"The Measure of a Man"
Formerly - "Blood of the Hom dai"-
By May It Be
Author note: PLEASE READ : Due to a recent renewal of my love of this fandom, and in many thanks to the inspiration of an old friends' fabulous written works, I have, after a long absence from writing, as well as this story, decided to return and once again take up this piece of fiction. I am currently in the process of completing this tale as well as revamping the entire story; adding and subtracting bits to enhance the plot and character development. It has been many years over due. And to any fan's that may have been waiting for the next installment, I must apologies. I can only hope that the improvements I make to this story will renew your interest in it, and make the wait worth while. You may notice many names and characters have changed due to the revision of this work. When I started this story back in 2002 it was rushed and spur of the moment, without much practical research. As a result, many of the names were lacking or outlandishly out of place. So, after much deliberation I have decided to alter names to more accurately coincide with the time and setting. I will add notes at the end of each chapter to clear up any confusion in the transition to help make it more understandable.
Also, please be warned. This story is laden with gore and violence. (Even more so then it initially contained) This chapter in particular is a little graphic. If you are sensitive to blood and gore, read with caution.
Disclaimer: I do not own 'The Mummy', 'The Mummy Returns' or any of the characters there in. I am making no money off of this. This story is meant for sick, twisted, entertainment purposes only. However, the ideas and plot behind it are solely mine. Do not take them please.
Chapter One : "Messages in the Sand"
O'Connell walked silently through the dark tunnels of a nameless Egyptian ruin; the many figures upon the walls a mere blur as he passed.
For the life of him he could not place a name to the building in which he now stood, and yet something told him he had indeed been here before. The wall's encircling his tall figure were bright and enigmatic, restored to the rightful golden glory of the ancient days; glowing with riches, power, and blood. A chilled wind disturbed the sandy locks that rested upon his forehead drying the peppers of sweat beaded atop his skin, causing his flesh to tingle with sensation and perhaps apprehension.
Something about this particular temple seemed so.. so…So what? He couldn't quite place the feeling that wafted from all about him but it was cold, promising death and perhaps worse to any who dare enter.
His hand itched for a pistol he had been horrified to discover was no where to be found; the familiar weight of steel and mechanisms dourly missed as a feeling of dread seized about his throat. Rounding another shadowed corner, the faint sounds of suffering reached his ears. Screams and moans in a language he could not begin to comprehend set chills up his spine, the horror deepened by the hollow clinking of chain upon stone. The floor seemed to fall from his feet and the feeling of trepidation fell like a rock into the pit of his belly. There it was, he realized with sudden clarity. That was the sign. His signal to leave well enough alone and get the hell out of there. His brain told him to stop. To go back. And yet despite his misgivings, his feet would not obey. It felt as if some force outside of himself was drawing him in; luring him against his will to this place of pain and malevolence.
Rick swallowed as he got ever closer and the sounds of pleading joined the cacophony.
He didn't know why he was here, nor did he know why he was unarmed, but he felt, with alarming lucidity, the sudden desperate desire to know what was in there. Those voices. They sounded so familiar to him, and if they were suffering…
The overwhelming hunger to stop their agony washed over his senses without warming, making him dizzy with the sheer force of the emotion; nearly knocking him from his feet in confusion. Desires and emotions warred inside him, so strong he felt as if he were being crushed under their weight. Certainly these were not his own. So confusing and erratic. He did not know from where they sprang, but he strongly craved for them to stop.
O'Connell reached the room of suffering quicker than he had anticipated and came to an immediate halt, flattening himself against the wall before he could be spotted by anyone inside. Cautiously, heart pounding in his chest as if any moment it would rip free, he steeled his nerve and peered around the edge of the entryway; catching his breath at what he saw.
It was a large circular room, aglow with a flood of torchlight. In the very center stood a dark haired man, proud and vicious in appearance; an open silver book, bearing a startling resemblance to the Book of the Dead, laid before him. His voice was raised, roaring and lost in chant. It was a slow rhythm flowing to the beating flames of the lamps. Directly in front of the man was a heavy stone altar, tall and long, spacious enough for a person to lie upon and have plenty of room. At each end a small carved table rested, both decorated with a plethora of golden tools baring teeth and blades that looked like they could carve through a mans very bones.
Rick suppressed an involuntary shiver at the pondering of the intent of those tools.
