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fic - Dogdrums (crossover)

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  • rodlox
    ~~~ title: Dogs and Drums, and god in Hand. [working title, at least]. author: Rodlox. spoilers: various _Hercules: The Legendary Journeys_ & _Xena: Warrior
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2004
      title: "Dogs and Drums, and god in Hand." [working title, at least].

      author: Rodlox.

      spoilers: various _Hercules: The Legendary Journeys_ & _Xena:
      Warrior Princess_ & _The Invisible Man_ episodes, _THE SCORPION
      KING_, _The Mummy_ & _The Mummy Returns_, (I OWN NONE OF THE CANON

      (I might or might not also be including _The Prophecy_ movies)...


      archive: just let me know where, okay?

      Hyperion, freed from his stone captivity. Hyperion and the other
      Titans, let loose upon the Earth. Where Titans moved, nothing
      challenged them.

      Not the great beasts which flew, nor the monsters of the seas were
      able to put a stop to the Titans. The gods were ineffective. No
      hero could stand up to the Titans' power.

      Hyperion, son of Titan, ruled the world.

      Cassandra woke up. Pulling a sheet of parchment from her nightstand,
      she wrote down every bit of her vision that she could remember.

      She could only think of one person who could do anything about this.
      Only one person she trusted enough.



      Methen rolled over, the sunlight streaming through an uncurtained
      window. Groaning, "Why can't you ever rise at a reasonable hour,
      Re?" He stood up, righting the headrest that'd been knocked down
      during the roll.

      He'd been alive so long he couldn't really remember whether he had
      been named after the Serpent who protected the Solar Boat of Re, or
      if the Serpent had been named after him. He was Methen. He had
      always been Methen.

      Methen shucked off his sleeping clothes, little as he wore in this
      exhausting climate; and donned his day clothes. He'd have to get
      changed again come noontime, for the big festival here in Luxor. But
      for now, breakfast. Methen made a note to check his stash of barley
      beer, and see if the priest-caretaker of Ammitt had any spare vessels
      of grape beer.

      One of his earliest friends in this city was already seated in
      Methen's dining room, snacking on a loaf of unleavened bread. "It is
      good and well to see that you have arisen in the wake of the Sun,"
      said that friend.

      Methen didn't raise an eyebrow. His friend, a fellow priest - albeit
      of a different divinity than Methen tended - tended to be verbose
      when he wasn't on duty.

      "The summons has come again, this time with a verification," he told
      Methen. The news the first time had been hard to believe, so it had
      been sent back for verification; few people could do that, and not be
      punished for doubting the Royal Will.

      Methen's best friend had been selected to live in the Per'aa, the
      Great House, the royal residence. A goodly portion of Methen did
      envy his friend such luck.

      "May the Neteru, Gods, and Immortals smile upon you," Methen said to
      his compadre.

      "And to you as well," Imhotep replied. He was excited: he wondered
      what his life would be like, within the royal house.


      Xena yawned as she exited the tent she'd slept in. Outside, she saw
      the mercenaries gathering. "Can I help you boys?" she asked.

      "This is now our territory," said the mercenary who seemed to be in
      charge of the other mercenaries.

      "You fellas weren't here yesterday."

      "We just got here. But now, now you gotta pay us. Pay for walking
      on our turf."

      "And if I can't pay?" Xena asked, bored enough to yawn.

      "We're plenty creative," the head mercenary assured her. "I'm sure
      we can find plenty of somethings to do with you."

      Ares appeared in all his glory. "Run," he said in that quietly
      threatening voice of his. *NOBODY* threatened his warrior
      princess...particularly like that!

      The mercenaries wasted no time in turning tail and heading for the

      "Well, there goes my morning workout," Xena said, turning her
      attention back to Argos.

      "And nice to see you too," Ares said in a friendly tone, turning
      around to face Xena. Or at least to face that nice back of
      hers. "Definately."

      "I'm busy, Ares," she told him, tightening Argos' girth.
      `Oh, I think you'll want to hear what I have to say."

      Finished with her horse's waist, Xena glanced at Ares. "I'll listen,
      but it'll have to be while I gather firewood."

      Tempted as he was to watch the warrior princess bend over time and
      again, particularly in that leather outfit of hers, Ares decided
      against it. He snapped his fingers, and an enormous pile of logs and
      sticks and twigs sat atop the charcoal which was all that remained of
      last night's fire.

      Xena didn't bother glaring at him. She just ignored him. "Ares, I'm
      trying to cook breakfast, not the population of Troy."

      "Why didn't I think of that?" Ares asked himself, making a mental
      note that, next time that sort of a war came up again, to just roast
      the city. He snapped his fingers, and all but a few sticks vanished
      without so much as a puff of smoke. "Would you like some of my
      fire?" Ares asked Xena.

