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Jewel of the Nile

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𝐄𝐗𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐃 𝐒𝐔𝐌𝐌𝐀𝐑𝐘
& 𝐂𝐀𝐒𝐓

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╰𓂀╮

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Amunet walks in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, born with the "honor" of possessing the All Seeing Eye of Horus. Given the title Jewel of the Nile, she was forced to give up her family name and all of her worldly possessions ― becoming a deity to her people; the first since the mysterious downfall of Cleopatra VII, the last Pharaoh of Egypt. However, such a "gift" comes with many drawbacks her people do not bother to concern themselves with. Visions plague Amunet's thoughts and dreams, her mind and body in a constant haze of battling sensations that she rarely knows what is real and what is to come.

Amid her many ventures into the depths of her power, Amunet discovered a life changing prophecy, a chance to rid her people of their greatest fear. Against her guardian's wishes, Amunet leaves the protection of the Medjai and saves the life of an outsider ― intentionally initiating the world's potential downfall.

┈ ┈ ┈ ⋞ ⟨ 𓂀 ⟩ ⋟ ┈ ┈ ┈

{ s t a r i n g }


GEMMA ARTERTON
as AMUNET 'NETTIE'
{ The Jewel of the Nile }
❝What use is my gift of sight if I cannot use it to help benefit the world?❞


BRENDAN FRASER
as RICHARD 'RICK' O'CONNELL
{ The Reluctant Savior }
❝A girl like you will be eaten up alive if you go off on your own. Stay close to me, I'll help you find your guy.❞


ARNOLD VOSLOO
as IMHOTEP
{ The Cursed Lover }
❝Join me, and together we can restore this world to its former glory. With your gifts and my power, we will be unstoppable.❞


RACHEL WEISZ
as EVELYN 'EVIE' CARNAHAN / NEFERTITI
{ The Clumsy Scholar }
❝You — the Jewel of the Nile? But- but the Bembridge scholars said...said that...How could they be so wrong?❞


ODED FEHR
as ARDETH BAY
{ The Medjai Guardian }
❝I tried my best to protect you ― as I should have done all those years ago. Instead, all I did was lock you in a gilded cage. Please, forgive me.❞


LUKE EVANS
as ATEN BAKARI / AKHENATEN
{ The Street Rat }
❝You look at me and see street rat. Well, in all do respect, 'my lady', this street rat knows a lot more than you realize. I play many roles.❞


JOHN HANNAH
as JONATHAN CARNAHAN
{ The Treasure Seeker }
❝Jewel of the what now? Are we talking: diamond, emerald, ruby...? Why are you looking at me like that?❞


PATRICIA VELÁSQUEZ
as MEELA NAIS / ANCK SU NAMUN
{ The Jaded Survivalist }
❝Everything I have ever done, I did to survive.❞

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❝Trust me, I'm not your guy. I'm no savior of the world.❞
❝You cannot hide from me. I see you for who you truly are.❞

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.disclaimer. I do not own the sheer genius that is the Mummy franchise. Casting Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz and ― GAH! ― just about everyone belongs to Universal Pictures and the visionary director Stephen Sommers. This movie was my childhood and remains one of my favorite franchises. As I am sure we all know, Netflix briefly had The Mummy series on their stream list. I could not help but cave in and write my own version of the movie after binge watching the movies back to back. Don't get me wrong, Evie and Rick are my ultimate OTP, but the shameful side of me couldn't help but take a little piece of Rick for myself, and thus Amunet came into creation in my obsessed, fanatic brain.

P.S. Yes, I will attempt to tackle the mess that was Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. I, personally, love the Chinese culture, so I am going to try and put my own spin to the third movie. Be aware, this will not be a copy and paste of the script / movie with an added character thrown into the mix. Amunet's presence in the story will have a ripple effect on the series.

Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames — tolerated.

Chapter Text

The future is worth it. All the pain. All the tears. The future is worth the fight.❞
— Martian Manhunter

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Heavy sheets of rain fell from a cluster of dark clouds that thundered and swirled ominously overhead. Bright flashes of crackling lightning struck at the Earth one lash right after the other, unrelenting in their attack, joined by gusting winds and a visible fog of thick humidity that sent a deep chill to her bones and set her nerves alight with anxiety. Yet despite the obvious storm, she remained dry and untouched by the violent weather.

How peculiar.

Peering down at herself, her brow furrowed in bewilderment and her lips formed a slight frown. She was dressed in a way that she had never been prepared before. Her skin felt oily and grimy, painted to hold a visible golden tint that reflected glints of bronze flakes; drawn over the gold were intricate black markings that spanned from her collar bone down to the tips of her toes. Nothing covered her chest, the full nakedness her breast were cleverly concealed behind the black paint that gave off the illusion she was wearing a form-fitting netted top. Wrapped snugly around her hips were two separate sets of black and gold beading that seemed to be attached to a black woven loincloth which barely covered her modesty. Her hair had been pressed into a straight edge fashion, golden beads braided in specific strands to help weigh down her normally ruly dark locks.

Lifting her gaze, her eyes swept across the sight below her. She stood on top a crumbling stone balcony that had the perfect view that overlooked the Giza pyramids and the cluster of modernized buildings that surrounded the ancient relics. Another peculiar observation, she noted. She was rarely allowed permission to leave her private village with the Medjai. When she was discovered to bear the gift of the All Seeing Eye as a child, she was carefully hidden away so she wouldn't become a tool for greedy ploys at the hands of mankind. To be in such an open area (unsupervised by the looks of her immediate surroundings) was inexcusable.

Everything was silent... too silent. Granted, it appeared to be the dead of night, and the city-people should be safely sheltered in their homes during such a dangerous storm. However, the unusual stillness of the air specifically around her put her on edge.

The city appeared to be abandoned, desolate even. Other than herself, she could not see any signs of another life form from her line of view. The narrow roads below were empty, scattered pieces of paper and small debris fluttered in sync with the harsh winds. Piles of sand were accumulating in places that should have been filled with bustling civilians on the go.

Where was everybody?

Trying not to let fear take hold, she slowly took in a deep breath to help calm her nerves. She knew better than to be fooled by sight alone. Nothing was seldom as they seemed. The world around spoke, you just had to be able to listen and understand. Planting her bare feet firmly against the rough pavement of the crumbling balcony, she spread her legs shoulder length apart for a sturdy stance, and waited for the elements to speak to her.

Silence. Not a flash of an image, not a single sensation other than her own tingling anxiety. Impossible, she inwardly marveled. There really must have been something wrong. She could never turn off the Eye, it was a part of her very soul. Becoming unhinged, her body trembled with fear of the unknown. It's quiet, she noted again, much to her despair. Too quiet.

She wanted to shout, she wanted to scream, anything to break the empty void! Wrapping her arms around herself for a mild form of comfort, she hunched her back, her shoulders rising and her neck sinking. Her gaze shifted and she spun and she turned — frantically searching. Questions flooded her mind, some overpowering others, distracting her fear and offering her a familiar (and welcomed) sense of mental chaos. Why wasn't she getting wet when it was obviously pouring? Why was she here? Was this a dream? Another vision? A different premonition? For what purpose?

She hadn't experienced… whatever this was… before. It was so intense, so life like. She didn't like it. She wanted to awake and go home.

"Ar-Ardeth?" she stammered aloud, voice meek and uncertain. He hardly left her alone before, a constant presence of protective oppression, her personal shadow, always within distance. He was the only tie to her life before she was titled Jewel of the Nile, Keeper of the All Seeing Eye of Horus. He was her brother, her leader and her champion. The only person who could somehow lift her fog whenever she fell in too deep.

A loud sob echoed throughout the barren streets, carried with the wind. When the cries reached her ears, she was instantly elated. She hastily dashed down the stone steps at the edge of the balcony, eagerly weaving her way through the narrow roads and alleyways to find the source. Finally, no more silence! However, her beaming smile quickly faded when she reached a small clearing. The cobbled pathway she was following split in two, circling around a collapsed stone fountain. Crouched in a fetal position in front of the broken structure was the exact mirror of herself, clutching the sides of her head as she continued to cry out in complete agony.

"Too loud- it's too loud! It hurts! Make it stop, make it stop!" her dream-self beseeched. Her face was contorted in pain, her eyes tightly clamped shut while she was clawing and pounding at her head.

She was at a complete loss. What was she supposed to do? How was she to respond to such a vision? Yes, she had her bad days when she had to isolate herself in her praying room in order to recuperate, but usually that was whenever there was a full moon and the veil between life and death was at its thinnest. Never like this, though, never to such an extreme extent. Apprehensive, she cautiously ambled forward and extended a quivering hand.

With a single touch of her mirror-self, the silence shattered.

Chaos… it was everywhere.

As fast as the snap of the fingers, she went from untouched by the weather to completely saturated by the rain. Her hair whipped violently around her face, neck, and chest, sharply stinging her flesh wherever her strands slapped. The thought-to-be abandoned buildings and roadways were engulfed in flames, black smoke raised up and blended in with the cluster of dark clouds. The electric streams of lightning struck down buildings and homes with swift precision, joined by raining balls of fire which fell from the heavens. Screams of the city-people pierced the air, cried out for the Gods' mercy as they were chased by wisps of black shadows or were terrorized by their own fellow man.

Everything came at her in one blow. Her whole body began to tremble, pulsating with pure energy. Like a spark catching flame to gasoline, her nerves were alive and shot painful prickles straight through all of her limbs. Gods did it hurt!

Too much, it was too much! Stop, it had to...! Please! She… She was going to burst! Her lips parted to release a silent scream.

"Nettie!" a foreign voice called out to her, filled with a desperation and fear that rivaled her own. Nettie… she felt immediate comfort at hearing the name, and unwillingly her nerves were soothed. Was that her? Was she Nettie? But why did she find peace within that voice? It belonged to no one she could recognize, and the only man she felt safe with was Ardeth.

