ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 35 – MISSING (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 35 – MISSING

Arkan and Lynsey arrived back at the house to find it empty. The tables and gunpowder were still there but it was otherwise deserted.  Lynsey turned at Arkan.

“They must have gone back to the camp. They were supposed to stay here though.” Her voice trailed off.

“I agree,  it is indeed strange.“ Arkan poked his head down the tunnel but there was no light to show anyone was down there. “We must go back to camp. The rescue must happen tonight or we will have an irate dragon on our hands when he is freed. From your description that would not be the best option.“

They hurried across the city, Lynsey clutching her head scarf against the breeze. There were plenty of people in the streets but no one gave them any attention. The last thing they needed was for her hair to draw attention to them.

The park was some distance from the temple. She didn’t usually expect to see the city residents at this hour but usually there were nomads milling around among the trees. It was really quite and she noticed there was a tang in the air as they approached. There was no one around. Arkan began to speed up beside and she broke into a trot to keep up. The smell got worse and smoke pervaded the air. She gasped, what had obviously been tents were smouldering on the ground. Treasured cushions were scattered in the mud as if there had been a struggle.  Lynsey ran through the remaining  tents, shouting for Illyara. Arkan followed moments behind. The communal tent was still standing but it was deserted as well. Her heart sank and her arms dropped to her sides as she reached the centre. Someone must have found out about their plan. They were gone – all of them.

“There is no blood.’ Arkan’s voice was quiet.

“Sorry?”

“There is no blood and no dead bodies. They are alive. If they wanted them dead they would have left them here as an example.”

A rustle behind them made her twirl to see Mewlli appear near the threaded tent flap.

“They took them.”

“Who took who?”

“The King’s guards, they took everyone. I was coming back from the house and turned invisible before they could see me. They have Illyara.” His voice sounded small.

“Mewlli, it will be okay. We will get them back.”

Arkan pulled Lynsey aside. “How exactly are we going to do that?”

“We find out who betrayed us, why and how much they already know. If they don’t know about the explosives then we can still go ahead. Not everyone knows about our plan and those who do know wouldn’t tell. It might not be all bad.”

Arkan looked at Mewlli then back at Lynsey, sighing.

“They would have taken them to the palace it is the only place with cells big enough. I can’t see why they would want everyone unless it is to try and find you. If we go after them they will catch you.”

“If it wasn’t for me, Illyara and her family would be safe in the desert. They risked their lives for me.”

He sighed. “Lets face it, they want to use you to fulfil some prophecy which the Dragon Brotherhood probably gave them so they could justify their own Sekhmet. You don’t really owe them anything. ”

“I know, but I would have died, well maybe not died but it would have been a fate worse than death in the desert. I probably would have been a walking skeleton or something.” She shivered. “I don’t know how it would work but I can’t die.” She rubbed her arms. “I would be continually reset with only my Earth memories. If I die here my body will resurrect and I will lose my memories of this place, including you.”

“That may be but it will be dangerous to go into the palace. They will be expecting us. I can get in to the palace easily but the cells will be harder – unless…” Arkan’s voice tailed off. “There will be a guard on every corridor on every level.”

“We have to try.”

“Please.” said Mewlli.

The sun was high when they got to the palace and the majority of sensible people had found a reason to be inside. Lynsey and Arkan skirted the outer walls until they reached a secret entrance.

“Doesn’t the king know about all these security leaks?”

“Why should he? This castle is at least three hundred years old. There are dozens of ways to get in if you know where to look. The king thinks having guards at each public entrance is enough. He probably doesn’t stop to think about any other ways in unless he wants to bring in his mistress.” He pointed at a window hidden by a creeper. “After you?”

She smiled sweetly and hauled herself through the narrow gap. The space they entered was dark. Her nose wrinkled at the musty smell, nobody had used this entrance in a while. Arkan was already a few steps ahead so she drew up to stand beside him at the inner door. To her surprise, the door made the smallest sound as he opened it a crack. Considering the smell of the place she’d expected it to sound like a door in a haunted house. They peered into the corridor. There was no one there so they started moving through the palace.

“I think the best thing to do is to go below the cells and come up through them.”

She nodded and followed him down the stairs from the kitchen. It’s not like we can storm the gates she thought sarcastically.

“Where are we going? What could possibly be down here?”

The steps were steep and Lynsey had to keep one hand on the stone wall to steady herself. The deeper they ascended the quieter and cooler it got until a subtle blue light began to dance on the wall in front of them. The stairs stopped abruptly to reveal a large cavern with water spreading as far as she could see. Algae glowed on the cave ceiling and Lynsey saw pinpricks of light reflected against the back of rats eyes as they scurried along the edges – but Lynsey wasn’t paying attention to the rodents but at the cavern itself. The reflection against the water looked like constellations.

“This is gorgeous!”

“The king has his own source of water, this is was why the palace was built here all those years ago. I believe it was a village in its own right to start with.” He seemed immune to its beauty.

They skirted the wall. Lynsey was loathe to touch the slimy stone but the floor was treacherous from the water splashed by the rodents. Were they going to bring the children back this way?

As they moved up another set of steps, Arkan moved his fingers to his lips.

They crept through another door which led to a chamber loaded with implements. “Torture”. he whispered. She shuddered in response.

There was no guard on the next two doors and they crept through to the cells. The tribe were there, separated into men on one side and women on the other. They could see the children sitting on filthy straw in cells further along. Ghareg in the nearest cell was the first to see them and his broad smile told her that she had done the right thing.

“The guards are just outside the door.” He whispered. Lynsey nodded. Arkan pulled out a set of tools and started with the locks. It opened with ease and he moved onto the next one. The nomads rose and gathered by the door. He put his finger to his lips at each gate. Silently, they flocked in the centre of the room and Ghareg spoke. “They took Illyara somewhere else. It was Faroushk who betrayed us. He said if there were two Sekhmets it made sense that the one that was real would be the one who had the most worshippers.”

“Where have they taken her?” Asked Arkan opening the last cell.

“The king took her, she is held somewhere else. They were going to kill us one by one until she agreed to give you up and work for them. These people are animals.”

Contents

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
Chapter 32 - Miracle
Chapter 33 - Kathryn
Chapter 34 - Grolmak

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 34 – GROLMAK (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 34 – grolmak

Grolmak was dreaming. He was flying high in the clouds, the wisps of the clouds made his skin cool where they brushed him. The sun was hot and he rolled to feel the sun all around his body. He whooshed down to the ground letting himself fall until he almost hit the mountain top but then pulled up at the last second letting his great wings take the strain as he strived to go up. He went higher then dived again. The feeling was exhilarating. All too soon it was fading and he felt the dull heat of the cavern invade his senses. He felt his spirits sink as the cramps from sitting in a confined space reminded him of where he was. He kept his eyes closed trying to recapture the dream of his youth.

He heard Sekhmet walk in. He thought she could understand him in the beginning but he must have imagined it. She had hesitated the once and he thought she could but she’d shaken her head and continued. A brief hope dashed in seconds.

How long had he been here? He had no way of knowing. That girl had been interesting. It would have been better to share his imprisonment with someone, anyone, even a human.

He felt despair and anger but they faded as soon as they arrived. Nothing mattered his misery was complete.

Grolmek opened an eye.  Sekhmet was close, she was studying him like a spider. He might have done the same thing to the creatures he had studied during training but they weren’t intelligent. His body shuddered at the thought. To treat a thinking being like the way they treated him. He wasn’t even an animal to them just a source of blood.

She’d started talking.  Grolmek started to pay attention.

“…girl is like you.  She can heal but we don’t  know if she is exactly like you yet. ”

She means immortal, he thought. Did it matter? He wished she would go away.

“She was here again you know. Telling me that you are intelligent.  But we knew that already didn’t we?”

Grolmak stiffened. His eyes swivelled to look at her.

“Oh yes Grolmak.  I’ve known. It just wasn’t important to know. Would it have been easier if I talked to you while taking your blood?” Grolmek felt her soft ape hands slide over his back. She was stroking him!  He shuddered but remembered his chains were loose. If she found out…

“I need to know how you came here.  I am from the same place as the girl but I cannot heal without your help.” Grolmek snorted.

“I’ll see you in hell before I help you.” He snarled and tried to bite her. She stepped back easily as his collar jerked against the chain. Luckily it held. He berated himself. She was taunting him.

“You are obviously from a different planet. But the girl, she is from my planet and she has the same abilities as you. It must be the way you came here.”

She wasn’t even talking to him anymore. She reached out and touched his side.

Suddenly he was back on ilogac. The sun was hotter than usual and he was there to warn the Ministry of Weather.

“You must shut down  all energy sources for 24 hours.”

“We cannot do that. The president will be arriving this afternoon. He will not be able to land.”

The stone backless chairs were carved for their appearance rather than comfort.  Grolmak had been sitting in his for an hour before the Minister had even arrived. He should be glad that the Iloga had even turned up. Weather scientists were not high on the prestige list and the color of the Minister scales denoted he was of the highest ranks even before he achieved his position. Grolmak clenched his fingers tighter around the data crystals.

“You cannot be serious. His space ship will be a sitting duck. ”

“This visit has been scheduled for two years.  I do not think a simple solar flare should delay his trip. ”

“A solar flare can wipe out communications on this planet and we have an atmosphere! ”

“He is on his way. That is all.”

Grolmak scrutinized the minister. His blue scales glinted in the sunlight flowing through the pillars. They had been polished recently, betraying his narcissistic nature.  More interested in himself than his job, he thought. The other Iloga had already turned away showing there was no talking to him. Grolmak sighed. He had done everything he could do. It would be a matter of public record that he had.  He moved to the nearest pillars and dropped off the floor.

The Ministerial offices were built into the side of the tallest mountain in the province. Grolmak pumped his wings, feeling the pressure of the air. He rose slightly and he pumped again until he was again as high as he had been. He looked through to where the meeting had been but the floor was again empty. He shook his head and flew out clutching the evidence the Minister had refused to look at in his hands. He had one last chance to warn the president to delay his trip for a few days but it would take hours to get there.

The air was thinner at this altitude and it was difficult to catch the currents but one of his specialities was weather conditions and he knew which way the wind blew.

How could the Iloga be so stupid? If they didn’t implement protocols they would be cut off. They were the furthest outpost. They couldn’t do anything to jeopardise their position.  Taryk 55 would assume something was wrong when the president didn’t call in but that would take days. Who knew what could happen in that time. Emergency services would be inactive, schools would be closed.  Although he knew someone who would be happy with THAT. Grolmak’s razor sharp teeth flashed as he thought of his son’s delight if the school shut down.

Even if the ship landed safely,  the planet would be in to much turmoil to even think about the presidential visit.

A loud beeping filled the air and Grolmak’s eyes looked skyward. It was too late, it was starting. He had to get back to Frehal. He changed direction and slunk in the air, beatng his wings as fast he could. Clouds were billowing his way and he flew harder to stay ahead but more were coming from a different direction as he flew over a mountain range. Lightning danced in the clouds. He knew fear as a lightning strike went for him…

“So you both were hit by lightning.” Sekhmet mused. “Thousands of people get hit by lightning but not all turn up at the pyramids there must be something else that happens.”

Contents

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
Chapter 32 - Miracle
Chapter 33 - Kathryn

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 33 – KATHRYN (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 33 – kATHRYN

There were hundreds of them and they all believed she was Sekhmet. She marvelled at them. She looked at her arm but there was no sign of the cut she’d made. She let go of the knife and it dropped to the floor. Lynsey stared at the upturned faces. It wasn’t right. She ran out of the tent. The words kept rolling around in her head. This wasn’t right, this wasn’t natural. What had she gotten herself into? She ran hard and didn’t stop until she reached the city gates. Directly behind her Arkan kept pace but stayed a few feet behind.

As he passed through the gates she looked at the distant hills. The desert ran the other side. She could go and disappear. This was a turning point if she carried on, some of those people would be dead tomorrow. For what? For a traveller like herself trapped by religious nutters. This wasn’t his world or hers but shouldn’t travellers stick together? The nomads didn’t deserve to die though. It shouldn’t be their problem.

Arkan was still there waiting patiently. He was standing against the city walls. His foot was scuffing the earth scattering the sand. That was a man of contradictions. He professed to love her. He’d followed her when he could go and blend in anywhere. He was of this world and would survive whatever he chose to do – unless he joined this escapade and it failed. Did she love him? Every time she looked at him her heart did a little flop, her pulse raced and she dreamed of a life together. This man was an assassin. He might have killed hundreds of people. It was his job. Could she love someone who killed for a living? Was it any different than loving a soldier? Both occupations were dangerous and it was acceptable to marry a soldier so why not a government sanctioned assassin? Surely that was what soldiers were anyway?

She shook her head what was she kidding, she would follow him anywhere. She was trapped by the attraction she felt. She couldn’t imagine being apart from him and didn’t want to.

The plan could work but was just ever so dangerous. If it failed everyone of those nomads would be executed as traitors. If they succeeded the nomads would still be exiles. They would have to depose the king as well or he would use them as a means to grab more power.

Maybe there was a third way? Lynsey thought for a moment maybe the Sekhmet of the temple didn’t want to hurt the dragon. Maybe she didn’t realise it was intelligent and had feelings. If she could just talk to her!

Lynsey turned to Arkan. “I need to talk to the other Sekhmet.”

“Why?”

“I think we should give her a chance to help us. She may not understand what she is doing If I can talk to her, find out if there is a way to free the dragon without bloodshed. Surely that is worth a shot?”

“Lynsey, I am not sure. Sekhmet needs the dragon to stay alive. She has a vested interest in keeping him. If they have promised a prolonged life to the king so does he. I don’t think there is another way.” He moved closer. “You know I care for you and if you feel you need to do this before we commit ourselves to risking the lives of others then I will support you.”

Lynsey felt the heat of his body next to hers. She was grateful for his support. She needed to make sure and this was the only way.

They talked at length for hours about the best way to approach Sekhmet. She never left the temple but did leave the environs of the cavern each night. Sekhmet had a suite of rooms away from the other brethren in the outer regions of the Temple. Arkan had seen them when casing out the temple. They would go there.

It was easy to get into the temple even with the extra guards after the publicity that Sekhmet was alive and well. Arkan led Lynsey to a creeping plant to the north of the building. It was in shade and no one noticed while they crept up to the second story window. The window was in the pantry and rows of pots, urns, bowls and bottles were lined up neatly on each side of them. Arkan led the way and Lynsey followed quietly behind. There were very few guards on this side of the building. They were concentrated on the front door and around the entrances to the Dragon. They were clearly confident that no one would bother Sekhmet.

Sekhmet’s rooms were luxurious. There were silk drapes hanging from the ceilings separating different parts of the room. She had a large bed with more silk drapes hung on a wooden frame with colourful cushions scattered on the bed.

There was a bathroom, visible by an open door to their right and a desk and chair were placed before the window giving a view of the mountains in the distance.

Lynsey and Arkan decided to wait in the bathroom. It wasn’t long before Sekhmet glided in. While she had pleaded fragility outside in front of the populace, here she strode in with the grace and danger of a wild cat. She closed the door and hung her robe on the back. She was wearing a deep red dress that covered her from head to toe.

She sat at her desk and her head went up.

“You wanted to see me?”

Lynsey looked at Arkan. They came out and saw the woman smiling into a mirror they hadn’t noticed.

“Hello again.”

“Hello. I’m Lynsey.”

“I know. Have you come to kill me?”

“No! I just want to talk to you. Did you know that poor dragon is in pain and understands what you do to him every time you take blood?”

Sekhmet stood up and strode towards them. She stopped at the bed and regarded them. “Did you know that we are very alike Lynsey? Lynsey is not a common name on Duat but then neither is Kathryn. I had to change it to blend in. It is quite strange here. Don’t you think? We spend our lives on Earth just trying to muddle along, meet someone, look after them and die. It’s not a life I ever wanted.” Kathryn’s eyes blazed. Lynsey took a step back.

Here, life is what you make it. I came here in the 1820s. I suppose it is a little different now. “

“You are from Earth?”

“Why yes, obviously from an earlier time. I think we came by very different ways though. How did you arrive?”

“I was struck by lightning and found myself here.”

“Interesting, I came here by the way most people did. My father was an Egyptologist. He was fascinated with the pyramids. I wasn’t that struck but it meant delaying the whole getting married and having children noose. We were promised that we would be shown a pyramid never before seen. Virgin territory as it were. My father couldn’t resist and of course I joined him for company and to be his unpaid assistant. Look this is going to take some time. Why don’t I show you?” Kathryn darted forward and grabbed Lynsey’s arm. She felt the bracelet hit something metal. Lynsey’s eyes widened as she realized that Kathryn had a bracelet too. She felt herself toppling over into darkness.

“Father, can you trust the man?” Lynsey heard a voice say.

“You cannot be certain but he has never let me down before. We need the money, that damned bank will take the house if we cannot pay the death duties. Your debutante ball was a washout and we have received no offers for your hand. We need to take risks.”

Lynsey/Kathryn turned and caught her reflection on a window hanging on the bathroom wall. Her chestnut brown hair was tied up in a knot. Her blue eyes looked through a pair of spectacles and her dress would have been old fashioned even for then.

Lynsey tried to make Kathryn move but found she was a passenger and all she could was watch.

“Pico,” she called, but there was no response.

“I’m not sure about this father.”

“We have no choice.” Was his curt reply.

There was a knock at the door and Kathryn skirts swished as she went to open it. It was the short stout man that they were expecting. He led them out of the room down to some horses waiting outside. There were even more mosquitos out here than in the room. How she detested this place.

“What, no camels?”

Her father gave her a quelling look and Kathryn subsided. She was used to riding so she hooked her parasol on to the saddle and hitched up her skirts to get on the horse. They were already moving off by the time she was comfortable. She trotted to catch up to them.

They rode in silence for an hour over cold empty desert. Her reservations were taking on an even darker form while she imagined them to be murdered where no one could hear their screams and their possessions taken from the hotel room. The last laugh would be on them though as they had nothing of value to steal but they did not know that.

After a while she saw some men working in the distance. They were soon close and she could see an opening had been cleared in the sand. Underneath a cream awning, stone steps led to a corridor that went underground. She looked at her father whose excitement was barely contained.

Their companions motioned them to go down the steps.

“Father, where is Felippe?”

“He must have been delayed.”

“We can’t talk to them without him.” She said.

“It will be okay.” She followed him down the steps and discovered a long low corridor. They stooped and moved in deeper. Rooms covered in treasure like she’d never seen dazzled them as they descended. At a fork in the tunnel, her father pointed for her to go one way and he went another. She was reluctant but she walked down the incline until she came to a bare room. She pulled up her candle and noticed through the disturbed dust sparkling in the candlelight that there were pictures on the wall. She drew nearer to recognize Osiris. Her fingers began to trace the outline.  The colours were amazing. She touched the green of his skin and some paint crumbled against her fingers. She drew back horrified at what she’d done.

Suddenly she felt dizzy. She covered her eyes to blink and she found herself in another room. She cried out for her father but he didn’t answer. She twisted but it all looked unfamiliar. The room was bigger with only three walls. She felt frightened, all the more scary for being an unfamiliar emotion.

Lynsey felt herself topple again and found herself back home. Daytime television was on and she was wrapped up in her blanket with a bowl of cornflakes uneaten on the table. God she felt ill. Her very bones ached but she knew she was getting better so was happy. She had an extension on her dissertation and she would be able to finish her degree next year. Things were looking up.

Lynsey next found herself a few months later waiting at the bus stop.

Kathryn was discovering how she had got here she realized. She saw herself head for the trees and then the lightning strike coming down…

Back in the room, Lynsey looked at Kathryn who had stepped away to stand before the bed again.

“So.”

“So.”

“So you are from a long time ago. You can still stop hurting the dragon. His name is Grolmak.”

“I know.”

Lynsey looked confused. “Oh you know because you got it out of my memories.”

“No, I know because he told me.” Kathryn pulled her sleeve up her arm and the Osiris band became visible. “You are not the only one who can talk to dragons.”

“You know he is an intelligent thinking being yet you treat him like you do?” Lynsey’s voice was rising in incredulity.

“Why should that be any different from keeping slaves?”

“You can’t do that!”

“I think you’ll find I have been doing that for over two hundred years.”

Contents

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
Chapter 32 - Miracle

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 32 – MIRACLE (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

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.

“Thank you.”

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.”

He nodded.

“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.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 31 – SEKHMET (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 31 – SEKHMET

The party lasted two more days while the families reacquainted with each other. Now the important business was dealt with, the nomads showed a side Lynsey was not expecting. She walked through the camp with a permanent grin plastered over her face. The drink was flowing and they even accepted Arkan. He seemed to be able to blend in with wherever he found himself.  She watched him across the campfire as he threw back his head in laughter. He seemed more relaxed than she had ever seen him. She settled back, bringing the coral blanket tighter around her shoulders. A small voice invaded her thoughts.

You know he looks so easy in their company because of his job.”

“What do you mean by that?” Lynsey responded stifling a yawn.

He’s an assassin. It would not serve him well to stand out.”

