I am to go with Ninurta for a season. I will return after the Sumerians have trained me in their ways. In my place, Sekhmet will be training a ‘youth’ named Gil-Amarek. Of course, Gil is not exactly a youth. He is 2,000 years old, the same age as Resos the scribe. Correction. 1,000 years younger than Resos.
But our fates are tethered together, Gil and I. We are of the same…cloth. We are both neither human nor Eldyr race. Nor are we of the ancient hunters. We are a separate people altogether. Would that be an accurate assessment?
I am both excited and a bit scared at this move. I have never been outside Egypt and know nothing of the outside world. Until recently, my little piece of Egypt was the world. Now, I will be going into another very foreign world to me.
“Will we see the city-states?” I ask.
“From a distance,” Ninurta assures me, “but there really isn’t much to them. Just small settlements surrounded by supportive farmland. Sumer isn’t really a kingdom. Just a bunch of allied cities that act independently.”
“Somewhat like Egypt,” I state.
“Well,” he smiles, “yes and no. There isn’t really a push to unify at the moment. Just a tendency to cooperate, yet war with one another when the mood strikes or stores get low.”
“I see,” I nod, “but unification is inevitable.”
“Indeed,” he nods, “as it is everywhere.”
“And your settlements?” I ask.
“They lay in the desert,” he remarks, “beyond human settlements. much like here. It is part of our treaties with the people of Sumer. As they expand, we move farther out into the wastes.” He looks at me. “Eventually, we will be left with no place. We will have to…disappear from the midst of man. That is where you and your breed come in. You blend in better. Especially you and Gil. You both can leave this realm and enter the unseen.”
“This is not normal?” I press.
“Not for hunters,” he remarks, “no.”
Night is falling and we have one more hunt to go on. The hunt to destroy the alliance between Tiamat and Set. The dragon and the Devil. We cannot afford their alliance to remain intact, at least not within the bounds of Egypt.
We must push Tiamat back into Sumer so she can be dealt with by her own. Just as Set will be dealt with by our hunters. Or they will flee from the known lands into the abyss. We would rather see them flee into exile if we cannot kill them. The Wadj-men, those Fallen who fled earth with their pale shadow brethren-who are neither hedj nor kem, but a cross between the two-would take them in.
Still, the ideal end would be for them to be killed, not exiled. But it won’t be easy to kill either of them. Balance must be restored and the breach healed. Even if it means the end of the Eldyr Race in order to protect and preserve mankind. Yet, we must try to preserve all races. Man. Vampyr. Lycanthi. Scarabi. Scriboi. Archoni. Serephi. Terrephi. Feyin.
Harmony must be kept, balance restored. Light must overcome the dark, order over chaos. Otherwise, the universe will be destroyed. And I, I will play a part in the defense and preservation of the universe.
“Be light on your feet,” Ninurta instructs, “Tiamat can feel rhythm, especially made by heavy footsteps or marching.”
“We have noticed the same with Set,” Sekhmet replies.
“My earlier scoutings have shown me that Ammit and her pets will be nowhere near Set’s abode,” Naunet states, “Meretseger, Khepri, Renenutet, Sepa, Wadjet, and Selket helped on patrol. We patrolled in an inconspicuous manner.”
“In other words, they became snakes,” Khnum smirks, pausing for a bit of drama, “and bugs. Always fun when they become something smaller to avoid being noticed. They can go just about anywhere.”
“And where did they go?” I ask, in response to Naunet’s piece of information, but nodding to acknowledge Khnum’s wisecrack.
“They were sent westward into the western desert,” she replies, “to seek a temple. Or some safe place where Set could hold out if need be.”
“He must be expecting an attack,” Sekhmet nods, “and is seeking a place to hide.”
“If he expecting an attack,” Aten begins, “then we must strike him on all sides. Give him no room for retreat.”
As we near Set’s hellish abode, a great dragon rises from the ground and flies to the east. Tiamat. She is retreating to Sumer. Set is on his own. Luckily she has not spotted us.
We wait until she is no longer visible, then move in. Set, it seems, really isn’t expecting us. His blood drinkers offer little resistance. I can’t really call it much of a battle. Apparently, they have glutted themselves on blood and are unable to put up a defense.
They die almost too easily. It’s all a little too easy. Almost unnerving. It is almost as if they had held a blood-feast to celebrate something. But what?
We gain access to Set’s palace. There are dead everywhere. Farmers. Slaves. Minor nobles. Town folk that have been missing for weeks.
“You’re too late,” Set says wickedly, “if you’re here to save them.” He motions to the bodies littering the floor of his throne room. “They served as a wonderful banquet to celebrate a wonderful alliance.”
“We already know that you met with Tiamat,” Ninurta interrupts him, “The question is why?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Set grins darkly. “We want to defeat you. Unfortunately, she could not stay to relish in your defeat.”
He rushes to attack me, but I see a weakness in his approach and trip him…moving quickly to one side to avoid his reaching grasp. he falls harmlessly to the ground, embarrassed. He rises, angry at the affront.
“Until next time, runt,” He hisses, then vanishes.
“Looks like you caught him off guard,” Khnum snickers.
“He’ll be back,” Sekhmet replies, “when he thinks things have quieted down.”
“You’ve just worded his pride, boy,” Ninurta smiles, “But to truly defeat him, you’ll have to come with me and learn our ways as well. The more you know, the better you will become as a fighter and a defender.”
“Then,” I nod, “I shall accompany you to Sumer.”