TO FANFIC LIBRARY
The next day Alex rose early, armored in her resolve to get through whatever trials faced her as whole as possible. "Something new for the new me." She said aloud to her mirror and dialed her favorite salon.
Alex leaned against one of the columns framing the castle's entranceway. She stood in awe of the beauty surrounding her. She could smelled Derek standing behind her. "Laugerfelt. Whom are we impressing today?" She asked not turning around to make sure if he was there.
Derek smiled, surprised. "Are you impressed?."
Alex ignored the inuendo her mind returning to beauty around her. "Was it your father's decision to rebuild the castle on Angel Island or your mother's? I think it was probably your mother. I've always admired her taste."
Derek placed his hands on her shoulders his face close to her ear. "Both, I'd like to believe. I just came out to tell you how glad I am that you're better. I've missed your help." Derek realized that he had made it sound as if that he was glad she was better, only to help him solve another puzzle.
Suddenly cold, Alex moved down the steps away from him. "Alex, we need to talk about what's happening between us...to you...Alex!"
"Yes, talk. OK, tonight at dinner." She replied as she got into her car.
Alex sat waiting with the other ladies, enjoying the conversation about everyday things, places and events. Tightly held in her hand was a picture she had drawn the night before . The receptionist motioned her to go on back to where her friend and hair dresser waited. "Long time no see. Where have you been? I called the castle but got no answer." Sherane said as she fastened the towel around Alex's neck.
"I was ill for a while."
The beautician hugged her. "Glad you're back. I haven't had a decent shopping trip in ages." Alex smiled and showed her the drawing.
"Sherane, can you do this?"
"Baby girl I can do anything you want." She studied the drawing and Alex's features. "Where did you get this idea from?"
"I don't know, it just look like I feel right now."
"Well it's going to be a fantastic doo, you'll look superb."
Alex stared at the reflection in the mirror Sherane had given her. The braids fell softly around her face, highlighting her dark eyes and high cheekbones. After leaving the shop she wandered the streets of San Francisco window shopping, often feeling the eyes of people staring after her.
Derek searched through Alex's room until he found her Legacy journal. He read it hoping for a clue to what was happening to her. Rachel passing by saw Derek sitting on Alex's bed. "So, on top of everything else, you're invading her privacy. Derek what is going on with you?"
"I have to find out what's going on with her."
"And you think the answer is in there?" Rachel pointed at the book in his hands.
Derek read the last few days entries. He hastily shut the book.
Rachel took the journal from him. "July 15th. The seal is in Nubia, somewhere in the Sudan region. July 18th. Picked up tickets, yesterday. Must remember to say goodbye to Gra'ma Rose and Tayna. Yesterday. Derek and I at a standstill. Must remember to tell him about the tickets."
Alex had Dominic round up everyone. Derek from his office, Phillip from the control room, Nick from the garbage. Rachel and Kat had arrived earlier in the day to help with the preparations for dinner. As she had prepared each dish with Kandise's help she come to know her ancestor better, and through her a line of strong determined women. Nick stood in the kitchen watching the final preparations. "I didn't know you could cook."
"Now you do, so hush and give me a hand with the food."
"Where are we taking all of this?"
"Outside, Dominic has done all the physical stuff. So everything already." She smiled at Rachel and Kat her conspirators.
As they milled around and seated themselves on the large rugs. Phillip knelt next to Alex, looking her over. She stared back at him waiting for his reaction. He realized what was different about her and reached out, his hand gently moving over her braids.
"Tis' beautiful...absolutely beautiful."
She smiled at him. "Took you long enough."
"Put it down to male pattern blindness."
Nick uncorked a bottle of wine and was about to pour when Alex interrupted him. "We'll need another glass, someone else is coming." Derek look at her and started to ask what she had done, when a familiar voice greeted them.
"I hope I'm not too late."
"What are you doing here Sloan?" Derek almost snarled.
Sloan keeping his voice neutral answered. His eyes directed towards Alex. "I was invited." He took in all the changes. "I like the new hair do."