Lynsey regarded Arkan again. Pico was right. It could all be an act. She bit her lip. Should she, could she trust him? What if he was in league with the king? Maybe he followed her to take her back. He did work for the man.

I’m not saying he cannot be trusted but Lynsey, you need to be careful. we don’t want to spend an eternity bleeding in a basement with a dragon for company.”

Pico had a point.

The tribes said their farewells to each other in good spirits. On the second night travelling, Lynsey grabbed a shawl from beside her cushions and stole out of the tent. She paused holding the tent flap open for a moment to see Illyara mumble for a moment before turning over to fall back asleep in a shaft of moonlight.

She wasn’t wearing her sandals and the sand felt cool under her feet. The camp was dark and the glory of the stars were undeterred by clouds. She would never get fed up of that view.

A few more feet away she found Arkan lying on a blanket. He was staring up at the night sky. He showed no sign he knew she was there. She lay down beside him without saying a word, looking at his profile. She placed her hands under her head and waited.  She hadn’t had a chance to talk to him since the night they found each other again. She twisted her neck to look up at the sky. She was close enough to feel heat radiating off him through his shirt in the cool air.

“They make you feel insignificant.” He said.

Lynsey stayed quiet.

“Have you been avoiding me Lynsey?” She heard him turn to look at her. She swallowed.

“I don’t know you.” She said simply.

He sighed. “I would do anything for you. I rescued you once remember. I could have a death sentence over my head. I have no idea if I do. I have risked everything for you.”

“You followed me from Ghinari.” It wasn’t a question but she had to be sure. This time it was Arkan’s turn to be silent as he looked away. After a minute he spoke.

“I thought you were gone. My career was over.” He let out a long sigh. “I didn’t know where you had gone but I needed to leave Ghinari – to disappear.”

“What we are going to do is very dangerous.” She replied. “If you are not sure…”

Arkan moved to lean on his elbow. He was facing her fully now. His long curly black hair fell forward over his chiselled features.

“Lynsey I will follow you wherever you want to go. I cannot go back working for the King. I love you.”

Lynsey’s breath caught in her throat. He’d said it. He clasped her nearest hand.

“Whatever you want, I will do it to prove to you that you mean everything to me.”

He seemed so sincere. She felt Pico shift in her mind as a warning. She wanted to believe him but the basement room with the dragon was her fate if she got it wrong. She struggled with the idea. Time would tell if he was telling the truth.

The trip back to Ghinari took another day.  They spent the day talking about their childhoods at the back of the caravan, avoiding thinking about the future. There was no point confronting him about her fears. If Pico was right then he would hardly admit to it. She kept thinking of the saying, keep your enemies closer. Her heart told her he was not her enemy but this was not her world, she had no one to rely on beside herself.  She had to choose her friends carefully.

Illyara weaved through her tribe to join them at the back. Lynsey hid a sigh of relief. It was hard trying to hide her confusion and Pico was not helping. He was literally the voice of reason in her mind and she did not want to hear it.

As they neared the city, they joined sparse groups of people. There was a mixture of people from merchants to the well-to-do but the closer they got  to the gates, all around people were pushed in wooden wheelchairs or hobbling on crutches. The closer they walked, the denser the crowds became.

The nomads drew together to avoid losing each other. She felt Illyara’s hand take hers and she grabbed Arkan’s hand to her left. It was a good thing that the rest of the tribes had split up, even with the crowds entering the city, so many nomads in their distinctive cowls in the same place would have been suspicious.

Lynsey turned to look at where Illyara was standing to stare at a distant cousin of her friend. She squeezed Illyara’s hand. All tribesman who had the ability were invisible to thin down their visible numbers. The yelks were also spaced out in the caravan so they could walk between them without being knocked into and discovered by another traveller.

As they entered the city itself, there was a festive mood among the crowd and people were singing and dancing on the streets. Men and women were openly drinking wearing their best clothes. Arkan grabbed a passing reveller.

“What is going on?”

The Temple have announced a new festival. Everyone has the day off.”

“What is the festival in aid of?”

“Two hundred years since the day that they were supposed to have captured the dragon.”

“Has everyone gone mad?” Asked Lynsey.

“No,” replied the man. “For the first time in one hundred and fifty years Sekhmet is coming out of the temple. She is really old but they have promised that she will heal the sick.”

“How does she do that?”

The man looked at her oddly. “With her blood of course. It is said that in ancient times she drank the blood of the dragon and became Sekhmet. She will be at the Temple at mid-day, every day for a week to heal anyone who needs it. I must go and get my mother.” He shook of Arkan’s hand and ran off.

“They must be draining the dragon. They must have heard that we are coming”

Arkan let him go. “We must go and see this Sekhmet and report to the others tonight at the park.”

“I agree.”

They pulled the hoods of their cloaks up and made their way through the streets avoiding eye contact with the revellers. Lynsey felt better knowing Illyara was beside her. If Arkan was going to betray her, now would be the time. Her heart began to race. She grinned, she had never felt so alive.

You are beginning to enjoy danger, Lynsey.” Pico observed.

“I know. I’ve changed a lot since coming here.” She whispered the next words. “Immortality will do that to a girl.”

Immortal yes, invulnerable no. You know what they have planned for you.”

It was a sobering thought. “Yes I do Pico. I remember.”

As they neared the Temple the crowds grew so thick it was almost impossible to go through. People were pushing and shoving to get to the front, trying to get a good look at the temple steps.

Arkan jabbed through a few people until they stood ten people back from the front near the edge of the steps. They had a good view but not to close they might come under the Temple guard’s scrutiny.

There was a long low note from a horn.

“It is beginning.” he shouted over the noise of the crowd. The double doors of the Temple were thrown open to the sound of the horn. A figure that Lynsey recognised stumbled through on to the steps supported by Baserius and another priest. Lynsey froze, cold running down her spine. She recognized that figure and voice. That was the priest from the dungeon.

“ … Sekhmet. I have drunk from the dragon and became an aspect of Sekhmet herself on this world.” The woman threw back her head and her hair shone silver in the harsh sunlight. “I was once blond like the lions. This is no more but I can still heal. Bring forth your sick and they will be healed by the will of Osiris and Sekhmet.”

Lynsey rolled her eyes. “She’s really lathering it on.”

“Lathering it?” Arkan’s voice was light and he leaned in to her hood. “What do you mean?”

“You know laying it on thick, making it more important than it is.”

“Healing is not a trivial matter. You can die from a cut.” Arkan looked back at the stage and back at her strangely. “You know if she can do it because of Dragon blood, you could probably do the same thing but you wouldn’t have to hurt anybody or anything to do it.”

Lynsey looked thoughtful. “I suppose so but I don’t know how she does it.”

As they talked people were lining up on the far side of the steps. Families were gathering with their ill members looking nervous as they waited in line. Sekhmet indicated for the first to come close and a man carried his daughter over to her and placed her before the woman on a chair. He spoke quietly and Sekhmet nodded.

“You see this child?” Her voice thick and raspy with age. “She has been in a coma for weeks after a carriage accident. The healers have not been able to do anything but I will heal her. I will first need an offering for my father Ra and brother Osiris.”

The man nodded and fumbled in his pockets. He offered a coin and a priest rushed forward to take it.

Yet another priest came forward with a gold knife and bowl. She took the knife and he held the bowl under her wrist. She looked up at the sky and started chanting.

“What’s she saying. “ Asked Lynsey.

“It will be old Egyptian.” Replied Arkan. “No one but the priest’s will be able to speak that.”

“Why can’t I understand it Pico?”

It’s not actually old Egyptian. I think she’s making it up.”

“Okay.”

The woman lowered then raised her arms to salute the sun and brought her right arm to just above the plate. With her left she took the blade and cut her arm. Blood bubbled to the surface of her skin and began to drip on to the bowl. As they watched the arm healed up until there was no sign that there had been any damage. She held her arm up the crowd to the sound of gasps.

The priest took the bowl to the girl and he nodded to the father who opened his daughter’s mouth. Sekhmet’s blood was poured in to her mouth and he closed it again.

A few seconds passed and then the girl began to twitch. She coughed and opened her eyes to smile at her dad.

“Father.”

A cheer went up in the crowd. Lynsey felt Illyara’s hand leave hers.

Sekhmet cured thirty people that day. Each one went through the ritual. Lynsey watched the rapt faces of the people around her. They believed. They would do anything for that woman right now. If anyone tried anything here then they would be set upon before they got within a few yards. Not that they could get any closer with all of the crowds.

Arkan took her hand and they walked away. It was time to join the others. By the time they got to the park it was already getting dark but they found the others easily. The park was full of strangers from outlying cities and villages but the nomads were gathered on the eastern edge of the park near the lake. They were greeted like long lost friends.

They found Illyara waiting with her parents. Within the tents there was no need to be invisible. The people seemed subdued.

“Did you go to see the Temple?”

“We did, there is a woman there who calls herself Sekhmet like you call me. She healed a few people and made a few more converts. I can’t see the city revolting any time soon.”

“We heard. She was there all those years ago when they captured the dragon. A woman fighter-priest was hurt in the capture and they slashed the dragon at the same time. His blood cured her. That is why they captured him. They must have found a way to prolong her life. They said she looked old though.”

“She did. If I didn’t know better I would say she was about eighty. She looked frail but I think that was an act because she definitely didn’t look frail when I met her in the Temple. Anything but!”

“Then the dragon’s blood cannot make her immortal only slow the aging process down. It will mean that she won’t be able to fight you very well. If nothing else if we fail she cannot last that much longer.”

“Two hundred years at eighty? If she would have lived to a hundred that would be twenty years at the old rate and a lot more at the prolonged rate.”

66.666 years by my calculations.” Pico helpfully supplied.

“She could live another 66 years at least!”

“We can’t get into the Temple. There are too many people and even when the festival has gone, they’ve made sure the city is loyal to them.”

“There is another problem,” Lynsey said. ”Even if we were to break into the Temple in some way the dragon wouldn’t fit through the door. The Temple must have been built around the Dragon.”

“If that is the case then it will be more difficult than anticipated.

“If only he could breathe fire like in the myths.” Lynsey joked. ”We need a demolition squad to get him out. Wait” An idea formed in her head. “Do you have explosives here?”

“I can see what you are thinking, Lynsey.” Pico was whirling around her brain like an excited toddler. Sometimes she forgot he was less than a month old.

“No, there is nothing that will blast the door open if that is what you mean. We have nothing that will heat stone enough to catch fire.” Arkan was laughing at her.

“In my world when they want to bring down a building they use explosives. It’s a powder that when you light it up, it explodes.”

“Do you know how to make this?”

“No, but I can work it out. I read a lot when I was younger there must be something there that will help me. Those years in chemistry class must have taught me something.”

We need somewhere with very thick walls to mask the sounds when I am experimenting and we’ll need somewhere close to the temple so we can dig under it. We can blast in to it and then use the explosive to get him out. We’ll have to be ready to leave when it happens. I don’t think ‘Sekhmet’ will be very happy for her source of power to fly away.“

“I know of just such a place that will be perfect for both conditions.’

Later that day, Arkan led them to a house opposite the temple. It was made from the same stone and once contained a shop on the ground floor and living space on the second. They entered through the back and moved straight into the basement.

“Is this good enough?”

“Perfect.” A quick look around the room and she said. “I need a working space; table, charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur and a pestle and mortar. We’ll also need picks, shovels and a lot of luck!”

“I can do most of that, I’m not sure where to get the Saltpetre from.”

“I read that you can get it from bat poo?”

“Bats?”

“I sometimes forget we’re not on Earth anymore.” She went silent to talk to Pico. “Pico, where can I get Saltpetre from?

It’s potassium nitrate. We don’t have any bats on this world that I know of. …which also explains why he hasn’t heard of bats. Aha, a website you browsed when looking up Guy Fawkes mentioned that it appeared in caves naturally and they used it in the American Civil War.” Pico showed her the computer screen in her mind’s eyes.

“I don’t remember looking at that!”

It doesn’t matter you did look at it and everything you did look at, I can show you again.

“Arkan, you can get the saltpeter from caves. It’s a white crust. When you get me sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal it is important they don’t mix. Do you know where to get the sulphur from?”

“Yes, they use it to dye clothes. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

While Lynsey was rearranging furniture, Mewlli arrived with a pestle and mortar and containers with lids. Behind him were several others each with a spade and pick. Lynsey pointed to the wall nearest the temple.

“We’re going to dig a tunnel into the temple to get to the dragon. We will then break down the walls so the dragon can escape.”

They broke through the foundations within hours. Lynsey wiped the sweat from her forehead. Working in this heat wasn’t pleasant but he had to show that she was prepared to do the hard stuff as well.

Arkan came back as promised with a sack each of what she asked for.

“How did you find the saltpetre?”

“I realised that the farmers might have used it for fertilizer so I took a bag from the warehouse. It shouldn’t be missed.”

Lynsey picked up a scoop and took a scoopful of the saltpetre and ground in the mortar with the pestle and put the ground powder into a container. She did the same for the other two powders.

“I need a spark to show how this will catch fire.”

Arkan brought out a fire drill and produced hot embers. He dropped them into the container and there was a whoosh.

The boys in the corner exclaimed and carried on digging faster.

They dug all night and all morning until they heard people gathering outside for the Sekhmet ritual. Several of the men went out to watch while the others carried on. A few hours later and some of the men did not come back. Lynsey worked combining different portions of the mixture until she got the best result. There was a shout and Mewlli came up from the tunnel.

“We’ve done it. We are underneath the tunnel. What now?”

“I need Illyara to do her bit.”

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 30 – BASERIUS (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 30 – baserius

Baserius gripped his pen until his knuckles went white. One night. It had taken one bloody night for them to lose the girl. They were a bunch of imbeciles. He was furious. It was not only that Lynsey was gone but that he had been wrenched from the ritual before its completion. His jaw jutted forward as he gritted his teeth. Things were starting to unravel. Without the girl they wouldn’t be able to find the pyramids. Another source of the elixir was gone and the Brethren had seen a ritual incomplete but there would be no consequences. A hundred years of tradition was in jeopardy.

The catalogue of problems the brothers were recounting was not serving to quell his temper only fuel it. The brother talking carried on oblivious.

“During the fire she escaped on the yelks.”

“This should not have been enough for her to escape.” Didn’t you even put a guard on her tent?”

The priest looked nervous. “We did but she escaped by digging a hole in the sand. She had to have had help.”

*How did she have help?” Baserius voice took on a silken quality.

“One of the guards was overpowered by her. She can fight in a way never seen before with just her hands and body. The guard saw another female with her. She looked like a nomad.”

“illyara.” So that is where she got to. ”Didn’t you think to check your hirelings for anyone that could betray us?”

“We only had the night to prepare, sir.” The priest looked to his friend for help but none was forthcoming. “In any case we employed no women. She did not travel with our camp.”

“So she followed with her tribe. Even the nomads, think twice before entering the desert alone.”

You did send someone to follow them and bring them back I take it?”

The other Brother coughed and answered.

“There were no footprints and we have collected all the yelks. They are nowhere to be found.” He lowered his gaze to the ground.

Baserius thought for a moment his gaze looking through the men in front of him.

“There is no doubt it was the nomads then. They must think they have their Sekhmet. That is unfortunate. We started that myth to keep them in their place not to incite them to a revolution.” Baserius stood up suddenly, forcing the two priests in front to jerk up on to their feet. The pen he had been holding fell to the floor. “I think it is time to bring out our own Sekhmet.”

“Is that wise Sir?”

Baserius’ head whipped around at the audacity of the man.

“Are you questioning my judgement?”

The man’s face turned pale and he took an involuntary step back. Baserius ignored him, his gaze returning to the distance.

“I believe it is time for our leader to come out of retirement.” The priests prostrated themselves on the floor and left. The sounds of the camp dismantling outside disguised their departure. Before they left to return to Ghinari he would need to implement a gruelling ritual, partly to appease the Gods but also to distract his people. The last thing he needed was anyone thinking.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 29 – DECISION (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 29 – DECISION

There were seven tribes, Lynsey was told. A whirlwind of new faces flew past her over the next two hours. The wizened old elders introduced themselves to her first. They discussed what they wanted, their histories and their fears. They were tired, she could see that in the dancing light from the campfires. Tired of the nomadic life but there was a glow about them, they were happy at an end in sight. They touched her arms, her shoulders and her face in gratitude.

She didn’t mind she was surprised to find. At home she shied from close contact. It felt fake there but here – these people were genuine – kind, they meant no harm. As more and more nomads introduced themselves, cousins all. She did not feel a stranger but part of their family. Her muscles ached from the smiling and she could feel Pico getting restless in the back of her mind. There had been something missing in her life for so long and she hadn’t known what it was. A sense of purpose had eluded her until now. Maybe this was what she was born for. Maybe there were no accidents. How could you be an accidental immortal anyway? Pico was right. Who knew how many years they would be on this planet before she found her way home? Even if that were possible. She may never see her family again but she could have another. These people could be her family in this world. She felt a sense of belonging that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

They talked until the first fingers of daylight crawled along the ground towards the oasis and Lynsey was shattered. She could barely keep her eyes open but she felt that she needed some time alone. She stifled a yawn while she stood up, apologising to the elders she was talking to and went for a walk. She moved further into the densely packed trees to find herself back in the spot where she had met Illyara. Even in the dark the oasis was a beautiful place. The darkness lent an air of mystery that soothed her soul. The only sounds she could hear were the occasional splash as an animal took a drink or hunted for food. There was nothing that could harm her here – not with the tribes so close. She relaxed and sat on a fallen tree. She lay back against a vertical jutting branch for a few minutes staring at the quiet water. It was so peaceful here. No one came to disturb her and she felt her thoughts turn to some sort of order. She had better be careful or she might find herself with a God Complex. Then again what was a god? The Pharaohs had called themselves gods, why couldn’t she?

“You can as long as you don’t begin to believe it.“ Pico replied.

“You’ll always be there to ground me won’t you.” She thought, sending little tendrils of pink thoughts to Pico to show she meant it in a nice way.

“I will. There is someone behind us by the way.”

Lynsey tensed. She just wanted a few moments to herself. Was that too much to ask? If she carried on looking at the water maybe they would take the hint and go away? Unfortunately whoever it was, decided to ignore the sign. She heard the rustle of leaves draw near. She was surprised how quiet the person was. The nomads had been moving through the oasis like a herd of elephants tonight.

“Spirits will do that to a person.” Was Pico’s dry thought.

“Look, I really need some time alone to have a think.” She said without turning. There was no answer so she looked up.

Arkan stood beside her gazing out on the water. Her heart swelled and she smiled involuntarily. He had come for her. But how?

“I thought I’d lost you.” He said.

“Me too.”

Arkan pulled her up towards him, gently taking her chin in his hand.

”I don’t want to lose you again. I’m sorry, I should have just taken you away at the ball.”

“I wouldn’t have gone. I don’t think either of us realised the danger.”

“You can’t go back. Come away with me. There are some islands to the west where no one has gone before. We can go exploring together”

Lynsey regarded him for a second. There was nothing she wanted more than to go with him, to leave it all behind but she had made a commitment. Besides she couldn’t betray her new family.

“I can’t. I promised I would free the dragon.”

“The dragon, the one in the Temple?”

“How did you know about that?”

“The king was sent a book by the brotherhood detailing their history and it mentioned a dragon. When I realised what they did to it, I ran to save you but they had already taken you.” He dropped her chin and turned to face the water again.

She looked out to see a small rabbit like creature move to the edge of the water. His voice startled her to look back at him.

“They use the blood to stay alive longer. They promised the king a share of the elixir in exchange for you. You would have been put in with the dragon and bled for an eternity.”

Lynsey took a sharp breath. She believed him. Baserius had been unable to look her in the eyes whenever he spoke to her. The other brothers avoided her. Now she knew why and it wasn’t because she was a woman. How many of them knew what they planned for her? She shuddered in the gloom.

He grabbed her shoulders, “Come away. This fight is not yours! We can go away and be free!”

“No, what if it had been me captured all those years ago? The dragon needs a friend. You can join us.”

Arkan made as if to say no, but the life he had planned when he thought he had lost her seemed foolish now. He wouldn’t be able to forget her. If he didn’t help her now and she was captured or somehow killed then he would never forgive himself. He watched as the soft light of the sunrise danced on her features. The exquisite beauty of a new morning blended with the bravery of the legendary lioness god on the pin he wore on his shirt. He had sworn to serve Sekhmet. This girl was the living embodiment of the God and he loved her. He would go wherever she would lead him.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 28 – TEMPLE CAMP (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 28 – temple camp

Arkan’s body swung from side to side in a rolling motion. He woke to find his thoughts buffeted by clouds of uncertainty. He lay there, thinking through cotton wool, enjoying the sensation of movement until he felt the first stirrings of a headache forming. Within seconds he went from comfortable to his head pounding. The sunshine heating through his black clothing was no longer a pleasure but torture. Thirst assaulted his mouth, forcing him to open his eyes, almost gagging with his need for water. He blinked in the harsh light, sitting up to cough while rubbing his eyes at the same time. The movement unbalanced him and he fell down again under the Yelks uneven gait. He tried again. Where was he? He was still thinking through a thick fog. Before he could piece together the previous night, he found himself pitching forward out of the hammock to land face down in a pile of sand.