Behind the chanting man, who was quite obviously the leader, stood two tall statues of gold, valiant and haughty, each wore the visage of a man, half wrapped as a mummy bearing the atef-crown with quiet dignity. Both had the outside arm crossed over their chest, the other down at its side. Hanging between the two huge golden sentries was the lean and slack form of a tall Egyptian, his head cast down and hunched in unconsciousness. O'Connell could not clearly see the poor man from his current position and what he saw seemed unfamiliar, yet, for some reason he could not immediately draw his attention away.
Circling the room in a long line of jade and sepia, an army of men waited, transfixed and dutiful. Their exposed flesh was dusted with gold, voices chanting calmly with their leaders. There had to be at least fifty of them, Rick counted with mounting concern, and each was heavily armed. Drawing his gaze from the fierce looking army, it was only then he realized from whence the sounds of suffering were reverberating. In front of each warrior he noted a kneeling dark clad man, battered and bleeding, praying in a language Rick did not understand, and yet, somehow knew was Ancient Egyptian.
Rick swallowed, hard, his eyes again roaming swiftly over the kneeling men not quite believing what he was seeing. He knew who they were. The distinct clothing and tattoos gave them away immediately.
They were Med-jai.
The Americans heart nearly stopped as he noticed this, searching their faces frantically for one he recognized. There were many actually, to his surprise and dismay, but not the one in particular his mind was screaming for. Then his eyes flicked back to the man hanging from the statues and his breath hitched in his throat. It took all his will power to remain where he was, when his body so desired to lurch forward and run into the room.
It couldn't be!
Unaware of their spectators' turmoil, the man chanting suddenly ceased and set the book aside. Bronzed fingers curled about the handle of a sharp glinting dagger, a pleased expression sliding across the mans features as he moved to the hanging Med-jai and brandished the knife. With slow, deliberate pressure he sheathed the blade tip in the Egyptians flesh between the points of his collarbone and pulled down hard enough for blood to well and seep uninhibited down his chest. The Med-jai's head suddenly snapped up, pained and startled as he was forced so rudely into consciousness; blinking the clouds and haze from his eyes in confusion. He looked hard upon the man who began to slowly carve ancient hieroglyphs into his chest with unearthly detachment, unsettled by his eerily mad expression.
Rick, seeming no longer in control of his facilities, did take a step forward then, and another as he recognized the prisoner; soon running full speed into the room; an alien war cry upon his lips. The captive warrior's eyes shot up and locked with the Americans; an unreadable expression marring their pitch depths. "Ardeth!" Rick called, unaware of the futility of his situation, and dove bodily into the nearest jade robed warrior; snapping the soldiers neck without a thought. As if spurred by the sudden one man uprising, the Med-jai leader finally became coherent enough of his surroundings and predicament to fight back; lashing out with all the strength he could muster and kicked the man in front of him away with a satisfying crack. Swooning for a moment racked with dizziness, his hands fisted above his head before curling about the ropes capturing his wrists; twisting and straining against them hard enough to tear skin.
Spinning Rick slammed his fist into an approaching warriors jaw, dislocating the joint under the sheer force of the impact before ramming his knee into the mans gut. The soldier fell to the sand with a dull thump and did not rise. Kicking out, a snarl upon his lips, the blond swept another's legs from under him, landing a blow to his groin with a sickening crunch before crushing his throat beneath his boot. He heard the next attack moments before a blade swooped passed him, barely managing to side step what could have been a deadly blow. Using the warriors momentum against him, Rick grabbed the hilt with his left hand and twisted the mans' arm; encircling his own waist in a bizarre hug as the other stumbled into his back, surprised. Wrenching in the startled man's grasp he slammed his elbow into his face, before the scimitar turned and slid quite effortless into the Arab's stomach.
He felt no sorrow as another warrior fell dead.
Whirling, he was caught off guard as a large blunt object collided with his temple and light exploded behind his eyes. O'Connell stumbled with a grunt, landing on all fours in the dust; shaking his head to clear the sudden display of fireworks that danced across his vision. The light had yet to dim when four of the jade clad guards swooped in and ambushed him, hailing kicks and clubs upon his debilitated form. Curling in in shock at the sudden assault he had little time to protect himself before pain burst through his body and his breath fled his lungs. Somewhere deep in the back of his subconscious he was certain he felt a rib or two snap, and a thigh bone crack in two.
