Bow Your Head

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by khaleeb, Jul 18, 2014.

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    humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return

    Pharaoh Khayu has risen to power in the kingdom of Lower Egypt amidst a struggle for power to unite Upper and Lower Egypt. The Pharaoh seeks a bride but the one he seeks refuses and escapes into the desert under the cover of night. Her freedom is cut short by the desert heat but she is saved by a mysterious man who possess magical abilities.

    Will the princess ever return home or will this mysterious stranger keep her hostage until the time of her reign passes beyond her grasp?

    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.

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    Would wonders never cease?

    Navy skies harbored the twinkle of nighttime stars, glittering like a sea of gems tossed up to be admired and never stolen. Horus had truly blessed her with such a sight. The surrounding city that fell from the balcony of her tower was a far cry from the wonder above, though scattered with torchlight and sparkling gold and silver in the moonlight. In such a moment Ankhta would like nothing more than to grow wings, to fly far beyond the reaches of any who might wish to steal her away. If only the gods were as merciful, for if she had the ability to fly, the princess Ankhta would certainly never return.

    "Why do you cry?" the Pharaoh had asked her upon making his proposal. "There is no better match for me, sweet Ankhta. You are beautiful and strong, powerful. The people love you as their princess. Why not as their queen?"

    "Because you are my brother, and I will not consent to such action."

    "Ah," came his chuckle, "as innocent as ever. I will have you as my queen, dear sister. I will."

    You won't.

    Ankhta had stormed to her room in a flurry of anger and fear, for while her brother was of the same flesh and blood as she, there was a darkness in him she was proud to live without. Had they not been related, her answer still would have been no for the sake of his cruelty. He liked to house slaves and beat them, he enjoyed taking the minds of others and molding them into something of his own creation. As if the human personality could be so easily changes. Ankhta had no desire to fall to the same fate, regardless of who offered their hand.

    She was young yet. She was convinced she could change the world.
    #2 moffnat, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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    The darkness had betrayed Ra's heat, leaving a very desirable temperature behind. It had been scorching, but that wasn't something new to him. Khalid spent most of his days beneath Ra, toiling in the sand to bring small wealth to the villages lost in the desert. The Upper and Lower kingdoms were gridlocked in battle, leaving any sort of relief of resources scarce to those who fell in the neutral zone. Never the less, Khalid did all he could but remained anonymous in his acts.

    As far as the population was concerned, he was nothing more than a rumor. A shadow that parents told their children about when in need of a reason to behave. Khalid had never established a good side nor an evil side. His was painfully neutral and was cold about it.

    Every once in a while, someone would stumble across him in the sand dunes only to return home with tales of dark magic. These fueled those rumors of his existence, but his descriptions were never quite the was a game of pass the message and it was frequently misinterpreted. Tonight he had settled on moving in towards the city's borders again. His resentment of the kingdoms always came to a head this time of the year. When he had been a young boy, his mother, a slave, had been killed by the Pharoah. Currently, his son ruled, but that changed nothing.

    Khalid moved in through the stalls that had abandoned for the night with the exception of a few that had yet to close up completely. . Lights lit up the pathway just enough for him to see and he tugged his trusty companion along, despite resistance. The camel grumbled at him, his hips swaying with each movement. It had been a very long and tiring day. He stopped near the small well situated in the center of the market before drawing up enough water for the creature to satisfy himself with.

    Water sloshed around in the bucket, both falling on him as well as the ground. The camel jerked his head to the side with a snort, wrenching the bucket from his hands. It fell to the floor with a thump. "Nanu..." He said with an agitated sigh. The camel snorted again, as if to mock the man before he rolled his eyes and tugged the camel's lead. He grabbed the bucket and set it on the edge of the well before leading the bastard camel on. His intentions were finding a room to rent for the night. ​
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    A flurry of fear and a glittering golden gown waved in her wake. The princess dashed down stone steps as fast as her feet would carry her, plunging into darkness, only minutes later thinking to snatch a torch that hung on the coming walls. It was her duty as royalty to marry in a way that seemed best for the realm. It was her duty as a princess, as a sister, as a paragon of Egyptian grace and intelligence to do as society bid her. But was it ever in her nature to obey? Ankhta was as untamable as the Nile, every flowing, forging a new path when trapped. She was a fire that burned even when cold winds came. And no one told her what to do, not event he Pharaoh, not even her brother.

