Tazala hadn't wished to preform The Game again, but wether or not she approved the time had come. The game was the only way to keep things in all dimensions balanced, and the only way to keep good and evil from overtaking each other. You could never have to much of both, but if that did happen, things needed to be leveled and changed before disaster struck.
In this case, Evil, which she preferred to call Daramas, was prevailing good, or what she called, Cas. A fact that bothered her was that never once had the game been played on cause of Cas prevailing Daramas. It was always always Daramas prevailing Cas. A pity really.
Basicly how the Game was executed was simple. The spirit of fate would show her whom it had decided on representing Cas. Then it would show her those choosen to represent Daramas. Eight people would be selected for each team. Then, ultimately is was a series of challanges, made and decided by herself... but of course she had to prepare them.
Problem was, if the winner was the side that had caused the game in the first place, That side would take over universal balance until the next game was ready to be carried out, and alot could happen in that time. Talaza remembered when it had. Over eight millienium ago, Daramas, causer of the Game once again, had won it. Cas had been overthrown and for three hundread years, evil pravailed good. It had not been a good time to live.
Quickly she got up from the soft grasses surrounding the foothills of
Tibet. In the distance a yellow sun was setting slowly behind the mountains .
Only two places on the world of Earth could prolong her to watch a sunset.
Here, and Egypt. Her gray eyes darted to the right when a loud crackle sparked
the blackening sky.|
The small village of Chachitna was going up in flames. It stood leaning against the hills that rolled gently up to Dawin vally where a steam provided the people's main water supply. Woman and children scattered away franticly while their men struggled to put out the largest fire that had gathered on a stable rooftop. A shame really, she could intervene now and make destinys' choice ... but the village would burn to the ground. She wasn't heartless but a grassland just south of their smoldering village would make a better home, that is where they would live.
Tazala turned her attention back to her task and blocked out the screams from behind her flowing tresses.
"As Your guide, choice, I summon the spirit of fate to find my players of Daramas."
A soft breeze complied and she waited. Quickly, as she had hoped, the soft voice she had grown accustomed to over the centurys, answered her with lady's vision, the vision of a persons soul.
The first of the eight was a woman, black haired, bone thin and rugged. Tazala could see she, Lyne, lead the life of a theif. This woman was definetly for evil. Her eyes were bright green and inteligent, pehaps, if under the right circumstances, she could have taken on a life of joy... but there was no enlightment in her eyes. At the age six she had murdered her younger brother with a glass shard because he had refused to come with her to the park. Her mother died at her fathers hand when she was eight and somewhere between her teenage years and days as a young adult she simply stopped caring. Fate had found her in a getto of New york city.
The second choice for Daramas was Galdsa, a feirce spirit that had lived in the days of king Arthur. His heart was blackened by greed and a never ending hunger for power. This ghost was strong, but his rage blocked his judgement. Galdsa had been hung for killing four small children and numorous assults. He delighted in watching others suffer and it had been rumored that he even built a small chamber where those he kidnapped were put through countless horrors, never were they killed until he was bored of his victim, or they died.
The third was a man of about thirty years, blonde haired, blue eyed, a handsom lad enough. His name was Eric, from somewhere in Chicago. Though his appearance was freindly, she saw the hunger in his eyes. A maniac.. serial killer to be exact. He had, over the years, killed over twelve woman in the exact same way. Slit throats, bruised bodys and the always present cross that was cut deep across each victims chest. He could lore any woman he pleased with his charm, none being aware of his intention.
Tazala shook her head sadly. Earth was quite a place.
The forth, an older woman in her 50's, was a magic user. Her satin gray hair fell limply to her waist and blue eyes watched warily for no one in priticular. Her name was Aora.. she, Tazala senced, was very dangerous. Life had taken to much and givin to little for this woman. The impressive skill she held was more of a curse then a blessing, and the people considered her a witch. Ahora's heart had been good once, in the days of her childhood. The greif she lived in now made her insane, cold hearted, and murderous as three of her tormenters found out when she used her magic to decay their very bodys, with them able to watch. Black magic ran through her veins just as did the ice water runoff of the rocky mountains within which she lived.
As the fifth came to her mind she began to to worry. This one was also skilled in magic. Tazala began to wonder what forces from the side of Good could possibly compare to this troop. A woman again, this player was named Chontra. She was thin and stubborn, beauty kept only by her power. The woman was Egyption and held a hate that had frozen her life still with one purposs for hundreds of years.
The sixth and seventh were brothers, bound to gether by a horrifying birth defect. Jack held most of their body. He formed the feet, head, and one arm of the duo. Connected at his waist was a disfigured head and small arm that ran sideways across his belly. The other arm of his fused brother, Paul, made their second limb. Both people were kind enough, but because of the ridicual and taunting of so many others, they had come to the conclution somewhere in their forty three years that no human deserved to live.
Six people had died at their hand. Three more were killed in a way that makes the mind sick. Jack and Paul took theose three and severed the their limbs, making sure not to kill them. Then, together they formed a body from what they took from the people, and finally they killed the oldest of the three and used his head for their own creation. Sandy miller was the only to survive that ordeal, and through it all she said that the two had over and over said they were sorry, but this would teach them. Who, exactly, was never known.
Lastly the Ladys' vision brought to her the image of a very old looking person. Purplish gray eyes and a chalk white face made up was what left of a once youthful appearance. His name was Scarab, also a worker of magic arts, used for his own purposs. Within him Tazala felt an almost insane need and an ever present frustration. This being was powerful, and his cunning gave him a large advantage over opponets.
She had now seen the choosen to represent the side of Daramas. Inwardly she hoped that fate would deliver people of Cas that could stand up to the first side. Again she spoke the words of summoning.
"As your guide, choice, I again summon the spirit of fate to choose the players of Cas."
As before, the wind blowed gently and for the moments in which fate decided its choice, she glanced back at the village where only a few embers glowed from the ashes of the fire strickin village. Night had allready settled its blanket across the sky.
Swiftly the Lady's vision came to her, showing its choosen players for the side of good.
The first to represent Cas was a red haired woman with milky white skin.
Her name was Ember. This woman came from Veitnam and bore the marks of heavy
fighting. She was one that, would at all costs put others before herself to
the point of sacrifice if nessisary. Ember's brown eyes spoke of truth and
willpower. She would be of good use to the Game.|
Calira was next. Brown haired, brown eyed and slim, She was an honorable student of white magic and could use it's skills to the fullest. Though fragile and shy, her voice carried its power to the afterlife and beyond where power of words could bring down titans. It was best to deal with her respectivly,
The third was Ompac, the indian shaman of a lost tribe in the plains of Arizona. As was practiced in the legacy of his people, Ompac could take on the form of his spirit animule, the bear. He was wise and genorous yet his thinnning white hair and sunken violet eyes told of his gaining age. No matter though. Strength and youth were fine assets, but that did not make a man.
The next five that made up the rest of the eight choosen were strange. All freinds and all from the same age within Egypt. This was known to happen. Sometimes Familys or close freinds are taken into the Game as a whole. All the ethics of this happening could be for a variety of reasons such as love, or a dangerous experiance. Tazala could tell however that these five would make up what they needed most on the side of Cas. A personality from all diffrent veiws.
