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The Mummy

Chapter Text



2134 BC

Thebes… they called it the city of the living; the crown jewel of Pharaoh Seti I.

The people called him immortal, but no man can truly live forever. Not without cost at least. That was what he had told her.

Her confident steps never faltered as she strode through the garden that was really a corridor. She could feel their eyes on her, but none were allowed to touch for she was the Pharaoh's mistress.

He was a selfish man. He was a possessive man. He was a lecherous man.

Pharaoh's mistress. It was a fancy, polite way of saying she was his concubine; that her body belonged to him and him alone.

She had never chosen this life. It had been chosen for her.

She came from a respectable family. The shame had warred with their pride when she was chosen to be mistress to Seti. Her position came with prestige; she was one of the most powerful women in the court, but everyone knew she was his whore.

The list of people allowed to touch her was miniscule. It consisted of the Pharaoh and her handmaids; she despised both.

The handmaids would paint her body from head to toe. Clothing was not permitted for her during the warmer months of the year.

They happened to be living in the warmer months.

She knew guards were staring as she walked past them. Their eyes would be drawn to her glowing curves accentuated by the thick lines of black Kohl; it created a design of scales descending from her painted pectoral to the top of her sex. The only clothing she wore was the narrow cloth hanging between her thighs from a beaded belt.

The impression was that of a skin tight beaded dress, but anyone who stared long enough would see the smooth curves of her behind. They would trace the defined shape of her hips and perhaps catch a glimpse of her smooth core. It would take less than a glance to see her nipples formed into tight buds between the lines of paint.

She was naked, and she hated it. She kept her face impassive though. Who would dare to complain in her position?

She was the favorite. She was immortalized in stone and reliefs; her name would go down in history. Wasn't that what everyone always wanted? Wasn't that what truly mattered?

The gods would know her name when she arrived in the afterlife. She would live on in eternity.

She was his favorite, but he was not hers.

Her face remained impassive as she strode into the temple and past the ornate statues of Osiris. She could feel the eyes of the priests on her before she vanished between the curtains that led to the bedroom.

Her lips tipped up in a true smile when she saw him. He was her favorite.

Thebes was home to Silas, High Priest of Osiris and Keeper of the Dead.

Her eyes flicked slowly from his exposed chest to his eyes as his fingers traced the plains of her face and body without touching her skin. The proximity drove her mad when she repeated the action.

This was their ritual. This was all they were permitted to do, but damn it, she wanted more. She couldn't contain herself when she saw the passion in his darkened gaze.

Her hand grasped the back of his neck. It took no persuasion. He wanted her as much as she wanted him.

Their lips met in a passionate kiss. Quiet moans reverberated through her body. She couldn't stop them; his hands were roaming over her 'perfect body'.

She loved him, and he loved her. For that love they were willing to risk their lives.

She broke the kiss when she heard the loud crash coming from the antechamber. She exchanged a look with Silas before urging him to back away.

Her hand was stroking the golden head of a cat when the Pharaoh strode inside. She smirked and ran her eyes over his body suggestively; he loved it when she showed an openly obvious interest in him.

His eyes narrowed. Lifting his hand he pointed an accusing finger at her shoulder.

"Who has touched you?" His cry was outraged.

He was a possessive man.

Her heart leapt into her throat when she saw the smudged paint. They were always so careful, but passion had overtaken him; it had overtaken them both.

Her mouth popped open as she started to back away. Her hands were raised until she saw who pulled the Pharaoh's sword from its scabbard; she could see the shock on his face when he turned around.

"Silas," his eyes grew round, "my priest?"

Seti cried out in pain when a bronze dagger was plunged into his back. He had just seen Amara's determined eyes when the sword was stabbed into his abdomen. He lost track of how many times the couple ran him through; he was gone before the royal guards broke into the chamber.

Silas and Amara turned when the doors were forced open.

"You must go," she inhaled sharply when he tried to stand firm beside her. "No," she tore the sword from his hands, "save yourself, my love; only you can resurrect me."

Silas' eyes filled with despair. He knew what she planned to do; he would have fought to stay with her but he was outnumbered by his gold painted priests.

Determination settled over her shoulders like a well-worn blanket. She only had one choice, but that was alright; there were always options.

She met the eyes of the head of Pharaoh's guard and hissed: "my body is no longer his temple." It was almost satisfying when the blade plunged into her heart.

Amara's body was mummified. Her vital organs were removed and placed with in the sacred canopic jars.

For the crime of murdering the Pharaoh Amara's body was to be cursed. It was the duty of the High Priest to curse it; the prospect had filled Silas with dread even as he read from the golden book of the living.

The book contained the sacred incantations that would send the evil dead on a journey into the darkest parts of the underworld. Such a curse was used on Amara.

The slaves who buried the body under the sand were killed by the soldiers of the pharaoh; the soldiers were in turn slain by the priests for no unholy person could be allowed to know the exact location of the burial site.

The thing that was unknown was that there was another book. The Black Book of the Dead which was never to be opened, never to be read; it contained the incantations that would bring a body back to life as a most unholy thing.

It was hidden at Hamunaptra, City of the Dead, inside the statue of Anubis, so that no such sacrilege might ever bring disgrace to Egypt, but for his love of Amara Silas was willing to defy all.

Skulls bobbed in the thick black goop that made up the moat surrounding the underground cemetery. The water had once been crystal clear but the rot of human remains had long since turned it to sludge.

A quiet hum reverberated off the ceiling as the bald priests chanted and watched the proceedings with hooded, lifeless eyes. Their head rocked back and forth as they chanted; the collective voice was eerie as it rose from the heinous creatures that had once been vibrant men.

Silas finished removing the wrappings from her lifeless body; even in death she was gorgeous. He placed the canopic jars around her body and nodded. The organs were still fresh so a human sacrifice would not need to be made.

He chanted from the book and felt the large swirling hole that rose from the bog; it brought a gleam of fear to the eyes of several of the priests. They tore their eyes away and returned to their chanting.

A mist lifted from the swirling hole and passed through the jars and into the body of Amara. Within one of the jars her heart began to beat.

The voices of Silas and the priests, the rushing wind from the swirling hole and the beating heart filled the air until nothing else could be heard. When the noise was deafening Silas saw her eyes fly open.

Her soul had returned. All that remained was to return her organs to her body; their rightful place.

The noise grew impossibly loud as he lifted the ceremonial knife over her chest. He was about to plunge the blade into her chest when a mass of soldiers stormed the cemetery.

A loud crash announced the breaking of the canopic jar and the crushing of her heart.

Amara's soul lifted out of her body and dissipated back into the hole.

Silas had barely been given a chance to cry out when he was captured by the royal guards.

The priests were sentenced to be mummified alive.

For his crimes Silas was sentenced to endure the Hom-dai. It was the worst of the ancient curses. It was so terrible it had never before been bestowed on anyone.

Sacred scarabs were released into his coffin, by eating them he was cursed to stay alive forever, and by eating him they were cursed just the same.

Silas was to remain sealed inside his sarcophagus for all eternity. The Medjay would never allow him to be released for if he was he would arise as a walking disease, a plague upon mankind, an unholy flesh eater with the strength of ages, power over the sands, and the glory of invincibility.

And if were to ever succeed in raising his beloved from her place in the underworld they would become an unstoppable force; an infection upon the world: the apocalypse.


Chapter Text


The Sahara


Dirt and sweat; it was all he could smell.

He supposed it was to be expected when surrounded by two hundred men in the middle of the desert. Their western clothing, while made with lighter materials, was not conducive to the desert heat. Water was strictly rationed so regular bathing was out of the question.

He was certain the men were half mad; driven that way by dehydration. Fear was not helping matters.

The garrison had marched into the desert without thinking of the consequences or possible outcomes. The tracks they had left in the sand were easily seen.

He looked to his left and right to shake his head at the legionnaires scurrying through the ruins that had lost whatever colour they had been.

Men scrambled for cover. They were low on ammunition; this he knew. He also knew they would stand little chance against the sharp weapons of the screaming horde that was now rushing towards them on horseback.

He didn't know how they stood the heat in their black clothes covering every inch of skin.

Heaving a sigh he adjusted his hat and used his hands to push himself up so he stood on the long wall that bordered the desolate city.

"I knew this was going to be a bad day," he bit his cheek and watched the approaching horde. They were barely visible in front of the dust cloud they were kicking up, but he estimated they were approximately a thirty minute gallop away.

"Personally I would like to surrender," Beni glanced at the approaching battle. "Why can't we just surrender?"

"Give me your bandolier," Nik disregarded the question and held out his hand. He slung the belt of ammunition over his body so it crossed his own.

"We could run away," Beni wrung his hands; his thin mustache trembled along with his upper lip. "We could run away right now," he started waving in the direction of the massive statues that had been buried in the sand, "while we can still make it."

"Give me your revolver," Nik held out his hand again, "you'll never use it anyway." It was better to take it now when it would be of more use to him. He was right; Beni would never use it.

"Let's play dead, huh?" Beni pulled out the gun and chucked it at Nik. He held out his hands and smiled like he thought the prospect was fun. "Nobody ever does that anymore."

"Now go and find me a big stick," Nik secured the revolver beside his own in his belt. He held out his hands to show the size which was roughly his own height.

"In the desert?" Beni's eyes drew together in confusion. "What for?"

"So I can tie it to your back," Nik jumped down from the wall and got in Beni's face. "You appear to be missing a spine."

His head snapped around to the thundering horde now a half mile from the city. The rattle of sabres sent a chill down his spine. Shaking his head Nik grabbed Beni's arm and ran back through the ruins towards the rest of the troupe.

"How'd a guy like you end up in the Legion anyway?" Nik raked a hand through his curly hair and grimaced at the level of grime.

"I got caught robbing a synagogue," Beni shivered. The ghost of a grin flickered over his thin lips. "Lots of stuff in the holy places: churches, temples, mosques. Who's guarding them?"

"Alter boys?" Nik saw the greed in his eyes.

"Exactly," Beni grinned. His fear was momentarily put aside as he explained his life. "I speak seven languages, including Hebrew," he held up his hand to signify the relevance of this, "so my speciality was synagogues. How about you?" He nodded to Nik. "You kill somebody?"

Beni's foot landed in a soft patch of sand. He lost his balance and pitched forward accidentally tackling Nik to the ground.

Nik spat the sand from his mouth and gave Beni an annoyed look over his shoulder.

"No," he coughed up a bit more sand, "but I'm considering it now." That was how most people wound up in the French Foreign Legion.

"What was it then?" Beni hopped to his feet and ran up a stone ramp behind Nik. "Robbery? Extortion? Kidnapping?"

"None of the above," Nik spun on his heel at the top to stare out at the horde; he ran backwards for a few moments.

"Then what the hell are you doing here?" Beni's cry was full of surprise and curiosity. What other reason was there for entering the Legion?

Nik skidded to a stop when he reached the front line of soldiers. The horde of warriors was approaching quickly now. The hoof beats of the charging horses was nearly deafening.

He turned to the skinny French man and offered a bright smile full of sarcasm; anyone would have called it a kitschy grin.

"I was just looking for a good time." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Beni's eyes darted to the approaching horde of warriors. They would be there in a matter of moments.

Nik's eyes cut to the Colonel who chose that moment to make his cowardice known. He had always considered Tristen de Martel a man made of nothing but hot air; he was proven right when the privileged sonofabitch turned tail and ran.

"He just got promoted," Beni made an attempt at a joke.

"Strange," Nik steadied his rifle on the low ledge they were using for cover, "I didn't know you could get promoted above 'pompous ass'." The comment had the desired effect of making the other man laugh as well as several of the men surrounding them.

Nik saw the fear then in the shoulders of the men. There was little chance if they all took off and ran, but without clear leadership that was exactly what was happening.

"Bloody hell," he muttered under his breath before barking down the line in his strongest voice, "Steady!"

The men around him steadied their shoulders in the wake of his cry. Courage flowed through them; though how long it would last Nik didn't know.

Not long apparently. That was all he could think when several more members of the Legion ran off.

"What the bloody hell am I saying?" His voice was muffled by the encroaching horses and loud cries of the murderous horde.

The horrifying voices of the Tuaregs reached the ears of the company; more ran off this time.

Nik rolled his eyes when he saw that Beni was one of them; although the coward had made it farther than he had thought he would.

"What the bloody hell am I doing?" He exhaled before pressing a cartridge between his teeth for easier access. Were these his final moments?

He cocked the gun and prepared to fire. He spit the cartridge into the sand when it split between his clenching teeth. Waiting a beat until he knew the enemy was within range he nodded and gave the order to fire.

Apparently he had been promoted.

There was a loud crash as every rifle went off nearly at once. Dozens of Tuaregs were blown off their horses in the blast, unfortunately, there were dozens more.

The prone legionnaires swiftly reloaded their guns just in time for Nik's second order to fire.

One good thing about his garrison was that they had impressive accuracy, if not enough guns. Many of the shots found a home in the horde; Tuaregs flew off their mounts and spun through the air to land in the sand.

That was when Nik saw a problem. He caught the gleam of guns just in time to duck out of the way. It was one thing when the desert people were using primitive weapons on horseback, but they gained a decided advantage when given guns.

Gunshots flew over the top of the wall, but not enough of the legion had heard his cry to duck; a third of his men fell to the sand. He might have heard the wailing moans of the dying if not for the approaching horses.

He was on his feet a second later. The time for distance warfare was over; it took less than a minute to figure that out. The entirety of the horde had descended on the ruins; he would be lucky to escape with his life.

The determination took him by surprise. He had thought himself resigned to death when he found the accursed city with his garrison, but evidently he wasn't done yet.

Nik flipped the rifle in his hands and swung the weapon like a club. His arm reverberated with the force of each collision but he fought through and knocked dozens of horsemen from their mounts; a swift blow to the head was all it took. He didn't stop to survey the damage he was leaving behind. His arm continued to swing decisively through the air.

Beni saw him through the corner of his eyes as he crawled on his belly through the sand. His full retreat was slowed by the bodies of his fellow soldiers that fell around him; he didn't hesitate to climb over the bodies though. The sounds of battle lessened as he crawled through the front gate.

Nik threw his rifle down; there was no use for it anymore. He drew his revolvers and started firing shots from each hand while backing towards the stone wall; he wasn't going down without a fight. If he was going to die he would take as many of them with him as possible.

Tuaregs flopped out of their saddles when his bullets found a home.

Beni continued to crawl. His pace increased, grew nearly frantic, when he spotted the open door to a temple in the rocks. He glanced over his shoulder before jumping to his feet and sprinting for the door; the remainder of the legionnaires were shot or run through behind him.

Nik cursed when he ran out of ammunition. He saw the front gate a few feet behind him before turning and running full tilt through it; he heard at least four horses following him. He sprinted past the many dead, already being swallowed by the sand, and jumped over a toppled column.

His eyes lit up when he spotted Beni attempting to close the door to a temple. He yelled for him to wait and frowned when he saw the small man push the door even harder.

"What are you doing?" He panted and forced his feet to hit the ground harder. The horsemen leaped over the column and began to gain on him. Hooves pounded the sand behind him. "Don't close that door! Do not close that bloody door!"

Nik clenched his hands into fists when the door was slammed in his face. He didn't take the time to pound on the sandstone before veering off in another direction.

He weaved through the ruins attempting to make the chase harder as he ran for his life. It did no good, they only got closer. He wasn't sure if it was his heart or the hooves pounding in his ears. His hands slapped against smooth stone as realized he had backed himself into a corner.

Drawing in a deep breath he spun on his heels to face his attackers. He would not die with a bullet in his back; he would not have a coward's death.

He might have been exhausted and beaten down, but he would face his killers and look them in the eye. Raising his hand he flipped the four men off.

He was pretty sure it was not his rude gesture that had sent the horses into a wild frenzy. The four animals reared up at the same time; two of the riders fell as well.

Nik stared in shock as the horses screeched, bellowed and snorted before bucking furiously and running away. He was certain the animals thought the devil himself was on their heels. The thrown riders jumped to their feet and raced after their mounts.

Nik stood there with his mouth open before swallowing. It was then that he felt it. A creeping sense of dread as if someone truly evil were looking over his shoulder. Slowly he turned around and backed up. Tipping his head back he blinked at the statue of a man with a jackal's head; he struggled to remember the name of the ancient god for a moment before it whispered through the back of his mind: Anubis.

The jackal headed god seemed to stare back at him with a clear message in his stone eyes: 'you don't belong here'.

Nik swallowed before backing up when the sand began to shift. His gaze fell to the bright ground. It looked like giant snakes were writhing beneath the fine dirt to form lines and shapes.

He didn't wait around to see the final picture before turning and running away. There was only so much he could take. His bravery had been used up for the day.

He was passing through the gate when the wind moaned loudly; it sounded like the screams of the damned.

Miles above the lost city a group of riders sat silent atop their mounts and watched a man stumble from the ruins; he must have felt their stares because he turned and watched the ridge for several long moments before turning away towards the desert.

The men looked to their leader, a strong man whose eyes shone with wisdom. He shook his head once with a clear message.

His dark eyes watched the man stagger into the desert. With no food or water he wouldn't make it far enough to ever reveal the location of the city; the sand would claim him before anyone found him.

"Let the desert take him," his voice was calm, but full of authority, "the creature remains undiscovered."

Up on the ridge they were deaf to the wails in the city, and blind to the face in the sand.

Chapter Text

There were few cities as old as this one. It had been alive and thriving so long that the stars had changed their positions since the cities birth. As everyone knows the longer something lives the more diverse it becomes until it swarms with every form of life.

The strange, mysterious, wonderful city was full of life; it ebbed and flowed like the waters of the Nile: ever flowing, but never changing.


There were few places where one could realize their own insignificance; few places where one could lose themselves in the shadows of those that came before and be reminded of their own small place in the universe every time they stepped inside.

Standing on top of the ladder between the two of the towering bookshelves that made up the stacks, in the museum of antiquities, she was again reminded of how little she had done. She was often reminded of that fact while re-shelving the books.

The people recorded between the pages of the leather bound volumes had great adventures, made significant changes to their worlds, and gone down in history for their deeds. She had always been fascinated by these people and their stories.

As a child she had wished she could be one of them. She suspected that had more to do with the period in which they had lived though.

Growing up when she did had meant that she was often surrounded by the latest news from archeologists in Egypt; they had called themselves Egyptologists. The items and mummies that they found beneath the sand had inspired a lifelong love of history for her; she had devoted herself to the study of the discipline, as had her brother.

They were both exceptionally talented. They were both incredibly smart. They were both equally qualified.

There was no difference between them save one: it was a man's world.

Looking at the heavy books under her arm she was struck with the knowledge that it had always been a man's world.

Would she be doomed to live between these shelves forever while her brother was out in the field?

It wasn't so bad, working in the stacks, but it did get a tad boring from time to time. She was so bored she had started talking to the books as she shelved them.

"Tuthmosis?" A line appeared between her brows. "Now how did you get up here?" She was currently shelving all of the books beginning with 'O'.

She shook her head and sighed before looking to the shelf behind her. The tall ladder was leaning against the 'o's; she looked down once before shaking her head. She was nearly fifteen feet in the air, and it would have been silly to climb all the way down when the proper place for the book was right behind her.

She carefully put the stack of books on the shelf in front of her before taking a tight grip on the spine of the heavy volume. She took a deep breath and exhaled in a rush of air. Carefully she took hold of the top rung of the ladder and turned around to reach out for the far shelf.

Too far, she pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes in concentration. She held tighter to the top of the ladder and stretched for the near shelf that was slowly getting closers.

She shifted her feet to maintain her balance and held to the ladder by her fingertips. She was nearly there. She was so close when it happened.

The ladder lifted from the shelf.

She yelped and dropped the book. As quick as an Egyptian asp her arms moved back to cling to the top of the ladder. The two-legged ladder stood straight in the air.

She held her breath and stilled every molecule in her body, fearful that the slightest movement would send her crashing to the floor.

How many bones would she break? Climbing down was clearly not an option.

Even staying completely still the ladder swayed precariously. She shut her eyes tight to combat the spinning room. That was when it happened; her balance was lost.

The ladder swung suddenly. She gripped the top and flexed the muscles in her legs to try and stay upright; it worked for several too short seconds before lurching forward.

She realized quickly that the only way she was going to stay upright was to use the ladder like stilts.

Honestly the next few seconds were a bit of a blur for her. All she knew was that one moment she was careening through the aisles and the next the ladder had come to a stop after crashing into the top of one of the main shelves.

She released the breath she hadn't known she was holding in a heavy sigh. The relief was short lived.

The fall was almost gentle as the shelf pitched away from her and crashed into the next.

As children she and her brother would play dominoes, but never had their games been quite to this scale. She could do nothing but watch as the shelves fell one after another until the final one banged into the wall.

"Oops," she ran her hands over her hair and busied her fingers by securing a few loose curls.

She pressed her lips into a line. Her cheeks heated with a heavy blush; it was all she could do to meet his eyes when he came into the room and stared in horror at the mess she had made.

"Look at this," he waved wildly to the books and papers. "Give me flies, frogs, locusts, anything but this!" His face slowly turned red. "Compared to you the other plagues were a joy!"

"I'm sorry," she jumped to her feet and started picking up books, "it was an accident."

"When Ramses destroyed Syria, it was an accident," Finn raked his hands through his brown hair before pointing to her. "You are a catastrophe. Why do I put up with you?"

She knew it was a rhetorical question but she couldn't resist answering.

"Well," her body simmered with anger, "you put up with me, because I can read and write in ancient Egyptian, decipher hieroglyphs and hieratic, and I," she pointed to herself as the rage boiled over, "am the only person within a thousand miles who knows how to properly code and catalogue this library."

She could have sworn she heard him mutter 'who needs smart women' under his breath; a vein throbbed in her neck.

"I put up with you," he paced forwards until he was a foot from her face, "because your mother and father were our finest patrons, God rest their souls." He sighed deeply and waved to the floor. "Clean up this mess."

Elena closed her eyes and forced herself to take a couple of deep breaths so she wouldn't storm after him and lay punches in several very painful places.

Her eyes snapped open when she heard a noise. Spinning on her heel there was a beat of silence before it sounded again.

"Hello?" She called softly when she slid through the remaining stacks and into an adjoining room. Her voice grew quieter when she passed beneath a towering statue of an ancient god.

Torchlight flickered over the alabaster and onyx. Gold glittered in the fire light. It was dim save for the torches, and eerie. The sudden silence chilled her to the core.

There was a slow shuffle of feet over the stone floor. The muffled sound travelled over the plunder, statues and mummies from the Middle Kingdom.

She could barely breathe when her eyes darted from towering statue to towering statue. Which one was moving? Which one was coming for her?

She knew it was ridiculous, but the eyes of Horus and Anubis stared down at her with malevolence. Her heart thundered in her chest.

She snatched a torch from the wall and hurried down the aisle away from the approaching footsteps. She walked past a closed sarcophagus, cases full of ancient artifacts and another sarcophagus. Her breath caught in her throat; the sarcophagus was open.

She heard herself swallow around the lump in her throat and steeled her nerves. Logic told her someone must have opened it, but there was nobody else in the room; nobody but the giant statues, and she was pretty sure they couldn't move.

A bead of sweat trickled down her spine as she slowly leaned forward and peered into the ancient coffin.

Elena screamed when the decayed mummy sat straight up. The torch clattered to the floor as she backed into a glass case and held her heart.

Her wits slowly came back to her as her mind caught up with the image of her brother jumping from the coffin and laughing his ass off.

"You…" she stumbled forwards and smacked his upper arms.

"Please, do come up with something original," he shook with laughter and caught her hands.

"Have you no respect for the dead, Kol?" Elena glared up at him. She shivered when she felt the empty eyes of the mummy on her face.

"Of course I do," he sobered quickly and helped her gently push the body back in place. "I just thought you could use a laugh."

"Do I look like I'm laughing?" Elena's brows drew together in a stern expression.

Kol tilted his head and lifted his finger to point to the edge of her mouth. "Right there," he tapped her cheek, "you're starting to smile." His voice took on a lyric quality as his lips tipped upwards in a smirk. "Come on, Elena," his mouth fell into an exaggerated pout, "don't stay mad at me."

Elena crossed her arms and cocked an eyebrow.

"I can make it up to you," he smiled brightly as the idea came to him.

"How exactly are you going to do that?" Elena struggled not to smile. Kol had always had an infectious grin; he had always made her smile when they were kids and she had been sad.

"By taking my darling baby sister to lunch of course," he smirked and offered her his arm. "Quickly now," his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, "before the stick in the mud comes back."

"I'm working," she pointed out while taking his arm.

"Yes," Kol nodded solemnly, "but if I know you, you're overdue for a lunch break."

Elena rolled her eyes and followed him out into the brilliant afternoon sunlight.

"I thought you were on a dig," Elena pointed to Kol with her desert spoon and tilted her head. It was hardly a ladylike gesture but she didn't care much when it was her brother.

"I was," he picked up his glass and smirked around the rim, "now I'm not."

"What did you do?" She sighed.

"Nothing," he cut his hand through the air.

Elena cocked an eyebrow; she knew he was lying.

"Alright, fine," he sighed and lowered his glass, "I had a little disagreement with my supervisor on the correct handling of certain 'artifacts'."

"Ha," she scoffed and rolled her eyes, "artifacts sure. You're not fooling me with that innocent expression; you were fighting over a girl. Who was she?"

"The thing to remember is that: I was unaware at the time," Kol cleared his throat and stared at his glass; he never could hide anything from his sister.

"That doesn't sound good," Elena leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. "Who was she?"

"It was his niece," he shrugged.

"I think I can guess how this turned out," Elena shook her head, "spare me the details of how exactly you got yourself thrown off one of the biggest digs in history."

Kol chuckled and leaned back in his own chair. His finger tapped the table top.

"All that I will say is that it might have been worth it," his eyes twinkled mischievously. "You see, little sister…"

"You know I'm only nine minutes younger than you, right?" Elena rolled her eyes. Kol loved to rub in the fact that he was older than her.

"Nine minutes is nine minutes," he pointed to her, "I've got nine whole minutes of wisdom and life experience on you, but we're getting off topic." He looked around the half-filled restaurant and leaned forward to brace his elbows on the table. "As I was saying, baby sister, later that night I was drowning my sorrows and made an acquisition," he reached into his jacket pocket.

"Let me guess," she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "you've got a trinket you want me to take to the curator to try and…" she trailed off when he slapped a small box in her hand. "Where did you get this?" She immediately began looking at the trinket from every angle; it was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

"Down in Thebes," he waved in the general direction with a mischievous smile. "You've always been better with the hieroglyphs. Tell me: did I find something?" He raised his brows hopefully.

Elena mumbled under her breath as she translated the worn writing along the edges of the box. She bit her lip as she played with the various slats along the sides of the box; they shifted under her fingertips like a puzzle box. There was a soft click when she moved the last slat and the box unfolded itself in a nearly mechanical fashion.

The top of the box flew open into eight triangular pieces. Elena's eyes widened when they lit on a folded piece of golden papyrus. She lifted the heavy paper and unfolded it.



"I think you found something," she looked up from the ancient map.


Chapter Text

Elena hovered behind Finn's shoulder with a giddy smile on her face. It had always been a bad habit of hers: hovering. It used to drive her crazy; it still did. She was well aware of what she was doing, but she couldn't seem to stop bouncing from foot to foot so certain was she that her brother had found something truly significant to history.

If she was right then he had just made a name for himself, and she was out of the stacks for good; Kol had said he couldn't have translated the ancient symbols without her and that he would most definitely need her help. She knew that was a bald faced lie, but she couldn't bring herself to care; he could have done it on his own, it would have taken more time but he could have done it on his own, and he wanted the help of his sister.

Elena couldn't contain herself anymore; she was certain Finn had been squinting through the eyepiece longer than Ramses II had ruled Egypt.