Derek looked at Alex with annoyance. She ignored the look and faced him head on. "Derek, we're going to need him, and others before this is finished."
The joyful mood was dampen somewhat, but Kat and Alex t and took a large bite. Nick not to be out done followed her example. His mouth complained loudly of his mistreatment of it. He grabbed for the nearby pitcher of water and the group's laugher rang through the crystal clear night.
"According to a Nubian saying "The heat of a women's cooking shows the amount of affection she has towards those she loves."
Nick still gasping managed to say. "Then you must truly love us."
Alex answered seriously. "Yes I do."
Dominic completed lighting the torches and whispered something into Derek's ear.
"Excuse me." Derek said standing. He caught Sloan's eyes and motioned for him to join him.
In the library stood Jacob Nia. "Hello Derek nice to see you again. I have not the pleasure of meeting you." He look at Sloan who sat behind Derek's desk.
"William Sloan, London."
"I've come to see Alex. Would you let her know I'm here?"
Derek was just about to tell him that she could not be disturbed, when Alex walked in the door to stand slightly behind him. She placed her hand on a spot midway down the center of his back. Her fingers picking up the beat of his heart. "Hello, Jacob."
Alex frowned searching her memory. "When did you arrive in San Francisco?"
"I've been here awhile. I came by to see you, but Derek told me you were ill. I was hoping that we could have dinner together, maybe see a move or go dancing. I remember how much you loved to dance." Jacob smiled pointedly at Derek. His smile was short lived and quickly replaced by irritation as Derek and Sloan continued to block his access to Alex. He quickly controlled himself by concentrating on Alex.
"It has been so long, Jacob. I never heard from you."
"I know there is much you'll have to forgive me for. Are you feeling better?"
He continued to stare at Derek, who had no intention of leaving. "Is there some place we can go that is more private?"
"I'm sorry but we've just sat down to dinner. Alex could call you tomorrow." Derek said looking at Sloan who stood and walked over to Alex. He put his arm around her shoulders. "How about we go back and join the others?" Alex smiled at him but never moved.
Jacob was not at all pleased by the others interference and did not pretended to be so. "Alex, I look forward to your call. I'd like to talk again about your visiting my homeland."
Alex could feel Derek's rising ire and knew that he was reaching his boiling point. "I'll call. Let me walk you to the door." Derek and Sloan both started to follow but she stopped them with a nod. Derek stomped away from Sloan and returned outside to the laughing group in time to see Kat point at Nick's nose which was bright red from the pepper.
Alex watched his car drive away, feelings of uneasy leaving with him. Kandise spoke to her. "Your were right, little one. Do not anger the serpent yet. He and that evil which controls him, seek to destroy. Now is the time young Alexandra when I must reveal myself to your friends. Time is speeding forward and there is much we have to discuss. Do I have you permission?"
Alex nodded and Kandise came forwarded. She found Sloan staring at her from the library doorway. "Sir William, shall we join the others?" He nodded in her direction. Derek felt the change as Kandise/Alex rejoined them, her arm held by the London precept.
"Sir," She said bowing to Derek. "Do not fear, Alexandra has given her permission that I share this body with her. I am here to explain to thee and thy household what lies ahead and who I am. I am Kandise, born in the house of the great Caliphate, in the year 950AD in the city of Kish. I am here summoned by unfolding events, the journal, the locket, the tablet and the seal.
My father was counselor to his lord Caliphate, my mother a member of a royal Nubian house. I, their only offspring, was indulged from infancy. Early on I exhibited a wildness and cunning which was indulged and encouraged. I was allowed to taste all that life had to offer. I did as I pleased." Kandise through her arms wide. "The world was mine. Then, as with all things, my world changed. The great Caliphate died, leaving our kingdom in chaos. The new Caliphate, a diseased mind, came into power and our family became a pawn in a struggle for immense power. The serpent left bitter seed, that now threatens your world. Gird yourself well for he has sought for and found young Alexandra, child of Nubia, daughter of my blood. The one he serves seeks vengeance."
"Against whom?" Sloan asked.
