There are fates worse than death…
Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
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Chapter 32 – miracle
Illyara waited as the crowds gathered. She saw some cousins at the back of the crowd but stayed invisible. She moved quietly, avoiding the out flung arms and legs of the excited crowd, keeping to the edges until she was near the stone steps. A metallic smell emanated from the woman’s blood, pervading the air around the steps. Illyara instinctively covered her nose but she still felt queasy. She crept behind Sekhmet to stand by the door and waited for the ritual to end.
As before Sekhmet healed dozens of people saving the worst for last. This time it was a man with one leg. He hobbled up to the steps on crutches and two priests rushed down to carry him up. He had an arm around each priest, and couldn’t have weighed much under his rags. Even so, their faces scrunched with the effort. Behind them, another priest carried his crutches and handed them back up to him at the top of the steps.
Sekhmet gave a wintry grin. Illyara shivered beside her. There was no concern in the other woman’s expression. Sekhmet strode towards the man and bade him sit on a chair brought forward. He pulled up his trouser leg to reveal a stump, long healed over.
“No longer will this man be forced to beg.” She cried out. “Behold the power of Sekhmet!”
She slashed her arm once more, filling a chalice to the brim. She tottered but waved away a priest who moved forward. Another bowl stood ready, still half-full from the previous supplicant. She closed her eyes for a moment and handed the chalice to another brother standing by. The priest handed the cup to the one legged man. When he began to drink the first brother splashed the blood from the bowl over the old man’s stump. The crowd gasped. The man cried out in agony. As the crowd watched, bone started to jut out from his scarred flesh, spurting blood over nearby watchers. New muscle and skin quickly formed to extend over the glistening bone. Within minutes the leg formed before their eyes. The entire crowd dropped to their knees. There was no need to say anymore, Sekhmet turned and went inside.
Illyara followed the woman through the Temple into the corrider leading to the basement, keeping close so that she could pass through the door directly behind her. They passed guard after guard until they reached an ornate wooden door.
The woman stiffened just as she was about to open it and turned quickly. Illyara pressed herself against the cool wall. Her heart was racing. Had she heard her? Sekhmet cocked her head to one side then shook it. She opened the final door and Illyara followed closely behind.
The room was warm and dark and the smell! Lynsey had never mentioned the smell, it made her want to wretch. It was the same smell as outside. Illyara stayed near the entrance and watched as Sekhmet strode up to the dragon. His head rose an inch before settling down as if he didn’t care. What had they put him through? Sekhmet took a knife from a nearby table and slashed at the dragon. He barely whimpered. Bright red blood steamed from his arm falling on to a deep plate which caught it.
The woman lifted the plate and raised it to her lips. Illyara turned her head away as the woman drank. Her gulps audible in the stillness. Illyara looked again to see Sekhmet wiping away blood from her lips with a cloth and turn away to the door. Before she left she said two words.
Illyara waited a few more moments before moving. She skirted a table and stood before the dragon before letting herself be seen. He didn’t even acknowledge her presence.
“I’m so sorry.” She whispered.
That got his attention and great head swung to look at her.
“I know you can understand me. Lynsey said that you could. I need to tell you that we are going to get you out. I know you have been here too long but with Lynsey we have a chance to free you. They will come tonight under the floor and they will blast you out. I will go now. The next time someone comes in it will be to free you tonight. Will you be able to fly out?”
The dragon raised his head and she heard a chain clank on to the stone floor.
“Of course, you are chained. Let me help you?”
She took a knife concealed in her belt and placed it in the lock around its neck. The lock was stiff but she pressed hard and twisted. Her tongue protruded from her teeth as she concentrated until it clicked. She let out a sharp exhale in relief. She stood up, leaving it closed but unlocked. She then moved around his body and did the same with his legs and tail.
“You should be able to shake your chains off when you hear the first blast.”
He nodded as if he understood.
Illyara looked around the room and spotted a chair beside the table. She moved it so it faced towards the dragon. She sat down with the back to the door. She would be able to hear it opening.
“I have to wait until they open the door so I may as well tell you the history of our tribe since you left while I wait.
“We looked for you when you went missing. We left the oasis and went roaming. We promised we would never settle down until we found you.” She paused. “We searched for a hundred years before we heard about the Dragon Brotherhood. We came here but we couldn’t get to you.“ Tears streamed down Illyara’s cheeks. “It is our eternal shame that we could not free you until now.”
The dragon shifted until he faced her.
“We travelled and waited. We heard of the first Sekhmet that we think is the same one that hurt you earlier.”
