I fought with no fear. This was not Anubis. He was not going to bring me to the land of the dead.
He could not.
A dozen times he deflected my blade and I felt the edge of his blade caress my skin. My love simply stood back and watched the swordplay.
It was like nothing I had ever seen. In Egypt, the fights were not so stylized. Soldiers carried a shield and a weapon. Usually a soldier strapped his shield to his arm, so he could carry a small axe like the one I use in that hand, and then a sword or spear in the free hand.
This was nothing like that.
I found myself laughing as we danced. The sun set, and sweat was still pouring from my as we swung our blades in a rowdy display of speed and power.
Finally, we put away our weapons. He gave me a leather sheath to put it in, and he told me what the fantastically long steel blade was called.
Scimitar, or Shamshir. He promised to teach me more in the morning.
"Just remember this," he told me. "you are immortal. But if your head is cut off, you will die. There are many that would prey on a young immortal like you. I will help you if I can. I will teach you what I can. Then it's up to you."
Suddenly, his blade was out of its sheath and under my chin. "And don't call me a foreigner. I've simply been gone for a long time."
Every immortal has a mentor. Someone has to teach them to fight other immortals. Someone must tell them the basic rules.
Immortals cannot fight on holy ground. That is a law older than any living immortal.
And whatever happens, keep your head on your shoulders. An immortal who loses sight of that, even for a moment, will end up dead.
I snapped awake suddenly, feeling a sense of another immortal approaching... a familiar sense. Pierre.
He stood outside my tent, sensing that I was awake. For such a young immortal, he is unusually sensitive. That can be a good thing.
A sensitive immortal is just as powerful as one who is strong of body.
He could have a good (and potentially long) future.
I quickly slipped some clothes on, kissed River on the forehead, and slipped out of the tent. She was asleep, and didn't even notice that I had left.
"What's up?" I asked first.
"I was just wondering what you think of all this."
"And how I was going to deal with it?"
He smiled. "That too."
"How quickly can you get me back to my hotel room?"
"There and back? At this time of night, if I drive like a maniac, a little more than an hour to get there and back."
"All right. Let me get my coat, and then we can go. If you have a long coat or anything, I suggest you take it. I've got more weapons in my bags."
"That sounds like a good start."
He guided me to his car. Much better than taking one of the big trucks back. Besides, a missing truck might bring unwanted eyes in our direction.
True to his word, we arrived at the hotel in about thirty five minutes. He parked, and we both rushed to the elevator. I slid my keycard in my room, and went straight for my suitcase.
In the hidden compartment were several weapons. A pair of wakasashi and a katana slipped easily into my coat.
"How are you with thrown weapons?" I asked him.
"Decent. What do you have?"
I held up a half-dozen sheaves and gave him three, along with a wrist sheath for them. The second sheathe I put on my left arm, and put the other three in it. "It's better than nothing, if you get them to stand at a distance."
I also gave him my second carbon-whatsit knife, along with a wrist sheath for it. He wore a tan trenchcoat, one made to keep off the sun in a hot climate like this one, so the weapons disapeared on his person well. He already had his navy sword under it somewhere.
I pointed to two of my custom made weapons, ones I use rarely. They have a name, but they are so rare that I cannot think of it. They consist of a handle, and then a blade that wraps around the hand. They are used like brass knuckles, but instead of causing bruises, they are surgically sharp. "Can you use these?" I asked.
"I can try."
I helped him find a place to put them in his jacket.
"Is that all you have?" he asked.
"No." I replied, "That's all I have with me. Except this."
I opened up another part of the suitcase. Inside was a small claymore.
For those that know weapons, they will catch the oxymoron there. For those who don't... well, most claymores are at least five feet long. This one is less than four, from hilt to tip. It is also what the europeans called a 'bastard sword', meaning that it is of the right size that it can be used with one hand or two.
"Can you use a weapon that isn't curved? This one will let you use two hands, if you can handle it."
"I'll try." He said once again.
"Good."I said, then slid it out of its sheath to show it to him. "This one is a little bulky, so it's hard to hide it in your coat. You'll have to have it on your back. Not as easy to get to in battle, but it will be there when you need it."
With that, we went back down to the car. In another thirty-five minutes, we were back at the camp.
"You want to test out these weapons?" he asked once we got back.
"Not yet." I said. "First of all, we both could use sleep. Second of all, the noise will go for a long distance during the night. There's no sound here other than the generators in the camp. During the day it can be mistaken for shovels and equipment."
"All right." he said, "First thing in the morning, then?"
I slipped back into my tent and lay down next to River. She probably never knew I was even gone.
My dream... my memory resumed as I slept.
That night my love and I shared a tent, while my newfound teacher slept in another. We slept more soundly then than we had in the last several days.
The next morning the teaching began.
I never knew his name. I never asked, and he never gave it. But he taught me what it was to be an immortal. And he taught me the basics of swordplay. The rest I had to learn before I lost my head.
Then he left. He went into Egypt. He sought the very thing that had driven me out of Egypt. He was looking for the powerful immortal that roamed the desert. He sought Anubis.
He sought power. My Asharu and I were left to travel farther on our own. We travelled into Persian lands, and lived there until the end of her days.
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