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 Shifting sands

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:55 am

Nour gratefully took the waterskin from Kalfas, and took a single sip from it before handing it back to Kalfas. She looked down at the sleeping man, and smiled. She thought she had seen him at one of the festivals that her people had held, maybe even at a temple just to appreciate the beauty of the building. Nour was greatly concerned that Damianos was attempting to collect the relics of the gods, powerful relics. One person wielding a godly relic was dangerous enough, another person attempting to collect all the artefacts could destroy Egypt. Nour knelt down next to the sleeping man, and set a soft gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Excuse me, Neb..." Nour's voice was soft and gentle, above all, she seemed to be quite kind to the man. "The street is not a comfortable place to sleep. Perhaps you should come with us? You'll have a comfortable bed at least."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:00 pm

It was hard to tell difference between sleep and meditation when Belen does it. The line between the two was so thin, that at times it was as if there was no line to begin with. Nour could shout as loud as the raging thunder and he would still be in his slumber, roaming the dreamscape without a care in the world. There, he could still hear her voice, down to the last word that she spoke. But there were other noises interfering, splitting his focus into tiny bits, a web of anomalies. Therefore, he chose to be unresponsive. For if he did not do so, the thoughts could disappear and to him, that is the epitome of wastefulness.

While in this state, there was only one effective way for people to communicate with Belen. Codes. Words that could be translated into a sentence, a situation, an idea. The word could have a variety of meanings depending on who's the one saying it. For instance, absconditus meant that he needed to disguise himself to avoid enemy detection if Kalfas had said it, but it could also mean something else. He implemented this method with everybody he knew and cared about, which in all honesty, was not that many.

"It's not going to work, his body is here but his mind is somewhere else." Kalfas knelt down next to Nour, gently removing her hand from the man's shoulder. "Let me." He told her assuringly before leaning in closer to Belen's ear. A word was whispered, it was adiuvo. The sleeping man grinned for a moment, and with that, Kalfas knew that he had understood him. A plan had been set, only time will tell when it was going to be executed. He looked at Nour, let out a short sigh, and said "Do not worry, you will know what it means when the time comes. For now, let us continue our journey." Kalfas stood up and walked away from the two "Just leave him there, he's slept in worse terrains than this." For someone so small, Belen knew how to take care of himself. He was, after all, the one that they ironically call the "Sleeping Giant".
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:55 am

"We will be staying at my friend's house for the night." Nour led the way through Siwa to where she knew her friend's house to be. She smiled and waved at an old man, and chuckled when he waved back. The man was so old, he looked like he should have died a long time ago. Nour was quite happy, walking through the streets of Siwa as she never had any bad experiences in Siwa. When they reached the right house, Nour called out to the owner of the house.
"Masika!" A young woman that looked to be about Nour's age raced out, and hugged her tightly.
"Nour, my friend, it is good to see you again! How are you?"
"Ah, Masika, I am very good and you?"
"Good, very good. Who is this fine young man" Masika asked as she examined Dionysus carefully. Masika looked like a very wealthy woman, and her house was certainly a testament to her wealth.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:28 pm

Siwa, as ordinary as ever. But at least it's safe. The two walked along the streets, greeting people on the way while exchanging a smile or two. It was clear to Kalfas that these people were very friendly, no wonder Belen was able to sleep so peacefully before. After a couple of minutes they finally reached the house, though it looked more like a castle or a fort judging from the size of it. Big, glamorous and well decorated. It was truly a testament of the owner's wealth.

Nour called out to the owner of the house, it was Masika. A beautiful name. The sound of footsteps can be heard, it was pacing at a fast speed and getting closer by the second. Before long, a woman came out of the house and hugged Nour so tightly that it looked like she was having a hard time breathing. While the two talked, Kalfas stood still as he did not want to intrude on their conversation. He took a liking to Masika's physique, but kept a straight face, a decent one at best.

Kalfas remained like that, he tried to think of something to distract him from staring at the exceptionally beautiful woman. Alas, his attempt had failed. Whatever it was he was trying so hard to conjure in his mind got shattered when Masika asked him a question. He cleared his throat for a second, readjusting and calming himself down as it had caught him off guard. "My name is Dionysus Kalfas, it's a pleasure to meet you." His voice slightly shaking while he bowed in courtesy.