    Would Anubis take her to the grave for such disobedience?

    Her wilting torch and the light of the moon was all that lit her path as she ran, exiting the protection of the palace and bursting out into the night. There was no destination in mind, no plan of action. Escape was her motive. Freedom was her fuel. Perhaps if she ran hard and fast enough, she could reach the neutral territories and find shelter with people who didn't know her name. The Pharaoh could hardly afford to look for her while there was a war to be fought. It might offer the perfect disguise, if she could make it.

    Rounding a corner in all haste, she failed to watch where she was going and slammed directly into a man with a wooden pail.

    #4 moffnat, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  5. Nanu let out a sharp howl before Khalid was sure what had happened. Someone collided with him, jostling him backwards. His instinct was to grab the person for support, hoping they had more balance than he did. Fortunately, Nanu had jerked around and Khalid collided with the camel's side. He remained standing.

    Khalid grumbled something under his breath, resisting any temptation to unleash the sharp tongue he had inherited from his father. "Watch where you are going." He said stiffly, brushing it off as an accident in his mind. He glanced to the torch, then to the woman who had nearly bowled him over.

    He frowned at her attire. Clearly, she was out of place amongst the dust and sand. "I assume then that you are running from someone." He said grimly, unsure of whether or not this was something he should have been involved in. Judging by the delicacy of her skin, it was clear she was stranger to physical labor for long durations. His own hands were calloused and rough, his back scorched from ra's heat.
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    "Find her!"

    Ankhta didn't have time to pause and apologize. The princess gathered the skirts of her gown and flashed him a sorry expression before bolting around another corner, delving deep into the heart of the city. Surely there would be witnesses if she continued on in this direction, and what purpose would that serve? She was no match for the royal guard. They would butcher her in the streets on the Pharaoh's orders and the people of Alexandria would be crippled, knowing their last speck of Ra's light within the palace would diminish.

    Ankhta had to run. Not for her own safety, but for her people's.

    She was lucky enough to find a small cabinet outside someone's home that would accommodate her perfectly, not unnoticeable yet just out of anyone's suspicion. Ankhta made sure to quietly dissolve amongst hardware, buckets and tools, and while that led her to a painfully awkward position her life would not be risked for the sake of comfort. She would wait until the guards had passed to move a muscle, when the coast was clear.
    #6 moffnat, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  7. The voices were more than enough to speak for her and he frowned as she bolted away, leaving he and Nanu standing alone until a group of guards passed by them. Part of him wanted to intervene--he didn't like the guards much anyways but his body was tired all the same. His mothers voice rung in his ears.

    To be neutral encourages evil.

    He groaned to himself before tying Nanu to the well. He clicked his tongue and made a stay gesture to the camel who groaned angrily at his master. It took Khalid only a few moments to shimmy his way up to the roof tops of the small buildings. He had to be careful of his footing, but he jogged along the sides, following the light from the torches.

    He smiled once he had caught up, keeping pace alongside. It wasn't until he had slipped his sandal off and slammed his foot hard into the rock that a white light gave way beneath him and the buildings wall expanded, blocking them from moving both forward and returning the way they had came. They swore loudly as he slipped away, continuing down the path towards where he reckoned she had disappeared to.

    A slightly askew door on a cabinet alerted him, but he remained where he stood. The night had fallen silent for the time being. Without a doubt, they were trying to figure out how to climb over the walls and how they had moved.

    "You can come out." He said in a calm voice, remaining about six feet back from the cabinet.
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    It was a sound unlike any other. A bright light engulfed the alley she had chosen to hide herself in, and the cacophony of bricks grinding against rock and stone flooded the area as much as the white light had. Ankhta covered her eyes to shield her sight from the onslaught that would have assaulted them, and when the cover of darkness cloaked her once more she dared to peek through her fingers at what may or may not lie ahead. It was as if the gods themselves had protected her.

    Softly, a voice called to her from the shadows.

    Could she trust it? The sound wasn't familiar to her, coming from a man she surely had yet to know. That in itself brought a new string of possibilities that could be fatal, harmful or otherwise. Ankhta pleaded with herself to not give in to the velvet voice that summoned her from the wooden box, and yet she disobeyed even herself, and clambered out of the mess.

    She could hardly see his face in the darkness.