Kandise/Alex looked around carefully at each of them, her gaze resting on Derek. "Thou house. The Legacy. I know there is much more thee will want to know, but I must not stay overlong, Alexandra grows tired." Before leaving she walked over to Derek and kissed him. "I do this for one who will not do it for herself."
Alex sat down in almost a sprawl. Nick was instantly at her side. He pulled her to her feet. "Come on, I'll help you upstairs. You've had enough."
Alex gone the meal lost its heart and Nick returned to find the others in the library discussing what had happened. "What did I miss?"
Derek turned away from the large dark bay window. "Phillip was telling us that the journal verifies the majority of what the spirit told us. The knight and their children escaped the Muslim slaughter. The females passed on both the journal and the locket for many generations.
"So our next step is?" Rachel inquired.
Derek look at each of them, the group answered at the same time. "Find the seal."
"Who was the interruption?
"An old acquaintance." Sloan said quietly.
Rachel look at the others. "Tell me what I'm missing."
Derek and Sloan told her the story of Jacob. Nick added what he had learned from his sources about Nia's activities while in San Francisco and what was suspected about him in Africa.
"We go to Egypt." Nick stated.
Derek nodded. "Tomorrow."
"When we walk into their trap, we will have a plan?" Nick asked. He did not miss the glance exchanged between Sloan and Derek. "Right." He said to himself.
Sloan left later that night on the legacy jet. His task to contact the Egyptian house and prepare them for the coming days.
Goodnights were being said when the telephone rang. Derek hit the speaker button and Dominic's voice rumbled into the room. "Dr. Rayne, there's a call for you."
"Thank you Dominic."
"Dr. Derek Rayne?"
"Yes, I'm Derek Rayne."
"My name is ... The static was loud enough to cause Derek to hold the phone away from his ear. One of my counselors is currently in San Francisco. Jacob Nia, I believe you two are acquainted." At the mention of Jacob's name, Derek bad guy antenna went on alert. "He has asked me to extend on his behalf an invitation to your colleague Ms. Moreau to visit our country."
Derek's hand gripped the phone as a vision of a figure standing in the midst of smoke and ruins, the smell of death assaulted him. The sighted faded slowly, leaving him nauseated. Nick standing nearby looked at him, eyebrows raised. Derek nodding that he was alright, scribbled a note and passed it to him. Nick read it and nodded that he understood.
Derek focused again what the man was saying. "I'm sorry for the interruption, please proceed."
"Jacob would like Ms. Moreau to accept our hospitality. I have made arrangements so that she could accompany him on his return trip home. I can assure you Dr. Rayne that Ms. Moreau would be a most welcome guest."
"I'll extend your invitation to Alex. Goodbye."
"Goodbye, Dr. Rayne."
Rachel passed Nick on her way from the kitchen. "Want a snack?"
"Where are you doing?"
"Playing Sherlock Holmes."
Alex sat at the breakfast table waiting for the others. Rachel arrived first, grabbing her morning cup of coffee and the chair next to Alex. Rachel's eyes studied her noting the paleness and lack of appetite. "Food not up to the cook's usual high standards?"
She smiled. "Everything tasted fine, I'm just not hungry." Everyone else slowly trickled in. Once they had settled in Alex apologized. "Sorry for punking out on you guys last night."
Phillip stood behind her chair his hands resting casually on her shoulders. "You just did'na want to clean up, that's all." She leaned her head back to look at him, her smile speaking for her.
Derek had been quietly waiting until he felt Alex was ready. Nick, late as usual sat slouched in the chair, seemingly relaxed. Last night he had learned more than he wanted to about Jacob Nia after speaking to several of his contacts.
"Alex, last night you received a call with an invitation from the Egyptian consulate to visit there with Jacob."
Alex watched Derek waiting, she knew him and knew he'd have covered all the bases before he even broached the subject with her or the group. "I can assume that you had Nick check his contacts who in turn checked up on Jacob's recent activities."
Derek smiled for the first time that morning.
The driver sent by the Cairo house loaded their luggage and everyone piled into the car. "I wish Kat could have come, she'd love this." Rachel said taking in what view she could as the driver moved in and out of the rapidly moving traffic.