"Nettie, you have to run — run now! Get away from him!"

That voice again. She wanted to respond to that voice, cry for his help. Yes, yes he would help her. He would come to her rescue. He had to, she felt it… He was her savior.

A man's breathy cackle followed the concerned plea for her to run, striking familiarity in her heart. She knew that laugh. Against her better judgement and her people's warning, she had spoken to the owner of that sinister chuckle, was curious to know the sole man who could strike a deep unsettling fear to a highly skilled band of warriors that lasted for thousands of years. A calloused hand firmly clasped her shoulder, tugging so she turned to face its owner. A clean shaven head and face left attention to be drawn to a pair of thick expressive eyebrows and deep swirls or dark onyx that held a certain glint of unbridled arrogance. The man was attractive in a way that set off warning bells in her mind, a sense of danger that could shatter and allure the strongest of wills.

Imhotep.

"You have my thanks," he spoke to her in his native tongue of ancient Egyptian, and she understood him without delay. His full, pale lips were stretched into a proud smile, his pristine straight teeth on full display.

She did this, she played a key hand in resurrecting an evil that caused such horror and destruction, but it had to be done… right?

Throwing her head back, her back arched in an almost inhuman manner, and she expelled a blood-curdling scream of torment and pain. Imhotep's touch sent her nerves into overdrive, filling her head with his thoughts of world domination and human suppression, a "rebirth" to a new era for him and his lover to rule together. Warm hands firmly grasped the sides of her face and a distant voice carried with the wind, valiantly trying to reach the forefront of her cluttered mind. "He not born of black yet bares the mark of the two kings with the all seeing eye shall finally free us from our greatest fear. He not born of black yet bares the mark of the two kings with the all seeing eye shall finally free us from our greatest fear," the prophecy continued to circle her thoughts, repeating in fading, rushed whispers over and over and over.

Unexpectedly, breath left her body and a physical pain erupted at the pit of her belly. She was violently ripped from her mind, cradled against a solid chest and a rapidly beating heart. "Forgive me, forgive me," a deep voice murmured into the top of her cranium, their warm breath blowing against her head in steady pants.

Blinking owlishly, she regained her wits and recognized the tender hold to belong to Ardeth. She let her body relax in his arms, the tension from her premonition melting away from her highly strung nerves. "The time draws near." She effortlessly spoke in an ancient tongue lost to many but a select few.

Ardeth tensed, his firm chest almost becoming as hard as stone. He didn't reply to her comment, choosing to remain silent on the subject. She knew his stance on the prophecy, and as the current leader of the Medjai he had greatly disappointed her when he commanded that they do nothing. He had told her that the repercussions were far too great to risk their lives looking for a savior who could very well fail as much as he could succeed.

What use was her gift from the Gods if they were to be ignored?

Vexed, she pulled away from Ardeth's embrace and was immediately engulfed with a plethora of short visions when a small gust of wind wafted through the open flap of her praying room. Ardeth must have been in a rush to not seal off the room when he came in to answer her cries. She tried to shake her head clear, tightening a white lace shawl around her body in a vain attempt to shield herself from the elements.

"Amunet," Ardeth sighed out her name, exasperated. She unintentionally flinched at the call of her name, her mind drifting back to 'Nettie' that was shouted within her premonition. "The prophecy is flawed, your visions show more harm than good. I will not risk the lives of millions for a small chance of ridding us of that evil."

Amunet chose to take a page out of Ardeth's book and ignored his attempt at making her see the logic in his decision. Her gifts did not rely on logic, so if anyone's judgement was flawed it was Ardeth's. She turned her back to her brother, choosing to return to her post within her praying room. "Leave me," she commanded, bending the knee in front of a carved symbol of the All Seeing Eye.

Amunet heard the shuffling of feet and the ruffling of clothing, she was certain that Ardeth was obeying her orders. As Jewel of the Nile she held some power over the leader of the Medjai, to them she was a deity, a God reborn that they had sworn to guard and protect with their lives.

Ardeth's heavy exhale of air reached Amunet's impassive ears. "I am sure that once the time of the prophecy passes, your visions will lesson and then you will see reason," he remarked before he departed.

Amunet's fingers tightly curled in toward her palms, her nails digging into her flesh. 'See reason', she inwardly scoffed, mocking Ardeth's words. I see all, and that is what pains me. Frowning, Amunet lifted her gaze to the carving of the All Seeing Eye of Horus. The limestone was smooth and crack free, frequently polished by her priestesses to be kept in pristine condition. The Eye itself was lined with gold and encrusted with jewels, valuable to no one but Horus himself. Plush pillows and mats of the smoothest silks and fabrics were neatly arranged underneath the Eye for Amunet's comfort. She spent all of her waking hours posted at this spot, her duty (and thus her sole reason for living) was to serve underneath the God who had graciously granted her his gift of True Sight.

When Amunet looked at the large emerald that was the iris of the Eye, another brief image flashed across her vision. The broad back of an unidentified male. Featherlight bronze hair, short in length, was neatly combed in a fashion Amunet had witnessed on a few men who came to visit her from the 'Outside'. Lightly muscled sun-kissed arms were poised in a aggressive position, their hands effortlessly welding firearms that were directed at an unseen foe. A white garment top with its sleeves rolled up to their elbows was tucked into the waistline of a pair of tan trousers, and wrapped around their shoulders was a leather holster that held various weaponry. Even from behind, Amunet could tell that this man was a skilled warrior.

"...Nettie..."

Amunet gasped at the whisper, her eyes glistening with intense emotion. Her heart fluttered in her chest, and a pleasant sensation sent shivers down her spine that left her feeling warm and heated at the pit of her stomach. This was the first time she had seen a physical form of the savior, and even though she did not see his face she was more than thrilled.

The time draws near, she reminded herself, a grim sense of determination gripping her thoughts. She thought of Ardeth and his command to remain neutral, but she forced his image from her mind. He had made his decision, now it was time for her to make her own.

Amunet's premonitions of the prophecy showed both the good and the bad, revealed dozens of possible outcomes of fulfillment. However, there was a common factor in each of her visions, the name Nettie. The savior called her Nettie, a name which filled her with such… longing.

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Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames—tolerated.

Chapter Text

Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.❞
— Samuel Smiles

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.warning. This chapter contains mild mentions of incest, but remember, in ancient egyptian times it was common practice — expected even! — for those with royal blood to lie with their family in order to keep their bloodline 'pure'.

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Sneaking out of a heavily guarded village was no easy task, even with the use of the Eye at Amunet's disposal. Although she could sense the comings and goings of her personal handmaidens and guards, to get around them without arousing suspicion would be nearly impossible. As Jewel of the Nile she had a set schedule, one she had followed without fault ever since she was a child, to go astray would surely alert Ardeth that something was amiss.

Amunet shifted on the plush mattress, rolling over to lie on her side and face a slumbering Ardeth. She curled her legs up toward her chest, finding a moment of pleasantness as her bare skin rubbed soothingly against the smooth silk sheets. Moonlight shined in through the open terrace, slightly illuminating her private chambers. Multi colored sheets pooled beneath Ardeth's waist, dark shadows tantalizingly highlighted a firm abdomen, broad chest, and sculpted biceps. His naturally copper skin glowed enticingly underneath the moon's illumination, and just visible against his taut flesh were the inked tattooed markings that branded him as a high level warrior of the Medjai.

As the leader of the Medjai, Ardeth had to be in peak shape both physically and mentally, to be prepared should another warrior decide to confront and challenge his position. The Medjai were strong in tradition, and to this day — after thousands of years — they still believed that only the strongest of them all should lead their ranks. Unfortunately, Ardeth did not chose to become leader out of his own free will.

When Amunet was discovered to bare the gift of the All Seeing Eye, she was stripped of her family name and worldly possessions, taken from her family to be trained to become an unbiased deity. She was no longer Amunet Bay, daughter of Rafik and Esraa Bay, sister of Ardeth — she was Amunet, Jewel of the Nile, Keeper of the All Seeing Eye of Horus, First of her Name. While her parents rejoiced, happily giving up their only daughter, Ardeth saw his sister's confused tears and sorrow filled cries as she was carried away from her home and family at the young age of four-years-old. In that moment, he had vowed to do everything within his power to protect his sister as he should have when she needed him the most.

Ardeth's need to protect Amunet only intensified when she became of child bearing age. As the first deity in centuries, their people wanted Amunet to become the all giving mother to a new royal bloodline. Their hopes were to keep the Eye active for many generations, to pass on through Amunet's descendants. Another aspiration was to potentially bring life to other deities who were lost to time. Many warriors from various villages came forth to fight for the right to bed Amunet (age and race no factor) which gave birth to another tradition.

On the day of a new moon, a tournament would arise, and from sunup to sundown probably the most fiercest and bloodiest competition in the world would take place within a predetermined Medjai village. The victor won the opportunity to stay with Amunet in her private haven until the next cycle of the new moon, to have the chance to become a deity of their own should they succeed in impregnating her. Ardeth competed in every competition (no matter the distance and time) and had yet to lose a tournament, determined that no man was worthy of his sister unless they bested him in battle or wits.

Amunet often wondered what would have become of Ardeth if he hadn't chosen to dedicate his life to protecting her. Would he still have been leader of the Medjai? Would he have found true love in the arms of another woman? He had done so much for her, and she had given him very little in return.

