The embers flicker in my memory as I hold my love in my arms. Danger flickers with it. I throw my stick and weild my axe the best I can. But I am frozen in horror as I face down my demon.
Anubis. The god who brings mortals to the underworld.
But I am immortal. He cannot harm me. His overconfidence, his belief that I am frozen with fear works to his disadvantage. Suddenly I swing my axe, and it bites into his stomach. My love scramble to her feet and grabs a rock to throw, but because the demon and I are so close, she cannot get an open shot.
Blood pours from the wound. He can be hurt. He can be killed. He doubles over in pain, and slashes his sword at me. I jump back, and then run past him, swinging my axe behind me. It leaves a mark on his back. One last feeble swing of his I parry, then chop at his shoulder. He falls to the ground.
Have I killed a god?
Once again I awake to the sight of something other than that fearsome visage.
This is the first time since the incident happened that I have had that dream two nights in a row. Normally I have it only a few times a century.
I am still afraid. And I am willing to admit that much.
Fear is something most immortals have forgotten. In their long lives, they know that the there is only one way they can die. And once they survive their first hundred years, they start losing any fear they might have had as a mortal.
I am one of the few exceptions. I have lived longer than most immortals. Yet somehow I have taken fewer heads than most. The average immortal will take a head at least a dozen times in a decade. I have taken that many in a century.
I must admit, I was lucky to survive that first hundred years.
Lucky especially that I was afraid to travel west instead of east.
To the ancient egyptians, the west is where the land of the dead, Duat, is. In reality, it is where Europe is. Europeans know little of self-defense. They swung heavy clubs as weapons until they learned how to forge swords, then they replaced the wooden clubs with metal blades, and swung them just as clumisly.
But in the east, the persians used long thing slashing blades and wore little armor. They developed swordplay to a higher skill than the simple bash and stab of the west. Further east lies asia. There I studied tai chi sword techniques, and learned how to use weapons other than my scimitar. But even after so many years in asia, I still kept my long curved blade at hand.
When I finally made my way to Europe, I was fortunate to survive. Right before the American revolution, I sensed the effect it would have on the country I was in at the time, France.
And I was right. No one knows exactly how many immortals perished by the hand of madame guillotine. I know of seven by reputation, and one more personally.
My skill with weapons was learned. My strength was inherited from an immortal I killed.
Nothing is more painful than feeling the searing pain of the Quickening... especially when the man you slaughtered, the man whose essense you are absorbing was one who you once called 'friend'.
After that, I went to a land where the revolution used guns, not public beheadings. I went to America.
America was far in the west. It took me years to get over my fear. Now that I have gone back east, back to Egypt, that fear has come back to me.
Sunlight streams in the window. River and I were up late last night.
It is not often that I meet someone who I can stay interested in for too long. She is one of those few.
I let my thoughts straighten out as I slowly pull myself out of bed. Last night was certainly enjoyable. The two of us simply... talked. It took a moment for me to remember that we were in her room, not mine, since they both face the same direction. I made sure I had an eastward facing room when I got my reservation.
My shirt is still on. That is good. I don't like having to explain my scars. The sound of the shower can be heard through the thin wall. A moment later, she comes out wearnig only a towel.
I manage to pull the sheet up enough to hide my natural reaction to the sight of her in such a state. Her shoulder length hair glistened with wetness and clung to her slender neck in a way that framed her face... I had tried not to notice how pretty she was before, but it was hard not to now.
"Oh, good." She said, "You're awake. I've already had breakfast, but my uncle will be by in an hour to bring me to see his digsite. He said I could bring someone else if I wanted to."
She smiled at me, and I knew that if I were to say no and give no explanation why, she would take offense.
I really had no reason not to go. My plans for this trip had been to get a hotel room, tour the city for a few days, then head out into the desert on my own. There's no reason why I couldn't tour for that short while with River.
I hurredly eat something and brush my teeth before her uncle arrives. I finally also managed to catch his name this time. Apparently the odd names run in the family.
"Uncle Forrest is the one who managed to get funding for this dig. It is a dig that no one expected would be especially profitable." River told me when we were in the car.
Her uncle interejected, "And so far they've been right. But still, every small find we make, and we have found many small things, brings us closer to understanding how the people lived back then."
"How old is this site?" I asked.
"Very recent, actually." Forrest told me, "It is from the latest period, the time when the romans had taken over, but the egyptian ways were still practiced, and in some cases, taken up by the romans."
"The Ptolmaic era, then?" I asked.
"Yes. I'm impressed. Siris, what do you know about ancient egypt?"
"I've been around." I replied.
I think I've mentioned it before, but I don't like to lie. So I simply don't elaborate on the truth.
One good thing may come of this trip. This site seems to be only marginally older than I am. Perhaps I will find out how many years I have been on this earth. That is one answer that has eluded me. I don't know the year I was born. I was a peasant with little education beyond the basic tenats of my religion. I know I was close to twenty when I first died and found that I was immortal. But how many years have passed since then I can only guess.
When people ask, I simply tell them that it has been at least a thousand.
"So how many years old would you say that this site is?"
"Well..." he hesitates, "Different artifacts are of different ages, but they all are from around the same time period, mostly from the two pharos before Cleopetra. That would make them about two thousand one hundred years old."
I had left Egypt well before the romans ever entered. I was entering asia around the time that happened. That was almost a hundred years after I left a dying Egypt, slowly drying up and falling apart after the death of the last great Pharoh, Ramses the third. His name was the last to be praised and carved on walls. The last lines of pharos had been weak. Egypt had split in two, then was taken over several times. I cannot remember the name of the pharoh in my time, but he was one of the persian invaders who had chased out our previous invaders, the assyrians.
I finally managed to work the assyrians and the persians into the conversation. He gave me a date of the first persian invasion.
525 B.C. was the year he gave me.
I am older than Jesus.
How long had I been gone? How long have I been here?
I was wrong. The romans came into egypt two hundred years after I was in asia. The romans entered egypt during the time I was first learning how to use a blade other than my scimitar.
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