"See the cartouche there," excitement bubbled over in her voice as she pointed, "it's the official royal seal of Seti I. I'm sure of it." She smiled proudly.

"Perhaps," Finn hummed and continued to inspect the box all the while thinking he should have joined the theatre.

Kol's eyes widened. He hadn't originally recognized the cartouche; there were so many symbols on the box that had been worn almost away by the passage of time. Leaning closer he saw the Elena was right; the box held the seal of the last Pharaoh of the Old Kingdom.

Finn lowered the box and lifted the delicate papyrus. He didn't need to spend time examining it to know it was the real thing.

"I've already dated it," Elena continued as if she hadn't heard the scepticism in her boss' voice. "This map is almost four thousand years old, and the hieratics over here…" she pointed to the top corner and drew in a deep breath.

"It's Hamunaptra," Kol narrowed his eyes and translated upside down.

"Yes," Elena bit her bottom lip.

The siblings didn't notice the brief freeze of the curator or the nervous twitch in his eye; they were preoccupied thinking of the ramifications of finding that which had yet to be proven real.

"Don't be ridiculous," Finn cleared his throat and frowned, "we are scholars not treasure hunters. Hamunaptra is a myth."

"All myths are rooted in truth," Elena crossed her arms. "History fades to legend and legend fades to myth. The city was said to be where the early pharaohs hid the wealth of Egypt."

"In a big underground treasure chamber," Kol nodded quickly. He had heard the stories as well. "They said the entire city was rigged to sink into the sand at the pharaoh's command."

"A simple flick of a switch," Elena grinned, "and the whole place would disappear beneath the sand. The city mysteriously disappeared from records around 2134 BC."

"It's all fairy tales and hokum," Finn sighed. He tilted the map closer to the burning candle to see some of the faded hieroglyphs. He swore when the papyrus caught fire and threw it on the floor disdainfully to avoid a burn.

Kol stomped out the flames with his shoe and lifted the delicate paper into his hands. His mouth popped open in outrage; he might not have been the most careful person when it came to handling the treasures of Egypt, but even he knew better than to hold something so precious near an open flame.

"You just burnt off part of the lost city," Kol shook his head. He could still read a large portion of the journey, but the final stretch was gone.

"It's for the best, I'm sure," Finn leaned back in his chair and watched the devastation playing across Elena's features. "Many men have wasted their lives looking for this city; no one had found it, and most have never returned."

"You destroyed the map," Kol glared at him.

"I'm sure it was a fake," Finn shook his head. A small smirk lifted the edge of his mouth when he turned to his librarian. "I am surprised at you Elena, to be so easily fooled."

Elena snatched the box from the desk before Finn could reach for it. She knew she was right. She knew the map had been real and that she hadn't been fooled.

She cast Finn a suspicious look before spinning on her heel and snagging her brother's arm. She slammed the door angrily behind her.

Finn had been right about one thing: many men had wasted their lives searching for Hamunaptra and had never returned, but she was no man.

Elena swallowed nervously and took a deep breath which she immediately regretted. The sharp inhalation of air filled her nose with all manner of smells that she would have much preferred she remain unfamiliar with: sweat, blood, and something unknown and terribly foul. The worst of the smells seemed to be coming from the man in front of them as he led her and Kol through the worst place she could have ever imagined.

"You told me you acquired it in Thebes," Elena hissed through the corner of her mouth.

Kol cleared his throat and watched her from the corner of his eyes. He was honestly surprised he had gotten off with the lie for as long as he had; Elena was usually sharper about calling him out on his deceits.

"I lied," he shrugged one shoulder and stepped around a pile of animal droppings.

"I gathered as much," Elena rolled her eyes. "Why are we in a prison yard?"

"The map was a dead end," Kol whispered, "the next best thing is to ask the person I got it from."

"Why is the antiquities dealer in a prison?" She held her breath.

"Well," Kol bit his cheek and squeezed her hand, "he's not exactly a dealer, and I didn't come by the box… legally."

Elena spun on her heel when the jailor brought them to a stop outside of a cell. She crossed her arms and glared at him.

"Tell me you didn't," she shook her head. The sheepish smile was answer enough. "You picked a man's pocket!"

"Shh," Kol pressed a finger to his lips, "we are in a prison yard, darling." His eyes sparkled with amusement.

"Wouldn't want you getting thrown in here," Elena rolled her eyes; he had a habit of picking pockets when he'd been drinking: it was the only time he was any good at it. She turned from her brother to the foul smelling jailor. "What is he in prison for?"

"I had no idea," the man shrugged and leaned against the bars of the cell. "I asked when I heard you were coming."

Elena arched an eyebrow expectantly.

"He said he was 'just looking for a good time'," the jailor snickered.

Her heart jumped in her chest when the interior door of the cell burst open and a man was pushed through by four guards. Elena's eyes widened; his hands were bound by chains. Was it truly necessary for a chained man to be escorted by four armed guards? Surely they were overreacting; putting on a show for her and her brother.

Elena swallowed and schooled her features into an impassive mask; she had a feeling her nose still wrinkled in disgust though. She forced down a sick feeling. Never before had she been in possession of a weak stomach, but then again she had never been in such a place.

How long had it been since anyone inside had bathed? She knew it had been awhile for the man before her; his face was half hidden behind his scraggly hair and beard. What little she could see of his face was covered in a bruise that looked fairly new.

"Seriously?" Elena cast her brother a sidelong look. "He's just a filthy criminal." Was this really the man who had made one of the most architecturally significant finds of the century?

Kol cleared his throat and shook his head.

Elena shivered when the man wrapped his hands around the bars and looked her over in a way that made the base of her spine tingle and her breath catch in her throat. Her shiver turned to indignation when he looked to her brother and smirked.

"Who's the strumpet?"

"Excuse me?" Elena's eyes narrowed.

Kol stepped back and signaled to the Warden that now would be a very good time for him to disappear. He vividly remembered the last person to make a disparaging remark against his sister; the man left that street with a few less teeth. The first had received a bloody nose from him before Elena had insisted she take care of things herself.

"I'll be back in a moment," the jailer cleared his throat and stepped away.

"I'm trembling with anticipation," Nik rolled his eyes. He grunted when a club came down on the back of his head and gave the guard a nasty look over his shoulder.

Elena swallowed down her anger. She wanted answers more than she wanted catharsis. She could practically sense the surprise from Kol when she didn't haul off and hit him; truthfully seeing that club come down had been sickening.

"We…" she forced a cheery smile and nodded to her brother, "… found your puzzle box, and we've come to ask about it."

"No…" Nik shook his head and searched her gaze. "You came to ask about Hamunaptra."

Elena bristled with shock. She had not been expecting him to know the truth about the box; his appearance didn't exactly scream scholar.

"How do you know the box pertains to Hamunaptra?" Elena tilted her head.

"Because that's where I was when I found it," he spoke slowly.

"That sounds like a lie to me," Kol shook his head. Nobody ever found Hamunaptra; that was the whole point. If anybody had the city would have been swarming with tourists from every corner of the world; even if it turned out to be only a city of sand. The legends alone would have drawn people in; anyone who found it would have made a killing.

"Don't I know you?" Nik's eyes narrowed with a hint of recognition; before Kol could get a word in Nik's fist flew through the bars and collided with the man's jaw.

It was rather satisfying seeing the young man out cold on the floor of the prison; he barely felt the second time the club hit over his head. His father had always said he had a thick skull.

Elena's eyes dropped to her unconscious brother before lifting to Nik. She knew her brother well and she knew that he probably deserved the punch; if not for what he had done to this man than for something that had transpired in the past. He had a tendency to rub some people the wrong way.

"You were actually at Hamunaptra?" Elena stepped around Kol and approached the bars.

Nik motioned to Kol on the floor.

"I know my brother," she shrugged as if to say this sort of thing happened all the time. Truthfully it hadn't happened in several years.

He tempered his smile when he saw the amused spark in her eyes and answered her question.

"I was there," he nodded and gave her a once over. He held out his hands and smiled wryly. "The City of the Dead."

"What did you see?" Elena leaned closer; her eyes gleamed with excitement.

"Sand," he met her dark eyes, "and death; rather fitting when you consider the name of the place."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. Since entering the prison she had felt no shortage of lecherous gazes; many of these men hadn't seen a woman in years. Looking into his clear blue eyes she was struck with the knowledge that he was not looking at her in a lewd manner; it was amusement that glittered in his gaze.

"Could you tell me how to get there?" She tilted her head and stepped closer to him.

"You want to know?" He raised his brows and mirrored her head tilt. He tempered his smirk when she nodded and leaned in a little closer. "You really want to know?"

"Yes," she could almost feel the heat coming from the iron bars between them. Behind her Kol began to stir.

Elena blinked and met his gaze. She had no time to react when he stepped forward, grasped her chin and pressed his mouth firmly against hers.

The squeak died in her throat as a heat spread from her mouth down to her toes. Her mouth popped open in shock when he pulled back an inch and met her eyes.

"Then get me out of here."

Elena was still staring in when he was dragged back through the door. She snapped out of her reverie after a moment and turned to the jailor who had returned.

"Where are they taking him?" Dread curled down her spine when his mouth opened to reveal a rotting smile.

"Back to his cell. He's to be hanged in the morning; apparently he had a very good time."

"Never should have shown her that box," Kol shook his hand before bending and extracting a set of keys from the guard's belt. He heaved an exasperated sigh and held the heavy ring close to his body to stop the jangle of keys.

His eyes peeked into each cell he passed until he spotted the man with the scraggly hair. Bracing his hands against the metal bars he tilted his head and smirked while rattling the ring of keys.

"Don't suppose you know which is which?" Kol cocked an eyebrow when he stood from the narrow cot and pointed out a key towards the middle of the ring. "Much obliged," he pulled open the door as quietly as possible, "Elena hates it when I'm late."

"Your sister talked you into this," Nik rubbed his wrists when the shackles fell free, "after I did that?"

Kol ran a finger along his darkened jaw and shrugged. "It's hardly the first time I've been punched; once by my own sister. I'll not bore you with the details."

"Shame," Nik sighed, "it sounds like an interesting story."

Elena cringed at the foul breath. She had been expecting the advance and come prepared for it, but she had started to think that maybe just maybe it wasn't going to happen; the warden had even sent her brother to ensure the right man was released.

Apparently the jailors didn't get out much either. Most men would have been happy with a cash bribe, but these ones seemed to be lonely.

She smiled encouragingly and wrinkled her nose when he leant in close. She brought her hand up as if to caress the back of his neck and pressed her thumb firmly to a pressure point behind his ear.

She shuddered when he fell to the floor in front of her and turned to slip from the office and into the street where she leaned against the wall of the prison and waited.

Chapter Text

He paced back and forth over the worn rug and gesticulated wildly with his hands. The firelight flickered over his face casting long shadows in the hollows of his cheeks.

"She must die," his voice was decisive; certain.

"You're overreacting," Elijah tilted his head and watched his elder brother pace. "Nothing needs to be done. She is like all the others."

Alaric nodded from the shadows and ran his fingertip along the flat of his dagger. "She'll die in the desert."

"No," Finn tensed and spun towards the desk, "you don't get it. Neither of you understand; you're not grasping the concept." He shook his head and braced his hands on the wooden desk. "She knows too much."

Finn inhaled sharply and lifted his eyes from the shiny mahogany desk and met Elijah's dark eyes. "It's not just the map…"

"Which you burned," Alaric cocked an eyebrow.

"She also has the key," Finn glared at him.

Elijah's spine straightened instantly. His heart was in his throat when he crossed the room to search his brother's gaze.

"She's got the key?"

"The lost key?" Alaric sheathed his dagger. Fear made his heart hammer in his chest. "The key that's been lost for millennia?"

"One and the same," Finn nodded. "Nobody has ever has so much; been so close. As loathe as I am to admit it this woman is smart; she's fluent in the ancient language and will have no trouble translating any inscription she comes across."

"She could still die in the desert," Enzo leaned casually against the fireplace. "I don't think it's too much to hope she falls victim to the sands?" He masked his concern behind an arrogant smirk; he wasn't in a hurry to kill a woman.

"If what Finn is saying is true," Elijah shook his head; it wasn't like his brother to be paranoid, "then he's right."

"We have to stop her," Finn leaned back and ran a hand through his hair, "or it'll be the end of us all."

Alaric heaved a sigh before nodding once; there was really no other choice. "Then we'll kill her, and all those who are with her."

Finn exhaled slowly and bit down on his cheek. "Burn the map and retrieve the key."

"Consider it done," Elijah straightened his sleeves and turned towards the door. He paused in the opening and looked back over his shoulder. "What about the American group? They leave tomorrow as well."

"Forget about them," Finn scoffed. "They're a bumbling mess and will be like all of the others. They can't find the city without the map to guide them."

The vast waters of the Nile lapped against the bow of the passenger barge, but the smell was hardly noticeable to the rat faced man. His nostrils hadn't worked properly in years; such was the way when you spent your life surrounded by stinking men with no hope of a proper bath. His own hygiene was not the best either.

"It is three days down the Nile, then two days by camel," Beni shifted from foot to foot with nervous energy. He was not overly thrilled with this party.

"For all of the money we're paying you something had better be under that sand," Damon glared at the scrawny man who had become their guide.

"Hamunaptra, Damon," Kai clapped him on the shoulder and crooned in his ear, "just keep telling yourself that: Hamunaptra." His eyes sparkled with excitement.

Elena sighed and watched the sun glint over the edge of the pyramids; they towered above the sands. She held up her hand and waved away a child attempting to sell her incense along the docks and turned to her brother.

"You think he'll show up?"

"Undoubtedly," Kol bumped her shoulder, "I know the type; his word is his word."

Elena scoffed and shook her head. "Personally I think he's filthy, rude and a complete scoundrel. I don't like him one bit."

"Anyone I know, love?"

Elena turned with Kol. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw him; he looked nothing like he had in that prison cell. He had cleaned up and shaved so that only a thin layer of golden scruff clung to his jaw. His full lips tipped up in a half smirk and his eyes glittered with amusement.

"H-hello," she just managed to keep her mouth from falling open.

"Hi," Nik's eyes flickered to her brother when he offered his hand to shake. He immediately checked his pockets after accepting the greeting.

"Oh no," Kol shook his head, "I only steal when I'm drunk."

"It's an excellent argument whenever I've had to bail him out of anything," Elena tore her gaze from Nik's defined jaw. "Can you tell me this isn't some sort of nonsense trip, because if it is…"

Damon's grip on the rail was white knuckled as he scrutinized Beni carefully for any sign of dishonesty. "You sure Hamunaptra is really out there?"

Lucien rolled his eyes and watched Kai carve out a pattern on the wooden rail.

"Yes," Beni nodded and adjusted his red beret, "along with the scorched bones of my entire garrison." His eyes widened when he looked out over the bow and saw the sun casting a golden glow across the jaw of a man who should have been dead. His jaw ticked as he backed away from the men who had hired him. "Do excuse me, gentlemen," his lip trembled, "there is work to be done."

"My entire garrison believed in this so much that they marched, without orders across the bloody desert to find the damn place," Nik's eyes narrowed slightly as he stepped close to Elena and met her earnest gaze. She was really something else. "You want to know what we found when we got there?"

Elena swallowed and blinked. Her head swam with the spicy scent of his aftershave.

"Blood and sand," his eyes flickered over her face and to her parted lips, "my entire garrison was wiped out by Tuaregs." He inhaled the sweet smell of her perfume and cleared his throat. "I'll take your bag." His fingers brushed over hers when he pulled the case from her hand.

"I'm assuming since your brother here was the one who unlocked the cell," Nik nodded to Kol, "that I was not liberated from that prison legally."

"It wasn't a hundred percent above board," Kol smirked.

"Then perhaps we should get on the barge," Nik raised a brow, "before somebody comes after us."

Elena tilted her head when he walked away from them up the gangplank of the ship. Her eyes flickered over his silhouette.

"You're right," Kol nodded with a small smirk, "he's a complete scoundrel, nothing to like there at all." He gave her a pointed look and laughed. His snicker turned to a yell when she used her hip to push him off the dock into the Nile.

Water splashed up onto her skirt. She covered her mouth to stifle her laugh when Kol's head broke the surface. Before he could pull himself from the river a hand closed around Elena's arm.

The hand was attached to a doughy body of a man holding Elena with his other greasy hand.

Elena glared at the smears of sweat now clinging to her white blouse.

"I should have known I'd find you two at the docks," he squeezed forcibly. "Where's my prisoner?"

"We had an agreement," Kol snapped from the river, "we held up our end; you got your money. I'll thank you to unhand my sister," he swam to the ladder and started pulling himself from the water.

"Yes," the jailor's rotten teeth flashed in a lewd smile, "and then your sister here knocked me out."

"You had it coming," Elena tried to pull her arm free from the strong man's grasp, "now let me go!"

The jailor squeezed her arm painfully causing Elena to release a quiet yelp. There was a loud snap before her arm was released; she reached for her brother and saw the foul man's eyes squeezed together as he tipped his head back to stare in shock at Nik.

"That's no way to treat a lady," he twisted the man's arm behind his back.

"She is no lady!"

"Careful," Kol raked his wet hair from his brow, "that's my sister you're talking about."

Elena tried not to recoil when the man cast his lecherous eyes on her. The grime clinging to her blouse seemed to seep into her skin and coat her from head to toe in a layer of filth under his heavy gaze.

"I wonder if you can swim," Nik hummed and tightened his grip over the man's arm. His half-baked thought came to a stop when several officers pushed through to see what all of the hubbub was about.

"What seems to be the problem here?" The older man's voice was heavy with a Scottish accent; military stripes clung to his shoulder.

"This man is an escaped criminal!" The warden exclaimed loudly.

Elena caught the sudden fear in Nik's eyes as she cradled her arm. Inspiration struck quickly when she saw the grease still clinging to her otherwise pristine shirt. Her lower lip trembled slightly when she turned to the officer.

"That man," she pointed towards the jailor, "laid his hands on me," it wasn't a lie per-say. She released a shaky breath and felt Kol steady her; pretend to steady her. "This man pulled him off of me," she nodded to Nik and blinked rapidly as if trying to hold back tears.

Kol tempered his smirk when the officer placed the jailor under arrest. He cleared his throat and steered his sister towards the gangplank with Nik a step behind them.

"If you ever decide against Egyptology," he murmured so only his sister and guide could hear, "you've got a career in the theatre."

Elena covered her mouth to hide her smile and watched the jailor being led away; he struggled against the officers dragging him through the crowds.

"Stroke of genius really," Nik watched her watching the arrest underway. "You know they won't be able to hold him for long though without you there to press charges?"

"I know," Elena looked at him through the corner of her eye, "but they'll hold him long enough that he won't know where we went, and will have no hope of catching up."

"She's a mad genius," Kol chuckled. "She should also sleep with one eye open tonight," he made a show of ringing out his jacket.

"That's hardly the first time I've pushed you into the Nile," Elena rolled her eyes. She turned away from the bank when the barge began to pull away and went in search of her cabin.


Chapter Text

The only sound over the gentle rowing of the oars was the sharp ring of the whetstone over the curved blade. He looked up from the gleaming weapon towards the passenger barge a few miles ahead of them on the Nile.

The lantern lights glittered in the warm night. It would be a good hour at least before they reached the larger boat.

Nik tried not to laugh when he found Kol at a table playing a game of poker with a rather rowdy group of Americans. He shouldered his bag and strode forward with the intention of passing them by.

"Pull up a chair, O'Connell, take a seat," Kol smiled up at him. "We could use another player."

"No thanks," Nik shook his head and clapped Kol on the shoulder, "I only gamble with my life; never my money."

"Never," Kai cocked an eyebrow, "what if were to wager five hundred dollars that says we get to Hamunaptra before you?"

Nik's smile dropped slightly. It wasn't uncommon to find parties in search of the lost city, but it was rare to find someone with such confidence in their endeavor.

"You're on," Nik's smile was cocky. He doubted he'd ever see this man again; everyone always seemed to parish in the desert.

"What makes you so confident?" Damon tilted his head.

"What makes you?" Nik countered.

"We got us a man that's actually been there," Lucien smirked around the rim of his glass.

Nik's poker face dropped at the news; nobody else had survived… right?

Elena's elbow was propped on the table. She held her chin in her hands and stared out at the passing river over the rail of the ship. There was something undeniably calming about the lapping waves; they were lulling her into a state of peaceful oblivion.

She jumped when the table shifted after a loud thump. Her hand moved from her chin to cover her pounding heart.

"Sorry," Nik's brows rose as he smiled, "I did not intend to scare you."

Elena caught her breath and inhaled slowly. "The only thing that frightens me is your manners, Mr. O'Connell."

"Still angry that I kissed you?" Nik cocked an eyebrow and pulled the ties on the bag. He sat across from her at the table.

"If you call that a kiss," Elena breathed. "I suppose I do owe you a thank you though."

"Was that it?" He smirked and reached into the bag.

"Technically I could have handled it," she crossed her arms.

"You've proven capable of handling many things," he nodded. "I'm the one that owes you a thank you. Without you and your brother I'd be dead right now; at the end of a hangman's noose."

"Was that your thank you?" She tilted her head. Her eyes widened when he pulled a plethora of weapons from the bag: revolvers, pistols, knives, an elephant gun and half a dozen carefully wrapped sticks of dynamite. "Are we going into battle?" Elena picked up a stick of dynamite and watched through her lashes as he began cleaning some of the guns.

"Last time I was out there everybody died," Nik checked the mechanism of one of the guns and wiped out some lingering sand. He saw the smile fall from her face as he cleaned the guns. "There's something out there, you know, under the sand."

"Yes," Elena cleared her throat and lowered the explosive back onto the table. "I'm hoping to find an artifact, a book," she clarified when he looked up. "Kol thinks there's some of the most significant finds out there." She leaned her elbows on the table and watched him. "What do you think is out there?"

Nik sighed and dropped the cleaned weapons in his bag again before mirroring her motion. "Evil," he met her sceptical eyes. "The Tuaregs and the Bedouin believe that the city is cursed. They call it the doorway to hell."

"Ahmar is Ossirion," Elena spoke in the ancient dialect. Her lips quirked up in a know-it-all grin. "It's technically the 'passageway to the underworld."

Nik had never liked a know-it-all, but he found the smug light in her eyes beautiful. He wasn't a fan of the self-satisfied smirk though; he would have liked to wipe it from her face.

"I don't believe in fairy tales Mr. O'Connell," Elena's fingers tapped against the table, "I put no stock in the supernatural. If I can see it and touch it then its real, curses are nothing more than stories."

"You're going to eat those words, love," he warned with a cheeky smile.

"I doubt it," her tongue darted out to whet her lips. Passion lit up her eyes as she explained what she was truly hoping to find. "I don't believe in fairy tales and I never will, but I do believe that one of the most famous books in history is buried out there: the book of the living. According to my research it's supposed to contain all of the spells and incantations of the old kingdom. It's what first interested me in Egypt."

"Right," his eyes darted from her glittering gaze to her full lips, "and the fact that it's made of pure gold means absolutely nothing to you?"

Elena smiled and searched his gaze. "You know your history."

"I know my treasure."

Elena swallowed when she saw his gaze flickering to her mouth. Was he going to kiss her again? Her eyes fell to the table under his gaze.

She forgot for a moment why her eyes had fallen when she saw his arm.

He had rolled up his sleeves to his elbows exposing his strong forearms.

Elena didn't think before reaching out and wrapping her hand around his wrist.

His breath caught in his throat as heat raced up his arm. He was so surprised by her actions that he made no move to stop her soft fingers from tracing the lines of his tattoo.

Elena bit her lip and traced the bold black lines of the all-seeing eye encased in the pyramid and flanked by two kings in front of the setting sun. She couldn't shake the feeling that she had seen the mark somewhere before, but the hieroglyph beneath the pyramid eluded her mind.

"This is interesting," she lifted her gaze. Her breath caught when she realized how close she was to him; a rich flush flooded her olive complexion.

"Nothing really special about it," Nik shook his head, "it's just a tattoo; I got it slapped on me at an orphanage in Cairo."

"You know," Elena thought the night must have cooled off when she leaned back a ways, "most orphanages don't brand the orphans."

"I woke up one day with a splitting headache and this," he waved to his arm which she was still holding.

"Right," Elena cleared her throat and released his wrist. She climbed to her feet and saw him pick up another gun to clean from the corner of her eye. She paused before leaving and looked back over her shoulder. "Just out of curiosity… why did you kiss me?"

"I was facing the noose," Nik shrugged one shoulder, "it seemed like a good idea at the time." One last kiss from a beautiful woman was hardly the worst last memory he could have had. He did regret her not having a chance to respond; would she if he kissed her again?"

"Right," Elena scoffed. She spun on her heel and walked away; her shoes clicked out a harsh rhythm on the deck.

"What?" Nik's eyes followed her path. "What did I say?" It had been a while but he clearly recognized the sight of an angry woman. The thought that he might follow and find out what had vexed her flew from his head when the snicker reached his ears from under a nearby table.

Quick as a whip his hand darted under the table and caught the skinny arm. He grasped the rat faced man's collar and held him up so he was forced to stand on his tip toes.

"My friend," Beni's smile was nervous. "I'm so surprised."

"If it isn't my little friend, Beni," he tilted his head and gave the man a shake, "I should kill you."

Beni tipped his head back and swallowed when a knife was pressed to his throat. He forced a large grin on his face and motioned with his eyes in the direction Elena had left.

"You never were any good with the ladies, eh O'Connell?"

Nik ignored the jibe; he did perfectly well with women… provided he wasn't actually interested in them. When he was interested he had a tendency to turn into a bumbling mess.

"You're the one leading the Americans," he nodded as if he should have known. "Let me guess: you take them into the middle of the desert and leave them to rot."

"Not this time," Beni frowned as if it were the biggest inconvenience in the world and not like he routinely took men out into the desert to die. "They're smart, these ones. They only paid me half now; I get the other half when I get them back to Cairo."

Nik bit his cheek and narrowed his eyes before lowering the knife and placing it in his pocket. He saw Beni visibly relax and rub his neck.

"Why are you going back?" Beni looked Nik up and down; he couldn't remember ever seeing him so clean. "You never believed in Hamunaptra."

Nik and Beni both turned when they heard a startled yelp to see Elena backing away from the horse paddock. She yelped again when the camel attempted to take another bite out of her.

Nik grinned when she turned from the animals and hastened down the deck.

"She saved my life," he nodded after the brunette, "her and her brother. Figured it was the least I could do; keeping them out of trouble."

"You always did have more balls than brains," Beni laughed nervously.

"Hmm," Nik's eyes narrowed when he turned to look back at Beni. "Let's make us even, huh?"

"Even?" Beni gulped. He yelped when Nik grabbed and tossed him over the rail of the barge.

Nik found the splash and subsequent death threats incredibly amusing. He closed his bag and threw it over his shoulder before turning away. He froze when he spotted three sets of wet footprints leading from the rail down the deck. Every sense was on alert as he looked around.

Elena chewed her lip and absentmindedly pulled the pins from her hair. The glossy curls fell over her bare shoulders, exposed by the low cut of the nightgown. Her eyes were distant as she remembered the firm pressure of his mouth on hers; the warm tingle that had spread through her body.

She tore herself from the memory and gave her head a good shake to loosen the more stubborn curls. When they were all free she turned on her vanity and gasped loudly. A small squeak escaped her lips when she was pushed against the wall of her cabin; the cool looking glass raised goosebumps along her arm.

She wrapped her fingers around the hand keeping a dominating hold on her throat and met the man's dark eyes. It was difficult to concentrate on his features though when the tip of a knife was pressed to her cheek.

She opened her mouth to scream and released a frustrated groan when his hand shifted to cover the sound.

"Where is the map?"

Elena swallowed nervously and shook her head but she couldn't stop her eyes from darting to the table where the papyrus was all but concealed beneath a book.

