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 Shifting sands

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DannyBoy
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:10 am

By the time the old lady had finished her story, Kalfas was already fast asleep. "She was not always like this, she has lived a troubled life, and too much pain has set her on this path." Within his dreamscape, a vision appeared. It was Nour, peering off into the Nile, still like a stone. The currents were strangely heavy, forming small waves as it crashed upon the surrounding vegetation. Kalfas walked forward, trying his best to go near her, each step getting heavier by the second. It was as if he was carrying the weight of the world above him, but when he looked up, there was nothing. "NOUR!" He called out to her, but instead of his voice, he only heard silence. He wanted to go closer, he wanted to reach out to her, yet something was pulling him back. Feeling powerless, he kneeled, burying his distressed face within the palm of his hands. Nour then jumped into the river and as the water splashed everything turned white.

Kalfas woke up breathing heavily, his heart beating just as fast. He could not comprehend what it all meant and perhaps he didn't need to. After all, it was just a dream. But somehow it lingered on in his mind, scratching at his very consciousness with its sharp claws, not letting him to forget any of it. "I have to find her." He quietly said to himself. The tavern was empty now, there was only him and the old lady, sleeping just as soundly next to him. Everyone else must've left through the back door. "Lady, sorry to disturb you." He whispered, poking the woman continuously on the cheeks. "But I have to find her, something just doesn't feel right. Do you know where Seti might be hiding this early in the morning?" The morning sunlight crept slowly into the tavern, shining onto Kalfas. Under the light, he must've looked like a hero from ancient tales and perhaps that was not too far from the truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:49 pm

The old woman woke up slowly, her back clicking rather loudly as she sat upright. She looked around her, then up at Kalfas.
"Huh? Oh, Seth, right..." The old woman sat in thought for a moment, wondering where a god would hide. "I would try the ruins of his temple, about half a day's ride into the desert, be warned, they have the advantage out there. Please, child, be careful around them" the old woman said with a smile as she rested a frail hand on his shoulder. The old woman struggled to get to her feet, and when she was up, she grabbed a simple wooden staff to keep her upright. She paid the barkeep for a small portion of honey, and consumed it quickly before turning to Kalfas. "May the gods guide and protect you, child." The old woman ambled off slowly, heading to the temple of Sekhmet.

At the ruins of the temple of Seth, the two were still sound asleep.
Nour woke up early, and shuffled over to to a large bowl of water, and washed herself before tending to what was left of the temple. She swept the sand out of the temple, and cleaned the shrine, gently polishing the statue of Seth. Once that was all done, she headed outside, and stood barefoot in the sand, arms outstretched as she met the new day with a smile. She headed inside, and began playing the harp, singing a beautiful song, her voice as sweet as honey. Seth woke up slowly, smiling at her song.
"You give me great joy, sands of my heart" Seth said with a smile as he sat beside her before gently pulling her onto his lap, and gently resting a hand on her stomach. The two spent the morning in the shrine, wrapped in each other's arms.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:18 am

A few minutes after the old lady had left, Kalfas went back to his camp located on the border of town. His peers and his colleagues were understandably worried about him as he did not report back after yesterday's patrol, they only found his red cloak on top the cannibal's rotting corpse, which they have managed to brought back and cleaned before his arrival. A million questions were asked about his disappearance, he had to sit through hours of interrogation because of it, standard procedure. Kalfas never told any of the legionnaires the complete story, only half truths. He knew that even if he were to tell them what had happened, they would never believe him.

On this fine day, Kalfas was not part of the patrol group and so he was free to do anything he wanted. While the others continued their training and messed about, he supplied himself with enough food that would last him for a day's worth of travelling. The man in charge of keeping track of the rations had asked Kalfas why he needed them, to which he simply replied "To meet my maker." leaving the man to speculate on what it meant. He was going to face off against a God, one of the makers of this world that we live in, the Lord of Chaos Seth. Any other man would have just moved on with their lives, pretending like it all never happened, but Kalfas wasn't like any other man. This was his moment to shine, a once in a lifetime opportunity that may never come again. He will seize it without a second guess.

Before departing, Kalfas had already sharpened his blades, reequipped his large red shield, wore a new set of light armor and picked a capable horse to ride on. He left as the sun perched exactly above the town, leaving the camp precisely at midday. The journey was long and deadly. Bandits, snakes, hyenas had been a constant danger to his life within the span of a few hours. They gave him only a short amount of time to rest and eat, coming at him one after another in a short interval of time. The Egyptian Gods must have hated him. But despite all the struggle, Kalfas was able to reach his destination. It was a rustic place, a shadow to its former self. Perhaps this was the reflection of the enemy that he was about to face. Old, forgotten and abandoned by the people who once worshiped him.

