Silence comes easily to me, especially when I am digesting information.
I am over two thousand years old. I am half as old as the legendary Methos.
I simply never realized. If I had battled my way through history, like so many other immortals, I would be the most powerful immortal in the world. Then again, had I battled my way through time, I would more likely be dead. I was not born a warrior, like the most famous of immortals, Conner McCloud, and his defeated foe, Kurgan.
I could very well be even older than the Kurgan. I know McCloud's teacher and mentor, Ramirez was older than me by some small amount of time. I had met him. The last time I saw him was when I lived in England. He travelled off to Scotland, and there he died, after teaching McCloud how to be an immortal. When I found out about Ramirez' death, I knew the Kurgan was the one who did it.
No one else could have at the time. Ramirez was older than I, and he had fought countless many battles. Kurgan could take my head with little effort.
So I fled to France, and lived there until America became America. Fear can be a great motivation.
Have I wasted my long life? I tell those who know me that I am more than a thousand years old. I have never stopped to compare the dates. It just seemed right.
Then again, two hundred years ago, I told people the same number.
And two hundred years before that.
An image comes to my mind... an ancient god, holding two bent reeds in his hand, his arms outward... my hands move to my anhk on my neck.
Heh, the god of a million years. And my anhk... cheap, american made crap... but to my homeland, a symbol of life.
Would I live for a million years?
I could live forever.
I suppose it was my fault... I never tried to keep track of the years. After my love died of old age, I wandered about. I didn't know what was over the next hill, or beyond the next valley. I never really crossed any water greater than a large lake until I left Europe. I never really took any chances.
I didn't live. For more than two thousand years, I didn't live.
We come to the camp outside the digsite, and I relax a bit. I force myself not to think of anything other than what is on hand.
Somehow River manages to get her arm linked to mine, and walk with me as we enter the camp. Her uncle calls us to one of the two biggest tents in the camp.
"We have two of these big tents here. One is the mess hall, and this one is where we store and clean artifacts before we ship them off to the museum."
He opens the curtain and brings us in. Truly, I feel awed by all this. I know it is from a time far after mine, but it impresses me nonetheless.
He brings us to the most important of the finds.
"We found this wooden cabinet, badly rotted away. It must have been in an unusually damp place to have gotten so much damage, but the inside was intact. And we found these."
He gestures towards a group of small statues. They are all miniatures of gods.
"These are the oldest things we've found here." He tells us. "They must have been in this house for generations. We date them back to more than three thousand years ago."
They are older than I. A comforting thought. I look them over and recognize the diminuative Bes and the crocodile, Sobek. Bastet the cat is there... next to...
I feel the quickening in my gut once more. My thoughts flash to the memory... the dream...
"Anubis." I say out loud, not meaning to.
"Yes." Forrest says, "Anubis, carrier of the dead. His likeness is not one you would expect to find in a small household."
He prattles on for a moment, but my thoughts are lost in my otherworldy senses.
It was not my imagination. An immortal approaches.
I steel myself as I hear the tent flap thrown aside. A man enters.
Immortal as I.
"Ah," Forrest says, not sensing anything amiss, "This man is the one who truly runs this site. I helped set it up, but he keeps up the day to day duties, and oversees the actual work. This is Pierre Bouchard. Pierre, this is my neice, River, and a friend of hers, Siris."
We exchange greetings, but refuse to lock eyes. He is a clean-cut man, but covered in dust and dirt. Apparently he believes in working alongside his men.
At his side is a navy-style curved sword. He wears it as if it were a badge of honor... it very well might be. His tight-backed stance and bristled haircut seem military enough.
"Navy man?" I ask politely.
"A few times. I'm retired at the moment, and working here. The U.S. Navy will pay for college after a few years of service, so I managed to study egyptology on their money."
I see him taking me in as I take him in. He can see that my loose jacket probably conceals a weapon. He can't see it, but he suspects it's there.
Then I see it. As we walk away, I watch his movements.
You can learn a lot about a person from his movements.
He walks stiffly, as many ex-military men do. But his movements are unsure. He has been alive for less than two hundred years. Possibly less than a hundred.
The oldest of us waste very little motion. Everything we do is precise, and efficient. His movements were precise, but he still lacked the efficiancy that marks one who is ancient.
I will not take his head, unless I have no choice. He is too young. I am too old. It would be no contest. He is probably only on his first new life. By new life I mean, of course, the new name and identity we all have to take on every fifty years or so to avoid suspicion.
But there is nothing we can do about it. We simply have to trade nicities until such time as we can speak alone.
All in all, it was a fairly enjoyable tour. I hope it doesn't have to end with a police discovery of a headless body.
That night, I set the mosquito netting. We're close enough to the nile to have to worry about such things. I lie in bed, confident that no one can enter without my knowing. The tingle on my senses is far away, indicating that Bouchard is on the other side of the camp.
Suddenly the tent flap moves. A figure comes in.
She shyly asks permission to enter. I grant it, and light the torch sitting by my bed. But I keep it low enough to hide my scars.
I have already taken my shirt off. I have no wish to explain them.
She sits on the cot next to me, and we talk. Suddenly, she lies her head on my shoulder.
My arm slips around her waist as if it belonged there. She murmers something unintelligible into my hear, then our lips melt together.
The night settles around us, but we hardly notice.
Is it love? I don't know. It could be.
But we don't really care.
And as we lie together, I fall into a comfortable sleep once more.
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