"And the key?" He followed her gaze and saw the candle flicker casting a light on the ancient hieroglyphics. "Where is the key?"

Cold terror raced up and down her spine. It shone in her eyes and made her breath shake on each rough inhale through her nose. She knew he could see the clear confusion in her eyes though when he sighed and pressed the blade to her throat.

"Never mind," he moved as if to kill her, "I'll find it myself."

Elena gasped when the door was kicked in and she was spun around to face it. The knowledge that she was being used as a human shield hit her like a ton of bricks when she managed to focus on Nik and the gun in his hands.

Nik looked from Elena to the man holding her. He didn't notice the way the man's eyes lingered on his arm.

"Friend of yours, love?"

Her eyes widened.

Nik spun when the window opened and jumped out of the way of a bullet that splintered the wall of the cabin. Returning fire he heard the body of the attacker tumble backwards and splash into the river.

His shots were wilder than he would have liked them to be. He wasn't sure who's gun hit the kerosene lamp, but he did know that it caused enough of a distraction for Elena to grab the candle and jam it back over her shoulder into her assailants face.

The man yelled out in pain and released her.

Nik grabbed her arm and pulled her from the flaming room. He rolled his eyes when she snatched the bag lying by the door.

Elena attempted to pull her arm free when he pulled her down the hall away from her cabin. "We need the map!"

She managed to break his grip and moved as if to run back into the burning room.

Nik grabbed her arm and spun her into the wall. His body held her in place until she stopped struggling and glared up at him.

"Let me go," her arms waved wildly. Her bag bumped into her hip and hit his side. "We need the map."

"Relax, sweetheart," he lifted one hand to tap his head, "I'm the map."

Elena's eyes widened. Of course he was the map. The notion that she had needed the bit of paper struck her as suddenly absurd; the whole point of bringing him along was that he filled in the missing pieces.

Elijah wiped the last of the candle wax from his cheek and swore at the rising flames now blocking the path to the rest of the ship.

He swore again before backing away and jumping through the open window. Enzo would have to deal with them now.

The cool river water soothed the burn as he swam around the side of the ship looking for any opening that he could use to re-enter. It was a futile endeavor; the flames were spreading quickly now. He made his way to the shore instead and fingered the tattoo on his forearm while watching the ship burn.

Fire was not his weapon of choice, but it worked well enough.

His thumb traced an ancient hieroglyph under his tattoo.

Elena knew it was probably inappropriate to focus on the way his hand fit perfectly with hers as they ran from the flames, but that was just where her mind went. There were people screaming and shouting and fleeing for their lives, but she couldn't stop thinking of his hand.

Maybe she was just focusing on the little things in an attempt to dispel her panic.

Elena screamed when a large chunk of the wall exploded behind her head.

Nik pushed her behind him and spun in the direction of the man in black; this had to be the last guy. He returned fire while backing Elena up and keeping her body behind him at all times.

Inspiration struck when he heard the panicked snorts of the horses and camels. He waited until the man was in front of the paddock to shoot the lock. He spun when he heard the pained screams as the man was trampled beneath the stampeding animals.

Securing Elena's bag over her shoulder he tightened the straps of his own and came to a stop by the rail.

"Can you swim?" He shouted over the cacophony on deck.

"If the occasion calls for it," Elena yelled back.

"Trust me," he picked her up and tossed her over the rail, "it calls for it."

"Elena?" Kol came up beside him. He breathed a sigh of relief when her head broke the surface.

"You're next, mate," Nik gave Kol a good shove before jumping over the rail himself.

Kol came up sputtering and took his sister's arm as she treaded water. "You okay, darling?"

"I'm fine," she nodded. Her teeth chattered as she turned towards the shore and started swimming; she couldn't think too much about the action until her feet touched the muddy bank of the river. Swimming was something she only did when absolutely necessary; a side effect of nearly drowning as a child.

She waded out of the water and raked her wet hair out of her face. Her sleeveless blue nightgown clung to her curves; had the sun been high in the sky she would have been exposed to anyone daring to look. She blushed when she realized that Nik was looking.

He tore his gaze from her skin; the water droplets glittered like stars in the moonlight. His attention was grabbed by the man shouting on the other side of the Nile.

"It looks to me like I've got all the horses!" Beni cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted. The majority of the survivors were behind him running after the escaped animals.

"Looks to me like you're on the wrong side of the river," Nik couldn't stop his smirk. When he turned back around it was to see Kol peeling off his wet jacket and using it to cover Elena's bare shoulders; it did nothing to conceal her legs though.

"Thanks," she murmured. The jacket was wet but succeeded in making her feel less exposed to the eyes of the men on the other side of the water.

"You want to tell me what was so important about that bag," Nik nodded to the strap that was slotted between her breasts.

"This," Elena swallowed and extracted the puzzle box. "The papers are ruined, but that man wanted this, so I have to believe it's important."

"Considering you stopped in the middle of an inferno to grab it that box better be the Holy Grail!" He glared at the trinket while regretting ever pulling it from the sands, but he had been intrigued by the box none of the other men had been able to open; it had been the perfect hiding place for the map.

"Not the Holy Grail," Elena grinned, "but definitely something."

"You stopped in the middle of the fire?" Kol crossed his arms and glared.

"Only for a second," she shrugged, "and I counteracted the action by taking a midnight swim… Oh come off it Kol, I can swim. You saw to it that I could swim."

"Yes I did," he nodded once, "and you hated me for it for months." He exhaled and pulled the box from her hands. "Just promise me you won't do anything foolish or life threatening."

"I'll try not to," she smirked before turning and walking across the muddy ground.

"Why do I get the sense I'm going to be saving her life again in the near future?" Nik adjusted his bag and gave Kol a sidelong look.

"Because," he sighed and shook with a humourless laugh, "that's Elena. She's got a talent for getting into trouble; half the time she doesn't even realize she's doing it."

Chapter Text

Nik took a good look at the camels and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. They were quite possibly the worst camels in the herd, but they would serve their purposes well enough. He shook his head at the trader and named a smaller price in Arabic to which the man agreed.

"Completely ridiculous," Kol took the reins of two of the animals. "Wouldn't horses have been faster or at least worth the money spent?"

"Perhaps," Nik nodded. "You know we probably could have had them for free," he snickered, "all we had to do was give them your sister."

"I'm sure she would have loved that suggestion," Kol's eyes darted to a group of children darting between the stalls of the trading post. "It's a tempting proposition though."

"Awfully," Nik breathed.

Perhaps I should have spent time learning Arabic.

That was all Elena could think. She held up her hands and shook her head when the women of the tribe presented her with a myriad of jewelry. She shook her head again when they insisted and squinted while trying to remember the right words to communicate what she really wanted.

"Mulabis," Elena smiled hopefully. For all she knew she was asking for coffee; at that point in time she wouldn't have said no to a cup, but fresh clothes were more important. She couldn't very well go traipsing through the desert in her nightgown; she plucked at the blue silk for good measure.

Elena breathed a sigh of relief when a younger woman nodded and took Elena's elbow in order to steer her towards a chest by the wall of the trading tent. She shook her head at the lighter colours and pointed to the black; it was best to wear black in the heat of the desert. Not many people knew that, but loose black clothing was the best for the sun.

She stepped behind a partition and pulled on the dark material. It was tight over the chest, not constricting but tight enough that she would not require a brassiere; which was just as well as all of hers had burned on the ship. A belt gathered beneath her breasts from which the dress flowed towards the ornate rugs beneath her bare feet; she smiled gratefully when she emerged and was given a pair of boots that rose to her knees.

Elena tilted her head when the woman spoke in rapid Arabic. She had a hard enough time understanding when people spoke slowly to her, so the woman's words were no better than gibberish. She shook her head to signify that she didn't understand.

"Oh," Elena nodded when the woman lifted the purse attached to her own belt. "Right, right." She extracted the money she had gotten from Kol and paid for the new clothes. They had been lucky he and Nik were carrying their wallets when the ship caught fire.

Her eyes narrowed after she said thank you and the women giggled. She was pretty sure she hadn't actually said what she wanted to.

Elena made her way past the stalls of food, jewelry and trinkets. She lifted the scarf over her hair to protect her neck and followed her nose towards what she knew to be a herd of camels. What else could it have been?

She smiled when she spotted them and waved. A flush of colour rose in her cheeks under Nik's gaze. She was glad her face was currently covered; she would have never heard the end of her blushing from Kol.

"Do you require assistance, love?" Nik tilted his head and watched her regard the height of the animal.

"I can get up on my own," Elena insisted. She tried to ignore the way his voice sounded when he called her 'love'; it made her feel warm and tingly.

"Have you ever actually ridden a camel?" Kol crossed his arms and laughed. "I've never seen you on one."

"No," she shook her head. "I have not, and I'm fairly certain you haven't either." She sighed before admitting defeat and turning to Nik. "It's like a horse, right?"

"No," Nik pressed his together to keep from laughing. He took the reins of her camel and clicked his tongue to make the animal sit. He motioned Elena to the side. "You're going to want to swing your leg over quickly and sit."

Elena did as instructed. Her eyes grew round when the camel clambered back to its feet. She leaned back and grasped the saddle tightly between her hands while managing to stifle her startled yelp.

"I got it," she covered her mouth and giggled when she was steady before taking the reins back.

They had been travelling non-stop since leaving the trading post. Most people might have found Nik's competitive nature annoying, but Elena was enjoying it immensely. It meant she got to the city that much faster. Sleeping while in the saddle was not an easy feat.

Elena seemed to lose track of time in the desert. Staring at the endless dunes of sand she wondered how far the golden sea truly stretched.

At some point around the time the moon was beginning to rise she finally drifted off.

Nik turned his head when he heard the softest of hums and smiled fondly upon finding her asleep. The complete relaxation on her face was adorable. He spared her brother a quick glance; he was a few feet behind them and had drifted off as well.

Nik's eyes widened when he saw Elena starting to slide in her saddle. With one hand he reached out and wrapped his hand around her soft upper arm. He gently pushed her back into the saddle and nodded when she didn't wake up. He watched her for a long moment and traced her features with his eyes before sighing and turning towards the ridge.

"I don't why we don't just kill them now." One of the Medjay nodded to the trio below their ridge. "At the rate they're going they'll reach the city in a day."

Elijah's narrowed eyes watched the blonde man carefully right the woman in her seat. From this distance he could not see the mark on his wrist, but he didn't need to be close to know what it was. He had gotten a good enough look two days before on the river barge; it was a perfect match for the tattoo on his arm.

"Not yet," he spared the soldier a glance over his shoulder before turning his gaze back to the group. "Not yet."

Nik blinked at the lightening horizon and turned towards the siblings when he heard Kol's voice.

"You'll be pleased to know," Kol turned to look at his stirring sister, "that you no longer snore."

Elena's annoyance flared. She was easily annoyed first thing in the morning and Kol knew it. She tightened her grip on the reins of the camel and reached into the bag at her side to extract a date.

"I have never snored." It was very satisfying watching the fruit strike his nose.

"You've never heard yourself snore," Kol fumbled for the date and caught it before it could fall to the sand. He smiled and bit into the fruit. "We shared a room for six years, Elena, and then I was across the hall. You snored every night."

"I did not," she glared and threw another date.

Kol snickered and shifted in his seat to catch the flying fruit between his teeth. "You did," he smirked, "but I will be happy to tell your future husband that you've grown out of it. You do talk in your sleep though."

Elena blushed when she heard Nik chuckle on her other side.

"What did I say?" She stared at the back of her camel's head.

"No idea, love," Nik shook his head, "it was all ancient Egyptian."

"I picked up a few words," Kol nodded, "but I'm much more proficient when I'm reading it." He leaned forward to peek around Elena and look at Nik. "She's fluent in the language. I'm still not sure how she managed to gain fluency in a dead language."

"There is no way to know if I'm fluent without sharing a conversation with someone who is a native speaker."

Kol gave her a pointed look and cocked an eyebrow.

Nik had a sense that a second argument was brewing on her true fluency with the dead language. His eyes scanned the horizon before he turned and interrupted the siblings.

"We're almost there."

"Are you sure?" Elena spun in her saddle to look at him. The mortification that she had said something embarrassing in her sleep had started to slip away; what were the odds that Nik spoke ancient Egyptian? Not even Kol spoke the dead language, and he had spent years studying it.

Nik looked down to the ground before lifting his eyes back to Elena. The closer he got to the city the more predominant the feeling of evil became. He had not been joking on the ship; there was something beneath the sand.

"Pretty sure," he nodded.

Elena followed his gaze to the sand and paled. Her hand came up to her throat as she gasped loudly.

Skeletons, bleached white by the desert sun, stuck up from the sands. Many looked as if they were attempting to crawl up from the desert floor. Bony fingers grasped at the ground. Here and there an arm reached up as if to use the sun itself to pull the body from the earth.

"What is this?" Kol stared aghast at the mass of dead. They had all been picked clean by desert scavengers so there was no way of knowing how long they had lain beneath the sky.

"Other seekers of the city, perhaps," Elena swallowed.

She lifted her gaze from the dead and frowned when another party rounded a sand dune; there were nearly three dozen men. She tilted her head; a few of the men in the group looked familiar like people she would have seen in passing.

"Good morning, my friend," Beni smiled brightly.

That was when Elena remembered. It had been dark, and she had been shaken from her midnight swim and the fire, but she recognized the rat faced man's voice. He was the little imp that had attempted to taunt them from across the river.

From the corner of Elena's eyes she saw Nik nod once; it was clear he was not going to dignify the man with a response. She got the sense if he opened his mouth a threat of some kind would come out; she could see a vein throbbing in his neck.

A line appeared between Kol's brows when they came to a stop a hundred odd feet from the American party. He was not the one to ask the question though; over the past few days he had come to put a certain amount of trust in his guide.

Elena assumed if Nik was staring out at the endless horizon he had a good reason. The other man who had also seen the lost city was mirroring Nik's actions.

"What are we doing?" Kai slid back in his saddle and pulled on the horses reins.

"Patience," Beni advised with a sickeningly sweet smile.

Elena wondered how many people the weasel had sucked up to over the years. She wondered how he was still alive.

Damon turned in his saddle and cast a challenging look towards Nik. He raised an eyebrow when he got a good look at the woman beside him and looked her up and down appreciatively.

Elena bristled under the man's gaze and turned towards the rising sun.

"First one to the city, O'Connell," Damon smirked at the camel.

Elena shared a questioning look with her brother when they had been sitting in silence for a while. She turned towards the horizon and drew in a sharp breath as the sun broke the flat expanse of nothingness.

"Get ready," Nik straightened in his saddle.

"For what?" Elena turned to him.

"We're about to be shown the way," he sighed. He shook his head minutely when he realized that he had really returned. He didn't seem capable of refusing the woman who had saved his life. The fact that he had a bet going with the American party was only marginally responsible for his return.

Suddenly the horizon was no longer nothingness. A shape began to rise: a volcano.

Elena blinked when the Americans took off at a brisk gallop towards the rising volcano with a whoop. She turned towards Nik and knew her sarcastic look was mirrored on her brother's face.

"Shouldn't we be going?" Kol cocked his head to the left and raised an eyebrow.

"You didn't ride us night and day to win that bet," Elena pointed out.

Nik ignored them both and continued to stare out at the horizon.

"Fools," Beni muttered and spat at the sand.

Elena blinked when the volcano shifted. She smiled when the racing party brought their horses to a screeching halt and turned to race in the other direction.

"Ah," Kol shook his head and laughed, "a mirage. I really should have seen that coming," he mused, "it is the desert and all."

Elena covered her mouth and giggled when the American party stopped and turned again towards the shifting mirage. Her eyes grew round at some of the loud curses she heard flying from their mouths.

Elena tried very hard not to snicker when the man that had been appraising her flew from his horse as the party came to a stop on the far right side of the horizon. They all seemed to admit defeat and sat still to wait.

Kol narrowed his eyes when the shifting image came to a halt on the left hand side of the horizon. For a long beat nobody moved or breathed. From the corner of his eyes he saw Nik and Beni grin and share a look.

Next thing he knew everyone was racing towards the city. He was more than content to stay at the back and watch the ensuing race.

Nik and Beni were neck and neck. They raced at high speeds towards the lost city.

Kol smiled when Elena caught up and was moving alongside them. His smile frowned when he saw the small man's whip come down as he tried to unseat Nik from his horse; on the third pass Nik grabbed the whip and jerked pulling Beni from his camel.

Elena glanced down to her left and saw Beni roll in the sand before lifting her gaze to the city. She laughed when the wind whipped her hair around her face. Her heart was pumping wildly sending adrenaline coursing through her body; she couldn't remember the last time she had felt so alive and it showed in the brilliant grin on her face.

She turned to her left and smiled when she felt Nik's gaze on her. He laughed with her and saw her eyes dance.

Elena bit her lip and smirked before urging her camel faster. She had forgotten how competitive she could really be.

"Elena," Nik called after her. He lifted his voice over the pounding hooves of the animals to try and reach her. "Slow down!" He yelled louder when she ignored him and raced up the ramp into the city. "Seriously, love, slow down there's a really big…"

Nik cut off and grimaced when she flew from her camel and flipped in the air. Her startled shriek reached his ears.

"Never mind," he shook his head and tried not to laugh at the stunned expression on her face. He jumped down from his camel and made sure she was alright before turning to the Americans, who had stopped to stare at the ruins of the city that had been concealed.

She took Nik's offered hand and wiped her sand filled hair back from her face.

"I believe you boys owe me five hundred dollars," he grinned up at them.

"Technically," Elena swiped the sand from her eyes, "I was the first one in the city."

Chapter Text

Dr. Wes Maxfield barked orders at a group of diggers in rapid Arabic. It all boiled down to the single urge that they dig faster. It didn't matter how often he said it though; the men were only capable of moving so fast. The door to the Temple was slowly revealed beneath its layer of dirt and rocks.

Damon waved his hand to dispel Beni's hookah smoke and lifted his eyes from the card table they had set up to play poker at. He narrowed his eyes and watched the stray camels wandering the ruins of the city; dusty backpacks and saddlebags were slung across their humps.

"Where did all of the camels come from?" Lucien looked up from his hand of cards.

Beni drew in a deep breath from the hookah and swatted at a fly. He blew blue smoke rings and waved to the many animals with the pipe.

"They belong to the dead," he took another drag; "they will wait for years for their masters to return before leaving."

Damon shook his head. He turned towards the sound of distant voices and watched the woman giving directions to the men she had journeyed with.

"They know something we don't?" He pointed to the metal disk she was wiping down.

Wes turned away from the diggers to look in the trio's direction and scoffed. "They're led by a woman," he sneered, "what does a woman know?"

Kol returned from the camels with a skin of water and watched the worn down statue of Anubis warily. He didn't like the way the ancient god was staring down at him; it was unnerving.

Nik finished tying the rope around a sturdy pillar and dropped the impressive length into the crevice at his feet that ran through the ruins in a weave. He tested the pillar by pulling with all of his strength before nodding once.

"What?" Nik cast Kol a sideways glance.

"That thing," he pointed to the statue, "makes me very uncomfortable. There is something really off about it."

"Be nice," Nik narrowed his eyes. "That thing saved my life."

Elena looked up from where she was positioning the last of the ancient mirrors along the crevice.

"That 'thing' gets me excited," she grinned at the statue.

"Oh," Nik smirked, "the things that get you excited." His eyes sparkled when a pretty flush rose along her chest.

"According to scholars," Elena cleared her throat and willed the blush to leave, "inside the statue of Anubis was a secret compartment. It's believed to contain the book of the living."

Nik nodded to the mirrors Elena was angling down into the crevice. "What are these for, love?"

"Ancient Egyptian trick," Elena's heart skipped a beat. It did that a lot when he called her love.

Nik nodded and shrugged before jumping down and using the rope to rappel into the crevice. He looked up and immediately averted his gaze when he saw Elena was the next to come down. He steadied the rope and did his best not to look at the exposed skin; everything was still covered but he had a feeling she would not have been comfortable knowing he could see her thighs.

Her stomach knotted when she felt her fingers beginning to slip on the rope.

"Alright, Elena?" Kol called down from the top.

"I'm fine," a bead of sweat trickled down her spine. She gritted her teeth and used her legs to hold tightly to the rope as she lowered herself down. She stifled a shriek when she lost her grip and fell.

Nik swore under his breath and moved quickly. Luckily she hadn't been too far above him when she dropped.

Elena gasped and wrapped her arms securely around Nik's neck. She drew in a couple of shaky breaths and tightened her fingers in his soft curls. His blue eyes found her dark ones and stole away her breath.

"Are you alright, sweetheart?" Nik shivered in the warm chamber. His eyes darted to her parted lips when she exhaled slowly and her breath fanned across his jaw.

Elena drew her lip between her teeth and inhaled slowly. 'Sweetheart' was new, and much like 'love' it made her heart flutter. Her gaze dropped to his red lips before flickering back to his eyes.

She nodded and held his shoulders when he placed her on her feet.

"Are you okay?" Kol dropped down beside them.

"I'm fine," she stepped back from Nik and smiled up at her brother, "just a little five foot fall."

"It was closer to ten," Nik cleared his throat.

Elena rolled her eyes and peered into the gloom of the chamber they had descended into. She had never been a believer in the supernatural but the spooky room sent a chill down her spine.

"We are standing inside of a room that nobody has entered in more than four thousand years," she breathed into the stillness.

"Hamunaptra," Kol murmured while lighting a torch and waving it in the darkness, "full of the cobwebs of ancient Egypt."

"You're welcome to my share of them," Nik chuckled.

Elena heaved an exasperated sigh before striding towards a metal disk along the wall and using her sleeve to wipe away the cobwebs. She clenched her teeth and took a firm hold of the disk and spun it around. She repositioned it until the rays of the sun from outside were caught on the metal.

The ray of light immediately bounced off the disk and shot across the room. It bounced from one mirror to the next until the entire chamber was lit up and the beginning of a passage was illuminated.

"That is indeed a neat trick," Nik nodded once.

Elena ignored him in favour of looking around the room to the tables and fire pits. She ran her fingers through the thick layer of dust and lifted an amulet that nobody had touched in millennia. She traced the edges of the heart shaped scarab that would have been worn by the deceased to guide their spirit through the underworld.

"This is a preparation room," her round eyes twinkled brilliantly.

"Preparation for what?" Nik tilted his head to watch her.

Kol laughed when she leaned closer to Nik and spoke in a serious tone while grinning madly.

"For entering the afterlife," she resisted her urge to laugh.

"This is where they made the mummies," Kol looked around at the ancient tables.

Elena rubbed the amulet between her fingers to clean off the dust while leading them towards the narrow passageway up ahead. She dropped the amulet into her shoulder bag and bent slightly when the passage lowered.

Her hands traced the smooth walls until they came to a fork in the hall. She looked both ways before following her instinct which was screaming at her to go right.

Nik reached out and grabbed her arm after they had gone on in silence for several minutes. Elena glanced over her shoulder at him before she heard what he had. A scratching sound was coming from somewhere nearby; it sounded like nails clawing the inside of the walls.

Nik shared a look with the siblings before pulling a pistol from its holster and cocking it. Kol licked his lips as they began moving closer to the sound that was getting steadily louder.

Their steps were slow when they emerged from the maze of tunnels into a vast chamber and approached an enormous, half-buried, statue.

Elena's lips quirked up in a grin when she recognized the bottom half of the statue of Anubis. Her blood ran cold when the scratching that had stopped suddenly grew louder.

Nik took Elena's arm and pushed her behind him and her brother. The sound grew steadily louder and crept increasingly closer. He raised his gun and saw Kol do the same as they stole around the side of the statue.

Nik leapt around the side and swore. He took a small step back when the three faces jumped lunged at him. He managed not to pull the trigger though, and it was a good thing he did because the bullet would have buried itself between Kai Parker's eyes.

"You scared the bejeezus out of us, O'Connell," Kai tightened his grip on his gun.

"Likewise," Nik smiled tightly. Nobody had lowered their guns.

"This is our statue… friend," Damon cocked an eyebrow and looked Nik up and down with a clear challenge in his eyes.

"Strange," Nik smirked, "I didn't see your name on it… mate." His eyes narrowed when Beni and the Egyptologist stepped out of the shadows with guns aimed at him; they were followed by five of their diggers.

"Ten to one, O'Connell," Beni's rotted teeth flashed in a grin. "Your odds are not so good."

"I've had worse," Nik gave Beni a pointed look as his blood boiled.

"As have I," Kol smirked. Of course there were not guns involved then.

Nik cast him a sideways look from the corner of his eyes. He looked back when Beni cocked his gun and grinned.

Elena looked between the squabbling groups as the tension thickened. Her heel gently pushed a pebble backwards so it fell between the cracks in the floor. None of the men seemed to notice her actions or hear the distant clatter of the small rock.

She stepped forward slowly and laid a hand on Kol and Nik's arms.

Nik's skin tingled under her small hand as she pulled his arm downwards.

"Let's be nice, boys," she smiled as she would have with small children. "If we are going to play together then we must learn to share." Her fingers tightened marginally around Nik's arm while she gave her brother the look she had given him since they were kids. "There are other places to dig."

Elena stood on top of a stone block to scrape away at the ceiling with a tiny chisel the length of her hand. She was talking more than contributing while Nik and Kol used sledgehammers to bring down large quantities of sand.

"According to my calculations we should be right beneath the statue." She pointed to the ceiling. "We'll come up right between his legs." She blushed when she realized what she had said.

"And when they go to sleep we can sneak up and steal the book out from under them," Kol grunted and swung the sledgehammer over his head.

Nik wiped his wrist across his sweaty brow and looked at Elena from the corner of his eyes. "Are you sure you can find that secret compartment?"

"Yes," she hopped down from block and craned her neck back to stare at the ceiling, "assuming that their Egyptologist hasn't already found it."

Wes narrowed his eyes at the secret compartment that he had found at the feet of the statue. With a small brush he cleaned the seams of sand and stood up. His hand darted out to catch Kai's arm before he could tear open the door.

"Careful," he cautioned, "Seti was no fool." Wes gave Kai a pointed look before nodding to the diggers.

"Sure," Kai held up his hands and backed away. "Let the diggers handle it."

Beni exchanged looks with the treasure hunters before they backed away from the statue where the diggers were tugging away at the seams with crowbars.

"Okay," Nik swung the sledgehammer over his head and lodged it in the ceiling before pulling down, "let me see if I've got this straight. They stuck a red hot poker up your nose, broke your brain into pieces and ripped it out through your nostrils?"

"That's got to hurt," Kol grimaced. He was familiar with the ancient techniques but hearing about them still sent a chill down his spine.

"It's called mummification," Elena smirked up at him, "you're dead when they do this."

"What if you weren't?" Kol cocked an eyebrow.

"Even if you were," Nik grunted, "that would be enough to bring you back."

"You two are worse than a couple of school children," Elena sighed in exasperation. She tilted her head back when she heard a loud crack. Her limbs froze in place.

Nik jumped down and took Elena's arm to pull her clear of the falling ceiling. Kol dove backwards to avoid the massive stone block falling from the ceiling to the floor.

Beni's gun was trained on the floor when the sound of a crash reached him from below. Damon, Kai and Lucien had followed his lead.

Wes ignored the lot of them and continued to shout in Arabic at the diggers to hurry. His angry voice had the desired effect of making them work faster.

The tendons in the men's backs undulated as they pulled harder on the crowbars. The compartment began to loosen before giving way. An intense spray of liquid jetted out from the seams and hit the diggers in the face.

The men screamed loudly and backed away while clawing at their skin. The flesh bubbled and burned. By the time they hit the floor they were dead and the top halves of their bodies were skeletal.

Elena turned her head and sneezed as the dust began to settle in her nostrils.

"Bless you," Nik murmured.

Elena rolled her head back and opened her eyes. A thin layer of dust clung to his skin and lay in the air like a curtain of fog. She couldn't see much beyond his face that was a few inches above her.