The horse neighed as Kalfas climbed down from it, it was feeling uneasy without him, this place had triggered its animal instincts to flee. "It's okay, calm down. I'll be back shortly, you just stay here and enjoy the view." He said to the horse, petting it gently on the head before tying him up to a boulder near the site. The place was unusually cold, it was cold to the point that a cloud of mist can be seen from Kalfas's mouth whenever he tried to breathe. Despite this, he carried on. Climbing the mossy stone stairs towards the large temple entrance. Markings can be seen on every inch of it, depicting a figure that resembled the man he had seen at the tavern, it was a collection of stories told through images. He had no idea of the tales that it was trying to convey nor was he interested, all he wanted was merely to get things over with.

Knocking on the entrance, the sound of his fist echoed into the distance. Like an ambient wave that was gentle and unnerving at the same time. "Greetings oh Mighty One!" Kalfas shouted out with a sarcastic tone, "I have come to request an audience with you, the one and only Lord of Chaos. I went through a long journey just to get here and so I expect that my request be granted or I will have to force myself in. Thank you, I await your reply." and with that he bowed his head, waiting patiently outside for someone to greet him.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:47 am

Nour emerged from the remains of the temple, wearing only a thin white robe that fluttered gently in the breeze.
"Greetings, Dionysus Kalfas. How kind of you to make the trip to our humble home in the sands" Nour said with a chuckle. Her words were genuine, and she did appreciate that someone came all the way out to the temple. Seth emerged from the darkness behind her, gently setting a large hand on her shoulder. He was also wearing a thin white robe, similar to Nour's.
"Do not forget that I am god of the sands and foreigners too" Seth said with a laugh before eyeing Dionysus. "Welcome to my temple, or what is left of it anyway." Nour looked at Seth, then to Dionysus, then back to Seth.
"Please, come into the shade so that we may speak like civil beings" Nour said with a smile, gesturing to a few pillows arranged neatly outside the shrine. She sat down on a pillow, and poured some water for everyone. The way she moved and behaved showed she was actually a sweet and kind woman.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:38 pm

Silence. That was Kalfas's response to their greetings. He could not help but be cautious of them, even if they seemed very friendly to him at the moment. Everything they did could be a trick and everything he saw could be an illusion. Logic and reason were absent in this situation, things could be well out of place but not irregular, out of time but not an anomaly. How could he possibly tell the difference between his reality and the other reality, one where Gods live and the supernatural thrives? Perhaps they had always been one and the same, or perhaps this was merely a tangent line where the two worlds had intertwined. Whichever it was, Kalfas was a part of it now and he had no choice but to accept it.

Reluctantly, Kalfas sat on the arrangement of pillows. He set down his big red shield to his side but kept his sword in hand, laying it gently on top of his crossed legs. As he looked around, things around him began to disorient his sense of time and space. The glimmering stars above were distorted like messy smudges on a painting, the eagle on the skyline froze like a statue as it flapped its wings, the sound of the desert wind was gone. He felt like a prisoner within an invisible barrier, one that no normal man could see or feel.

Nour poured some water for everyone, the sound of it streaming into the golden cups distracted Kalfas from his deep musing. He began to look at the two, first at Seth then at Nour, they were wearing similar clothes. The way that they were acting indicated that they might even have a form of affection for each other. It was not love exactly, but it was close to it. This reminded Kalfas of a story his dad used to tell him when he was a boy, it was about Cupid and how he fell in love with a mortal named Psyche. Though that story led to a very happy ending, he had a feeling that the one he was witnessing wasn't going to be so lucky.

"Funny. If I were a God I would have gone after someone much better." Kalfas said with a chuckle, his confidence was slowly coming back to him. "And If I were Nour, I would have asked for a better God than the God of the desert and foreigners." he continued just as smarmy. "As I recall, the Sky God had beaten you before. But I guess the wounds from that battle only adds to your charms, correct? After all, we all love a lovable loser." None of the words that came out of his mouth were minced for Seth's sake as Kalfas had always been upfront, even when speaking against his superiors. He then started to play with his drink, his finger slowly swirling around the edges, following the rim as if he was in a trance. Round and round and round and round when suddenly he stopped and looked at his reflection on the disturbed water. "I do not know of your plans, all I know is that the very essence of reality is shifting. Distorted like the water in this cup." the ripples slowed down before it finally stopped entirely, becoming still like its previous state. Kalfas averted his eyes from it and was now glaring towards Seth, he felt like the man was hiding something from him. "Why are you here Seth? And why are you getting Nour involved in all of this?" He asked him with a serious tone. Something was definitely off, nothing was as it seemed.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:17 pm