Amunet lifted her arm, reaching out to hover her hand over Ardeth's slumbering figure. She was hoping to take a look into his mind, to discover his inner most desires. This was a common practice whenever sleep eluded her, which was more frequent as of late. Warm tingles spread out from the center of her palm, traveling out to the tips of her fingers and heel of her palm. Since she could not fully touch Ardeth in fear of waking him, Amunet had to rely on her ability to decipher the sensations she received from the various prickles of her skin. Closing her eyes, she concentrated, pushing away the whispers of the world that vied for her attention. Worried, anxious… Stressed, fearful… Affection, precautious... Amunet quickly pulled back her hand, unprepared to feel such strong emotions coming from the ever stoic warrior. He hides so much, endures so much.

Just because Ardeth felt like he failed to protect Amunet once when she was a child (when he, himself, was no older than she was), he overcompensated his unfounded guilt by taking on the duty as leader of the Medjai, to undergo the burden of protecting everybody.

My turn. Amunet carefully rolled out of bed, cautiously moving her limbs in order to not wake her brother. She was determined to use her gift as she was sure the Gods had intended. Her whole life she had done nothing but sit and pray, pampered as a deity, and sparsely used whenever someone would seek her advice for the needs of their people. Finally, Amunet had received her first prophecy, and she was not about to ignore it. Should the outcome be as she hoped, Ardeth would at last find peace from one of his many burdens.

With the help of the moon's light, Amunet maneuvered through her private chambers with ease. The large mattress she and Ardeth shared was positioned at the center of the spacious room, in the perfect space where she could gaze out of the terrace and see the rise and fall of the sun and moon. An optional netted canopy hung above the bed, to be used whenever the tiny creatures of the night felt particularly bothersome. On this particular night the net was drawn back to allow the warm breeze from the open terrace help cool Amunet and Ardeth's heated bodies.

Since Amunet planned on leaving for an undisclosed period of time in search of the savior from the prophecy, she wanted to spend one last night of physical passion with the brother who had given her so much of his life.

Unfortunately, Ardeth's life was not the only one taken for the sake of Amunet. Since she had been established a living deity, women and young girls from varying villages were asked to pledge themselves to her as either a handmaiden or a Priestess of Horus, to help 'ease' her life until her dying day. While they had claimed their devotion to the Jewel of the Nile as an honorable privilege, Amunet saw them as no different than she was, their lives predeterminedly taken without their say-so.

Needless to say, Amunet never had to lift a finger for herself. Everything was taken care of for her. Her handmaidens fed, dressed and bathed her. Her priestesses took care of the clerical duties of caring for her temple and praying room, or they traveled to outlying villages to tend to the "trivial" matters of those who requested for the advice of the Jewel of the Nile. Not that Amunet could do anything by herself if she so desired.

The whispers of the world were sometimes far too distracting for Amunet to form a coherent thought let alone remember to eat and drink. She was at a constant battle with herself to not get too swept up within the power of her gift. Hence why the simple act of getting dressed was such a difficult task… she didn't bother to remember where her closet was.

Amunet relied on skin contact in order for her gift to work, and her people wanted her to be able to "see all" at all times, so most of her clothes were designed to expose as much of her flesh as possible yet still preserve her modesty. Since she was about to take on a journey on her own without the aid of her handmaidens or diligent guards, she needed to find one of her less revealing outfits. Amunet needed to be as focused as possible, and the more covered she was the less distracted she would be from the elements whispering to her thoughts.

After quietly opening and inspecting any door which contained a handle or knob that lined her bedroom walls, Amunet eventually came across one that led to her closet. She was dismayed to discover that her closet was essentially another room in itself, equal to the size of her private chambers (if not bigger). Colorful fabrics of various materials were dressed on full bodied mannequins that bared her exact measurements. Did she really change outfits that much? Amunet silently looked at each of the garments, each appearing to be more revealing than the last. Nothing she could see seemed suited for her journey, not if she wanted to remain focus and in control of her own mind. The further she ventured into her closet, the more frustrated Amunet became. Who made her clothes, anyway? Her handmaidens, perhaps? Or was it her priestesses? Nearing the back of her closet, Amunet spotted a mannequin that stood out from the rest (in that it was fully covered from head to toe).

The material was made from a sheer black fabric, see-through enough that Amunet could vaguely see the pale marble of the mannequin underneath, but the sleeves were long and flowy, the hem of the gown reached all the way to the floor, and a matching shawl was draped around the mannequin's faceless head. While the outfit wasn't ideal it was the only piece Amunet could find that provided more cover than any of her other garments. Putting on the gown was easy enough, she simply mimicked what she saw on the other mannequins.

The only thing Amunet did not have was shoes. Did she even own shoes? Her feet were always bare. Curses. If Amunet had to walk around barefoot, her journey would be ten times more difficult, and she had to focus. Gnawing on her bottom lip, Amunet debated on where she could find herself a pair of shoes.

Curses, no! No more hesitation, Amunet inwardly chastised, deeply frowning. I can do this. I need to do this. Resolute, Amunet clenched and unclenched her hands in an effort to battle against her tremors of anxiety. Now that she took notice, she discovered her whole body was trembling.

Could she do this? Could she go against her brother and follow what she thought was right? Was she right?

"...Nettie…"

Amunet tensed, her muscles tightly coiled, at the sound of His voice whispering through her thoughts. What normally would bring her comfort filled her with unease. She was essentially caught between choosing the savior or her brother. One could potentially save the world, the other had given up his free will for her protection.

In a daze, Amunet turned around and walked out of her closet. As she entered her private chambers, she set her solemn gaze on Ardeth. The steady rise and fall of his broad chest as he slept peacefully did not help to elevate her feeling of apprehension. A cloud of doubt hung heavy over her subconscious.

Could Amunet help fulfill the prophecy without Ardeth's aid? Why could he not see the hope that lies beyond the sacrifice? Her choice would have been so much easier if he were on her side. However, if Amunet were to do as Ardeth asked and let the prophecy pass, who was to say that Imhotep wouldn't rise in the future? Without the savior, the cursed Keeper of the Dead would surely succeed in his conquest to rule the world after resurrecting Anck-su-namun.

The time to act was now.

Amunet forced herself to turn away from Ardeth, her mind made up and her decision finalized. She quietly padded over to her chamber door. The needs of the many outweigh the wants and needs of the few or the one. She gave Ardeth his chance to be by her side and he chose not to. Amunet reached for the complex locking mechanism which sealed the door from the inside, cautiously unfastening the several claps as quietly as she could manage.

Sneaking out of a heavily guarded village was no easy task, even with the use of the Eye… but it was not impossible. In order to successfully sneak away Amunet would have to give up the one thing she could honestly call her own: the control she had over her physical body. With her hand grasping the door handle, Amunet forced her body to relax. Her taut, tense muscles slowly melted into a relaxed slouch, and only then did she allow her mind to drift. A wet sensation formed at the top of her head, slowly spreading out like a thick gel being poured over her body. "...Guide me..." she exhaled in a breathy whisper, giving permission for the Eye to take full control. In a trance like daze, Amunet fluidly maneuvered through the shadows of her village, narrowly avoiding the guards who patrolled her secluded hideaway.

When Amunet came to, she bumped face first into the furry side of a sand colored camel. Blinking away her haze, she reached out to affectionately run her fingers long the camel's long neck, gently scratching in areas she knew the poor animal couldn't reach on its own. The camel released a loud groan, shaking its head and wiggling its behind at her touch. Amunet smiled, her gaze turning to the saddle conveniently attached to the camel's back. "Oh, I see. Will you be the one to help me get to Hamunaptra?" she inquired.

The camel readily stood up on its legs as its response.

"Thank you." Amunet beamed, a giggle escaping her plump lips. "But first…" she trailed off, turning to inspect the stables she had stumbled into. "Whoever saddled you must have… Ah ha!" Laid across a wooden table near her camel friend was a brown leather saddle bag, its compartments full and bulky, packed and ready to be loaded. Amunet grabbed hold of the thick leather straps and tugged them over her shoulder.

Living life pampered as a deity tends to leave the recipient soft. Amunet carried no upper body strength beyond the need to lift anything beyond a gold chalice embedded with gems.

As soon as the saddle bag slid over the edge of the sturdy table, Amunet plummeted to the ground with a startled yelp. The bag weighed heavy on her back, pressing uncomfortably against the base of her spine. The warm sand cushioned her fall, but its grainy texture rubbed unpleasantly against her skin. She groaned, a puff of sand blowing out from her huff of air, and she shifted so that her hands and knees were in a position to where she could push herself up. However, whenever she tried to lift herself her palms and knees would sink deeper into the soft sand from the added pressure.

Curses!

Time was running out. Whoever was packing the camel was sure to come back to finish the job, and when they discovered who she was, Amunet was sure Ardeth would never let her leave her temple, again.

Unexpected weightlessness caused Amunet to stop her valiant wiggling. She lifted her head and peered up at the sand colored camel who had come to her rescue, gaping when she realized that the camel had used its teeth to pick up the saddle bag and throw it over its back all by itself. "You could have done that this entire time?" Amunet pouted, a mock glare directed at her camel friend.

The camel released a loud groan, laying down on the sand in front of Amunet.

"Right, no time to argue. We must make haste." Amunet scrambled to her feet, flailing sand everywhere as she hastily clambered on top of the camel's saddle. She hunched over, reaching out to run her hand along the back of the camel's neck. "Trust your instincts, keep to the shadows," she whispered. "Take me to Hamunaptra."

The camel raised to its hooves, quickly trotting out of the stables.

Amunet did not look back.

༻𓂀༺

Hamunaptra was not far from Amunet's village. She walked in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, a being trapped between the world of the living and the afterlife of death. She was stationed near the City of the Dead in order to keep watch over the evil who plagued its ruins. Should anyone come close to discovering the city's true secrets, she would be the first to know. Should Imhotep rise, she would be the first to know.