A burst of laughter greeted him and he propped himself up on his elbows, spitting out dry sand. Who was that! A burst of pain throbbed in his head at the movement and he pushed a palm in to his forehead. He obviously wasn’t in mortal danger or he would be dead already. Gods, he hadn’t drunk that much in years. He groaned audibly. He didn’t care who heard him. Acid rose in the back of his throat. He felt as sick as a dog.

The laughing was attached to a long shadow. The shadow ended at expensive brown boots. He stretched his neck out following the sound up. Who in all the hells was that? He reached for his sleeve but fought the impulse to test his blades before he pulled one out. Didn’t the man know who he was?  The hangover pounded in his head with renewed vigour and he squinted harder. A young man dressed slightly better for an expedition than he was, in light loose clothing which looked like it came from a fashionable tailor, stood watching him. Arkan’s curiosity got the better of him.

“How are you prepared for this trip? How did you know about it? The brothers were only recruiting last night. You didn’t have time to go to a tailor.”

The boy looked at him, still laughing and shook his head. “No, I was going to join a nomad group and go exploring with them. It was either that or join the army. I needed to get out of the city for a while and the brotherhood offered me a way.” He held out his hand, pointing with the other. “Come on, we’ll be left behind if we don’t watch it.” The yelks were already several feet ahead of them.

“My name is…“ Arkan thought for a second stumbling to his feet. He changed his mind. His name was a little too well known in Ghinari. “Finton, Finton Wylde.” Arkan took his hand and they clasped like old friends.

“My name is Ryen Bergarde. How do you do.”

“Southerner?” Enquired Arkan.

“How did you know?”

“You are just too polite to have been born and brought up in Ghinari.”

“I see your point.” the man began to laugh again.

Arkan stayed at the back with Ryen all day. It was nice not having to worry about doing anything. Just do what you’re told with no expectations. It was like being a lowly palace guard again. The man was good company. He seemed to have memorised hundreds of jokes and while the majority of them Arkan didn’t find funny, they did lighten the day.

Through the miles he had ample opportunity to look around as they walked. The sand dunes in the distance stretched to the horizon. Closer, the guards recruited the night before were easy to spot, even though they were heavily outnumbered by the Brethren. Spread throughout the party there were about twenty guards in all. Their dour expressions made him happy he had paired with his new friend.

“Why are you here?” Ryen asked, bringing Arken out of his reverie.

“I needed to get away too.”

Ryen nodded and went quiet and they walked on in companiable silence.

The company began setting up camp long before sunset. When Arkan saw them unloading the yelks he realised why. They had brought luxuries from home which had no place in a desert. Why would you bring real beds? He could only shake his head at their idiocy. Still there were no beds for the guards, just bed rolls which had seen better days. Did they steal them off the homeless? He picked up his with distaste.

“Where did they get these from, the time of the pharaohs?”

Ryen held his up with thumb and forefinger, inspecting it. “It does smell like it my friend. It is a good thing I brought my own.“

That was the second time Arken could have cheerfully taken his blades out.

Around them, the other guards were helping the Brothers erect smaller tents for men like them while larger, spacious abodes were put up for the priests.

A parade of cushions, bedding, beds and even tables were carried passed them. Arkan took a step back. Maybe it would be better if he found somewhere to lie low until everything was ready.

“You there.”

Arkan looked behind him but the brother was obviously talking to him.

“Sir?”

“Yes, you. Pick up some firewood from Brother Dhras and start building a fire for dinner.”

Arkan bristled but he pushed his annoyance down. He didn’t want to give the brother an excuse to send him away. They were still close enough to Ghinari that it was a possibility.

He found Brother Dhras unloading some sticks from one of several yelks who carried them. The number of yelks had ballooned to about fifty while he had been asleep. The brother pointed to the wood on the floor and turned back to unloading the yelk. Charming, he thought, Then he realized, he must have taken the vow of silence. Grumbling under his breath Arkan lifted a handful and carried them to the centre of the camp where a nascent fire was burning.

Arkan dumped the wood from his third trip to the yelk on to the ground and wiped the sweat off his forehead. Even though the sun was low in the sky, it was still warm. The breeze coming from the west was welcome. If he was honest with himself he wasn’t used to this kind of labour. His hand froze in mid-air as he caught sight of blond hair reflected in fire-light. Lynsey was here? He dropped behind a man wrestling a cook pot into place over the fire and scrambled over the sand to hide behind some urns. He watched her from across the flames.

What in all the hells was she doing here? Maybe fate was telling him there was a chance for them after all. It was ridiculous but he couldn’t help but hope. Arkan grabbed the edge of his hood, pulling it up with a swift movement as he hunkered down. The cook gave him a curious look but the water was starting to boil and he turned back to throw a handful of oats in the pot. Arkan peaked around the man to get another look, then another double-take. It was definitely Lynsey. Should he tell her he was here? Before he could decide, Baserius moved into view and Arkan dropped down again. What was he doing here? This was all he needed. He glimpsed Baserius directing her to a tent as they walked past and Arkan scurried backwards to keep out of sight. He wasn’t ready for him to see him yet. Standing up he pulled his hood down as far as it would go and walked in the opposite direction. He was going to have to find a job to do at the other side of camp.

Brushing the yelk down, he danced back as the great head rounded to bite him. Not this time my friend, he thought. His upper arm from the previous two nips was still throbbing. His mind raced. How could he rescue her? If he escaped with her now, he wouldn’t be able to find his way back. He would have to bide his time and rescue her when they got to their destination or when they got back to Ghinari he concluded. He couldn’t let what happened to that dragon in the story happen to her.

That night he grabbed his bed roll from the tent floor. Ryen rolled over on his.

“What are you doing?”

“I want to sleep with the stars tonight.”

“I know what you want to sleep with and it isn’t the stars. I saw you looking at that blonde girl earlier. Leave it, she’ll be nothing but trouble, besides she’s too skinny and her skin is too light. It would be like making love to a ghost.”

“Ha, ha. It has nothing to do with her. I do not like to feel confined.”

“And, I do not believe you, my friend. I heard that this expedition is to find the riches of the pyramids. It should be easy to liberate a jewel or two and then you can have any girl you want in Ghinari. Although I would be surprised to hear you have any trouble judging by how the woman were looking at you as we left Ghinari. It was like sweet nectar taken from a baby!”

Arkan refused to dignify him with a response.

Moments later, Arkan sat in the shadow of a tent taking a sip from a flask with a full view of her tent. Maybe he should let her know she was here? He discarded the notion. No she could betray him without realising and that would put them both in danger.

He followed the same pattern for a week. He lay on the bed roll at an angle to see both the front and back of her tent. He lay there looking up at the stars when he heard a sound he couldn’t identify coming from her tent. He twisted to see sand mysteriously moving by itself. He watched fascinated. How was it doing that? Was there a burrowing animal there? Why had it picked Lynsey’s tent? He continued to watch and was surprised to see her come out a few minutes later with Illyara. He was even more surprised to see a little boy disappear in front of his eyes He rubbed his them, but he was no longer there. The boy had appeared and then disappeared.

They crept past Arkan, not noticing him sitting in the shadows in his black clothing. He watched impressed as Lynsey dispatched a guard with ease and silently got up to follow them when the fire started. Keep your eyes on the girl he told himself. Everything else is a distraction.

They were clever these nomads. He watched as they wiped away their footsteps as they walked and who knew they could disappear like that?

He kept in the distance, crawling on the sand so they wouldn’t see him. Copying them, he waggled his legs behind him to level the sand. Hours later, before he knew it, he saw them go into another encampment. He wasn’t sure about the reception he would get so he waited outside, sipping from a skin that hung around his waist. He didn’t know how long he would have to stay there or how long his water would last.

 

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 27 – SEARCH (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 27 – sEARCH

Arkan reached the Contee ball to find Lynsey had already gone. He scanned the crowd for her unusual blond hair. Where was she? He spotted the king in the distance with his attendants but didn’t cross the floor to join him. One of the King’s guards was handing him his cape. Good, he was planning to leave.

Arkan kept to the opposite side of the room, making sure there were dancers between him and the king’s entourage at all times. He had a feeling that something wasn’t right when he first stepped into the ballroom and he trusted his gut instinct enough to not risk talking to the king until he knew why he felt like he did. Usually, men flocked around Lynsey and her companion like flies to a yelk but there were no clusters of men and nearby disgruntled ladies. She was notable by their absence.

He moved from room to room, chatting to a lady here and a gentleman there. If the king didn’t suspect anything he had to keep up pretences. He fared no better upstairs. The muscles in his face and belly tightened. He was beginning to feel jumpy. No one was willing to tell him what happened. He knew she was coming tonight and not even Luna would arrive this late. He couldn’t even find the servants he kept on his payroll. A shiver of uncertainty swept through him. The king couldn’t know about all his informants. They were either avoiding him or worse. He didn’t want to think about that fate. Spying on the king was treason.

Then he spied Jarek hovering near a doorway. He beckoned the man with his finger. The man blinked and hurried forward, picking up a jug and a glass from a nearby table as he bypassed courtiers with ease.

“Do you know where Lady Walker is?” Arkan was careful to keep his voice light. The man’s bearing showed he was nervous.

Jarek began to pour into the glass. “She was taken by the King’s guards, Sir.”

“How long ago?”

“More than a half hour. Is there anything else?” He offered the glass.

Arkan burned to ask more questions but he didn’t want to delay the man any more than he should. There were already a few curious glances directed their way.

“Do you know where they took her?”

“I’m sorry Sir, I heard nothing from them that would give her location away.” Arkan inwardly seethed but he knew Jarek would tell him if he knew anything. He took the glass and waved the back of his other hand as if the man was of no consequence to him. Jarek nodded, relaxing his shoulders as he walked backwards a couple of feet before turning to take his place again.

Arkan took a draught from the glass and sauntered to the window. He leant against the ledge, letting the cool breeze ruffle his fringe. The sound of shorn hooves on pebbles drew his attention down and he gripped the stone hard as he recognised who was there. In the courtyard, the king was stepping into a small carriage. It was only large enough to carry one occupant. There were a couple  of shouts and the horses began to trot away from the house with the guards running alongside. These were the elite guards he noted. Their black uniforms resembled his own. He shivered and took another sip of his wine. They were the only men that Arkan was wary of. He had been bested many times in mock combat by one of their guard when training. In the darkness, when wearing black, they were practically invisible. The only warning of their arrival were the whites of their eyes.

Arkan tore his gaze from the empty courtyard. Lynsey wasn’t here and she wasn’t with the king.

Arkan put his glass down with regret. It was a good vintage but he needed to clear his thoughts. He ran down and around to the back of the building where his horse was waiting, still saddled from his arrival. He stopped between the horse and the wall and pounded his fists on the stone in frustration. They must have taken her to the Temple. It was the only place they would go but there were far too many guards to deal with on his own. He hissed and threw back his head as his knuckles sent shooting pain to his brain in revenge for their beating. He gritted his teeth and sucked his hand. He needed to find Luna.

He re-entered the palace but again no one knew or would admit where she was. Jarek was nowhere to be found either. Probably the wisest course of action mused Arkan. Lady Khaen gave him a small wave  by the buffet table and he smiled back.

“My lady, you look beautiful as always.” She giggled as he knew she would.

“Thank you Arkan. Are you looking for Luna? She left moments after the king. But,” She moved closer letting him get a good look down her low cut bodice. “I am still here.”

If he had not met Lynsey, he would have been tempted. Her skin reminded him of the best dark chocolate. Her hazel eyes promised him anything he wanted – all he had to do was ask. But she was of the Contee family and if he had learnt anything from his youth, it was not to mess with one of the most powerful families in the land.

He bowed to thank her and kissed her hand lingering for a moment. Her perfume was heady.

“My lady, I am on the King’s business this night. I would give a ransom to spend time with you, but I must go.”

She narrowed her eyes. Had she noticed him avoiding the king earlier? Arkan straightened letting her hand fall from his.

“Another time, my lady?”

She nodded and he relaxed. That was close. That would be all he needed, to insult a Contee. He bowed again and rushed off.

An uncomfortable idea crept into his thoughts as he rounded a corner. Had Luna had something to do with Lynsey’s kidnapping as well? He ran back to his horse and jumped on her, wheeling her around in the direction of Luna’s house, He sped down the road as if a horde of devils were after him.

He pulled on the reins at the entrance to Luna’s driveway. His horse whinnied but acquiesced, bending down to eat some fresh grass growing against the gate.

The moonlight was bright and he could see the house clearly from his vantage point but there were no lights in the house. He sat on the horse and contemplated the dark building. It wasn’t just that there were no lights in the reception or bedrooms but there wasn’t illumination in any of the rooms. Not even the servants’ quarters. The uncomfortable thought resurfaced. Was she part of the new alliance? Who else was? Could he trust anyone? One man could not go against the King, Baserius and the closed ranks of the nobility. He thought he could count her as his friend. He felt betrayed. Still, he knew it wasn’t her fault – that she couldn’t have done anything else if asked by the king. She had taken a risk helping as much as she had. She held her power at the aegis of the king. If she went against him then she would lose her position and possibly money judging by her husband’s business. He berated himself, he had been foolish to trust her. He knew her circumstances, her capabilities. He had known them before he had contrived to meet her. She was one of the strongest women in all of Ghinari but even she had to bend her principles in the face of survival. She was gone, there was nothing he could do about that now. He needed a drink.

Arkan made his way to the Dragon Arms. It was a small inn with a clientele that didn’t ask questions as long as you didn’t ask them first. Turning his jacket inside out to look scruffier and kicking loose mud off his shoes on the front step he regarded the tap room with caution. It was full of the usual suspects. Perfect, he thought with an inward smile. No one would bother him here. He slunk down, altering his posture to bend into a stoop and drew his hood over his head. He moved through the crowd, affecting the clumsy walk of someone who had already imbibed too much. He strode with an aggression he didn’t feel but needed to display. The music was loud and jarring but strangely soothed his nerves. Seeing a target, he barged into the arm of a young man he judged to be about twenty, half-way between a boy and a man. He fingered the tip of a knife up his sleeve even though he knew he would not need it. The youth dropped his drink on his companion who squealed as the red liquid ran down her pale yellow skirts. A woman of substance, Arkan thought, surprised to see the quality of her dress and nobility of the woman’s accent as she yelled at the boy. He must be trying to impress his new girl. Was it a bet? Arkan looked again at the rich cut of the young man’s cloth. He should not have brought her here. No matter how much he wagered. A cleaning bill was he least of his worries if he interacted with the wrong people here. He was doing the idiot a favour. The boy turned ready to throw a punch but Arkan was ready with a snarl, using all the pent up emotions he had been holding back over the last few days. The boy pulled back his arm. Just try, Arkan thought, daring him with his eyes. The youth hesitated, looked from him to his companions for moment and then apologised. Maybe the boy would reach twenty one after all. Arkan growled at his circle of friends daring anyone else to intervene. There must have been something in his expression because they didn’t.

He moved past and selected a table where he could sit with his back to the wall. He leant against the cool stone letting the open fire heat his bones from the front. He half opened an eye-lid.

“Ale!” He shouted at a passing wench, closing his eye again. Wench. What a horrible word. Before tonight he would have thought nothing of using it, he mused darkly. One chit of a girl and he was questioning everything. Nothing seemed solid. The ancient rivalry between king and brotherhood was over. Luna had disappeared and the woman he loved captured and maybe killed. He jerked cutting his fingertip on the blade he was playing with. Did he love her? He sucked his finger out of habit. He rolled the idea around in his brain. Could he love someone he had only known for a few days? She was attractive but so had so many women he had bedded over the years and he had never even remotely felt the emotion he did for this girl.

The serving woman came over and planted a flagon on the table with a bang and waited patiently for him to notice. He let her wait for a moment, savouring her annoyance, knowing she was waiting for a tip. He opened an eye and looked blearily at her before handed over a coin. She sneered at it but took it anyway sashaying over to a man with richer clothes and a looser purse.

Arkan took a swig and pictured Lynsey as he had last seen her. Her long blond hair flowing down her back. Her dress hinting at the delights under it. His pleasure at her touch still taunted him and the pain when she broke away. Gods, he wanted to protect her.

Three flagons later and he was slowly falling into the numb state he craved. He barely registered when some brothers walked in but the level of sound in the room dropped. Arkan raised his head from his arms looking for the source. He noted one of the brothers was talking to the man he barged into earlier. He was offering work for an expedition. Did they not see the boy’s clothing? He had no need for money and while an adventure would impress the girl, if he left, another would take his place over the months when he was gone.

Why not? He thought in a drunken stupor. Maybe he needed a career change. It’s not like he changed anything when he did kill anyone. If he removed a criminal another took his place and that was if the man or woman was bad. The soft hand of guilt was massaging his conscience. How many of those he had killed were just obstacles in the king’s path?

He’d never thought about it before. Training will do that for you, he thought darkly. When had he ever had the time to think it through? You like the luxury of the job the small voice of his conscience informed him. It wasn’t that but no one had ever told him to think differently before Lynsey. He’d always taken what he wanted when he wanted. That is what everyone did if they could. It wasn’t wrong. Then why did he want to protect her so badly?

The brothers had also come to the wrong place, Arkan thought with humour. No one here would lift a finger for an honest day’s wage and less than that was what they were offering. The honour of Sekhmet was worth Jack shit here.

About to ask for another flagon of ale, Arkan paused. Lynsey was gone, the king had to know he was the one that rescued her the other night and if he didn’t Luna would probably tell him. He needed to get out of town. Maybe this was the answer. Get a guard’s job for a couple of months and then come back when everything had blown over. He had enough money that he could buy a parcel of land out in the country and no one would come looking for him. Lynsey was gone and there was nothing he could do about it but make sure he didn’t suffer the same fate but he did need to disappear for a while just in case. He put his flagon down and stood up almost toppling as the waves of drink rose to his head.

He stumbled out of the inn with the door slamming behind him. A brother straggling behind the others ahead turned at the noise. Arkan raised his hand in a half salute.

“I’ll take your money.” He slurred.

The other brothers turned, looking disgusted at his state but the closest, moved nearer wincing at the smell of ale on Arkan’s breath.

“He’s a drunk.” One of the brothers whispered.

I can hear you, Arkan thought, thinking better of saying it out loud.

“We don’t have a choice.”  Another hissed. “We have hardly any volunteers. Do you want to tell Baserius?”

The man curled his lip at the picture Arkan made before him. Arkan held his breath. Would they take him? Did he really care? Before he had a chance to think any more on the subject, the first replied to him.

“Sekhmet thanks you.” He said striding forward and placing a pin on Arkan’s shirt “Be at the city gates by dawn. We leave at sunrise.”

“Absolutely, count me in.” He saluted again.

Arkan looked down at the pin on his front. It bore the figure of a woman with a lion’s face. He heard the brother walk away in the direction of another tavern.

He traced the lion’s mane surrounding the face with his finger. He may as well make his way there now. There was nowhere for him to go here. Home was not safe and he had everything he needed to survive. A blade or two and his wits. Arkan followed the brothers from a distance, keeping to the shadows out of habit. They went from inn to inn but only seemed to manage to get one maybe two recruits at each place. It was a poor showing and it showed how the Temple’s influence had deteriorated over the years.

Once they had enough men, they returned to the temple and he saw the recruiters help their brethren to put together the caravan for the trip ahead. He lounged in the doorway of the inn down the street. His hood was still up and he played with his blade in his hand as he watched. He was beginning to sober up and was starting to feel the shadow of a headache forming.

When they left the building he followed them to the city gates where they began loading the yelks with the provisions they brought from the temple.

There were about fifteen yelks and a few were already loaded up. He could offer to help with the rest he thought, but no, he hadn’t been hired for that. Between two yelks he spied a cloth hammock which was strapped around each yelk’s belly. It was filled with cloth and looked very inviting, the luxuries that some in the brotherhood could not do without. Stifling a yawn Arkan climbed up and snuggled between bags of bedding. Perfect and he wouldn’t even be forgotten. Thrilled with his cleverness he fell asleep with a smile on his lips.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 26 – GATHERING (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 26 – GATHERING

As the orange fingers of dawn crawled along the desert landscape, the tribe broke camp. Lynsey had already swapped the garish dress the Brothers had given her for one of Illyara’s. It was definitely more suited to walking distances but then sitting on a yelk meant the long dress hadn’t been a trip issue with the Brothers. She rubbed her face as she trudged on. They had talked with Illyara’s father for hours last night and she was exhausted. Her bones felt as if they had been filled with heavy metal. Each step was a struggle.

“Pico? Could you take over for a while?” It was worth a try, she’d give anything for a sleep.

I do not think that would be a good idea Lynsey. I understand you need sleep but it would be a slippery slope for me to take over when things get too hard. Your body needs sleep as well as your mind. If I did this I suspect I would be doing it more and more.”

Great, she thought, stifling a yawn. It had been worth a try though. No harm no foul as the Americans would say. She straightened her back and copied Illyara’s gait as they climbed yet another dune.