Seth chuckled slightly at Kalfas's words, finding the human rather amusing, and not at all bothered by the insults. Nour, on the other hand, had taken the offence quite seriously, and ran inside, crying. Seth looked over at the fluttering curtains, and hung his head.
"Insulting a pregnant woman? That is just low" Seth said before looking back to Dionysus, his head tilted slightly. "That was a family argument, and it did get a bit rough, I'll admit." He took a sip of his water, and listened for a moment to the music coming from the shrine. Nour was playing the harp, like she usually did when she was hurt. Seth cast his gaze to the water in his cup before looking up at Dionysus. "I am here because Nour cried out to the gods many years ago when her mother was murdered. Due to the nature of the murder, and the man who did it, I came to her. When I saw her passion for life, and how she loved all things, I fell in love, that is why I stayed. Egypt is in danger, that is why we are making moves." He was definitely much more relaxed than he was the previous day. One had to wonder what had happened that night to make him so relaxed. "And now that Nour is pregnant... I will do everything I can to protect her and my child."

Nour sat in the shrine, playing the harp as tears streamed down her face. She didn't really care much for Dionysus's opinion, but that didn't mean it hurt any less. She knew there was a war coming, that there would be so much suffering, pain, and death. What she knew for certain was that her child would not live to see the majesty of Egypt, if she was indeed pregnant. Eventually she started singing about her dream from the night before. She strung her words together in such poetic majesty, it would put the Greeks to shame.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:11 am

It was true, the tongue was sharper than any sword could ever dream to be. He had not intended to hurt Nour's feelings, he was merely trying to make a point. There were too many variables to choose from and Kalfas wasn't sure if any of them was right. Why Nour? Why her prayers? In Egypt alone there must be thousands of people praying to Seth on a daily basis, openly and secretly alike. Each and every one of them crying out to him because of their suffering, because of their loss. Something inconceivably strange must have happened to her for a God to take notice, something beyond the realms his mortal understanding. "It was not my intention to make her shed any tears. I will apologize to her once I have my answer." A tint of regret briefly escaped Kalfas's expression. He truly cared about the girl, he cared enough to go on this long journey just to save her. Yet things weren't as simple as it seemed.

The melody from the harp flowed serenely through the air, blanketing the area with its gentle and peaceful sound. Kalfas listened on, there was an underlying tone of sadness beneath it. He could not help but felt guilty after the fact. The notes were tugging at his heart strings like a pack of hyenas feasting upon a dead carcass. But he must contain this pain of his with a stoic resolution, he will not show any trace of him being bothered, especially not in front of Seth. The God was explaining to him of his involvement in mortal affairs and why it had to be so. His words were slow and clear, he was much calmer than the previous time they met, a relief for both parties.

Seth mentioned a man whose identity was still unknown, a man who murdered Nour's mother in such a way that he had to come to her personally. Was the man connected to the danger he spoke of that was happening here in Egypt? If so, what kind of danger? These explanations only filled Kalfas with more questions, he was more unsure of the situation now than he was before. He hated this, the lack of something absolute made him uneasy. "Who killed Nour's mother and how did he do it? The odd nature of the murder was the catalyst of your return and so I would like to know the full story." Kalfas said to him, his curiosity was at its peak. "And the danger that befalls this land, in what form does it take? Is it war? If so, then why must you and the other Gods get involved? Over the course of history, war was always a part of mankind's legacy. It is only in our nature." As a man who knew loss and suffering, as a man whose sole occupation revolved around it, he could not understand why the Gods would interfere at all. Why now of all times?
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:50 am

"Nour's mother was murdered by a strategos by the name of Damianos because she wouldn't reveal the secrets of my temple. They destroyed the temple when they didn't find what they were looking for." Seth hung his head, as if the events of that night had even caused him pain. He looked at the ruins around him, then to the shrine, making sure that Nour was still busy playing the harp, then to Dionysus. "The Greeks taking over, the Romans getting involved as well? Sacred animals have been slaughtered, captured for some sick entertainment for your people, Nour saw it herself. I just want to give Egypt back to my people." He brushed some sand from his hair, and took another sip of his water. "She loves our animals, when she saw what was happening to them, her heart broke. If the animals are left alone, she might calm down."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:50 am