Once he was up again, he peered at Nour slightly, as if asking for help in the conversation. It was brief enough so that Masika did not notice but long enough that the message would be clear. Kalfas then cleared his throat again, this time very awkwardly, it was as if he did not know how to socialize anymore. Yet he continued "I am here to help Nour on her mission. I made a promise to protect her and that's what I will do. So worry not, she is in safe hands." A pause ensued, mere seconds of it. "Not that she needed it." He added, now looking down at the sands below him, not wanting to make eye contact.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:46 pm

"Ooh, he is a foreigner, sweet, and not bad looking either."
"Masika!"
"Admit it, Nour, if he were Egyptian, you would have gone for him already" Masika said with a laugh as she ruffled Nour's hair, earning a groan from her friend.
"Maybe, maybe not." Masika let go of Nour, letting her run inside like a lizard. Masika let out a laugh, and turned back to Dionysus, smiling slightly before giving him a hug. She was definitely more friendly than Nour, but Nour was under a fair amount of stress of late.
"Ah yes, rescuing a child of Sobek, a very dangerous task. It is a pleasure to meet you, Dionysus Kalfas, and thank you for looking after Nour." She turned around, and headed to the entryway, the way she walked was elegant, but the movement of her hips was definitely sultry. "Come on in, Kalfas, you are more than welcome in my humble home."

The inside of the house was almost as beautiful as a temple, and certainly just as extravagant. Nour sat in the corner on a chair, eating some fresh fruit, and staring at a bowl of barley and wheat. It had been quite a long ride, and she was just a bit tired.
Masika sat down not too far from Nour, and nibbled on some grapes.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:09 pm

The hug came so suddenly that Kalfas had no idea how to react. The blood vessels on his face opened wide, reddening his skin, making him blush. His hands were left dangling as he could not will himself to touch her in any way. It was truly an awkward situation. Masika thanked him as she did so, noting that rescuing a Child of Sobek was no easy task. Kalfas had a few questions that he would like to ask her after that statement: "How did she know?", "What's her relation to Nour?", and "Is she a hunter as well?" but opted to nod instead.

Masika then loosened her hold on him and turned around, heading towards the entryway of her house. She welcomed him in as she did so. Kalfas followed suit, trying his best to not rudely stare at her poise. They walked through a huge garden with an assortment of plants that strive in desert terrains. A pond made out of marble was in the middle of it, with water so clear that the creatures swimming beneath them can be seen. There were a bunch of workers as well, tending to the gardens or doing some construction on the edges of the mansion's walls. This was definitely far from the childhood home that Kalfas had grew up in which was small, moist, barely had enough room for three people, but decent. This was more like something that he had in mind for his parents one day, once he returns.

The inside of her house was no different. Nothing less than extravagant. Kalfas looked around in amazement, this was an architectural masterpiece. Every corner of the room, every detail, every aspect of it looked like an artwork. Roman constructions were good, some would even go as far to say that they were the best at the time. After seeing this, he could not help but realize that his people lacked a sense of aesthetic in their work. Or perhaps it was merely Kalfas's personal preference which led him to think that way.

Nour and Masika sat not too far from each other. The first was eating some fresh fruits, Kalfas could see that she was undoubtedly very tired at the moment. The latter nibbled on some grapes, freshly picked as well judging by the color of it. He stationed himself near the two, akin to the guards that he saw patrolling the perimeter. "Uh hum." Kalfas cleared his throat, an attempt to break the silence. "Tell me, Masika. What line of work are you in? With a house as grand as this, I presume that you have a special role here in Egypt." He asked with a bit of confidence. Since Nour looked very stressed out, he thought that it would be good to joke around with her for a bit. "Unlike my companion here, right Nour?" He turned his face towards her, smiling playfully as he ruffled her hair. Though it was true that he and Nour had only been acquainted for a short while, he could not help but feel like they had known each other for a much longer time. There was certainly a bond between them now. Of what kind? That's a question he could not answer, not yet at least.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:07 pm