"Thanks," she whispered. Her breaths were slow and shallow in deference to the dust still floating in the air.

Shifting ever so slightly she realized her body was being pressed to the ground by Nik. One of his legs was slotted between her knees and he was using his elbows to keep the majority of his weight off her body.

The dust filled room faded in her peripheral vision when she focused on his eyes. She didn't see when the dust began to clear; all she could see were his intense blue eyes shining in his dust covered face.

She drew in a deep breath causing her chest to brush against his.

His breath caught and his heart thudded. He only looked away when he heard a harsh cough from the other side of the chamber.

"Elena," Kol sat up slowly and blinked at the massive stone blocking his sister from view. Fear gripped his heart when she didn't immediately answer him; the stone was more than long enough to conceal her petite frame. "Elena!" Panic laced his voice.

She closed her eyes and mourned the loss of contact when Nik sat up. Her body seemed to cool off when he was no longer pressed against her.

"I'm alright," she accepted his hand and let him help her to her feet. "I'm okay." She met Kol's eyes when she stood.

She released Nik's hand when she saw Kol's gaze drop to where they were joined. Stepping forwards she started examining the large stone that had sent them diving in separate directions.

"What the bloody hell is this?" Nik ran his hand over the smooth stone.

"It looks like a…" Elena narrowed her eyes. "It looks like a sarcophagus."

"Why would they bury somebody in the ceiling?" Kol tipped his head back to stare at the hole they had made.

"They didn't," Elena shook her head. "They buried him at the feet of Anubis." She tilted her head and regarded the sarcophagus with wide eyes. "He must have been someone of great importance… or he did something very naughty."

"Maybe he got a little frisky with the pharaoh's daughter," Kol suggested with a wicked smirk.

Elena rolled her eyes and started brushing away at the dust with her hands and a tiny brush. The dirt was slowly removed to reveal a single hieroglyph embedded deep in the stone. She stared at the mark with narrow eyes while her brother impatiently tapped the stone.

"Well," Kol urged after several moments of silence. "Who is it?"

A line appeared between her brows as she stared in confusion. She was fluent in the language but at that moment she wanted to be wrong. She wanted it more than anything in the world. Her voice was hesitant when she looked up and met their curious eyes.

"It just says 'he who shall not be named'."

Nik continued to work away at a large amount of dust and dirt that had gathered in the middle of the stone. He could practically feel the energy radiating from Elena as she muttered to herself in ancient Egyptian and English.

"There's some sort of lock here." He took her elbow and pointed to the box. "You said these things were made of granite with a steel interior?"

"Quarried granite with a cobalt lining," Elena corrected while peering at the area he had uncovered.

"Whoever was in here wasn't getting out," Kol knocked on the stone with his knuckles.

"You're not wrong," Nik nodded with narrowed eyes, "it'll take us a month to crack into this thing without a key."

"A key." Elena's head snapped up. She could almost taste the steel of the man's blade when she spun on her heel and started searching for her bag. "That's what he was talking about."

"What who was talking about?" Nik watched her rummage through the bag.

"The man on the barge," she stared into the bag, "the one I stabbed with a candle, he was looking for a key." She pulled the puzzle box out with a triumphant cry and skipped back to them. Opening it she placed it on top of the lock and grinned when it was a perfect fit.

Before any of them could turn the key they heard loud screams coming from down the corridor. Elena snagged the key and ran with them towards the shrieks, but by the time they found the wayward digger he was running headlong into a wall.

They stared in horror and drew in ragged breaths while watching the dead man warily; half expecting him to jump back up. When he didn't Kol hesitantly stepped forward and pressed his fingers to the man's neck.

Lifting his gaze he shook his head to signify that the gaunt man was dead.

Chapter Text

The fire crackled merrily; spitting sparks up into the air to join with the multitude of stars high above. The temperature had dropped significantly, as it was wont to do in the desert, and was now near the freezing point.

At least that was what it felt like for her.

The chills racing down her spine might have had more to do with seeing the man die less than an hour ago. She knew about death, obviously, and she understood that people died all the time, but it was one thing to see them laid out for burial and another to watch the horrific moment of their death.

She wrapped her blanket tighter around her shoulders and scooted closer to Kol who wrapped an arm around her shaking shoulders.

It was the cold, she decided, definitely the cold.

"What do you suppose killed him?" She rested her head on his chest and watched the fire split the wood in two.

"I don't know," Kol hugged her close and kissed the top of her head. He coughed and turned his head in the opposite direction until the fit passed. "You might want to consider washing your hair," he teased. "It's full of sand."

His comment had the desired effect of bringing a small smile to her lips. He narrowed his eyes when it also lifted a blush in her cheeks.

"You're no better," she reached up and tousled his hair. A cloud of dust rose and sank around his face causing him to sneeze.

Nik came around the corner and jumped over a small pile of rocks to sit on Elena's other side. He snapped a few pieces of wood and fed them to the fire.

"It seems our American friends had another misadventure today," he drew on knee to his chest and slung his elbow over it. "Three more of their diggers were killed."

Elena twisted around so she could look at him and tilted her head. "How did it happen?"

"Salt acid," his mouth twisted into a grimace as he motioned towards his face. "Pressurized salt acid: they were melted; some kind of ancient booby-trap."

Kol drew up his leg and slung his elbow over his knee. "Maybe this place really is cursed."

Elena jumped when a gust of wind rushed through the camp and made their fire flicker. She saw the men exchanging nervous looks when she shifted to sit cross legged and scoffed.

"You really don't believe in curses?" Nik regarded her through narrow eyes. He hadn't believed either before coming to this city.

"Of course not," Elena held the edges of her blanket in her lap and felt the heat from the fire lick her clavicle. "I told you on the boat. If I can see it and I can touch it then it's real. That's what I believe."

"I believe in being prepared," Nik picked up the large gun lying beside him and cocked it loudly while giving her a large grin.

Elena gave him a look and shook her head while trying not to laugh. Her mild amusement faded when his eyes turned serious. She watched as he shifted onto his knees and pressed his hand to the sand; he was silent for a beat before his head whipped around towards the American camp.

Elena's heart leapt into her throat when the first shots were fired.

Nik sucked in a deep breath before leaping to his feet. He pushed the large gun into Elena's hands and took off running after ordering her to stay put.

Kol saw the problem immediately when he watched Nik run off into the ruins. His sister hated being told what to do, and when she was told what to do she would do the exact opposite of what was said. He grabbed a gun and ran after her while checking that the chamber was completely full; the best he could hope for at that point was to make sure someone was watching her back.

He was starting to think he was becoming desensitized to violence. He supposed that happened when one watched their entire battalion die along with the majority of their attacking army.

He didn't seem to notice the bullets firing over his head as he ran through the American camp. He caught sight of Damon taking a bullet; he spun around and dropped into the sand but continued to shoot at the approaching horseman. He saw Kai and Lucien running to their friend's aid as he hastened through the ruins.

He cursed when he slammed into a body and stumbled back. Focusing his eyes he blinked down at Beni who was twitching nervously.

"Going somewhere?" He sidestepped to block the small man's path.

"Just looking for you, my friend," Beni yelped when he was grabbed by his shirt collar and dragged back towards the camp.

"Come along then, mate."

Beni struggled against the hand holding the scruff of his neck. "Why do you like to fight so much?"

"Because I look good doing it," he shrugged with a smirk. He tossed Beni back into the thick of the fight and turned when he spotted a familiar profile.

Darting up on top of a low wall he ran the length of the ruin and leapt to tackle the dark haired man off the horse. Their bodies hit the ground at the same time.

Nik spun around on his knee and lifted his pistol. Releasing a single shot he sent the sword flying from the man's hand. His eyes darted to the burn that had been left behind by Elena's candle; it had healed remarkably fast, but the mark was still present.

Elijah stared at the blond man with narrow eyes that darted to the exposed tattoo on his wrist. It was dark but the light from a nearby fire illuminated the mark perfectly. If there had been any doubt in his mind before it was gone now. He was so lost in his revelation that he didn't raise a weapon to defend himself. Luckily one of his clan came to his aid.

The curved blade came down through the air before Nik could fire a second shot. He jerked back and down. A few hairs were severed by the razor sharp sword but his head remained firmly attached to his shoulders.

He leapt to his feet and sent his second bullet into the rider. The man jerked violently and fell from the horse dead, but by the time the beast had bolted the other man was long gone.

Elena huddled behind a cluster of rocks and watched as Nik darted and rolled. She had known he was strong, but she hadn't realized how agile he was; she tilted her head and watched the strong muscles ripple along his shoulders.

She tore her gaze away when the sound of someone approaching came up behind her. She stood and spun around quickly. Terror seized her heart as the massive man raced towards her. She just managed to stifle her shriek and lifted the elephant gun.

She screamed when he lifted his blade menacingly. He was only a few feet away when she tripped over a large rock and went flying backwards. The gun went off in her hands and sent the rider flying through the air. If the bullet didn't kill him the ruins he smashed into did the job.

Elena tried to right her feet but the kick back knocked her over a small ridge to land in a large pile of sand. She drew in ragged breaths and stared at the smoking weapon in her hands.

Kol wasn't sure at what point he had lost sight of his sister, but lost her he had. He pressed his back into the temple door and cocked his gun before taking aim with the diggers alongside him.

"Steady," he held up his free hand. Miraculously his hand did not shake, but his breath did. He wasn't sure if the diggers understood what he was saying but they seemed to recognize his signal. They held off their fire until he lowered his hand.

Dust flew into the air along with the smoke from the guns. When the dust cleared the riders were lying dead in the sand.

Kol breathed a sigh of relief. His relaxation was short lived. The thud of several sets of feet had him spinning on his heel.

Swearing in his head he ducked and threw a punch that had the black clad warrior doubling over. He brought his knee up and heard the sickening crunch as the man's nose jammed backwards into his brain.

Nik reloaded his pistol quickly. He spun around when he heard the thundering hooves of a horse coming up behind him. Instinctively he lifted his hands to shield his face.

Elijah adjusted his wrist and brought the curved blade down. There was the sharp sound of metal meeting metal as the pistol was knocked from the man's hand.

Nik saw the gun fall. He ducked before the blade could some down again and rolled backwards to come up with a stick of dynamite in his hand. He shoved the fuse into the fire and pulled it back when it ignited.

He tilted his head back to meet the dark eyes of Elena's attacker, on a horseback again, and cocked an eyebrow in challenge as the fuse continued to burn down; he estimated a minute before the stick ignited and blew everyone within ten feet of him apart. Most of those people were dressed in black.

Elijah caught the blue eyes of one of the warriors over the man's shoulder. He gritted his teeth and pointed towards him with the tip of his blade. He didn't have to raise his voice; the entire encampment had grown still upon spotting the rapidly burning fuse.

"Enough," power dripped from his voice, "we will shed no more blood, but you must leave." His eyes darted around the assembly that had moved forward slowly to form a loose circle. "Leave this place or die."

Nik watched the remaining riders' race into the night before turning to the burning fuse. He pulled the wire free and dropped it into the fire before pocketing the stick of dynamite.

Elena was still holding the elephant gun when she staggered forward. The weapon shook between her cold hands.

"Are you alright?" Nik gently took her shoulders and held her close when he saw the shaken look in her eyes.

Elena swallowed and tipped her head back to look into his intense eyes. He was holding her a little closer than was considered proper for a man not related to her, but she found she liked it. His steady eyes were helping to calm her down. She did her best to match her breathing to his and stammered out an answer.

"Yes…" she exhaled shakily. "I'm fine… thank you."

"Okay," Damon stormed into the center of the group. He pressed one hand to his bleeding arm and pointed with the other. "That proves it. Old Seti's fortune has got to be beneath this sand."

"Mmhmm," Kai nodded. "Protecting it like that," his eyes darted around the circle, "you just know there's treasure down there."

Nik rubbed small circles between Elena's shoulders subconsciously and looked up to the ridge with narrow eyes. "These are a desert people," he shook his head. "They value water, not gold; they've got no use for it."

Elena's cold fingers wrapped around his collar tightly; worry gnawed at her heart after her eyes had made a full round of the available space.

"Where's Kol?"

"I was saving this for a celebration when we found something big," Kol rummaged in his bag, "but it looks like you could use a good nip." He extracted the bottle with a flourish and pulled the cork. "We could all use a stiff drink."

She took the bottle and lifted it to her lips.

Elena's eyes widened at the fierce burn of the alcohol down her esophagus. She coughed and pulled the bottle back to read the label before handing it to Nik: Seagrams.

"You know," she took a second drink when Nik passed it back and handed the bottle to Kol, "most people toast with champagne."

"Yes, well," Kol swallowed a heavy mouthful of whiskey, "that trading post didn't have the widest selection. Canadian whiskey was the best they had."

Elijah raked a hand through his hair and rubbed the back of his neck. He could sense the argument ready to burst from her lips when they entered the black tent.

"What the bloody hell was that?" She tore her hood from her head and pushed her braid over her shoulder.

"The risk was too great." He kept his voice calm and reasonable.

"Too great?" She shrieked. "Too great? We all know what we've signed up for Elijah; death is part of the deal."

"I will not risk my family," he stepped forward and whispered harshly. His voice didn't carry beyond the tent.

"Are you bloody serious?" She stepped back. "I know what I've gotten myself into Elijah. If I have to die to keep that creature from rising I'll do it."

"It was not you to whom I was referring," his eyes flashed in the light from the brazier.

Rebekah tilted her head and blinked at him as if he had grown a second head. Who else was there? They only had a brother and he was tucked away safely in Cairo at the museum.

"Finn's not here," she murmured quietly.

Elijah glanced over his shoulder before striding forward and taking her arm. He held her wrist lightly and unbuttoned her sleeve.

"I got a second look tonight," he whispered quietly. "I thought at first the mark meant he had fled the Medjay, and that the hieroglyph had been imagined but I saw it clearly in that camp." He flipped the fabric upwards to expose her forearm and tapped the mark that resembled a slanted 3.

"Are you saying," she looked up at him through her lashes, "what I think you are saying?"

"I am saying that we have another brother, Rebekah," he wiped some blood from her hand with his thumb. "Somebody we never knew, and judging by the way he was willing to blow us all sky high he doesn't know about us either."

"Are you sure?" She refastened her sleeve and crossed her arms. She could see the certainty in his dark eyes. "He was older than me, and appeared to be your age or younger."

"Finn or I would have noticed if mother had another child," he released a deep breath.

"That means father," Rebekah looked towards the corner of the tent to watch the passing shadows. "How'd he get the mark?"

"Only one way to find out," he gave her a pointed look.

Rebekah tilted her head as her eyes grew round. "Me," she hissed and held her hand over her heart, "you want me to ride out and ask father about his secret love child?"

"It's not as if I can go," he gestured towards the bands on his sword. "It would look very strange if the commander were to ride out in the dead of night."

Rebekah's hands found her hips. Her annoyance flared and showed in her eyes.

"Is this an order, big brother?" She cocked an eyebrow. Her mouth formed a tight frown when he nodded. "Very well," she held up her hand and stabbed her finger into his chest, "but if this turns out to be a rouse meant to keep me from the thick of battle I will make tonight's escapade look like a Nile cruise."

Elena giggled when Kol fell back on his bed roll with a wide smile. It had been a while since she'd seen him that drunk.

She heard Nik echo her laugh when he caught the goofy smile spreading over Kol's face. She waved away the bottle when he passed it to her and slurred.

"Unlike my brother, sir, I know when to say no." Her eyes were slightly unfocused when she looked at her brother who had polished off at least half of the bottle. She and Nik had taken care of the other half.

Nik downed the last of the whiskey and threw the bottle back behind him to land by their bags.

"Unlike your brother, miss," he smirked and met her eyes, "you I don't get." His head felt light from the alcohol.

"I know," Elena smiled cheekily and rocked forward on her knees and gestured to herself and the ruins, "you're wondering, what's a place like me doing in a girl like this?"

"Something like that," he nodded with a soft chuckle.

"Egypt is in my blood," Elena's tongue ran along her bottom lip. She pulled a locket from between her breasts and popped it open to reveal twin portraits of a man and woman. "My father was a famous explorer; he loved Egypt so much that he married an Egyptian." She pointed to the picture of the woman who bore a resemblance to both of her children. "My mother was quite an adventurer herself."

"Okay," Nik nodded to the locket, "I get your mother, and I get your father." He pointed towards her brother sleeping soundly a few feet away. "I get him, sort of, but what are you doing here?"

Elena's mouth twisted. Her muscles tensed as she staggered to her feet and swayed.

"I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure hunter," she waved angrily to Nik, "or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am."

"And what is that?" He tried not to show his amusement; he figured she wouldn't take it well in her drunken state. It was hard to hide since he was pretty drunk himself.

"I…" Elena plopped back down beside him on the blankets. She grinned proudly and rolled her shoulders back. "… am a librarian!"

Elena smiled brightly and leaned in close to his face. Her eyes met his amused gaze before flickering to his mouth. "I'm going to kiss you now, Mr. O'Connell."

"No you're not," he shook his head.

"I'm not?" A line appeared between her brows.

"Nope," his mouth formed a serious line. "Not unless you call me Nik."

Elena's lips twisted into a confused pout. "Why would I do that?"

"Because that's my name, love," he chuckled.

Elena's mouth lifted in a goofy smile that lit up her face. She whet her lips when he leaned in; her eyes drifted shut as his lips met hers.

Nik's eyes widened when she slumped in his arms.

"It would appear you're a bit of a light weight, love," he smiled and maneuvered her so she was lying down. He moved to take a spot on her other side a few feet away so she was flanked between him and her brother.

The soft smile was still on his lips when he drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

She took shallow breaths and fought down her urge to throw up. Deep underground she should have mourned the lack of light, but even the flickering torches were too much for her dry eyes.

Elena's hand was miraculously steady when she slipped the key into the lock on the sarcophagus. She gritted her teeth and flexed her arm; it had been locked for so long that she had to use a lot of elbow grease to turn it. After a moment of twisting it she loosened the mechanism and it turned easily. A series of mechanical clicks rose from the box. Each grinding gear made her head pound.

Working together Elena, Kol, and Nik began to slide the heavy lid off the top of the sarcophagus.

"I can't believe I let you two get me drunk," Elena grunted from the exertion. Her stomach fluttered nervously; if she has eaten anything earlier it would have been in real danger of coming back up.

"Don't go blaming me," Kol grunted. "I don't even remember being there." His head was pounding and his mouth was dry.

"Well neither do I," Elena lifted one hand from the lid to push back an errant curl that had fallen loose from her braid.

"You don't," Nik couldn't quite comprehend disappointment in his chest. He realized it was showing in his eyes when she looked at him with drawn together brows.

"No…" Elena kept pushing the lid and turned to meet his sad eyes. "Why? Should I?"

"Yeah," Nik recovered quickly and lifted his lips in a teasing smirk. "You told me it was the best time you ever had."

Kol chuckled weakly. He could see the flush staining Elena's cheeks when her head snapped back around.

What happened last night? Elena knew her face was burning with embarrassment. She could imagine what had happened, but she highly doubted she would have acted on any of her dreams; she had more sense than that. He was just teasing her, right? With a final shove the lid fell off the sarcophagus and crashed to the ground with a loud clang.

"How does sand make such a loud noise?" Kol groaned. He saw Nik and Elena holding their throbbing heads.

"Canadian Whiskey," Elena moaned and massaged her temples.

"It can have that effect," Nik muttered.

Kai and Lucien held guns in their hands. They trained the weapons on the sweating diggers.

The men shook with fear as they approached the secret compartment. None of them had forgotten the fate of their friends the previous day; it was impossible to banish the image of the horrid death that had met the three men. Slowly the diggers knelt and reached into the hidden compartment.

Damon used his good arm to further support his injured arm and take some of the pressure off his shoulder; the sling helped, but it dug into the back of his neck. It was a less than welcome sensation with the sunburn he had acquired in the desert.

Beni shifted from foot to foot when the ornate chest was pulled from the compartment. It was smooth mahogany ringed in onyx and covered in the symbols of the Old Kingdom. He trembled as the words were translated.

Wes knelt in the sand and blew gently. The layer of dust flew off the wood that suddenly glowed in the light from the torches.

"There is a curse upon this chest," he squinted at the hieratic.

"There's no such thing," Damon scoffed. He kicked up some sand with his shoe.

"Who cares?" Kai rolled his eyes. "That's just what they put on everything to keep the superstitious fools from stealing."

Wes gave him a hard look before nodding to the room in which they were gathered.

"In these hallowed grounds, that which was set forth in ancient times is as strong today as it was then."

"Just tell us what it says," Kai narrowed his eyes at the man's intensity and cleared his throat.

Wes bowed his head and ran his finger along the onyx. His voice held a note of warning as he read the ancient words.

"Death will come on swift wings to whoever opens this chest," he paused when a gust of wind made the torches flicker.

The diggers lost whatever nerve they had been holding on to and spun on their heels. A cloud of dust was kicked up in their wake as they fled the chamber.

Kai, Lucien and Damon exchanged a nervous look before shaking off the feeling and turning back to Wes.

"It says," Wes continued without looking up, "there is one, the undead, who if brought back to life is bound by sacred law to consummate this curse."

"Let's make sure we don't bring anyone back to life," Kai snickered at the absurdity.

"He will kill all who open this chest…" Wes shifted in the sand to follow the shifting script over the curve of the lid, "… and assimilate their organs and fluids, and in so doing he will regenerate. And no longer be the undead, but a plague upon this earth."

Wes shared a fear filled look with Beni when the wind whistled sharply through the room. Shadows flickered in the hollows of their cheeks.

"I say we open it anyway," Kai shrugged.

Elena bounced on the balls of her feet and beamed. Her hangover seemed dissipate quickly in the face of her excitement. She was almost certain she was drunk again when she bit her lip and stifled her giddy giggle.

"I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl," she grinned as the wooden coffin was dropped onto the ground alongside the stone.

"You dream about dead guys?" Nik cocked an eyebrow.

Elena gave him a stern look and smacked Kol's chest when he laughed before leaning over and brushing the dust from the wood. Her fingers grazed Nik's arm; electricity danced over her skin. She was wondering if she had imagined his intake of breath when she froze.

"Look," she pointed to the cartouche, "all of the sacred spells have been chiseled off."

"The what?" Nik shifted back to give her more room. Truthfully he had liked the way her shoulder had been pressed to his chest, but he doubted she or her brother would have reacted well if he were to place his hand on the small of her back like he wanted.

"The hieratic and hieroglyphs that protect the deceased on the journey to the afterlife," Kol explained excitedly.

"They've been removed," Elena's nails traced the chisel marks. "This man was cursed…"

"Tough break," Nik smirked.

"Yes," Kol agreed, "I feel tears coming on at any moment." He took his sister's arm and guided her back with a pointed look. "Shall we see who's inside, darling?"

Elena shook her head and sighed. Kol snagged the key from her hand and smirked before inserting it into the lock on the coffin. The lid cracked open with a sharp hiss.

Elena pressed her hand to her nose to try and block out the foul stench that rose from the coffin.

Kol gagged and blinked against the sting of the rancid air.

Nik swallowed his gorge and took hold of the lid of the coffin; he tugged on the wood with a suppressed grunt. Kol joined him when it became apparent the lid was stuck in place. Slowly the top started to come towards them.

Elena jumped to her feet and scurried around to push on the other side. With her added strength, miniscule as it was, the lid moved faster. Suddenly it gave way.

Elena had just enough time to move back when it happened.

A hideous corpse jumped out of the coffin.

Nik and Kol jumped back from the coffin.

She screamed and fell on her back; her hand came up to cover her pounding heart. Her eyes were glued to the rotting man's eye sockets and mouth; white maggots writhed along the dark bones.

The body was twisted and deformed. He sat up in the coffin for a moment before slumping back.

Damon attempted to pry the lid off of the chest with one hand. Kai joined in when it became clear he was incapable of completing the simple task.

Wes and Lucien watched them work.

Beni stood back from the trio of treasure hunters. His heart drummed. Sweat poured down his flushed face. He shook his head and backed away from them towards the door.

"Beware…" his teeth chattered and rattled his skull. "Beware the curse." He barely got the warning out before spinning around and bolting from the room.

"Superstitious bastard," Damon grunted.

The seal on the box broke free suddenly. A thick black cloud burst from the box and engulfed them all.

Anxiety swirled in her chest. She carefully pushed herself up onto her knees and crept forward with her companions until they were all peering warily into the coffin.

"Is he supposed to look like that?" Nik tilted his head.

"No," Elena's breath shook. "I've never seen a mummy look like this. He's still…"

"Juicy?" Kol's mouth twisted with the word. A slick black substance coated the body.

"He's got to be more than four thousand years old," Elena grew calmer the longer she studied the corpse, "and he's still… decomposing."

Nik rocked back on his knees. His head snapped around when he caught a glimpse at the lid of the coffin. Hesitantly he reached out and lifted the edge of the lid.

"Take a look at this," he pointed to the inside of the lid. Long scratches ran the length of the coffin and crisscrossed; each one held the remnants of dried blood.

"He was buried alive," Elena gasped. She crawled around the side and leaned closer to the wood to inspect a bloody series of hieratic symbols. "He left a message," she pointed to the words. "Death is only the beginning."

Kol shivered and leaned back.

Nik backed up and looked around the torch lit room.

"Where's my gun?"

"What are you going to do?" Elena cocked an eyebrow.

"Shoot him?" Kol swallowed. He wasn't overly opposed the ridiculous suggestion. There was something sinister in the dead man's hollow eyes. "He's already dead."

"What if he wakes up?" Nik located the pistol. He knew he was being insane, but something inside of him was saying this was dangerous; the voice in the back of his head whispered: 'kill it'. "I'd sooner be safe than sorry."

"You two are being completely ridiculous," Elena rolled her eyes.

The black cloud settled slowly to reveal three men with guns trained on the wooden chest.

Wes slowly stepped forward and knelt down to lift out a heavy piece of folded burlap. Folding back the corners of the cloth he carefully lifted out a heavy black book.

"I've heard of this," he breathed so as not to disturb the onyx tablets. "I never believed it existed. This is a most priceless treasure."

"I was under the impression it was meant to be made of pure gold," Damon growled. He climbed to his feet and kicked the side of the box.

The bottom broke away to reveal a hidden compartment and five canopic jars. One of them was broken, but the other four were encrusted with jewels.

Chapter Text

Elena was honestly unsure if she felt safer now that the camps had joined together. It was rather unnerving the way the other men leered at her. Kol hadn't noticed yet, but she knew they had been staring at her ever since she stepped through their encampment that first day on the path to the ruins.

She could feel their eyes, and knew they would be present the moment she joined the group around the fire.

Perhaps that was why she had told them to go on ahead while she went back to take another look at the sarcophagus. She'd told them she just wanted a moment to examine the hieratic without them vibrating with imaginary fear behind her; Kol had stage whispered that she had no sense of self-preservation, but made no attempt to stop her from taking the torch back into the cavern.

Kneeling on the floor she used every ounce of physical strength she possessed to drive the burning torch into the sand beside the coffin. Once secure, she straightened her spine, tucked her hair behind her ears and leaned over the lid of the coffin; the smell of decay made her nose wrinkle.

Breathing through her mouth was somehow so much worse. She decided to stick to her nose; eventually she would stop registering the smell.

She blew gently over the lid to dispel the dust that had settled when they'd left the room and ran her finger along the chiseled lines. Her eyes grew round when she translated what had been missed earlier and reached into her bag to double check her findings with a notebook she used for research.

The book had taken on some water during the escape from the burning boat but luckily had not been destroyed. The pages were slightly warped and the ink smudged but she could still make out the notes she had created.

It took very little time to discern that she was right. For extra proof she held her breath and leaned over the lip of the coffin. Her fingertips slid past the remains of wrappings and scooped up the dried contents from under the body.