The world belongs to each and every one of us. The land, the sea, the mountains, the sky are luxuries for all the inhabitants to enjoy together. If we all had the decency to share, to compromise, to coexist then things should be able to change for the greater good. But alas, humans are greedy creatures. We always want more. More land, more power, more money. More, more, more and more. That's why the Greeks came, that's why we the Romans came and that's why Egypt was in turmoil. Kalfas could not say that what he and the Legionnaires were doing here was right, he could only say for certain that things will change. Caesar wanted to have some sort of control of this land so he was trying to influence Cleopatra, hoping to make her his puppet. If that were to happen and it will happen; the people won't see the strings, not unless they started looking for it thoroughly. They will all turn a blind eye under the notion of their so called "freedom", carrying on obliviously with their own lives.

"I cannot promise to give you back Egypt because my duty and my status as a legionnaire prohibits me from doing so. I am only concerned of my people's safety, of their ideals, of their wants and needs. This land of yours is a part of it, therefore I shall continue whatever it is that needs to be done until it all comes to a realization." Kalfas picked up his glass of water and drank it hurriedly, finishing it with a loud clank as he carelessly puts the golden object down. He then wipes the traces of water on the edges of his lips and stood up, rearming himself with the giant red shield that he had previously put aside. The legionnaire moved closer to Seth who was sitting near the shrine, his steps loud and heavy due to the equipment he had, from a spectator's view he looked similar to that of a golem. When the two were merely two inches apart from each other, Kalfas stopped and looked down on the God before him. His eyes was burning like a thousand suns, the intensity of his gaze was so fierce that enemies once stopped in its tracks from the sight of it. A moment of silence resumed before he finally puts his hand on his chest and spoke, "But I can promise you that Damianos will die. Not from my hands but from Nour's. We legionnaires know people in high and low places, we can find his whereabouts easily. I had made her shed tears on this beautiful night, it is only fair for me to ease her wounds, if only by a little."
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:37 am

"Then you and I are not that different, Dionysus Kalfas. We will both do everything within our power to protect our people, to ensure their happiness and wellbeing, and to provide for them. I do not expect you to give Egypt back to my people. I will take her back, by force if I have to." Seth stood up to his full height, looking down at the mortal before him. He took a sip of his water, and looked back at the shrine when he heard that the music had stopped.

Inside the shrine, Nour had changed into her armour, and anointed her staff with the venom of an asp, as well as some scented oils. She weaved hawk, falcon, and eagle feathers into her hair.
She uttered a prayer to Sekhmet for guidance on her mission. She hoped that the lioness-headed goddess would favour her, and grant her the strength she needed. Taking on a group of well armed, and well trained, Romans was no easy task, but it was her duty. One of the sacred crocodiles, on of Sobek's children, had been captured, and was likely going to be killed for the sick entertainment of the Romans.

"Were you not after Nour because she killed a killer? If you give her Damios, and she kills him, which she will... How do I know you won't hunt her down again, and kill her this time?" Seth leaned down, and set the cup on the floor beside the bowl before standing back up, crossing his arms, and glaring at Dionysus.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:51 am

Kalfas sighed, he was in quite a conundrum here. For even if he was against killing anybody without a fair trial (unless it was in a kill or be killed situation), this case with Nour had given him no other options. She needed this to happen if she was going to have some peace of mind. "I was not finished." He looked up at Seth without wavering. "I will allow her to kill him only if she agrees to come with me after and let herself be put on trial." He said firmly, offering the only card that he could play. Nothing could prevent Kalfas from upholding a form of justice and this was the only way for him to do so. Keep in mind that Damios must be a powerful man, his influence goes deep within the inner circles of the organizations ran by the Greeks. If he were to be killed then Nour would need a solid evidence and alibi if she doesn't want to be executed. "The lower court of Egypt will judge her accordingly, if she is not pleased with the decision made by them then I could grant her an audience with Cleopatra's vizier Horemheb where she could present her case one more time." Kalfas put his hand on Seth's shoulders reassuringly and continued, "I give you my word, I will personally defend her in each trial and I will do everything in my power to keep her from being executed." He was aiming for banishment as her given punishment. At least that way she could be free and be given a second chance at living.