A tall woman of the nonliving, as all but one was, made up the first of these five. She, in the days of her life, had been beautiful and still kept some of those features now. Her slender frame told Tazala that the women, Nefer-tina, Was very agile and strong. In a way she resembled Lyne who was representing the side of Daramas. Above all she was brave, courageous, and would never give up on anything.
The next was a man named Armon. He was perhaps not as smart as most, but he held great strength. His greatest asset was the fact that no matter how strong he was, he never took it for granted. In him was a kindness that not many could match.
Rath was the third of this group. He was smart, stubborn and unapprochable at times when involved in his work. Tazala recognized him as a magic user also. This one wasn't as strong as the others, but his skill made up for lack of strength and endurance. In the end his knowledge and skills as a swordsman would prevail.
Ja-kal was the unity of the group. A born leader. He was centered and focused, trying to make the best choices in any situation. In him she felt a horrible loss that was pushed into the farthest reaches of his mind. At the same time is mind had to be placed in direction of the task at hand. His devotion allowed the group to keep on track.
Then came something that startled Tazala in a way. A young boy was the last choice of Fate. That confused her. Children, she had thought, weren't allowed in The Game. Nevertheless this one had been choosen as the 8th and last player for it. His name was... well... one of two things. She couldn't readily recognize him. He was the person whom which the other four lived to guard.
Night was well underway when the vision had ended. Tommorow she would round up the players quickly and choice the site where The Game was to be held. First however, she had to change the forms of some of Fate's choices. Perhaps she'd bring a few back to the living so those that were alive would not feel uncomfortable. Either way she would balance it out. It would begin soon.
Scarab couldn't believe what he was seeing. The arched mirror in front of him held his face, but one he only recognized when he was young. He traced his hand down the side of his head. No creases, no lines or sagging of age, he was as he had been in his prime. Thirty? Thirty five? It was incredible... But how?
Heka looked at him curiously and wide eyed. "How in the name of Ra...!"
"Iv'e no idea Heka." he said, letting each word hold a minute so he could recognize it's youthful sound. "No magic could do this! Only the spirit of Rampses... and yet, I am young again."
The golden cobra slide up to his side across the marble floor. "It's truly impossible. Well... Something happened!" She backed away and looked out the skyline window where a reddish yellow sun was dawning.
"Something indeed." His once grey and white features were now flesh toned. Full lips, high cheekbones. It was incredible... and he for one was not complaining. Perhaps the problem of his youth had been solved. If so, Rampse's could still be of use to gain immortality, and he would have a higher advantage over the prince's protectors then ever before. Scarab was not about to waste time. His new found youth was not sure to last.
"Heka," he said, turning around. "Come, Iv'e a feeling this new turn of events could be rewarding..." He walked away quickly, admiring the haste he was able to put into his efforts.
"We need to talk Scarab."
He turned at the sound of the unfamiliar voice and looked oddly at the cobra. "Did you-... say something?"
She gave a hiss of irritation. "No I didn't, but someone did." A spirit? Demon? Heka did so hate uninvited guests.
"Neither snake." The voice said again.
"Heka gaped at Scarabs' surprised gaze. "What is it talking about?" he asked.
"I- I mean, I just thought that-!"
"Shush, you act like scared children." This time a form accompanied the voice that withheld it. A young woman with gray hair and eyes stood in doorway to the balcony, tilting her head in slight annoyance.
Scarab felt his curiosity flush with anger. "And just who are you!"
Her slender frame walked fully inside, gazing over the large chambers
occupants and belongings. "Simply," She said. "My name is Tazala, giver of
The older mans mind went into alarm. If she had given him his youth, she could also take it away. He recognized her as the goddess of choice.
"I will do no such thing." Tazala said. "I need you for The Game."
"telepathic?" He asked.
"Only when the question is directed at myself."
Scarab's mind went on to the next question of the evening. "What is this.. Game?" He asked.
She drew nearer and stopped a few paces from his body. Tazala would explain it to him fully, but she had to be cautious. He was already deciding if she was of use to him within his mind. As fate had said, he was cunning.
"It will be explained on the way." She said.
"And we are going where?" He asked.
Ahora balanced her weight lightly on her left foot and scowled coldly at the black sky above her home. She waited expectantly for nothing as she did many times before.
"On a sky so black I'd swear for the coming of evil... all the better then." She said. She walked foward into the forest that secluded her home. A wolf cried in the distance and a simple thought shut it up before another sound could reside. Ahora clenched her fists tightly feeling the welcoming warmth of her power surge foward.
"Magic... ha! A plague for fools that cannot use it. Far be it from me to know, yes?" Talking to the forest was a regular activity. She could hear everything for miles and feel even more. A sudden cold swept through her aged body and she stopped abruptly.
"Who be it!" She shouted to the forest. "Who be there!" Nothing answered her harsh voice but she knew better. A demon? Spirit? Or perhaps a man who had come up the mountain to taunt her as so many did. If so, they would not live to sunrise.
"I am none of that old one," A voice said from behind her. "Be assured of me."
The old woman spun around so quickly Tazala did not think her age fit for the agility she displayed. From their transparent state, she and Scarab watched on as she came nearer with no fear showing in her bleak features. Tazala Didn't like her at all, she was dangerous and eager. Beside her Scarab figited uneasily. Tazala knew he could use magic, and she knew he felt Ahora's power. As he had done to herself, Scarab was sizing her up as an opponet... or asset. He would definetly be the leader of the eight chosen for his side.
Suddenly a chill seemed to sweep over him, then herself, and she looked over at the old woman who stood unmoving looking directly at them. She had fixed their location, and in a low threatening voice said, "Show yourself"
Tazala did so, uncovering them both from the vail of night. "Ahora." she said quickly. "You will be accompanying me."
As Tazala expected, the woman looked at her frame curiously, and then moved closer. "Where would we be going...?"
"It will be explained." Tazala answered. "There are six more to collect."
After hundreds of years it was true. Galdsa was alive again! He looked over his browned skinned body and muscular appearance. How had this entity... Tazala, done this? Standing with him were seven others, all a crowd he knew he could instinctivly get to like. There was a blonde man named Eric, an old hag named Ahora, a woman he could get to like named Lyne, a horribly deformed man..er.... men, and lastly two people, man and woman, that came from a county he never even heard of called Egypt. Quite the crowd, but even more astonishing was why... Tazala, had brought them here. Actually this... Game sounded interesting, and there was no king Arthur in this age to stop his so practiced hobby. The hag spoke up.
"Well!" Ahora said. "You brought us here to this... nothingness-" She swung her hand around, indicating the baron desert that streched before them. "-And you tell us of this Game, and its purpose!" yet.. never once have you answered why it was us in part that were chosen!" The womans scowl deepened and Tazala, who stood to her right answered it with one just as fierce.
"Fate made it's choice. You have been selected... all of you have. Why? Because you are the best of Evil... the best of Daramas!"
Eric looked at her thoughtfully. "So im guessing we all have lovely hidden talents?" he smirked.
"Shut up." Chontra said, and looked at the spirit before them. "So we fight for you, correct?"