They were miles away before they felt safe enough to make camp again. The call had gone out to the rest of the tribe that there was a meeting and the tent was again packed. Full of young and old jostling for position to hear their leaders and Lynsey speak. They sat on bright cushions brought in from the other tents. The floor was an enormous patterned mosaic as if put together by a colour-blind designer. As she thought this, she realised that she could see colours properly for the first time. Reds and greens popped out next to blues and purples. Her jaw dropped at the beauty. “I didn’t realise what I’ve been missing!

“Pardon?” Illyara replied sitting beside her.

“I can see colours!”

“Couldn’t you before?”

“Yes, but not like this.” Her voice was filled with wonder.

I’ve been working on changing your core code. I noticed there were bits missing and corrupted. That is why I have been so silent for so long. It’s hard work working through DNA sequences. I have to work small. A lot of what I have tried gets reversed, before I have finished changing it.” Pico’s voice sounded hurt.

“I thought I was stuck with how I arrived here.”

Technically that is true, but I’ve found I can make small changes at the molecular level and it sticks but too much and all the changes I make disappear and I have to start again.”

“Really? This is amazing.” She could see the colour of people’s eyes from across the room. “What else have you done?” She whispered.

Well as you asked, you should notice a marked improvement in your hearing and you might find that your sense of smell is better, although I’m still working on that one.”

“I don’t really want to smell any better. That happens during the,” She went cross-eyed for a moment, trying to think of a better way to say it. Oh, hell. There was no need to censor for Pico, she smiled at the thought. “time of the month. The amount of times I’ve nearly prayed to the porcelain god because someone was eating something stinky in front of me. If that happened all the time I would just be throwing up all over the place.”

Noted, I won’t mess with that sense anymore.”

“Could you not mess with any more of my senses, please?”

Why not?

“Because there is a reason that humans developed their sense in a certain way and messing about with that could have uncertain consequences. Surely you can see that? My chucking up example should give you a clue!”

I concede.”

That was easy. “Good.”

“Sekhmet has come back to us.” Shouted a voice. Lynsey twisted and identified it as Illyara’s father, Darun. Everyone clapped around her.

“What? Who is Sekhmet?”

The lion headed Goddess of fire, war and healing. Interesting I can see where they get that from.”

“You are.” Illyara replied, her eyes shining in the candlelight. “We have waited years for you to come. There was a prophecy that you would arrive. We need you to help us rescue a dragon. You can lead us and the other tribes against the brotherhood and the king and take back what is rightfully ours.”

“What is rightfully yours?”

“Freedom. We are trapped in the desert, moving from one place to another so that we cannot be forced to fight for the king in distant wars. We have to hide what we can do. Our people have lived in the desert for centuries. They have been here so long that they have no concept that there is another way to live. Water and food should not be rationed as the city would have us believe. War and power makes it so and it is time to change.

Lynsey stood up, nervous to be standing in front of so many people. Illyara nodded at her, still seated on the royal blue cushion besider her. “I’m not Sekhmet, I’m just Lynsey.” She coughed, clearing her throat. “I am from another world but I am not a Goddess. I arrived here by accident not by design. I’ve just stumbled from one thing to another. I really don’t belong here, all I want to do is go home.”

Do you know, I wouldn’t mind that either.” Pico whispered in her consciousness. “We will do that but we have to help these people.”

“Why are you on their side?” Whispered Lynsey.

We may be on this world for a very long time. Do you want it to be a heaven or a hell?”

They think I am Sekhmet. What if they want me to do a miracle or something?” She switched to thought at some curious glances.

They don’t seem to be that kind of people. They haven’t really said what they want you to do yet.”

Lynsey pondered for a moment. What was a god anyway? It was just a label. If she was honest from the beginning, then what could go wrong?

“I am not Sekhmet, but I will help you.”

The nomads looked from one to the other and they grinned, she would help them.

****

“Where are we going now? Asked Lynsey struggling to climb up the steep sandy bank after Illyara.

“Back to the Oasis where you first met us. Messengers have been sent far and wide for all the tribes to meet there.”

“Why there?”

“It is holy and more practical. It is the biggest oasis this side of the desert. Our yelks will need to drink and stock up on water and we will need to be somewhere safe to talk that won’t draw attention to our numbers.”

They walked for two more days at a faster pace than with the temple but water still had to be rationed and everyone had a skin which contained enough water for the day. Lynsey pushed the container on to her belt. She was still thirsty but Illyara had warned her to take sips now and again rather than gulps. Her thoughts were fuzzy under the heat and thirst and she could see the others were feeling it too. The sun was relentless. It was with tremendous relief when they arrived at the oasis at night fall the next day. The smell of camp fires burning throughout the oasis reached them as they approached and they could hear people singing.

“We won’t bother with making the tents up here. We don’t need to put up walls during a Gathering.”

“How did everyone get here before us?”

“We sent messengers on wedasi. It is the fastest way to travel in the desert.”

“Why don’t you ride them all the time?”

Illyara looked horrified. “That would be dangerous. The wedasi would eat anyone that dared to ride them without training.”

“What are the Wedasi again?”

“Two headed serpent like creatures.”

Lynsey paused skin half-way to her mouth. I met one of those when I first arrived here. Why didn’t I see any of them while we were travelling to Ghinari?” They passed a family of nomads unrolling some fur on the floor for beds.

“They always travel a distance behind with their trainers.” A woman to their side offered a fresh skein of water. Illyara took it with a bow and a whispered thanks.

“I can understand why.” Replied Lynsey with feeling. Illyara gave her a strange look but carried on, dodging some children running past.

As they made their way through the camp, Lynsey noticed people were roaming to and from different fires with skins full of drink. From the gait of some of the revellers, Lynsey was pretty sure that not all, if any, of the skins contained water.

“I thought you didn’t drink?”

“What gave you that idea?”

“At the house, you didn’t drink the brandy?”

“I didn’t feel comfortable drinking in that company.” Illyara winked and drank deeply from the skin. “Would you like some?”

Lynsey took it. As long as it wasn’t vodka, she knew she would like it. She raised it to her lips and chugged it down. Her eyes watered and she stopped breathing for a moment. She coughed once and then couldn’t stop. The men nearest started laughing.

“What is that?”

“Reasse.”

Lynsey glared at her and Illyara replied laughing.

“It’s fermented yelk milk. The taste takes a little getting used to.”

The other tribes had left a space beside the river. There were several curious glances at her blond hair but no one approached her and she was able to move freely through the crowds. There were hundreds of tribesman already there and more were arriving every hour.

Darun and his wife were organising the gathering area. To the right of Illyara’s tribe’s area, there was a clearing in between the desert and the water. It was filled with stones styled in a half-moon pattern. Illyara caught Lynsey looking at the stones.

“The Elders will sit on the stones and everyone else will stand in a semi-circle around them.” Illyara’s arm swept out towards the stones.

“If someone from the crowd needs to speak, they stand and face the semi-circle.”

“Do the elders need to stand as well?” Lynsey watched as an elderly lady hobbled towards them.

“Oh no, they raise their arm and we listen.”

Young men were working among the stones, clearing the ground of roots, weeds and loose vegetation. In front of the stones. They laid tent material inside the half-circle. On the stones themselves they placed cushions made from a deep blue material. They appeared to be made for the seating as they were the exact size of the stone they were placed on. As each stone was covered, an elder would take their place from the crowd which was beginning to form.

Others prepared lamps and hung them from trees and placed them on the ground between brightly coloured cushions. The effect was surprisingly intimate for the number of people there. A young man, skin in one hand and a sweet treat in the other stumbled through some already seated tribespeople. He stood on a hand but the woman, just smiled and pulled him down to sit beside her.

“There is a lot of drunk people here. How are you going to have a meeting like that?”

“No one is seriously drunk and those that are, are only stopping their voices from being heard. That is their choice and their right.”

As the moons moved through the sky, Darun blew on a horn. The long low sound echoed soulfully in the stillness, sending chills down Lynsey’s back.

“That’s beautiful.” whispered Lynsey. Illyara smiled back at her.

Darun handed the horn to his wife and took a burning branch from Mewlli waiting nearby. He lit the first lamp and then a team of what Lynsey guessed were teenagers, took small branches and lit them from Darun’s to fan out and light all the lamps.

Lynsey moved to sit on the outside, next to the nomads surrounding the circle but Illyara gently took her hand and drew her to one of the stones near the front.

“Your place is here.”

Lynsey sat sheepishly looking at her satin slippers compared to the coarse leather of those around her. She had changed in to nomad robes but she hadn’t been ready to lose the shoes.  She realised how silly that was now.

They thought she was some ancient Egyptian God! How was she going to live up to that? She felt Pico sending soothing thoughts to her but she shook her head irritated and she stopped. Lynsey cocked her head to the side. She still hadn’t made up her mind whether Pico was a girl or a boy. He felt like a boy but that didn’t really make any sense.

Why is this so important to you Lynsey?”

“I don’t know, I just need to know whether to think of you as a he or she. It is doing my head in.”

How about a he then?”

“You want to be a he?”

Lynsey, it really doesn’t matter to me. There is no biological reason for me to be one way or another. From your memories you have historically got on well with males so I am happy to be a ‘he’ for you if that makes you feel better.

Shh. They are starting.” She thought back.

“We are gathered here today to fight for what has been taken from us all those centuries ago. They took our land, they took our lives and they took our dragon. We must fight now while the King and the brotherhood are fighting between themselves and the others. They are losing the war against the islands. They need men and money. The king will not be able to effectively fight on two fronts. If we join the fight then his empire will collapse. We have stopped the Temple from gaining the money from the pyramids by rescuing Lynsey Walker. If we unite and push on now we can win. This opportunity may not present itself again for centuries. We are the enemy within that they have forgotten about. But we still remember.” The crowd roared, stamping their feet into the ground.

“We need a leader, someone to show the way. We must rescue the dragon. He helped to defeat the priests in the beginning and protected us for years. Now it our turn to rescue him.”

Lynsey held her head up and gulped. How many times had she taken a sick day at university so she would miss the kind of lessons where she had to talk in front of class? This was the ultimate presentation. She scanned the seated crowd. There were so many of them. Hundreds of people were looking at her from the clearing and they went far back as the water in the oasis and into the desert to the side. These people needed someone brave enough to talk in front of them at least. She stood up and strode to stand in front of Darun.

“My name is Lynsey. I am from another world and I have met your dragon.” There was a gasp. She saw surprise on Darun’s face.

“He has been trapped in the bowels of the Temple for two centuries. He has been tortured, and treated like a simple beast.” She searched for an example that would be relevant for them.” Worse than a yelk. He is no animal. He is as clever as you or me and he deserves better. I don’t know what he did for your people beyond what has been said today but he was brought here accidentally as I was. He wasn’t meant for the life he has and he should be free. I pledge that I will do everything that I can to help you and him to make a fairer society.” The crowd stamped their feet.

Bravo, Lynsey.”

“Shut up Pico.” But she inwardly smiled.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 25 – ESCAPE (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 25 – Escape

Why did the guard never close the tent door? Sorry, flap. She breathed out in frustration. Count to three you plonker, he’s not really trying to wind you up. The idiot was insufferable. She thought her mum was pedantic. He hadn’t said much since he’d been assigned to her tent but what he had said showed he thought little of her. She wrapped her arms around herself rubbing her hands up and down over her sleeves to keep warm. One minute he was correcting her, the next, acting like she was stupid and useless. Also what was with the sharpening of the spear all the time? Did he think she was going to attack him? It was going to be the size of a pencil if he didn’t watch it. He really should make up his mind whether she was a danger or not. Huh? Oh, Pico was talking again.

“Oh, yes. Keanu was great in that.” Lynsey replied. She cocked her head to the side. “Did you just hear that?”

Pico swirled in colours in her mind, “It’s nothing, just someone walking behind the tent. So what do you want to watch?”

“Where was I? Oh yes. My favourite film is The Lakehouse. I just really love Keanu Reeves. Take a look at that one.” The great thing about chatting about home was that the guard had no idea what she was talking about and he must have thought she was going, if not already, slightly mad. Well, he was keeping more of a distance than when he was first posted to be her guard. Talking to Pico only in her thoughts all the time just felt weird.

Pico went silent and his colour went murky as she felt his attention go elsewhere. She waited for a moment and closed her eyes. The movie began to play. It was like she was there again. She could feel the softness of the sofa, the popcorn as the salty-sweetness crunched in her mouth and the full feeling from the steak dinner Peter had bought her for their second date. He would have been a keeper apart from his commitment issues. Buying a toothbrush for him did not mean she wanted to marry him. Seriously! Lynsey took a deep breath, don’t think about that. Enjoy the warmth she told herself. She could feel Pico’s amusement. Stop listening to my thoughts, she snapped back.

She relaxed into it. There were definitely advantages to Pico sometimes. This was the third movie since they had left Ghinari. If only he’d mentioned this ability at the beginning, it put a whole new angle on things. She let the heat from the open fire seep into her bones and her current troubles floated away as the credits rolled from her memory. Who needs virtual reality when you have a Pico? She could choose any film she had ever seen and he would play it for her in real time. He was careful not to look at it until it was ‘playing’. These were memories held in the band. He’d put them in there without looking. All those years bingeing on webflicks were really starting to pay off.

There it was again. Her gaze narrowed to the back of the tent. It sounded like scuffling. There had to be someone there. Actually, it was more like a scrabbling noise coming from outside the tent. Could it be? She stood up and moved to the door of the tent. The guard was still there, sharpening that damned spear. What did he think was going to happen? An army of grizzly bears was going to descend on the tent? From where exactly? She shook her head.

The film was still playing in that strange double vision way it did. It was only really fun to watch them with her eyes closed, but Lynsey was distracted as she sat back down again on the only chair in the room. The noise was still there. It had to be Illyara. An animal would have given up by now and anyone from the camp would come through the tent flap. She got up to investigate, loitering close to the noise. If it was Illyara, she didn’t want the guard to see anything and get suspicious but there was nothing to see yet. She sat down again. Her heart began to pound, it had to be her, she just had to have a little patience and play it cool. She perched on the end of the chair. The Brothers weren’t inhuman, they had provided a chair and a bed but they weren’t the most comfortable she had experienced and she would have given anything for the comfort of the nomad tent.

She leaned back and crossed her legs, waiting to see what would happen.

“Are you even watching this?”

“Sorry Pico, something is happening at the back of the tent. I don’t think it is an animal. Whatever it is.is very persistent.” She thought back.

“You are right of course.” He stopped the playback, clearing Lynsey’s vision. “Do you think it is help?”

“I don’t know, Illyara was at the temple, she could have found her people and come to find us.”

There was a momentary silence in Lynsey’s mind. “You said us.”

“I did, I think if we are going to be together for a long time then I need to accept you.”

Just then the bottom of the wall of the tent moved up slightly letting a cool breeze enter. There was more scrambling and then the flap at the front of the tent fell. Lynsey was already smiling when Illyara appeared in front of her with Mewlli.

“Hello Lynsey, would you like to leave now?” She grinned at her friend.

“Hi guys, I thought you’d never ask. I’ve been expecting you.”

They grinned back and pointed to the back of the wall. “I get it. The guard will be used to my voice talking to myself here but he’ll think it is strange to hear yours.” She followed them out of the tent and hugged the outside of the material while Mewlli scouted ahead.

They waited in the shadows. A whistled broken tune floated towards them on the slight breeze. Lynsey pulled Illyara closer to the tent wall. A man was briefly illuminated from fire-light coming from in-between the tents. The sounds of chanting and laughter drifted over as he limped slowly towards them. In his hand, he held a long black cigar, billowing black smoke around him. The stench pervaded the air hitting Lynsey’s nose as he passed. The smoke invaded her lungs before she thought to hold her breath and coughed slightly. She clasped her hand over her mouth, her eyes watered. The tickle grew and she burst into a cough. The man turned seeking the source of the sound. He did a double-take, squinting for a second then he registered who she was. He opened his mouth to yell. Lynsey froze. Her whole body was rooted to the spot. She felt Pico unfurl from the recesses in her mind, expanding his awareness until he could take over. She retreated to let him and watched as her body twisted to get a purchase in the sand. She moved forward with fluid grace, her right hand flexing out in readiness. Before she could think what Pico was planning, her hand jabbed the man in the throat. His yell came out in a strangled cry. Her foot moved of its own volition and stamped on the man’s good ankle. She could swear she heard a crunch. Her body moved backwads, taking a step behind before her knee flew up in a straight line. Lynsey took note of the tears that formed in his eyes with satisfaction. Good, that’ll teach him to smoke. Then the man wavered for a second before falling down silently in the sand. Pico rescinded control. The colour of his thoughts were tinged pink with satisfaction.

“Well done Pico.” Pink turned to purple. “Don’t get too cocky but well met.” He wisely stayed silent.

Lynsey turned back to see Illyara’s eyes shining with admiration.

Her friend darted forward to grab his hands and Lynsey took his legs. They dragged his body closer to the tent. She grunted as she pushed him into the hole that Illyara and Mewlli had dug earlier. They covered his body with quick handfuls of sand leaving his mouth and nose open to the air.

Mewlli came back as they were putting the finishing touches to the mound of sand.

“The guards around the perimeter have changed. They appear to be more alert. We are not going to be able to get out the way we came in. We need a diversion.”

“Can you do that Mewlli?”

He grinned. “Of course sister.” He disappeared while turning away.

“Be ready for something.” Illyara whispered.

“It would have been helpful if he could have given us an idea of what he was thinking of.”

“He’s young.”

Lynsey snorted.

Suddenly, they heard a whoosh and a tent was ablaze on the far side of the camp.

“That is Mewlli!”

“You have to hand it to him. He has style, your brother.” Lynsey panted as they ran.

“I probably would have done the same thing.” Illyara griped.

They moved from tent to tent, keeping to the shadows as men rushed passed them to the far side of the camp with water as the fire jumped to nearby tents.

By the time they got to the end the men guarding the perimeter had gone to help with the fire. Illyara motioned for Lynsey to stay in the shadow of a cart while she disappeared walking in the direction of the yelks. Lynsey saw the ropes holding the yelks in a small compound untie themselves from a post dug into the ground and the camel-like animals began to get restless as they smelled her friend. Illyara reappeared and motioned for Lynsey to join her. Lynsey nodded and ran forward keeping an eye out to see if anyone could spot her. Everyone had gone to fight the fire.

The herd were stomping their feet as the fumes from the fire changed to their direction. She grabbed the first hump she could get to. She hooked a leg over its back and hung off the side. From the corner of her eye she saw Illyara, slap the rump of the lead yelk and the herd stampeded off after it to get away from the fire. Lynsey held on tight to the short fur. She gritted her teeth as a yelk banged into her from her left in the panic. She let go for a second and her heart jumped. She grabbed some fur at the last second and managed to haul herself back up to sit on its back. She heard shouting in the distance from behind them and she bent her head, gripping even harder. She closed her eyes and tried not to think of her muscles screaming. Time seemed to stretch out. Twenty minutes later and it felt like they were going up a hill. She opened her eyes and she saw they were cresting a rise. In the distance she could see that the camp was still fighting the blaze. She doubted that they had even noticed her escape yet.

On the lead yelk, Illyara got off her yelk and grabbed hold of the hair that formed a beard on her yelk then Lynsey’s. It stopped abruptly, nearly sending Lynsey flying over its head. Lynsey opened her fingers one-by-one, letting circulation return to her fingers. The yelks around her were still restless but they stayed as a herd. She dropped to the cool sand with relief. Feet drummed the ground sending sand flying in all directions. She flung her arms up to protect her head as a hoof narrowly missed her. Illyara let go of the two yelks she was holding and it rushed off in a spray of sand followed by the others. They reached the top of a dune and then they were gone leaving Illyara and Lynsey alone under the stars.

“Where’s Mewlli?” Lynsey whispered. She didn’t know how far her voice would travel in the night.

“Here.” Mewlli appeared grinning in front of Illyara. “That was easier than I thought it would be.”

“Don’t get too full of yourself brother, we still need to get back to camp. It won’t take them long to realise Lynsey escaped under cover of the yelks. We have a few miles to travel and we need to do it fast and quietly.”

She pointed in the direction they needed to go to get to the camp. Illyara ran in front to take the lead. Lynsey ran in between and Mewlli took the rear moving his shirt back and forth in the sand to obscure where they had been.

When they saw the camp, Mewlli began to chuckle. Lynsey gave him a sideways look. What was there to laugh about? She grinned back at him. They could have died. Her grin slipped, but they didn’t. The corner of her lips lifted until she began to giggle as well. They must have looked a sight riding those yelks like the devil was after them. Illyara threw her hands up in exasperation but then she gave in with her familiar peals of laughter.

Breathless they staggered in to the main tent and collapsed on some cushions. All around them were curious eyes but when they saw they were unhurt, most of the tribe began to laugh and cheer with them.