The barrier surrounding the shrine dispersed like dusts in the wind. Time flowed freely again, space was slowly readjusting itself and the eagle that was frozen before shrieked as it glided past the illuminating moon. Kalfas could finally feel the cold wind brushing off against his skin, this was now his reality, the one he was always familiar with. "The trial will be held by your people using the justice system they had built based on Ma'at's virtues. You believe in your people, do you not? Then believe in their ways as well." He pulled back the hand that was on the God's shoulder and pounded on his shield. Three times the contraption echoed, reaching so far towards the inner sanctum of the shrine. It must feel odd for Seth to see a foreigner doing things by his people's ways, especially by the one who had dismissed their beliefs in their previous encounter. It was only in Kalfas nature to give out his opinions on things, he could not be forced to believe in things that he didn't believe, even if he had already seen the Godlike beings in action with his own two eyes. Besides, what's done was done, there was no point in dwelling on things that they could not change. Though the two might have differing opinions, it was clear to them that they both cared for Nour and that was enough reason for them to perhaps form a truce. "Till then, I will be her shield."
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:42 am

Seth looked down at Dionysus, smiling warmly. He seemed to have some level of trust in the human before him, even if he was a Roman.
"I accept your terms, Dionysus Kalfas. I have faith in my people, and I believe they will make the right decision. If they deem her guilty, and they put her to death, then she shall be by my side forever. She shall never leave Egypt willingly." He looked to the shrine, and shook his head. "Nour, come here."
Nour emerged from the shrine, carrying her staff proudly at her side, as if it were of great importance. She stood before Seth, bowing slightly.
"Yes, my Lord?" Seth took a moment to study the woman before him, taking in her weapons and armour.
"Where are you going, Nour?"
"One of Sobek's children has been captured by the Romans and taken to Natho, my Lord, and will soon be killed. I wish to rescue him, and return him to the shrine." Seth let out a happy chuckle before placing a large hand on her shoulder.
"Very well then. Before you leave, I have news for you. Dionysus Kalfas will help you track down Damianos. When you kill him, you must face trial, by our people."
"I accept this offer" Nour said with a smile. She gave Seth a gentle kiss, and watched him disappear before turning to Kalfas. "Is it true?"

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:36 am

Seth had disappeared gradually into thin air. Under normal circumstances, Kalfas would have been very surprised, but he had already seen enough in the last two days for him to merely accept it as it was. Nour turned to him asking for confirmation to which he simply answered with a nod. The journey they were about to embark will be long, so it would be best if they were to begin now. "Come, time is of the essence." He gestured Nour to follow him, going down the stone steps before finally reaching the place where he had put his horse. For the creature it might have felt like a few minutes since Kalfas had left him, to him though, it felt like hours. Time, after all, was disoriented as soon as he had came into contact with Seth. He untied the rope from the boulder and neatly rolled it into a circle before hanging it onto a hook attached on the side of the saddle. After that, he made a quick check on the supplies that he had brought with him. He calculated that it could only last for half a day's journey, less now because of the company. Kalfas turned to Nour and asked her, "Do you have some supplies for us to bring? With only this much, I don't think we could make it there without starving." If only he had the foresight to saw this happening. Before she could answer though, he had one more thing to say to her. This was a very important one. "If you can, do not kill any of the Roman soldiers. We will try to rescue that so called children of Sobek peacefully." He paused, giving himself some time to think, before finally continuing with "But if things don't work out that way, I can only give you permission to hurt them, nothing more."
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:37 pm

Nour made sure that her camel was loaded with supplies before climbing onto it. She understood Kalfas's method of thinking, and appreciated how much he cared for his people. She was also grateful for what he had arranged with Seth.
"I have more than enough supplies for a few days." Nour let out a chuckle as the camel stood up, and walked closer to Kalfas's horse. "We must stop in Siwa, I need to buy something." She looked at Kalfas, smiling happily, she was almost overjoyed, really. "Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Dionysus. I have been trying to find this man for over ten years. Out of thanks for your kindness, I shall not kill any of your people for the next two moons."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:05 pm

"Much obliged." Kalfas half smiled at her before proceeding to climb up the horse's back. He positioned himself awkwardly at first, out of balance and slightly tilting to the right. But after a few minor adjustments, he was finally able to sit comfortably. The horse huffed as he gently stroked its head, it was a sign of gratitude from Kalfas for accompanying him on this outworldish quest as no other horse had the privilege. Unfortunately horses do not have the mental capacity to even care or have a grasp on what lies ahead for them in these next few days, or perhaps that was actually fortunate of them. Ignorance, after all, is bliss.