"Correct." Tazala said.
"And what do we get in return!" Scarab asked gruffly.
Almost sensing what he was edging toward, Tazala made one point clear.
"You have no choice in this manner." She said. "However, understand that if Daramas wins, yourselves and people like you will overthrow this planet. If Cas wins, the good will be restored and balance will prevail.
"As if we'd want that to happen!" Lyne yelled from opposit them. "I'd like a world where the people actually made sense. A life of a thief for me!" she said in a sing song voice. Laughter sounded over the area at her remark.
"Who are our opponets?" Paul asked.
Tazala turned toward him and tried not to stare at the misfigured body. the
head connected to Jack's stomach eyed her curiously. "There are eight." She
said. "A shaman, warrior of Vietnam, spirit and five others that are a unity
group. Ja-kal, Armon-" she was cut off by the two from Egypt at the names.|
"THEM!" Scarab exclaimed. "They are the foes!?" A sadistic glare formed on his face. "I could like this."
"And believe me," Chontra said. "If Rath is involved you will have my full cooperation."
Tazala froze. Personal conflict wasn't what she wanted. These two seemed to know the five she had begun to state. Though she did not agree, fate had made its choice and she would follow it. Now however she would leave the chosen of evil to find those of Cas. Hopefully the group wouldn't kill one another while she was away.
"I leave to collect the others." She said matter of factly. "Try to leave and die." A bit of laughter stirred at this remark. She knew none of them had any intention of leaving. They liked the stakes. This Game would be very interesting.
Rath blinked twice and glared curiously into the water before him. The Nileator floated casually to his right, it's left bay hatch gaping open. He had been doing routine repairs on it when the reflection in the water halted his procedure, and focused his attention on his... Appearance, which had taken a rather disorienting change. Worse off was the fact that he couldn't explain it at all.
Faded green eyes and milky brown skin fixed him with an intent stare. His own features gazed back at him from the still water. Confused and disturbed, he drew away from himself. He was alive again, as if the past just ran up to join with the present time line. Yet, that was impossible! To add with his own confusion, a gasp sounded from behind him.
"Rath.. how... i'm-"
Nefer-tina looked at him through the doorway and then at her hands, still continuing her amazed question. "Your... but...i'm the same way! And Ja- kal-" She stopped again.
"Iv'e no idea how this happened." Rath said, answering her scattered question at last. "Are the others in this same manner?"
"Yes." She said. "I don't even recall changing but this must have happened at some point!" She wandered over to where he stood, looking at her own face in the water.
"And recently I would think." Rath said.
Nefer-tina gazed at her reflection a minute longer and then took Rath roughly by the arm and dragged him back out the doorway to where Ja-kal and Armon stood.
"The same thing happened to Rath!" she shouted, coming into the large room. "All of us are ourselves again! Alive!" She steadied her voice but found it hard to keep the joy she felt from creeping into its youthful sound.
Ja-kal looked over at her, his now blood filled skin seemingly odd in contrast to the old worn wrappings around his body.
"Yes," he said. "It appears so." The confusion in Ja-kal's voice was plain.
"I just don't get it!" Armon said.
"Neither do I! But I'm not about to complain!" Nefer-tina said, flinging her arms in the air. She stopped when Rath gave a painful yelp.
"Would you please celebrate after releasing my arm?" he said. She gave him an apologetic look and released the vice-like grip. Rath rubbed his arm trying to get feeling back into it and looked at the others around the room, in a way seeing them for the first time.
"However this change came upon us," Ja-kal began. "It could only be brought forth by magic."
"Yes, and a kind that possesses a great amount of strength." Rath said.
"We should inform Presly of this... new embodiment
"That's not necessary." A woman's voice began. "He is safe with the others of your side."
The four jumped and looked around.
"Who in the name of Ra was that!" Nefer-tina said. "She looked about her quickly and tensed. Perhaps this was one of Scarab's tricks.
"No such thing I assure you..." It said. "My name is Tazala."
Rath spoke up, recognizing the name.
"The Egyptian goddess of choice I believe He said.
"Correct. Im known as Pathan to the Romans, Docht to the pagans, but under any title my purpose is the same.
"Could you possibly assume a more... ah...prominent form?" Rath asked.
"Its a bit odd conversing with thin air."
" I already have." Tazala said.
"Huh?" Armon looked around the room. "Where?"|
"Sorry." Tazala said, stepping from the shadows. "Iv'e a habit of staying secluded." She eyed them over with her gray eyes quickly. "Fate was wise in choosing you five."
"Five?" Ja-kal questioned.
"The boy you mentioned before... Presly." Tazala said.
"What does he have to do with anything?" Nefer-tina asked cautiously.
Tazala sighed impatiently. "All will be explained, but I need you to come with me, I'm running low on time as it is."
Rath crossed his arms in a trademark 'I'm skeptical look. "We don't intend on leaving until we know where our prince is and where you plan on taking us." he said.
"And I never intended on giving you a choice." Tazala said. Before they could move Tazala raised a delicate arm and the world turned white.
Ember disregarded the others and began to sing softly a lyric her mother had taught her years before her death. It helped to calm her nerves even in the heaviest of fighting. At first when she heard the voice of the spirit, Tazala, she had thought that her mind had finally gone, and cursed it for not doing so in the war. But if so, how were these other people here? Ember looked the two over. An older man and woman, one of which supposed to be an entity such as Tazala. Well, no matter. If she was crazy then it was about time. If not? A few more years would do it. Ember went back to her hyme whisper.
"Pretty little rose, risen above the garden. Little tiny rose, waken to the morn. Sun is calling you, but clouds will prevail. Take in your sunshine and to my arms you adore."
Ember took in a shallow breath to continue the verse, but a soft, male voice entered her head.
"You have a lovely voice young one."
She looked up into the violet eyes of the older man.
"Thank you... um-"
"My name is Ompac." he said. "She," He gestured to the woman a few feet behind him, standing on one of the many outcroppings that dotted the cliff they had been left upon. "She is Calira... very quiet."
Ember smiled . "Why do you think we are here? I'm not sure if i'm going insan-"
Ompac chuckled. "Your one from the citys. I would think you to young for war however."
"How did you know?" Ember asked, genuine curiosity building in her voice.
"You bear the marks." He said, and pointed to a white scar line that ran sideways down her neck and collarbone, disappearing under a black denim jacket.
"That still doesn't explain how you knew."
"Trust me. I have ways." He looked up into the gray clouds that spotted a blue sky. "Such an odd place we are in, Yes? I was always told by my grandfather that a spirit, in whatever form, can be seen through the eyes of one trained to see past what is plain to the eye.
"What do you mean?" Ember asked.
"Simply that the spirit Tazala is very real. I heard the doubt in your voice. Calira, she is also like Tazala, yet weaker, another kind of spirit. Maybe one that belongs to the falcon. Though I do not know our purpose here, it is right. Trust your instincts."
"My instinct is telling me that everything is wrong."
Ompac laughed. "The other instinct, that of the heart."
He dismissed it and went on to another subject. Tazala had said she would return with the last four soon. He believed her.
"So, young one, tell me of your family."