A disembodied voice barked orders and with little resistance Rick was quickly bound and drug backwards into the circle of captives. The surrounding kneeling Med-jai looked at the American with almost pleading eyes; begging him to help their leader. But Rick had little left in him at that point to offer.
Unwilling to give in without a fight despite his companions capture, Ardeth kicked wildly again, sending a man flying back into the stone altar a sharp crack testament to a snapped spine as he slumped lifeless. The Chieftain had finally managed to free one bloodied and thrashed wrist when another soldier charged him, landing a blow to his stomach. Ardeth did not give himself time to react and simply attacked. Moving with speed he did not think he possessed he swept the man's legs from beneath him, while simultaneously slammed his now unrestrained elbow into his throat choking the warrior half to death.
With the American now subjugated all free attention returned to the struggling Med-jai. Two of the tan and green warriors rushed to Ardeth and tackled his legs, clamoring to pull them taut, but he would not allow them to subdue him so easily. Scuffing his heel along the ground he kicked a wave of sand into one mans eyes before crushing his nose with a swift blow. Startled by his companions outcry the remaining soldier reacted in fear and suddenly jerked Ardeth's captive leg twisting it sharp enough to snap it from the socket. Bay bit back a cry as agony exploded up his body and the now dislocated leg crumpled, unable to support him; his already mangled wrist taking the bulk of his weight. His free hand shook with exertion as it fisted about the rope, taut and complaining, in an effort to relieve the strain upon his wrist; swinging his uninjured foot, albeit with reduced clarity, at the man whom had wrenched his form. The warrior simply rolled and ducked beneath the blow with little effort before quickly rising to his knee. Struggling to once again gain his footing and relieve the tearing grip upon his wrist, Ardeth warred to quell the misery that laced through his body. The warrior, seeing his opening, yanked hard on the now useless limb, dirty nails digging into smooth skin; satisfied as another violent crack rose from above his head. The Med-jai had almost managed to stand a new when a sudden burst of pain, stronger then the first thundered through his nerves and all hope of standing again crumbled as he fell; hanging once more by a now snapped wrist.
Drunk with pain, his head fell forward, a sudden weakness overtaking his body as he panted for breath.
The dark haired leader, momentarily forgotten, snarled wickedly as he all but appeared before the dangerously hanging Med-jai; a near insane glint to his eyes. Reaching down without warning, he slammed a golden blade into the joint of thigh and pelvis and gave a mighty wrench, effectively shattering the cavity. This time Ardeth could not withhold the agonized scream that broke from his lungs. Pain like he had never felt before over took his senses, radiating with such intensity he felt violently ill, but had not the strength to vomit. O'Connell, having regained a minute amount of mental power, physically recoiled at the sudden out cry, his anguish at his close companions' misery echoed by the helpless Med-jai. Heads bowed, foreheads to the sand, one by one the black robed warriors had crumbled; prayers of mercy weaving through the air.
A claustrophobic heaviness settled into the very atmosphere. Dark and suffocating. And Rick found it hard to find his next breath. He simply couldn't believe what was happening…
Ardeth's body again became limp his legs no longer able to move let alone support his lithe form. His faded awareness, submerged in a halo of agony, teetered on the very brink of oblivion. He knew, somewhere in the cloying cobwebs of suffering that had become his once keen and nimble mind, that if he were to let his eyes slip as they had want to do and close to the outside world, willing to tumble into the darkness it would not simply be the blessed arms of unconsciousness that greeted him, but the cold hands of death.
The leader nodded at his handiwork and quickly ripped the blade free; eyes soulless and empty, drinking in every minuscule notation of pain like a starving man, feeding off his prisoner's anguish. With the glint of the golden weapon removed from the temporary sheath of Ardeth's body, Rick could clearly see the shiver's of alabaster bone protruding from the ripped and raw flesh. A splinter of white landed upon the evil mans sleeve and without a thought a hand rose brushing it away callously as if it were simply mere particles of dust and not a piece of another mans bone. The sudden urge to vomit presented itself in a rather alarming way. A bout of dry heaving suddenly shot up Rick's esophagus before he realized what had happened, doubling his broad frame with the effort to expel imaginary bile. At the strange noises that escaped O'Connell, hunched and trying to contain a shiver, the warrior behind him snorted, landing a quick kick to the American's back with a barked command.