      "I can start by myself," Xena said, starting the fire that'd cook her
      breakfast. "What is it you want?" as Ares actually sat down across
      from her.

      "You remember Hercules, don't you, Xena?"

      "Yes. What about him?"

      "Well, it seems that one of his friends told him about a prophetic
      vision she'd had lately. Hercules told Zeus, and..."

      "And what?" Xena asked, turning to face Ares. It wasn't like him to
      trail off. "What happened, Ares? I'm guessing nobody turned you
      into a mortal again."

      "Good one, Xena; and you're right. But this is almost worse."

      "Worse?" Xena repeated. Ares was pretty pathetic as a mortal, so for
      him to rank something up with that... "How worse?"

      "Zeus went on the warpath, gathering up a bunch of the gods, and
      headed for some place Hercules' friend said had the sort of warriors
      they needed."

      "Needed for what? What's going on, Ares, that Zeus would go on a

      "I don't know," Ares admitted. "Zeus took Athena and Nike, but left
      me behind." He muttered something in Minoan. "Looks like I don't
      get to see what sort of warriors they have in Ahm Shere."

      "Then why are you here?" she asked him.

      "Just thought I'd stop by, let you know that Hercules isn't going to
      be around any more." And, while Xena was mentally tabulating just
      how much overtime she was going to have to work, in order to counter
      Ares' actions now... "And thought to let you know, that that seat's
      still open."

      "And which seat is that?" Xena asked, though she already knew.

      "The one by my side."


      Once the evil Na'rmer had been vanquished, Rick O'Connel collapsed.
      He would have fallen against the wall, had his wife and son not
      caught him in time. His friend had his eyes on Na'rmer's prisoner,
      up on the dias.

      Na'rmer had long ago made a pact with Uraeus, part of the eternal
      spirit of KMT. And like with the Scorpion King himself, Na'rmer's
      pact had transformed him. The cobra-Na'armer's slave birds flew off,
      releasing their prisoner. At first, she didn't move.

      Imhotep looked at Rick and Ardeth. "Thanks for all your help," Rick

      "Yes," Ardeth said, "you were a great assistance."

      Imhotep thanked them. And then he just stood there. "What's he
      waiting for?" Rick asked.

      "I think he's under the impression that we're going to send him
      back," Evie said, smiling a little in Imhotep's direction.

      "Oh," Rick said. To Imhotep, "We're not going to send you anywhere.
      You can go." Ardeth looked at Rick, a note of alarm on his face, but
      he said nothing. Had it not been for Imhotep, they likely would not
      have freed Na'rmer's prisoner. "You're free."

      Only after Imhotep had left, did she run straight for the arms of
      Ardeth Bey. Her father, the only person here she knew -- the others,
      she had only heard of.

      Running his hands through her hair in a paternal manner, Bey told his
      friends, "I thank you once more, my friends. Without your help -"

      "It's no problem," Rick said. "You helped us save Alex when he was
      kidnapped. This was the least we could do," though he still didn't
      like snakes.

      "Besides," Evie said, "we've been meaning to take a vacation for a
      while now anyway."

      "Thank you, maam," Aisha said to Evie, then "Thank you, sir," to
      Rick. Then she found herself with Alex. The two of them stood
      there, feeling a little awkward. Finally, Aisha made the first move,
      taking one final half-step towards Alex O'Connel.

      They kissed each other on the cheeks, then looked into each other's
      eyes. "I owe you my life, you know," Aisha Bey said.

      Alex ducked his head to hide the blush. "It was nothing, really."


      Alex O'Connel was trying to read his mother's latest publication --
      an analysis of the warnings which had been found in King Tutancamun's
      tomb. He figured the subject matter was why his stomach felt a
      little off...or it was sympathy pains.

      Alex let one finger loll one way and then another, in the sand tray.
      Literally a tray full of sand, it was a theraputic object, and also a
      good way to leave notes.

      It was then that his wife entered, pausing soon after she'd entered
      the room. "Our little khedive just gave another kick," Aisha said.

      Standing up, Alex walked over to her, and gingerly-tenderly put one
      hand on his wife's swollen abdomen, and felt another kick from the
      womb. "Probably gets it from your side of the family?"

      "My family is soley guardians and watcher, my Horus," she teased him.

      Alex got the joke, as it was an old one between them: his father bore
      the tattoo of Osiris; as the son... "But they fight really -" and
      stopped, interupted by the sound of a wind.

      A wind *inside* their house. Their doorways and windows were
      protected by amulets against the Evil Eye, which considerably lowered
      the number of disturbances. But this dark wind had blown into the
      house, passing right by the amulets.

      Either it was a good wind, or it was powerful enough to overwhelm the

      The wind said nothing. It only blew around the room, and then left
      the way it'd come inside.