Alex said little contending with an awareness of forces building within and around her. She could feel Kandise's sadness that her world had changed so much. It was now a mystery of gasoline fumes, noise, buildings and teeming humanity. Alex steeled herself against the stomach-clenching fear that threatened to overwhelm her as they drove pass the Egyptian consulate. She gritted her teeth against the scream rising in her throat. Her panic transmitted itself to Derek as a fog clouding his vision. He tightened his grip on her hand hoping to reassure her. They arrived at the Cairo house and once inside, she was able to lower her barriers.
A younger member of house showed them to their rooms while Derek and the house's precept discuss their plans. The precept told Derek what details he had discussed with Sloan. "The man has been building a small but efficient military force of mercenaries for the past two years. He has purchased several prominant cultural and religious artifacts. The most interesting one being a copy of a temple."
"Where do you want to start your search?" The precept asked pouring Derek another cup of coffee.
"Alex will show us."
The precept smiled. "OK, while we wait upon the lovely lady. How about letting me beat you at chess again?"
The next day Alex rose early, sure of the path she had to take. She pulled the locket from her shirt and ran her hand over it longingly, focusing herself. It's nearness eased somewhat the feeling of evil near her.
Nick was leaving his room when he met her in the hallway. "Where are you going?"
"To the museum. There is a display from the 1939 Berlin expedition that I need to see." Every since Alex had been in the coma everyone had decided to keep her within arm's reach. Alex, understanding their concern, had been patient, but their constant watching was strangling her.
"Alex why don't we wait until the others can go with us?"
She said nothing but walked down the hallway to the staircase. Nick walked quickly to intercept her, the touch of his hand on her arm was enough to let her know that he was with her no matter what. "Wait for me."
"OK Nick, but hurry." Nick went back to his room and hastily scribbled a note to Derek.
Derek joined the others in the large dinning room. "Where are Nick and Alex?"
Rachel handed him a slice of toast from her plate. "Neither one was in their room when I checked. I did find this note from Nick." She handed him the note.
"They've gone to the museum."
Strains of an ancient tune flowed through the museum, enfolding her in its embrace, leading her further on through the exhibits. At a display of maps of Nubian temples and burial mounds, she stopped, searching for the clue that would lead her closer to the seal. The newer versions of the ancient maps were graphed with grid lines and smaller detailed photographs. "It's in one of the mounds. Kandise where is your resting place?"
In another display case were items from burial sites. Her eyes rested on the effigy of a young women with braided hair held in place with an embroidered headband. It was the headbead that would aid them in finding the right burial mound. She pried open the case and lifted it out. She stood holding it in her hand, ignorant to the wailing of the alarms. It was only Nick's quick talking that kept her from being arrested.
The arrival of Derek and the precept from the Cairo house brought a smile of relief to Nick's worn features. Alex was still spaced, her total focus fixed on headband. Nick explained to them what little Alex had told him. He described the items that she wanted to take back to the house and on the precept's word that they would return the materials unharmed and his long standing friendship with the museums curator, they were able to do so. By the time they got back to the house, Phillip had arrived.
Derek surprised to see him, gave him a welcome clap on the shoulder. "You could get away after all."
"Yea', his excellency the archbishop needed some files transported to the church office here. I volunteered."
Derek smiled. "Alex will be happy that you're here. She's missed you."
"I'll lend all the support that I can."
"Good. We brought some items back from the museum that may lead us to the seal. Alex has been working on them 24 seven. Maybe you can talk her into getting some rest."
Phillip smiled. "24 seven, you're learning. Now if we could just get you to loosen up a tiny bit."
"One step at a time." Derek said tapping Phillip on the shoulder.
Phillip smiled. Phillip looked Derek in his eyes for the truth as he brought up what he knew would be a sore point. " Seriously, how ar' things between you and Alex?"
Derek looked away avoiding Phillip's gaze. "As usual we're politely friendly. She won't let me closer and I'm not sure that I could handle it if she did."
"I understand, chicken."