She looked up at him, and then stared into the distance.
"Hey! Paco!" Ember and the shaman turned to see a young boy of about thirteen years coming towards them. Ompac recognized him as Presly, who he had spoken to awhile ago when they were first delivered here. Paco was the named he was instantly dubbed with when the boy could not pronouce his name accordingly. It was a timid play on words that made him smile.
"Back so soon from your scouting?" Ompac asked.
"Yeah, you wouldn't believe the area around here! A forest goes awhile north, then you have the cliff that runs along its side, where we are. I think we're on an island." His train of thought turned in an instant. "Man...mom isn't going to like this. She gets upset if I'm late for dinner!"
"I'm sure all will be fine." Ompac said.|
"Fine, is not how I would refer to it." Calira said, joining in. It was only the second time she had spoken up.
"Oh, Calira don't worry." Ompac started.
I'm not worrying!" She said and turned away, back to her defiant stance. "But I have other things to attend to besides sitting here and being babysat by you. I don't need your explanations, I can figure them for myself."
"Hey," Presly said. "Lay off Paco, he's only trying to help."
"Quiet child. I have a mind to turn your hair into snakes!"
"Shut up!" Ember shouted at the woman, and answered the glare Calira gave her with one just as fierce.
"All of you hush." Ompac said and pointed into the distance." Tazala returns.
Presly looked over the sea that bordered the cliff hights and waited patiently as a shimmering light grew above them. He had a feeling he knew who the last four were.
Ja-kal froze as the light engulfed him with a body positioned to seize his amulet and cry the sacred words. In no more then an eye blink he had felt the ground drop out from under him, a short fall, and then soft earth pressing against his back. Two fair skinned hands reached out for his shoulders and shook him from a dazed state.
"I can't believe it!" Presly shouted as he watched Nefer-tina help Ja-kal from the ground. "Look at you guys!" He ran up to Nefer-tina and looked her in the face. "Your real pretty undead! The bandages.. well, we have to work on that."
Nefer-tina stared at her prince a moment and shivered from the breeze the sea nearby carried with it. She made a mental note of everyone being together and closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of blood running through her body and not the odd sensations that being dead-alive had on her.
"Well," Rath said. "That method of travel certainly defies a great amount of Newtons laws." He crossed his arms. "Are you well my prince?"
"Fine." Presly said. "I got here the same way, and so did Paco, Calira, and Ember." He gestured to each person who nodded their heads in return.
"Paco is Presly's nick name for me. My real name is Ompac."The shaman said and stepped foward, shaking hands with Armon and Ja-kal, who introduced themselves and the others.
"Wonderful." Calira said. "So, where is Tazala? She is supposed to explain why we are gathered here."
"I'm here." Tazala said. This time a body did not carry her voice. "Now, when I tell all of you my actions you must realize you have no choice in the way they were carried out or the order in which the players shall be chosen to fight.
"Players?" Armon said, puzzled.
"What is this..."Presly asked. "A game? The most freaked out version of Olympics yet?"
"I will tell you."
All of the two groups had sat and listened to what Tazala said about the Game. Oddly, she had no fuss with the players of Cas just as with Daramas. Ussualy they wanted to do their own things, there way, and didn't like the idea of being watched over every second. Fate had indeed chosen wisely. Now... All she needed to do what prepare the first challenge.
The two groups faced each other, neither permitted to harm one another till she gave the word. This displeased Scarab ecspecialy. Ahora didn't seem to care either way. Tazala stood between them, which was the middle of field in Russia, the place she had chosen for a meeting ground.
"Nefer-tina and Galdsa, step foward."
Ja-kal heard the command and looked over at his friend with concern. "Nefer-tina. She calls your name."
Nefer-tina looked towards him from the mountain range she had been gazing at and smiled. "So, lets see what I'm made of."
Armon intervened as she began to come foward. Galdsa was already at Tazala's side, grinning like a child.
"Be careful..." he said. Ompac, Ember, and Calira had worried looks on their faces behind him.
"Don't worry Armon! I'll be fine. Besides, Scarab looks alot scarier then that guy!" Nefer-tina said, pushing down her own doubt.
"Even so... " Rath said. "Do be careful."
She smiled at her friends and walked foward proudly, ignoring the gaze Galdsa laid on her well shaped form. She knew these people were the lowest of lows, and they would resort to anything to get what they wanted. The thought made her shiver. She knew perfectly well what this man was after.
"I have chosen you both for the first challenge. The loser will die and
one silver stone will be given to the winner to mark the passing of their
opponent. Understand that one person must die in order for there to be a win.
There is no draw, and if a death is of natural occurrence no point is
"Is their any time in which we are allowed to assist?" Ompac asked.
"Yes. If your teammate is unable to play, or hurt to that extent, only once will any of you be permitted to assist that person."
I don't like these odds...." Calira said.
"You were never meant to." Tazala said and turned to Nefer-tina and Galdsa. "You know your purp purpose, you know the stakes. Go now."
Tazala spread her hands and let a shining red light form between them. "Also remember that once the challenge is over, it is over. No grudges." She clasped the light together between her palms and watched approvingly as the two players faded from site, and out of time. Though a spirit of choice shouldn't care about the outcome of a challenge, she did. And found it an uneasy feeling.
Nefer-tina shuddered inwardly and opened her eyes... to blackness. She couldn't see anything. She swallowed a powerful fear of blindness and got up from what felt like a hard cobblestone floor. Everything was so cold. Her gut tightned suddenly and she spun, instincts on full. If she couldn't see, she could hear and sense. Galdsa, her opponent, was definetly here, she could feel it.
From the corner of wherever she was a candle flickered to life casting an erie glow on the walls. Well... at least she wasn't blind, but who lit it? The walls were indeed the cold stone she had felt on the floor, and gray in proportion.
"If you are a man, Show yourself!" She cried out, hearing her voice echo. At first nothing answered.
"Well." Came a deep voice. "I'm not exactly a man... or I was before taking the death penalty that cast me haunting around the villages of King Aurthur. I guess I don't have the honor now seeing that Tazala restored my life. Yet, I do have my old hobbies and a body fit to carry them out."
It had now become clear to Nefer-tina that he could see better then her in the dark. Even with the dim glow she could hardly make out anything. Cautiously she stepped foward.
"ah, ah! I wouldn't do that! Iv'e had lots of fun in this room before you ever came, so many poor, poor people. Tell me Nefer-tina, did you ever hear of my torture chamber? It was more then just a legend you know..."
Nefer-tina strode farther into the darkness, hearing something vile crush beneeth her foot. A roach.
"Im terribly sorry." Galdsa said, his voice echoing through the cave. "I'm such a bad house keeper."
"I'm sure..." Nefer-tina said. But the sound of her light voice masked the footsteps behind her. She was no fool though, and she spun around, just a second to late.
"NO no, my pretty thing, I will have my just with you yet!" he had caught her by the arm in a quick movement, shoved her to the ground and stepped dangerously on her slender neck, putting just the amount of pressure on it to make breathing uncomfortable. He grabbed her arms again.
"It's so nice that Tazala sent us here!" He smiled as she struggled. "I thought I'd never see this place again! But look!" He shoved her face upward. "Look!"