      "Alex," Aisha said, looking at the sand. It was now shaped into
      hieroglyphs. Hieroglyphs that read: `Return Imhotep. There will be
      a Trial.'

      "It's okay," Alex told her, his hands on her upper arms reassuringly.


      Marie followed her momma down the rows of crates that'd just
      arrived. Her momma worked for the state museum, and that meant Marie
      got to see the neat things before anyone else did.

      One of the crates was open, and Marie looked in it. It was mostly
      packing stuffers...but there, there was a thing. A little statue, an
      artifact. Marie picked it up, looking at it.

      It looked like a silly kitty, Marie thought to herself, turning it
      over in her hands. Funny face. Marie smiled, thinking up a name for
      this little statue. There was Mr Piddly in the Sumerian Room, and Ms
      Birdy in the Early Japan Room...

      A jolt of energy rebounded through Marie; though she didn't drop the
      artifact, `cause then momma woulda been mad at Marie.

      Marie just put the thing back, and walked away, looking for momma.
      She didn't notice the artifact crumbling into desert sands.



      Methen wandered, disconsolable(sp). Imhotep had been ham'die-ed, not
      even a decent death. All of Methen's attempts to behead his old
      friend, to end the suffering, had failed. He could not get past the

      "There has to be a way," Methen said to himself, not for the first
      time. It wasn't even the hundredth time that he'd said that. He had
      lost count of how often he'd said that, of how many days, months, and
      years had passed. Methen no longer resided in Luxor, having given up
      that home for wandering through the lands of Setukh, the Red Lands:
      the lands of foreigners.

      He'd passed by a land where the lord and ruler was contemplating the
      construction of a massive pyramidal tower to the heavens. Methen
      would have wished them luck, or even helped them out...but his heart
      wasn't in it. "I'll help them after I save Imhotep," he told himself.

      Land and sand, land and sand and sea. He'd walked through armies,
      wars, and graves. Still no way in sight to help Imhotep, so Methen
      kept looking. He hadn't ever had many friends, so he did whatever he
      could to help the few he'd had.

      Methen tripped and fell, tumbling over and over and over, all the way
      down a hill. When he reached the bottom and hadn't been rendered
      briefly-dead or unconcious, Methen felt his head both ache and ring
      with that certain buzz.

      There was a sword to his throat. "I am Kronos," Methen was told.
      This was the god of the Greek traders? Rather piddly, Methen thought
      to himself. "Identify yourself," Kronos demanded.

      Perhaps I can use him. Rather than use his own name, Methen figured
      he may as well give a Grecian spin on his name and namesake.

      "I am Methos."


      Alex O'Connel dreamed not a pleasing dream...

      He wasn't in it. His wife was. And she was not alone in it.

      She was kissing a giant falcon. One of the Horus, Alex knew
      somehow. Aisha gave it a peck, a light kiss atop its beak. Then...

      Then it kissed back.

      Falcons were like any other bird of prey: utterly lacking in lips.
      Yet somehow it was succeeding in kissing her without drawing blood.
      And she was enjoying it, his wife.

      "My Horus," the Aisha in his dream said.

      Alex woke up before the dream could become any more scandalous. He
      dared not tell Aisha about his dream. Yet...

      They'd shared everything: dreams, hopes, hardships, joys... Alex
      knew that she would be able to tell that he was hiding something from
      her. But he couldn't -- He wouldn't bring himself to speak of that
      dream. The Ancient Egyptians believed that if you said something, it
      would come true, Alex knew; and the same for writing a thing down.

      Alex shifted uncomfortably in bed. Beside him, Aisha murmured,
      enjoying whatever dream she was having.


      The sun rose with a bloody air, where the sky was neither black nor
      blue, but a shiny red like that delicious fluid. A few Salukis(sp?)
      yapped at the coming of morning, their canine breed already centuries
      old, and would survive for millenia.

      Malakbel didn't yawn. The Hebrews mistakenly spoke of him as `the
      Angel of Baal', which was largely erroneous.

      He didn't need to yawn, however much it might've helped him to blend
      in with the throngs of people surrounding him. As the Sun God of
      neighboring Syria, he had come here to look in on things, to see how
      the regime change in this land was progressing. Not well, at least
      in the eyes of those like Amenhotep the Fourth, who kept trying to
      suppress worship and devotions aimed at the prior Neteru of this land.

