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Returning Something Borrowed

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Ardeth turned at the feminine body entering his personal space, expecting it to be Evie… only to see a slightly taller woman that was known to him more by reputation than personally.

After dealing with Evie and Rick this last week, he wasn't certain he wanted to change that now. Dr. Bey had said this one was a mystery beyond the sands of the desert itself.

"Heard there's been a bit of trouble," the woman said, holding out a cloth-wrapped package. "Meant to return this some time ago, but things happen. I know better than to procrastinate, and hate that I was not back in time, but you'll need that, if anything like the thing from the Forbidden City rises again."

Ardeth unwrapped the item, senses locked on the woman to keep from being startled by her, and then the amulet made itself all he could see. It was a depiction of Bast -- no, this was the more ancient Sekhmet, in the full blood-soaked glory of Ra's own destruction upon mankind. More, he could feel the power entrapped by the ancient stone and metal amulet.

"This is a potent artifact."

"Dr. Bey allowed myself and my associate to use it some years past," the woman said. "After, mind you, my associate borrowed it without asking… fortunately Dr. Bey was an understanding man. Now, it needs to be here again."

"You know he was killed?" Ardeth asked.

"That he died bravely, is what one of my friends among your people said. They told me to seek you, instead, as the new leader of those who guard against the evil ones."

Ardeth nodded, once, hating the necessity of it, but the elders had chosen. "My gratitude, Madame Horne. We hope that one will not rise again, but prepared is best."

"Indeed so."