Before her anger went to rage Nefer-tina saw spikes above her. Sharp, dangerous, and carrying two sculls of people long dead. She wouldn't end up there.
"Get. Away. From. ME!" She shoved him away with such force as to push him into the opposite wall. Nefer-tina swerved on her feet and grasped her amulet.
"With the strength of-!"
Galdsa cut her off and hit her upside the head forcefully. Nefertina recovered, sweep kicked him, and sent him flying back into the wall.
"Nice trick female..." he said. "But if you think I am going to give you a chance to use your powers on me you have another thing coming... Tazala told us all about your methods of attack."
"Yeah." She said. "But that doesn't help you much!"
She swung her foot out, aiming for his chest but he caught it and threw her backwards. Nefer-tina steadied herself and put up her fists, ignoring the steamline of hot blood that streamed down her cheek from a gash opened above her left eye.
"Wonderful! How spirit makes the task so much more fun!" Galdsa smiled wickedly and approched her.
"Do me a favor and shut up!" She ran foward, tackled him, and stepped back to give herself more room to move.
"I could have killed you already Nefer-tina, you know that don't you." He said, getting up slowly.
It was her turn to smile. "The only one who shall be killed is you!" She circled and paused a second. Had she really just said that? Nefer-tina could never just kill anyone in cold blood... ever! no matter how evil. If she did she would be no better then them. She backed away slowly. Even so... it was the only way to win, but still...
Galdsa lept at her, and was blinded by an enormous flash of light. At first, it had seemed she was lost in thought, a perfect time to strike. Yet when he came foward she grasped her amulet and spoke a magic incantation so quickly he had no time to stop her. Now she stood, fully armored, over him. He couldn't beat her in this form... he could however, capture her.
Nefer-tina cracked her wip in the air and brought it soaring just
above his head, knowing perfectly well that she could end this with one
swipe... but she couldn't. It wasn't right. She held back a second, and was
met with a fist to the stomach that made her cry out in pain. She doubled over
and found a strong arm haul her off the ground from her neck and throw her
into something that felt like wet velvet. Nefer-tina got up slowly and
slipped, tried again, and fell backwards fully. A room... She was in another
room and- Spiders...|
They were everywhere, ceiling, walls... and the thousands of strands that made up the material she had slipped on before, spider webs. Nefer-tina jumped, cringed, and tried to wipe off the hundreds of eight legged pests that covered her. Then her instant fear of the creatures was gone when she heard Galdsa laughing like a fool from the entry way. That was it.
Galdsa wasn't even aware what hit him... at first. Nefer-tina sprung, taking a handful of spiders and spider web from the floor and threw a punch at his wide open mouth as he bawled with laughter.
He screamed first with the pain of the blow, and then with the terror that tiny spiders were now in his mouth, running down his throat, being spit out as he coughed. The webs were acidy and made his mouth burn, but the spiders were worse.
Nefer-tina rolled to her side and cracked her wip as hard as she could around his neck, jerking back savagely. His agonized screams were cut short and he fell limp on the floor. His neck broken.
She gasped, feeling her body weaken suddenly as if weighed down by an ocean. She hadn't noticed before but in her alive form, the armor drained her strength incredibly quick. she layed down, careless of the spiders that scurried off her bruised body and let herself breath easy, getting more air into her lungs. She was so tired...
Underneeth her limp hand a small smooth stone rose from the floor. She glanced at it's silver color and grasped it tight. She had won this challenge! But... hadn't Galdsa started as a ghost before? Wouldn't he go back to his previous form? Nefer-tina bolted upright.
Galdsa was gone... nothing but blood and spiders lay strewn about. This was impossible! She had won, had KILLED to win... Thats when she heard him laughing again. He did have such a giggling personality.
Nefer-tina watched him move toward her like a shadow, only partially visible. A spirit again.
"You never can get rid of me that easily..." He said.
Nefer-tina gasped from exaustion and looked at him flatly. She wasn't stupid, there was no way she could fight him in her present condition.
"Galdsa, step away from her." A voice said. Tazala. "You have lost, the punishment is death... she killed you."
"But I do still live!" he shouted to the walls. "In a form where you cannot harm me."
Nefer-tina watched herself begin to fade from site, and looked at her paling hands with surprise and thankfulness. Tazala was bringing her back to the others. She looked back at Galdsa and then began to see a green landscape before her.
Galdsa watched Nefer-tina fade away, Tazala's voice leaving his mind. He laughed to himself. They thought they could kill him? HA! a ghost he would forever stay... and he didn't mind that. Now back home he would roam the streets and terrorize the innocent. How he did love his job.
Galdsa walked foward, though his feet did not quite touch the ground, being a ghost didn't have much difference to being alive. With the exception that he could go through entire walls as if they were made of water. He planned to exit the chamber to the world beyond through a brick mud wall, his equivalent of a door, and found himself smashed against it when he tried to go through.
"What is this!" He shouted in the dark room and tried again to no prevail. Quickly he glanced at his hands to see if he had somehow again been restored to his alive form. No, just transparent skin. He couldn't leave... He was trapped.
Tazala's voice echoed over the room.
"True you are a ghost Galdsa, but just as you held so many people captive in this chamber, you too shall be. Perhaps you are still a spirit, but now one forced to roam these tiny, dark halls alone, and forever. Galdsa blinked hard twice, and backed against the wall. Forever alone, and forever unable to harm another soul.
The people that lived in the tiny town of Satmi, just outside his chamber, never heard any of his angry screams, and none would for eternity.
The little boy turned and faced his sister stubbornly, determined not to move.
"I told you lyne! I don't want to go!" Shawn said to her, wandering back to his bedroom. The night was shattered by another car zooming by the window.
"Fresh air will do you good idiot!" She snapped back at her brother. "I'm trying to help you. You've been sick for over a week!"
Shawn looked out the window watching the rain fall from the sky and wondered blankly how he could get any better by walking in it. Again he turned back to his sister and felt a lump up fear well in his throat. She had been under alot of pressure lately with school, friends, and their parents. Sometimes she could get very mean when under pressure...
"Look, just a spin around the park ok?! I have to get out of this house!"
She shouted. I HATE IT HERE!"|
"I thought we were going out for fresh air?" her brother asked timidly.
"Shawn I'm warning you ok? SHUT UP, and come with me!" she moved foward and grabbed him by the arm. Shawn wrestled with her wildly as she dragged him to the door.
"Lyne, please I don't want to go out!" He tried to force his arm away and she suddenly let go without warning, sending his arm flying into the nearby window.
Shawn sank to the floor crying and grasped his arm. Lyne watched him, unmoving and looked at the window which was shattered throughout the floor of their little apartment building. Blood speckled the shards.
"I can't belief this... now our parents are going to kill me you jerk! Don't you get it!" She shouted at him feircly and grabbed for one of the shards.
"Lyne.." Shawn pleaded. "Please don't get mad..."
Lyne awoke with a start and rolled over on her back, looking up into a star filled sky. Quickly she sat up and shook the dream that carried so many memories from her mind. She had never wanted to hurt him...