      And Malakbel, in offering the aid of himself and his realm to the
      suppressed Neteru, had made himself a divine enemy. For the patron
      and lord of Amenhotep the Fourth was Aten...And Aten had declared war
      on Malakbel, and Malakbel wasn't about to admit defeat to some cultic

      No, he adopted a grim facade, a determined face. This was yet
      another war that he would win. He needed only to come upon the right


      Nammitti was the highest priest of the most prominent temple
      dedicated to the Neteru Ammitt. He was also the caretaker of that
      divinity. As caretaker, it was his duty and sacred task to lay out
      the daily food before the statue of Ammitt, to change the divinity's
      clothes, removing the prior day's food and clothes with the utmost

      Most days, the tasks went by without a hitch. But this was not most
      days. Already, Nammitti's best friend and confidant -- Methen --
      had abandoned the country only a week before now. And the fates
      were not complete with Nammitti.

      A wind was exhaled from the crocodilian mouth of Ammitt. That divine
      wind created sands where previously there had been none; the entire
      temple was kept immaculate, particularly this far in.

      Those sands formed a sentance; short, effective, immediate. And

      `Bring your son to Me' it read.

      Nammitt did not even consider disobeying. He was a pious man who
      loved whom he worshipped, and was also a good family man, a pillar of
      the community. But he knew that his prosperity thus far in life had
      been thanks to Ammitt. His lord giveth, and now his lord taketh away
      but a portion of that prosperity.

      So he did as he had been commanded. He left the temple and fetched
      his only son, Seti, bringing the youth before the statue of Ammitt.
      When he'd returned, the sand was gone -- another miracle, he
      considered it.

      Another wind that created sand, likewise from the maw of the Eater of
      Souls' statue. This time, the phrase between it and the two humans
      was `Touch My likeness, boy. Your soul will be saved, ka and ba

      Seti stepped forwards with a good deal of trepidation, this being the
      first time that he had ever gone this far into a temple; like much of
      the population, Seti had only been allowed as far as the hyppostyle
      hall. As he drew nearer to the statue, Seti found himself unsure of
      which part to touch: was this a test? And if so, was he supposed to
      touch the crocodilian jaws, the wildcat forequarters, or the hippo

      Seti closed his eyes, and touched.

      ...And vanished in a swirl of desert sand.

      `He will serve Me in the Hall of Judgement,' Ammitt's sand-carved
      words pronounced, `and wherever else I deem.'

      After that, the sand faded into nonexistance, and the chamber room
      was filled only with silence.

      Nammitt's second son would be named Abraham, who would meet Xena and


      Hercules had found himself standing atop a plynth. A plynth which
      looked out over -- nothing, literally nothingness. "Cassandra!" he
      called out. Why did I let her come with us? he asked himself, and
      answered right away with Because she talked me into it. Her dream,
      her responsibility. She wanted to see it through, whatever it was.

      "Your friend is safe enough," said a voice he didn't recognize.
      Looking up from the nothingness, Hercules looked into the firey-red
      eyes of a shadow-thing that looked like a jackal. A jackal that
      stood like a man.

      "Who are you?"

      "I am Anubis," said the shadow. "What is the name of you?"

      "Hercules. Where am I?"

      "You are in a plot of land which is soley my own. Therefore, I am
      not obligated to return you to the Death Court of your land. You are
      here to stay."

      "You sure I can't talk you out of it?" Hercules asked. He was
      abruptly struck with the notion that Salmoneus could probably talk
      this god-whatever into anything.

      "I want for nothing," Anubis said, though in a discontented tone. He
      then dissapated into wisps of shadow and smoke.

      Hercules was alone. He sat down on his plynth. "I'm guessing this
      could be a while," he said, trying to think of how to escape from a
      place that was -- or at least seemed to be -- nothingness, save for
      himself and the plynth.


      Rogue was playing with her food. Seated by herself yet again, she
      used a fork to roll the peas from one end of her plate to the other
      end. Nobody wanted to be around her; a state which had already begun
      to form even before Eric had kidnapped her.

      Nobody really talked to her, aside from trying to get answers for
      quizes and tests given in class. Rogue didn't fall for such tricks

      The exams were all too easy. Every class she'd tried was too
      easy...except for Gym. Marie never liked Gym class, much prefering
      to secrete herself in some dimly-lit room all by herself, nice and
      quiet. Dr. Grey and the others, they all tried to get Rogue to play
      with the other kids, saying that Rogue shouldn't become a hermit.

      There were times that she wished she had someone who understood her,
      someone who didn't want to use her, someone who wouldn't patronize
      her. The three things weren't too much to ask for, she'd always
      figured. After all, it wasn't like she was hoping for someone to be
      able to safely touch her.


      Methos sat down at Kronos' royal table. Though the other man was
      treated as a god, Kronos himself harbored no illusions about being a
      Titan. It was just a similarity of names. "You have convinced me to
      let you live," Kronos said while servants poured fermented grape
      juice for each of them. "Now tell me your tale."

      "I am -- I am seeking men of noble wills and great fortitude,"
      Methos-Methen said. "For a task which will right a great and immoral

      "One committed by man, god, or something else?"

      "By men."

      "Are you certain?" Kronos asked.