Rick did not understand what he said, but the message was hard to miss.
In the moment it took him to subdue the urge to heave, the jade clad men had cut loose the Med-jai chieftain, laughing as he crumpled to the sand helpless and fading. When next the American looked up his companion had been moved without further injury to the stone altar laid as a sacrifice before some terrible heathen god; the glyphs etched across his chest, complete, blazing a pattern of red on gold. O'Connell watched painfully, hitching, wet pants for breath forcing their way passed the gag in his mouth. His eyes became blurred and unfocused.
Ardeth's head rolled weakly to the side and his dark gaze locked once again with Rick's. A large crimson pool began to form steadily under his back as the color seemed to drain from his usually mischievous and enigmatic eyes; eyes that all too clearly displayed his sole desire to give in to the closing grip of death. Forgive me, my friend… May Allah have mercy and allow me to die with honor.
In that terrible instant, O'Connell felt a sudden swell of terror like never before.
No! Fight Ardeth! Damn it fight!!! You can't give in! You CAN'T die!
A ghost of a smile spread half heartedly across the Med-jai's lips at the stubborn inaudible command, recognizing the mans ironclad will and attempted to once more draw upon his own severely dwindling reserves. For a moment neither moved, too caught in the quiet exchange to notice the world around them had not stopped but carried on defiantly. Allah forgive me my weakness... A sigh escaped Ardeth's cracked lips then and eyelids he could no longer sustain closed. All the tension in his aching body seemed to sift away like so many grains of sand and for one horrifying moment, Rick feared his friend had given in and passed on. The dread seemed to tighten as a noose about his neck and he could no longer breathe.
When next the Med-jai's eyes opened they shone with a renewed defiance and determination almost startling in its intensity.
O'Connell could not hide his relief, or the swell of elation he felt at his friends renewed sense of self preservation.
Unaware and uncaring of what had transpired between the two warriors, the faceless leader of the Arab army began to once again chant; the worlds lyrical and ancient. He lifted the bloodied blade high above his head, unmoved as the vibrant liquid seeped down his hand in a wave of red, shifting to stand behind the mighty altar. A fierce wind began to kick about the room and smoke clouded the ceiling. His voice rose steadily, booming and indifferent as he neared the end of the spell. Two men, both surprisingly young in age, moved forward then and each took up a different tool from one of the ornate tables.
The first of the guards moved towards the Med-jai's head obstructing O'Connell's view and moved a spoon-like-blade towards Ardeth's face bringing it dangerously close. Ardeth looked steadily upon his enemy, his features calm but strong. The man paused, somewhat swayed by their captives determination, and glanced wearily back at his leader, who nodded silently. In the poor mans moment of hesitation Ardeth reacted. Shooting forward, his only mobile limb darted from the stone and plucked the blade from the startled mans grasp, spun it with nimble fingers and jammed it into his throat. "Forgive me." He breathed as the youth, pain stricken and shocked, fell to the sand below dead before he hit the ground. With one last burst of strength the Med-jai let loose the weapon, tossing it like at dagger toward the leader of his enemy, smirking in satisfaction as it sliced into the beings shoulder. Rick could not contain his cry of joy at the sight of the evil man's blood. Retribution was hell, and O'Connell hoped the man burned in it.
The man roared with anger. The sound was deep, bellowed from the very pit of his soul, ugly and inhuman.
Several hands grasped defiantly upon the Med-jai's form, forcing him back to the stone below. All jumped at the sudden enraged scream eyes wide as their master appeared before them and without out warning struck. The blade he had been holding, already stained with the Egyptian's blood, slammed down through flesh and into the rock beneath cleaving bone and sinew as it passed. Ardeth recoiled and arched from the altar in agony as the dagger sliced through his previously unbroken wrist; effectively pinning his arm down and rendering him at last immobile. The man sneered as the wounded form became still; a feral glint to his eyes and spat upon the stone by the Med-Jai's head. Stepping back he motioned another man forward, leaving the dagger firmly embedded through Ardeth's limb as he painfully wrenched the spoon blade from his own body. "Hurry. Before he dies." The nameless leader hissed in Ancient Egyptian.
This time, as a young man neared, brandishing another hollowed blade, the Med-jai chieftain did not move.