"I keep the peace in Siwa, like my father did. This was my parents house" Masika said with a smile, gesturing to everything around them. Nour cuddled up with a cat that had wandered into the house, and continued eating. "Both of my parents came from wealthy families. My mother was a merchant, and my father was a..."
"He was a medjay" Nour interrupted, "And a very good one too."
"Yes, he was." Masika continued eating her grapes, smiling happily. "So how do you know our sweet Nour? Knowing Nour, she was either really drunk, or in big trouble."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:31 pm

"Sweet?" Kalfas chuckled a bit. He had never viewed her as 'sweet', she was more of an acquired taste, kind of like the alcoholic beverages that she often drinks. "It is a long story. One that involves murder, Godlike beings, and some other out of this world phenomenons." He set his eyes on the palm of his right hand, gripping it into a fist and releasing it over and over again as if in a trance. "Honestly, I can't quite believe it myself." The things that had happened to him in the last couple of days was so surreal that sometimes he would lose some sense of reality, it felt like he wasn't grounded to it anymore. But he had to carry on, he had already made a promise to Nour, and what's a man without his words? "Masika, I believe that you are a good Medjay. A friend of mine is stationed here, an odd man who goes by the name of Belen. He writes letters to me sometimes and he always said that Siwa was a peaceful place, filled with friendly people. Now I know why." Kalfas smiled at her, he meant every word of what he just said. He did not dare to ask her of her parents, it seemed clear that something must have happened to them. It would be better for her if she did not have to relive that moment or force herself to tell him about it.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:07 pm

"Ah, so you've met Seth I take it? I can only imagine how confusing all of this must be to you, it was difficult for me to understand too" Masika said with a chuckle before standing up and heading over to a table, and poured some wine for the three of them. She looked over to Nour, and smiled when she saw that Nour had passed out snuggling the cat. "Nour is actually very sweet, she's just under a lot of stress of late what with everything going on in Egypt, and with the disappearance of her brother..." Masika handed Kalfas his glass of wine before returning to her seat, and relaxing a bit. She took a sip of her wine, and smiled happily. "I hope you like it, it's from Rome."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue May 01, 2018 8:40 am

Roman wine was the finest. The process of making one was precise and delicate, just like the Romans themselves, not one step overlooked or done wrong in any way. On top of that, there were eight types of Roman wines that you could choose from. Seven red and one white. The taste would differ depending on the grapes used, which were planted only two paces away from each other and tied to wooden stakes or canes. Once the time was right, they would then put them inside clay (glazed or unglazed) pots for fermentation. The best ones were given to the emperors, the legionnaires, and the plebeians. The rest were consumed by the common people, which were slightly worse, but nevertheless good.

Kalfas took a sip of the wine. It was the red one, and judging by the taste, it was made out of Visparola grapes, his favorite. He can see his thumb through the liquid on the other side of the glass, meaning that it was of a high quality. The scent was not too overpowering as well. It was gentle, smooth. His admiration of the beverage was cut short though as he had realized a small detail that was new to him. Masika had mentioned the disappearance of Nour's brother in her previous statement, it was the first time he had heard about this matter.

"I am not a heavy drinker. But as my name would suggest, I do enjoy a glass of wine. This one is absolutely exceptional, tastes like home." Kalfas took another sip of the wine, letting the taste to spread all over his tongue and down to his throat. He played with the glass a little bit, gently spinning it, letting the liquid inside to form a small whirlpool. "About Nour's brother..." Kalfas took a small pause, focused his gaze on the glass he was holding, and continued "I don't mean to pry, but can you tell me more about him? Nour had never told me about his existence." He stopped the rotational movement of the glass, making the circular movement of the liquid to slowly stabilize into its original form."Maybe I could understand her more if I knew what happened to her brother." Kalfas let out a sigh as he finished, he then proceeded to look at Masika, an expression of genuine sympathy clear upon his face. He really wanted to understand and he needed to.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue May 01, 2018 9:38 am