Contents

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

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 24 – DESERT (SERIALISATION)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 24 – DESERT

The tribe dispersed from the tent, picking up their cushions as they went. They worked as a team, loading up the yelks with furnishings, cloth and supplies. Illyara was among them orchestrating the breakup of camp like a symphony. They had done this so many times, the familiarity was soothing. She directed her people almost out of habit. The cushions and furniture were removed first from the tents, then the huge domed structures were pulled down with a warning shout. Women tended to the animals in her periphery vision while others loaded the yelks.

As the tribe set off, Illyara moved to her customary place in the back. The pace was slow. There was no hurry, it would take a while for the priests to get ready judging by the state of the caravan when she last saw it.

The desert looked featureless around her. …unless you know what you were looking for, she thought. Her tribe was almost invisible to untrained eyes. The colour of the yelk fur blended with the sand and anything that had any colour was packed up and hidden by the material of the tents. Her eyes roved past their caravan to the dunes around them. Their towering presence was comforting, if deceptively calm.  She lifted her head to the side and sniffed the air. There was something in the light breeze. She took a deeper breath. It was going to rain. The corner of her mouth raised slightly, nothing to worry about though, it would be light. She settled in to her stride. The swish of long sand-coloured travelling robes was the only sounds she could hear as they trudged on.

The journey to the pyramids should take the tribe a week at the most, but then the tribe was familiar with the route, its oases and markers. She considered how many times she had taken the trip. It was at least once a year. She knew the way to the nearby water hole by heart. It was important that the location would never be lost. In fact, it had been lucky for Lynsey that they had arrived ahead of time but was there such a thing as luck? Maybe she was the one they had been waiting for? A brief flare of hope ignited in her but she squashed it down. Her people had travelled this desert for centuries. This was their life, she couldn’t imagine anything different. Yet it was already different, they should have been further west by now, selling their wares to prepare them for the dry seasons but here they were chasing after a stranger and a dream.

Illyara rubbed the small of her back. It was strange that a couple of weeks of inactivity meant that years of walking was practically lost. She shouldn’t get tired this easily. City life was not good for her people, she realised.  She couldn’t imagine living away from the desert. If the legends were right and their ancestors had farmers among them, …but that was before the Egyptians had brought them to this place.

From the back, she could see there was something different about the tribe. Illyara’s brows furrowed as she studied her family. What was it? They were wearing the same clothes, they were walking at the same pace as they normally did. What was it? They were walking different. Then she had it. Their heads were higher and their shoulders were straighter. She felt it too, she realised. The excitement among the tribe was almost palpable. A stray thought materialised and she paused for a second, there had always been a cloud hanging over their heads. That could not change. It was silly to think that one person could make such a difference. But what a person, came the unbidden thought.

That night there was no shortage of volunteers to be scouts to keep track of the temple camp but it was no surprise when Paereek was selected. His affinity with his wedas, made the decision a foregone conclusion. Anyone sitting atop a lone yelk on a sand dune would have been too obvious. They needed the wedasi. Usually used for hunting, a wedas with its snake body was perfect for moving through the desert unseen with speed. It was low to the ground, quick, quiet and with the right person, reliable. Paereek had been training wedasi for decades and they treated him as one of their own. Illyara shuddered. The way their twin heads would simultaneously rub the front and back of him in affection. It is not natural, I would rather ride a yelk any day.

Illyara wrapped her arms around herself in the night air. A soft glow emanated from an open flap of the tent behind her. Enough to see a little in front but the light was so low her night vision was not impaired. The twin moons were bright above, allowing her to watch the long low body of the wedas slide along the sand into the distance. Paereek lay along its length, arranging himself around its legs which were tucked up into its side so it could gather speed as it slithered on the sand. She wished him luck but he would not need it. He would report the other camp’s whereabouts until they had an opportunity to get Lynsey away. She turned to go back inside again.

The next evening, everyone gathered in the main tent for their meal early. The lamps were brighter than usual. Illyara sat next to her parents. She felt nervous and was picking at the stitching on her dress. The action reminded her of Lynsey and she stilled her hands. She was in two minds. Was Lynsey the one they were looking for? The question kept revolving around her mind. What should she tell them? Should she keep anything back? She looked at her father for reassurance but he had moved and was talking to her aunt against the tent doorway. Her mother caught her look and moved to sit closer to her.

“What is troubling you, my darling?”

“I do not know if I should tell everyone everything about Lynsey.”

“They deserve to know Illyara. If she is what we suspect then this affects our tribe and our world.”

“It cannot be, mother. Surely if it was then there would be more signs?”

“How many signs do you need daughter?”

Illyara looked deep into her mother’s violet eyes. She was so beautiful, so wise.  Her mother’s frank gaze made her cast her eyes down to the cushions on the floor.

“You are right. It is time. I have delayed enough.” Illyara squared her shoulders and stood. She picked up a wooden box which lay at her feet. She lifted the lid off and pulled out a small silver bell. It tinkled as she drew it out. She rang it once, then again. The chatting ceased. Her father gave her a small encouraging smile from across the room and moved closer to give support.

“I have spent the last few weeks with the stranger we found at the oasis near the pyramids.” She was surprised at how clear her voice was. She stopped to see everyone had sat down and was looking at her. They were hanging on her every word. She coughed and carried on.

“The people we met in the city were from all corners of our land. They were speaking different languages yet Lynsey did not seem to realise. They were talking to her in one speech and to themselves in another. She understood them all and replied to everyone in their own tongue. This happened in the shops with the serving girls as well as with the lords and ladies at the banquets.” She stopped for effect.

“There was a Droota delegate there and she charmed him when she spoke in his own language.” A murmur filled the tent. The Droota language was notoriously difficult comprising of clicks rather than words.

“That is not all. We tried to take a walk in the park and we were set upon by five people.” Illyara blushed deeply at the memory. “I’m ashamed to say I used the gift and disappeared but she bravely fought off four assailants before a fifth brought her down.” There was a collective gasp, then excited whispers.

“Can she heal?” Asked her aunt from the back of the tent. Everyone grew silent.

“She can. She was knocked over by a carriage and I saw broken bones heal themselves and bruises and cuts disappear before my eyes. She is like the dragon.”

Her aunt nodded at the back. She was holding a pendant with the loop and cross of the Ankh in her hands. In the silence, Illyara could hear the wind hitting the tent outside as the tribe contemplated the symbol’s significance.

“She can speak many languages, she can fight, she is beautiful, she heals impossibly quickly and she is as brave as a lion. She has to be the one we are looking for. She just has to be the Goddess Sekhmet.”

“But she has not said this?” Asked her father from behind her, playing the opposite as she had seen him do to her mother so many times before in debates. She smiled, grateful for the prompt.

“I do not think she knows.” She replied turning to face him.

“How can she not know if she is the Goddess if she is?” This was her brother, five years her junior from her left.

“I do not know, but she has miraculous abilities. How else do you explain it? She is like the dragon. She came from the pyramids and she fights, heals and is blond like a lion!” She had everyone’s attention.

“The dragon does not like to fight. I know but neither does Lynsey. Maybe when a Goddess comes from another world, they lose their memory? Sekhmet is a Goddess of war.”

“This is not for us to know. If she is indeed the Goddess then she can help us rescue the Dragon. He helped us in the past and now it is our turn to help him. Without his help we would still be slaves to our Egyptian masters. We owe him.” Her father chimed in.

“We cannot fight.“ came a new voice from the far end of the tent. This voice was from an older man whose skin was worn like leather over decades under the hot sun.

Illyara’s father answered. “We cannot fight but there are tribes in our people who can. Our brothers have been itching to revolt for hundreds of years. Maybe this time we can let them. We are the messengers, the thinkers, the head. We were spies and we can be so again. We can slip silently into any tent unseen. We can listen to whispered conversations, steal what they hide, discover secrets. We will always try to forget what we were but we were thieves in the past not because we wanted to but because we had to be. We will not be that or slaves again. If we can free the dragon, he will protect us and we can be free.”

“What about Sekhmet?” Asked another voice from the crowd.

“We cannot ask a Goddess to stay with us but if she will, she will always be welcome. She is the protector of the Pharaoh, maybe she is here to elevate one in this world to be a Pharaoh again as the prophecy foretold. The priests stopped them coming, maybe Sekhmet is here to bring them back.”

Illyara had never been so proud of her father. The eyes of her people were shining. The dream of not hiding anymore, of being able to settle down, grow their own food rather than be nomads forced to roam the land until a saviour could be found. Maybe it could happen now. They were already changing.

“Father, first we need to rescue Lynsey. We don’t need fighters for that.”

“You are right, take your brother with you. He is itching for an adventure. While you bring Lynsey to us, we will gather the tribes.” Illyara cast her eyes down. “Father, he’ll slow me down, he is just a boy.”

“He has mastered the Gift. That is all you need for this task.”

“And the ability to walk quietly without waking a Phalish.” she muttered quietly so her father couldn’t hear.

Mewlli was already waiting outside by the time she made it to the cool night air. The stars were out in force and she couldn’t help but wonder where Lynsey was from. Was it one of those stars? Was it the same one as the one the Dragon came from?

The twin moons were low in the sky but they lit up the night sky illuminating the darkness with a soft light. Illyara and Mewlli shrouded themselves in invisibility by sending thoughts out into the area. You cannot see us, we are not here. It was strange that it only worked on the eyes, thought Illyara. If it worked on ears then Mewlli’s noisy sand crunching wouldn’t get on her nerves so much. She loved him but he was still a boy and delighted in childish things. She stopped, where was he this time? His footsteps ended a few feet away. She backtracked and saw a lizard resting by the last footmark. She grabbed in the air expecting to get Mewlli’s arm but grabbed a piece of his robe instead.

“We don’t have time for this.” she hissed. “Each day they get closer to the Pyramids their maps get more accurate.” This needs to be done tonight!”

She heard him sigh in the silence and relented. ”I know this is the first time that you have been out on your own. I was excited the first time mother and father let me out but this is important. They must believe in you a lot to let you come when there are older trackers who were willing to come. Can you fulfil their trust?”

“I know,” his voice was small. She pulled him closer and gave him a hug. She forgot how much she missed him while she was away. He must have felt that way too. ”I love you brother” She felt his smile grow against her shoulder.

“I missed you too sister.”

“Come on.”

They walked on and Mewlli tried harder to be quiet. She noted with pleasure how he scattered the sand behind him with his foot to disguise their footsteps the nearer they got to the temple camp. Maybe her father was right again. She should really stop doubting him.

They entered the camp through a ring of guards surrounding the temple encampment. Their feet crunched and slid on the sand as they crept through. She cursed the light rainfall that made the thin crust on the sand but it couldn’t be helped. Look-outs sat in groups of two, quietly chatting or playing dice. The tips of tall stakes pushed in sand were alight with a bright red flame to give the guards heat as well as light to see by.

Mewlli and Illyara crept further in, hand in hand so they would not lose each other as they moved from tent to tent. She couldn’t help but think the tents were a stupid design. They had watched the guides take hours to erect them over the last few days and just as long to put them down. This should have been great. The journey which should have taken a week would have taken the brothers about five. …but they spent so long each day building the camp, that the time between waterholes was also extended. The tribe had already started to ration their water.  These people had no idea how big the desert was and with the way they travelled, it was even larger.

The first few tents were small with two or more men sleeping on bed rolls. The nearer to the centre they got, the tents were bigger. More often than not, they passed someone smoking outside the entrances and when they checked there was only one or two occupants inside. The sound of joking and laughing was interspersed with the sound of chanting from other tents occupied by the priests with their arcane ceremonies. She did not want to know what they were doing in those tents. Avoiding them they moved swiftly through the camp until they spied Lynsey through an open flap. This time there was a guard sharpening a spear at the entrance.

Illyara craned her neck to see clearer. Lynsey was sitting with her back to the door. She was wearing a bright blue robe, no doubt to make her easy to spot if she tried to get away. Illyara stealthily stepped around the guard, pulling Mewlli behind her to look inside. Lynsey was alone. The tent was bare except for a light on a small table and a small bed.  Why would they bother with fripperies like heavy tables like that? No wonder they were so slow to move camp. Loading the yelks down with non-essentials like that was silly. She looked at the small gap between the guard and tent. There was no way she could get into the tent past him. He was sitting too close to the flap. If they tried to squeeze past him they would be discovered. Illyara’s eyes scanned the contents.

Lynsey was talking to herself again. Illyara turned to look at the guard but he was ignoring her. She couldn’t make out what Lynsey was saying but she must have been doing it a lot because the guard wasn’t paying any attention to her at all.

Illyara squeezed Mewlli’s hand so he knew she was going to move backwards and they crept around the outside of the tent to the opposite side. As luck would have it no entrances were pointing towards this side of the tent so she started digging and moving the sand to one side with her hands. She could hear Mewlli’s gentle breathing beside her for a moment and then she heard him bend and copy what she was doing. They soon dug a hole under the tent wall, spreading the sand around them as they went. Unless anyone was looking, they would think the hole was a shadow of the tent.

Illyara passed under the material of the tent wall first, followed by Mewlli. Illyara strode to the front of the tent and closed the flap behind Lynsey so the guard would not see them appear.

She was still holding Mewlli’s hand so she pulled him close to stand in front of Lynsey. She let her shield drop. Mewlli did the same beside her.

“Hello Lynsey, would you like to leave now?” She grinned at her friend.

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 23 – Invisibility (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 23 – Invisibility

Illyara awoke to bright sunlight and the sound of constant heavy footsteps beside her. Men in simple coarse clothing, their shirts and trousers worn with use, were running up and down the steps carrying boxes and jars inches from her. What was happening? Where was she?

Before she could collect her thoughts, a box clattered past her, crashing down each step with a loud thwack. White cloth spilled on the dusty mud. The unexpected sound made her jump and she noticed the ripped remnants of her skirt above her knees. She couldn’t be more noticeable if she tried. If anyone saw her dressed like this… The thought trailed into nothing as she scurried to the shadows of the nearest pillar. One of the men standing on the street below was already looking her way. He opened his mouth as if in slow motion to shout as her mind froze. It only lasted for a moment and her training kicked in. She concentrated on the man. She took in his appearance, his black hair, dark eyes and full lips. She noticed a scar running down his arm leading to a tattoo that she recognised was of the Eied caste. How far down the social ranks had this man fallen, she thought with sudden pity. She clamped down on her emotions as she saw him raise his arm to point at her. Holding down the panic, she clenched her fists against the satin cloth of her dress as she imagined his mind as a living flame. It was one thing to use the gift in the desert when there was no danger but… She again lost track of her thought as she imagined the flame twisting into a spiral away from her. She held her breath for a moment. Had it worked? Was she invisible again? But his brow was furrowing and he was still looking directly at her. She closed her eyes and focussed on the flame with all her strength. She had to consolidate the connection. It was harder to bond to start with but if she could just get it going she could let her subconscious continue it. Below her, she heard his companion shouting at the man, and she opened her eyes to see him gesticulating at the remains of the box. The Eied man looked at her again and she twisted the flame once more. He did a double-take in Illyara’s direction but loud shouting from above them made him grab the contents and stuff them in the box. The other man nodded to the side impatiently and they moved off. Illyara sighed, letting her shoulders sag as she pressed her back to the wall enclosing the edge of the steps. This was the longest she had ever been invisible. How long could she keep it up?

As she watched more men take boxes down the stairs beside her, it all came flooding back. Lynsey had been taken. She looked back at the doors of the temple – she was in there somewhere.

Illyara waited for a stout workman to pass her and she fell into step behind him. She followed him in, one step behind to avoid anyone coming up behind them. There were men all over the place, some in priests’ robes, others were hired help, packing items in boxes and transporting them outside. Where were they going? She quickly moved to hug an alcove wall. This was clearly a major operation. Food, water, those priests were folding tents? Illyara realised they were carrying the essentials for a desert journey.  Were they going to use Lynsey to find the pyramids?

Illyara slunk along the walls, heading to the back of the Temple. Her bare feet clung to the tiles as she trailed along the edges of the room. Her desert training ensured she made no sound. During the tour, she had noticed that Baserius had been careful to avoid a section of the temple. There must be a reason why he didn’t want them to go that way. Her suspicions were confirmed when she saw Baserius walk towards her and then passed to head down a corridor. She followed. She never would have found it without him. It wasn’t long before a large wooden door barred their way. Illyara hung back while she watched him rap a precise knock on the door. It opened and she craned her neck to look inside but the room was shrouded in darkness. Not a word was spoken. Baserius pulled the door further open and stepped inside. Illyara rushed forward to follow but the door slammed shut behind him.  An unsavoury whiff filled her nostrils. They were keeping something more than Lynsey in there.

Her breath exploded out of her in frustration. What was behind that door? She moved to the corner and sat down to wait. He would come out eventually.

The minutes passed and nothing happened. It gave her time to think about the night before. Arkan had never come. She was sure he had fallen in love with Lynsey. How could he let someone he loved go into such danger? Maybe her father was wrong after all. About love anyway.

The door opened and Baserius strode out pushing Lynsey in front of him. Her friend’s hands were tied behind her back and thick rope encased her small wrists. Illyara studied her friend. She looked drained but apart from that she seemed unhurt. Illyara breathed out gently, thanking any gods that would listen. That girl had a charmed life. How was she going to get out of this one? Illyara decided to follow them to see where they were going. She reached out and touched Lynsey’s arm briefly and Lynsey smiled. She’d got the message; Lynsey knew she was around.

“Is all this just to find the Pyramids?” asked Lynsey.

“We will need provisions, many expeditions have tried and failed over hundreds of years. It pays to be prepared.” Was his answer. So Lynsey was taking them to the Pyramids.

Illyara felt a pang of guilt but she squeezed Lynsey’s hand to let her know that she received the message and left.

Illyara hurried to the main gates. She was incredibly tired, her hands were shaking and her head felt like it was splitting in two. She had never been invisible this long. She needed to find suitable clothes and something to eat before she became too ill to walk back.

Part of the caravan that the priests were putting together was waiting by the city gates. A cluster of red-robed men stood congregated to one side while hired guides were chatting and laughing on the other side of the yelks. None of the tribes would help the temple and these were the best of what was left. She smiled grimly, they would be able to get them safely to the next city along the coast but to find the pyramids they were really relying on Lynsey getting them there.

She noticed how the priests were standing apart, facing away from the other men. Their hoods were lowered so they couldn’t see the guides. Illyara chuckled at their discomfort. They wouldn’t dare forbid the guides from drinking or smoking. They would leave and find another employer. There was plenty of work available. The guides did not have to work for them. Everyone knew the order was running out of money or they wouldn’t ask for such large contributions during their ceremonies. Gone were the days where they could shower money everywhere to get whatever they wanted.

She saw one of the guides bring out a flask. The faint aroma of spirits wafted its way to her. She bet the priests couldn’t stand watching them drink. Still, from the expressions on a couple of their faces, Illyara would have bet money that some of them would have joined the men if they had been alone.

She hurried towards the yelks. More than half were laden high with food, water and clothing. A small pile of provisions that hadn’t been loaded yet were to one side. Illyara walked around to sit cross legged beside the pile out of sight of both priests and guides. No one would be able to see anything unusual. They may not see her but if she wasn’t careful they might be able to see anything she moved. She reached into a leather pack and rummaged around for a moment before pulling out a parcel wrapped in waxed paper. She teased the paper apart to reveal a rich mellow cheese. She took a quick sniff then broke it in two to cram the first and then the second portion into her mouth. A yelk skin containing water was next and she drank greedily, letting the liquid splash over her face and neck when she was finished. Illyara felt better but she was still ravenous and took out more to eat until she was satiated. She lay back against the pile, staring up at the blue sky. There was no bird sound she realised. The camp was making too much noise. Even the vultures, usually so vocal were silent. She propped herself up on one elbow. Come to think of it. She hadn’t heard many birds since she’d entered Ghinari. There were birds in the market she remembered. The city people must be eating them.

Feeling rested, she looked around for a yelk which carried clothing. She made for the nearest animal carrying cloth and carefully stepped up to it. The yelk’s feet shuffled in the loose sand. It could smell her but not see her and she could tell it was nervous. Its huge legs began to move back and forth and it was twisting to find the source of her smell. She crooned in a soft voice and it quieted as she reached up and stroked its coarse fur near its head. Her father would have been able to let the animal see him while staying invisible to everyone in the vicinity but that took many more years of practice and skill. Maybe she could do it but she was too scared to try with so many priests close by.

A boy set to look after the beasts while others could be brought and loaded noticed the animal’s discomfort and came aver. Illyara had to wait a few moments before he went away again and she grabbed a robe from a pack. There was a second of worry while she adjusted the invisibility to apply to the item she carried but the boy didn’t seem to notice. She had it, she thought with relief. She moved behind the yelks in front of the city walls and placed the robe over her head. They were loose but not so baggy they would call attention to her. She was lucky today. Moving from behind the yelk, she set off in the direction where she knew her people would be waiting.

Illyara took no notice of the hot sun, knowing she would be at camp long before mid-day. It was tedious journey but she had done it many times before. This spring was known only to a few nomads and she didn’t have to worry that she would meet any of the guides on the way. Still, she had kept a close eye out for the first hour and disguised her footprints in the sand but she couldn’t relax until she saw the familiar tents of her people. They were still there. She knew they would be but there was always the fear of discovery. That they would have been made to move on or worse. These were dangerous times.