Rick jumped as a fierce scream, this one of immense pain, ripped through the room and Ardeth's body trembled as the blade dug into his flesh. Slowly and deliberately the youth worked, never once taking his attention from their captives face anticipating an attack that never came. To O'Connell, after what seemed like forever, the man finally moved away and dutifully discarded the spoon-like-blades contents into a flaming torch pot that burned black with a quiet hiss.
By now Ardeth's body was shaking so badly from shock and blood loss he could make no other motion but. The Med-jai surrounding the room fell forward onto their hands, praying, crying for Allah to take mercy on their Leader. But Allah it seemed, would not listen. It took Rick a moment to realize just what had been done to his dying friend. And when clarity finally struck his brain he nearly vomited into the gag. Where once the proud and noble mans warm and fierce chocolate orbs twinkled with contained mirth and strength, now two empty holes remained; bloody and shaved near to the bone.
The other man moved forward now, holding in his slightly shivering hand a serrated knife and again, blessedly this time, blocked Rick's view.
This time no sound was heard from the Med-jai, too far gone and lost in pain and the early throws of death to notice the blade that severed his tongue in one swift effective swipe. The warrior threw the severed appendage into the flaming pot and flanked back to his post by the statue; watching his leader dutifully. Hands grasped at the subjugated warriors, pulling them from their prayers and yanked them to their knees; a serrated blade placed tight beneath each mans chin. Rick was only dully aware of the cold steel forcibly biting into his own throat, too lost in the grip of horror and grief to pay it much heed.
The nameless leader of the earth toned army moved forward, an arrogant and terrible mask upon his features as he looked down upon Ardeth Bay's face, smirking when the man began to choke upon his own blood. He retrieved a long and vicious looking weapon from the table to his left, and raised it above his head, speaking the last of the ancient spell with terrifying calm. In one swift movement, the man swung the blade down embedding it deep within the Med-jai's heart. Ardeth's back arched reflexively, gasping for air that would never come and then, terrifyingly, fell limp.
Void of all life.
A fierce cry of victory echoed through the room, beating off the walls and pounding down upon the American like a wall of water crushing him under its weight.
Blood bathed the sand in a sparkling wash of gore and death as one by one the captured Med-jai too fell to the afterlife; throats slit and dead upon the ground. O'Connell surged forward in vicious disbelief, unwittingly forcing himself upon the blade at his own throat, slicing his neck all but it in two. The hand curled in his hair released and he slumped unmoving to the ground.
His friend was dead. Ardeth Bay was dead!
This can't be happening..
As the edges of his vision faded and the cold breath of death bore down upon his neck, Rick's eyes raised, valiantly fighting to see his friends form one last time. And immediately, wished he hadn't. As he breathed his last, he watched in horror as the wicked leader of his enemy, with one powerful stroke, chopped through Ardeth's unmoving neck, rending his head from his shoulders like a trophy of his final humiliation.
Then the world went black.
Rick O'Connell shot up in bed wide eyed and horrified, strangling a choked off yell of denial as he turned with almost inhuman speed and vomited viscously; repeatedly emptying the contents of his unhappy stomach onto the hardwood floor of his bedroom. Eyes frantic and confused clenched against the sudden pain of bile forcing its way up his esophagus, knuckles white and quaking as he grasped against the mattress. Evelyn, at his side, stirred, her almond eyes fluttering open at the odd sounds her husband was making. Petite fingers rose to rub across her face, a yawn splitting full lips as she stretched still quite contentedly half asleep. "Mmm Rick?.. Come back to bed.." she mumbled groggily, arching as her back elongated and rolled onto her side to look at her husband. Her heart skipped a beat.
His predicament registered sharply in her muddled mind and her delicate hand flew out to the bedside lamp, flipping the switch bathing the large room in a warm amber glow. Rick continued to heave onto the floor unable to stop, his body shaking from the effort it took to expel everything inside of him so violently. Quickly, Evelyn scrambled to her knees and placed a gentle hand upon his back stroking it in smooth, soothing circles whispering silent words of comfort in an effort to ease his suffering. Alarmed at the amount of liquid and matter splattering the polished wood, the woman hurried into the adjoining washroom. Grabbing a glass she filled it with lukewarm water and dampened a wash rag before rushing back to the bed. Gently she bathed his moist flesh washing away the beads of sweat and salt that clung to his forehead and neck; offering silent support while still quite obviously shaken. The last thing Evelyn had expected to wake up to in the middle of the night was the sight of her husband retching over the side of their bed.