Constant vigilance. Always on. Always working. No peace. No time for rest. Just visions and thoughts that were hardly ever her own. She was no one, yet deemed highly important. Property to be protected yet shared.

Amunet slumped in the camel's saddle, resting her forearms across the horn. Her secret trips to Hamunaptra were the only times where she truly felt free. No one was there to watch and judge her, expecting nothing but sheer perfection from that of a deity. A miniscule smile formed on Amunet's lips. She serenely watched the night horizon over the smooth sand dunes, glittering hues of purples and deep blues blended together to form a picturesque sight.

The sand colored camel slowed to a stop at the edge of a hill, groaning out loud to capture Amunet's attention. She looked away from the starry night sky, gazing out at the seemingly endless desert. They had arrived. Amunet clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth twice, tapping the heels of her feet against the sides of her camel friend. At the silent command, the camel began to kick at the sand hill they were perched on, and like a swell of a lake the sand fell and fanned out below them. With each fallen wave of the golden grains an image began to replace the deceitful sight of an barren desert.

Toppled obelisks, crumblings columns, and sunken limestone slabs created the majority of the ruins of Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, the rest were buried underneath the unforgiving desert. Once the sand finished doing its work of revealing the city to Amunet, she gently nudged her camel friend to go forward to their destination.

The same as the other times in which Amunet visited, a figure awaited her at the edge of the forgotten city. He stood erect, a fading image of a once powerful man who was mistaken to be a God, but he was as human as any other being on this Earth. Even in the cover of night, his cooper skin glowed and his intense gaze burned underneath the moonlight. When basking in Ardeth underneath the same illumination of the moon he appeared alluring and beautiful to Amunet, but this man who waited for her at Hamunaptra had the exact opposite effect, the moonlight made him appear more sinister and menacing. Dark, tattered robes covered his tall, lean frame, the holes of his formally royal clothing revealed hints of a firm chest, a slim abdomen, and strong limbs. He was a man cursed to walk in the Shadow of Death, similar to Amunet, but only as the essence of his once glorious self — with no physical body.

Imhotep.

The sand colored camel came to a dead stop just before the border of the city, refusing to go any further. Amunet did not blame the poor animal, Hamunaptra was cursed and Imhotep's spiritual presence did not help soothe the thick, near suffocating air. She climbed off the camel's back, walking the rest of the way to the city on her own.

"It has been long since your last visit," Imhotep remarked in his native tongue. Amunet could feel that he was anxious, the air around him practically tingled with an electric like charge that raised the hairs along her body. He was trying to keep a facade of nonchalance when he smoothly strided to met her at the border, but his eyes gave way to his true emotion. "I feared that you had been caught."

Imhotep was lonely, forced to haunt Hamunaptra for all eternity in close proximity to his mummified body. With the City of the Dead long forgotten he had no one but his flesh eating scarab beetles for company, until Amunet's curiosity led her straight to him. The conversation was tentative at first, Imhotep watched her from afar, unknowing that she could sense him, but when she spoke of her gift of the Eye he quickly latched onto her like a leech, feeding off her endless spiritual energy so that he could form a full bodied apparition.

Afterwards, Imhotep spoke to Amunet about his life before his "unjustified" death, of his duties as a High Priest and Keeper of the Dead, how his love for Anck-su-namun first began and turned into something everlasting, how he yearned for revenge against those who tore them apart, and how all he wanted was have a chance to live an unburdened life with his one true love.

In turn, Amunet vented to Imhotep about her life as the Jewel of the Nile. How her every waking moment was preplanned, and how she felt like she had became a tool rather than a person. Against her better judgement, in those moments Imhotep had grown to become her friend and confidant, and when she first experienced the prophecy about his resurrection and the immediate destruction and chaos he caused soon after she was heartbroken.

No matter which way Amunet tried to look at the prophecy, hoping to find a way to save her friend, she would come to the conclusion that Imhotep had to be stopped. Each time she had a vision of his revival, mayhem followed.

"I am guarded now more than ever," Amunet replied in ancient egyptian, her cluttered mind fluently translating the language. "The time of your resurrection draws near and—"

"They want you where I cannot find you," Imhotep finished, his expression twisted in anger. He sharply spun on his feet, his tattered robes catching the wind and billowing with the breeze. "Medjai fools think they can hide you from me." He scoffed, releasing a bark of sardonic laughter as he circled around her. "When I am reborn I will be invincible, and I will have you by my side. Your gifts are wasted on them." Imhotep stopped in his pacing and faced Amunet, determination and rage clear in his intense gaze. "With you and Anck-su-namun, the world will bow at our feet."

Amunet watched as the ghost of the madman before her stalked toward her like a predator would its prey. She nearly flinched when Imhotep reached out to touch her, but then she remembered that he was nothing but a shadow (for now). His fingers went straight through her living flesh as it had always done when he had tried many times before, and at the phantom touch Amunet felt a cold slightly numbing sensation against her cheek. Imhotep growled, a narrowed glare directed at their 'connected' contact. He sharply withdrew his hand and staggered back, away from her. Again, his face contorted into a mask of fury which marred his handsome features. In his anger he lifted his head and bellowed out a long cry of rage at the heavens.

Amunet had given up on reasoning with Imhotep. She tried to convince him, at first, that if he were to be resurrected he should leave the world alone and live in peace with Anck-su-namun (after she, too, was revived), but as always she was ignored; a common trait in the most important men in her life, it seemed.

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Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames—tolerated.

.author's note. According to research, there is a three year gap before Rick returned to Hamunaptra after his battalion was wiped out by Tuaregs. Naturally, I assume Jonathan pick-pocketed Rick the same day that Rick was imprisoned (since he was still drunk when he showed Evie the puzzle box, and it is known that Jonathan did the crime at the 'local casbah' which is the name of a bar). In discovering the large time gap, what I have decided to do was revamp this story a bit. I intend to introduce the Carnahan siblings into the storyline earlier than the movie intended. Nothing too major will change, I assure you! I just didn't want to do a huge time jump in the story because three years is such a long gap.

Chapter Text

It is a wonderful subduer — this need of love, this hunger of the heart.❞
— George Eliot

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Even without a body, Imhotep was a force to be reckoned with. The spiritual energy he siphoned off of Amunet only amplified the abilities his cursed soul already possessed. The wind around him gusted violently, lifting waves of sand that swirled viciously around his phantom figure. While Imhotep remained untouched by his outburst of power, Amunet grimaced and tried in vain to shield her face from the grains of sand that struck her exposed flesh like tiny shards of glass, not even the cover of her gown with the added layer of her shawl protected her from the unintentional assault. As instant as a snap of the fingers, the sand storm stopped. Imhotep stood at the center of a small pit he created, his chest heaving.

Amunet wanted to console her friend, offer words of comfort, but she knew Imhotep would not listen — too lost in his fluctuating emotions. "You must know that I will try everything within my power to give you the freedom that you deserve." Yet still she tried, continuing to hold hope that Imhotep would let go of his burning hatred for the world he felt betrayed him. "You and I are one in the same, two sides of the same coin. Know that you are not alone."

Imhotep remained silent.

Despondent, Amunet released a small sigh.

Imhotep had such a strong presence that Amunet had completely forgotten that she did not come to Hamunaptra to simply visit an old friend, she had a purpose and a time limit. The City of the Dead would be the first place Ardeth would search for her once he discovered her to be missing. Disappointed with herself, Amunet had no one to blame but the lack of control she had over the Eye. She got too easily distracted.

Taking a firm grasp on the recollection that fluttered to the forefront of her mind, Amunet left Imhotep to his brooding and returned to her sand colored companion. There was bound to be some sort of bag or container in the saddle that she could use to carry what she needed. In one of the saddle's pouches, Amunet found a few medium sized sacs that contained some type of grain.

Seeing as how there was more than one sac containing the same contents, Amunet dumped the grain of one of the sacs onto the ground. Almost instantly did Amunet's camel friend begin nibbling at the thoughtlessly discarded grain.

"Oh, I did not know!" Amunet profusely apologized, deeply regretting her careless action. "Are these bags your food?"

Although the camel did not answer (nor did she break from eating), Amunet made a promise to be less careless with the remaining bags of grain. Oh, I'm getting distracted again. Amunet frowned, halting in her apologetic petting of the sand colored camel.

Greatly displeased that she kept getting side-tracked, Amunet huffed prudently. This was why she needed Ardeth by her side, he never got distracted.

Empty sac in hand, Amunet determinedly stormed through Hamunaptra, purposely ignoring Imhotep when he tried to regain her attention.

Do to the lack of standing structures, most people would be disillusioned by Hamunaptra's current state. How could a few standing limestone arches and obelisks defaced by time be said to hold the wealth of Egypt? Answer was: the desert had tried to reclaim the cursed grounds in a natural effort to erase the evil which lies underneath. However, in its vain attempt, beneath the mounds of sand the City of the Dead still stood in near perfect condition.

Imhotep hovered behind Amunet like a suffocating shadow, not questioning her odd behavior and actions. His dark presence behind her made the hairs at the back of her neck rise on end, a static like charge prickling against the surface of her skin; a sensation she had forced herself to get accustomed to for the sake of their friendship. He was a cursed soul, and the Eye was reminding her of it.

However, Amunet knew the truth. She had seen firsthand what had happened on that tragic night… when Anck-su-namun and Imhotep slayed Pharaoh Seti in cold blood. A memory that Imhotep was haunted to re-live during his purgatory.