Siwa, Kalfas only remembered a few things from that place; first that it was where Bayek originally came from and second that it was mostly boring. A friend of his named Belen was stationed there, a very strange man, with a mind that was out of this world. He had once told him stories of lizard men and the living dead, only now did Kalfas started to realize that maybe there was some truth in them. The moon blended well with the clouds in front of it, like a mother figure watching over her children. He looked at Nour and saw similarities between her and the round luminescent object above them. Both were cold when seen from the exterior, but they actually cared a lot more than they may seem, always watching over us as the darkness of the night collapses.

The moon, Nour. The sun, Kalfas. They were the eclipse in human form. Two people from two very different worlds crossing paths to create something that was rare, something beautiful and terrifying at the same time. He had looked at the woman for far too long, hopefully she did not notice it. Kalfas coughed, trying to play it coy as best as he could, he turned his head forward pretending that nothing had happened. "If you don't mind, lead the way." Usually he would have offered to be in the front, but he only had limited knowledge of the road ahead and he didn't want to make a fool of himself. In truth, he probably already had.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:55 pm

Either Nour had not noticed Kalfas staring at her, or she didn't really care. Nour spurred her camel on, leading the way. She was thankful that the moon was full and bright that night, that she would guide them safely through the harsh desert. She smiled upon hearing the cry of a hyena, and cupped her hands to her mouth, mimicking its sad call. She chuckled a bit when the hyena seemed to respond with another long moan.
"They are beautiful creatures. I find it sad that everyone hates them so. They just care for their own." Her camel plodded along as if it had walked this path countless times before. Occasionally, Nour would lean forward, and gently stroke the camel's neck in thanks for it carrying her safely. She closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying the pleasant evening. Nour let out a contented sigh as a cool breeze blew past them, cooling her slightly. She looked to the Roman, smiling slightly. She looked out at the rolling dunes that stretched out before them, embracing the beauty of nothing. "You must find this all so strange, Dionysus, meeting a god and his servant. If you would be so kind, would you please allow me to show you the beauty of Egypt, to teach you the ways of this land as no foreigner knows before it is all destroyed? I would like at least one person to know the truth, to understand." She looked back to Dionysus, a warm smile on her face. If she could not save or protect her land, she at least wanted to teach people about it.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:51 pm

Can nothing actually be something? Could there be a hint of aesthetic in something so barren? Thus far, everything seemed to point to only one answer, yes. "There is always a form of creation that comes after destruction Nour." Kalfas earnestly said to her. He had seen nations rise and fall so often that he could not help but feel nonchalant of the impending calamity that was creeping closer to this land by each tick of a second. If the people of Egypt kept on believing, if they kept on living, their spirit will carry on. Cities can be conquered, people can die, but ideas remained. Kalfas truly believed that a brighter future will always be there after the momentary darkness, it was only the way things worked in the scheme of things. Just like how the earth grew immensely fertile after a volcanic eruption, something good will always come after the bad, though it can also happen in reverse. The perfect balance.

The sands stretched as far as the eyes could see. Above it, the stars glimmered across the calm violet skies. It was simply beautiful in the most literal sense that you could ever imagine. Kalfas looked at the view with astonishment, embracing it all in, deep into the very essence of his soul. This moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from. With a deep breath he inhaled the fresh air around him and let it all out slowly back. "It would be an honor to see the beauty of this land like no other foreigner had seen it before." Kalfas smiled back at Nour, he truly meant what he said to her. To see Egypt from a different point of view, to see it in a much clearer way, nothing could make him happier right now. "So, where do you want to start?" Anywhere would be nice, he thought to himself as he waits for an answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:21 pm

"Thank you, Dionysus" Nour said with a smile before spurring the camel on, racing to where she had heard the hyenas. She came to a stop at the top of a dune, a fairly safe distance from the pack of hyenas. Nour hopped off her camel, and sat down on the sand, watching the creatures with a smile. She pointed to the large one sleeping soundly surrounded by the rest. "See her? She is their leader. Hyenas are not like most other animals. She will dominate the others, assert her dominance. The males are the weakest in the pack, almost exclusively kept around just for mating. The females also have a penis, of sorts, but it can likely cause her death during the birthing process." Nour watched as a cub wriggle out from the mother's fur, wandering off slightly. Another hyena picked up the stray, and returned it to the mother before lying down next to it. Nour smiled at scene below them, just enjoying the bond between the creatures. "They are really beautiful creatures, once you get past the smell."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:21 am