The vomiting soon began to cease, leaving a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach and a burning sensation in his throat.
Shakily he sat back and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, only then noticing his wife. O'Connell turned to her and practically collapsed in her arms, shaking with strain so bad he couldn't even speak. "Here." Silently Evelyn offered him the glass of water, content as he sipped the cool liquid then set it aside, dutifully washing his face of the foul smelling bile. "Rick, darling, what happened?" She breathed softly, a tone of disbelief coloring her voice as she studied his features; noticing the far away look and apprehension in his bright eyes.
My God, that was horrible! Ardeth-…
He squeezed his eyes shut against the memory and tried to concentrate on his wives words, but instead settled for the steady thrum of her heartbeat beneath his ear. It was the third dream Rick had had over the last month since leaving Cairo, but none of them could compare to this one. It was so viscous, so brutal and so incredibly REAL. In all the other dreams Rick had never come in contact with anyone else, much less been subjugated to anything like THAT. Instead, he had spent his time wondering aimlessly through Egyptian halls every so often glancing at a hieroglyph or statue that seemed oddly familiar. This dream was just plain sadistic.
Soon, Rick's shaking too began to subside and he could make out Evy's frightened words.
"Rick! Honey, calm down… It's alright..." Her voice trembled as she said this and when Rick looked up to meet her face he saw her scared eyes and tears glistening on the crest of her cheeks threatening to fall. She had never seen him like this before. And it terrified her. He was always so strong. Even in the face of danger he was tough and resilient, waving off the threat of harm with a charming grin. It was one of the many things she loved about him. And to see him reduced to his current state….
The only time she had ever seen him upset was when something physically happened to Alex or her. Rick had never acted this way over a simple dream!
Something must be terribly wrong.
"Rick, what's wrong? What happened?" She asked in a gentle voice, stroking his hair bathing the flushed skin of his cheeks and forehead tenderly. O'Connell swallowed hard and tried to force words passed his raw throat. "Ardeth, he was-" Suddenly a very vivid image of Ardeth Bay, proud and noble Med-jai leader, being beheaded like a common murderer came to life in front of Rick's eyes and he fell to the side of the bed again. Dry heaves now forced themselves out of his body, not having anything inside his weak form left to expel. Rick was well versed in the ways of war and death. He'd taken many lives himself over the years, and it had never fazed him. But it was something quite different when the person suffering was someone you cared for.
Evy became steadily more worried, both at the name her husband muttered and at his reaction. When he again stopped vomiting Evelyn pulled Rick back from hanging on the edge, seeing him unable to do so under his own power. "What about Ardeth, Rick? What happened? What did you see?" She whispered again, trying to get him to talk to her.
There was a long silence as Rick tried to force an explanation out while trying to quell the unease in his stomach, realizing soon that he simply just did not have the strength to throw up a third time. "He was tortured… Killed. They sacrificed him, and I had to watch it all. God Evy, it was so horrible! They broke all his limbs and dug out his eyes and.. and cut off his tongue.. I couldn't stop them. God they wouldn't-!.. Not until-" His nose wrinkled and his fingers curled as he explained, mimicking the blade as it had carved his friends eyes from their sockets. With a shiver, he felt himself becoming sick again and fought it down hard, clinging tightly to his last shred of dignity and refused to vomit; not noticing how his wife tensed against him.
"Ardeth, he-they…" Evy started to shake as well, her eyes wide as memories and flashes of dismemberment and death surfaced in her minds eye. "Rick, I think something is wrong." She stated simply trepidation turning her face a ghastly white, waiting for him to acknowledge her. Slowly, Rick looked back up to her waiting for her to continue, noting with some alarm, her ashen features.
"A… A couple days ago, when you were out with Jonathan I-.. I had a dream not unlike that one."
"What?" O'Connell cut in, leaning up a bit and looked her steadily in the eye, his features suddenly becoming hard and unbelieving. "Why didn't you tell me?! If something's happened to Ardeth!-" "I didn't know it was him! I knew it was a Med-jai, but the face was shadowed. I.. I didn't know for sure, I suspected yes, but I wanted to know before I told you anything. After the last time I had dreams like this… I just.. didn't want to believe it." Quickly she cut him off and tried to explain, praying he would understand her; words fading into a bewildered whisper.