"Ah, sweetest Madu... Nour's twin brother" Masika took a sip of her wine, smiling happily at its pleasant flavour. Unlike Nour, she quite liked foreigners, and enjoyed what they had to offer, be it new innovation, plays, stories, songs, food, or drink. She sat for a moment, thinking of Nour's brother, Madu. "Madu is an exceptionally skilled warrior, much like Nour. Unfortunately, he doesn't care much for foreigners. The two were always together, and couldn't go a week without seeing each other." Masika took another sip of her wine, and ate a bit of dates. She seemed to be a fairly carefree woman, but she worried about Madu and Nour; she knew they would killed for any number of reasons by anyone, and feared that Madu had already met his fate. "According to my little birds, Madu was last seen in Letopolis, that was nearly two months ago. Madu has never been gone that long before, that is how we know something has happened to him. Perhaps he found the Scarab, or the Scarab found him." Nour stirred a bit, seemingly about to wake up, but instead rolled over and continued to sleep. "He likes to cause trouble, just like Nour, but mostly just jokes. You know, putting a snake in someone's bag, ruining food with too much spice, or loosening a saddle. If we can find him, or at least find out what happened, Nour might calm down a bit."

Madu sat in a cage, looking out at the guards surrounding him. He had been stripped of his weapons and clothes, the guards fed him nothing but scraps barely fit for pigs, he was beaten at least three times a day, and the guards would occasionally piss on him. He never lost hope, however, he knew that his sister would come to his rescue eventually, that she would kill every one of the miserable soldiers that had imprisoned him. He offered a small silent prayer to any god or goddess that would listen to him before he fell asleep in his cage.

Nour tossed and turned in her sleep as if something foul was disturbing her dreams. She would utter something occasionally, but nothing seemed to make sense.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Thu May 03, 2018 1:42 pm

"It would seem that she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders." Kalfas' breath catches in his chest as he hears of the trials that Nour was facing. More than once now, without realizing what she was doing, Masika had enlightened him. He was not sure what to make of it. They were in a race against time and they still had plenty of things to take care of: the Child of Sobek, Damianos, and now Madu. Any other man would have left without a second thought. They would have thought to themselves; what good was it to meddle in a foreigner's affairs, especially one who hated them? And this was a reasonable question indeed.

Kalfas had repeated the question over and over again in his head. In due time, it will eventually lose its meaning. But before it happened, he has already known what the answer was. Ever since he was a little boy all he ever wanted was to become a hero, to help people in need and to bring upon justice to those who deserved it. This was, like countless others before, a way to prove himself. If he did this, they'll sing songs and tell stories about him, his legacy would carry on.

It has been said that sleep was the cousin of death, half of our lives had been wasted because of it. Yet just like its sibling, it was inevitable for many living things, including humans. Without it we will die from exhaustion and with it we will etch closer to death. It was quite a conundrum. Kalfas rested his chin on his free hand, he was thinking of the most efficient way to finish all the tasks at hand. He closed his eyes for a moment, moving around frantically in his mind palace as he searched for a solution. Taking all the variables that he could conceive and ruling out the ones that could hinder them, he had found a way.

"Tomorrow, we will continue on our path to rescue the Child of Sobek. A friend of mine told me that Damianos might be involved in it in one way or another and he is a reliable source. Two birds with one stone." Kalfas opened his eyes and took another sip of his wine, it was now half empty. "We cannot focus our attention on Madu straight away, he is still an anomaly. Looking for him now would be a huge gamble." He tapped his fingers on the wine glass. It would seem that his anxiety was kicking in. He could not hide it, time was not on their side. "For now, I have a favor to ask of you Masika. Go to Letopolis and find Madu. If he is still alive, keep him safe for as long as you can. Me and Nour will come your way once we're finished with our business in Nato. Will you be up for the challenge?"
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Thu May 03, 2018 4:04 pm

Masika sat in thought for a moment, looking over to Nour for a moment. Nour and Madu were like brother and sister to her, they had basically grown up together, they had trained together under Masika's father. Masika let out a sad sigh, looking back to Kalfas, hanging her head a bit.
"I will head to Letopolis in the morning and see what I can find out about Madu, hopefully, if the gods will it, it is not too late." Masika stood up, and walked over to Nour before picking her up gently, as well as Nour's staff, and carried her off to another room, returning a short while later. "Kalfas, I am trusting you with Nour. I know you cannot stop them from executing her, but just try protect her. She will prove important in what is still to come." Masika was almost as wise as her mother, but she was more of a fighter, she liked to do things.

