Pawns of the Gods
Chapter 1: The Return of the King
Mummy fanfic by Katie Sullivan
*(This will make a whole lot more sense if you read "To Begin Again" first.)*
Rated PG for a small amount of violence, language and innuendo
Disclaimer: I don't own The Mummy or its characters, I'm not making any money writing fanfic, blah blah blah. Jendayi, Abasi Bay and Hassim are my characters. Please don't use them without permission.
Anck-su-Namun squinted in concentration as she dabbed paint on the wall. For the past year she had painstakingly restored the mural in the east corridor of the temple of Osiris. She was working from memory, of course, and was no great artist, but aided by the worn stone carvings she was able to make a reasonably accurate reproduction.
Four-year-old Jendayi sat on the floor nearby, content with her set of finger-paints and a stack of scratch paper. It hadn't been easy convincing her that painting on the walls was only for grown-ups, and only in certain places.
The tell-tale sound of many footsteps, rustling brochures and cameras clicking warned Anck-su-Namun that a tour group was approaching, and she glanced at her watch. Had it been a half hour already? Sighing, she nudged Jendayi and her paints off to the side.
A group of twenty-odd tourists soon arrived, led by a young man named Hassim. Anck-su-Namun liked him, since he showed enthusiastic interest in the history of the temple and, more importantly, didn't laugh in her face when she told him she and her husband were reincarnated Ancient Egyptians.
"...and here is Mrs. Abd Osiris, working to restore one of our murals," Hassim said, gesturing at her as the tour passed by.
She smiled a little for the cameras of four trigger-happy Japanese tourists.
"Moving on, you'll see on your right a statue of Pharaoh Ramses I..." Hassim continued, leading the group along.
Anck-su-Namun watched them go out of the corner of her eye as she cleaned one of her brushes in a cup of murky water. Suddenly, she caught a glimpse of a familiar face. Her blood turned to ice.
"Oh my gods," she whispered.
The man turned back as if sensing her staring. Hassim continued his spiel about the statues, not noticing the departure of one member of his audience.
Anck-su-Namun couldn't move. She just stared. The man approached her slowly, concentrating on her features with the look of someone trying very hard to remember something. "Do I know you?" he asked.
She opened her mouth to answer, her lips trembling. "I..." was all she could say.
"You look very familiar... All this looks familiar, as a matter of fact..."
She hugged Jendayi protectively to her side. Not understanding why, the girl squirmed a little. "I...don't believe we've met," she stammered.
"What's your name?"
"Subira. Subira Abd Osiris," she said, only partially lying. She had changed her name legally to Anck-su-Namun, but Subira, her original name in this life, remained her middle name. The last name she and Imhotep had chosen meant "servant of Osiris."
There was no recognition on the visitor's face. "Ah. I see. My name is Seth King."
Her eyes bugged out of her head. "Excuse me," she said in a strangled voice. Picking up Jendayi, she ran off down the corridor, leaving the man to stand in confusion for a moment before hurrying to catch up with his tour group.
"Good heavens, darling, what's the matter?" Imhotep asked in alarm as his wife burst into his office, looking pale and frightened. She transferred Jendayi to his arms and tightly closed the door behind her. "You look as if you've seen a ghost!" he said as she caught her breath.
Anck-su-Namun clung to his arm, trembling. "He's here."
"Who? Who's here?"
Still gasping for air, she elaborated. "Seti."
"What?" He set an impatient Jendayi on the floor, and she wandered over to his desk to make a paperclip chain.
Panting, she tried to explain. "A man...in one of the tour groups...said I looked familiar. Name's Seth King! It's him, Imhotep! I recognize him!"
"Did he recognize you?" he asked, lowering her into a chair.
"Not entirely, no. I don't think the memories of his past life have been unlocked completely yet. But now that he's here, in this temple... Being here and seeing each other made you and I remember. What if it does the same for him?"
He embraced her. "Don't worry, my love. I won't let him hurt you. I swear it. Never again."
She nodded and hugged him tighter.
The young guide turned at the sound of his boss' voice and quickly excused himself from answering post-tour questions. His English was a bit rusty anyway, and the British tourists were drilling him with questions. "Yessir?" Imhotep drew him over to a corner of the entranceway, away from the departing tourists.
"Hassim, this is going to sound odd--" Imhotep began.
"Frankly, sir, I'm used to odd things coming from you and your wife. No offense. I mean, when you two knew right where to excavate for that subterranean storage chamber I was sort of creeped out, if you don't mind my saying so. And then when you knew how open the lock on that one cupboard--"
Imhotep shushed him. Hassim liked to talk, a quality that made him a great tour guide but a difficult conversationalist in a crisis. "Yes, yes. Just tell me...did a man on the tour today ask or say anything that would lead you to believe he had been here before?"