    "If my brother has sent you, please, I submit," the princess told him as there was no hope of escaping anymore.
    #8 moffnat, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  9. He smiled slightly at her words. The puzzle came together quite nicely in his head. "I am merely a Good Samaritan." He called back in response to her words. It was clear she was in distress. "The guards are disposed of for the time being. It is safe to come out. You have my word."

    To say the least, this was turning out somewhat interesting. Perhaps it would be more eventful of him to travel out of the desert every so often.

    "I hope you are not harmed, neither from our collision nor the guards whom chased you?" He was trying to be social. It had been such a very long time since he hadn't scared someone nearly to their grave.
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    "Our collision?" It took Ankhta a moment to process his words, still reeling from all the events of the past hour to fully contemplate his meaning. She saw no other option but to leave the cabinet fully and plunge herself deep into the threat of the unknown, placing her life and her trust into the hands of a stranger. Oh, the gods were cruel. So cruel that she had need to leave the safety of of her palace in the fist place, cruel that they allowed her brother to twist into the evil being he currently was. Incest was not unpopular in Egypt and nor would their marriage be frowned upon. But it was not her brother she refused to love. It was what he had become.

    Though the darkness hid him well, she could make out the silhouette of the stranger and his piercing eyes shone though the shadows of night.

    "You--the man with the bucket," she observed, "and the camel..."

    Had he been the one to save her?

  11. "Nanu." He responded shortly. "He doesn't like being called camel. I believe he sees himself more as a horse." He shrugged his shoulders lightly before casting a wayward glance backwards to make sure they hadn't figured out how to get over the walls yet. "You seem to have been in luck. Something...odd happened. Khonsu was certainly watching out for you."

    "Are you alright? I'm not sure it is wise to stay here much longer...but it appears, you...ah.." He glanced her over real quick, taking in the details more accurately this time. "I do not suppose you belong out here either, your highness."
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    "I--" The princess looked down at her attire, the paint on her body and the elaborate twists of braids and beads in her hair. Even the circlet of gold and sapphires had clung to the crown of her head during the chase. She supposed it wasn't entirely unheard of that he would recognize her on appearance alone, though she had difficulty seeing him clearly in the darkness and a part of her wondered how he could view her so well. Was it truly Khonsu that had saved her, or some other force, a dark magic that lived primarily in the rumors of peasants and commoners in the Lower Kingdoms?

    "I'm alright, sir. Thank you for" Ankhta wasn't entirely sure he had helped her at all, but the gesture seemed appropriate. "I apologize for running into you earlier. That was terribly careless of me."

    She looked to the end of the alleyway nervously, hearing the guards begin to scrape away at the wall that had arisen in her protection.
  13. He nodded lightly. "A good samaritan is always around when someone is truly in need." His head turned towards the walls as a frown came over his lips. It seemed they were smarter than he thought. It took only a few moments for them to scale up and over the wall (they weren't very high) before they spotted the two of them.

    "Halt!" They barked, spreading out quickly to surround them. Khalid did a once over on all of them--typical guardsmen but never the less easy to outwit. He bit back one of his grins. "I do think we're...not going anywhere." He said calmly, giving a sideways glance to the woman. "Hold your tongue peasant!" This term seemed to agitate him as he frowned deeply. "It seems manners have escaped you." He mumbled under his breath as they advanced on them, weapons drawn. It was apparent they were going to take her back to where she was supposed to be and do away with him whether it be through killing him or imprisoning him.

    "Princess Ankhta, you must return to the palace with us. Pharaoh Khayu demands your presence now."
    #13 khaleeb, Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2014
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    "Pharaoh Khayu cannot demand anything of me. I am the princess of this realm and do not do as others bid."

    "He will not take no for answer."

    "He will from me."

    The guards did not hesitate. They lunged forward with their spears, not aiming to kill the princess, but merely harm her into submission. Regardless of what their intentions were she was clearly no match for them, raised in poise and grace and not in the ways of war. She hadn't the weapons to defend herself. hadn't thought to bring them with her. What a fool...

    Ankhta leapt backwards and bolted in the opposite direction, confident her speed could outrun them, but if not she would find the means to fight back.
  15. Khalid was tired of this and his patience had worn out. It was one thing to be rude, but another entirely to be such brutes towards a woman, no less the Princess. With a growl, he lurched forward and slammed his foot into the ground again as he had before. This time a golden light emanated from the ground as it crumbled away and pushed a large column at the guards. Startled, they managed to duck it and turn their spears towards him. They were frightened by the sorcery he was performing.