      "As certain as any Immortal can be," Methos replied with great
      certainty in his voice. "But what does it matter, in the end?"

      "Then I will tell you a tale," Kronos said. "Once, there was, of the
      olden race of Cyclops," Kronos said, "one known by the name of
      Polyphêmos. One day, this sheep-herder was host to a shipload of men
      who were led by a trickster named Odysseus -- though when Polyphêmos
      asked for his name, this trickster replied "I am No-man"," Kronos
      said, using the Greek words "oud-eis," which was a pun on the name
      Odysseus. "After the trickster and his misguided slaves had brought
      Polyphêmos to sink into a drunken stupor, then Odysseus and his men
      heated the end of the sharpened stake in the cave's fire until it
      glowed red hot, then thrust it into the giant's single eye."

      "Is there a point to this story?" Methos, who enjoyed a good story as
      much as any man, though he didn't see what this had to do with

      "Indeed there is," Kronos nodded. "For the noble Polyphêmos' cries
      of pain and anguish attracted the attention of the other Cyclopes
      living on the island, and they came to his cave inquiring what all
      the noise was about. Polyphêmos answered did answer them then, "I
      have been blinded by No-man." His friends, responded that, if no man
      did it, it must have been the gods who did it, so Polyphêmos would
      simply have to bear his suffering. They returned to their own caves,
      unaware that the trickster human was preparing to make his escape.

      "The other Cyclopes had a point, Methos," Kronos said, "that if the
      gods are the cause of what you seek to correct, then you are doomed,
      and should simply bear the consiquences."

      "You are missing the point of the matter," Methos said.

      "Am I?" Kronos asked. "Then what is the point?"

      "You are Immortal," Methos told him.

      "Yes, I am aware of that," Kronos replied. "What of it?"

      "Imagine how much good you could do with an army at your beck and
      call, to sweep down upon the enemies of your people."

      "An age of enlightenment for all," Kronos said, half to himself.
      Methos nodded, willing to let Kronos believe this. If it freed
      Imhotep, it was worth it...irregardless of the price, of the
      outcome. "Yes, so be it. I shall aid you in this endevour. Let us
      stride forth upon the earth."

      And so began the Four Horsemen.


      Methos yawned, and stood statue-still as the cooks took their time
      about taking his pizza out of the oven. If he were a few thousand
      years younger, he likely would have resorted to tapping his foot
      against the wooden floor. Then he saw who was seated at a nearby
      table, and all thoughts of pizza fled his mind.

      Having recently been seated, Logan waited for the waitress to return,
      and listened to the song oozing from the ceiling:

      "And I reach for you..."

      Can I help you?" another the waitress asked; she knew the one who'd
      seated him, and she didn't like how that one always made customers
      wait half an hour before taking their order. Unfortunately for her
      efforts, Logan's attention was on the music.

      "Tears from the moon,

      "Can't wash away the pain.

      "Tears from the moon,

      "Tears from the moon."

      "Yo, I said, can I help you?" she repeated.

      "Yeah. Two burgers, no onions," Logan said.

      "This is `Pizza Hut', sir. `Burger King' is around the corner."

      "Oh," Logan said, mentally kicking himself. Yet again you pull into
      the wrong parking lot of life, bucko. Be thankful Wheels and ol' One-
      Eye aren't around to see this. "Meat Lovers Special, then," he
      requested of her.

      "Sure, gotcha," the waitress muttered, jotting it down, and leaving
      the table.

      "It's been a while," Methos said, leaving his table for a chair at

      "Who're you, bub?" Wolverine asked.

      "You don't recognize me?" Methos asked, hurt to some degree, but
      keeping in mind how long it'd been. With the exception of Kronos, he
      hadn't seen any of his friends in long centuries.

      Wolverine's mind clicked. It was Mystique, taunting him. After all,
      what better place to taunt than in public? "Don't you have somewhere
      to be?"

      "Not particularly."

      "No? No lunatic to pull out of danger?"

      "Nope," Methos said, having pretty much given up on that infernal Boy
      Scout MacLeod. He much prefered `MacLeod's Daughters' on
      the `Hallmark' Channel. "You?"

      "They can do without me," Wolverine said, not sure why Mystique was
      asking about Wheels and the bunch.

      "Just wondering," Methos replied; then, just to be sure, "You do
      recognize me, don't you?"

      "E-yep," Wolverine replied. That disguise didn't fool him one
      bit...even if she did smell different.

      A nod. "Good."

      ENGLAND, 702 AD:

      Imogen, the current wife of Methos, ran one hand languidly along her
      husband's back as they lay together. Methos rolled onto his stomach,
      only half asleep.

      "What -- what be this?" Imogen gasped, warily fingering the bizarre
      tattoo upon Methos' back.