Nour slept quite peacefully, dreaming of a field of reeds, at peace for once. She could see her brother in the distance, and began speaking to him. Unfortunately, Nour spoke quite a bit in her sleep, and quite fluently too. In fact, it sounded like she was having a conversation with someone.
"He seems to be nice... I know, I know... Well, he did not arrest me on the spot, so he is not all bad... By the gods! What have they done to you, Madu?!"

Masika sat down, and finished her wine, nibbling at some food one of the servants had brought for everyone. Masika was kind to everyone, and even treated the servants as her equals. She definitely had a good heart.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri May 04, 2018 8:00 am

Masika's words somehow assured him that everything was going to be okay. He can feel his heartbeat becoming steady, his nerves getting loose, and his breathing going back to normal. His anxiety had disappeared. "Her fate will be in the hands of the people, it is not for me to decide." Kalfas finished up the last drops of wine in his cup and then sat down in the middle of the room, his legs crossed. "I will try Masika. I will help her to the best of my abilities, that I promise." Even if he could not see the sky, every inch of his body knew that it was already dark outside. His muscles ached from the long journey before and his eyes could barely keep themselves open. Hypnos called out to him from the realm of the dream, it was now time for him to sleep.

Images flashed by in his mind as he went deeper into his slumber. Images of ancient Gods, epic heroes, and a distant land. Separately, they meant nothing at all. But once they were aligned, they formed a story. Oddly enough, the beginning, the middle, and the ending were shuffled. Kalfas couldn't tell which was which. He had little to no control of what's going on in his dream, all he could do was watch. It all went by so fast, and before he knew it, only he was left. He and the nothingness of it all. Empty, cold, alone.


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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri May 04, 2018 9:25 am

By the time Nour woke up, Masika had already left. After bathing, Nour got ready, grabbed her stuff, and made her way over to Kalfas, setting a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Good morning, Kalfas. There's some food for you, and our mounts are ready.
We should probably leave in the next hour or so."
Nour sat down, and helped herself to some fruits, enjoying her breakfast while staring at a small bowl of barley and wheat seeds with great interest. She seemed to be thinking about something of great importance the way she stared at the bowl. It was still quite dark outside, so it was very early. "Tell me, Kalfas, the women in Rome, are they allowed to be warriors, are they free to do as they please like the men?"

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat May 05, 2018 2:03 pm

A light. A distant sound. Something was pulling him away. Something gentle, something soft. Kalfas opened his eyes carefully, the blurred dots in his vision was slowly taking form. He was back in Masika's house and Nour was sitting there in front of him, nibbling on some fruits, taking in the most important meal of the day. His stomach growled at the sight. "Thank you, I'm starving." There was a bowl of honey laced breads and an assortment of fruits on the dining table, he picked himself up from the ground and headed there. To his surprise, there was a plate of grilled fishes as well, they were still warm and fresh. Kalfas indulged himself in the variety of food that was available, satisfying his hunger but not so much that it would overwhelm him.

The fishes were savory, the fruits were juicy, and the breads were delightful. This was probably the best breakfast he had since a long time. While Kalfas was chewing his food, Nour asked him a very odd question. It was very out of character of her as she was starting to take interest in a foreign land, Rome in particular, his birthplace. "Women in Rome are warriors in a different way. They do not fight in wars, they are not allowed to do so. Not because they are incapable or incompetent. I believe that it is because they are precious to us. So precious in fact, that the men are willing to risk their lives for them." He began to reminisce about his mother, it's been years since he last saw her. "Men and women have different rights in Rome. I cannot tell you all the details, it would take a very long time for me to explain. But I assure you, the people there are prosperous and happy. We are also a growing empire, so there is still room for us to be better."