Derek grunted. "You understand nothing."
Phillip smiled at his friend's retreating back.
Alex and Phillip worked for hours until the puzzle began to make since. "It's there, Phillip." She said pointing to the bank of computer screens which showed the headband laying at an angle on the ancient maps, transposed over the gridlines.
"Yea' lass. Kandise's burial mound is one of those five, but they cover such a large area."
Phillip laid down the pen in his hand and rubbed his eyes. "Thank God, this will be over soon."
"Yes, " Alex said sadly as she spanned out her fingers over the pages in front of her.
"I thought you'd be shopping with Rachel and the other ladies for a dress for the party tonight." Alex looked at him, the fear in her eyes surprised him.
"I don't want to go. I feel...It's stupid I know, but I feel that if I go, I'll end up loosing even more of myself. Phillip have you ever hated...someone...something?"
Phillip said nothing, a prayer on his lips that forgiven sins never be relived.
"I can almost taste Kandise's hatred. She can't forgive the man whose family destroyed hers. Who took her life, depriving her of seeing her children grow, of loving her man. I've never felt such cold resolve to destroy a life."
Phillip held her hand. "You're not alone in this Alex. We are here to help, if you let us."
Jacob stood in front of his mirror as the servant adjusted his jacket. His face could have been handsome if not for the signs of cruelty etched upon it. He who has no name entered the room to talk to Jacob who tended to talk often and long about himself and his plans for a new world. And He had no intention of listen to any more. "What headway are you making with Ms Moreau? You led me to believe she would be putty in your hands by now."
"How can I, we're never alone." Jacob continued to admire his personage in the full length mirror. He jumped back in terror when the image before him became bowed in age, lines of worry and grime etched upon it wan features. The figures clothing ragged and dirty. The mirror and the image shattered into miniature fragments at Jacob's feet.
"Now that I have your undivided attention, maybe you should considered it is not the time you have together, but that Ms. Moreau may have affections for someone else? So, Jacob who is your competition? The young stallion Nick Boyle or the suave Dr. Rayne. Shall we find out? An impediment once known can then be eliminated or used at our discretion."
Jacob shivered as he watched him move closer, slithered is the word that came to Jacob's mind. "We have no time for errors. You fulfill your part of our covenant or suffer the consequences." He who has no name, breathed deeply soaking, up Jacob's fear like water. "Shall we go and greet our guests? The party is in their honor."
"Which one of you gentlemen would care to take a lady dancing?" Alex asked. She stood in the doorway her fingertips lightly brushing against each other. Rachel smiled recognizing the sign of nervousness beneath the veneer of light heartiness. They had acted like high schoolers as Alex tried on dress after and dress. "I'm good." Rachel thought to herself, satisfied at their final pick. She'd had a hard time convincing Alex that the dress was for her. Alex's taste ran to the practical and comfortable. Rachel thought it was high time that she showed off her beauty.
Her thoughts went back over their conversation that afternoon as they had shopped. They had talked about many things. Her feelings of division each time Kandise stepped forward. Alex gave an frustrated sigh. "Rachel when you fell in live, you knew or expected it to be forever." Rachel looked away. The pain always returned when she though of Patrick and Connor.
"I can't afford to think that way. I've always been realistic about the dangers related to the Legacy. In the past year, how many times would you say Nick and Derek have been beaten up?"
Rachel chuckled. "Enough to have a franchise in bandaids."
"Precisely." Alex sat down next to Rachel, smoothing the fabric of the new dress. "How could I possibly bring a life into this world under those circumstances? And Rachel I love the Legacy too much to give it up or fight with Derek or the others because they would want to play white knight and protect me from danger."
Rachel took both of Alex's hands in her own. "Look at me Alex and honestly tell me what you want." Alex stared into her friends eyes, seeing her care and patience.
"I want it all, the adventure, travel, danger. I want Derek to love me, I want to have children. I want it all."
"Then go after what you want."