"There was a reason you have entered this game Lyne." And ice cold voice said to her. Lyne looked to her right were Ahora stood, dark eyes fixed intently on hers. "You heart is black, you are Daramas remember? Of evil.
"Don't act like you know what I am thinking witch!" Lyne spat at her and turned away, shuddering when she realized the old womans gaze was still upon her. Luckily, the feeling left. She didn't like Ahora, not one bit, and a second instinct told her that she would likely destroy them all if given the chance. Too bad though. Lyne looked over the flat Russian plain and absent mindedly wondered how Galdsa was fairing with the young woman of Cas before drifting off to what she could only remember as a dreamless sleep.
'No... I'm not a stupid woman', Ahora thought to herself as she walked farther from the camp they had established. Everyone was together... sleeping like idiots and not preparing for what problems the side of good would confront them with. Then again they were probably doing the same... such arrogance. No, if she wanted to win this Game... and only her, a few extra cards would have to be played.
First off she would need to close her mind off in case that annoying goddess of choice decided to mess with her plans. She couldn't fight the gods, but she could get in good favor with them. Tazala would not listen to her as the goddess of choice had a very distinguished status. But fate, the one that Tazala herself had called upon to chose her players for the Game, might be more attentive. This was a perfect time to cast a little magic, and Tazala would know nothing of it as Ahora had practiced keeping her thoughts concealed from her.
Almost to quickly for her old frame Ahora climbed up one of the hill sides and looked backwards over the plain. She wasn't sure exactly how Tazala had summoned fate, but nothing could escape the vastness of her mind. She would figure it out. With a smirk she began the spell of summoning, loving the sense of her own power.
"As woman, giver of life. I, Ahora, ask of the winds to find which whom I seek."
She repeated the sentence a few times, letting it sink into the night. At least the breeze was warm, a sign that the gods were considering if her request should be answered. Nothing yet, she repeated it again.
"As woman, giver of life. I, Ahora, ask of the winds to find which whom I seek."
I heard you woman. What do you dare to bother me with!
Ahora heard the voice in her mind, and proceeded carefully.
"Please, I am at your mercy lord. I wish only to talk with you if at all possible. My means are of a favor, to both of us in a way. But I do not dare command you. Will you listen?" She waited a second before hearing the answer.
"You are a player of the Game... of such chosen I would not expect this. Do you come to beg for your life?"
Good, she had in fact reached the god of Fate. He moved over her question quickly with words but did agree as he showed her by answering.
"No lord. Lord of Fate. I come not to beg for my life. I come to exchange terms, to ask of favor. I understand that you have no need of me and that with but a glance of your ongoing, and unseen gaze, I could become ash on this very ground. Yet I shall ask again, will you listen?" this time the answer was immediate.
Yes, Ahora. I shall listen. Yet make your terms quick for my patience grows thin. It is good that you understand your vantage. Be wary of it.
Inside Ahora smiled. He had called her by name, a good sign. And she played a quite honorable role as the helpless human. But now to business. She would have to be careful, for a god cared not for mortal affairs and there was nothing a person could offer them in exchange for what they needed. A god wouldn't care about any mortal, and certainly would have no reason to help her or anyone else. The trick was to catch their intrest, humor them, and seem as weak as possible. Then they would almost consider the request a game.
"Oh lord, I have seen the powers of your servant, Tazala. It is my wish to be in her status... to serve you for all eternity and bring forth the Game when it is necessary
You wish to be of her status? Impossible foolish woman. There can be but one servant of Fate, Bringer of the Game.
"Yes, my lord of Fate... yet, can I not replace her? Surely she has served
you long enough. Though to you years must be just seconds. I am capable of
power unseen by mortals... but nothing compared to what you are ample of. I am
no more but the slightest shadow of your power." Good.. she needn't raise her
status to high. " I understand that if you possibly would agree to my
request, you would be short on players of The Game. Cannot you make Tazala of
these players, A woman like myself in all your great power."|
Her spirit is of good. The forces to the side of evil would be diminished, and the Game must be played fairly.
"I do understand lord, But if you lowered the players of good by one, and added Tazala, the sides would again be even..."
I will not kill... and it is my choice that your offer be declined. I do not need to change the Game in any way.
'oh really...' Ahora thought to herself. She knew what would change his mind... The point was to humor the god after all.
"I understand your reasoning fully my lord. Yet, I have dared trouble you. Please... Either bestow me with death or let me forever serve you. I am shamed." Ahora smiled wickedly. No god would expect that reply... and the silence that followed her words were wonderful.
Wait... Ahora, woman and giver of life. I have reconsidered my choice.
"Yes lord... I await your sentence Ahora grinned evily and bowed to the air in order to hid it.
You shall be my new servant, provider of the game. I will not remove any players of Cas yet Tazala will be added to those forces with memories of a life long lost. She will be named Athana... Athana of Egypt. I believe I shall make her past life as one of the boys four guardians, the boy of Cas.
Ahora almost laughed outloud with glee.
"Yet... Iv'e a question. Will she remember any of what happens here?"
Nore she, or anyone else will remember anything when the Game has been finished. When any Game ends the people are returned to where they had been the instant they were brought here and issued as players for the Game. Athana will simply be returned with old memories of a old life that I have made for her. Basicly she shall be reborn. And you, Ahora, though now in her place will serve still as a player of the Game till it has ended.
Ahora again bowed deeply to the night. She was good... real good.
Ompac rested lightly on his knees and chanted an old indian song while watching the small campfire they had made burn low to the ground. Presly sat between himself and Ja-kal, the others scattered randomly around the small area. Calira, who was opposite him, spoke up.
"Shouldn't this challenge be over by now?" she asked the group. The woman... Nefer-tina, has been gone a long time."
Rath shifted uneasily on the grass. "I'm afraid Calira is right, Where is she?" his question was met with blank faces."
"We should consider the fact that perhaps she was beaten by the entity, Galdsa." Ember said. "The man seemed a fierce fighter."
Rath shook his head. "No, if she was beaten, Tazala would had given us notice by now... or if not, the second challenge would have surely been issued."
"I agree with Rath, Tazala would have informed us." Ja-kal looked around at the many faces and then up towards the sky. "Can we not call upon her?" He didn't wait for his question to be answered and stood up, shouting the name of the goddess into the night.
"I don't think she will answer Ja-kal." Armon said.
Ja-kal lowered himself back onto the soft grasses of the Russian plain and closed his eyes nervously, reopening them when a faint sound reached his ears.
Well across the plains an erie light was moving toward them, blueish white in color. It wasn't long until a tall, lean figure could be distinguished in the glow. Tazala had returned. The group shook themselves awake and stood, moving down the hillside towards her.
Ja-kal watched her come, and backed up slightly as the light became brighter then his eyes preferred. Slowly it dimmed, leaving the goddess in a strange set of quiet. Armon broke it.
"Where is Nefer-tina?" he asked timidly.
Tazala smiled, something that made her face become oddly pleasant. "I am pleased to inform you that your player has won this challenge of the Game. She is tired and will need to sleep however." A glowing ball appeared quickly just to the right of her. "Help her. She will need care." Tazala watched as the orb dimmed, outlining the shape of a woman. In a moment the pleasant look was gone and one of concern replaced it.