Kalfas finished his breakfast and went to the bathing room. He took off his armor, checked the water temperature, then went into the tub. It was warm, the right kind of warm. He could smell the scent of flower oils evaporating from the heat, adding a sense of calm to the whole experience. If there wasn't any urgency, he honestly would've stayed in there for hours. Every muscle in his body was at ease, all the sweat and dirt on his skin were washed off, and the bad odor had disappeared. After about thirty minutes in the bath, he decided that it was enough and reequipped himself. He couldn't find anything to dry his hair with, so he just went back to Nour with his messy golden hair still gleaming. "Shall we go milady?" Kalfas smiled at her. He looked like a different man after the bath, someone who had been rejuvenated. Smelled nice too.


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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat May 05, 2018 4:36 pm

While Kalfas was in the tub, Nour had been cleaning her weapons, making sure that everything was perfect. She had put some of the breads and fruits in some cloth for the both of them, as well as replenishing their supplies. Nour emptied the wheat and barley seeds in a leather pouch, and tied it to her waist. She thought of the Roman women, how they weren't allowed to be warriors, how they couldn't do what they wanted to, and she felt bad for them. Here she was, sitting pretty with an actual god, and other women weren't even allowed to pick up a sword.

Nour had applied some black makeup around her eyes, and was waiting at the door for Kalfas, holding some fabric. She looked at Kalfas, and smiled a bit; he looked decent, and he was being nice. Nour seemed a bit taken aback by him a bit.
"I am ready, Dionysus" Nour said with a warm smile, clearly in a very good mood. She handed Kalfas the bundle of fabric, still smiling. "That is for the sandstorms: cover your nose, ears, mouth, and eyes, the fabric is thin enough so you can still see. I did not know if the Romans had learned to deal with the storms yet."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Mon May 07, 2018 9:51 am

Who would have thought that by smudging a black substance around someone's eyes could make a person significantly more attractive? There was depth in Nour's eyes and they had a certain allure to them that Kalfas did not notice before. He shook his head in dismay before taking the fabric off her hands. "T-Thank you, Nour. How very considerate of you." The texture of it was somewhat familiar, but he could not pinpoint what it was made of. It was smooth, vibrant, and not too thick. Dyed in a color that matched his legionnaire armor.

Kalfas took off his helmet and wrapped the fabric around his head. He did not know how to properly do it, but he had a rough idea in mind. Once done, he tied a small knot on the back using the opposite ends of the fabric so that it won't get loose. "I must be looking much more attractive now than I was before." He jokingly said to Nour. Every inch of his face was covered. There were no visible features to see. Not his nose, not his eyes, not his lips, nothing. He looked more of a doll now than a warrior.

Daylight had not yet break. Kalfas looked around for Masika to thank her for the hospitality before leaving, but it would seem that she had already gone to Letopolis. Most likely without sleep. "We should go now. You will ride in front and navigate and I will cover your rear, as usual. If I'm not mistaken, our destination is only a few hours away from here. We will be there before midday." He put on his helmet and went outside the house, thanking all the maids and workers along the way. They were very kind to him while he was there and attended to his every need, from a nice bath to an extravagant breakfast.

Their mounts were already waiting for them outside. It must be Belen's doing, they were near him at the old woman's house the last time the two saw them. Kalfas looked at Nour, he saw that she had already replenished their supplies and that she even brought enough food for the two of them. How very diligent of her. "I take back my words." He said, forming a half smile as he mounted his horse. "Seth was right in choosing you. You make a good wife Nour." And with that he faced his horse towards the gate, away from her gaze. More than ready for another adventure.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Mon May 07, 2018 10:15 am

"Well, I do miss the hair" Nour said with a chuckle. She tied up her hair, and made sure that it was all neatly tucked away before covering her head with a similar fabric. Her fabric had a slight gold shimmer to it, and the eye of horus had been lovingly stitched where her right eye was. The fabric was thin enough to still show her features.