"What is this stuff?" Kol wrinkled his nose at the chunk of hairy meat. "It smells like that digger who dropped dead."

Nik and Beni shared a grin while checking on the roasting meat.

"You didn't?" Kol's eyes grew round and dropped to the half-eaten hunk of meat in his hand. "We're not…"

"Relax, mate," Nik laughed. He lowered the stick back over the fire. "It's just rat gizzards. They smell terrible and taste even worse, but that's the best the desert offers."

Nik and Kol lifted their eyes from the fire to watch the gloating Americans. They were sure to be insufferable after the find they had made earlier in the day.

"Say O'Connell, what do you think these'll fetch back in civilization?" Damon ran his finger over the rounded body of the jeweled jar in his hand.

Lucien leaned back and fixed them with a cocky smile. "We heard you boys found a nice juicy mummy," he twisted his canopic jar and glanced at the jackal head. "Congratulations."

"If you dry him out you might be able to sell him for fire wood," Kai chuckled darkly.

No respect for the dead, Elena shook her head as she approached the fire and heard the American party laughing heartily at their own joke.

She came up; stepped over the low stone wall they were using to block the wind and sat between Kol and Nik. She dropped a dusty pile of skeletons onto the ground.

"Look what I found inside our new friend's coffin," she picked up one and ran her fingers around the rounded edge. "Scarabs; they're flesh eaters. They stay alive for years feasting on the flesh of corpses, or in this case…" she trailed off and shrugged when she saw Kol shudder.

"I'm famished." Her eyes flickered to the roasting meat. "Rat gizzards for dinner?"

"I'll spare you the indignity of asking how you knew that," Kol watched her pluck the finished meat from the end of the stick when Nik presented it to her.

"It's the desert," she shrugged, "what else is there?"

Nik speared another piece of meat and held it over the fire. With his free hand he picked up a skeleton and turned it over.

"Are you saying somebody threw these things in with our guy," he lifted an eyebrow, "and they slowly ate him alive?"

"Very slowly," Elena grinned and popped a piece of meat into her mouth. It tasted truly terrible, but her gnawing stomach seemed to like it well enough.

"He clearly wasn't a popular fellow," Kol examined the pile in front of him. What a terrible way to die.

"Maybe you were right," Nik hooked his elbow over his raised knee and chuckled. "He might have gotten a little frisky with the pharaoh's daughter."

Elena rolled her eyes and pulled her notebook from the bag across her shoulder. She opened to the relevant page and passed it to Kol.

"According to my reading," she pointed to the looping handwriting, "he suffered the HOM-DAI. It was the worst of all ancient Egyptian curses, one reserved for only the most evil of blasphemers."

A hush had fallen over the assembled group. Elena couldn't even feel their leering gazes when she leaned closer to the fire. Her eyes had taken on an intensity that chilled her companions to the core.

"In all of my research, I've never read of this curse actually having been performed."

"That bad, love?" Nik checked the roasting meat.

"Yes," Elena nodded. "They never used it because they feared it so much. It's written that if the victim of the HOM-DAI should ever arise, he would bring with him the seven plagues of Egypt."

"The ten plagues?" Nik felt for his pistol still hooked to his belt. "You mean all ten plagues."

"Like what that Moses guy did to that Pharaoh guy?" Beni twitched. Chills raced down his spine.

"That's one way of putting it," Elena lifted a blanket from behind Kol and wrapped it around her shoulders.

"Let's see, there were frogs, flies and locusts…" Kol could see the discomfort in the small man's beady eyes.

"Hail and fire," Damon chimed in.

"The sun turning black," Lucian added.

"Water turning to blood," Kai hummed.

"And people covered in boils and sores," Kol finished the list.

A sense of unease settled over the men. Elena looked from one frightened face to the next and laughed before pulling a stick from the fire.

"Fried gizzard?"

Elena stepped out of the temple where she had slipped away to freshen up for bed. She had taken a small amount of water with her inside before stripping down and wiping as much of the dust away as she could.

She ran her fingers through her damp curls. She would have loved nothing more than to have dunked her head in clean water and washed her chocolate tresses two or three times in order to feel clean again, but there was not enough water to waste on such things; her hair would only get dirty again in the morning. She had settled for ringing out the cloth and patting the worst of the dust from her hair.

She lifted the edge of her skirt to descend the stairs and walked past the sleeping diggers. The poor men were utterly exhausted after a day of excavation.

She froze in her tracks when she spotted the Egyptologist. He was flat on his back with a jeweled canopic jar beneath his right arm, but it was what was under his left that drew her attention.

Elena bit her lip and shifted in the sand. She looked over her shoulders cautiously to ensure the entire camp was asleep before quietly approaching.

Her eyes flickered to his face as her hands curled around the edges of the artifact. Carefully she pulled it free from his arm and breathed a sigh of relief when he remained sound asleep.

Straightening up she hurried away on the tips of her toes feeling very much like a child again sneaking a midnight cookie from the kitchen.

She dropped onto the blankets by the campfire and stared at the glistening black book in her lap with wide eyes. Her fingers hesitantly traced the edges of an eight pointed star.

Four scarabs flanked the corners from which the book was held together with gold bindings.

"You really want to be playing around with that?"

Elena jumped and lifted her eyes to find Nik propped on his elbow. His blue eyes flickered to her slim finger. The book felt warm beneath her skin.

"It's just a book," she shrugged and reached for the key, "no harm ever came from reading a book."

Nik sat up and moved to sit next to her when she opened the cover. The fire flickered violently when the lid hit the ground. He could see the sudden trepidation in Elena's eyes before she shrugged. He could almost hear her inner thoughts: it's just a coincidence.

Elena lowered her eyes and used her finger to guide her reading.

"Ahm kum Ra. Ahm kum Dei," her arm began to tingle at the shoulder as she read aloud; it spread down her skin and into her body. There was an intense moment where every muscle in her body was coiled tightly before the energy snapped and rushed up and out through her mouth.

Deep underground the air grew warm in the hidden chamber beneath the feet of Anubis. It pulsed, shimmered, and slid beneath the lip of the coffin that had been left half-open.

For a brief moment nothing happened, but then the twisted neck snapped around and the crusted eyelids popped open to reveal empty sockets.

Dr. Maxfield bolted upright when the wind howled through the camp. His eyes darted frantically from side to side before locking on the woman. She was bent over something black and reading.

"No," he jumped to his feet and screamed. He could make out her words the closer he got. "You must not read from the book!" He raced towards her, but skidded to a stop when a piercing sound screeched over the sands.

Nik and Elena leapt to their feet.

Kol jerked awake and joined them as the piercing scream grew louder and louder. He peered out over the desert as the Americans came rushing from their tents.

The darkness shifted and writhed. It wasn't until the wall was nearly upon them that they realized what it was.

Nik grabbed Elena's arm, swiped up the elephant gun and raced in the direction of the crevice where they had repelled. Kol was right beside them swinging one arm over his head in an attempt to wave off the locusts now swarming around their heads.

The locusts beat through the air and swarmed around the bodies of everyone. From a distance the sound of a man's death screams could be heard as he was devoured by the vermin.

The trio disappeared beneath the earth as the Americans vanished into the temple.

Dr. Maxfield stood frozen by the fire. He stared at the book with hollow eyes as locusts covered his arms.

"What have we done?"

The campfire was sucked upwards into a whirlwind by the vermin and extinguished leaving him alone with the bugs beneath the faint light of the moon.

"What the bloody hell just happened?" Kol raced down the twisting corridor while slapping at his arms.

"Grasshoppers," Nik gasped for breath after they came to a stop. "Billions of grasshoppers."

"That's an over exaggeration," Elena shook the insects from her arm. Her skin crawled; she could still feel them on her.

Her breath caught when Nik reached out and plucked a locust from her hair. She squealed and immediately started running her hands through her hair. She shook the dark tresses violently until she was certain there were no more locusts on her body.

"Isn't that one of the plagues?" Nik tilted his head and squinted at her in the dark. He struck a match and lit the torch Kol held out from the wall. He took it in his hand and used it to light the second.

"It's not a plague," Elena threw up her hands in exasperation, "it's generational. Every few years the locusts of Egypt have a population explosion and they all take flight."

She spun on her heel and brought her foot down. She resisted the urge to squeal when something squished under her boot.

Nik lowered his torch towards the sand strewn floor and cocked an eyebrow.

"Okay…" he straightened up and turned to face her, "… what about the frogs?"

Damon wasn't sure if he tripped over a stray stone or if one of his companions had knocked him down.

The impact with the ground knocked the air from his lungs. His vision blurred around the edges as his head smacked the hard floor. The impairment did not go away when he climbed to his feet.

He was still rubbing his head and squinting into the tunnel. His steps were staggering when he began to move again in the direction he thought his friends had taken and shouted their names as he went.

Elena's nose wrinkled as she stepped between the bodies of the frogs; it was nearly impossible since they were everywhere. Nik and Kol were not concerned about stepping on the creatures, but Elena had always hated the amphibians. Kol had once hidden one in her bath; she had screamed and proceeded to give him a black eye.

Her heart stuttered in her chest when she saw them stop a few steps in front of her. A moment later she saw why as the ground began to shake.

The sand boiled like a pot of water. A large hill formed in the middle and rippled outwards in a circle. It was a moment before the sand broke apart.

Elena screamed and Kol swore.

Nik managed to swallow his scream that would most certainly have been shrill and turned around with the siblings. They ran in the direction they had come in an attempt to escape the chittering scarabs salivating at the thought of living flesh.

Damon would have loved to have moved faster, but his stomach was turning violently. He was certain he would be sick if he moved above his staggering shuffle or let go of the wall to which he clung.

The path ahead was blurry and seemed to spin in his vision. He groped the wall, not trusting his eyes to guide his feet.

He stopped when a figure emerged around the corner in front of him.

"Kai?" Damon squinted. The figure was roughly Kai's height. "Is that you?" He stumbled forward when the figure didn't move. "Lucien?"

He tripped and stumbled when he was a few feet from the figure. His nose wrinkled when his hands caught the slimy surface of the figure's chest and the putrid smell penetrated his senses.

Damon jumped as if he had been burned. He pulled his hands back from the inside of the figure's body and squinted at them and the rotting flesh clinging to his healthy skin.

A skeletal hand clamped over his mouth before he could scream.

The trio raced up a staircase only a few feet ahead of the mass of scurrying scarabs. Their chittering sent a wave of cold fear down Elena's spine.

Nik's eyes narrowed in concentration when he saw the pedestal. He veered to the left and jumped through the air to land on his feet. Looking up he saw that Kol had jumped with him.

Elena had been a couple of steps behind and she could tell by the way Nik reached out to steady her brother that there was definitely not enough room for her over there. She ran a few steps passed them and leapt off the right side of the staircase to a grotto sticking out from the wall.

She held her hand to her chest and attempted to catch her breath as the horrid mass of scarabs scurried between her and them. The ear-piercing chittering made Elena shudder violently. She leaned back as if to put more distance between her and the beetles.

Her startled yelp was drowned out by the herd when the wall moved and she fell backwards.

Kol watched the scarabs vanish through an opening at the top of the stairs before looking across the way with Nik.


Elena gasped and sat up. She ran her hands through her hair to shake out the sand and looked around. Her heart pounded violently as she climbed to her feet.

The room she had emerged in was pitch black. She could see nothing beyond the faint line where the floor had met the wall.

She patted the stone wall praying it would open again; it didn't.

With a shaking breath she began to feel her way along the wall. The stone was cool beneath her fingertips and led her away in what she hoped was the direction of the exit, or at the very least light.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she rounded the corner and saw the man standing in a shaft of moonlight. The lecherous gaze she had detested would be a momentarily welcome feeling.

"Hello?" She called gently. "Can you help me? I've gotten lost."

He turned around when he heard her soft voice. His desire to tell her to run was there but his tongue was not.

Elena's eyes filled with fear when instead of a lewd stare he was watching her with empty eye-sockets. Her chest rose and fell rapidly when she screamed and backed away.

She bumped into something and screamed. She spun on her heel and stared up into the rotting face of the mummy.

Her third scream could've woken the dead.

She backed up quickly into the far wall. Her messed hair fell over her shoulders and clung to her sweaty face.

His bright blue eyes ran over her body from bottom to top as he took in her torn skirt and ripped blouse. Had there been flesh surrounding his eyes it would have stretched wide upon viewing her face.


"There's got to be a trapdoor around her or something," Kol muttered. He ran his hands around the inside of the grotto. "There's always a trapdoor."

Nik looked up from where he was checking the other side and turned towards the distant sounds of male screams.

Kai, Lucien and a digger came running down the stairs. There was a loud chittering sound behind them.

"You two better run," Lucien didn't stop to see if they listened.

Kol and Nik jumped from the grotto that was easily reached from a downward angle and ran with the American's as the scarabs raced in their direction again.

Nik stopped with the intention of helping the digger who had fallen down, but it was too late.

The man screamed in horror. His eyes reflected the knowledge that he was about to die as the scarabs ran over him. There were so many that by the time they left the body it was little more than a skeleton.

Elena could do little more than draw in ragged breaths as the dead man advanced on her. The sand seemed to swirl around his legs in a mini whirlwind.

She was not a believer, but dammit there was proof in front of her and it splintered her heart with fear.

"Help me…" her voice was little more than a whisper: a quiet plea to the blind man. "…please."

Her only reply was a gurgling moan, but he did reach blindly in her direction. Before he could reach her he was grabbed and thrown onto the ground.

The mummy brought his foot down on top of Damon's chest and held out his decomposing hand to Elena.

"Kadeesh pharos Amara!"

Elena shivered and backed further into the wall. It took a moment for her to get around the image of a live tongue flapping in his putrid mouth before she processed what he had said.

"Come with me my princess, Amara."

There was the sound of pounding footsteps that should have drawn her eyes but she couldn't look away.

Nik flew around the corner and ran straight towards her.

"What the hell are you doing?" He grabbed her upper arm. "Now is not the time to explore the ruins! We need to go!" A line appeared between his brows when he caught the look of pure terror in her eyes.

Slowly he turned around before jumping back. His heart leapt into his throat as he stared at the dead man. He held tight to Elena's arm and started sliding along the wall to put distance between them.

The walking corpse glided with them. Each sideways step reminded Elena of an animal stalking its prey; her eyes kept flickering from his putrid face to the sand swirling around his feet.

From the corner of her eyes she saw Damon starting to crawl in the opposite direction.

The creature stopped suddenly and unhinged his skeletal jaw. His mouth stretched to an impossible size before he released a horrific, primordial shriek.


Elena screamed.

Nik shuddered and spun the leather strap of the gun around. He pointed at the beast and fired.

The corpse flew backwards of his feet with his ribcage blown half off.

Nik took Elena's hand and ran. He led them through the rushing wind and swarming sand until they were stumbling through a large crack that would lead them out into the night.

They froze when the sound of guns cocking made their blood run cold. Looking up they lifted their hands and stared down the barrels of ten guns.

Elena swallowed nervously and met her brother's eyes. He was on his knees with his hands on his head alongside the American's and the Egyptologist.

"I told you to leave or die," Elijah stepped through the assembly of warriors, "you refused, and now you might have killed us all. You've unleashed a creature that we've feared for more than four thousand years."

"Relax," Nik rolled his eyes, "I got him."

"No mortal weapon can kill this creature," Elijah shook his head. "He is not of this world."

Had father not hidden you away you would have known this, Rebekah scoffed. Had father not hidden you away you'd have never brought that woman here.

She had ridden all night to reach her father who had at first denied everything until she told him of the mark the blonde man bore. It had taken them the better part of the morning for him to recount the tale.

"We're talking about the same creature, right?" Nik cocked an eyebrow. "The walking corpse with a really big mouth and really bad breath?"

Silas advanced on the sweaty man who shook and cowered in fear. He kept holding up the many talismans around his neck.

The man tired him greatly, but he stopped the path of his skeletal hand that had been reaching for his throat.

He recognized the last talisman and the pleading prayer.

"The language of the slaves," his grotesque eyes stared at Beni, "I may have use for you, and the rewards," he reached into his rotted ribcage and extended a hand full of maggots that parted to reveal glittering gold and shimmering jewels, "will be great."

Silas lifted the broken canopic jar that had held her heart.

"Where are the other sacred jars?"

"What did you do to him?" Lucien stared in horror when Damon was dragged through the line of black clad warriors.

"We saved him," Elijah snapped. "Saved him before the creature could finish his work. Now you need to leave, and quickly before he finishes you all."

Father had wanted the half-brother protected, so protected he would remain; even if Elijah thought it incredibly foolish to let him go without a word.

"You're not going to kill us?" Kol's eyes narrowed. He clamped his jaw when Elena gave him a look that said 'shut up'.

"No," Elijah shook his head. "We must hunt him down, and try to find a way to kill him, before he consumes the entire earth." He turned and started walking.

Elena blinked when he took the arm of the lone woman in the party and spun her around. It had looked like the blonde had wanted to say something.

"I already told you I got him!" Nik yelled after the retreating group.

"Know this," Elijah spun on his heel and nodded to all of them, "the creature will come for you. He must consummate the curse and until he does he will never eat, he will never sleep, and he will never stop."

He turned and jumped down into the crevice.

"So we're just not telling him then?" Rebekah crossed her arms over her chest.

"What's the point?" Elijah's jaw ticked. "We'll likely be dead soon," his head snapped in the direction of the shriek, "It might have been different if they hadn't woken the creature." He walked with his sister towards the back of the group. "You never did tell me the whole story."

"You want to hear it now?" She gave him a wry look while drawing her blade. "We're going to be dead soon."

Nik took Elena's arms and hoisted her up onto her camel before jumping up behind her. There was no time for her to mount on her own.

Dr. Maxfield clutched the black book to his chest and jumped onto another camel and followed everyone out into the night. Without his own guide he was relying on the other to get him safely back to Cairo.

The moment the last camel ran from the ruined city a skeletal hand broke through the sand.

The wind carried the sound of his voice over the sand. It made the hair on the back of Elena's neck stand on end and a chill race through her body. The reins of the camel shook in her hand. She swallowed and leaned back into his warm chest when he steadied her hands.


Chapter Text

Elena had been so exhausted when they had first approached the Fort that it had been all she could do to present her papers to the soldiers on guard, but now she was feeling much better. Something about a hot bath, no matter how short it was, was invigorating.

She had scrubbed and scrubbed until her skin glowed and her hair smelled of lavender before climbing from the copper tub and securing her dressing gown around her slim body.

There was a loud thump in her bedroom as something heavy was slammed on her floor.

A line appeared between her brows. She pulled open the door and found Nik on the other side.

"What do you think you're doing?" Her hands settled on her hips when he pulled open her closet.

"Packing," Nik grabbed a handful of dresses and tossed them in the open steamer trunk by her bed. "Get dressed. We're going out the door and leaving."

"No," she pulled the dresses from the trunk and tossed them on the bed, "we are not leaving."

"Yes, we are," he pulled a drawer free and dumped the contents into the luggage.

"No, we're not." Elena pulled the underthings from her trunk and tossed them on the bed heedless of the way her robe had slipped to expose her clavicle. "We woke him up, and we have to try and stop him."

"We?" Nik immediately stopped packing her belongings. His eyes were wide when he stomped towards her and gestured to each of them in turn. "What we? We didn't read that book. I told you not to play around with that thing."

"Alright, fine. It was me." Elena's eyes narrowed. She threw her hands up and waved towards her chest. "I read from the book, I woke him up and I intend to stop him."

"How?" Nik balled up the fabric in his hand and resisted the urge he had to yell at the impossible woman before him. She clearly had no sense of self-preservation. "You heard the man; no mortal weapon can kill him."

Elena reached out and snatched her white bra from his hands. She threw it in the drawer and crossed her arms over her chest.

"We'll just have to find some immortal ones."

"I thought you didn't believe in this kind of stuff?" His eyes flickered over her stubborn stance. His breath caught at the brief glimpse of her cleavage before he forced his eyes back to her face.

"Having an encounter with a four thousand year old walking-talking corpse does tend to convert one," she took a step closer and tilted her head.

"We're leaving," his eyes hardened. He bent picked up a pile of shoes and dropped them into the trunk.

Normally he had very fast reflexes but the sight of her bare calve caught him off guard. He yelped when she caught the lid of the trunk and kicked it shut on his fingers.

"Bloody hell," he swore and sucked the injured fingers into his mouth. Little shockwaves vibrated up his legs as he paced around her room.

"According to the Book," Elena followed after him, "once this creature has been reborn his curse will spread, and as he grows in strength, so will his curse grow, infecting the people until the earth is destroyed."

"So?" Nik spun around to face her. "Is that my problem?"

Elena's eyes narrowed as she tipped her head to look up at him. "It's everybody's problem."

"No," Nik shook his head. He turned around and kicked open the lid of the trunk again before throwing her clothes back inside. "Don't get me wrong," he caught her wrist before she could start unpacking again and spun her around to land on the bed, "I appreciate you saving my life, but when I signed up I agreed to take you out there and bring you back. I did that," he met her dark eyes when she sat up and finally adjusted her dressing gown, "now we're even. End of job, end of story, contract terminated."

Hurt flickered in her eyes.

"Is that all I am to you?" She gasped. "A contract?" Her heart dropped into her stomach.

Nik drew in a deep breath and was greeted with the soft smell of her lavender infused skin. That should have been enough to calm him down, but he could still see the stubborn set of her jaw.

"You can either come with me," his voice was hard as he searched her eyes, "or you can stay here and play around with Mr. Maggot."

Elena's eyes narrowed when he didn't answer her question. She crossed her arm and gritted her teeth.

"I'm staying."

"Fine," his blood boiled in his veins. He spun on his heel and stormed out of her room slamming the door behind him.

Elena was still on her knees on the mattress when the door opened a moment later. The thought that he was going to say something else flashed through her mind. Maybe he was going to tell her she was so much more than a job; as soon as that thought came it left.

He had opened the door only far enough to throw a handful of silk back into the room.

She released a heavy breath and blinked back the onslaught of angry tears. Closing her eyes to center herself she took a deep breath and stood up. She wasn't in the mood to match a skirt and blouse so she snatched a bra from the bed, a pair of panties from the floor by the door and a white dress that fell below her knees.

Insufferable, bloody stubborn woman, Nik strode through the compound, why are the beautiful ones crazy? I never should have met her at that ship.

He should have listened to that little voice in his head that had told him to stay far away from that damned city. It wasn't like he couldn't say no to a pretty face, and she never would have caught up with him again; she hadn't even recognized him at first.

Brilliant, beautiful, insufferable, bloody stubborn woman!

He was drawn from his internal mutterings when he caught sight of a duo coming up the path. He barely spared the masked man in hooded black robes a second glance before focusing on the rat faced man.

"Beni," he snapped, "where did you slink off to?"

"You left me!" Beni pointed to him angrily. "You left me in the desert to rot."

"Oh yeah…" Nik murmured. He supposed they were even now. "Sorry about that." He gestured to the robbed man. "Who's this?"

Beni grinned broadly. "This is Prince Silas, High Priest of Osiris."

"Hi," Nik nodded, "nice to meet you." He held out his hand and narrowed his eyes when the man instantly recoiled.

"The prince does not like to be touched," Beni stepped closer. "A silly eastern superstition."

"Yes, well," Nik cocked a brow, "we've all got our own little problems today, don't we?"

Beni nodded and looked around the compound. "He's come to help Mr. Salvatore. I feel responsible for him."

"Don't give me that," Nik scoffed. "You've never had scruples over anything."

"You're right, of course," Beni leaned forwards and whispered conspiratorially, "Do you know where I can steal some?"

Nik shook his head and pretended to punch the man who instantly flinched. Nik chuckled and gave the prince a curious look before striding past them.

Nik switched to shallow breaths when he stepped into the cantina in deference to the cigar smoke wafting through the air. Hard men and scantily clad woman were in every corner of the room drinking hard liquor. He weaved through the crowd and leaned heavily on the bar.

"Your sister is a bloody lunatic," he snatched the glass from Kol's hand.

"Yup," Kol nodded and took another glass from behind the bar, "she's always been like that." He motioned for four shot glasses and whiskey when they were joined by Kai and Lucien.

Nik poured the liquor and lifted his glass to clink against the others. They lifted them in unison and tipped the contents into their mouths. A flood of copper hit their taste buds. In unison they spat out the liquid that had turned from brown to red.

"That tasted like…" Kai grimaced and squinted at his glass.

"Blood," Nik slammed down his glass and exchanged a nervous look with Kol.

"And the rivers and waters of Egypt went red and were as blood," Kol muttered. He seemed to realize what he had said a moment later.

"He's here," Nik jumped away from the bar.

Kol was only a few steps behind him when they emerged in the courtyard. They raced to her room only to run in separate directions when they found it empty.

Her shoes clicked across the bricks calmly as she carried a stack of books in her arms.

Elena blinked in surprise when the sky crackled overhead. The little hairs on her arms stood up when the lightning flashed across the sky. She'd never liked thunder and lightning; as a child she would leave her bed in the middle of the night and curl up with her brother when it started.

She dropped half of the books.

A hand grasped her elbow making her shriek and drop the rest of her books. She relaxed when she was spun into a hard chest and met his blue eyes.

"We've got problems," Nik drew in quick breaths. He pulled her back when hail and fire rained down from the sky into the courtyard.

Servants, camels and soldiers started running in every direction as the courtyard dissolved into pandemonium. He took her hand and pulled her along beneath the eaves.

"I thought you were leaving," Elena took quick steps to keep up with him. "What are you still doing here?" She dug in her heels and pulled her hand free to place on her hip.

"Is now really the time for this conversation?" He stared at her in disbelief as the fire continued to rain down behind her. Wood crackled as a nearby trellis went up in flames, but it was nothing to the fire in her eyes. As if I could ever leave you.

"Yes," her eyes flashed in time with the maelstrom. "I'm not going anywhere until you answer me."

"You're going to catch on fire," he gestured wildly to the courtyard. Her response was to narrow her eyes and set her jaw. "He's here, alright?" He threw his hands up before pushing back his hair. "I saw him. That thing is here."

Elena's eyes widened as she leaned forwards. "The creature? Are you sure?"

He cocked an eyebrow and gave the courtyard a pointed look.

"Right," Elena followed his gaze and blushed. Before she could take so much as a step towards him though the fire stopped and for a brief moment everything was still.

In the silence Nik closed the space between them and took her hand in his. His eyes flickered over her suddenly nervous expression and shifted from her eyes to the bottom lip she had drawn between her teeth.

"That doesn't answer my question," Elena's breath caught when he touched her. Without the immediate threat of anything life threatening she had enough concentration to register the warmth his hand brought to her palm. "Why are you here?"

"I couldn't very well leave you now, could I?" He was itching to pull her closer. He almost bowed to that desire when a bloodcurdling scream sounded above their heads.

Fear curled down Elena's spine. They exchanged one look before racing up the stairs towards the living quarters. They were forced to let go of each other when a screaming servant raced between their bodies.

He might have taken her hand again if they hadn't collided with her brother in the door to the room.

"Elena?" He wrapped her in a tight hug. "Are you alright? I heard the screams."

"I'm fine," she returned the squeeze. "And my screams are not that shrill."

She let him go and turned towards the low moans emanating from the room. The sound was that of a wounded animal: low and guttural.

A look of horror passed over her face when she stepped into the room and saw the shriveled remains of Damon Salvatore on the floor. Drained of his organs and fluids he had shrunk to half of his size. Her breath shook as she turned at the same time as Nik to see the creature standing in the far corner of the room.

"What the h…" Kol trailed off. He could do nothing but stare as a thick skin formed over the powerful muscles.

The tendons rippled as his bones bulged and reformed. He moaned in agony. His mouth opened to an inhuman size as he screamed in pain.

Elena steeled her nerves to keep from taking a step back as the screaming stopped.

"We're in serious trouble," Nik had his gun leveled on the beast.