Her father was in the large tent eating a snack while the mid-day meal was prepared. He was joking and laughing at something mother was saying. Illyara smiled as she pulled the flap down behind her. She really wanted what they had but that had to wait. She approached through the milling throng and stood before him until he noticed her.

“Illyara, you are back. How did the visit go? Has Lynsey Walker removed the band?”

“No father she is in even worse trouble.”

He smiled at her. “What has happened, sweet Orchid?”

“She is special father, she is like the Dragon.” Her father’s face dropped into a serious expression as he listened. “She is an immortal, she can talk to anyone. …and what is worse is that she is being forced to show them the location of the Pyramids.”

Her father’s face darkened. “That is not acceptable.”

“I also believe the dragon is being held in the temple, in a section I saw Lynsey taken from.”

“Why do you think that?”

“There was a distinctive odour I have never smelt before. They are keeping an animal below their temple and it definitely is no goat or chicken.”

“It is not beyond doubt, yet they did take the dragon. It cannot die. Our ancestors saw the head taken off and it regrew. It must be somewhere.”

Illyara waited as he voiced his thoughts.

“We cannot break into the heart of our enemy’s stronghold until we are certain. Our priority has to be to rescue Lynsey to stop them violating the pyramid and enriching themselves on our ancestors suffering.”

“They will be leaving within hours, father.”

“Then so shall we.”

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 22 – A Meeting of Minds (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 22 – A Meeting of Minds

This was getting to be a habit. Lynsey groaned. “What the hell happened?” She woke up groggy, struggling to wake up from the miasma of drugged sleep.  She kept her eyes closed, letting the last wisps pf confusion drift away from her.

“Pico, Pico?”

“Hello Lynsey. We appeared to have been drugged.”

“Master of the understatement yet again. Do you know where we are?”

“Inconclusive. The drug they used to make you sleep, shut down all your brain as well as body functions so I was knocked out as well. I can tell you that we are in a humid environment and it smells like animals have been here but beyond that I have no idea.”

“GPS not working then?”

“Very funny Lynsey.”

“I thought so.”

Lynsey opened her eyes and blinked. She could hardly see a thing. She tried to bring her hand up to her head but couldn’t. She tried again and realised she was tied to a chair. Oh, come on. Give me a break here.

She went limp. Was that a sound? She listened hard. There! She could hear even breathing to her right. She peered into the darkness. It took a few moments but then she saw a dull light pulsating. Lynsey craned her neck to get a better look. There was definitely someone there. Were they waitingt to make a dramatic entrance or something? If they were trying to make her nervous, it was working. A rasping sound behind her made her jump. There was more than one person here. She stiffened as she tried to identify what it could be. It sounded large. Maybe it was just someone scraping a chair trying to get the wind up her. Remembering the two headed snake, she fervently hoped so.

In silence, the light to her side moved up and travelled across the darkness towards her, revealing a figure in a long hooded robe. What was it with priests and robes? Lynsey almost laughed but her mouth felt dry. She realised her skin felt tight. She must be dehydrated. Where the hell was she?

“Would you like a drink?” The voice was thick as if the speaker had smoked for years.

Lynsey swallowed, tiny knives grazed up and down her throat. “I don’t understand. Who are you and where am I?”

Pico answered again in her mind, “The temperature in here is too high. You need water. You will go into a coma soon if you don’t drink and we don’t know what will happen to you if that happens. Take the offer!” Pico was getting far too bossy but she was tired, hot and she didn’t know how long she could cope. Irritated she replied to the priest.

“Yes, I need a drink.”

The hood lowered in response and the figure moved out of view. The light floated back across the room and then bobbed back. The priest now carried a small wooden cup.

“Please don’t try to escape Lynsey. You may get past me but there are guards on the other side of the door and there is a fearsome beast behind you. There is no way you can get away so we may as well be civilised about this.”

Lynsey nodded. Whatever, just give me the water, will you, she thought. The robed figure put the cup on the floor in front of her. She heard a grunt behind her as her bonds were released. Lynsey rubbed her wrists while the pain lessened. Where the rope had would around her hands, it had cut into her skin. The light was dim but she kept her hands over her wrists to hide any healing. A splosh on the floor made her look up to see the proffered cup jiggling. She reached up and took it gratefully.

It tasted tepid but it was the most delicious water Lynsey had ever drunk. She felt it slide down her neck and down through her chest. She drank thirstily emptying the cup within seconds. The stranger watched in silence until she finished.

“Now that I have your attention, we need to start at the beginning. Where are the pyramids?”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on now. We know you have been there. We have the elephant and the other trinkets you liberated from there.” Lynsey heard a tinkle and a bag of jewellery and ornaments flowed on to the floor.  The eye in the elephant twinkled in the lamp light. She heard something move behind her.

“Lynsey.“ Pico called, “I can take you there. Maybe they will let you go if you tell them.”

“I don’t know, but I can take you there.” Lynsey said out loud.

“That is good. We have a party preparing to leave in the morning. There is some more water on the table and some cold meats and vegetables if you want it.”

The figure moved off and she heard some banging on what she presumed was a door. When she was sure she was alone, Lynsey dared to stand up.

Slowly she turned. It was too dark to see clearly but she could make out the table in the gloom. She stumbled over and picked up the lamp. There was a wheel underneath a glass globe. She turned it fully clockwise and the lamp brightened. Lynsey held the light aloft and turned to face the beast the priest had said was there.

There wasn’t anything? Except … there! A pile of rocks moved, morphing into a face in the gloom. Its head was the size of a small car. She looked back and saw a long neck connected to a huge body that could house a small building.

Its jaw was resting on its … claws? They could almost be hands. They had six digits with evil looking talons which ended in sharp points. Its great head rose and tilted to get a better look at her.

”A dragon,” she breathed out.

“Another human”, she heard in her mind as it growled back. Lynsey jumped.

“You can talk?”

“You can understand me?” The voice in her mind was tinged with surprise.

“Yes.” Then she directed a thought at Pico, “It’s you isn’t it, I can understand him through you.”

“Of course, I am your universal translator remember.”

Lynsey drew closer to the creature. “You won’t eat me will you?”

“Why do you creatures always assume that I’m going to eat you? No. You people have done a lot worse to me over the centuries.”

“You’ve been here centuries?”

“Is that all you are going to do? Turn whatever I say last into a sentence?”

“Sorry, but I’ve never been able to talk to a dragon before, It is slightly overwhelming.”

The dragon rolled his red-green eyes. “Why are you here?”

“I can take them to the pyramids.”

“From what that person said, she wanted more from you than that. How can you talk to me?”

“Lynsey held out her arm and Pico made the band visible. The dragon looked at it with interest then his head sank back to the floor again. ”I’ve seen that before when I first got here. A priest had one.”

“Priest. When you got here? Where are you from?”

“Somewhere very far away human, you wouldn’t understand.”

“I think I might. Was it another planet?”

“You know about planets?” This time the dragon’s head stayed up with a clink and Lynsey noticed an iron chain leading to a collar around his neck. She touched her own neck in sympathy.

“Yes, of course. I’m not from here. I’m from a planet called Earth.”

“Original. Funnily enough my planet is called that as well but I don’t think we are from the same place.”

“I’m from the Milky Way Galaxy. I was hit by lightning and I found myself here.”

“Interesting, the same happened to me. I was on my way to a meeting when the weather turned for the worst. I suspect it was a combination of a solar flare, freak weather conditions and a black hole occurring at the same time. A once in lifetime occurrence. I thought I might be the only one.”

“Wow, you know about solar flares?”

“I find your incredulity quite insulting. Do you think your kind are the only species that can create a civilisation? Has your world even achieved space flight yet?”

“Yes! We’ve been to our moon and we’re planning to go to Mars.”

“I bet that is in your solar system?” She nodded. “Well, we achieved that hundreds of years ago. My civilisation has colonies on moons and planets throughout our galaxy and I’m reduced to this – chained and tortured by barbarians on an obscure planet. My family will have been dead centuries ago now.” A single tear fell down his snout.

Lynsey felt uncomfortable. “Why do they torture you?”

“Travelling to this world changed me. My life span increased. I have lived for centuries longer than I should have. I’m almost starting to fear that I cannot die.” His laugh sounded hollow in her mind.  When she didn’t respond, he carried on. “Every day they come with their bowls and their rituals and they take blood. They found that my blood can extend their lives as well. But while I do not age they still do at a lower rate.”

“Oh God.” Lynsey turned pale as she made the connection.

The dragon clinked as he leaned closer and then began to growl with laughter. “They are going to do that to you as well aren’t they? You are immortal like me!”

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 21 – Betrayal (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 21 – Betrayal

Several courtiers surrounded Illyara in a loose circle. There was plenty of space in the room, why did they have to stand so near? She looked from one to the other. Their bland expressions of feigned boredom on their painted faces was tedious. She stifled a yawn.  Where was Lynsey? She may be strange and from another world but she was far from scary and never boring. That was it. The reason she was on edge. If she was being completely honest with herself, these people were a little frightening.  It was like they were using that paint to disguise their true selves. Some instinct made her shift her weight onto the balls of her feet. What had seemed friendly when they walked in, was taking on a darker aura. Why was she thinking that? She relaxed her muscles and readjusted her weight as she tried to shake the mood off. She must be imagining it. But, the same ability that helped her become invisible was warning her of something. If only she could read thoughts, these hunches were just too vague to be helpful.

It was too late. She couldn’t stop thinking something was wrong now. She found herself looking for routes of escape in the gaps between people. There were just so many of them, men and women hovered around her like bees to honey. Her instincts warred with her reason. There was no reason to be afraid. They looked vacuous, there was nothing actually threatening in their expressions or even the way they were acting. This was ridiculous, she chided herself. A wave of homesickness for the emptiness of the desert swept over her, leaving her feeling desolate. She needed to leave the city.

“…and the Maree’s heir had to visit Dirik’s!” Mirth erupted around her but as she looked at the lord nearest her and then at the next, she realised that their smiles didn’t quite reach their eyes. She was starting to think they were enjoying her discomfort.

She had barely heard what they said for the last half hour. Nodding seemed to be enough for them for the most part. And Lynsey had still not come back. Where was she? She was only supposed to be going to cool down. But, Illyara reflected, she had looked annoyed. Maybe she should go after her? The man in front had stopped talking and was looking at her as if waiting for an answer. What had he said?

Goddess! Did it matter? These people were so superficial. All the women talked of was the latest fashions, how handsome Lord so and so is. The men, talked about the weather, races and their prowess at war. They were all over-dressed, over opinionated nitwits. Her hands clenched by her sides as she caught sight of the food table beyond the man. She was fuming. Her people were starving, no, not just her people but there were others across the land who were suffering so these idiots could eat stuffed perkot and moan about the rain shower that made their hair ever so slightly frizzy last week.

The more she thought about it, the more definite she was that her father was right. Anger began to replace nebulous fear. She had to see for herself that Ghinarians were corrupt to the core. Even Luna played the game. She had shown them a different side the last couple of days but she obviously had no intention of changing the system. Why should she, her whole lifestyle depended on it?

Lynsey really should be back by now. Illyara smiled sweetly at the lord, she had no idea what he’d said. Inwardly she seethed at the fake pleasantries. That was it, time to go. Dropping into a curtsey, she murmured at the man.

“Please do excuse me sir, I must go and look for my friends.” It was time to find Lynsey. While he turned to talk to someone on his left, she flicked her fan up and walked towards the exit. Her back straightened, she lifted her chin up and she exuded as much confidence as she could muster. Reaching the edge of a table laden with drinks, she glanced back to check that no one was watching. A few faces were, so she picked up a glass and brought it to her lips. She took a few pretend sips until they looked away and then slipped behind a column out of view of the room. She pressed her back against the cool column and closed her eyes. She breathed in deeply and let her frustration leave her as she breathed out. Her hands dropped to her side and she relaxed her mind, ignoring the sounds and smells that assaulted her senses. Her heartbeat slowed and she felt something in her mind shift.

Grabbing on to the change, she visualised every mind in the room as a little candle flame in the darkness. She could clearly ‘see’ how many were around her. The men’s flames were more red and the women had yellower flames. She spread her awareness out further. Walls were no object but she could only get a glimpse of the number of people. Her mind was stretching too far, perhaps too much. She gathered herself together. The last thing she did was imagine darkness surrounding her. Her eyes flipped open. All anyone would see when they looked in her direction was a fuzzy black space. The mind wouldn’t be able to comprehend the absence of everything so they would dismiss her as if she wasn’t there.

She remembered her father’s face the first time he taught her the technique. He had been younger then but his eyes appeared older than his years, their core, deep pools of jet black.

“We were changed by those we don’t speak of. We were never meant to exist. If it hadn’t been for our saviour we would not be here today. When our ancestors escaped, we carried the seeds of our master’s destruction. They wanted to be able to speak with their minds but we learned what they did to us meant we could hide in plain sight.” He’d looked out into the sunset as he spoke, his voice had been quieter than normal and she’d strained to hear him.

“We must never forget that we owe a great debt or that our abilities can be misused by others.” He twisted to face her. “I once had to sentence a member of our tribe to death for letting an outsides know about what we can do. Do not let this happen to you, my daughter. Stay safe and stay hidden.” Illyara had always wondered at that farewell but as she learned their history she grew to understand the wisdom of it.

Leaving the memory behind, she strode from the column in the direction that Lynsey had left. Nearing the half-open doorway that led to the stairs. She spotted her friend turning away from the king. Illyara let go of the breath she didn’t realise she was holding. Lynsey looked horrified, but she was clearly unharmed. Like Luna said, what could happen at a ball?

Reaching forward with the closest hand, she pushed the door fully open. Illyara breathed in squeezing past a woman bulging out of a mint-green dress. The woman was shrieking with laughter and her nearest arm flailed out. Illyara had time to see the lord beside her grin at his companion’s reaction before she ducked. The woman’s arm swept over her head. A drop of wine sploshed out and hit her as she hugged the door frame. The woman looked directly at Illyara for a moment. Her eyes narrowed and her mouth started to form a sound. Illyara concentrated on the flame which seemed to superimpose on the woman’s face and her eyes glazed, her expression erasing. The woman turned back to her companion.

“Darling, you are so funny.”

Illyara burst through to the other side of the door to see two guards wearing royal colours separating from the king. If their uniforms hadn’t given them away, then the fact that they were the tallest in the room would have made anyone pause. Their blue and gold uniforms were stretched taught over their chest muscles as they moved with purpose behind Lynsey. Their jaws were set and their eyes steely. Illyara wanted to call out but it would have given her position away. Years of her father’s training held her back, rooted to the spot. She watched in horror as she saw one of them grab Lynsey and the other hold a cloth over her mouth and nose. Illyara gave a strangled cry. She clamped her hands around her mouth as she saw Lynsey collapse. The woman who was now to her side looked in her direction but saw nothing and turned back to the lord. Didn’t she see what was happening to Lynsey? Why wasn’t she helping? Illyara rushed forward but the guards bundled her friend up and dragged her to a side room. Not one person from the corridor or room intervened or even seemed to notice.

Illyara followed and watched them throw Lynsey out of a window then calmly walk back to the king. She was aghast. She ran to the window, a slight breeze brushed a few tendrils that had escaped her hair-pins and tickled her cheeks. She caught and flicked them away as she searched the ground. There! Lynsey was below. Six men in dark clothing carried her unconscious form in the gloom. They were heading for a carriage.

Illyara fought despair. There was no way she could keep up with a carriage. Her arms dropped in surrender then she caught her breath as she recognized the colour of the carriage. It was the blood red of the Dragon Temple.

Illyara raced to the main ballroom and found Luna laughing with the king in a corner. Careful not to touch anyone. She was invisible but she could still be felt and be captured, she crept up to the pair.

“I wish there had been another way.” She heard Luna say.

“There isn’t, that girl could be the answer to our prayers. She hasn’t told you anything has she?”

“No, and I don’t think she would. She was determined to leave. I tried to deter her but you know how young people can be.”

“Indeed. Ghinari thanks you. With the location of the pyramids we will be able to gain enough treasure to raise an army to defeat the Eryl by the Festival of Sekhmet”

“That soon?”

“We have nearly pushed them from our borders. We were running low on money but with your help this will soon be rectified. Our alliance with the brotherhood will finally end this war and we can concentrate on feeding our people” He was watching Luna intently but she still looked troubled.

“Duchess, you have done your country a service today. We will not harm the girl. She claims not to know where the pyramids are but that cannot be true. She has artefacts from that place. For all we know she is an agent of the Eryl. You know there are no blond people, yet here she is. We do not know if there are any blond people within the Eryl. If she is a plant we need to know. It could be that she was here to make us waste time and resources on a wild goose chase so that they can win sooner. Do you understand?”

“I do. I just started to feel sorry for the girl. She was becoming attached to your young assassin you know.”

“I suspected it was him when she escaped the first time. Arkan is dangerous but when he realizes that the fate of our world rests on that girl cooperating then he will come around. It is the reason I have not confided in him yet. I believe that he is in turn infatuated with her for the moment. It will pass.”

“Thank you for letting me be a part of this, your Highness.”

“It is my pleasure Duchess. To show our gratitude I will award your husband exclusive contracts to supply our forces on the front line.”

“Your Highness, you are too kind!” Luna’s cheeks turned pink.

Illyara despaired. Luna already knew that Lynsey had been captured. Could Arkan really be trusted? He seemed to like her. She wished she could have her father here for advice. She was surprised that no one had missed her. At that point she could see that Luna had the same thought.

“Where is Illyara?”

“Her companion?”

“Yes, she was here with us.”

“She is of no use to me. You may keep her as a pet.”

Illyara ran. She dodged past nobles, serving men and women, and tables until she reached the dance floor. She skirted to the edge of the room and then ran out. Where could she go? Luna’s house was not safe. She stood undecided on the road. The new house was a sham there was only one place she could go.

The Temple was several miles away but Illyara was used to travelling long distances on foot. She tore off the bottom of her dress so it would not hamper her journey. Keeping invisible to all onlookers was a strain but she couldn’t risk being seen. Dressed in court clothes would make her a target for every cutpurse in town.

The well-kept, wide streets of the wealthy soon turned narrower and the stench of filth on the streets threatened to distract her from staying invisible. At this time of night there were few daring the open streets. She dodged women with low necklines and high skirts, men on the look-out for prey and younger men chancing their luck for a story to be told at the inn the next day. She could only glance with pity at these denizens of the night. It wasn’t her business and there was nothing she could do apart from avoid their situations.

She reached the Temple in a couple of hours. There was no sign of the carriage but if Arkan truly cared about Lynsey then he would turn up sooner than later.

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed

Arkan’s feet padded on the ground as he approached the Palace on foot. Overhead, clouds covered the sky, periodically blocking the light from the silver crescent moons. The perfect conditions for a clandestine visit. The woods around him were quiet except for the occasional call from a night owl to disturb the stillness. The only similarity to the bird of myth was its propensity to hunt at night. Its size, claws and intelligence made it a formidable opponent to humans. Something Arkan kept at the back of his mind while walking. He could fight it off with no problem but the sound the creature would make would alert everyone for an iteru. He could probably explain why he was creeping around the palace grounds at night when the king was away but it would be better not to.

There was something about how the king was acting that confused him. Herad had been watching the Temple for days. The grizzled veteran was old but very reliable in all the time he’d known him. He’d sat heavily on the tavern bench that afternoon. He didn’t say it but Arkan knew the old man was in pain. He took a deep draught of the beer that Arkan had ordered before he’d arrived and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. His eyes twinkled.

“I have news, young assassin.”

“Herad, not here.”

“No one can hear. That screeching sound, I hesitate to call music is too loud and that rabble wouldn’t be interested anyway.”

“There are ears everywhere Herad.” Arkan admonished, flicking a coin between his fingers. “What have you seen?”

“The king visited Baserius this afternoon.” Herad coughed and spluttered for a moment before swallowing it back down with a swig of beer.

Arkan looked up at Herad but he was deadly serious. Why would he do that without telling him? He flipped the coin he was holding in the air and the old man grabbed it without blinking. Anyone watching would have been hard pressed to see the action but within moments the barmaid came over to refill Herad’s drink. Arkan made sure to go while the other man was busy.

There were few guards in the gardens. Their heavy boots, made them noisy and cumbersome on the undergrowth, allowing Arkan to evade them with no trouble. He moved like a ghost from trees to statues until he came up to the folly he was looking for.

It was built over a century ago, added to the designs by the Assassins Guild with coins greasing the right palms. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, the building was just a tall tower. Its ground floor was open to the elements but it provided a brief shelter from the rain or sun for people enjoying the gardens that needed protection.

Arkan entered the structure and moved to the south-west corner where he pushed some dirt away to reveal a ring. It resisted for a moment but he strained his muscles to pull harder. Dirt cascaded down from the hatch that opened, revealing a dark opening. He dropped down, pulling the hatch closed behind him. The action jarred a chain that moved a small piece of wood that contained some dirt above the hatch. The dirt fell to the ground, concealing the hatch once again from prying eyes.

