then return to the village. We will check on your progress from time to time."
"Wait, you're not longer going to be training me? Have I…done something wrong?"
"No, but after much deliberation we have decided it would be best for my Uncle to train you."
"I see…" She replied looking down at her feet. Even though he said she had not done something wrong she felt as though she was being punished. He was making her leave, what had quickly become her home and although she was used to moving around a lot she had grown fond of the idea of staying in one place for awhile. At first she was going to just accept what he had told her and head back to the house to pack but something inside her seemed to rise up, she was a Medjai warrior, and she deserved the respect of a proper answer. "If I haven't done anything wrong then why am I being sent away from my home, and all of my friends?"
Ardeth let out a sigh and stroked his beard; he did not look at her but simply replied, "Because I was being foolish. Just because our tribe has adopted a more western lifestyle does not mean there are certain matters that should be respected."
Virginia was confused by this response but Amar seemed outraged. "But she has the sacred mark, surly they did not object to her training here because she is a woman and a foreigner."
"No, the objected to an unmarried woman spending a great deal of time alone with an unmarried man. I imagine they were even more concerned after they saw her."
"They aren't suggesting that you tired to take advantage of me are they? Because it that is the case I can tell them…" Virginia began to hastily reply before Ardeth held up a hand to stop her.
"They do not question my word on the matter. It never even occurred to me how this would look to an outsider, but I can understand where they are coming from. I think, taking you to Cairo is the best solution, and thankfully this matter was resolved in an honorable manner." Ardeth began to saddle his horse and Amar started to do the same.
Virginia however stood in the stable beside her horse but made no effort to prepare for her departure. Virginia usually followed Ardeth's advice but she felt like she was being punished for something that was not her fault. "But I don't want to go to Cairo."
Ardeth stopped saddling his horse and turned to face her, "Unfortunately, this isn't about what anyone wants, it's about doing what is best for everyone."
"I think, what Ardeth is trying to say it that no one here wants you to leave, Virginia. However the circumstances are not in our favor. If anyone were ever to accuse you or Ardeth of behaving in a disrespectable manner the consequences would be very grave for both of you." Amar explained with a sigh.
Virginia nodded. "I see, well I will just have to go and pack my things then."
It had never really occurred to her how different the other Medjai tribal leaders would be compared to Ardeth but it was clear that Ardeth's tribe followed more Western traditions. During her free time she had read a few books on Arabic traditions and although she did not agree with some of them she understood they were just different than what she was used to.
She as she packed her things all the while explaining to Mrs. Bey why she was leaving she felt as though she was leaving her home. She had always lived a rather rambling life, never staying in one place for very long and became attracted to the idea of making this her home. Now, it seemed as though Cairo would be her new home. Mrs. Bey hugged her goodbye and tried to load down her bag with more bread and spices then she would need for such a sort journey. Virginia took them anyway knowing this was Mrs. Bey's way of showing she cared for her.
Virginia was surprised how quickly they were ready to leave the village; though she had a feeling Ardeth's haste was because he wanted to fix his mistake as soon as possible. After having him as a teacher for these past few months she had come to realize that he could sometimes be a bit of a perfectionist and a mistake such as this would be hard on him.
As they rode away from the village Virginia paused for a moment and glanced back at the collect of tents. She hadn't even noticed that Amar had stopped beside her as well, "You know the Medjai are a migratory people, try to think of this journey as just another migration before you are home again."
"Yes, I suppose…" She said quietly. She looked ahead and noticed that Ardeth was riding quite a distance away from the two of them. She and Amar rode in silence for a few miles and when they stopped at a well to get some water Virginia decided to try and talk to Ardeth who was giving water to his horse but appeared to be deep in thought.
"This isn't your fault you know."
"Yes, it was, I wasn't thinking clearly." He said not looking up from his task as he spoke.
"Well there is no use blaming yourself for your mistakes you can only learn from them." She sternly replied, "You told me that once when I couldn't learn to block properly."
"She has a point my friend." Said Amar who decided to join the conversation as well.
"You forget that as a leader my mistakes weigh heavier on my conscience. My decisions do not only effect myself but the whole tribe."
"True, but Allah has a plan for us and we may not understand why yet but these things happen for a reason," Amar sagely replied.
"My brother used to say God, and stuff like that was all a load of hooey," Said Virginia with a small smile. A memory had come to mind of a time when a missionary had tried to talk to Rick while he was in a bar and Rick had shoved the man's bible back at him.
"And what do you think?" Amar asked with curiosity.
"I don't know," Said Virginia with a shrug. "It would be nice to think that everything happens for a reason, but after the Great War I just can't understand how people can act like that."
"We may never know and perhaps it is best to leave it at that," Said Ardeth getting back on his horse. "We have a long journey ahead of us."
Virginia got on her horse as well as did Amar and soon they were riding off into the distance horizon. She knew Ardeth had meant they had a long way to Cairo but she felt as though the statement could apply to her life in general, she had a long journey ahead of her and she wasn't entirely clear as to where this journey would take her.
Sorry if there are typos I tried to comb through it the best I can. Also sorry if the little bit of religious stuff at the end is weird for anyone, I myself am not religious but giving the time period and the character I thought it made sense that they would be. Also in case anyone didn't know this WWI at the time was referred to The Great War because WWII hadn't happened yet. (Sorry the history major in me wants to be accurate). I know some people want to see romance soon but be patient I want this to seem realistic so I don't want to rush anything but it will be there eventually. Anyways, hope you liked it and don't forget to review.