Kol took his sister's arm and yanked her behind him when the creature moved towards them and stared at her.

Nik opened fire. The bullets ripped through the Silas' body, but he showed no sign of noticing the metal pellets. They could have been flies for all he knew.

Nik swore when he ran out of bullets. He lowered the gun and started reloading when Kol was picked up and thrown across the room. Seeing Elena's last line of defence collided with the bodies of Kai and Lucian when they ran into the room.

He dropped the gun stepped in front of Elena and threw a hard punch. His fist connected with the mummy's jaw. The bones shattered under his hand and crumpled around his fist.

Nik stared in shock when his hand got stuck in the creature's head. Elena ducked back against the wall when he yanked his fist free.

She stared over his shoulder as the area of the creature's face that had held Nik's hand disintegrated and decayed before her eyes. The flesh melted away until only the cracked bone was left.

The creature roared, grabbed Nik's arm and tossed him across the room where he collided with the three men getting back to their feet; they landed in a tangle of limbs.

Silas stopped and looked down at his hand that had come into contact with Nik. It shriveled as swiftly as his face had done.

Elena backed even further into the wall when he turned his cold blue eyes on her; half of his face was broken down to the black bone and the other was covered in a layer of muscle. Her mouth turned dry when he stepped into her personal space.

She had no trouble understanding the ancient language he used in spite of only ever reading it. One day she might look into how she knew these things; how they came so naturally to her.

"You saved me from the undead," his icy eyes searched her gaze, "for this I shall make you immortal." She was not Amara, but the shadow created by his beloved's curse; as such she would be the most receptive to what he had planned.

He leaned in closer and her heart thundered in her chest when he moved as if to kiss her, but before she could even register the disgust a white cat jumped into the room and onto the piano.

The creature shrieked when the cat hissed. There was a blast of wind and sand as he swirled out through the balcony doors.

Elena was still standing there when Lucien and Kai knelt next to the shriveled body.

Chapter Text

"I only know one person who could give us some answers," Elena's heels clicked on the stone floors of the Ramesseum.

She could hear the heavy footfalls of Kol, Nik, Lucien and Kai behind her as they passed beneath the towering statues that flanked the doors. Her muscles froze when they rounded the final corner.

"You," the loud cry came from every mouth as guns were drawn and cocked.

Elena's eyes darted from Finn Mikaelson to the man who had berated them in the desert and the slim blonde on his other side. The duo merely scowled at the guns while Finn nodded politely.

"Miss Gilbert, gentlemen," Finn sighed. His eyes darted to the arm of the man to Elena's right.

"What are they doing here?" Elena crossed her arms and glared. She could still remember the knife that had been held to her throat on the river barge.

"Do you really want to know?" Finn cocked an eyebrow. "Or would you prefer to just shoot us?"

Nik looked the man up and down quickly before uncocking his gun.

"I just saw my fist vanish into a walking corpse's head, and then watched what little flesh there was dissolve," he holstered his weapon, "I think I'm willing to go on a little faith here."

"You won't believe it," Finn warned.

"Try me," Nik cocked a brow.

Elena sat on the edge of the low stone bench in front of Seti's tomb display between Kol and Nik. She knew she should be watching Finn while he explained everything to them, but her eyes were locked on the funerary mask of Seti I; there was something strangely familiar in those features she had seen time and time again.

"We are part of an ancient secret society," Finn nodded to his siblings, "the cult of the Medjay, and we have a sacred mission that has been passed down through thirty-nine generations. For over four thousand years we have guarded the City of the Dead. We are sworn at manhood…" Finn rolled his eyes when Rebekah cleared her throat delicately, "… adulthood to do any and all in our power to stop the High Priest Silas from being reborn into this world."

"And because of you, we have failed," Rebekah shoved up her sleeves.

"And you think that justifies killing innocent people?" Kol stared in horror at them.

"To stop this creature?" Finn leaned forward on Seti's throne. "Yes!"

"I've seen that somewhere before," Kol's eyes caught sight of the mark on Rebekah's exposed arm.

"I should think so," Rebekah murmured.

Nik followed Kol's eyes to the woman's arm and the tattoo that was a perfect match for the one on his own arm.

"You did that on purpose," Finn muttered.

Elena finally tore her eyes from the funeral mask when her companions fell silent. She looked between Nik and the blonde woman, who couldn't have been much older than her; she had the same tattoo he did with an identical hieroglyph that meant nothing to her.

"What is that?" She nodded to the mark. "I recognize most of that tattoo, but the bit on the bottom…"

"It's similar to a family crest," Rebekah ignored Finn's sharp intake of breath. "When we are sworn into the cult we're given these marks so that, should we die among strangers, our family might be notified."

Elena met the blonde's familiar blue eyes; they were the exact same shade as Nik's. She noted a few more similar features between him and the others as well. She shifted on the bench to find him staring at the tattoo on his arm; the tattoo he had woken up with one day in a Cairo orphanage accompanied by a splitting headache.

"Do we really have time for this?" Elijah leaned against a stone pillar.

"I knew it," Rebekah shook her head with a humourless laugh. "You didn't care a bit about father's affair; you only sent me to ask so I was off the front lines."

"And it worked out so well for me," Elijah rolled his eyes, "you came back just in time for her," he pointed to Elena, "to wake the bloody creature."

"Wait a minute," Nik's eyes narrowed as he looked at Rebekah, "we're…?"

"Half siblings," Rebekah nodded. Her finger made a circular motion indicating Elijah and Finn as well. "Father said he didn't find out about you until you were in the orphanage; he left you there."

"He left me?" Nik's eyes closed. His mother had died when he was a child, and the thought that a father he had never known had knowingly left him made his jaw tick with barely suppressed rage.

"Thought you'd be better off there," Rebekah shrugged. "I personally believe we could have avoided this entire bloody mess if he'd collected you when he found you, but the past is the past."

"Okay," he rubbed his temple when he felt the headache coming on, "there are more pressing issues at the moment."

"Like the walking talking corpse," Kol grimaced, "that has an unhealthy obsession with my sister."

"And why the bloody hell is he afraid of cats?" Nik nodded.

"Cats are the guardians at the gates of the Underworld," Elena murmured.

"Yes," Finn nodded, "Silas will fear them until he is fully regenerated, and then he'll fear nothing."

"Right," Lucien dragged out the word. "You know how the bastard gets regenerated? He's gonna kill everybody who opened that chest and suck us dry."

"The creature must first regenerate, and then he'll attempt to resurrect the woman he's loved for more than four thousand years," Finn drew in a deep breath.

"Amara," Elena crossed her ankles and held in her shiver.

Elijah, Rebekah and Finn gave Elena disbelieving looks that made her hasten to answer the unasked question.

"In the city," her heart drummed in her chest, "he called me Amara. And in Mr. Salvatore's rooms he tried to kiss me."

"It's because you read from the Book," Finn rubbed the back of his neck. "He has chosen you to be his human sacrifice needed to regenerate the body of Amara."

"That's not it," Elena shook her head slowly and pressed her lips into a thin line.

"What do you mean?" Elijah's spine straightened. "What else could he possibly have planned for you?"

"He said he was going to make me immortal," she blinked and turned to look at the stone relief upon the walls.

Before anyone could address this new information the room was cast in darkness. Everyone tipped their heads back to look through the tall windows where the sun was being blotted out in a full eclipse.

"We've got to stop him from regenerating," Elena paced the length of her foyer. She met her brother in the middle. "Who opened the chest?" She paused by a low table and turned to Kai and Lucien.

"Well there was me and Lucien here, and then poor Damon of course," Kai lowered the deck of cards he had been fiddling with and met her dark eyes. "And then there was the Egyptologist."

"What about my buddy Beni?" Nik turned from where he had been watching the soldiers manning the walls of the fort through her open window.

"No," Lucien tapped the arms of one of Elena's chair, "he ran out of there so fast there was a cloud of dust behind him."

"We've got to find the Egyptologist and bring him back to the fort before the creature can get him," Elena reached for her wrap and turned towards the door.

"Okay," Nik shifted to block Elena's path. "You can wait here," he nodded to the shaking men in her foyer, "and you two can come with me."

The response was almost immediate.

"Hell no," Lucien jumped to his feet and waved his hands decisively. "I'm not going anywhere. We're safe here."

"You couldn't pay me to leave this fort," Kai agreed.

Elena took a completely different approach.

"Who put you in charge?" Her hands settled on her hips. "I'm not some old suitcase; you can't just leave me behind. I'm responsible for this mess and I'm going to clean it up."

"Are you out of your damn mind?" Kol shook his head. "There is a corpse out there that wants to sacrifice you in some ancient blood ritual."

"He's only awake because of me," Elena turned slightly to glare at her brother.

Bloody, insufferable woman, Nik shook his head and sighed.

Elena bit down her shriek when she was hoisted into the air over Nik's shoulder. She beat down on his back and kicked but it was no use as he was much stronger than she was.

He held her waist firmly and strode into her bedroom before dropping her onto her bed where she bounced. By the time she managed to scramble to her feet he was slamming the doors shut and locking them with a skeleton key.

"Open this door," Elena's outraged voice sounded from inside her bedroom.

Nik tossed the iron key to Lucien and ignored the pounding and screaming taking place inside her bedroom.

"Keep an eye on her," he pointed to the heavy door, "if you leave this door for anything I'll rip out your spleens, got it?"

Nik turned on his heel and strode out the door with Kol right behind him.

"You know she's going to kill you right," Kol checked his pistol when they hit the courtyard, "and she'll likely never forgive you."

"As long as she's alive to do it I don't care."

Wes stumbled through the dark alleys that were somehow even darker in the shadows of the never-ending eclipse.

There was a haunted look in his eyes as he rounded a corner and darted towards the other end of the alley. In one hand he clutched an ornate canopic jar, and in the other was the black Book of the Dead.

Sure footsteps sent dread to curl at the base of Wes' spine. He didn't have to look to know who was stalking him; the terrified look in the eyes of the running vendor was more than enough.

Wes held the book tighter to his chest and attempted to vanish into the crowds of the bazaar.

Nik paused when they reached the top of the stairs to take in the mess that was Dr. Maxfield's office. Papers and manila files littered the floor along with heavy books holding the pages in place. There was a loud crash as Beni tipped over the last bookshelf and artefacts hit the ground.

"Let me guess," Kol cocked an eyebrow, "spring cleaning."

Beni spun fast enough to give himself whiplash. He twisted again when he saw the men in the door and rushed for the open window.

Nik sighed before picking up a folding chair. He took careful aim and hurled the seat across the room where it landed in the man's path.

Beni tripped and crashed into the wall with a loud yelp.

Nik strode across the room, grabbed Beni's collar and pinned him to the wall so his feet dangled several inches above the floor.

"Where's your new friend, Beni?" Nik's mouth was pressed into a thin line.

"What friend?" Beni frowned in confusion before pasting on a simpering grin. "You're my only friend."

Nik pulled a knife from his belt and pressed it under Beni's chin.

"What the hell are you doing with this creep? What's in it for you?" Nik's eyes flashed dangerously.

"It is better to be the right hand of the Devil," he tipped his head back to try and evade the knife, "than in his path. As long as I serve him I am immune."

"Immune from what?" Kol looked up from behind the desk where he had been searching for the Book.

Beni's lips stretched into a thin grin that revealed his rotting teeth. "You shall see."

"What are you looking for?" Nik pressed the knife harder into Beni's skin. "Lie and I'll slit your throat."

"The book," Beni squeezed his eyes tightly shut and swallowed. "The black book they found at Hamunaptra. Silas wants it back; he said it would be worth its weight in diamonds."

"What does he want the book for?" Kol held the edge of the desk; he had a feeling he already knew and it wasn't for the reason Elena did.

"Something about bringing his dead girlfriend back from the dead," Beni shrugged. "He needs the book," his eyes cut to Kol, "and your sister."

Nik turned to look at Kol quickly. The words of his long lost family echoing in his mind but before he got a chance to ask any more questions Beni took advantage of his momentary distraction.

Nik's breath caught in his throat as a scrawny knee made contact with an area that was only ever meant to be treated nicely. His hands automatically released Beni as he doubled over and fell to his knees.

Beni was out the window before Kol could lunge for him. He held the window frame and glared when the rat faced man managed to land in a bush and stumble to his feet.

He cringed when he turned back around and looked at Nik who was releasing a pained breath.

"That looked rather painful," he grimaced.

"Yeah," Nik winced and climbed back to his feet. "You know, ever since I've met you I've had terrible luck."

"I tend to do that to people," Kol smirked.

A blood curdling scream sent both men scrambling to the window. Out in the street the screaming people backed away to reveal the shriveled corpse of Dr. Wes Maxfield.

Nik drew in a sharp breath and watched a partially decayed hand reach out and lift the canopic jar from the dead man. The creature turned around and caught his eyes before flashing a menacing grin and opening his mouth to an inhuman size.

Kol and Nik slammed the shutters closed when the swarm of black flies sped towards them.

"Damn it," Nik ran his hands back through his hair, "that's two down."

"Only two to go," Kol's pulse was racing with the realization, "and then he'll go after Elena."

They shared a look before running from the room.

Elena's eyes grew round when she turned from her door and found a black robed figure behind her. A hand clamped down over her mouth before she could summon her voice.

"Please don't scream," Rebekah pushed her hood back to reveal her blonde hair. "I'm going to let go now," she nodded to her hand, "just don't scream."

Elena nodded and exhaled slowly when she was released. She swallowed and looked Rebekah up and down quickly as if she expected a weapon to emerge and press into her skin at any moment.

"What do you want?"

"I want to know what you are." Rebekah took a step back and crossed her arms.

"Excuse me?" Elena's eyes narrowed.

"You know," Rebekah walked around her room, "I'm the first woman to join the warriors of the tribe. Traditionally boys and girls are brought up differently, but my brothers never could say no to me and so I was brought up both ways."

"My brothers learned the art of war at the feet of my father," Rebekah ran her fingers over the smooth bedpost and looked around the room at the bright artwork and books lining the walls. "They know the basics about the book and the creature, but I learned from my mother. She was a witch, you see…"

"There's no such…" Elena trailed off when Rebekah fixed her with a pointed look.

"After everything you've seen the last few days are you really going to tell me that you don't believe in witches?" She smirked when Elena remained silent. "As I was saying mother was a witch. She knew the nuances of the Book and what was really required to use it; not just anyone can successfully intone the incantations within."

"What do you mean?" Elena perched on the edge of her bed a foot from the blonde.

"I mean its magic," Rebekah tilted her head, "and as such it needs to be used by…"

"A witch?" Elena's brows shot up. "You think I'm a witch?" She pointed to herself with an incredulous laugh.

"I think you're something," Rebekah nodded, "and not just a witch. You know things that no living person should know; like the dead language of ancient Egypt. Not even the Medjay know it as well as you. The only thing you didn't immediately recognize was my family's sigil; which makes perfect sense if you've never come across it."

"My brother thinks that we can fight the creature the way we would any other enemy, but I know we can't," Rebekah sighed, "and I think you might be the only one that can." She searched Elena's dark eyes.

"According to the oral history passed down through the women of the tribe Amara was cursed. They said her soul was banished to the darkest pit of the underworld. Much like the curse bestowed upon the creature this one left behind an imprint on the world."

"Meaning?" Elena bit down on her bottom lip.

"A shadow," Rebekah tapped the bed spread. "You said the creature wanted to make you immortal… I think he means to permanently preserve your body and banish your soul. I also think somewhere in the back of your mind you know a way to kill him, so I brought this," she reached into the sleeve of her robe and extracted a small roll of paper.

"What is this?" Elena unrolled the small scroll and examined the hieroglyphs.

"A spell," Rebekah smiled. "If you read that aloud it will unlock whatever's hiding in the dark corners of your mind behind the cobwebs."

"So you do think I'm a witch then?" Elena cocked an eyebrow.

"One way to find out," Rebekah tapped the paper. "Fair warning though it will put you to sleep for an hour or so."

Elena looked around her room to the locked door.

"It's not like I'm going anywhere," she shrugged. Kicking off her shoes, she scooted back on the bed and lay down. "I'm going to laugh when nothing happens though."

"As you say, love," Rebekah nodded.

Elena took a deep breath before reciting the ancient poem. A smug smile lifted the corner of her mouth when nothing happened but before she could look at the blonde her eyelids grew heavy and drifted shut.

"That's what I thought," Rebekah nodded. She lifted a thin blanket from the trunk at the end of the bed and spread it over the brunette. She meant to take a seat and wait for the girl to wake up when a hawk appeared in the window.

"Good evening, Horus," Rebekah untied the message from the bird's leg. She rolled her eyes when she read the summons from her brother. Giving the sleeping brunette one last look she checked the courtyard below and whispered the incantation that set her safely on the cobblestones.

Chapter Text

Her woven sandals made gentle slapping noises against the marble floors with each step forwards.

The tips of her fingers traced the smooth surface of the painted pillar displaying scenes of the pharaoh's might and victories. The most prominent of these was his capture of Kadesh.

She could still see the victory parade that had made its way through the streets of the capitol in her mind's eye. It had been a glorious day full of celebration.

She worried the armies would not be able to hold the city for long though. Already word had reached them of tensions in the area.

She sighed and dropped her hand back to her side.

Making her way through the rest of the hall she paused outside the opening to her chambers. It wouldn't do for her to open her own doors; Isis forbid she should ever lift a finger.

It was rather tiring really; she was fully capable of opening her own door. She was trained in every form of combat after all. She had to admit though that watching the strong muscles ripple as he opened the door was a very enjoyable activity.

"Will you enter?" She stepped over her threshold and looked at him over her shoulder.

"I am meant to be on guard, princess," his blue eyes glittered as he inclined his head.

"I would be better guarded with you in the room," she smiled innocently. "Anyone could easily climb up and over my balcony. Unspeakable things could happen in the time it takes you to open this door again."

"Your highness makes a valid point," he glanced over his shoulder to ensure the hall was clear. The flickering torches revealed no sign of servants or Medjay.

He stepped over the threshold and pushed the heavy doors shut with her help. The moment the door was secure he pinned her to the wall. A smirk lifted his full lips; she was trapped in the prison of his arms.

"And what pray tell do you think you're doing?" Her eyes slowly lifted from his bare chest to his glittering gaze.

"Unspeakable things, your highness," his breath fanned over her chin. Leaning in slowly he paused a hairsbreadth from her parted lips.

Warmth pooled in her belly. At the last second she turned her face away from him. With a wicked smirk she pressed chaste kisses over his chest and up his neck; pausing to nip a spot below his right ear dragged a guttural groan from his lips.

"Am I not meant to be doing unspeakable things to you?" He chuckled and gasped; her slender fingers had dipped beneath the band of his kilt.

He pulled her hands up and pinned them over her head.

She blinked when he lifted the heavy wig from her head and untied the knot so her hair fell in loose waves over her shoulders.

"You look much better like this," he inhaled the soft perfume rising from her dark locks, "natural," he kissed her cheek, "beautiful," he met her eyes, "perfect."

She sighed into his kiss and wove her arms around his neck. His dextrous fingers trailed over the near transparent linen upwards towards her shoulders. With a precise movement he untied the straps holding her fine dress in place causing the material to slip from her body and pool around her feet.

His strong hands grasped the back of her thighs and lifted her.

Her lips slanted over his as her legs wrapped around his waist.

He walked the familiar path to her bed and lowered her onto the soft cushion covered in smooth linen sheets.

Several hours later the moon had risen high in the sky casting a pale light over their naked limbs. His lips trailed lazily across the back of her neck and she traced the bold lines of the tattoo on his forearm where it rested over her flat stomach.

"They'll be changing shifts soon," he murmured against her skin.

"I don't want you to leave," she held his wrist to keep him from pulling away.

"I cannot stay," he propped himself on his elbow and leaned over to meet her eyes. "It would be difficult to love you from the grave," he flashed a cheeky grin.

"Nobody is going to kill you," she rolled onto her back and cupped his cheek.

"I have defiled the pharaoh's daughter," he turned and kissed her palm, "repeatedly. I could be cut down in this very bed if caught."

"Yet you keep coming back," she tilted her head and searched his gaze, "why?"

"You know why, Nefertiri," his fingers traced her cheek. "I love you."

"Then you'd best go," she pushed up and brushed her lips against his, "I'll not have the man I love murdered for loving me."

"Your father can be very protective of what's his," he chuckled. Rolling over he climbed to his feet and replaced his clothes. He paused by the table and tapped the final tablet of gold. "You're almost finished."

"I am," she rose from the bed completely naked, wrapped her arms around his waist from behind, and kissed his shoulder. "I've just the one spell left."

"And what will this one do?" He turned in her arms and kissed her brow.

"Send an immortal soul to the land of the dead," she tipped her head back to meet his inquisitive gaze. "I set out to counteract each and every one of the dark spells in The Book of the Dead."

"And what shall you call your brilliant grimoire?" His hands held her smooth hips.

"The Book of Amun-Ra," she smirked.

"A stroke of genius," he bent and pecked her lips. "Now I must go," he chuckled at her pout and backed away towards the door.

"Are you sure?" She cocked a brow. Perching on the stool by the table she extended her left leg and trailed her fingers up through the glistening moisture along her thighs; she dipped into her dripping center and gathered their joined fluids.

He watched as she popped her finger into her mouth.

"You could defile me again," she hummed around her finger.

He strode forwards and cupped her cheeks in his hands. Tilting his head he smiled and slowly ran his eyes over her perfect body and the dark bruises he had left on her skin with his lips and teeth.

"I would love nothing more than to meet my death in your embrace, sweetheart, but I would much prefer it be in my old age," he smirked. "I would save you the sight of me being slain in your arms. Besides," he chuckled, "you've a spell to set in stone."

"I suppose you're right," she sighed dramatically. She grasped the back of his neck and pressed a long kiss to his swollen lips. "Until tomorrow, my love."

"Until tomorrow," he slipped from her arms and into the hall.

She sat watching the door for a moment before sighing and pushing herself to her feet. Wrapping a robe around her slim body she picked up the delicate chisel. She toiled for the better part of an hour making precise movements to perfect the formal hieroglyphs of the book.

When it was done she lowered her tools, tightened her robe and slipped between the fluttering curtains of the balcony. She held the rail and surveyed the courtyard below.

From where she stood she could see into the bedchamber of the high priest: the keeper of the black book she had made it her life's mission to reverse.

Her eyes grew round when she saw her father's mistress through the fluttering curtains; she was kissing Silas with a passion she had never seen the woman show.

She was content to let them be though until her father strode into the priest's chamber.

A scream tore from her throat when the first blade broke his skin.

"Medjay," she pointed wildly across the courtyard, "my father needs you!"

The Medjay looked up at her before running in the direction of the temple. Only one remained in the courtyard.

Her eyes were glued to the scene of her father's demise. Grief struck her when she saw him fall to the ground. Her mournful cry turned to a terrified scream. Her balance was lost; she tumbled face first over the side of the balcony.

The last thing she heard was the desperate cry of her own name.

Lucien slammed the door shut behind Kai and paced back to his chair but before he could sit again a strong wind rustled the lace curtains. He turned around and crossed to shut the window.

Before he could close the shutters a blast of wind brought a cloud of sand into his face. His scream was lost to the mass of swirling sand.

His body was lifted into the air. It turned and twisted as the life was slowly drained from his limbs.

The sand condensed into the shape of a man.

Silas drew in a deep breath and stared at the shrivelled corpse for a moment before stepping over the body. He caught a glimpse of himself in a polished mirror; his features had all but returned to normal save for a gaping hole in his left cheek.

He turned from the glass and reached for the door. The knob rattled in his hand: locked. He grinned.

Elena shifted in her sleep. A line appeared between her brows as a myriad of images played out in her mind. She was lost to the realm of the unconsciousness and completely unaware of the sand pouring through her keyhole.

The golden dirt formed a large mound on her floor. She started tossing and turning as the sand molded into the form of Silas.

He crossed the room and perched on the side of the soft bed. Leaning down he ignored the banging on the door and pressed his lips to hers.

The result was instantaneous. His lively lips began to disintegrate. His mouth decayed.

Elena's eyes popped open when the door burst open. She screamed and shoved him away. Her lips were numb with the taste of death.

Nik and Kol raced into the foyer and skidded to a stop when they saw the shrivelled body on the floor.

Nik ran past and rattled the knob of the bedroom door. It was still locked and the key was missing. He knelt and peered through the keyhole.

Rage made his heart pound in his chest. He looked back over his shoulder to her brother.

"Get the cat."

Kol nodded before running into the hall in search of the animal. He was returning with the feline when Nik managed to break open the door.

"Get your hands off my girl," Nik glared when Elena pushed him away.

Silas' frown turned into a grimace. He stood and spun to face Nik while licking his putrid lips.

"I figured you might be here," he smirked, "so we brought a friend."

Kol grinned and threw the white cat at the creature that caught it on instinct.

Silas shrieked, dropped the hissing cat and stumbled back towards the window. He spun like a dervish and burst into a whirlwind of sand.

Elena covered her eyes as the sand exploded out through the window and vanished from the compound.

Nik pulled a shaking Elena into a tight hug while she wiped her mouth with disgust.

Kai chose that moment to return to the room. The martini glasses in his hands shattered against the floor. Liquid splashed over the shriveled corpse.

Elena stared through the windshield as Kol raced through the streets at breakneck speeds. She was perched in the front seat of his car between him and Nik.

Her shaking stopped when she finally registered what had transpired in her bedroom.

"Did you call me your girl?" She twisted to give Nik a look.

"Is now really the time for this?" Kol laid on his horn to hasten pedestrians out of the way. His muttered comment went unnoticed by his sister.

"What?" Nik paled under her inquisitive gaze. "It's a figure of speech," he stammered.

Elena shook her head and laughed. "You were jealous."

"Jealous?" He huffed. "Are you kidding, sweetheart? Did you not see that guy's face? I have nothing to be jealous about."

"Would you two shut up?" Kai trembled with fear in the backseat. "Shut up! Just shut up! We have to do something before it's too late." His hands shook as they raced into the driveway of the museum.

A green mist swirled through the streets of the bazaar and between the stalls that were still bustling with activity beneath the full moon. People began to choke and retch as if trying to expel the fetid air, but it was too late.

Silas strode through the sick mob with a wide grin on his face and a nervous Beni at his side.

Slowly, and one at a time the people began to follow Silas. Hideous boils and open sores covered their faces.

Elena strode through the museum with the men on her heels. Her shoes clicked on the marble floor.

"I came across an inscription about a month ago that mentioned the Book of the Dead," she glanced back over her shoulder.

"The one we found at Hamunaptra?" Kai frowned.

"Yes," Elena nodded. "I dismissed it because it talked about bringing people back from the dead; it was a notion I was unwilling to believe."

"Best believe, sister," Kol laughed humourlessly. "That's what brought our new friend back to life."

"And now he's going to use it and you to bring back his dead girlfriend," Nik looked nervously over his shoulder as if expecting the creature to round a corner at any moment. He couldn't shake the feeling that she was going to get herself killed; she was poised to pitch headfirst over a rail and he wouldn't be able to save her.

"If he succeeds the two of them will bring about the apocalypse," Elijah appeared from around a corner.

"The plagues we've already seen are nothing," Finn came out behind him, "these are just Silas flexing his muscles. He'll only be truly invincible when Amara's soul is brought back from the underworld."

Elena pushed around them into the exhibit and opened a glass display holding ancient tablets of stone covered in small hieroglyphics.

"If the black book can bring people back to life…"

"Then perhaps the golden book can return them to the underworld." Finn straightened his spine.

"Exactly…" Elena glared when she was interrupted again.

"If we find this book…"

"And read the sacred incantations contained inside," Finn cut Nik off, "it could send Silas back to the depths."

Elena shared a look with Rebekah who was shaking her head at her brothers' antics.

Everyone turned and rushed to the windows when they heard a loud chanting coming from the courtyard. A large mob covered in sores and boils was advancing on the museum and chanting 'Amara'.