      Methos knew what she spoke of, as every one of his wives had asked
      that very question during their lifetimes. But he played innocent as
      best he could, as only he could. "What is what, my dearest?" he
      asked her, lifting his head a little from the pillow.

      "It appears of Celtic make, my husband," Imogen said. Knots and
      weaving, interflowing around and forth. The design was artful,
      though it made no sense.

      "So I've been told," Methos said, yawning. But it was older than
      that, he knew. As far back as I can remember, I've had that thing.
      Nobody knows what it means. Likely there's nobody left who can
      decipher it...I'm older than the pyramids, older than the standing
      stones of Stonehenge, and even the Minoans felt the wrath I expunged
      when they claimed ignorance of my marks.

      But he said none of that to Imogen. She was young, a mere twenty-two
      years of age; a late wedder in her society, but always the youth to

      "Perhaps we can find someone who can decipher it," Methos said to
      her. Imhotep and the marks, the two unsolved things in his life.
      There may be more, though I cannot recall them. It was a thing which
      haunted him. "Later."

      ...And rolled Imogen upon her back. She giggled for a time, then she
      gasped in pleasure...


      While Ardeth Bey watched the lone surviving soldier make his running
      way across the open desert, a thought crossed Bey's mind...Could that
      man put a stop to the terror which he nearly awoke? Or to Raguel,
      freed by that Dr. Carter so recently?

      Raguel, the `avenger of God against the world of light' according to
      some ancient texts -- and according to non-Med'jai oral tales.

      Over the millenia of their existance, the Med'jai had found
      themselves confronted with the wards and watch-sites of other
      peoples. Cooperation and brotherhood had taken root between the
      secret societies which deemed each other as equals. Such as the
      Med'jai and their Hebrew co-equals, even if they did not recognize
      the legitimacy of each others' gods, they still recognized the
      legitimacy of their duties.

      Ardeth doubted if any one man could put an end to the actions of
      Raguel, even that wandering soldier.


      The shadowy Neteru appeared without warning, abruptly existing and
      *being* in this nothingness. "I have a proposition," Anubis
      said. "For you."

      Hercules woke up with a stiff feeling in his lower back. He mentally
      resolved not to doze off in a sitting position, next time. "I'm
      listening," he said, still on the plynth.

      "Through actions you take, you may earn your freedom," Anubis told

      "What're you asking me to do?" Hercules asked. If the actions
      involved hurting people, then he was just going to stay here,
      surrounded by nothingness.

      "Capture an outrage."

      "A -- a what?"

      "Capture a servant, something rogue and loose."

      "Can you give me a description of this servant I'm looking for?"

      "Rogue. Raguel."

      In an instant, Hercules found himself sitting atop the hill which
      looked down on Thebes. The hill from which the Scorpion King had
      launched the final attack with his canid armies.


      Baal stood next to his consort, Tanit, as they listened to the awful
      sounds coming from a wounded Kybele. The injured goddess was
      incoherent, making sounds that were almost classifiable as singing.

      "Hey waitress, couldya cancel that order?

      "But if its too late I'll take it to go.

      "Boys, I've gotta run

      "B'fore somebody calls 9-1-1.

      "`Cause I left somethin' turned on at home."

      Even Matar, a goddess from the land north of here, had admitted that
      she was baffled by the wounds. This did not bode well for the gods,
      all of them knew.

      Even Tengu had reportedly been injured in fighting with an assailant
      whom none could describe. Baal was hoping that that last one was
      only a rumor. There had to be someplace safe from this new,
      impending threat.

      If there wasn't...

      "It ain't the stove,

      "It ain't the heater.

      "She's hotter

      "An' a whole lot sweeter.

      "And all day long,

      "She's been there alone.

      "Right now her arms're open,

      "The house is prob'bly smokin',

      "`Cause I left somethin' turned on at home."

      Shivering, Baal fled to get help, vanishing in a puff of stormcloud-
      coloured smoke. Tanit looked at that spot where her consort had
      been, then back to Kybele. "Hurry, husband," she whispered.


      Xena and Gabrielle were in a bar. Gabby was drinking clean water,
      and Xena was having something stronger...and knocking out some muscle-
      bound idiot who was trying to hit on her.

      "Xena?" Gabrielle asked.


      "It's been a while since we've travelled anywhere, hasn't it?"

      "Oh no," Xena growled.

      "I mean, we haven't seen the far west yet, or anything past the
      mountains of Punt and Kush, or --"

      "Gabrielle?" Xena asked.


      "Drink your water."

      Just then, Hades appeared in the middle of the bar. Over ninety
      percent of everyone in the room fled out of his way, cowering in
      corners. Hades ignored them; instead, he walked up to where Xena was
      sitting. "Hello there, Xena," he said.

      "Hades," Xena replied, taking a swallow of her drink.