Kalfas was neither too close nor too far from the pack of hyenas, cautiously keeping his distance while continuing to admire them from on top of his horse. He looked at the creatures with pure fascination, trying to understand their habits bit by bit, writing them all down within a note inside his head. It seemed that even wild animals understood the concept of love, or to be precise, the concept of family. They hunted, they rested, they ate, they slept. Everything they did, they did it together. It was good to finally be able to see things from a different perspective, it was good to be able to see the other side of the coin. Not many foreigners have had the chance to experience all of this, most were too busy with politics and trade. Such a shame. "I can get past the smell." Kalfas said to her, "It's their instinctive urge to kill me whenever I travel to a different city that bothers me." he added quietly, leaning closer to Nour so that she could hear him, and so that the hyenas could not.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:58 am

"Well, they are hungry, and they have learned to fear man. It has taken me many years to earn their trust" Nour said with a sigh, looking down at the hyenas. She noticed something strange going on with one of the hyenas, it seemed to be in a bit of pain. Nour stood up, and slowly walked down the dune straight to the hyenas, her head dipped down low. Naturally, the hyenas were suspicious, and some even seemed ready to attack. Nour held out her hand when she got close enough, letting one of the hyenas sniff her hand. They seemed to calm down a bit when they realised she wasn't a threat to them. Nour knelt at the injured hyena's side, gently stroking its head before pulling an arrow from one of its back legs. She applied a paste to the wound, and gently ruffled the fur on its head. One of the cubs seemed to demand some attention from her, so Nour had to give it a cuddle. After a few minutes, she made her way back up the dune, carrying the bloodied arrow. "Some noble tried to hunt them, I reckon we will come across a very wealthy corpse during our travels."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:52 am

A smile curved upon Kalfas's lips, he was impressed with the way Nour had tamed the pack of Hyenas, it was akin to that of seeing a parlor trick. "Impressive." He casually praised her, "A tragic end for the hunter, dead at the hands of his prey. Though, if I were to be completely honest, I find a bit funny as well." A chuckle came out of his mouth. He was not against animals killing humans as it was only an act of nature. They had done it because they were defending themselves or they were just looking for a meal. Again, it was only natural. Therefore he did not feel any sadness for what had happened to the dead noble, in contrast, he found it kind of amusing. It was indeed a comedy, albeit a tragic one. "Now where shall we go next?"
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:21 am

"Natho. I must get to Sobek's child before she is killed." Nour spurred her camel on, racing through the desert. She seemed desperate to get to Natho before anything happened to the large white sacred crocodile. She raced on through the night, only slowing to watch the sun rise.
When they reached a small village, Nour stopped, and headed to a nearby merchant where she purchased a small bag containing barley and wheat. "Please excuse me, Dionysus, I shall not be long." Nour approached an elderly woman, and headed into the house with the old woman.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:44 am

They did not know for sure how long it took them to reach Siwa as the only indication of time was the changing shifts between the moon and the sun. Kalfas always liked the transition between night and day, a gradient change from dark blue to purple then to a tinge of orange, a variation of colors within a brief moment. This was something that happened each and every day, something that a lot of people took for granted, a kind of simple pleasure.

Once there, he accompanied Nour in her tasks, purchasing barley and wheat from a nearby merchant before standing guard in front of an elderly woman's house who was apparently an acquaintance of hers. Kalfas waited, still mounted on his horse, ever ready for any mishaps that may come his way. "Dionysus, my old friend!" A voice called out from behind him, it was a familiar one. He turned his horse around to see a lanky figure with a ragged face who was wearing the same armor as him. "It's been ages, how are you?" The man added, petting the head of the horse as he looked at him. There was no doubt about it, it was Belen.

Belen the Odd, as he was famously known, had been stationed in Siwa so that he would not meddle in any of the higher ups affairs. He sympathized with the people of this land, often questioning his peers if their actions had gone against a part of Egypt's tradition and culture. The only reason that he was still around was because the Legion still needed him. To say that his appearance did not represent who the man truly was, was an understatement. Belen was an innovative genius, never ran out of ideas and was always open to possibilities no matter how absurd they may seem to people. That was how he got his nickname, because he was too much of a forward thinker that some people would see him as mad.