“She was powerful and had armies. We could not have rescued you then. The power of Sekhmet has waned. The kings rose to challenge them and were for the most part kept in check by bribery and arms but now is the time when we can defeat her.”
There is a war with the others, the king is ambitious, the brotherhood is running out of money and we have a new Sekhmet!”
The dragon raised his head. She took it as a question.
“I’ve seen Lynsey heal, she talks to people in their own tongue and does not realize it. She even looks like Sekhmet in human form with her blond hair. If we do not succeed this time, we do not deserve to.”
A creaking behind told her the door was opening and she made herself invisible. She swiftly strode to the door and waited patiently while someone came in. It wasn’t the woman but a man carrying a plate full of meat. He laid it before the dragon and sauntered back to the corridor. Illyara followed him silently until she reached the main temple complex and then hurried out of the building. It took minutes to enter the building that Arkan had found them and she found Lynsey in the basement filling up mini-barrels with black powder.
“He will be expecting us.”
Lynsey nodded and placed a top on to the keg and nailed it shut. She placed her arms on to the new surface and smiled at her friend.
“We are ready then, we just need to put these barrels next to an outside wall in the temple and Kaboom no more wall. Grolmak should be able to just fly out. I just need some help with taking the barrels down the tunnel.”
“I will see if my cousins are available.”
Illyara rushed off and sped to the park. She was surprised to find everyone gathered in the main tent. Faroushk was standing in the circle talking but she could barely hear with the muttering around her. She pushed through until she stood before him.
“What is happening” She asked him.
“We are going against Sekhmet by doing this.”
“What are you saying?”
“We cannot stand against a god.”
“She is not a god.”
“Illyara, we saw her with our own eyes: how she healed those people. There were cripples there, people with no legs yet we saw them grow in front of us.”
“That woman is stealing from the dragon. I saw her drink his blood. If she were really Sekhmet do you think she would age like she has? That is an old woman.”
Faroushk paused and everyone looked at him to see what he would do next.
Illyara took over, “This is the only chance we have of defeating the Dragon Brotherhood. She is not the real Sekhmet. She is too old and she is using the dragon for her powers. She is a fraud. The real Sekhmet has no need for a dragon to heal.”
The muttering increased until they heard a voice from the entrance.
“I can heal too. If the dragon’s blood can heal others, I can too.” Lynsey stood in the doorway of the tent. Her face was flushed as if she had been running.
“We shouldn’t test the gods.” Illyara cried out but Faroushka overruled her.
“Yes we need to see this. How can we believe in something that we cannot see?”
Lynsey nodded at her friend and Illyara subsided. She never felt more ashamed of her people until that moment.
Faroushk pointed to the corner and called out for Edruter. An old man hobbled forward on a cane guided by hands. “We will see who is the real Goddess.”
“Has anyone got a knife” Lynsey asked.
A few knifes were offered and Lynsey took a small paring knife. She took a goblet that another offered.
Gritting her teeth she sank the knife into her wrist and let the blood flow into the goblet. It didn’t hurt that much she reflected. The goblet filled up a third before the gash healed up. She placed the cup between the blind man’s hands. They shook slightly but the man drew his hands up to his lips and drank deeply. Immediately they could see changes. The white covering his eyes were melting away and leaving the characteristic blue eyes of their tribe. He was silent for a moment before letting out a great shout. The goblet dropped to the floor and his family joined in hugging him. There were tears in his eyes as he turned back to Lynsey.
“I believe.” He said simply and then he went off to stand before his wife. Lynsey felt near to tears herself as the old man raised his hands to his wife’s face and traced its shape. Illyara knelt before her. One by one the others began to kneel until the whole tent was on their knees and Lynsey was the only one left standing.
“We will follow you. “ Faroushk said, looking at the floor. He then looked directly at her eyes and smiled. Sekhmet on Duat, we will follow you wherever it will lead.
Chapter 1 - Duat Chapter 2 - London - Present Day Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat Chapter 4 - Nomads Chapter 5 - Scorpion Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple Chapter 7 - Assassin Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade Chapter 10 - Kidnapped Chapter 11 - Rescue Chapter 12 - Modesty Chapter 13 - Banquet Chapter 14 - Arkan Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King Chapter 16 - Dragon Brotherhood Chapter 17 - Pico Chapter 18 – The Dragon Chapter 19 – Settling Down Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed Chapter 21 – Betrayal Chapter 22 - A Meeting of Minds Chapter 23 = Invisibility Chapter 24 - Desert Chapter 25 - Escape Chapter 26 - Gathering Chapter 27 - Search Chapter 28 - Temple Camp Chapter 29 - Decision Chapter 30 - Baserius Chapter 31 - Sekhment