Her dress was made in the style of the ancient moors. A thin sheath of peach colored material hugged her body, it draped low at the bodice, with thin spaghetti straps and slit high on each thigh. The sheath was covered by a short tunic of black, over a floor length slitted apron, tied low on her hips. The sheer materials titillated the imagination, for with each movement it revealed more than it concealed. They had decided that the headband was appropriate and Alex wore it holding back the braids piled up in a turban like style. Her make-up was light, with a the hint of color on her full lips.
She moved further into the room, greeted by other house members who had been away. She was soon held hostage by one young man who was determine to talk the rest of the evening about a recent dig he had just been on.
Derek stood staring in stunned silence. Alex was unaware of the aura of sensualness she was projecting, but most of the men in the room were. Nick nudged Phillip with his elbow. "Where did she get that from? I thought you said she wasn't going."
Phillip grinned, "I'm a priest, what do I know about women?"
"Spare me," was all that Nick could say before he and Phillip broke out in laughter.
The Cairo house precept and Derek joined them. The precept nodded in Alex's direction, "Why don't we rescue your colleague from Osman. I like the boy but I wouldn't leave any unattached female in his vicinity, especially one as lovely as Alex."
Phillip intervened instead, walking over putting her arm through his. "Your mine for the evening." She sighed, comfortable for the first time that night.
The concierge came to the door and talked with the house's precept. "Ladies, gentlemen." He announced. "The cars are ready, let's go to a party." He kept his tone lighthearted even though he and Derek had discussed what options were available if trouble happened. A search of Jacob's office was also planned.
Alex sat looking trapped between several acquaintances of Jacob's who had surrounded her the moment she'd arrived. Phillip walked to where she sat. "Could I have this dance?"
"Yes. If you will excuse me gentlemen?"
"Later, Ms Moreau."
Alex's smile was one of relief. "Thanks Phillip."
"My pleasure." The music changed to an American tune.
We'll take this moment and make this moment last forever
We'll never let the morning come
We'll hide away from the light
Hold on to this magic we've made til we'll lost in the night.
The words of the song filled Alex's heart with sadness. Phillip heard her sigh and pulled her closer, whispering in her ear. "All you have to do is tell him how you feel."
"Ah, Phillip my lad, if it were only that simple."
They danced filling the time with companionable trivia about plans made and hopes yet to be fulfilled. Skirting the important issues, choosing to face them another day. Phillip danced them closer to where Derek was standing. Phillip glanced over to see Jacob talking with someone in the shadows. There was something wrong about the figure, something not right. He saw Jacob nod and turn to walk towards them. Phillip motioned to Derek to take his place.
"Phillip what's going on?" Alex asked.
"A little subterfuge." She saw Jacob walking toward her and took Phillip's lead. Derek was placing his hand around hers just seconds before Jacob reached them.
"Sorry, but I believe it's my dance." Jacob bowed his head towards Alex.
"Later I'm sure."
Alex closed her eyes and laid her head against Derek's shoulder willing herself to relax. "Thank you."
"Could you feel it Derek?"
"There's darkness around Jacob, beneath all the glitter and brightness."
"Shh. Right now is not the time to deal with that. Let's enjoy ourselves for awhile."
Alex looked at him unable to believe that the words had come from his mouth. "Don't stare and put your head back where it was." They moved closer to each other sharing a mutual strength.
Tomorrow never has to come
If we just hold on tight
And believe in this love that we've made till we're lost in the night
In the heat of the heart
Love can slip through our fingers
Is all that yours and mine
So lets give what we've got
And lets take this dream that we've found as a spirit in time
You be my shelter from the storm
And I will keep you safe and warm
The song drew slowly to an end and Derek released his grip on Alex reluctantly. "Tomorrow's do come and songs end." She said looking down at their clasped hands. The last of the song echoing her words. Tomorrow never has to come, if we just hold on tight, and believe in this love that we've made till we're lost in the night. Nothing else to be said they walked back to their table.
Jacob watched the two from a nearby table, swallowed his anger. He could hear the whisper of He who has no name. "Not to worry, Jacob my dear, we both shall both have our desires, soon."