Love had a strong effect on people. Back during his time of living, Imhotep was considered a God, second to that of Pharaoh Seti, himself. As High Priest he was the Keeper of the Dead, while Pharaoh Seti ruled over the living. Unfortunately, Imhotep's position came with expectations (just like Amunet). His sole purpose in life was to guide the souls of the departed into the underworld, to serve the God of the Afterlife, Osiris, and while he was treated like a God he did not receive some of the same luxuries Pharaoh Seti was entitled to. Unlike Seti, Imhotep was not allowed to marry, his love and life was to be given to Osiris, and Osiris alone. A mistress he could have for the pleasures of the flesh, but never a wife. So when Anck-su-namun, the Pharaoh's favorite mistress, turned to him for affection after suffering the Pharaoh's constant neglect, Imhotep's heart was stolen.

Together, Imhotep and Anck-su-namun no longer suffered the agony that was loneliness, and had developed a love that could rival all others. While multiple partners in a relationship were common in their time, they desired no one else.

Anck-su-namun had no say on becoming the Pharaoh's mistress, according to Imhotep. After discovering her unmatched beauty, the Pharaoh had demanded for her body to be his, and the young Egyptian woman had no choice but to obey or be slain for going against their ruler's command. Even after becoming Pharaoh Seti's favorite mistress by using her wits and charm, Anck-su-namun was often forgotten and pushed to the sidelines for his 'real' love, his daughter and only child, Nefertiti.

At first, Anck-su-namun was working toward becoming the Pharah's new wife after the 'unexpected' passing of Nefertiti's mother, however the Pharaoh never seemed to even consider the thought of remarrying. When he had made the official announcement that Nefertiti was to be his sole heir, and thus the first female Pharaoh in Egypt, Anck-su-namun came to the realization that she was nothing but a bed warmer to the man she had given her everything to.

Although understanding Anck-su-namun's hatred for the Pharaoh, to Imhotep he was a friend. Imhotep attempted to console his lover, soothe her hatred, while trying to think of ways for the Pharaoh to release his hold on Anck-su-namun so that they could finally be together without sin. Unfortunately, Pharaoh Seti's suspicion of Anck-su-namun's unfaithfulness only seemed to amplify his possession of her. He had went through extreme lengths to catch her in the act of betraying him, and when that fateful night came and he had barged into her private room… Anck-su-namun snapped.

"So the rumors were true," Seti sneered.

"My love?" Anck-su-namun attempted to play coy, gazing up at her longtime lover with a sensuous smile that had won her the title of 'favorite' along with so many riches.

"Who has touched you?" the godly Pharaoh asked. Then he demanded, his fists clenched in anger: "What man has dared to touch you?"

Stepping from the shadows of the balcony behind the Pharaoh, Imhotep answered Seti's question by reaching around and withdrawing the Pharaoh's heavy sword from its scabbard. Spinning, his sheer golden cloak trying to catch up with him, Seti faced his own raised weapon in unexpected hands. The ruler's dark eyes widened in shock.

"Imhotep? My priest…" Seti's eyes then narrowed in contempt. "...My friend…"

Those words froze Imhotep, momentarily, the weapon weighing heavy in his clammy grasp. This was not how the High Priest wanted his love for Anck-su-namun to be revealed. He had wanted to show his friend that their love was pure, and that they were destined to be together.

However, in the back of the Pharaoh, her eyes and nostrils flaring, Anck-su-namun raised a gleaming dagger, and her small hand with the big knife came swiftly down. No one was allowed to take Imhotep away from her, not even the Pharaoh himself. ¹

Descendants of the Medjai who had sworn to protect the Pharaohs of Egypt, Amunet's people spoke of Imhotep and thought him to be a monster, a vile beast. Centuries of prejudice were passed down through the generations based off upbringing and storytelling when they truly knew nothing but speculation. Despite her title of Jewel of the Nile, Keeper of the All Seeing Eye of Horus, trying to erase centuries of bigotry was futile. That was why Amunet had taken it upon herself to try and find a way to free Imhotep, to give him the happy ending he deserved… which resulted in her discovering the prophecy.

Amunet's heart was torn. In finding the savior, Imhotep would finally be resurrected, yet in finding the savior, Imhotep could, also, be slain — for good. The prophecy could be fulfilled in many ways, the bad overpowering the good, but if there was even a slim chance for a happy ending she would try everything within her power to achieve that end.

There were many ways to enter Hamunaptra's ruins, but there was only one way to enter the vaults safely and without harm from the skillfully hidden traps. Amunet strode up to a seemingly inconspicuous statue of Horus that stood, tilted, in front of a sunken stone structure. Though crumbling at the face and body, the proud statue of a man with the head of falcon held a golden staff in his grasp and his other was extended as if to accept an offering. Amunet reached out and ran her fingers along the grainy texture of the statue's open palm, toward the center she applied pressure and felt a distinct dip.

Amunet was supposed to leave an offering on Horus's palm in order to pass, but seeing as how she already dedicated her entire life to the God, she figured he would let her go by unpunished.

A section of the limestone wall behind the statue of Horus slid open, a wave of sand spilling across the open space from being disturbed. Imhotep had shown her this path during one of her visits, wanting to test if she held a heart of greed.

The cramped corridor was dark enough as is, the only source of light coming from the dim moonlight pouring in from the open doorway behind her, but when she stepped into the corridor the slab of limestone slid closed behind her, enveloping her in pitch darkness.

"Beside you," Imhotep murmured.

Amunet had to extend her hands out before her, blindly groping at the area surrounding her. She didn't want to give up her body to the Eye, again, so she had to rely on her sense of touch to guide her in the right direction. The tips of her fingers swiped across a thin cylinder object, and after hearing Imhotep's hum of approval she fully grasped the item.

"Why are you going to the vaults?" he inquired.

Amunet continued in her task of creating a source of light, blindly feeling around for the oil container that usually was set beneath the wooden torch she had first discovered. "To pay for my journey," she answered. "I need to find those who will come to resurrect you."

"The greed of man is great," Imhotep wisely advised. "You will need more than jewels and gold to convince them to come."

"Is my word not enough?" Amunet found the oil container, and she set the torch down in close proximity so that she could carefully open the frigaile lid.

"From that of a woman?"

Amunet knew that Imhotep meant no offence, but his casual remark made her frown. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"Unless tradition has changed from when I breathed life, but the word of a woman means very little to most men," he elaborated.

"But I am Jewel of the Nile. They must consider my words, do they not?" she wondered, a furrow in her brow.

"Does everyone know of you? Are you not meant to be hidden from sight so that the greed of man does not taint you?" Imhotep countered.

He was right.

"Then how do I convince them to come?" Amunet asked.

"By giving them proof that this place still stands. I know of a map who will lead any who seek Hamunaptra's wealth straight to the vaults, the same path I have shown you," he answered.

Intrigued, Amunet perked her head to peer up at Imhotep's phantom figure. "Where is it?"

"First light your way. I do not want you to unintentionally injure yourself in the dark," he commanded, tone gentle with a tinge of affection.

Amunet nodded, focusing on the task of lighting the torch. She never had to make a fire before, but Imhotep had taught her how to strike two stones together in order to create a spark that would ignite the oil. It was a long and difficult endeavour since Amunet kept fumbling or accidentally hitting her fingers, but Imhotep showed no signs of being impatient toward her.

The soft orange glow of a fire instantly illuminated the area surrounding Amunet as flame finally caught to the oil dipped torch. Grasping the wooden handle of her source of light, Amunet continued down the cramped corridor. Her bare feet padded gently against the grainy stone beneath her, sand seeping in through various cracks in the walls and ceiling.

Imhotep dissipated from behind her in a swirl of black smoke, reappearing in the same fashion at the end of the hall, guiding her. His excitement was clear in his energy, almost bringing a fond smile to Amunet's face.

Dead silence filled the air, and if Amunet had not grown used to such quietness she would have felt unsettled. If anything, she was more sympathetic for Imhotep because he had to suffer such silence all on his own, not even the chattering of his flesh eating scarab beetles could pierce through the stillness.

When reaching the vault, Amunet did not feel the need to stop and marvel at the vast size and quantity of riches. While she had only been there once before, matters of wealth was of no significance to her. Besides, most of the vault was hidden to the shadows thanks to the limited range of light from her torch, anyway.

Imhotep, meanwhile, made sure that he was always within sight. He strolled in front of Amunet, effortlessly peering out into the darkness as he guided her through the narrow paths that were lined with mounds of glittering gold and other treasures. "Here," he announced, stopping before a medium sized solid gold treasure chest.

Amunet knelt before the treasure box, testing the strength of one arm as she pushed against the heavy lid so that she could still carry her primary source of light. She managed to make a wide enough gap to where she could see the inside of the chest. Numerous gold coins stamped with Pharaoh Seti's official seal glinted underneath the glow of her fire, and at the center of the pile was an octagon shaped black box that appeared to be about the same size of her palm.

Figuring that the map lied within the newest discovery, Amunet plucked the small item for a closer inspection. The sides contained ancient egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions which warned the carrier about the contents within. "To those who solve this puzzle, be warned: should you seek and find what lies inside — comes with a price," she read aloud.

"Promise me that you will use caution on your journey," Imhotep spoke from beside her, recapturing Amunet's attention. "While I long for my freedom, I do not want to achieve it at the expense of your death. You are sacrificing enough to aid in resurrecting me."

"...Nettie…" The savior's voice whispered in Amunet's thoughts, echoing her name. A stab of guilt pierced through her chest, creating a sensation that felt like her heart was being squeezed inside of her. She clutched the black box in her hand, the sharp edges digging into her flesh. The physical sensation of pain helped to regain Amunet's senses, her guilt washing away.

"I promise," she responded.

Imhotep then motioned to the coins that lie within the chest. "Fill your sac to the brim, then find another. Greed takes hold of all man."

To Imhotep, he and Amunet were not within the same category of 'man'. They were gods embodied to appear like man, but they were their betters in every way imaginable.