"It's the beginning of the end," Elijah surveyed the crowd with a bitter sense of finality.

"Not yet," Elena gripped the rail. She spun suddenly on her heel and ran back to the display case.

"Well?" Rebekah knelt and helped her sort through the broken stone tablets.

"The spell is in the book," Elena pushed aside the pieces of stone that were of no use. She could still hear her death scream.

"How sure are you?" Rebekah held up a tablet for her inspection.

"Positive," Elena squinted at the small print and shook her head, "I chiseled the spells myself."

Rebekah's eyes narrowed in confusion.

"Long story," her heart pounded in time with the fists on the doors.

"Anytime now would be good, darling," Kol called over his shoulder. He was poised with the rest by the doors.

"Patience is a virtue," Elena snapped over her shoulder.

"Not right now it isn't," Nik's smile was strained as the doors started to splinter under the assault of the mob.

Elena rolled her eyes and tore through the stones with renewed vigor.

"How's your ancient Egyptian?" She glanced up through her lashes at Rebekah.

"Not as good as yours," the blonde laughed. "Were you really there?"

"Ancient Egypt," Elena nodded. She released a triumphant whoop when she found the right tablet. "I've got it."

"Well?" Elijah gripped the hilt of his sword.

"What is it?" Finn and Nik looked back to her.

"Since the black book was at the feet of Anubis, the gold book is inside the statue of Horus," she translated the tablet.

"That shouldn't be far from the statue of Anubis," Finn nodded slowly.

"Are you telling me we've got to go back out there?" Nik raised his brows.

"If we want to kill the creature," Finn turned to glare at his half-brother, "then yes."

Nik and Elijah spun when two men covered in boils came screaming around a corner. Kol grabbed the first and threw him over a railing. Elijah pushed the second out of the way and Nik raced back over to Elena and pulled her to her feet.

"Time to go, sweetheart." He took her hand and pulled her across the balcony and down the stairs keeping her as far from the rail as possible. He could hear the others following closely behind him.

Kol slipped through the bushes, leapt into the car and turned the ignition. The engine roared to life and drew the attention of the crowd still advancing on the doors. He pushed the vehicle into reverse and backed up until he reached his sister.

"Get in!"

He didn't have to tell her twice. He wasn't sure how they all managed to fit in but they did it. Nik and Elena took their seats in the front of the car while Finn, Elijah, Kai and Rebekah were in the back.

"Sister," Finn turned to look over his shoulder, "I don't suppose you've got something that might help us in this situation?"

"What the bloody hell do I look like?" She crossed her arms and glared.

"You look like a witch," Finn curled his fingers around the edge of the car.

"Unfortunately I can't cloak a moving target," Rebekah snapped.

"Something like that needs to be done ahead of time," Elena looked back over her shoulder, "and the spell needs to be immobile." She covered her ears when a primordial shriek reached her ears, but she couldn't stifle her own shriek when men and woman who had been driven to insanity jumped in front of the car.

Kai swore and screamed when he was physically dragged from the car. He rolled on the pavement and came up with a raised gun.

"We have to go back," Elena twisted and tried to take the wheel from her brother.

"Are you out of your bloody mind?" Nik took her arms and held her back from Kol.

"We're not going back," Kol applied more pressure to the gas pedal. "Once Silas drains that guy he's coming after you."

"Let me go," Elena hissed.

"I'm not letting you get yourself killed," Nik tightened his hold around her when she spun and tried to push his chest. He held her hands in one of his and stared down into her eyes. "I won't watch you die."

Elena's breath caught in her throat. She swallowed and searched his gaze; there was something soft and vulnerable in his eyes behind the anger and fear.

"Damn it," Kol swore when he lost control of the vehicle. They spun wildly for a moment before slamming into a wall.

"We need to go," Nik released Elena and jumped out of the convertible.

She used his hand to steady herself as she jumped out of the car. They ran as fast as they could only to be backed into another wall.

Nik reached into his bag and extracted a stick of dynamite. He pulled a match from his pocket and struck it against the bricks behind him. The crowd instantly gave them a wide birth when he held the match near the fuse.

"Seems they've still got some sense," Kol checked the ammunition in his gun. He did his best to ignore the insane bloodshot eyes of the crowd that sent chills down his spine.

"Amara! Amara! Amara!"

The crowd continued to chant. They parted like the red sea for Silas who stepped through.

"Oh my," Elena pressed her hand to her heart, "he's gorgeous," her mouth popped open. She hadn't gotten a good look at him in her dream, but she could see him clearly now; fully regenerated he was a fine specimen.

Nik gave her a look and yelped when the match burned his fingertips. He tossed it down and reached for another.

"He's consummated the curse," Finn shook his head. "All he has to do is raise Amara from the dead and it will be the end for all of us."

Nik struck the match and lit the fuse when Silas moved towards them. He stepped up to Nik and stopped. His eyes tracked the fuse as it burned closer and closer to the dynamite.

Elena looked between the two of them as they were locked in a contest. Neither showed any sign of backing down anytime soon. From the corner of her eyes she saw her brother and his siblings as well as dozens of innocents who had been corrupted by Silas.

She leaned forward and blew out the fuse a second before it reached the dynamite.

Nik exhaled but kept his blue eyes locked on Silas who reached out for Elena.

"Koontash dai na," Silas met Elena's dark eyes.

"Take his hand," Beni emerged from the swarming mass of bodies, "and he will spare the others."

Elena bit her lip and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her eyes roamed the crowd holding pitchforks, axes, and scimitars; they were waiting to pounce on them at any moment. She looked at Silas who stood tall with the confidence of immortality: powerful and invincible.

"Any bright ideas?" She tipped her head back to look at Nik.

"Sorry, love," he gritted his teeth.

"Kol?" Elena's teeth sank into her lip.

"Fresh out," her brother's breath was ragged.

Elena turned back to Silas. She hesitated for a moment before reaching out to take his hand.

Nik and Kol instantly reached out to stop her but they were held back by Elijah and Finn.

"Elena, don't do it," Nik struggled against Elijah's hold.

"I don't have a choice," she shook her head, but didn't look at him. Her resolve only stretched so far. Her hand trembled when she touched Silas.

Nothing happened which made Silas smile. He closed his hand around hers and tilted his chin up.

"Keetah mi pharos, aja nilo, isirlan."

"Come with me my princess," Beni translated. "It is time to make you mine, forever."

"All eternity, you idiot," Elena shot him a nasty look and corrected his Egyptian. Her face was pale when she turned back around and addressed Nik. "You'd better think of something, because if he turns me into a mummy, you're the first one I'm coming after."

Nik almost laughed.

Elena shot Rebekah a quick look when Silas reached out and plucked the key from Kol's jacket pocket. She clenched her jaw to keep her lip from trembling when he started pulling her away.

"Elena!" Nik struggled against the arms holding him still.

Elijah tightened his hold, leaned forward and whispered harshly.

"Calm down. We've still got time to stop this."

Silas paused in the middle of the crowd and looked back to the Medjay still standing by the wall.

"Pared oos!"

"No," Elena screamed and tried to turn back around.

"Kill them," Beni translated with a giddy grin.

"Elena," Nik broke free from Elijah's grip. He stumbled forward as the crowd convulsed and moved closer for the kill.

"Damn it," Finn released Kol and started backing up and reaching for a weapon.

Kol fired off a few shots while Nik bent and lifted a manhole cover from the street. He yelped when Nik grabbed him and tossed him inside.

Elijah pushed Rebekah down where she was caught by Kol in the sewer. He then jumped in when Finn drew a blade and motioned for him to go.

"Go," the eldest son turned to Nik when he hesitated to jump. "Live to fight another day."

Nik jumped and looked up with narrowed eyes when the cistern was kicked back in place.

"Come, my princess," Silas held her elbow tightly and steered her out into the empty streets of the bazaar.

"You know," she struggled against his grip. "I will stop you. They'll come for me."

"As you say, princess," Silas chuckled darkly. "Your lover will not be helping you though; he's already dead."

Her brows furrowed in confusion before her eyes grew round.

"We need to get her back," Nik kicked the wall of the alley. He grunted in pain.

"I'm with you on that," Kol glowered, "nobody touches my sister like that and gets away with it."

"Do you know where he's taking her?" Nik turned to Elijah.

"Yes," he nodded and wiped some dust from his sleeve, "to Hamunaptra to perform the ritual."

"What ritual would that be?" Kol's eyes flashed with fear.

"The ritual to bring back the body of Amara," Elijah sighed.

"And how does one do that?" Kol cocked an eyebrow. He truly feared the answer.

"By reading from the book," Elijah cleared his throat, "and then… killing your sister."

"What?" Kol gaped. His heart hammered in his chest.

"Silas is now able to cross the desert with great haste," Elijah turned to Nik, "and if he arrives before us it will be too late."

"I'm sorry," Kol stepped between them and glared. "Did you say 'kill' my sister?"

"I know how we can beat them," Nik smirked.

"Can we get back to the killing of my sister?" Kol snarled.

"Relax," Rebekah's head snapped around. "He won't kill her body."

"What do you mean?" Elijah froze and turned to his sister slowly.

Rebekah sighed and followed behind Nik who was leading them through the empty streets at a light jog.

"Amara's body does not need to be resurrected," she pushed her braid over her shoulder. "The curse they bestowed on her thousands of years ago left behind imprints. Her body already exists. Elena is her shadow and Silas is going to put Amara's soul in her body."

"I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or not," Kol closed his eyes and jumped in the car that Nik had managed to hotwire.

"The soul will have to pass through her former body before entering the new one," Rebekah gripped the seat when Nik sped into the night. "We need to get there first. We need to get the book from the statue, and we need to get it to her; she's the only one that can read it."

Chapter Text

"So," Winston lifted a cup of tea daintily and eyed Nik over the rim, "what does your little problem have to do with His Majesty's Royal Air Corp?"

Kol eyed the single biplane behind the abandoned huts. It sat between the dilapidated huts and the massive dunes of sand.

"Not a damn thing," Nik shook his head with a small smirk.

Winston perked up instantly.

"Is it dangerous?" His eyes flooded with childlike excitement.

"You probably won't live through it," Nik tilted his head and shrugged.

"Do you really think so?" Winston arched an inquisitive brow.

"Everyone else we've run into has died," Kol eyed the plane nervously, "why not you?"

"What's the challenge?" Winston nodded eagerly.

"Kill the villain and save the damsel in distress," Nik rocked back on his heels and crossed his arms. "Assuming she'll let us," he muttered under his breath.

A slow grin spread over Winston's face. He stood from his folding chair and gave them a snappy salute.

Rebekah bit her lip and stared at the plane like she was expecting it to bite her at any moment.

"Alright, love?" Nik looked at her through narrowed eyes.

"She's afraid of heights," Elijah strode towards the plane.

"No chance of beating them on horseback?" Rebekah heart thumped wildly.

"I'd recommend keeping your eyes closed," Kol offered her a hand up into the seat.

The sand-devil raced across the desert over the dunes. It swirled in a dusty whirlwind and came to a stop. Slowly it began to dissipate.

A shrill shriek was heard as two bodies were violently ejected from the dervish.

Elena pushed onto her elbows, shook the sand from her hair and looked for the source of the shriek. She bit down her laugh when she realized it had to have come from Beni who was sitting up a few feet away from her.

"What just happened?" She turned her gaze from Beni to the swirling sand and watched as it began to condense.

"All I remember is him turning into a blast of sand…" Beni shivered when Silas stood before them and looked up to the sky, "… then nothing."

Elena got to her feet and looked to the vast expanse of blue when the mechanical whir of a plane sounded overhead.

"Nik," relief flooded her chest.

Silas scowled at her elated smile and turned to the sands.

Wind whipped violently at Winston in the cockpit.

Rebekah had her eyes squeezed shut. The rushing air tore at her braid and sent her hair blowing in front of her face. Over the whistling wind she could hear the terrified screams that she wanted to believe were coming from her brothers but knew were rising from her own throat.

Her brows furrowed when another sound reached her ears. A horrible screech was a precursor to horrified yelling of the men tied to the wings.

She forced her eyes open and gaped at the sight that greeted her. She had been raised a witch, but the wall of sand that had come alive made her blood run cold.

"Hang on," Winston's laugh reached the ears of his passengers. He threw the throttle and dove towards the ground.

Rebekah held to the side of the plane for dear life and swallowed her scream. The wind rushing in her face was exhilarating.

Nik looked over his shoulder into the blinding sand. After a moment a face formed in the storm and he was staring into the blank eyes of a grinning Silas.

"Bloody hell," Kol swallowed when he followed Nik's gaze.

"I do believe we're going down," Elijah gripped the wing of the spinning plane.

"We're definitely going down," Winston grinned when they were engulfed in sand. He laughed even as his companions screamed in horror. "Here I come, laddies!"

"Stop it," Elena ran to Silas, "you'll kill them!" Sand kicked up under her feet.

Silas grabbed her arms and pulled her into his bare chest.

Elena gasped and stared up into his intense eyes; there was something mesmerizing in his gaze.

A squeal caught in her mouth when he kissed her hard. For a moment she could do nothing but stand there, but when his tongue pressed firmly against the seam of her lips she shoved at his chest and fell back into the sand.

Silas laughed and turned back to the sands when he heard the loud crash.

"A little help over here," Kol struggled with the straps holding him to the wing upside down.

Rebekah rolled onto her feet, pulled her knife free from her belt and sliced through his bindings.

Kol fell into the sand with a soft oomph. "Thanks," he climbed to his feet and brushed the sand from his clothes.

"We might want to move," Elijah looked up from where he had been checking Winston's pulse. The sand began to shift under their feet.

They moved quickly up over the dunes.

"What does Horus look like?" Nik drew in a ragged breath when they were looking down over the ruins of the city.

"Big fellow," Kol pushed up his sleeves and attempted to catch his breath, "he's got a falcon's face."

"Got it," Nik nodded. He followed behind Rebekah who had already started down over the ridge towards the City of the Dead. "Why is she in the lead?"

"She knows where it is," Elijah slid down the slope. "She used to run through the ruins as a child."

"That seems safe," Kol scoffed.

"It wasn't," Elijah shook his head and laughed, "but none of us could ever say no to her."

Elena stifled her shriek when a rat ran over her foot and froze on the stairs leading down into the underground cemetery; she wondered if she had been buried in that cemetery in her first lifetime, or if they had laid her in her father's tomb. She shook herself from the thought and looked at the fat rats scurrying over the gravestones and through the mausoleums.

"Keep moving," Beni shoved his rifle into her back and pushed her forwards.

"You know," she turned and gave the man a withering look, "nasty little men like you always get their comeuppance." She choked on her anger as rage pulsed through her. She'd always hated being told what to do: always; in this life and the last.

If only she could have remembered the spell that she had chiseled in the book she could have done away with the priest now, but remembering something existed and remembering the exact wording of a spell were two different things; a few weeks ago she hadn't even believed in magic.

"Yeah?" Beni scoffed but unease flashed in his eyes.

"Oh yes," Elena smiled tightly, "always."

Beni started chewing on his lip. He pushed Elena again for good measure; just to show he was the one with the upper hand.

For the time being he was. Elena could remember that she had once been trained in combat, but the memories were lost in the recesses of her mind. She knew she was a witch, but her body and magic were not what she had once known.

Elena simmered as she crossed over the bridge above the moat of thick black tar. Her stomach knotted when she looked at the glossy substance that should have been water; it was rotten with remains.

"This was clear last time," Rebekah's hand landed on her hips. She spun on her heel and gave Nik a scathing look.

"In my defence," Nik cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck, "we were being chased by flesh-eating scarabs."

"So you blew up the doorway?" Elijah cocked a brow.

"It stopped the tide," Kol shrugged.

Nik, Kol and Elijah moved forward and started pulling down rocks.

"What the devil are you doing?" Rebekah heaved an exasperated sigh.

"You said this was the fastest route to the statue," Elijah gave her a pointed look over his shoulder. "The city is a maze. Going around will take longer than clearing the door."

"I agree," Rebekah nodded. "However we don't have time to clear the door this way, so move." She held her hands together in front of her face and moved them in a parting gesture.

Once the men had moved out of her way she lifted her palms to the blocked door. Closing her eyes she pulled with her mind. The ground shook beneath them for a moment before the rocks slid out and crashed against the far wall with a resounding bang.

"Well," Kol waved his hand in front of his face to dispel the rising dust and coughed, "he knows we're here now."

Elena stepped up to the alter when the rifle prodded her back. She vowed to learn how to use her magic again if she managed to survive; the ability to move things with her mind would have been very useful in that moment.

Anxiety swirled in her stomach as her eyes zeroed in on the solid alter where Silas had laid out the canopic jars.

Silas' head snapped around when a crash sounded somewhere in the distance. He scowled and reached into a canopic jar. Crushing the crusted remains of Amara's mummified heart in his hand he turned to a wall and blew the dust.

A great scraping sound echoed out from the mausoleum. The dingy wall seemed to shift before Elena's wide eyes. Low growls set her heart on edge. The stone burst onto the sand strewn floor as two mummies emerged. They were shriveled and twisted; their wrappings hung in a macabre display.

Elena just stifled her shriek.

The bent corpses bowed to Silas who returned the gesture with a shallow bow of his own. He watched with a self-satisfied smirk as his long dead priests shuffled off down the passage in the direction of the sound.

He turned to the alter and spoke in Hebrew for the benefit of his slave.

"The prince wants your heart," Beni held his gun on Elena while Silas prepared the stone table.

"I'm flattered," Elena blushed, "but it's already taken." She held her hand to her throat; blue eyes flashed in her mind making her heart flutter in spite of her current situation.

Elena watched with narrow eyes as Silas laid out the whole sacred jars beside the shattered one. Why was he speaking Hebrew? He knew who she had been, and he knew she understood Ancient Egyptian.

"He wants your heart and your brain," Beni pointed the barrel of his rifle at her chest and lifted it slowly so it was between her brows. He continued to point to the various parts of her body. "He wants your liver and your kidneys… and how do you say?" He waved to her abdomen. "Those slimy things… in your stomach?"

"Intestines?" Elena's eyes had grown steadily rounder as the rat faced man spoke.

"Yes," Beni grinned in triumph; as if he had come up with the word himself, "them."

Fury fueled her movements when she turned to Silas with her hands on her hips.

"You only want me for my organs?" She just managed to hold in her shriek.

"Of course, princess," Silas switched easily to his native tongue, "for you are a powerful witch. Your soul would never relinquish the body it has come to call home," he stroked her cheek with his knuckles. "I could bring Amara into you," his fingertip traced her collarbone and dragged towards her cleavage, "but I could never banish your soul, Nefertiri; it would cling like a parasite infesting my beloved."

His intense gaze turned suddenly cold. Elena didn't have time to react before he lifted his hand and struck her across her face; the last thing she saw was the edge of the table before her world went black.

Silas stared at her coldly for a moment with malevolent intent before turning and striding into a nearby mausoleum.

Beni shifted from foot to foot quickly so it looked as if he was vibrating. He looked at Elena, and the spot Silas had disappeared before scurrying away faster than the rats over the tombstones.

"It's possible I got turned around," Rebekah raked her hair from her face when they all dropped into the dark chamber that was on the other side of the crevice. "I don't remember a pitch black room."

"I guess we'll have to start searching then," Kol grumbled. He feared what state he would find his sister in; she was his little sister and he was meant to protect her, yet somehow she was always looking out for him. "Anyone got a torch?"

Nik was the last to drop onto the floor. He jumped to his feet and peered into the darkness; something glittered in the far corner of the room high on the wall. A single beam of light pierced the gloom of the chamber. Peering through the dim he spotted a shiny disk.

It's an ancient Egyptian trick, her voice echoed in his mind. He didn't stop to think if he would ever hear it again before reaching into his bag and extracting a gun. Taking careful aim he released a shot that struck the pedestal of the disk and bounced back hitting the sand a few inches from Elijah's foot.

The mirror spun quickly before settling and catching the light which instantly bounced around the chamber from one disk to the next until the entire room was lit up.

"Woah," Rebekah was the first to react. She spun in a slow circle and took in the mounds of glittering treasure. "It appears we've found the wealth of Egypt."

Nik, Elijah and Kol stared in silence at the massive statues and shining gold that overflowed from countless cedar chests. They snapped out of their daze when shuffling feet dragged through the sand.

"Who the bloody hell are these blokes?" Kol tightened his hold on his gun.

"Priests," Elijah checked his own weapon, "Silas' priests."

"Can't say I've ever killed a priest," Nik cocked the elephant gun in his hands.

"They are evil, cursed creatures," Rebekah pulled the blade from her belt. She'd never been a fan of guns.

"Okay then," Nik smirked. He pulled the trigger of the gun. There was a flash of fire; when the smoke cleared he saw that the torso of one of the mummies had been blown clean off. He pumped the gun, sending the empty cartridge through the air and fired again sending the torso off the second mummy.

When the smoke cleared two sets of legs were seen continuing to move forwards; completely unaffected by the gun.

"Oh come on," Nik threw up his hands in exasperation.

"Oh, fuck," Kol pointed his gun in the direction of the torsos that were starting to claw their way towards the living.

"Can we not catch a bloody break?"

Silas scowled at the gunshots sounding in the distance. The noise was closer this time.

He shoved his hand into another of the canopic jars and yanked out the crusted remains of Amara's liver. He crushed it to dust and read a passage from the book of the dead before blowing the remains down a passageway.

"Kill them," he addressed the priests emerging from the wall, "kill them all, and bring me the Book of Amun Ra." He would not have the princess' grimoire falling into the hands of the Medjay.

A stale breeze blew through the treasure chamber and lifted the hem of their clothes as they backed away from the scattered remains of the mummies.

The relief was short lived. The floor beneath their feet began to move. The sand shifted violently.

Rebekah battled her urge to recoil from the corpses crawling up from the grave.

Kol's head snapped around to the walls where more mummies had begun crawling out from the piles of gold.

"My turn," Elijah held Nik's elbow when he raised the elephant gun. He hoisted the machine gun he had taken from the plane and opened fire on the advancing corpses; many flew back in pieces as more continued to advance.

Nik raised his gun and fired as they all started backing away into a passage.

Rebekah, Elijah and Nik turned and made to run, but froze when they saw Kol had stopped in the threshold.

"What are you doing?" Rebekah cried.

"Come on," Kol muttered under his breath and ran his hands along the wall of the opening, "come on, come on, come on."

"Kol," Nik sent a shot back into the chamber when a mummy got within five feet of the young man. "Come on!"

"I've almost…" he trailed off and grinned when he found what he was looking for, "… got it!" He pressed a protruding stone and ducked into a roll that sent him towards his companions just as a stone door dropped in place.

"All treasure rooms lock," he shrugged when they stared at him. "It's going to take them a while to get around that."

"Right…" Rebekah nodded. She shook her head, spun on her heel and strode down the shadow strewn passage.

Beni's mouth popped open in shock. He stared with wide eyes at the heaping chests and glittering piles of gold.

With a grin he fell back into a pile of jewels and released a happy squeal.

Elena grimaced and rolled her neck to the side. She blinked her eyes open slowly and tried to move her arms and legs.

Cold metal shifted on her wrists and weighed heavily on her ankles. Her eyes snapped open to take in the heavy chains holding her atop the stone alter.

Slowly, hesitantly, she turned her head to the left. A bloodcurdling scream ripped from her throat.

Stretched out beside her were the rotted remains of her former father's mistress.

"There he is," Kol pointed to a giant statue in the middle of a vast chamber.

Horus stood tall and stared down at them all with an air of imperial importance. There was no sense of disapproval when they ran towards the base of his statue.

"Hello Horus," Kol patted the pedestal.

Nik turned towards the passageway and the sound of mummies.

"I thought you said it would take them a while to get through," he turned sharply to Kol.

"It did," Rebekah jumped to his defence. Inspiration struck when she viewed the bag of weapons over her half-brother's shoulder. "Do you remember the blocked door?"

Nik followed her train of thought quickly. He reached into his bag pulled out a stick of dynamite and struck a match.

"Allow me," Elijah held out his hand for the explosive.

Nik handed over the dynamite and turned to the statue of Horus. He hit the ground when Elijah tossed the burning dynamite into the passage. There was a resounding bang as the door sealed itself in a barrage of rubble.

"Well that did it," Rebekah nodded decisively.

Elena struggled in vain against the chains holding her in place. Why couldn't that spell have revealed all of her past knowledge?

Her limbs froze as the mummified priests stumbled towards the alter and fell to their bony knees. The horrific creatures began to chant loudly. Their voices little more than clicking groans with the lack of tongues, jaws and mouths.

Silas ascended the steps and laid the black book on the table. He reached out and lovingly stroked the decayed cheek of his deceased love.

"Soon, my love," he turned to the heavy book.

Nik and Kol pulled at the seams holding the hidden compartment closed as Elijah and Rebekah leapt back to their feet.

Low moans bounced off the stone walls of the clear passage behind them. Glancing over his shoulder Nik glared at the bones of the mummies he could see rushing towards them.

"These things just don't quit," Kol panted and yanked on the hidden door.

"Just keep digging," Elijah reached for the elephant gun and a handful of shells. He ran down the passage towards the advancing dead with Rebekah close behind him.

Nik tugged violently. Slowly the door began to shift with a rough grating sound but before he could pull it free a skeletal hand closed around his ankle.

"Bloody hell," he yelped and tried to shake off the fingers.

Several more hands burst from the ground as three more mummies clawed their way out of the sand. One of them shoved Nik out of the way. Another pushed Kol down and started strangling him; the sharp bones left thin scrapes over his throat.

Kol clawed at the hand around his neck and sputtered. His vision began to tunnel as his face quickly turned purple.

The third mummy grasped the edges of the hidden door and pulled hard with every ounce of supernatural strength it had been granted.

Pained shrieks that were not of this world bounced off the high walls of the chamber as pressurized acid sprayed from the seam. It hit all three of the mummies.

The one holding Kol was pummeled in the back. It dropped him and melted in a stinking puddle that bubbled up along the sand.

Kol caught his breath and crawled towards the compartment where he helped Nik pull an ornate chest.

"We're not going to be cursed are we?" Nik paused before opening the lid.

"No," Kol squinted at the onyx inscriptions, "it just bears the seal of the Pharaoh's daughter."

"Why?" Nik yanked the lid from the box.

"I don't know," Kol rasped, "maybe she was the keeper of the text."

"Maybe," Nik reached into the box and yanked out a heavy burlap bag. He exchanged a nervous look with Kol before slowly reaching in and pulling out a heavy book of solid gold.

The light reflected off their faces as they stared at the book in wonderment. Nik couldn't quite shake the thought that he had seen it somewhere before.

Rebekah came careening back into the chamber as they were climbing to their feet.

"You need to hurry," she tilted her head and sighed in exasperation. She grabbed Kol's collar and placed her hand over the bruises and cuts on his neck. Warmth spread from her palm into his skin; when she lifted her hand only dried blood remained.

"What happened to hurrying?" Elijah dropped the gun and reached for his sword.

"Those cuts would have killed him," Rebekah hoisted her own sword. "Take the book."

"Kill the creature, and save the girl," Elijah swung his sword and took off the head of an advancing mummy. "Go; I'll hold them off."

Rebekah watched from the corner of her eye as they raced towards the underground cemetery.

"You too sister," Elijah took her shoulder and spun her around.

"No," she shook her head. "I'm not letting you have all the fun. You're not going to send me away in the name of my own protection," she sliced through the air furiously and lobbed off the head of another corpse.

"I'm not," Elijah pushed her back again, "I'm sending you for them. They might need the help of a witch."

"But…" tears sprang up in her eyes. She had already lost one brother that day.

"Go," he pushed her into the passage and turned back to the swarming dead.

Rebekah blinked back her tears and spun on her heel.

Deep underground the former high priest Silas read from the Book of the Dead.