"Do as you wish for now. Fate summons me." With that she turned and left, fading into the night.
Ja-kal watched her a moment longer and then swiftly went over to the light that resembled a human form. Slowly it was dimming, and then the figure collapsed as if only the light had held it up at all. Nefer-tina was in it's place, lying face down on the grass. He, Rath, Presly and Armon were at her side first, followed closly by the others.
Ompac looked over her quickly, scanning every bruise and bleed into his memory. Curious... where did the spiders come from? "She had only minor wounds." he said. "but she is exausted."
Presly shoo'd a spider from her face and leaned closer. "Is she going to
"She will be fine, my prince." Rath said. "a fair amount of rest should have her up and about again. We also might want to get this.. Secretion, out of her hair before it solidifies. I don't think she'd enjoy it much upon waking...ugh" He lifted his hand from the ground and found it covered in a thin film. "In fact I'm sure she wouldn't
"Where on earth was she?" Calira said. "And whats with all the spiders?" She made a disgusted face as one crawled near her sandle. *crunch*
This time it was Rath who made the face. "Must you do that?"
Ember looked at Nefer-tina's body and then upwards. "We should get her back to camp."
"I agree." Ja-kal said. "And quickly, the night can get very cold very fast."
Tazala, now away from either sides of the Game, thought over the message that fate had sent her so quickly. Not even in Lady's vision, just a cold hard thought; I need you now. he had never spoken to her directly before... and she didn't know exactly were to find him. Her best guess was that he would appear to her only if she was alone. Now, at the crest of the entire plain, bordered by the Queslevak (Q-sleigh-va'k) vally, she waited for him.
Master Fate.... what is your wish? I understand not why I have been called to your presence. Tazala said in telepathy. Her answer was very quick.
You, Tazala, have been faithful servant to me for many years. It has come to my attention that the time to replace you is at hand.
Tazala's spirit form stood frozen for a second. Replace her? But.. that is impossible, I am bringer of the game! There is no 'replacement for one such as me! Keeping her cool, she answered.
But why? Have I not served you fully? I know no life other then what I am now... how is this possible that you would just suddenly decide-
Do not Question me Tazala! I am Fate, and now the fate I decide is yours.
She shuddered with rage. Perhaps he was the God of Fate, her master, but she was the goddess of choice... how dare he or anyone say that she was to be denied her life.
I demand explanation! she raged. You dare tell me this without the slightest notice? I will not have it! She could feel his anger building up in the landscape with her words.
You will never raise your voice to me child! I am more powerful then you are or will ever become, you will hear my order and none of anyone else-
I shall not-! Tazala continued over him but was cut off by his angry shout.
She gripped her head tightly, the enormous yell still attacking every part of her mind. The telepathic connection was the easiest way to communicate, but a mind scream could be fatal. Risking another, she continued.
Do not treat me as any child , Fate! I am a goddess, the goddess of choice! Remember that without me you cannot sense the choices of so many people over the world. Without me, you cannot decide the fate of others!
And THAT, is why I am replacing you! . He shouted again.
YOU CAN NEVER REPLACE ME! I STILL HAVE A SOUL!
This time it was Fate that was quiet.. Subdued by a mind scream that not many could match. Tazala waited, knowing she wasn't going to win.
You are gone, Tazala. As of now, and forever. In your place will be the life I give you! You are Athana!
Tazala looked ahead into the night and felt herself reform, molding into something.. someone new. True, this person... Athana would be herself in another life, but how could she know what to do? What was she to be? All thoughts began to slip away from her mind and were replaced with ones that were new. Bright flashes of memories that were not what she knew as her own. Her last thought that was able to push through the jumble was simply; Who am I? And then, she knew all over again.
"Ugh... this is ridicules! Are we here to fight or have a picnic!" Calia shouted.
Rath glared up at the woman standing a few feet from him. Ridicules was right, didn't she have even the least tint of patience?
Almost as if she heard the thought Calira turned on him, scoffed, and turned away. "At this rate we won't be done this 'Game' for a good half of my life." Groans were heard from behind her as others expressed their disapproval.
"Calira please..." Nefer-tina said, shifting herself on the grass. That was enough to get a startled look out of the woman and the rest of the team. She hadn't been awake for quite some time after Tazala returned her to them, and now the others crowded around her.
"Guys come on, its not like I'm dead or anything... well, at least till this thing is over." she shuddered quickly, looking for any of the black spiders she had encountered in the cave. All at once she remembered what happened and fingered the small silver stone in her hand
"Galdsa... is he still-"
"Tazala informed us that you won the challenge fairly." Omapc said.
"He, as I would guess, is no longer a worry of ours."
Nefer-tina smiled up at the older man and wished despertly that before they left on this insane adventure she at least had a chance to spin around the block in the HotRa. A little speed and excitement right now would do good for her... And not the kind that involved anything from ghosts to Scarabs.
"We need to organize ourselves better." Ja-kal said. "Right now we have
no idea what we are doing or what is going to happen."|
"Like a wounded bird." Ember said. "I have no idea who the next challenge will involve but waiting around here for the next clue is driving me insane.
"Well..." Rath began. Our boundries have been laid out for us, as they have been for the other group. We have at least a mile of area from where we are standing now that we supposedly have free rein over. Perhaps we need to find Tazala, or this 'next clue'." he sighed impatiently. "Either way we are stuck at the moment."
"Ja-kal shook his head in silent agreement and looked over the vast plains, the hillsides that bordered them, and territory of unknown land beyond.
"Um... anyone for charades?" Presly asked light heartedly. the others just gave him looks of exasperation, even Armon. This whole situation was wearing everyones nerves thin. In a way Presly felt he needed to be peacemaker. "Ok, guess not, just a suggestion you know." He watched Ja-kal give him a forced smile.
Presly sighed and turned away from his guardians and new found friends looking south. Man was he ever going to be late for dinner.. heck with that, he was going to be late for the next few dinners. Exasperated, he stared into the distance and at first it didn't occur to him that their was a woman just a few feet away until she smirked and gave him a degrading look. Presly shook himself aware and recognized Ahora's thin, steady frame.
"Good evening child. Anyone up for a game?" she asked.
Presly didn't have to turn around to know the others were now aware of her presence. He hoped they would do something though... The older woman was definetly not someone you'd want for a grandmother.
"You have no business here Ahora." Ja-kal said, remembering the description Tazala had given them. "The next challenge has not been issued yet and it is forbidden to cross sides."
She smiled. "I know, anyone trying to leave their proper placing will be immedietly killed. I know all of those pathetic rules now..."
"Then how is it that you-" Rath began.
"I, am running this little predicament from here on out." She said and loved the startled faces around her. Not only that but she was also still a player of the Game. Which gave her even more free power then if she was only a croony chosen to serve the god of Fate.
Rath took up the confrontation again. "Thats impossible. Tazala is the Goddess of choice, you on the other hand are no more closer to her status then your twisted little heart is to kindness."