Amunet tucked the black box into the pocket of her gown, retrieving the sac that she had earlier placed in the same pocket. She leaned her torch against the treasure chest, and then began grabbing fist fulls of gold coins to dump into her camel friend's common food bag.

"...Nettie…" The savior's voice whispered to Amunet's thoughts, again, but oddly it did not stop like it had done before. Instead, the call of her name was gradually growing louder and more frequent, to the point where she could almost physically hear it.

A sudden tingle sent a violent shiver down Amunet's spine. "Someone is here," she declared, swiftly lifting her gaze to the vault's high ceiling.

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Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames—tolerated.

¹ Excerpt taken from The Mummy novelisation, written by Max Allan Collins, with a few changes.

Chapter Text

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.❞
— Ancient Chinese Proverb

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Like the flame from a wick of a candle being blown out, Imhotep disappeared in a wisp of black smoke. Amunet waited anxiously for his return, knowing that he was scouting who had intruded upon his land. Was it Ardeth? Had he noticed her absence sooner than she had expected? He would surely take her back to her village and double her guards, and sneaking away would be more difficult.

Not good. Amunet pursed her lips, nimbly tying the noose weaved through the sac's brim. She secured the twine around her wrist to let the bag filled with gold dangle, hidden, beneath her sleeve.

"Men, a small army of them." Imhotep's excitement was evident in his tone when he reappeared in front of Amunet, his dark eyes shining with joy. "This is our opportunity! Lure them to the book."

Amunet was at a loss for words. Someone had found Hamunaptra. While the occasional outsider stumbling upon the ruins was not an uncommon occurrence, the fact that Amunet had yet to find the savior made the hairs on her body stand on end. If she didn't do as Imhotep asked, he would immediately become suspicious about her true intentions.

This was not foreseen. Amunet frowned, her hands clenched into fists. What was she to do?

"Be on guard, they found your transport and search for your whereabouts," Imhotep cautioned. "While my powers may be weak for the moment, I will protect you as best as I can. Once I am revived they will be disposed of should they cross me."

Amunet warily met Imhotep's gaze. His words fully registered within her cluttered brain, and her anxiety raised to a different level. She would have to face an army of men on her own, without aid. Imhotep may have thought his words were comforting, but they did nothing to calm Amunet's skepticism. She broke eye-contact with the ancient spirit to look back up at the vault's ceiling, extending her gift to search for signs of potential harm.

"...Nettie…" Instantly, Amunet was soothed, the single call of that name doing what Imhotep's verbal promise of protection could not. Could it be…? A slow reaction of realization, combined with hope, bloomed within her chest, lifting her spirits. Instead of her searching for the savior, could he have come to her instead? His destiny is strong. The prophecy must be completed.

Amunet eagerly reached for the torch she rested against the treasure chest. Imhotep must have misinterpreted her enthusiasm to be directed for him and their shared "goal" of his resurrection, he smiled a broad grin that revealed his pristine teeth. The strong sense of guilt returned, briefly dulling Amunet's keenness to meet finally the savior face-to-face. She, again, averted her gaze from Imhotep and set upon returning to Hamunaptra's surface to greet their visitors.

Exiting from the way she entered the ruins, Amunet cautiously approached the area where she could see various men doned in white. They were ignoring the section from where she came, searching in places where limestone had collapsed over the original doorways. Most of the men wore strange weapons across their backs, made of a combination of metal and wood. She knew them to be a modern type of weaponry, created from mankind's most intelligent of minds. Ardeth had made sure to skill himself in such items in case he were to face a foe who would use them against him, and when Amunet grew curious he told her that they were extremely dangerous, and if she were to meet someone who wielded such a weapon she was to run and seek shelter since their harm could reach vast distances.

Amunet took a moment to simply observe the outsiders. Her gaze swept across Hamunaptra's barren wasteland, stopping at where the men have set up camp. There was a good amount of them, definitely high in numbers — were she should be concerned for her safety. However, they did not worry her, her curiosity overpowered any sense of self preservation. Surely, the Eye would direct her to him (the savior), but when she couldn't instantly find his presence, doubt clouded her judgement and prevented her from going any forward.

Was she foolish to hope? Was he not here? Was this simply the beginning? Should Imhotep be resurrected before she found the savior?

"Amunet," Imhotep called out to her. "Do not let fear stand in the way of our goal."

Amunet frowned when she detected an unknown edge in Imhotep's tone. He never spoke to her that voice before. He was threatening her. "I am not afraid," she declared firmly. Irate with Imhotep's response to her slight hesitance, Amunet left the safety of her cover to venture out in the open.

The different essences from the legion of men created a thick fog that surrounded around Amunet, penetrating the thin barrier of protection she feebly created around her fragile mind, suffocating her, each trying to vie for her attention. The physical hold Amunet had on her torch was the only thing to keep her grounded, she tightly grasped the petrified wood, her knuckles turning white.

Amunet's calm stroll to the populated camping area of Hamunaptra drew much attention, and various shouts that announced her arrival broke the still air. Her steps stopped when the weapons Ardeth warned her of were swiftly directed at her, prepared to fire. The men swiftly encased her in a circle formation, blocking her from potentially escaping.

A deep, unsettling growl snarled from next to Amunet. She did not have to guess at who it came from. Imhotep was not happy. In his eyes, these's men's fates were sealed the moment a single barrel of the modernized weapon was pointed at her. A noticeable shift in the atmosphere frightened the men, a reaction from Imhotep's retaliation and promise to protect Amunet. The sand beneath their feet tremored, sinkholes unexpectedly sprouting in various locations — taking a few men into their dark, neverending depths. Their screams pained Amunet, bringing flashes of memories from her premonition of Imhotep's destruction.

"Enough," Amunet commanded in the ancient Egyptian tongue, her tone sharp and clear.

The sinkholes ceased, as well as the tremors.

Needless to say, the weapons hastily returned to their positions, directed at Amunet. The visible shaking of the foreign weapons and low murmurs from the men revealed their trepidation to get any closer to her.

"Johnson, report!" a voice cut through the chatter. A man stormed through the scattered men, marching forth in Amunet's direction with a scowl on his thin, pale face. He was dressed differently from the others, much cleaner and clothed in a different color of a deep tan. The growing light from the moon glinted off a few pieces of jewelry that were either pinned or sown in to the cloth of his overcoat.

The leader, perhaps? Amunet benignly cocked her head. And he's wearing a coat in this heat? A sign of authority?

"Colonel Guizot, be careful, sinkholes took a few of the men."

The cleaner man stopped, his gaze set firmly on Amunet. "So this is who we have been searching for: a woman?" he grumbled, his face scrunched in obvious disappointment. "Kent, inform O'Connell to form bigger parties and broaden the search. Where there's a woman, there's a man to watch over her. Smith, find me Gabor so he can translate. Unless any of you managed to pick up on this country's savage language?"

"N-no, Colonel. She spoke but…"

"But?" The colonel snapped.

"It was in a language I've never heard of, Sir, and- and when she spoke it… the ground- it stopped shaking."

"Mere coincidence, Logan. Don't let these savage's lore fool you."

Savage. Amunet knew the meaning of the word, and she did not like the condescending way this stranger was speaking about her people. Did he not know that she could understand his every spoken word? The Eye translated all language in her cluttered brain so that she could understand the needs and wants of those underneath her guidance, which in the eyes of the Gods was everyone.

Two men branched off from the circle that surrounded Amunet, scurrying in different directions to fulfill their orders. She turned her gaze back to the leader of the men in white, watching as he eyed the sinkholes that dotted the area around her while she remained unscathed. He lifted his stare to her, the slight narrowing of his eyes displayed his disbelief.

"Lend me your power," Imhotep uttered fiendishly into Amunet's ear, hovering over her like a black shadow. "Let us show them that it is you and I who are in control."

Imhotep was able to quickly grasp the powerful uses of his in-human abilities obtained by the Hom-Dai (a terrible curse that prevented him from ever being able to cross over into the blissful afterlife, thus condemning him to immortality — undead), he simply lacked the energy to use them. Amunet hasn't dabbled too far into her gift, her containment of the Eye kept her far too distracted to use anything other than true sight, however, she contained an excess amount of spiritual energy; energy that Imhotep often siphoned and exploited.

"Woah, woah, woah, easy there fellas. Put the rifles down. Can't you see she's obviously unarmed?"

That voice… Amunet instantly perked, her whole body standing erect. A jolt like sensation sent her nerves alight with a tingling alertness, igniting her sense of awareness like a lit match catching flame to gasoline. In a single swipe, all other presences were wiped clear from her mind, replaced with a strong golden aura that was emanating from a single male.

"...Nettie…" The voice matched the call of that name, and now Amunet had a face to match the brief image she had seen of the savior in one of her visions.

The moon's natural glow did conceal some features, but Amunet was able to tell that he held an air of authority that greatly overpowered the Colonel who had called her people savages. He had a strong jaw, and plush pale lips that were chapped and flaking from overexposure underneath the sweltering sun. The featherlight bronze hair she had vaguely witnessed from her vision slightly framed his square face, attractively disheveled from the wind. Broad shoulders and a lean torso were accented by a waist length tan coat, similar to that of the Colonel's except that the savior's was casually unbuttoned, revealing a loose fitting white tunic and two straps of brown leather underneath.

Amunet's chest felt light, a fluttering sensation overtaking her heart beat. "It is you," she breathed out in awe, unintentionally speaking the language she heard the savior use.

"She speaks French?" the Colonel sputtered in disbelief, his expression contorting in an unattractive gawk.

Meanwhile, the savior merely blinked his shock, cocking his head. "Uh… Do I know you?" he inquired.

"No," Amunet replied, "but I know of you."

A charming grin tugged at the edge of the savior's mouth. "I guess my reputation precedes me."

Amunet could not help but smile in return.