      "I need your help."

      "I'm busy."

      "You're getting drunk."

      "See, I am busy." Hades considered casting a spell so that Xena
      would never be able to get drunk. Then he voiced that option. Xena
      grumbled something in Doric, then swivelled on her chair to look at
      the god. "This'd better be good."

      "I wouldn't need your help if it were good," Hades said
      literally. "There's something you need to -" Hades said, almost
      saying `to see'. "To hear. Don't worry, I'll bring you back in time
      to finish your drink." Before Xena could open her mouth or protest,
      Hades had whisked them both away to the mouth of a cave.

      Xena recognized this cave. "What could be so bad that you bring me
      to the Fates' cave?" Xena wanted to know.

      Hades' face was grimmer than usual, which was a real feat. "All
      across the Agean and Hellspont and beyond, Xena, the Oracles and
      future-seeing Gods have been spouting things like this," and motioned
      to the Fates. Past and Present had their fingers plugged in their
      ears, and weren't tending the Loom.

      Future was singing:

      "Oh there were green alligators

      "And long-necked geese,

      "Humpty-backed camels

      "And chimpanzees,

      "There's rats and cats and elephants,

      "And sure as you're born;

      "But there just ain't no more unicorns."

      Xena ran out of the cave. She'd heard horrifying things in her
      lifetime, but nothing as agonizing as that. Following slowly after
      her, Hades nodded. "And that's appearantly one of the more moderate
      things being sung.

      "Is there any way to stop it?"

      Hades didn't exactly shrug. "Not with the way things are going. But
      there have been a few clues scattered about by those who see the
      futures... You may not like this, Xena, not after what you've been
      through with people from there."

      But she didn't need any more convincing, not after listening to
      Future sing. "What do I have to do?" she asked.

      "Help Rome."


      Sobek rested in the nurturing waters of the Nile. He himself was not
      threatened by that upstart Aten. Irregardless of what Aten claimed,
      Aten could never attack or war on Sobek. After all, Sobek was the
      Nile, the One who tended the great River. Without the Nile, Aten was
      nothing, just like every other claimant for the Throne of Heaven.

      Those who reigned in and over water could be complacent in their
      realms, secure in their position. After all, the humans were like
      any other worshippers: dependant upon liquid water. Take the water
      away, and the humans went away as well. The perfect blackmail
      material: a portable threat:

      `Keep me happy...or else.'


      Methos sat next to the grave of Alexa. The soil was still freshly-
      turned, buried only a day ago.

      A bunch of kids, with motives Methos didn't even consider, had parked
      their car on the nearest drivepath, and had poured out of the car,
      leaving the windows down and doors open -- and its motor running.

      Methos didn't even consider yelling at those kids to turn off their
      car. In part it was because he didn't feel up to doing anything at
      all. In part, because they were mortals, ephemeral by their inherent

      And in part because he recognized the mood behind the song which
      poured out of the car...

      "Some say you're bitter,

      "A bad bad seed,

      "Ya love to play with fire,"

      The former Horsemen that he was, Methos understood the accusation.
      When he'd admitted to Alexa that he was Immortal, it was only after
      she'd told him how she hoped something of her endured...for a long
      time. He'd even confessed to having been a member of the Four
      Horsemen, fully expecting her wrath, fear, or disgust...but no, she'd
      flattered him, saying that she understands, that he is a good man,
      saying that the Horsemen had a divinely-appointed role to play.

      Her use of the present/future tense had chilled Methos to the cores
      of his aged bones.

      "But I think you're cute and I love your smile,

      "Wanna be with you,

      "Want you to stay a while.

      "Won't talk ya down,

      "Call ya names;

      "My mind's made up,

      "It ain't gonna change;

      "Sure in my heart,

      "Happy and free,

      "You're the one, you're the one,

      "You're the one for me."

      Methos sighed. "Thanks for believing in me, Alexa."


      Kronos walked up to the Commander's tent, wanting to talk to the
      mortal about strategy. As brilliant as Napoleon could be, Kronos
      knew that there were some things that the short Sicilian was blind
      to. And Kronos did not want to imagine Napoleon as an Immortal --
      some things just were better mortal.

      As he was about to announce himself to the Leftenant standing guard
      in front of the tent, Kronos saw a woman leaving Bonaparte's tent.
      She looked half local and bits of French, Ionian Greek, and Cordoban

      "Who was that?" Kronos asked, once the woman was out of earshot.

      "Oh, you know Bonaparte," the Leftenant said. "Always going on about
      how he's a leader for the modern age, an aspiring artist, a genius,
      le blah, le blah, le blah."

      The answer was now obvious to Kronos. "So, she is a very model for
      our modern major general?" The Leftenant nodded. Kronos went into
      the tent by himself, making the proper addresses and gestures for
      this day and age.