Ahora almost laughed aloud. "Not anymore old man. I have spoken to the god of Fate who is Tazala's master. He has declared myself the new goddess of choice, still player of the Game. It is I that will now choose your battles and it is I that will decide on what goes and what does not. So believe me... evil will be ruling this disgusting piece of rock we call earth for a very... very long time."
Embers face twisted in anger to match the exprestion on the faces of everyone else. "How can this be allowed! Dont be so sure we are beaten until our blood runs cold!!!" When Tazala hears of what you have done..."
"Tazala? HA! She has been reduced to a mortal with powers no more then that of your own!" Ahora glared at the four guardians. "Meet your fifth companion, four of Egypt and guardian to the boy prince! She doesn't know you yet... but beleive me, in time she will!"
"What are you talking about!" Ja-kal shouted. "Tazala is-" He was cut short by Ahora's booming voice.
"Tazala is nothing!" She said, and waved her hand to the side in a snap of the wrist, melding a ball of red light. "I am the goddess now boys and girls and I am the one with the power. Be ready, the second challenge begins in a matter of minutes! She laughed and disappeared in a flash of pixalized silver, the glowing mass to her right immediatly dropping to the ground and fading, taking on the shape of a womanly form.
"By the gods..." Rath said, placing his hand feverently on his brow. "We are in no way, shape, or form going to have fair odds at our side now."
Ja-kal agreed to the fact with a shake of his head and neared the body of the woman that laid face down on the grass, having appeared in the same manner as Nefer-tina.
"Who is she?" Armon asked, coming at his side.
Ompac answered for him. "Ahora said that Tazala was no more. Instead it is this woman that has taken her place... as a player no doubt. She is of your kind."
Ja-kal nodded and came closer to the woman, about to speak up and see if she was alright when her at first vulnerable form jumped up from the grass in a burst of speed and backed up, clenching her fists in immediate defense. Those fists eased as she watched confused features play across the faces of eight, somehow familer, people.
Ompac came foward, spreading his hands to show he had no weapons. "Please, we are not enemies. What is your name?"
Her gray-green eyes narrowed. "My name is Athana, and do not treat me as if I am some scared child. It can be a mistake you will come to regret."
Rath frowned from the sidelines. Maybe Ahora had mistakenly given them one of Daramas.
Ja-kal looked back at the others and then at the new member of their
party, suprised at her deep voice and rather startled with her features. The
woman was tall, in her late thirtys and had incredibly long black hair that
reached to her ankles in dips and waves. He didn't know if they could consider
her 'womanly' either because she had no chest to speak of and a compact,
muscular frame concealed by old worn in wrappings that clearly marked her as
one of them just as Ahora has said.. |
"I am afraid their is much that you will not understand here..." Ja-kal began.
"Go Figure!" Athana said sarcasticly and fingered the golden owl shaped amulet around her neck that stood out in contrast to her brown skin and worn wrappings "And get on with the intro's too because iv'e not the slightest who you people are."
Rath rolled his eyes and approched her swinging his arm out to the rest of the group, each person in turn with their name. "This is Ember, Calira and Armon. I am Rath, and you have already met Ja-kal and Ompac."
She acknowledged him with a nod and looked the group over.
"I don't think we will not be able to explain what is needed in time before the next-" Nefer-tina started to say
"There is no need anyway." Athana said. "I have knowledge of this 'Game' already. Ahora was so kind as to brief me before I met all of you... damnable woman that she is."
Rath thought for a moment. It seemed that if this was really Tazala reincarnate, she had no recollection of her past life. Well, though the woman had none of Tazala's former personality, she was smart, he could easily see that. The biggest problem to get around would most likely be her already flaring temper...
"I'm back children." A clear voice said, washing over the landscape. The group looked around expectantly for Ahora's slight form and found it, appearing just to the right of Calira who moved away smartly.
Ahora walked foward towards Athana who glared at her expectantly. "I see you've awaken, sweet dreams?" She chuckled.
"Do me a favor and shut up." Athana remarked coldly.
Ahora laughed again. "Oh, Fate did give you spark now didn't he... no matter, it is time." She swivled around and looked over the men and woman of Cas. "Now, things are going to be done a bit differently. First of all no one on one matches, I will pair you sufficiently. Second, the battle will be held all in plain sight of everyone else for each team. I like bloodshed."
She turned rapidly on Ja-kal and Ompac. "You two will be our next challengers to face Scarab and the misfigured brothers. Presly and Ember will follow, matched with Eric and Lyne." She delighted at the looks on the faces of the four guardians when she mentioned their prince. Even Athana, who was not familer with him, wasn't to thrilled with this idea. It was not a childs place to take on a battle. "Lastly... Myself and Chontra will destroy the magic users of your party. Rath, Calira and Athana."
Ja-kal glanced back at the three and then questioned Ahora. He knew that these new proclaimed series of fights weren't going to be fair, but why three against two?
"Why is it that you have Only two of your side to fight three of ours?" Ja-kal asked.
"Simply because in the arts of magic I am unbeaten and Chontra isn't a walk in the part either. "She glared up at Rath. "I'm sure with my help she is going to enjoy very much ripping you apart..." He answered her comment with a sharp glare. "Now come, Time is wasting!" She grasped Ja-kal and Ompac by the wrists before the others had any time to react and the three vanished from site leaving what was left of the group disoriented.
"Witch..." Athana mumbled under her breath.
"Yes... but there is not much we can do now except wait. Ahora said that each challenge would be issued in plain site of both forces. I'm guessing we must be patient." Rath said, as much as to Athana as everyone else.
"Ugh... I wish I could help!" Nefer-tina shouted. "I'm ready for action again, full force!" She clenched her fists in irritation and tried to get her mind off the subject.
"You already did all you can Nefer-tina." Armon said. "Galdsa was a fierce opponent."
Ember shook her head in agreement and looked over at the woman who was at least a full head taller then herself. "Athana, you did not tell us you could use magic."
"There are alot of things I haven't told you." She said irritably. "The magic I use is called Soulfire. It can only be passed by touch but in ways is stronger then some versions of the old Egyptian magic though the same thing.
Calira watched Athana sit down on the grass and noticed a large hole in her right arm that traveled the length of it. It had been concealed by wrapping before hand. "What happened." She asked, pointing the wound out.
Athana gazed at it, opened her mouth to reply and then stopped, suddenly aware that she had no idea where it came from. Bits and pieces of memories floated in her mind but none could deviate a clear picture.
"I.. I'm not sure. But I know it was caused by a spear." Athana looked at it and put one finger through a line that was the center of it, where no flesh had grown back.
"Its a very complete wound..." Rath said. "Amazing that the radius was not disconnected completely when it occurred." She looked up at him and nodded, bringing her attention back to earth.
Ahora looked on at a distance, JA-kal and Ompac to the right of her while they waited for things to get underway.
Fate.. She began to ask. Are you certain her past life will not come back to her? It was a few moments before the god answered.
Very certain. Right now she is not completely imbedded into this time line. When the game ends if she and the others have survived the time line will settle and they will remember her in the life I created for Athana back in Egypt. I will have added her to their timeline and she will also remember them. Now however, the thoughts of years past are still not properly formed.
Understanding, Ahora turned to Ja-kal and Ompac.
"Lets get ready shall we?"
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