"I have been better." Kalfas said to him as he dismounted from his horse. "I see that you have lost weight Belen, that armor is going to swallow you whole if you don't get in shape soon." He hugged Belen, embracing him as if he was his own brother. "My body may not be in shape Dionysus, but my mind is still as sharp as your blade there." Belen replied, turning the hug into a shake of hands as he moved his body away from his friend. The two then decided that they would continue their conversation below the shade of a date palm tree on the front yard of the house, they sat crossed legged next to each other, looking straight at the row of houses upfront. "So what brings you here to Siwa?" Belen asked Kalfas, leaning back to the tree behind him as he waits for an answer. "It's a long story, but I am sure that you will enjoy it." Kalfas sighed, he knew that the only one who would believe him was the man sitting right next to him right now. He had been aching to tell all of this to someone, now he had the chance to do so.

Seconds, minutes, hours passed. Kalfas told Belen everything; from meeting the Desert God Seth to Nour and his quest for vendetta and also the kidnapping of one of Sobek's child that they were on their way to save. The man nodded along, not a hint of doubt can be seen upon his face, only certainty. "Same old story. If only I wasn't stationed here in Siwa, I would have stopped them from doing such a thing." He stopped for a moment, lost in thought, there was something he was trying to remember. Kalfas looked at him, waiting for that something to come to his friend's mind. Then, after a few moments, Belen continued. "I have heard of Damianos. He usually goes by the name 'Collector', people spoke of him using that name, it was a means to remain anonymous. They call him 'Collector' because he was searching for powerful artifacts, ones with Godlike powers. Nobody believed me when I first told them about this, but you've seen enough to know that I am telling you the truth." Kalfas listened in silence, he didn't want any of this valuable information to slip by him. "I can only guess that this kidnapping of one of the childs of Sobek was also his doing. No other man would dare to do so." Belen closed his eyes, slumping further down the tree trunk until his torso touched the sands below. "It shames me to say this Dionysus, but some of the Legionnaires are under his pocket." He seemed to be slowly going to sleep as his word were beginning to slur, but he kept on talking nonetheless. "If you ask me, they don't deserve to be called a Legionnaire. Do me a favor, teach those pretenders a lesson for me. Cause...." And with that, Belen fell asleep.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:28 am

Nour sat speaking with the elderly woman for a while, taking in the woman's words of wisdom as the elderly woman examined Nour. It seemed as if the elderly woman knew Nour quite well.
"So you believe you are with child, dearest Nour?"
"I believe I am, mother Reya."
"Nour, my child, who is the father?" Had this been any other woman, Nour would have remained quiet, and not said a thing about the father. She would have simply said it was a random man from the festival of drunkenness. This elderly woman, was apparently quite special, someone Nour had known for a while.
"It is Seth. He was also the first to say I might be pregnant."
"Then this is a blessed day, Nour, if you are with child. Do you have barley and wheat?"
"Yes, mother Reya" Nour said with a smile. As soon as the elderly woman had finished examining Nour, Nour stood up.
"It does not look like you are with child, but I would suggest you use the seeds to find out for certain. Please, take care, Nour."
"Of course I will, mother Reya. I will see you again soon." Nour hugged the old woman, and headed outside. She sought out Kalfas, and looked down at the sleeping man. She studied the man for a moment, smiling slightly. "A friend of yours, I assume?"

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:01 pm

Thinking is a tiring thing to do, Belen knew this very well. He would thought of things, a lot of things. Things that were beyond our understanding, things that were absurd, things that were complex, things that could not even be considered as things, this was only normal for the likes of him. Dionysus rested his head on the tree behind him and closed his eyes to avoid the sun's bright gaze, the warmth of it touching his skin softly, rejuvenating him like a plant feeding on the sunlight.

The relaxing moment was cut short as Nour was already finished with her task. She asked him of the man sleeping next to him, whether or not if he was a friend of his. Dionysus nodded in response. "Yes. A very old friend of mine." His voice rasped in his throat, it seemed that he was a bit dehydrated from the trip. "He told me of Damianos and what he was doing here in Egypt." The armor on his body rustled and bustled as he stood up, yet despite the loud sound, Belen was still vast asleep. He then proceeded to scatter the sands off his robe, letting them all fly and get carried by the wind. Tiny speckles going out for an adventure, just like him and Nour.

Dionysus went over to his horse, took out a waterskin from one of his bags, then drank a few gulps of water from it. The water slid down from his mouth and into his throat, bringing a sense of freshness back to him. Now he did not feel any strain in his voice. "Word has it that he is collecting artifacts with Godlike powers, ones that would be very dangerous if they were to fall into the wrong hands." After the explanation, he offered Nour his water as he was rather worried of the baby. "Here, take it." Shaking the waterskin on his hand, he waited for her to take it from him.
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