      "Who was that?" Kronos asked after the piddling things had been done.

      "A woman of extra-ordinary intellect," Napoleon said. "And most

      To Kronos' mind, this meant one of two women: Cassandra or Gabrielle.

      "And she's convinced me," Napoleon said.

      "Convinced you to what?" Kronos asked. How would that tart's schemes
      affect his own plans?

      "To send my army into the heart of Egypt! To capture legendary
      figures who would fight by our sides."

      There was fervor in Napoleon's voice, Kronos knew, and
      passion. "What figures would those be?" Kronos asked, half expecting
      the answer to be `the Four Horsemen.' Or `Lady Godiva.'

      "Among others, Imhotep and the King Scorpion!"

      It took a while, but Bonaparte was eventually convinced to only send
      a portion of his army into the desert. One of the reincarnations of
      Anak'sun'amun had tried again, and would give it another go in
      another century and a half.


      The woman prisoner was brought before Hannibal Barca himself.
      Gabrielle was forced forwards onto her knees by the soldiers who'd
      brought her into this temple.

      "Do you know where you are?" asked Hannibal, his back to Gabrielle,
      facing the altar of Baal.

      "Some temple," Gabrielle replied.

      "The temple of Baal-Hammon, bringer of storms and wisdom." Hannibal
      turned around, looking down at her. "Who is this?" Hannibal asked.
      To Gabrielle, "Identify yourself."

      "Who am I?" Gabrielle asked, standing up. "I am Gabrielle. Amazon
      Princess," among other titles. "Daughter of Nikos and Sophia. I am
      right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry
      ass all the way back to Greece. I death incarnate and the last
      living thing that you are every going to see. God sent me."

      "Which one?" Hannibal asked. His own full name meant `Grace of Baal

      "It was a figure of speech."

      "She Hath Spirit," intoned a divine voice in and over the
      altar. "Bring Her Forth!

      Hannibal, who'd been looking forwards to a bit of fun, did as he had
      been commanded by his god. When Gabrielle was at the altar, Baal
      appeared by her side, looking at her.

      For a brainy god of rain, Gabrielle thought to herself, he certainly
      doesn't look effeminate. Further thought was forstalled by him
      bringing up his hands, and casting something down, down into her. He
      had aquired it over a thousand years ago, a gift in the trade between
      two theophanies.

      And now, now he had it in a safe place.

      QUEBEC, 1965 AD:

      The Quebec Museum was empty at this time of night, with the lone
      security guards easy to evade.

      Even with his powers reduced after fighting the Scorpion King,
      Imhotep found he still had enough magic in him to slip past the
      security sensors. Now he stood in the Medieval World exhibit's
      Damascus Room, all set to open tomorrow. In his hands...

      Imhotep cradled the museum piece in his hands. My precious,
      precious, oh so precious. Mine. My precious.

      The artifact was made of a rare marbled stone, rather than the clay
      of his own formative years, or the metal of the medieval eras.

      Imhotep recognized it. Or rather, what it held.

      This Lamp was no ordinary vessel. `Aladdin'... tasting the name in
      his mind. That was who one rumored owner of this lamp was said to
      have been. What might you have done with me?

      Imhotep rubbed the lamp and whispered an invocation, a summoning

      And from the lamp arose a whisp of great power. The long-cursed
      being that was Imhotep recognized it: this was his ba, stolen from
      him, torn from him by those Med'jai in the early stages of the

      Escaping from this lamp was the concious, the ethics of Imhotep the

      "Whom summons I?" the ba demanded, having taken the outwards
      appearance of a jinn. Shadow-shaped eyes gave the appearance of
      widening. "I have been summoned by I?"

      "Indeed," Imhotep said.

      "For what reason / purpose?" his ba wanted to know, having been made
      suspicious by ages of humans making self-serving wishes.

      "Communion. To be re-united with all parts of myself-ourself,"
      Imhotep said. After I am reunited with my ba, then there remains
      only my ka to locate.

      The ba was intrigued by the proposal. "Long have I sought the other
      portions of I, to the avail of none of I. I accept the offer I put
      forth!" and there was a clap of thunder as Imhotep and his ba merged.

      Imhotep was rendered unconcious, the ba only barely in control.

      Logan was the one who woke up.

      {baal inserted the KA of imhotep into gabrielle}.


      Imhotep listened to the song carried by the new wind...

      "And this is what you say to me:

      "Be careful what you wish for --

      "This is your life,

      "Welcome to your life."

      He wished the very best of an afterlife and Eternity for all of his
      friends...Methos, the O'Connels, the Grey-Summers, Gabrielle and
      Kronos, and everyone else who'd befriended him over the millenias.

      "You pray for days (no matter) what you wish for,

      "This is your life,

      "Welcome to your life."
      the End!
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