"Before as in last week or before as in, when you guys lived here, once upon a time?"
"Ah. Gotcha. Looking up an old acquaintance?"
"You could say that." Imhotep's grave expression finally made Hassim get serious.
"Well, I'm not sure about any reincarnation business, but I did notice that guy with the little beard paid an awful lot of attention to everything. Little dinky details that tourists don't usually care about."
"Where is he?"
Hassim pointed toward the admissions booth, where a man in khakis and a dark T-shirt was studying a column of hieroglyphics with intense interest.
Imhotep's breath caught in his throat. Even from this distance, even from behind, even after all this time--there was no mistaking Pharaoh Seti I.
"Get him out of here," he hissed to Hassim.
"Just get rid of him!"
Hassim didn't see his boss angry often, but he knew enough not to irk him further when he was. "Yessir." Imhotep drew back into the shadow of a carved pillar as his employee walked over to Seti. "Excuse me sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," he heard Hassim say.
"Why?" Seti said with that same imperious authority that he always had possessed. Imhotep winced. No doubt whatsoever about his identity.
"Uh..." Hassim faltered. "We're closing for the day."
"It's only one o'clock! There's another tour in ten minutes, according to the sign!" he protested.
"Er..." Flustered, the guide turned back toward Imhotep in search of a better excuse. Unfortunately, Seti followed his gaze. Imhotep stood helplessly as sudden recognition swept over the man's face. He could actually see it happening, all the memories rushing back.
"You," Seti said, uttering the syllable like a curse.
No point in denying it. Drawing himself up to his full height, Imhotep strode forward to face his greatest enemy.
"Imhotep," Seti said, narrowing his eyes in hatred.
"You two know each other?" Hassim asked.
"Oh, yes," Seti said with a short laugh of irony. "He stole my woman and killed me--with my own sword!"
Hassim looked understandably confused.
"She was never yours," Imhotep said vehemently, "you lascivious, woman-beating bastard! You're a disgrace to the double crown! Now get out of my temple before--"
"Before what? Before you kill me again?" Seti sneered.
Hassim began inching away. "Uh, sir, what I was saying before about being used to odd things around here? I take it back. This is too weird even for me."
Imhotep spoke to the guide but never broke eye contact with Seti. "Hassim, meet Pharaoh Seti the First."
Hassim blinked. "Uh...okay..."
Not breaking eye contact, either, Seti said, "Indeed. I remember it all now. For the past forty-six years I've been plagued by dreams, visions, deja vu...and now I realize why. I am Seti the First. Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt! Horus Rising, the Great House, ruler of all--"
A foot and fist simultaneously slammed into him, knocking his feet out from under him and stunning him into silence. Imhotep gave a crooked smirk to his wife. "I was getting to that. And what happened to being frightened out of your wits?"
Poised on the balls of her feet, Anck-su-Namun scowled down at the groggy former Pharaoh. "I wasn't about to let you stand up to him alone. We had to face him together...just like last time."
"Mommy, who's that man you just kicked?" Jendayi's small voice came from behind.
"I'll tell you when you're older, honey," Anck-su-Namun said quickly. It was a phrase she found herself using often. "And I thought I told you to stay in Daddy's office!"
Seti managed to stand up again, shaking stars from his eyes. "Anck-soon-yamun," he said with malice.
"That's Anck-su-Namun, Your Majesty!" she said, punching him squarely in the face to punctuate the last word. He slumped back to the floor. "Old bastard never could pronounce my name right," she muttered.
Hassim was leaning on a wall, looking disoriented. "Uh...can I have the afternoon off? I need to go lie down, I think..."
"Certainly," Imhotep said, hoisting Jendayi to his shoulder. "Let's get out of here before he wakes up." Hassim hurried unsteadily toward the parking lot.
Anck-su-Namun briefly looked down at the unconscious Seti, as if contemplating doing him further harm.
Reading her mind, Imhotep put a hand on her arm. "Once is enough, my love. Think of the consequences."
She sighed. "You're right. I wish you weren't, but you're right."
"Besides, I promised to protect you, remember? If you have all the fun, how does that make me look?" he teased.
She grinned. "Well..."
Seti groaned as if waking up. Imhotep promptly kicked him in the head.
Anck-su-Namun raised an eyebrow. "Feel better now?"
"Good. Then let's get out of here."
"Can I kick him, too?" Jendayi asked.
"Aaw...grown-ups have all the fun," she whined as her father carried her toward the car.
On to Chapter Two...