Nour mounted her camel, smiling happily to herself. Leading the way onwards to Nato.
"I was just doing the good and right thing to do. Believe it or not, I do care, Dionysus." Nour spurred her camel on, riding silently until they were out of Siwa. "I will not marry Seth, not in this life. We have an agreement, Seth and I. In this life, I am his sworn guardian, his priestess, and a protector of Egypt. Should he still be interested in me after my death, then I will become his wife in the Duat. Until then, I am allowed to do as I please, and be with whomever I choose. "

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat May 12, 2018 2:54 pm

There were already a few people walking about in Siwa. Most of them were merchants, setting up their stalls with goods that they were going to sell to other residents and foreigners. Crates of fruits, fishes and other edibles were being moved around systematically. It was a routine that was already rooted in each and every one of their bones. Every callous hand, every sweat, every step were all a part of the usual morning. Another day in the life. Kalfas listened intently to Nour's explanation about her relationship with Seth. He could not understand why the God of the Desert chose her to be the bearer of his child? He could not understand why she had to carry the responsibility on her own? If she was only his priestess, if she was only his guardian, then why? There was no need for him to fall in love with her and there was no need for a God to meddle in mortal affairs. All throughout history, it had only cause problems, just like the story of Cupid and Psyche.

Kalfas followed Nour's lead. They were getting further and further away from Siwa, it was now just a blot on the middle of the horizon. "Well have you found someone?" He asked her. The question just came out of nowhere and he did not know what he wanted to gain from the answer. In truth, deep down inside he wanted it to be him. "A God has fallen for you. What chance do we normal men have?" The tone of his statement was underlined with a bit of humor and envy. He could feel a slight pain on his chest, though he covered it up with a gentle smile. There was no way he would allow Nour to see him sad because of this, he was her sun and he needed to shine brightly as always.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat May 12, 2018 3:39 pm

"It does not matter if a god has fallen for me" Nour said with a chuckle. She pulled a waterskin from a saddlebag, and took a few small sips from it, enjoying the sensation of the water running down her throat. "Mortal men still stand a chance with me, just as gods do. I am still a mortal woman, after all. All I ask is that a man appreciates me for what I am, a warrior, not a woman that will stay at home and do his bidding." Nour set the waterskin back in the saddlebag, and looked back to Kalfas for a moment before turning her gaze to the horizon once again. "Respect, understanding, and affection... that is all I want from a man. He must remember that he is not Ma'at, that he cannot judge me for my actions. He must treat me the way he wishes me to treat him." Nour rode in silence for a while, paying attention to their surroundings, keeping an eye out for signs of a storm. "A god falling for a mortal woman does not make her special. Zeus has had many mortal women, has he not?"

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed May 16, 2018 7:19 am

That was quite perceptive of her. For someone who doesn't like foreigners, she sure knew their history and culture very well. "He has. Yet it never did him any good." Kalfas answered. Among all of the Gods in the Pantheon, he found Zeus rather impulsive. He was brash, reckless, power hungry and often caused trouble. This was especially true in the story of Prometheus, where he made the humans as subservient creatures that depended on the Gods for protection. It was only due to the Titan's brave sacrifice that we humans finally realized that we had a bigger purpose in life. For that, Kalfas will forever be grateful.

Kalfas pondered about Nour's words. Respect, affection, understanding. Was that all he needed to have for her to take notice? He had judged her for her actions. He had judged her for killing people in a systematic way. To him that was unjust. She did not have the right to take the lives of others, especially when her hands aren't forced to do so. But throughout this journey, he had learned a lot of things from her. He had learned about her forthcoming and pain. Once, Kalfas would have taken her into custody with no questions asked. Once he'd have thought that court justice was more important than the life of a murderer. Once, he wouldn't even have made any compromise whatsoever to those that he deemed as wrong. Once. Before he learned how empty gestures are and how much her life mattered to him.