"Enough of this nonsense!" The Colonel snapped. "Where are the others? Bring them here!"

Frowning, Amunet turned her gaze to the narrow-faced man, greatly displeased with his constant shrill demands. "Physically — there are no others, but I caution you to be wary. The man who haunts these ruins watches and passes judgement."

"Ridiculous hokum," The Colonel scoffed. "You heard the woman, she's alone. Detain her."

Unlike when the savior cast his order, the men in white were hesitant to follow through with the Colonel's command. They nervously shuffled on their feet, edging away from the sinkholes Imhotep had created which surrounded Amunet in a protective circle.

"Is that really necessary, Colonel? She seems to be cooperative." The savior was the only man who remained unperturbed, but that may be because he did not witness Imhotep's supernatural use of power.

"Led them to the book," Imhotep growled his impatience.

Amunet shuddered, briefly glancing at Imhotep from over her shoulder. His glower made the sharp features of his face appear all the more menacing, and the dark swirl of his eyes were haunting. Unnerved, she looked away, her gaze instantly drawn toward the savior. Amunet felt another smile taking over her mouth when she saw that he was still staring at her.

Could the prophecy be fulfilled this easily, and so soon?

"I know what you seek, but I do warn that it comes with a price," Amunet carefully spoke, choosing her words wisely. With Imhotep hovering near, she had to be sure that she kept her true intentions concealed. While he was her friend and she did have a heavy resolve to help him achieve his happy ending, she had to be prepared to protect the savior as best as she could. Only he could put an end to Imhotep's terror should she be unable to redeem him.

Looks of disbelief were cast Amunet's way. The narrow-faced Colonel openly gawked, while the savior blinked several times in mild surprise.

"Lead us to it," the Colonel (once again) demanded.

"Don't you think we should let the men rest before we start digging, Colonel? We came here nonstop," the savior advised.

"I'm in charge, these are my men, and I say we dig. Do I make myself clear, Corporal O'Connell?" the Colonel unattractively sneered.

A grim expression took over the savior's face, his lips pursed. "Loud and clear, Colonel." He nodded once before he turned on his feet, his hands cupping the area around his mouth. "Round up, men! We've got new orders."

"And will someone grab the woman for Christ's sake!" the Colonel snapped.

The atmosphere became tense, a tingle like sensation prickled in the air, as the men scurried to follow the savior's call. One courageous man braved the last command to retrieve Amunet. He tentatively edged around the sinkholes, slowly creeping toward Amunet's position. The clear fear on the poor man's face made Amunet feel sympathetic for him. She decided to make his job easier and smoothly strolled in his direction. However her decision appeared to only startle him, he scampered to get away from her, stumbling over his feet and falling back onto the sand with flailing limbs and a yelp of fright.

Imhotep chuckled. Amunet rolled her eyes, not amused by his finding entertainment in other people's fear.

Ignoring the fallen man in white, Amunet bypassed his sprawled figure and ambled toward the savior. As she got closer, the men in white parted, giving her a wide berth to pass through. The savior's words came to a stop when he noticed her presence.

"Do you know a safe passage into the ruins?" he asked her.

Amunet grasped the edges of the shawl still wrapped securely around her head, pulling it down so that she could reveal her face for better communication. "I do," she said with a nod.

The savior's expression visible slackened, his piercing light eyes slowly gazing over her face. Meanwhile, Amunet remained impressed with the different colored irises he held, a beautiful mixture of blue with a dark outlining. She had never met anyone with light colored eyes before (or maybe she had but didn't pay attention).

"Woah," he uttered lowly, barely audible.

Amunet raised her brow, briefly bewildered by his reaction.

The savior cleared his throat, shuffling his stance so that he was fully facing Amunet. He nervously wiped his palms against the sides of his tan trousers before extending his right hand out toward her. "Uh, Rick O'Connell," he stammered, his pink tongue briefly peeking out from between his lips to lick at his bottom lip. "Corporal Richard O'Connell of the French Foreign Legion," he corrected himself with a shake of his head after he had glanced off somewhere to his side, "but you can just call me Rick."

He had a name. The savior. Corporal Richard O'Connell, or was it Rick? Amunet was puzzled as to why he had told her two different names. Was it common to have more than the one given to you at birth? Or perhaps he was stating his full title? She then peered down at Rick's extended hand, wondering what the odd gesture meant and how she was supposed to respond to it. In the end, she opted to mimic the action, extending out her right hand out toward him as well.

"I am Amunet, Jewel of the Nile, first of my name, Keeper of the All Seeing Eye of Horus," she introduced herself by her full title, like she thought that the savior had done.

"J-Jewel of the Nile?" The Colonel rudely wedged himself between Rick and Amunet, stepping uncomfortably close to Amunet. "You have it? Is it here, too?"

Confused by the Colonel's question, seeing as how she was the Jewel of the Nile, Amunet simply nodded as her response. The broad grin which overtook the Colonel's thin face deeply concerned Amunet, an unpleasant sensation crawled into the pit of her stomach.

"Right…" The savior (Rick) slowly edge himself back between Amunet and the Colonel, his broad back facing Amunet and his front facing the Colonel. "...Why don't you let me handle the girl, Colonel, and you, uh, lead the way?"

The Colonel didn't look too pleased by the savior's request but he seemed to comply nonetheless. He briefly met Amunet's gaze when he glanced at her from over the savior's protective shoulder before he turned away from them. "Alright, men, grab the equipment and prepare to reap the benefits!"

The men in white loudly cheered, raising whatever items they held in their hands high in the air.

The savior turned back around to face Amunet, a different kind of smile on his lips, it appeared forced almost. She peered up at him, her brow furrowed with concern. "Are you all right?" she softly inquired.

The savior cleared his throat, the trepidation on his features disappearing. "Y-yeah. Hey, uh…Sorry, what was your name again?"

"Amunet, Jewel of the-"

"Amunet, right, now that I think I can remember," the savior chuckled, intervening in her near full introduction. A charming grin swiftly replaced the apprehensive grimace on the savior's expression. "Right, so, you said that you knew who I was and I..."

"O'Connell!" the Colonel barked, interrupting the savior's fumbling.

The savior groaned aloud, his head rolling back. Amunet tried to contain an amused grin from forming on her lips. She found the savior's fumbling words oddly endearing.

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Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames — tolerated.

.warning. do not play Final Fantasy XIV unless you want to become an obsessive player who ignores all else. that free 30-day trial nearly done me in.

Chapter Text

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.❞
— Peter Drucker

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Not long after the savior was summoned did he call Amunet over. As Amunet moved through the throng of men in uniform she felt their unease radiating in waves from their tense bodies. Most were wondering why she, a woman, was all alone in an ancient city thought to be a complete myth, others (who had witnessed Imhotep's display of power and mistaken it to be her own) were simply frightened.

In all honesty, the tingling sense of anxiety was foreign to Amunet. She was unused to anything other than praise or worship from those who were permitted to be in her presence, or - in Ardeth's case - a genuine deep affection. Although, there was one familiar and comforting aura that shone like a bright beacon and Amunet rushed to it like a moth to a flame. The savior stood by the sharp-faced Colonel in a relaxed posture. His calming essence combined with his effortless crooked half smile put Amunet's high strung nerves at ease.

"You know the way to the treasure, right?" the colonel demanded, his shrewd eyes narrowed in contempt.

Amunet nodded. "I know what you seek, yes."

"Then you will lead the way." The colonel demanded, glancing at the savior before he stepped aside. In that short moment, Amunet knew that a silent order was passed between the two men.

Rick looked back at Amunet, his brief frown replaced with a half smile. "Anything we should know before hand?"

Amunet could feel Imhotep's overbearing presence seep deep into her bones. She had to suppress a shiver, her hands clenched tight. Yes, she knew the way to the treasure vault, and no there wasn't anything they needed to be warned of in order to get to its vast treasure. However, Imhotep didn't want her to lead these men to the vault, and with him diligently watching their every move - she had to play her part.

The statue of Anubis was at the center of Hamunaptra: the overseer of death, guardian of the sacred afterlife - as well as Imhotep's final resting place, and current location of the Book of the Dead, and yes there were many, many things the savior should be warned of.

"...The path is clear," Amunet forced out from between her lips. A slightly painful burning sensation formed at the center of her chest after her fib, but she tried to keep her face clear of her inner-turmoil. This is for the best. The benefits will outweigh the repercussions. The savior will do what is right… or so she tried to convince herself.

Amunet took the initiative to begin the journey into the ruins, just as she had done for setting forth the prophecy. She ventured on a different path from the hidden vault entrance, leading the men astray from their true goal. She tried to ignore the burning gaze she could sense from Imhotep's intimidating spirit.

"So, uh, how did you learn to speak French?" Rick's voice pierced through Amunet's fog, gaining her full attention.

"What is French?" Amunet benignly inquired.

"What is…? You're kidding, right?" Rick let out a snort like chuckle. Amunet did not understand his question. With a furrow in her brow, she turned to gaze at him from over her shoulder. "...You're not kidding," he uttered in disbelief. "It's the- it's the language that you're speaking now."

"Oh." Amunet blinked owlishly. "Is it any different from how I was speaking before?"

"It's… it's completely different," he answered.

Amunet was unable to detect any differences in languages, her brain was hardwired to automatically decipher and respond... but, wait, if what the Savior said was true then that meant: Amunet glanced at Imhotep's hovering spirit, He doesn't understand. Excitement mixed with hope shot a rush of adrenaline through her veins. She returned her gaze to the savior, passing him a smile. "I speak all languages."

Rick blinked, his disbelief evident in his tone. "All of them…?"