    Khalid's moved as another swung to injure him, ducking below before wrestling the man to the floor. A quick hand gesture and more light had the ground wrapped around the man's middle, pinning him in place as he cried out for help. Khalid turned on the other men, matching their motions as best as he could. It took one split moment to hit the wall nearest him as they speared him in the side.

    The wall erupted out hard and fast and collided with the remaining men, sending them spiraling in the opposite direction. Khalid inhaled sharply at the spear in his side, staggering into his column he had made. Khalid gripped at the pole, eyes watering before he snapped the longest part off with the help of his alchemy.

    Blood ran down his side as he turned to watch one of the men miraculously stand and stagger off. Khalid had no energy to try and stop him so he let him go before moving to the wall to lean against it as if taking a break.
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    Dare she look back?

    So many circumstances and fates rested on the princess's young shoulders, weighing her down, body and mind. She stopped where she was, hearing the absence of footsteps and commands chasing her into the bowels of the sleeping city. Even with the knowledge on her mind that turning to see the fate of her pursuers could mean death, she contemplated it even then, knowing that the man who so willingly risked his life to save her could very well lie dead in the wake of a problem she had caused.

    Cautiously, carefully, she looked behind her to see what had become of her rescuer.
  17. All was quiet for the time being. Khalid rested against the wall calmly, calculating just how planned to dig the spear head out. He was no longer sure what had become of the Princess but for the time being, he figured she had run off. Hopefully she would be able to get where he was going. It was in this moment he was glad he was in dark robes. Any blood stains would go unnoticed due to the poor lighting of the area.

    He pushed himself away from the wall with a grunt and stepped towards the pillar that extended horizontally from the wall. He was in too much pain at this point to think clearly but he pressed a light hand into the stone and it shrunk back into the wall with an electrifying golden crackle of light. He managed to return the earth to it's original form as well before he slowly shuffled his way back towards the walls that initially trapped the guards. In moments, it too was returned to it's proper form.
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    She looked on while the stranger performed his sorcery, dark and strange but beautiful all the same. The golden light illuminated everything near it, including her, the sun-like glitter of her dress reflecting the magic that her king stranger had delivered. She was reminded immediately of tales the common-folk used to tell before the kingdoms split, stories of a sorcerer with great power that could move mountains and rivers at his command. Surely a man with such abilities would let evil fester in his heart and poison him into actions contrary to what he has proven himself capable of, but it was impossible to question. He had saved her life. Now, it was time to save his.

    Ankhta moved closer to the stranger, knowing that haste had to be on her side.

    "Here," she told him kindly, quickly. "Can you walk?"
  19. He jerked to the side at the sound of her voice, redirecting his attention to her again. "Yes..." He said lightly, biting his own tongue as he stood. It pained him to do so but showing weakness was something he wasn't supposed to show.

    He managed a small smile but it was hidden by the darkness. Foot steps alerted him once more and it faded quickly. He jerked his head to the side to see more foot soldiers hurrying at them. With a growl, he snaked his arm around Ankhta's waist and drew her in hard and close. The ground vibrated below their feet as red light built up around them like walls.

    The pain was building at this point, but he had to push on. The floor rose around them and they sunk far below it, leaving the darkness to engulf them. The ground formed around them into a tunnel, it's entrance sealing off as he tugged the woman along.

    It was a short distance in the darkness before they emerged in the desert. The sun was already beginning to rise. He pushed her forward out of the mouth of the tunnel before whipping around. His hands touched the walls and it slipped below the surface of the sand, replacing all the sand that had been displaced. He staggered to the side, having lost a fair amount of blood before he fell on his hands and knees. The blood had soaked through his robes.
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    Her body crashed against the sand. The force of his shove had taken her completely off-guard, and while questions beyond questions had been boiling in her mind the gravity of the situation changed her course of thought. Ankhta hated sand, hated how it found its way into every little nook and cranny of a person's body, but as she looked upon the man behind her the princess couldn't imagine the feeling of the small particles gathering in an open would. Struggling to her feet, Ankhta knelt beside her sorcerer, if that was what he was, and slipped her arm through his.

    "Come," she told him softly. "I will help you walk. Where are we going?" Her eyes scanned the horizon, watching the sun rise from over hundreds of different dunes. If they weren't to safety soon, the desert alone would certainly kill them.
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