The two carried on. Kalfas stayed alert for any signs of the coming storm. It was the perfect analogy for his story in this chapter of his life. He could not see what lies ahead, he could only feel the sands of his principles shifting. Against the harsh winds he could only struggle, hanging on to the tiny bit of himself that still remains. "When this is all over, when and if you are deemed innocent by the people. Do you want to go to Rome with me?" Kalfas wanted to show her the beauty of his birthplace just like she had shown him hers. It would take her awhile to adapt to Roman society, but he believed that she will manage. The art, the food, the people, he wanted her to understand that they are not so different from each other. If they were, they wouldn't have become this close to begin with.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed May 16, 2018 8:17 am

"I might go to Rome for a while, just to see everything, perhaps even understand your people a bit, but that might be many years from now, Dionysus. Right now, I must serve Egypt as best as I can." In truth, Nour was afraid of going to Rome. She figured she would be treated as a savage, or a prisoner, and she knew she would miss the rolling dunes of the desert. "Egypt has lost harmony, and it must be restored, if only a little."

Nour led the way to Natho, riding in silence, and sticking to the shade whenever she could. Riding through the desert was certainly the worst part of the journey. The heat was unbearable, and there wasn't even a slight breeze to cool them. Nour used an old cloth to wipe away the sweat that formed as a result of the immense heat. On occasion, Nour would see a man riding a camel, only for him to vanish as soon she looked directly at him. She would also see a woman in a blue dress waving at her, a giant golden serpent, or a great white lion, all of which disappeared the moment she looked at them. Nour looked behind her every once in a while just to make sure Dionysus was still there, and that he was still alive.

As soon as they reached a body of water, Nour leapt straight off of her camel, and into the water, immediately letting out a sigh of relief. She took a few sips of the cold water, loving every sip.
"By the gods, this is amazing!" She didn't seem to take the heat very well, even as an Egyptian, the heat really got to her. She could only imagine how Kalfas felt about all of this.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Thu May 17, 2018 4:34 am

The road to Natho was long. They had to endure the blazing heat from the scorching sun all the while keeping an eye for any signs of an upcoming storm. Miles upon miles they carried on, sticking to the shade when possible, but most of the time there were none. Kalfas was saving his water for when he needed it the most as it was only enough for five to six more gulps. He can feel his lips getting dryer by the second, parts of it peeling off like snake skin.

If only there was a new source of water nearby, Kalfas would savor every last drop of it and use the opportunity to refill his waterskin. He could imagine how refreshing it would be. The water flourishing his chapped lips, indulging his barren tongue, and comforting his throat. Oh how he wished that he could feel that sensation right now. Being dehydrated was just dreadful and the unbearable heat didn't help. Every sweat that came pouring out of the pores of his skin meant that he was losing more liquid in his body. Right now, he was drenched in it.

Looking around the landscape of the desert was undoubtedly boring. There was nothing to see there, only sand and the occasional wild life. Or so Kalfas thought. He had been seeing things that weren't supposed to be, things that didn't make any sense. First he saw a sentient rug crawling its way up a sand dune, akin to that of an earthworm. It was mumbling something, something about always being stepped on. Then there were the hyenas, they were standing upright like any normal human, dancing to a tune that nobody could hear. Each time, the things that he saw became even more bizarre. A flying white whale, a horse with a crown riding a bear, a snake with the head of a bore, and others that even he cannot describe.

Fortunately for him, a few minutes after the hallucinations, Nour had found water. Kalfas followed her lead and leaped down from his horse, gathering all the remaining energy he had left to run. He then hastily pulled down the fabric that was on his head and immediately dived his face into the body of water. There, he closed his eyes. Letting the cold take over him. Embracing every second as if they were his last. A few seconds passed before he finally emerged, letting out a long and satisfied sigh. "Amazing? No, this is life saving!" He said to Nour happily while scooping a good amount of water with his hands. He then took a big sip from it and drank as much as he could while he was there.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Thu May 17, 2018 5:51 am

"I suppose it is" Nour said with a chuckle before diving underwater, enjoying the cool waters. After riding through the desert for a few hours, the water provided much needed relief. Eventually, Nour emerged from the water, her hair and clothes clinging to her skin. It all made her look like a vision of beauty, almost like one of the nymphs or muses that the Greeks spoke about. She made her way back to the shore, letting the water drip off of her. "It should not be long until we reach Natho, maybe another hour or so. I suggest you rest at the Roman camp, I will hide just outside the limits. As I promised, I will not kill any of your men, but some of them might get injured if they get in my way."

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