Amunet approached a sealed door that was hidden within a deep nook, partially buried underneath a sand dune; it was the only entrance to survive the passing of time. The painted hieroglyphic markings were faded, chunks of the once beautiful mural crumbled to dust at its feet. However, should any of the men know how to read ancient egyptian they would be able to translate the bits and pieces that were still visible, markings that warned outsiders against entering the ruins without the proper protection. Luckily for them, Amunet was that protection. As she reached for the hidden latch that would break the door's seal, she responded to Rick's inquiry: "Yes. I am-"

"The Jewel of the Nile, right," he intervened, mildly perplexed. However, his bewilderment was quickly replaced with wonderment when the door released a loud 'hiss' as it cracked open, streams of golden sand spilling through the narrow opening. "...Whoa…" he breathed out in awe.

Amunet splayed her hands across the rough surface of the crumbling limestone. Instantly, a wave of visions from the past times this doorway was used flooded her mind, but she ignored the images and pushed, the heavy stone easily moving with her guidance.

"How do you know all of this?" Rick asked.

Amunet opened her mouth to answer.

"Let me guess: same answer - Jewel of the Nile?" he answered his own question.

"I was born with the gift of the All Seeing Eye, it is my duty to know such things," she replied.

"Enough with the chatter," the colonel snapped, impatient. "Lead us to the treasure, now!"

Rick protectively adjusted his stance so that he was standing in front of Amunet, effectively blocking her from the colonel's sight. His warm calloused hands placed themselves on the sides of her hips, gently moving her closer to his broad frame. At his touch, Amunet completely froze.

༻𓂀༺

Blinking, Amunet found herself back within her private chambers at her hidden village. The soft glow from the lit torches along her walls cast a warm orange hue throughout the expansive room, creating a comforting and inviting aura. However, the room felt… off, different from before. The guards normally posted outside of her chamber door were gone. In fact, the door was wide open - a big no, no in Ardeth's over-protective security.

As Amunet's gaze swept across the room, she noticed that small details were also different. World maps dotted the walls, covering the gold paint and smooth limestone. Pictures and pages with various texts were pinned over various locations on the maps, some circled with important looking red markings. Most shocking were the diverse mix of weapons that were proudly displayed for easy access, ranging from the futuristic ones that shoot out small pieces of metal in vast distances, to old fashioned spears, blades, and bows and arrows.

Ardeth would never let me near any of these things, she thought.

Amunet slowly ambled across the room, her eyes tentatively taking in every change in detail that she caught sight of. As she passed her bed, she reached out and gently caressed a faded tan jacket that was casually draped over one of the bedposts. Feeling something bulky underneath, she pushed aside the sleeve and took notice of a pair of leather straps that had empty holsters attached to its ends. Items that looked oh-so-familiar yet she couldn't quite place.

A soft sigh swiftly caught Amunet's attention. There's someone here. Her eyes narrowed in concentration as she tracked the presence to be coming from her closet. Cautiously, she prowled toward its gentle, pulsating essence.

The large double doors of her closet, too, were wide open, another oddity. Stepping through the doorway, Amunet's jaw slacked and her eyes went wide in wonderment. Her mannequins that displayed her clothing were gone, all of her clothes were gone. A small bed was neatly tucked away at the corner of the room, the sheets messy and haphazardly tossed to the foot of the bed. The walls (similar to the main room) were lined with strange patterns that Amunet barely recognized as some type of mechanical blueprints, and each plan looked very detailed and highly elaborate. Despite the large space, there was little room left over to freely walk through; clear paths were made to specific locations: the exit, the bathroom, and to an expansive long table set in front of the second terrace.

Amunet tensed, her shoulders taut and rigid with apprehension as she approached a scrawny, thin figure hunched over the long table, their frail looking body perched on top of a wooden stool. They wore a pair of dark brown trousers with a loose-fitting blue tunic half-tucked into the waistline, the long puffy sleeves rolled up to pale knobby elbows. Tufts of silky chestnut brown hair could be spotted as the figure frequently bobbed their head up and down, in deep concentration on a contraption within their grasp.

A child? Amunet cocked her head in curiosity. But whose? The boy was much to fair, and her and Ardeth's shared dark hair and bronzed skin were too strong of a gene to not be passed down to their children. A child of prophecy, perhaps? Another inheritor of the Gods' gifts? Is my next task - to find them?

"Oh, hello, Mother. I didn't sense you come in," the boy called out.

Amunet blinked out of her daze, turning around to see if another woman had entered the room behind her. She and the boy remained the only occupants. Confused, she returned her gaze to the child, taking in the boy's striking blue eyes, lightly freckled skin, and adorable round face.

"Is everything all right?" the boy set aside the contraption in his hands, his tone holding a note of concern. "Where's Father?"

The longer Amunet stayed in a stunned silence, the more worried the boy seemed to become.

"...Mom?" he croaked out, the blue of his eyes becoming more prominent and beautiful as they brimmed with tears. "Mom, where's Dad?"

Amunet parted trembling lips, not knowing how to answer. Mother…? Does he mean me? But… Ardeth? Just as she was about to voice her confusion to the boy, she blinked and was no longer in her closet with the boy.

"Hey. Are you alright?" Rick's concerned face replaced the child's, and instantly Amunet spotted the similarities between the two. Light eyes, fair skin lightly freckled from prolonged exposure to the sun, and a silky shade of brown hair.

Mom, where's Dad? The boy's timid voice filled Amunet's frantic thoughts. Guilt consumed her, the boy's crestfallen face plaguing her mind. Why did she feel like she should have comforted him?

Warm hands cupped Amunet's face, calloused fingers gently stroking her cheeks in an effort to calm her. "Nettie?"

Amunet's attention was swiftly captured. "Nettie?" she echoed, in shock.

"You weren't answering," Rick listlessly shrugged. "Was worth a shot. Worked, didn't it?" he grinned adding a boyish wink. Amunet flushed, her heart swelling with a foreign emotion that made her mimic his broad smile.

"You try my patience, woman," the colonel sneered, marching up to Amunet and Rick in long, heavy strides. "Do you know the way to the treasure vault, or not?"

Amunet reached up and grasped the crook of Rick's bent elbows while his hands slid down until they rested upon her shoulders. "I know the way, but be warned: should you stray from the path, I will not be responsible for the loss of your men."

The Colonel scoffed. "Get distracted again, and I will not hesitate to tear down these ruins brick by brick until I get my treasure." Amunet was taken aback when she realized that the threat was directed at Rick. The greed of man is great, she reminded herself of Imohtep's words of wisdom. Was this what Ardeth was protecting her from? Why she was so protectively hidden from public knowledge?

Amunet stepped away from Rick's comforting hold, the fierce need to protect him (as the savior) added fuel to her glare. The Colonel took a few steps back as she confidently strode up to him. "I would watch how you speak from this point onward. I have been compliant for the sake of my own discretions, but if I so choose - my benevolence shall end."

To add emphasis to her statement, Imhotep seemed to have perceptively read her body language and reacted to her show of distress. The tunnel began to tremmer, pebbles of limestone and streams of sand steadily falling from the cracked ceiling above. The uniformed men instantly erupted into pleas and prayers to their Gods', and the Colonel visibly paled, poorly masking his fear.

"It is but a small earthquake, gentlemen, happens all the time. This girl holds no true power," he weakly declared, trying to regain control of the situation.

"OK, I think we're all a little cranky since it's really late and past our bedtime." The voice of reason came up from behind Amunet, in the form of Rick. He gently grasped her hips, directing her away from the thin-faced colonel so that she was behind him and out of the man's line of sight (again). "Colonel, I really think we should reconsider setting up camp for the night. We're all high strung, and a good night's rest would help settle the men's nerves."

Amunet did not get to see the Colonel's reaction, but she did hear his spiteful sneer. "Fine, but make sure to keep her within your sight at all times. I don't want to have any surprises tonight. Who knows who watches over her from afar."

Oh, he truly had no idea who was protectively guarding her.

"Yes, Sir," Rick readily responded. "Come on, Nettie, you heard the man. Let's go find your camel and get you settled for the night."

Amunet huffed indignantly, a pout on her lips as Rick took hold of her forearm guided her away from the irritating man. Once they were a safe enough distance away from the colonel, Rick dipped his head low and whispered into her ear: "Word of advice, Nettie: Don't antagonize the Colonel. He's prone to shoot first and ask questions never."

Amunet lifted her chin defiantly. "I do not fear that man."

"Yeah, I got that," Rick drawled, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "But can you just humor him… for me?" He hesitated to ask, grimacing at his own request. "It's just easier to let him do what he wants; means less hassle and more leniency for the guys. Besides, you're not exactly in a position to argue with the man."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"You're all alone out here. Wait..." Rick halted in his movements, sharply turning around to directly face Amunet. "Why are you all alone in the middle of the desert? Does your…husband, or whatever, know that you're out roaming all by yourself, dressed like that no less?" His light colored eyes trailed down her body, momentarily stopping at her full breasts that were partially visible from beneath the sheer fabric.

Amunet innocently cocked her head. "What's wrong with my state of dress?"

"You're kid-" Rick heavily sighed. He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Nevermind, just answer the question: Why are you here, Nettie? You're not… You're not like some sacrifice to some dead guy or something, are you? Do people still even do that?"

The genuine concern the Savior was expressing for Amunet, touched her. "I am no sacrifice," she promised, hoping to put his worries at ease. "I told you, I am here for my own reasons. There's..." she trailed off, catching sight of Imhotep's spirit hovering behind Rick.

He did not look pleased.

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Anyway… So the internet failed me. Turns out there was only a month and two day time skip from the legion's massacre to the beginning of the movie not 3 years like my original research led me to believe. Thank goodness I started reading the books, cleared up a lot of minor information that shouldn't really matter, but does - to me.

Reviews, comments, and criticism are always welcomed; flames — tolerated.