The tunnel was narrow and low. He had to hunch down with difficulty to get the flint from his pocket.  He felt along the wall until he found an alcove where a lamp had been hidden by a predecessor. He would have to remember to replace it later. He struck twice and the tunnel illuminated.

It smelled musty and swathes of spider webs filled the space ahead. Arkan reached for a light wooden shield on a stick which had been left on its side beside him. It was designed to protect his clothes from the worst of the tunnel detritus by bringing down the webs as he walked. It wouldn’t be done to be seen wearing filthy clothes when he entered the palace. It would arouse suspicion. He moved forward holding the device before him. It was light but the awkward angle made it seem heavier than it was.

Arkan breathed a sigh of relief when he reached the palace itself. The tunnel widened into a corridor allowing him to stand at his true height.

He moved through corridor after corridor. As he entered the inhabited part of the palace, he noticed it was practically deserted. It was easy to pass unseen into the King’s private study. Not many people knew about this room. It was concealed by a tapestry off his official rooms.

Arkan pulled back the heavy fabric and slotted a key into the disguised lock near the top of the door. The door itself was shaped and decorated as a panel for when the tapestries were cleaned once a year. The key turned with a small click and the door swung inward without a sound.

Unlike the other study this one had few luxury trappings.  The king liked to play the playboy in front of his subjects, the absent minded lord but Arkan knew the king had a mind like a steel trap. If there was anything the king was hiding from him then this would be the place he would find it.

Arkan searched the desk but found only business documents. Now, where would they be? He stood with his back to the door and scanned the room for anomalies. There, that had to be it. On the shelves against the longest wall, were hundreds of small thin boxes made to hold scrolls. Each one was precisely in alignment. Except – one of them jutted out against the others on the end of the shelves next to the desk. There was a thin layer of dust covering all but that one. Arkan smiled, it must have been recently used. Arkan reached up and felt the box.  It rattled as the contents shifted to the side and downwards as he drew it from the shelf. He brought the box closer to his face and sniffed. A sharp whiff of incense shot up his nose. It could only have come from one place.

“The temple” he breathed, “this is why he went there.

Arkan put the box on the desk and pulled the chair under him.  The king had already left for the ball so there was no need to worry about time.

He pulled the scroll out and skimmed through the glyphs. It was about myths?  Why would Baserius give the king this? Further down the scroll was an illustration of the Osiris band and Arkan’s breath caught. Baserius knew about that? Arkan delved further in and a history he knew nothing of before unfolded.

During the reign of Suramus II, he read, an expedition was called to find the ancient pyramids of myth. The scroll detailed the provisions taken like a shopping list. Arkan’s eyes glazed and he skipped the contents. It took weeks to prepare it went on, the provisions had to be found, guides and men hired.

Arkan skipped further down again. After weeks travelling the desert and with their water supplies dwindling, they reached the temple. Dawn was breaking and a dragon attacked them. A dragon? Arkan’s head raised slightly but he lowered it again, eager to read on. He was fascinated. Now that he knew the band existed he tried to suspend his disbelief at what he was reading.

A great battle was fought over the next few hours. The explorers on the expedition were not soldiers, they were not expecting to fight anyone or anything but they bravely fought on for the riches they were promised.

Whatever they did to the dragon, they found to their fear that it would not die. They removed its head with a heroic slash of a blade and for a while they thought it was over until it grew back within hours. This time, the dragon grew even more ferocious in its defence.

Arkan stopped reading. Lynsey had healed remarkably quickly. He remembered how her bruises had disappeared before his eyes after the accident. Was she like the dragon?

He bent down to read again, turning the lamp up a notch.

Finally the men were able to put chains and trap the dragon on to their cart. The roars were deafening but they slashed it with swords until it subsided. As the blade sunk into the dragon’s arm, its blood spurted on to the wounds of an injured explorer. To the amazement of the rest of the expedition, the wound healed before their eyes.

There were jewels and objects beyond price found in one of the pyramids but the transport was filled with an even greater treasure, the dragon. They filled their pockets and took what would fit in their pockets leaving treasure beyond their imagining behind them. They would come back.

Arkan realised that time was passing. He hurriedly scanned though a few more passages.  They were set upon by some thieves and one of the company was fatally wounded defending another. The thieves were quickly dispatched. As they were fighting a fire began, destroyed much of the camp including maps that had been drawn to allow them to get back.

Further down the scroll again, there was an illustration of the temple being built over the dragon.

Arkan rolled up the scroll and put it back into the box. He was careful to place it exactly as he’d found it. He’d read enough. Here was the proof that Lynsey was in danger. If Baserius and the king were prepared to ally to get hold of Lynsey, nowhere was safe in Ghinari. He and Luna were wrong. For the power of the Osiris band, the location of unlimited treasure and blood that could heal any wound there would be nothing Baserius or the king would not do to get her.

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 19 – Settling Down (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 19 – Settling Down

Lynsey woke to find her dressing table littered with cards. She yawned and wandered over, hitching up her nightgown with her left hand and sipping from a glass of water she picked up from the side table on the way with the other. How did the staff get them in without waking her up? She didn’t like people being in her room while she was asleep.

There were so many of them. She scanned the pile off invitations. There were more invitations here than she had birthday cards at her 18th. She sat down, placing the water on an empty corner.

As she was sorting them into piles, Illyara wandered in.

“Listen to this,” Lynsey began to read. “I would be honoured to invite you to the Contee ball.” She grabbed another. “I am holding a small soiree, and I would like to invite you and your companion.” She picked up card after card. “There are dozens of them. I’m finally popular.” The last sentence was delivered with a sardonic twist of her mouth.

“Are you feeling alright?”

Lynsey thought back to yesterday’s conversation between Arkan and Luna. To be safe she had to stay in Ghinari but Arkan made it very clear he didn’t want her here. There was no way she could avoid him. If she stayed then Arkan would see her every time he visited Luna.

Lynsey stood up, reaching for the wardrobe beside the desk. She threw on a dress and tied her hair in a quick bun as she hurried out of the room.

“C’mon.”

“Lynsey?”

“C’mon, we have to find Luna.”

They found the duchess reading in the Solar. A comfortable room, it had also been converted into a library. Scrolls were piled high on deep shelves that lined the longest wall. Sombre family portraits jostled together, hung wherever there was space along with landscapes between several tall windows which let the sun flood into the room.

Luna sat on a settee surrounded by opened invitations. She looked up as they entered the room.

“Do I have enough money to have my own house?”

“Good morning to you too.” Luna replied.

Uh, Lynsey I don’t think this is wise yet.” Pico’s voice invaded her mind.

“Not now Pico.”

“Why yes.” Luna replied realising that a good morning was too much to ask. “You actually have more money than I do. Has someone done something to offend you?”

“Oh no, I just feel it is time to stop presuming on you.”

“Oh my dear, you are really not presuming. I delight in your company. I haven’t had such excitement in – well, forever. You are a tonic. Please do not feel that you have to leave. You are not taking advantage. In fact I have had more invitations this morning to balls and dances than I have had in months and I am really rather popular. It has all made me feel ten years younger.” She pointed at the sofa cushions littered with as many cards as Lynsey had received.

Lynsey exchanged looks with Illyara, giving Luna a second glance. She couldn’t be more than thirty. She tried again.

“It’s not that. It’s just that I have never really lived with anyone before. I like to be independent.”

Luna scanned the invitations with a sad expression for a moment and then looked up smiling.

“In that case, please allow me to help you find somewhere to live. I believe Lord Trekarik has recently vacated Trekarik Park. Confidentially,” Luna’s voice lowered, “I heard it was because he gambled his fortune away. Gambling is a fool’s occupation but you probably already know that already.” Luna sat up and grabbed a scroll that threatened to slide off her lap down on a nearby table.

“The Contee ball is tonight. I received an invitation this morning. They must have been curious about you to invite you at such short notice.” She shuffled the piles looking for it. “Here it is. The King will not be attending and the High Priest certainly won’t be there so it should be a fun evening all around. We can have a quick look around Trekarik Park before lunch and we will still have time to get ready for the ball.”

It took another hour before messages could be exchanged in order to visit the house. Lynsey paced the solar, unable to sit down while they waited for an answer. She could barely hold back her excitement. She’d wanted to buy a house for years. She suspected that eventually she could have afforded a flat in one of the seedier areas of a city that wasn’t London, but here she was not even twenty one and she was going to buy a stately home.

A sudden rap on the door made her look up. A butler dressed in a yellow silk uniform entered bringing a small folded slip of paper on a silver tray. He offered the tray to Luna with a bow. Luna rose and took the paper.

“There will be staff there this morning who can show us around. It is still open for offers.”

Lynsey twisted to look at Illyara sitting on a nearby armchair. Her smile slipped at her friend’s expression. Her forehead creased but Illyara shook her head slightly. She wasn’t going to say why in front of Luna then.

On their way back to the room, Illyara took Lynsey’s arm.

“You know this is not wise, Lynsey.”

“Why not?”

“If we move we will lose the protection that Luna and Arkan afford.”

“Illyara, I have enough money to have a thousand guards. We don’t have to worry. We could have our own army if we needed to.”

“It is not just that. We are strangers here. We do not know the conventions that we must follow. We are strangers in a strange land.”

“Illyara, it will be fine. We’ll have the time of our lives.” She didn’t want to tell Illyara that the real reason she wanted to buy a house was because she didn’t want to bump into Arkan every five minutes.

Later that day, they swung into a wooded area from the main road that stretched through Ghinari. They were in the Duchess’ second carriage, which, while not as grand, had to Lynsey’s relief slightly more padding on the seats.

Tall trees with a distinctive red-violet bark grown in peculiar straight rows marked the beginning of Trekarik Park. They led the way down a well-maintained wide mud track. About a mile along, the path turned to cobbles and the smell of cut grass and a floral fragrance that reminded Lynsey of the King’s ball announced the approaching formal gardens.

It was one of the oldest houses in the city, Luna explained along the way and as the wheels of their carriage crunched up beside the front door, the house did not disappoint. Its sweeping driveway was large enough to accommodate two carriages and the house itself was sprawling.

A side door immediately opened and two servants greeted them. The first was dressed in a green and yellow dress and the second wore loose fitting trousers and a top of the same colours. They bowed first to the Duchess and then curtseyed to Lynsey and Illyara.

They pointed at the door and the small party followed them.

“They don’t talk much,” whispered Lynsey.

Luna leaned in between Lynsey and Illyara and whispered at the same level.

“It is alright, you cannot offend them. They are servants. Do I need to keep reminding you of this? I really don’t know if you are ready to live on your own.” She looked from one to the other and sighed. “They are of a tribe that has taken a vow of silence. They only communicate by gestures. They make great servants because they do not gossip. They are Lord Tekarik’s oldest servants.”

The pair waited patiently for the conversation to cease and then pointed forward again. Luna nodded.

“We don’t have long you know if we are to be ready for the ball tonight.”

From there, they were shown around at a brisk pace. There were two floors and ten bedrooms. Lynsey walked around in a daze. Gold leaf on the walls? A swimming pool around the back and a ballroom to rival the King’s. The more they were shown, the more the servants seemed almost tearful to be leaving.

“How many staff would you need to run this place?”

Luna answered. “To run it I would say at least thirty but there are only five of them here currently. The old Duke couldn’t afford to keep all the staff going.”

“This place would house about five tribes” was Illyara’s comment.

Luna ignored Illyara. “This place is impressively big but you would have to hire about fifty guards to make it safe. The park is no deterrent. If you built a wall to surround the house, it would be an improvement. Although it would ruin the look of the place. Even then Arkan could get over that in moments and he is not the only assassin in town.”

Why did she have to bring up Arkan all the time? Hang on, did she just say Assassin?

Luna’s mouth formed an o at her expression. “You didn’t realise? He’s not just an assassin he is the King’s Assassin.” Her mouth twitched in amusement. “I thought you knew.”

“You have assassins here. Why would you do that?”

“To protect yourself. Why else? The best defence is an offence after all.”

“What about police?”

“What are police?” It was Luna’s turn to look puzzled.

“You don’t have anyone who looks for criminals, enforces the laws?”

“Anyone can bring problems before the king. Why would we pay to sort out someone else’s problems? We hire guards to look after our own things and put the rest in the bank.”

The servants were getting restless. They needed a reply. Lynsey took another look at the grand hallway with its sweeping staircase and high ceilings. She couldn’t have believed even visiting a place like this would have been possible a few weeks ago. This house could be hers. She thought about what Luna had said. She had been kidnapped but that was before the ball. Everyone knew about her now and she had the protection of Luna’s family name. Wasn’t that the whole point of going to the King’s ball in the first place? He wouldn’t go after her now. They were all exaggerating the danger. If she stayed in the public eye maybe she could be safe and if she had to build a private army then so be it. She chuckled. Who was exaggerating now?

“I’ll take it.” She replied at their questioning look. A small smile greeted her answer.

The rest was a formality. They visited the bank who transferred the amount needed to the Duke. She didn’t know what she expected but since everyone used the same bank, it was just a matter of transferring the money from one vault to another. In this case, the Duke was happy to accept jewels in payment. Lynsey suspected that he was getting a slighter better exchange rate than if she tried to sell the jewels herself but she wanted the house and she didn’t want to wait anymore.

They were back at Luna’s and readying for the ball with plenty of time to spare.

“Aren’t you excited about moving to our new place?” Lynsey asked Illyara.

Her friend smiled sadly. “I will miss Luna but I can only stay with you for a few more weeks. I should re-join my family.”

Lynsey rolled over on top of the bedspreads to face Illyara. “I thought you could stay for years, explore the world, find love.”

“I don’t think I will find it here Lynsey. They are all about money and status. These are not things my tribe value. I need to look elsewhere. You obviously want to make roots here and that is fine. I will always wish you well.”

“Have your family been outside the gates all this time?”

“Oh no, they will have gone to a town further up by the coast but they will be back here soon where I can join them again.” Illyara looked down and then straight into Lynsey’s eyes. “I am worried you will get lonely by yourself.”

Lynsey lowered her eyes to look at the pattern on the bedspread. It wouldn’t be right to keep Illyara away from her family and future.

“I’m never really alone now. Besides I like Luna too. She does annoy me sometimes but I think we can be friends. I just wish those two would either get together or not so I know when to avoid Arkan. “

“You think Luna and Arkan are sweethearts?”

“Yes, it’s a bit obvious. He’s always giving her doe-eyed looks.”

Illyara smiled. “I am pretty sure they are not doe-eyed looks!”

“I think…” Just then Megan and Tegan knocked on the door, bringing in their dresses for the night.

They arrived at the ball only twenty minutes after the time written on the invitation, much to Luna’s chagrin. She had huffed at that but Lynsey was still her guest so she acquiesced.

While the room was smaller than the other one, it was still elegant. There were light fixtures on the wall, but the Contee had chosen to use candles for their event instead of electric. The soft glow was a lot more flattering to the older ladies, Lynsey thought, but then given the age of the Contees – that was probably the plan.

Even though they were relatively early, there were a few men and women milling about the room. Lynsey sighed, she’d been right to come in earlier, she didn’t feel like such a specimen. People were still looking at her but they were also staring at their clothes not just her hair this time.

Luna looked gorgeous in a dark blue gown. The hemline trailed the floor and the neckline showed off her best asset. Illyara’s and Lynsey’s outfits were more demure but just as striking. Lynsey’s dress was again pink while Illyara’s was green. They both had long skirts but the cut accentuated their young bodies. The dresses were daring without revealing anything. “It is how I got my first husband, darling.” Luna had said. “Before you marry you need to tease – to draw the men to you. After your nuptials, you can do what you want.”

For two hours in their rooms Luna had gone over society’s niceties. You must never be alone with a man. You must be asked to dance. You should not fill your plate with food. A barb on Lynsey’s plate at the King’s feast.

“If you want to become part of society you will have to win over the other ladies. After all, what if one of them is married to the man who may ask you to be his wife?”

“Hang on, you can have more than one husband?”

“Hang on to what? No, a man may have two wives but a woman can only have one husband.”

“But your husband is only married to you?”

“I have the family and money that I can make sure he doesn’t look at another woman.”

Lynsey smiled to herself, there was more to Luna than family or money.

Lynsey pulled up a fan that hung from a belt around her waist. She flicked it open and vigorously pumped it to cool down her face. The room was getting full and the heat from the people and hundreds of candles was making it hot. Everyone seemed to be a little livelier than in the previous ball. People were smiling more and she noted the men felt free to touch the arms or shoulders of the women. A lull in the conversation around them made Lynsey look for the source.

“Why has everyone gone quiet?” She craned her neck to look around the room but she couldn’t see anything which would explain it.

“The king is coming!” A lady dressed next to them said in an over-loud whisper. “A footman saw his coach coming down the drive. The Contee have been trying to get him to come to one of their balls for years! They have finally made it. I’m hoping Arkan will be with him.”

“Why would the king suddenly decide to come?”

The girl looked at Lynsey with pity. “You of course. Everyone saw how he looked at you. He even danced with you.”

Illyara was talking with a matron further into the room. Lynsey made her way through the crowd to her.

“The king is coming.”

Illyara turned to her friend. “It’s okay he can’t harm you here. This lady was saying that Arkan will probably be coming as well.

“All we need is Baserius and we have a trifecta of my nemeses.”

“Don’t be silly, besides Arkan likes you.”

“He just doesn’t want me around.”

“Whatever gave you that idea?”

“I heard him!”

Illyara’s perplexed look made Lynsey doubt for a second but she had heard him herself.

“I need to go out for some air.”

The matron was taking it all in eagerly. You should use the balcony of the hallway on the second floor. There is a beautiful view from up there. “

“Thank you, I will.” Lynsey picked up her skirt and made her way past the crowd. The room seemed to get darker. Everyone was watching her, their beady eyes boring into her back. She hated being the only blond person. She stood out like a frickin, sore thumb. If she stayed here she would be stared at for her whole life and judging from what Pico said that would be forever. She wouldn’t be able to hide. Her hair would give her away. Lynsey paused on a step. How long before they would try to work out why she lived so long without aging?

The hallway on the second floor was lined with dark wood panels engraved with scenes from a past battle. She hardly gave them a glance until she saw a pyramid. She felt Pico’s interest flare in her consciousness.

“Can you see that?” Lynsey whispered.

I can. The pictures seem to say that a dragon escaped from a pyramid. For all these people say they want to forget those that brought them here, they find ways of reminding themselves. The pyramid was in the Temple as well. That next painting shows that the Egyptians all had to leave. How much of this is myth?

“I don’t know but this is fascinating.”

“It is indeed.” The voice was behind her but she knew from the goose pimples rising in her arms who it was.

“Arkan.”

“At your service.”

She could feel the heat from his body. She turned to find him inches from her. His fingertips grazed her arm sending shivers of pleasure through her. This wasn’t right. She looked into his eyes and found herself melting into his arms. He brought his lips down onto hers while she lost herself in the depths of his eyes. Some last shred of her sanity took hold. No! This was not going to happen. She wouldn’t share with anyone, not even with someone she liked and respected like Luna. She tore herself from his arms and ran, her shoes clattered down the narrow stairs. She looked back up but he wasn’t following, she twisted back to find herself bumping into a man standing at the foot of the stairs.

Lynsey bounced off the king to stand inches from him. Her breaths came in quick gasps and her cheeks were bright pink, almost matching her dress. He stepped forward and took a stray tendril of hair and gently placed it over her ear.

Lynsey froze at his touch. He was handsome but she disguised a shudder when his finger lowered to stroke her cheek. Why did the King’s hand disgust her when Arkan made her breathless? She almost didn’t hear the King’s next words.

“For you I would get rid of my wives.”

Her lips parted in horror. This man was a monster. She backed away and headed to the ballroom and relative safety. She looked back and he was still there, looking into space as if lost in a daydream.

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 18 – The Dragon (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 18 – The Dragon

“Why was Arkan here!” His gaze seared into the two brothers standing in front of him, their heads hung low, hiding their expressions within their hoods. They knew there was nothing they could say that would alleviate his wrath.

“Did he get in the Temple?” Again no response from the brothers. “Did anyone see him inside?” he tried again.

Baserius let out some deep breaths, if it was not for the girl, this would be dangerous news. The only reason Arkan would be sniffing around the temple would be if the King ordered him to. If they could manage to get more gold and jewels then these silly games the King was playing would be irrelevant, He would be crushed easily and a replacement put in his place. It had been done before and so it would be done again. Finding the pyramids was a distant dream a few days ago, now it was a distinct possibility. His voice grew milder.

“There would be no way to tell I suppose. Were the guards on the stairs at all times?” Their shoulders relaxing, the brothers nodded their response.

“They saw nothing.” The nearest replied.

“At least that is something.” He moved away to stand in front of his desk. He reached inside his draw, pushing away scrolls and parchment until he located a golden key. He pulled it out, trailing a golden chain attached to it. He placed it around his neck and beckoned the others to follow him.

“Come, it is time for the ceremony. I grow tired,” he said as they exited the room.