A knock at the door did little to draw the couples's attention, the creak as it slid open barely noticeable in the silent room. Jonathan stood in the hall, a candle burning in one hand as the other rubbed tiredly at sleep reddened eyes. A yawn split his face, forcing his head back with the action allowing the ridiculous night cap atop his head to slip back nearly falling off. "What's all the hullabaloo about?" He slurred, perhaps still a tad drunk. It took him a moment to recognize the tension that seeped through the walls of the master bedroom like an entity unto itself; the sharp and unpleasant tang of vomit heavy in the air. Carnahan took a step back as the noxious wave of odor hit him, his nose wrinkling in distaste. "I say… What happened?"
"Jonathan." Evelyn waved him off with a sharp command before replacing her hand upon her husbands arm, shifting a little closer as Rick seemed lost in his own thoughts, not even hearing the Englishman's entrance. Silently, O'Connell nodded, sitting further up and sighed, unease still singing through his body. "I need to know what's wrong Evy. I have to know if he's all right. I owe him too much not to." Evelyn nodded and hugged him tight, brushing the sweaty bangs from his forehead with a gentle hand, caressing cool fingers down his cheek as she offered him an encouraging smile. "We owe him Rick… I want to go see him too, see him smile again and tell us that everything is alright… He's a part of this family, maybe not by blood, but he is just as much a brother to me as Jonathan."
Carnahan glanced between the two atop the bed, slipper clad feet shifting uncomfortable.
"Why do I have the sudden feeling that I missed something important?"
The night air was crisp and swirled in gentle waves across the endless dunes.
The moon sat perched high in the western horizon. She seemed to hesitate amongst the ocean of stars, clinging to her crown in the heavens for as long as she dared before starting the long, nightly trek across the downward slope of the late eve. Once again resigning herself to a long days rest, she relinquished the rule of skies to the fast approaching sun. Small swaths of cloud spread across the glittering canvas of heaven, painted by the very fingers of Nuit, mere gossamer blurs in the bleak expanse of night.
It was a deceptively calm evening, cool and gentle. The play of the sand against his feet in soft swirls and miniature cyclones was relaxing and familiar. To all outward appearances, he stood as a man who knew that all was right with the world and would remain thus until the day the very pyramids crumbled.
But he knew better.
Fingers of apprehension and foreboding walked their way up the base of his neck and curled tight about his throat. The faint tickle sent a shiver of anticipation down his spine. For a moment, he found it hard to breath, and he could not keep the smile of delight from rising upon his features. Dark eyes, hardened by years of adversity and fruitless laboring peered in silent reverence across the vast wasteland of the desert, the shadows casting mysterious puzzles over the dunes. In that moment, he saw red. Nothing but red, as far as the eye could see. A sea of blood lay before his feet, melting the golden dunes and devouring the desert as a great flood of destruction and chaos. And he reveled in it.
The time was coming.
He felt it as surely as he felt the gentle fingers of moonlight glinting upon his tanned cheeks. And he welcomed it with open arms.
The end of days was near.
His power will rise. All who stand before him will fall beneath his feet and bathe mother Egypt in the blood of thousands. The very sky shall be hallowed before him and fall upon its knees as he passed; not as a man. But a god. The earth will shake, and the underworld shall be split in twine and drown beneath the flow of bodies he would cast to the wolves.
He knew this. He foresaw it,
And he reveled in it.
This chapter has finally been rewritten.
I hope I did not upset anyone. XD I know this chapter was incredibly odd, and quite disgusting. I warned you. It is also quite a bit different from the original writing. I changed it in an attempt to more accurately capture the characters personalities. I am striving to make all the characters, Ardeth and Rick especially, stronger. More resilient and more masculine. (aside from Rick's obvious distress in the second scene. I tried hard to make it work. To make him strong while still obviously upset; and rightly so. But I feel I was unsuccessful.)
I know the first scene is a little harsh. But it was meant to be. I am however, a terrible judge on my own works and can never tell when I have gone too far. So if it appears that I have please inform me XD
To anyone who actually read this, thank you. I hope you enjoyed it. Please stick around for the rest of the revamped chapters and many new ones to come.