“My husband. You must awake. The sun rises.”
Kalaros awoke to the sweet voice and glowing smile of his wife, looking down upon him. He wiped the haze of sleep from his eyes and smiled back. From the heat beginning to smother the slight chill in the air, he knew that it was time to rise. His Pharaoh would be waiting for him. He was a Medjai. Guardian of the one chosen by the gods. It was his duty to protect. His duty to enforce his king’s will. It was his destiny. Like his father before him. He was a warrior and leader among his kind.
“Why are you awake at such time, Miris. It is normally you that I must wake.” Kalaros said while fighting the sleep from his relaxed muscles to stand.
“I could not sleep. There is something…” Miris paused. “… strange in the air. Like the god’s whisper, but they are too far to hear.”
Kalaros listened for a moment and replied, “I hear no whisper. And further, they could offer me nothing that I do not already have.” He smiled at her and picked up his sword from the table beside him. He ran a finger along its long-curved blade. He could feel it cutting into a layer of skin, only just shallow enough not to draw blood. It was perfect, both in sharpness and balance. Its hilt was decorated with gold and silver. It was an ancient thing of beauty and death.
Miris simply smiled back at him and nodded. Kalaros walked over to her and planted a soft kiss on her lips. “I must go now.”
“Return to me safely, husband.”
“Not even the gods could pry me from your side, Miris.”
“Khemtep, son of Anubis. I come to you with a vision.” Vanas addressed his Pharaoh, bowed and kneeling at his lords his feet as he spoke. “She is coming.”
Khemtep sat upon a throne of gold, engraved with hieroglyphs that told of the gods. Among them was the tale of the god that favoured the Pharaoh. The Jackal-headed. The Protector. Anubis. The hall in which they stood was a testament to their faith. Precious statues of gold lined the carved walls, depicting ancient battles and former kings. The space within was colossal, it’s smoothed stone ceiling supported by round pillars. Around Khemtep, who adorned white robes of the finest cloth and a collared necklace of gold, stood his Medjai. And among them, was Kalaros. They wielded curved Khopesh blades, like his own. They stood observant of Vanas as he kneeled, their hands ready on the grips of their sheathed blades.
“Of whom do you speak, prophet?” The Pharaoh spoke, his voice deep and commanding.
“She is shadow. She is death.” The prophet riddled. “She is chaos.”
“Speak clear or lose your head, Valas.” Khemtep motioned a hand, and his Medjai drew their swords as one. The prophet rose from his bow and met the Pharaoh’s gaze.
“The god of disorder has chosen a champion,” Valas said. “She marches here with an army of the dead at her command.”
Khemtep considered the words of the prophet for a moment then laughed. “Escort this fool home. He’s clearly gone mad.” The Pharaoh commanded Kalaros, his most trusted among the Medjai. He set to task without hesitation. The warrior sheathed his blade and picked Valas from the floor with considerable ease. The prophet did not resist. He accepted his defeat and knew that his claim would be difficult to comprehend, even by the son of Anubis. He walked from the temple, Kalaros close behind him. The early days sun beamed with a barely intolerable heat as they left the shade.
“I’m not mad, Medjai.” Valas turned to Kalaros. “You should heed my warning. Leave this place.”
The Medjai kept a stern composure, one that he always wore during duty. But something within him stirred. His wife’s words from the morning came back to him. The gods whisper. There was suddenly something about the prophet’s words that Kalaros believed.
Part 2 is coming next week! Thank you all for reading.