They followed him, along the corridor and down some stairs to the basement entrance. Two brothers guarded another stairway. The guards were in effect a decoy from the true entrance to their right. If any spy managed to get past the guards all they would find were the temples food and wine stores.

Baserius bypassed them, not sparing the guards a glance and moved on a few feet to a place only an ordained brother could go. Behind a tapestry, a plain wooden door barred their way. Baserius placed the key in the lock and twisted it easily. On the other side was a featureless corridor and another door at the other side.

He strode along the terracotta tiles, his boots clicking a regular rhythm. The brothers followed closely at his heels. He knocked three times sharply and a further three times slowly. The door opened and an old man stood in the doorway. He gave a nod to Baserius and looked behind him to the two brothers who pushed back their hoods so he could recognize them. He turned a lamp on a table beside him to its full capacity. His grizzled features twisted into recognition and he moved aside to let them pass.

From the doorway, all they could hear was the sound of scraping metal against stone as the ceremonial knife was sharpened to a slow tempo. As the men moved further into the chamber, they could hear the murmur of hundreds of voices.

All three held their noses for a moment in the gloom. Experience had taught them it would take a while for their noses to adjust to the stench of defecation and blood that permeated the basement. The doorman smiled grimly at their discomfort.

“Has he been quiet?”

“Why do you always ask, Baserius? He has been quiet for a century. He is resigned to his fate. He is only a dumb creature after all. All animals will lie quiet with the right training.” The voice came from a figure drawing close. The same blood-red cowl from the robes that everyone wore hid the figure’s face. The voice was higher than normal but with the unmistaken tone of confidence and power.

Baserius paused in response while he studied the animal. It was indeed quiet. He had never seen it exhibit any other behaviour. It lay on a bed of hay. Its head low on its arms. Its talons were twisted underneath it as was its wings. The chains criss-crossing the beast were tied to its arms, tail and wings. They were taught and strong. Even if the dragon had the desire to move, it wouldn’t be able to move more than a foot. A painted red circle surrounded the dragon indicating where it was safe to go near.

“I have some news.” He finally replied.

“The king is trying to overthrow you. I know. It happens every two generations. You will have to make an example of him. It happened to your predecessor, it will happen to you. Why bother me with these banalities?”

“No, this is something new. But our coffers are getting low, it will be difficult to make an example when we have no army to do so or money to bribe.”

Around them, brethren were chanting quietly, moving with deliberation across the room in preordained patterns. The light from scented candles wavered in their hands as they breathed.

“You will have to redouble your efforts to find those pyramids. If we could bring enough treasure to fund two centuries of this Temple from what we could carry in our pockets. Think what you could do with a cartload.”

“That is related to what I need to tell you about.”

The hooded figure stayed silent, waiting for his explanation.

“A woman arrived in Ghinari, a few weeks ago. She came here with a nomad girl.” He took a breath, then coughed regretting inhaling so deeply. “They left before I could question them but they left an elephant ornament which could only have come from the pyramids. No craftsman on this world has the skill to make such an object.”

The old man who had let them in, twisted to look at them from his post. His eyes brightened. “She has to have come from there.”

“That is not all that is strange.” Baserius ignored the man. “She is blond so she cannot be from this world and she heals instantly.” All three looked in the direction of the beast.

“Interesting…”

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 17 – Pico (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 17 – Pico

Lynsey floated in a sea of white nothing. She wasn’t afraid she realised. She pondered her hands as wisps of white fog entwined her fingers like fine cotton. There was nothing to be scared of, was there?

A few more minutes of swirling whiteness and she began to get bored. This place could really do with some colour she thought, and a mixture of pale and blue swirled around her making patterns in the air. It made her think of a rainbow and a burst of colours shot through, streaking the air, breaking up the swirls, leaving afterimages. The blues and greens turned into bubbles, floating into different directions. She wondered if she could pop them.

In the distance she heard her name and she languidly twisted her neck to see who was calling. It seemed so far away and it really wasn’t that important. Nothing was. It was so peaceful here. She watched as a purple bubble floated past her eyes making her momentarily cross-eyed.

The voice was getting louder and she could see a figure walking towards her. It was coming closer but still Lynsey didn’t feel nervous, just curious. Soon enough she could see the stranger’s face but she didn’t recognise her. The stranger was smiling and waved shyly as she drew up close.

“Hello Lynsey.”

“Hello?” She knew her name. Did she know her?

“I’m Pico.”

Lynsey looked closely at the woman. She was about her height, average build, she had brown curly hair, brown eyes and clear olive skin. There was nothing threatening about her.

“Where am I? How can I see you?”

“You are somewhere between dreaming and the awake state. It’s the only way we can possibly meet face-to-face. Do you like the way I look? I chose the attributes you most like to see in others from your memories.” Pico twirled on the invisible ground.

Lynsey didn’t quite know how to answer that. “You are a collection of Pico-somethings, why do you care what I think?”

Pico’s face fell. “I’m a person. I thought you knew that now. I have thoughts and feelings. They were developed from yours but I am my own person we just share a body. I haven’t said much for the past week because I had to sort through my feelings. I was born when you put on that bracelet. You chose to put it on no one forced you to. What you did created me. I’m entitled to think.”

“I didn’t know what would happen when I put on the bracelet.” Lynsey struggled to keep her attention on the conversation and not on the colourful display behind Pico.

“It doesn’t matter, I exist.” Pico’s voice was earnest. “Don’t you remember your philosophy classes? I think therefore I am? You created me. Your actions ended up with me. Me. I had nothing to do with it but now I am here I deserve to live.”

Fear dripped down Lynsey’s spine. Pico had her full attention now. “Are you going to take over?”

Anger turned to horror on Pico’s face. “Of course not! You are my mother. I would protect you with my life but I won’t give up that life willingly. But maybe, you could share your body once in a while? I’m not asking for whole days or anything, just maybe the occasional evening, maybe a morning?”

This was the most bizarre conversation that Lynsey thought she would ever have with anyone. She felt the bedrock of her world shifting. Not only had she found herself in a strange world. People were after her, a strange creature was living inside her and it now said she was her mother. This was too much! She almost didn’t hear what Pico said next.

“After all now that you are immortal, sharing some time here and there won’t really affect you.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

Pico backtracked. What had she said? “Didn’t I mention that? That was the other reason that I haven’t been around much. I was looking into some anomalies. You weren’t reacting the same as I was expecting during our walk in the desert and it wasn’t all me healing you. And then you had some cuts and bruising when they captured you in the park. Again, you healed quicker than humanly possible. I did some more investigating and my conclusion is that you are immortal.”

“Immortal? That’s ridiculous!”

“No, it isn’t. I’ve been thinking about it. When the Egyptians sent copies of themselves through the pyramids, they were alive when the energy fields hit them and their code was sent through to this world. I think when you came here, you died and a copy of you was sent here through a black hole with some extra information. What happened to you was ‘natural’ as opposed to what the astrologers, mathematicians and engineers designed. They wanted what you have but didn’t have the technology to replicate it. If it is even possible to duplicate that process. Every time you are injured, your body asserts its original DNA map. It is why you were so hungry at the banquet. You needed the calories to recover.”

“You are saying that I cannot die?”

“Well, technically you could die. If you jumped in a volcano, or you were vaporised then there would be no hope. Maybe if someone chopped of your head … but then you would probably come back from that. All your previous memories are saved in your code. I think that if you do come close to dying then you might reset to when you arrived in this world. You will lose all your experiences from the time you arrive until the time you ‘die’.”

That made Lynsey pause. “That would be awful, I would have no idea how I got here. I might have gone mad if I hadn’t met Illyara or had time to acclimatize before I met anyone. This world is too different.”

“It is okay, I have a plan. I have been creating a backup in the bracelet.” Pico beamed at her cleverness.

“You did what? All my memories are in the band?” She looked down to see the bracelet replicated on her arm,

“Why yes. Just think if some impossible misfortune were to fall on us and you were killed, someone in the future could upload you to a computer, like me!”

What sounded almost like a good idea was starting to sound like a awful one. “Pico, that’s terrible.”

“”Whyyyy issss….” Pico’s voice was slurring. Her image juddered.

“Pico?”

Pico couldn’t answer but her arm rose to say goodbye as her form moved away at an incredible pace.

************

Lynsey woke in confusion but managed to feign sleep while she heard Arkan talk with Luna. She didn’t feel like talking to anyone for a few minutes. Pico had better be quiet as well while she processed what she said. Immortal? She really was immortal but she might lose all her Duat memories? That would be like dying over and over again. It would be like, she searched for the word, like some sort of dementia.

“…not because I want her to stay but both those men are dangerous and they will do their utmost to capture her. Wherever she goes she will be in danger but here we can protect her – and us.”

Lynsey froze, Arkan didn’t want her to stay?

“You call this protecting?”

“illyara, this wasn’t our fault. This was neither the work of the King or Baserius. It was an accident.”

“She does seem to have a lot of those.”

“It is a good thing she has found some friends then isn’t it.”

Of all the nerve. She wasn’t accident prone and if it wasn’t for people after her she would have survived very well thank you very much!

She gave it a few more moments and then she groaned as she moved. Arkan stopped talking and moved his hand away from her hair. She sat up and noticed the carriage was nearing Luna’s house. Arkan was sitting in the corner of the carriage looking out of the window. Had she imagined his hand in her hair?

“I think I need a rest.” Lynsey said aloud.

“I think we all do. “ The Duchess replied.

Contents

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

Accidental Immortal Chapter 16 – Dragon Brotherhood (Serialisation)

Accidental Immortal serialisation

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!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

Ceri Clark

Chapter 16 – Dragon Brotherhood

Baserius put down his pen for the third time in ten minutes and rubbed his face in his hands. Taking up the pen again, he tapped a slow rhythm on the desk while he stared in to space in the direction of the window. He sighed and tried to make sense of the scroll in front of him but it was no use. The chair scraped across the wooden floor as he got up to stride across the floor to look out of the window.

The Brotherhood had built this city, maybe not with their hands but with their money and guidance. Now the money was running out but finally, on his watch, they might just get to the wealth that was rightfully theirs.

He surveyed the room at the threadbare furniture. The small amount of jewels the Brotherhood had come away with was nearly gone. They could barely afford to keep up appearance never mind keep the upstart king in check. The man was getting above himself. If the Brotherhood wanted the status that they’d lost, no, that they deserved, then they needed funds. Money to feed the brethren and money to recruit an army to put the king in his place.

He dropped down on to a leather seat by the window. The gentle breeze brought in a strong smell of sage mixed in with fruit trees. He breathed in deeply finding the combination calming. From here he could see right to the palace. In fact, the temple was higher than the King’s residence. This was a statement on where the real power lay in the land he thought with satisfaction. He would not be known as the high priest that ceded control.

There was also the oddity of the girl. Blond people just did not exist. His head rose slowly in realisation. Just like dragons didn’t exist. Maybe they were from the same place? If they were from the same origin, maybe they were akin in other ways. Would she have similar abilities? They were limited to how much elixir they could make with what they had. With more, who knows what they could achieve.

As he watched the street through the window he saw the red carriage belonging to the Duchess trundle around the corner. He leaned forward for a better look as they passed beneath the window. Three ladies alighted to Baserius’ displeasure. His lips thinned as he saw them group together on the ground. A footman dropped from atop the carriage, carrying their personal effects. How many was he going to have to entertain? Baserius ground his teeth. It was foolhardy to think the girl would come on her own. He expected her companion to come, but why the Duchess? This would take all his training and tact.

******
Lynsey took her purse from the footman. It was light containing only a few coins and a handkerchief. She thought it was stupid when she had to hand it to the footman before the carriage only to get it back at the other end but Luna was strict on protocol.

“One does not carry objects unless for effect or when strictly necessary.” She’d said. The woman was starting to get on Lynsey’s nerves.

Lynsey smiled at the servant and thanked him with a curtsey. Her skirt grazed the deep-packed mud street and she ruefully shook off the loose dust that gathered on the hem. The footman nodded and silently climbed back up to his place next to the coachman, driving off to come back at the appointed time. Luna let out an exasperated sigh.

“One does not courtesy to a footman or any other servant for that matter.” She reprimanded.

Lynsey rolled her eyes and ignored her, breezing past her to knock on the door. A brother she hadn’t seen before, slid open the hatch and immediately pulled the bolts to let them in. He motioned for them to follow him and his arms dropped to fold inside the sleeves of his deep-red robes as he led the way. His pace was quick and he ushered them across the hall and straight through to the high priests’ office.

“Ladies, it is lovely to see you. I wasn’t quite expecting so many of you or I would have provided more cups.” Baserius rose from the window seat to ring a bell. He indicated for them to sit on two plain chairs made of a soft wood brought in especially for them.

Lynsey glanced at Illyara. “Shall we stand, I think their counting has a little too be desired.”
“Well a Duchess never stands if she doesn’t need to.” Luna sat down, crossing her ankles while placing her purse on her lap.

Within moments a man wearing the customary crimson robes entered.

“Please could you get another cup for our guests?” Baserius’ voice was genial, coming from behind them.
“and a chair of course.”
He waved his hands at his guests. The brother slipped out of the room as he continued. “I thought we could have a small chat before we got started.” Their startled faces made his mood lighten. “I understand that you grew up in the western isles. One of our brothers has recently travelled back from there. I’m sure you will have a lot to talk about. I hear the weather is inclement there.”

“To be honest, I would rather forget about that place. The boredom of rural life is best left in the past. I want to enjoy a life with more diversions. I love my father but his dedication to the provinces is not mine. I’m happy just to be in the big city.” Lynsey retorted, beaming her biggest smile.

He nodded. “The charms of the provinces can be quite alluring but I can see the excitement of the big city is more in keeping with youth. Come,” He stood and indicated the door. “let us begin the tour while we wait for the extra cup.”

The tour of the upper levels went quite quickly. Baserius was knowledgeable of every facet of its construction. As he talked about flying buttresses, and carvings of dragons which glowered down from above at regular intervals, Lynsey’s mind inevitably wondered to Arkan. Where was he? Was he safe? Her eyes searched the shadows for him as they moved from room to room. Was he even here yet? If he was in trouble she could help him. She hated being the decoy.

“…and here is a picture of the pyramids. It was painted when the temple was first built. There are many who do not believe they existed but how else did we come to this place?” He pointed at a mural that sat behind long trestle tables, beside a lone brother eating a meal of green vegetables. He paused waiting for Lynsey to respond.

“He wants me to tell him about the pyramids.” She directed at Pico.

“It would appear so. I do not think that would be a wise idea.”

“I seem to be agreeing with you more and more.”

“I will grow on you.”

“Yeah, like moss.”

Pico’s thoughts rolled in violet as he laughed.

Baserius was now talking about the windows and it took all Lynsey’s strength to not roll her eyes at the tedium.

“Excuse me, may I use your bathroom.”

He halted mid-step and turned to look at her.

“Bathroom?” His brows furrowed. “You want to have a bath?”

“I’m sorry where I am from, the bathroom was used as a euphemism for the toilet.”

“Oh, we can’t allow you to use our facilities here. It would not be seemly. We do not have a separate place for women. We are a male only order. May I suggest the inn across the road?”

“That will be fine. I’ll just pop along and be back long before you even notice I’m gone.”

Lynsey’s thoughts raced, if she was fast she could buy a few minutes so she could do some snooping of her own. She sedately walked out of the room and rushed through to the front entrance.

The doorman was sat on a bare wooden bench next to the entrance. He groaned as he stood up but let her out without looking at her.

Her eyes burned from the bright sun and she raised her hand to cover them as she stepped out from the entrance. She squinted as she descended the steep, sand-stone steps. At the foot she paused, the path was practically non-existent, barely a person’s width. She shrugged and walked closely beside it, avoiding pools of excrement on the dirt.

Shading her eyes with her purse, there was a use for the infernal thing after all, she looked for the inn. A prominent sign down the street declared its owner to be the Dragon Inn. That must be it. Original, she thought, not without a touch of sarcasm.

The traffic was quite light, only a carriage or two passing through with a few lunchtime sellers going home with empty hand-carts. Out of habit, she gave the road a cursory look from left to right before crossing. The inn looked less than inviting. The sort of that would make a great setting for a horror movie she mused. Pico sent her an image with ghouls hanging out of the windows and lightning reigning down from above. She snorted as it faded away.

Her foot squished into the biggest pile of horse manure she had ever seen, oh for god’s sake! As she lifted her foot with disgust, she heard a whinny and she turned to see a horse gallop around the corner towards her. It was pulling an individual carriage and was out of control. Her heart beat faster and she felt Pico take control but it was too late. The horse hit her sending her flying through the air.

******
Baserius was finding it difficult to keep the show going while continuing the tour without the girl. The whole point of the tour was to quiz her about the location of the pyramids and she’d left him with her companions. Granted, they seemed to hang on his every word which was some comfort but there were more important things he could be doing with his time than babysit a couple of females.

“While we are waiting for Miss Walker, shall we retire back to my office for a cup of tea?”

Before they could answer, Brother Leer ran across the foyer towards them. Baserius felt a twinge of relief at the distraction but Brother Leer’s expression gave him pause. His lips were set in a line and his ambling gait was faster than normal. Something was wrong, he noted with mild curiosity.

The Brother indicated for them to follow him back to the front entrance. Baserius bristled at the command but recognized that whatever had happened Brother Leer could still not break his silence in front of his guests.

As they neared the door they started to hear shouts from outside. The nomad girl was the first to run through the door and Luna was blocking his view so he was the last to see Lynsey on the ground. It took a second to register the scene. What was most surprising was to see Arkan Blade beside her. What was he doing here?

His contemplation turned to disbelief then pleasure when he saw a gash on the girl’s arm heal up before Illyara moved between him and her. Lynsey was like the dragon! If she could heal up instantaneously was she also immortal? He had to find out. He coughed to clear his throat.

“This is beyond protocol but may I offer sanctuary in our Temple until the Lady Lynsey is well enough to travel?”

Arkan stared down at Lynsey’s battered face. As he watched, abrasions and cuts began to heal, her fingers in his straightened and her eyelashes started to flutter. Gods she was beautiful. Fear warred with feelings he couldn’t identify. No one healed that fast but she was the same girl he had rescued the night before. Was it the bracelet? He rubbed her wrists with his thumb and forefinger but could only feel silken skin. Where was it? If she wasn’t wearing it, then how was she healing like that? There was more to her than she was telling him.

In his arms, she groaned and put her hand up to her forehead wincing.

“What happened?” She whispered. The she looked at him. “You’re here?”

He laughed. “Yes, I’m here. You had an accident.”

She grimaced again and sat upright. He let his hands drop to his side.

“Can you get up? It’s not safe on the street.”

She nodded and with his help, she made it to the curb. She brushed her hair back from her face so it fell over the high collar of her yellow dress. While the colour suited her, he couldn’t but think it was a poor choice for visiting. Luna would have warned her it would get dirty on the dusty streets, but, he thought with fondness, this was a lady who knew what she wanted.

He shouldn’t get involved with her, he reminded himself, but she felt so fragile in his arms. He felt an overarching need to protect her. He shouted to Luna to call for her carriage but he could see it was already making its way towards them. He lifted Lynsey easily into his arms and carried her into the carriage where Illyara was waiting. He heard Luna thank Baserius but that she had it all in hand.

Lynsey sank back in a faint again but it gave Arkan a chance to talk to Luna. Illyara was tactfully looking out of the window.

“Baserius noticed her healing?”

“I saw. That was not normal.” Her eyes accused him. “What have you got me involved with Arkan?”

“She is an innocent. We have to protect her.”

“She doesn’t look like she needs much protecting from what I saw.”

“She is not from here.”

“Clearly,”

Arkan tried again. “Do you not like her? You have spent a lot of time with her over the last few days. She does not mean any harm and simply wanted to find help.” He tried to divine what she was thinking from her expression but she was giving nothing away. After a moment she replied.

“We have no choice but to protect her now. She has been publicly announced as part of my family. My reputation would be damaged if her ability and our deception was to get out. This was just a game when you approached me Arkan. I have worked too hard in society to let that happen now.” Her voice trailed off as she watched buildings go past through the open curtains of the window. “This will be hard to contain.”

Arkan agreed. “There was something about the way he looked at her.”

“A spider looking at a fly?” She suggested sadly.

“Something like that. I think we not only have the King to worry about but also Baserius.”

“It would seem so.”

Illyara chimed in. “Would it be better for us to go somewhere else? Lynsey wanted to come to remove a bracelet but she has made peace with it now and is happy to keep it. There is no reason for us to stay in this city any longer. I don’t know why she agreed to see the Temple or why she wants to stay.”

“What bracelet?” Luna asked.

Illyara eyes widened as she realised her mistake. “Oh, she has removed it on her own now.”

Seeing no bracelet on the sleeping girl’s arm, Luna acquiesced.

“I think you should stay. Not because I want her to stay but both those men are dangerous and they will do their utmost to capture her. Wherever she goes she will be in danger but here we can protect her – and us.”

“You call this protecting?”

“Illyara, this wasn’t our fault. This was neither the work of the King or Baserius. It was an accident.”

“She does seem to have a lot of those.”

“It is a good thing she has found some friends then isn’t it?”

Contents

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