Elena stared in horror as a swirling hole began to open in the blackened bog.


Chapter Text

Fear clawed through her until she was barely able to breathe. All she knew was the struggle; her desperate struggle not to cry and to escape her chains. She pulled and thrashed to no avail. All she succeeded in doing was adding to the rising cacophony of noise. Her fight instinct was completely repressed in favour of flight, but flight was proving to be impossible.

Her struggling limbs froze as a mist wafted up from the swirling hole that she was certain led straight to the underworld. It glided through the air and passed into the sacred jars.

Elena's breath caught in her throat when the mist paused before creeping forward. She gasped and jerked when the mist passed through her. She felt as if she had been doused in ice water and electrocuted; her back arched off the table.

Just as soon as it started it stopped. The mist made its way through her body quickly leaving behind a sense of freezing cold.

Her entire body trembled. The swirling wind and voices of Silas and the priests reached a deafening crescendo. At the height of the noise the crusted eyelids of Amara popped open.

Elena's mouth went slack as she stared at the woman. The fight came back to her limbs when Amara slowly turned to look at her with empty eye sockets.

She screamed and fought against the chains wildly. Her movements only increased when she saw the sacrificial knife being raised high above her head.

"With your death," Silas smiled genially as if he were accepting a sacrifice she had offered and not taking her life, "my love and I shall be invincible."

Elena stared with wide eyes at the wicked curve of the blade. It caught the flickering light from the torches and glittered menacingly above her head, but before Silas could bring it down rapid footsteps came down the stairs; too fast to belong to the undead.

Silas spun with the knife in hand and faced them. These two just wouldn't die. They seemed to survive everything he had thrown at them.

"We found it, 'Lena," Kol beamed with the book in his hands.

"Shut up, and get me off of here," Elena struggled against the bonds.

Nik snatched an ancient sword from the hand of a statue and leapt over the priests with the aid of a gravestone. The cursed creatures stopped chanting instantly causing the mist to vanish into thin air.

Silas took a step forward and growled when the sacrificial knife was stricken out of his hand. He snapped a command to his priests who stood quickly with drawn blades in hand.

There was a brief moment of complete silence where they would have heard a pin drop before the mummies leapt forward and attacked.

"Open the book," Elena yelled over the clash of metal on metal, and the sickening crunch of bones. "Open the book, it's the only way to kill him."

Nik was mildly surprised at how well he was handling the sword; he'd never held one before in his life. He hacked and chopped at the attacking mummies fighting his way closer and closer to Elena.

The walking dead swung wildly in an attempt to stab the man making his way closer and closer to the assembled ritual.

"I can't open it," Kol hung back by the stairs and struggled with the book, "it's locked!"

Nik sliced a mummy in half and swung the blade towards Elena.

She flinched away from the clang and felt one of her hands come free. She cradled the limb to her chest before reaching up and trying to unfasten the other.

Kol spotted the lock then; it was solid gold just like the book and filled with ancient incantations so he hadn't noticed it at first as it had completely blended into the rest of the book.

"We need the key, 'Lena," he looked up towards his struggling sister. His eyes locked on Silas who lifted the key, which had been hanging on a chain around his neck, and shoved it in his pocket.

Bending at the waist he picked up the sacrificial blade and took sure steps towards Kol.

"Elena," Kol started backing away towards a mausoleum, "what do I do?"

"Read the inscription on the cover," Elena shouted over the clang of metal. Her right leg came free from the table. If she could read it didn't that mean that Kol should be able to as well? Rebekah had made it sound like something that was passed through families.

Mummies took advantage of Nik's momentary distraction and started forcing him back from the table. He used the sword in his hands to block their attacks.

"Keetash-something…" Kol attempted to translate the ancient text, but his skill was nowhere near the level of his sister. His eyes were wide as Silas continued to advance on him; much more leisurely now that he had heard Kol's pathetic attempts to translate.

"Ebarra im…" The hieroglyphs blurred on the surface. He wasn't getting enough time to look at it. Kol's heart leapt into his throat when his heel caught a headstone and he crashed to the cold earth.

Silas charged forward with every intention of striking the man dead.

Kol reached for the book that had flown from his hand and turned it back over to finish the inscription.

"… hatu Kaska umm…" a line appeared between Kol's brows. "… rasheem aaaa Anubis."

Metal clashed angrily against metal.

Elena rolled onto her hip and pulled the last chain holding her arm in place.

Silas glared at the slim blond that had stepped in his path. The sacrificial sword had been caught by her blade. He pulled back and made to strike the woman down only to freeze.

The stone wall to the left crumbled to dust when the giant statue of Anubis crashed through the wall. The jackal headed god of death's stone face stared down; the heavily carved brows giving the impression of a terrible anger.

"Oh…" Kol tilted his head back to stare up at the animated statue.

"This just keeps getting better and better," Nik took off the head of another mummy and looked up at the statue.

Silas took advantage of Rebekah's surprise and pushed her back onto the ground where she fell over Kol. He gave the pair a scathing look and turned on his heel to head for the statue.

"You might have mentioned you were a warlock," Rebekah muttered.

"A what?" Kol stood and helped her back to her feet.

Nik swung his sword and broke the final chain holding Elena in place. He swore as more mummies attacked him and forced him back.

Elena jumped down from the table and forced her tense muscles to relax. She made it two steps towards Nik before a skeletal hand grabbed her; it spun her around quickly. Her mouth opened to emit a horrified scream.

Amara stood behind her; the rotted corpse of the once renowned beauty held Elena's arms in a tight grip.

Silas stared up at Anubis and gave a command in Ancient Egyptian while pointing to Nik.

The statue spun and stomped over mausoleums on its path. Its massive foot splashed in the filthy moat and sent dirty tar flying into the air.

"Do something, Kol," Nik scrambled back with wide eyes as the entity advanced. "Killing it would be preferred."

"You've got to be joking," Kol stared at the display.

"Finish the inscription," Rebekah searched for her sword that had flown from her hand.

Amara swung her decrepit arm at Elena with a horrid screech.

Elena raised her hands to block the attacks as best she could. Her leg seemed to move on instinct lifting and kicking the corpse's gut.

Amara stumbled back and hissed.

"Hootash im… Hootash im…" Kol wiped the sweat from his brow and glared at the book. "What's this symbol here?"

"Do you expect me to know?" Rebekah gave him a disbelieving look. "I speak it I don't read it."

"What does it look like?" Elena turned to look at him. She gasped when an arm came around her body and bony fingers closed around her throat.

Nik's back hit the far wall. He stared up at the hulking stone and swallowed. He stifled his yelp when the massive talons swooped down and hoisted him in the air.

"It's an ankh symbol," Kol squinted at the inscription, "with two squiggly lines above it, and a bird on either side… it's a…"

"Take your time," Nik swung at the arm holding him several feet in the air, "it's not like there's anything pressing…"

"It's a stork."

"Ah… Ah…" Elena's voice was strangled. She grasped Amara's wrist and yanked back with all of her strength. The woman stumbled back.

"Ahmenophus," Elena rasped just loud enough for Kol to hear. Her heart drummed when Amara grasped her throat again.

"Ah yes," Kol nodded.

Nik grunted as the talons wrapped around his body and started to crush him.

"Hootash im Ahmenophus!"

The giant statue froze in its tracks. Nik slid free from the talons when the petrified statue lost its balance and fell over.

Elena shoved her attacker backwards.

Amara looked up and opened her mouth to scream, but the sound never came; it was cut off by the ton of stone that crushed her body. Her bones smashed to powder as she was driven into the ground.

Silas shrieked in rage; it roared through him as he angrily turned and stomped towards Kol.

Rebekah located her sword behind a tombstone.

Silas grasped Kol's collar, tore the golden book from his hands and lifted him off his feet.

Kol grunted when his back hit the wall and the wind was knocked from his lungs.

Rebekah swung her sword. There was a sickening sound as the metal cut throw flesh and bone before Silas' right arm fell clean off; it fell to the ground still clutching the gold book.

Silas dropped Kol and spun around. He grabbed Rebekah with his left arm and easily threw her halfway across the cemetery; she slammed into a tombstone and crashed down onto the ground.

"Okay…" Rebekah climbed to her feet, "… so he's left handed."

Silas strode towards Rebekah.

"I got it," Kol held up the key and smiled at his sister.

Elena rushed towards him while Nik made for Rebekah.

Nik swung the ancient sword and took a large chunk of rotten flesh from Silas' stomach. He swallowed his gorge at the rotten intestines; maggots squirmed in the dead flesh.

Silas drew his arm back and swung striking Nik across the face and sending him twenty feet through the air. He was there when the man stood up and clubbed him with his left arm again; this time Nik spun into the wall of a mausoleum.

Rage flashed in Silas' eyes.

Nik jumped to his feet, pivoted and swung his sword so it hacked into Silas' head. The creature grinned and punched Nik in the jaw; he flew back taking the sword with him. He bounced off a mausoleum and landed on his feet.

His knees buckled beneath him; it was all he could do to stand up right.

Kol lifted the heavy gold book and cringed at the severed hand still clinging to it.

Elena tore the arm off without a second though and tossed it into the moat. She took the key and started turning the locks. There was a series of mechanical clicks before the book opened with a hiss. She dropped the key and turned the heavy pages while Kol held the book steady.

Silas advanced on Nik who backed into the wall he had bounced off and swung his sword. Silas tried to catch the blade and had it imbed itself in his hand; he ripped the sword and flung it away casually.

Rebekah clung to the side of another mausoleum and held her side. Each inward breath sent a stab of pain through her body. She gritted her teeth and waved her arm; the sword flew back through the air and embedded itself in the creature's side.

Silas disregarded the blade, grabbed Nik by the throat and hoisted him into the air; Nik hung there lacking the strength to fight back.

"For the crime of loving a princess," Silas' words were lost on the man being strangled; he grinned as the Medjay's skin turned vermillion.

Elena turned to the final page and spun towards Silas. Rage boiled in her blood and fueled the ancient spell.

"Kadeesh mal! Kadeesh mal! Pared oos! Pared oos!"

Silas dropped Nik into a heap on the ground and spun to look at the princess. If he'd had blood in his veins it would have run cold with terror. His gaze cut to the bog that had begun to bubble and shift; a swirling hole opened and sent misty spirits into the air.

The ghosts of the ancient deities wafted upwards and swirled around the mummies that still were still moving; they collapsed and turned to dust. The spirits then moved on to Silas; swirling around his body they lifted him into the air.

Elena moved to run forwards only to be held back by Kol.

"Let me go," her eyes were locked on Nik who was struggling to regain his breath.

"Not on your life," he pushed her back behind a mausoleum.


"No," he pushed her back again. Steeling his nerves he raced forward toward the swirling mass of spirits. Bending he yanked Nik to his feet and stumbled back towards Elena.

"Oh bloody hell," Rebekah backed away in the opposite direction. She gasped when an arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her behind a stone wall.

"Shh," he covered her mouth with his hand, "let's not draw attention to ourselves."

"Elijah?" Rebekah blinked back a few tears. "You're alive?" She wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Yes, well," he hugged her back, "the dead suddenly dropped dead."

Kol's foot caught the edge of the book that had fallen to the ground and kicked it into the bog.

Ten feet above their heads the spirits swirled around Silas' body. The high priest twisted and turned and slowly shriveled. A bright light flashed several times and was accompanied by a blast of wind.

Silas was spat out and thrown to the floor. He staggered to his feet completely intact.

"I thought you said it was going to kill him," Nik snatched a sword from another statue and swung.

Silas jerked back and stared at his chest where a line of blood had appeared on his skin. Slowly his fingers touched the hot blood; his mouth turned dry when he realized what she had done to him.

"It did," Elena watched Nik's sword sink into Silas' stomach, "he's mortal."

Silas stumbled backwards into the bog clutching the blade still in his stomach. He sank into the black liquid as the life slowly bled from his body. Just before his head went under he met Elena's dark eyes and grinned broadly.

"Death is only the beginning, princess," his laugh was cut off by the bog.

Beni stumbled under the weight of the treasure in the saddle bag over his shoulder. He strained under the gold and hastened to a wall where he could lean and breathe. He gasped and swung the heavy bag over an ornate staff protruding from the wall.

He tipped his head back and drew in deep, ragged breaths. He exhaled and narrowed his eyes when the bag dragged down the staff. There was a beat of silence before the walls began to sink into the ground.

Beni spun on his heel and ran through the pouring sand.

Elijah and Rebekah climbed to their feet and stared in horror at the crumbling walls.

"C'mon, love," Nik grabbed Elena's hand, when she continued to stare at the bog, and pulled her away. "Time to go."

The group raced through the cemetery between sinking pillars and into a descending doorway.

Nik released Elena's hand when they were in the hall and bent over to run through the passageway that was getting lower and lower. They emerged in the brightly lit treasure room after a moment of running.

Elena froze in her tracks and stared with wide eyes at the glittering gold. Sand rained down over her shoulders and into her hair.

Nik grabbed her hand again and pulled her through the mounds of treasure towards the sinking doorway. They passed by Beni who was running into the chamber through a sinking passage.

They raced up a staircase towards a sinking doorway.

Kol was the first through the gap that was no more than two feet high. He was followed by Elijah who was supporting Rebekah.

Nik dove through the small gap and rolled free. He spun around when Elena slid through the opening. He and Kol each grabbed one of her hands and pulled her through before she could be cut in two by the weight of the descending door.

"O'Connell!" Beni's piercing cry echoed over the rumbling walls. He stretched out his hand.

Nik reached back to help but it was too late. Beni jerked his arm back before the door could sever his wrist.

Elena drew in heaving breaths and stared back at the collapsing city. Camels surrounded the small group on the plateau.

"Elijah," Rebekah exhaled and pressed her palm to her broken ribs.

"Yes," he wiped some dust from his brow.

"I quit."

"Rebekah," he chuckled and shook his head, "so do I."

"We'll go and inform the others of what's happened," Elijah offered her a hand up onto a camel and took the reins of another. "Perhaps we'll catch up with you in Cairo."

"We're going home empty handed then?" Kol shook his head and watched the pair riding toward the east.

"I wouldn't say that," Nik looked turned to meet Elena's eyes.

Elena searched his blue eyes for a long moment before wrapping her arms around his neck and drawing him down to her mouth. Warmth spread through her body as his lips moved against hers gently.

Kol rolled his eyes and snorted. He might have objected if he hadn't seen them together from the start; he was certain Elena would be the one knocking him unconscious if he intervened in her love life. He climbed up onto a camel and cleared his throat.

"I don't know about the two of you," Kol cocked a brow, "but I'd like to get as far from this city as possible."

Nik pulled back and rested his forehead against Elena's; a slow smile spread over his lips.

Elena drew her bottom lip between her teeth and grinned.

He turned and leapt into the saddle of another camel. Reaching back he took Elena's hand and pulled her up behind him.

She wrapped her arms tightly around his waist and released a breath she was certain she had been holding since leaving Cairo.

Chapter Text

Nik dropped the last of the saddlebags on an ornate chair in the foyer. His old 'mate' had been rather busy while they'd been fighting for their lives in the cemetery. He had filled bag after bag with gold and jewels.

Elena hadn't seen them yet. Nik hadn't even noticed until a servant had delivered them to his rooms after he'd cleaned up.

He glanced up when he heard soft footsteps.

Elena tied her robe around her waist and wrung the water from her hair with a towel. Nothing quite had the ability to renew her spirits like a hot bath. They'd journeyed through the desert for three days without stopping to rest before reaching the city.

She had been pleasantly surprised to find her rooms had been cleaned; there was no physical sign that anything horrific had happened there.

"Hello, sweetheart, are you feeling better?"

Elena jumped and spun on her heel to mock glare at the intruder in her room.

"I feel cleaner," she lowered her towel.

"You might want to consider locking your door," he smirked and tapped the wood.

"Last time that door was locked I was trapped on this side of it," she draped her towel over the back of a wooden chair and crossed her arms.

"I'm given to understand the outcome is different when you're the one doing the locking," he chuckled.

"I suppose that's true," Elena pursed her lips together, tilted her head to the side and nodded slowly. She stepped around him lightly and took the doorknob in hand.

There was a soft click as the lock engaged. She leaned on the door and tilted her head to look up at him.

"There," she smirked, "it's locked."

"That's not quite what I meant," his eyes sparkled.

"Afraid of being sealed in a room?" She cocked a brow.

"I've been locked in before," he reached out and moved a damp curl from her shoulder, "and I must admit the company is much better than last time."

"Glad to know I'm better company than hundreds of prisoners," she rolled her eyes.

"Well you do smell better," he inhaled the lavender clinging to her glowing skin.

"Bathing will do that," she blinked.

"Yes it will," he tucked the wet hair behind her ear.

"What are you doing here?" Elena exhaled slowly when his knuckle grazed her jaw. Her weariness seemed to melt away as her body came alive beneath his touch.

He hesitated.

"I wanted to check on you," he admitted after a beat. "The last time I left you alone a dead guy snuck into your room."

"I suppose I should be grateful my newest visitor is alive," her fingers straightened his collar. "You clean up nicely," her eyes flickered over the grey suit.

"So do you," he placed his hands on either side of her body trapping her against the door.

"I'm wearing a bathrobe," her eyes flickered to his mouth.

"It's very fetching," he settled his palm on her hip. "You look ravishing."

Her skin prickled beneath the cloth. She slid her hands up to cup his cheeks.

"I also wanted to show you something," he rubbed small circles over her hip.

"Oh?" She tilted her head.

"Yes," he dipped down and brushed her lips with his, "in the foyer; that you've now sealed off."

Elena sighed. Her desire warred with her curiosity, but eventually she reached for the door and turned the key.

A flush spread across her cheeks and down her neck when they stumbled back into the foyer.

"Do I want to know what was going on behind that door?" Kol cocked an eyebrow.

"Nothing," Elena crossed her arms.

"Mmhmm," Kol rolled his eyes.

"What did you want to show me?" She turned back to Nik.

His hand pressed against the small of her back for a brief moment before he stepped around and flipped open one of the bags that he had set on her chair.

Elena gasped and covered her mouth. She stared with wide eyes at the glittering gold. Reaching out hesitantly she lifted a small onyx and gold box with bits of turquoise inlaid in the lid around the cartouche; popping the lid revealed a sparkling emerald hair comb.

"Where did this come from?" Kol lifted a few faience necklaces.

"Seems someone was emptying the treasury while we were occupied," Nik shrugged one shoulder. He plucked the comb from the box and secured it in Elena's damp hair. "It suits you."

"If you insist on flirting with my sister could you do it when I'm not around?" Kol rolled his eyes.

Elena blushed and lowered the lid of the box. She gave her brother an overly sweet look and smiled.

"You could leave," she blinked innocently.

"Now why would I do that when I know what will occur?" Kol dropped the necklaces back into the bag.

Elena placed the box on the low table and straightened up. She walked the three steps to Nik, wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and kissed him soundly.

"Oh right, you'll just do it anyway," Kol rolled his eyes and strode from the room.

Elena shook with a soft laugh and glanced over her shoulder when the door slammed shut.

"You know," Nik wrapped his arms around her waist, "most men would object to their sister being left alone with a man."

"He knows I can take him," Elena smirked.

"There's not much you can't do. Tell me, love: should I be expecting to rescue you again sometime soon?"

"I seem to recall saving you," she tilted her head. "If I hadn't read the incantation you would have been dead."

"If I hadn't cut you loose you would have been sacrificed," he pointed out.

"Seems we're even then," Elena brought her hands around to his chest.

"So it would seem," he nodded solemnly.

"We don't owe each other anything," she stared up into his eyes.

"No, we don't," he breathed. The thin material of her robe bunched under his palms.

"Will you be leaving now?" She gasped when he pulled her flush against his chest.

"Never," he swore before dipping down and kissing her.

She sighed into his mouth and welcomed the gentle sweep of his tongue. The sweet kiss continued for several moments making her dizzy before he broke away and kissed along her cheek.

"I'm not leaving you Elena," his hand slid up into her hair. "I tried once, remember? I didn't even make it to the gate." He pulled back and met her lidded eyes. "I can't leave you, sweetheart."

"I've noticed," she bit her swollen lip. "You keep coming back."

"Well if I didn't you might find yourself in mortal peril," he smirked. "So would I for that matter."

"We'd better stick together then," her eyes glittered, "for safety's sake."

She grinned and kissed him again. She didn't think she'd ever get tired of the feel of his full lips against hers. She moaned when he sucked her bottom lip into his mouth and backed her up against the wall.

His stubble scraped her cheek deliciously when he broke away and started trailing down her slim throat.

Elena slid his jacket down his arms and unbuttoned his shirt.

"Love?" He cocked an eyebrow and breathed heavily.

Her slender fingers pulled the material free and slid to splay over his back. She dropped her head, pressed a kiss to his shoulder and nipped at his collarbone. Her lips trailed up his neck to his ear; she tugged gently with her teeth and drew a groan from his throat.

He let the shirt fall to the floor before reaching down and grasping the backs of her thighs.

Elena wrapped her legs around his waist and arched her neck to give him full access to her throat. She moaned under the heated assault.

He held her tightly with one hand and pushed her bedroom door shut with the other before making his way towards her bed. Toeing off his shoes he knelt on the bed and lowered her onto her back.

His hand settled on her knee and trailed up her soft skin while he continued to lick and nip her throat.

The top of her robe slipped open revealing her collarbone and the tops of her breasts.

"Are you sure about this?" He propped himself on his elbows and caught her wrist before she could untie the robe.

Elena nodded and pulled the knot free. The white cloth fell open on either side of her body.

"I've done this before," her eyes flickered over his face. That had been the first time Kol had gotten in a fight on her behalf; she hadn't had the greatest intuition as a teenager.

"What happened?" His hand slipped up her side leaving a trail of fire in its wake.

"My brother broke his nose," she gasped when his thumb grazed her pebbled nipple and sent a bolt of electricity to her swiftly dampening core. "Nobody could prove he broke his arm too. I haven't scared you off have I?"

"I've stuck by you through walking corpses," he brushed his lips along her jaw and met her eyes, "I think I can handle your brother; besides he didn't seem too bothered when he left."

"That's true," she grasped the back of his neck and kissed him. Her tongue slipped into his mouth and rolled over his. Her hips rolled up; she glared when he held her down with one strong hand.

Her head fell back against the mattress when he laved kisses down her throat and over her chest. Tiny gasps fell from her lips when his teeth scraped her nipple; she grasped his curly hair and held him to her breasts. Her nails dug into his scalp deliciously when he moved down further and dipped his tongue into her bellybutton.

A line appeared between her brows. A strange sense of anticipation made her body quiver when he placed chaste kisses from her abdomen to her glistening center.

"Trust me?" He met her clouded eyes when she propped herself up.

"With my life," there was no hesitation in her response.

He shifted quickly and knelt on the floor. Hooking her thighs over his arms he pulled her to the edge of the bed and kissed her thigh.

Elena gasped when his tongue delved between her folds. He lapped at the fluid dripping from her body like a man dying of thirst; if she didn't know any better she might have thought he'd neglected to rehydrate after returning from the desert.

Her breath came in quick pants as he continued to lick her.

The moans combined with the exquisite taste made his already hard cock harder. He reached down with one hand and unfastened his pants to relieve the pressure and flicked her clit with his tongue.

Elena cried out when he applied pressure to the sensitive bundle of nerves. The heat that had been pooling in her abdomen pulsed; every muscle began to tighten under the assault of his tongue. Her fingers fisted in the sheets when the coil snapped; he sucked on her clit as she rode out her high.

Elena gasped and pushed herself up with shaking arms. The robe slid down. She shifted onto her knees when he stood and wrapped her arms around his neck; her eyes widened at the taste she found on his lips.

His hands explored the expanse of her smooth back.

Elena's fingers trailed down and pushed his trousers so they fell soundlessly to the floor of her bedroom; she pulled him and fell back with him so he fell on top of her with a chuckle.

Her eyes fluttered open slowly; the first thing she saw was the emerald comb on her nightstand. That was all she saw before squeezing her eyes shut against the harsh sunlight filtering through the open window.

She rolled over and smiled softly when an arm tightened around her back and pulled her into a warm chest.

"Good morning," his deep voice rumbled in his chest.

"Morning," she drew lazy patterns over his chest. Tipping her head back she kissed his jaw and let her fingers ghost over the green and purple marks on his throat. "Does it hurt?"

"A little," he drew her wrist to his lips and kissed the bruises, "does this hurt?"

"A little," she pressed her ear to his heart and counted the steady beats.

"I know I'll never succeed in talking you out of dangerous situations," he tipped her chin up and met her dark eyes, "you've gotten a taste for adventure; I can see it in your eyes, but do you think we could take a short break, love?"

"A little recovery time in between?" Elena cocked an eyebrow.

"Precisely," he nodded. "Take a little break from fieldwork and relax."

"I've never really taken a vacation," she tilted her head, "what on earth would I ever do with myself?"

"I lot of people like to stay in bed for a bit." He smirked and rolled over so he was hovering over her naked body. "Have a lie in."

"Is that what people do?" She hooked her thigh around his waist and bit her lip.

"Time honored tradition," his fingers splayed over her hip.

"Then I suppose I'll have to honor it," she nodded solemnly and grasped the back of his neck. "I might need some company though; lying in sounds rather boring on my own."

1 Year Later

Elena's eyes fluttered open slowly to the sound of a gentle creaking coming from the other room. Reaching behind her she bolted upright upon finding him sleeping fitfully behind her.

A sense of dread washed over her from her head to her toe.

"Nik," she shook him awake and jumped to her feet.

"What is it?" He blinked and stifled his yawn. He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept completely through the night. It took a moment for him to pick up what her ears already had.

He was on his feet in an instant with a gun in his hand.

Elena tore open the bedroom door and raced across the hall with her heart in her throat. She froze in the entry with narrowed eyes when she saw the blonde in a rocking chair.

"Say what you like about my brother," Elena sighed, "but at least he knocks."

"How the bloody hell did you get in here?" Nik un-cocked the pistol and lowered the weapon to point at the floor.

"A locked door never was capable of keeping her out," Elijah tapped the window frame. The moonlight illuminated the dark suit he wore.

"Sorry," Rebekah smiled sheepishly. "I thought this was the sitting room, and then I just couldn't resist," she looked down to her arms.

"We've been trying to catch up with you for months now," Elijah adjusted his cuffs.

"We left you a year ago," Nik deposited the pistol on the tall dresser, "in the desert. Actually you left us."

"We had to check in," Rebekah cooed. "It took a little longer than we thought, and by the time we got to Cairo you had left the fort."

"It seems you've had an eventful year," Elijah's eyes caught the glint of silver on his half-brother's hand. "A very eventful year," he watched Elena lift the golden haired child from Rebekah's arms.

Elena bounced on the balls of her feet and rubbed small circles on the baby's back. She regarded the siblings in the nursery warily.

"Should we be concerned you're here?" She chewed her bottom lip. "He's not back is he?" Panic gripped her heart.

"Oh no," Rebekah held up her hands. "Nothing like that," she smiled.

"It seems father is now intent on keeping tabs on you," Elijah chuckled.

"Funny," Nik reached over and placed his hand on the small of Elena's back, "he never cared before."

"And then he almost lost all of his children in the span of a day," Rebekah shrugged. "Are you going to introduce us or not?"

"I was under the impression you knew my wife," Nik smirked.

"Yes," Elena cocked a brow, "if you'll recall I was the one who woke the Creature and killed him."

Rebekah rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her green dress.

"We're quite familiar with you, Elena," she shook her head, "I meant the baby."

Elena gently lowered the blanket from her child's face so Rebekah could see the babe again. Staring down she traced the soft skin with her eyes and watched the rosebud lips pucker; it wouldn't be long before the usual middle of the night feeding.

"This is Alexandria," Elena leaned into Nik's hand and ran her finger over her daughter's cheek, "Ally."