The group met early the next morning dressed for desert travel. Phillip and Alex had determined the burial mound of Kandise as close as was possible. Now it was the hard work of digging and searching. The Cairo house precept, as quietly as official channels would allow, had gained all the permits needed. It was decided that Phillip and Rachel would stay in Cairo and continue to monitor Jacob's movements. Thomas and one other Cairo member would make the trek with Alex, Derek and Nick.
Around late afternoon their third day of travel. Everyone was tired, dusty. They had traveled over an arid land, the colors muted browns and tans. Leafless small bushes, scrubs and torn trees gnarled and crunched covered the rolling mesa butted together, mile upon mile. That night they stared into a sky of reddish pink as the slowly sinking sun, left its mark upon the dying light. Evening fell quickly and they made camp near one of the mounds. As they had moved closer to the burial mounds Alex had become quiet and introspective. She did her share to set up camp but said little. As the others prepared for dinner, she had unpacked the bow and arrow, purchased with Nick's help. It felt natural in her hands, she held it close, feeling more secure.
It took five days before they found the right burial mound. To save time it was decided that Alex would give over to Kandise. Kandise/Alex stood to the side as the crumbling walls fell away to reveal her place of rest. Around lay the clay figurines depicting her family. Her body lay in the fetal position blackened with decay and age. Clasped to her chest was the seal, a clay disk covered with ancient writings. Derek stared into the cold jeweled green of Kandise/Alex's eyes. She said nothing, but nodded her consent to disturb the body.
Alex came back to herself slowly. She read the worry on Derek's face. They said nothing, each decided words were not needed. Alex ached to kiss him, to hold him, instead she took his hand in hers and placed her lips against the back of it, the touch was brief but electric.
Derek and Alex sat around the fire lost in their thoughts. Thomas and Nick had just left. It was decided that they should take the seal back to Cairo for safety and for Phillip to translate. Derek did not want Alex to help, feeling that her handling the seal at this time would be dangerous. He had argued, cajoled and finally relented when he could not convince her to return with them.
"It's going to get bad, no matter where I am. The farther I'm away from the seal the better. " Alex said walking to the end of the light. Derek next to her in companionable silence. She took his hand in hers, her fingertips lightly tracing the lines across the back of his. Derek was having a difficult time concentrating. Suddenly, she felt his warmth leave her. Her hand reached out to him, even as the dart pierced her skin and she folded into darkness.
The soldiers pushed him into the room and locked the door. Derek was immediately on his feet beating against the heavily barred door. "Where is she? Where is Alex? Answer me, damn you. Answer me." He could hear their laughter on the other side of the door.
Jacob circled Alex, his fingers touching her face, tangling in her hair. "You've done your best to evade me, Alexandra and little good it has done. It is said that the women of Nubia are the Queens of the World, the bearers of the Children of the Gods. And you, dear Alex,are the descendent of such a one. I have chosen you to bear my seed. Your body shall nurture the future of a new Nubia, that shall drive away the infidels who have ravaged my land."
He pushed Alex toward a doorway. " I can assure you that you I shall enjoy myself. Whether you do, is up to you."
Derek listen to the whisper of voices, trying to get some indication of what was happening. He barely had time to step back when the door was pushed open forcefully and Alex was thrown to the floor. Derek rushed to her side, picking her up. He carefully brushed away the blood that trickled from a cut on her lip. He turned to face Jacob who looked as if he'd been on the loosing end of a dog fight. His face and neck covered with scratches and bruises. "What have you done?" So angry he could barely speak, Derek moved toward Jacob. The guards immediately stepped between them, pinning Derek against the brick wall. "It is no concern of yours Dr. Rayne." Jacob walked around Derek and the soldiers, moving to Alex. She stood still, willing her trembling body to quiet itself. She faced him hatred blazing from depth of her. "I told you I would enjoy myself."
Alex simply answered. "What little there was to enjoy."
Jacob and his men left. Alex walked around the room, rubbing the rope burns on her wrist. She searched for anything that would help them escape. There was nothing. Derek moved closer to where she stood, took her hands in his and inspected the damage to wrist and face. He stared into the defiant eyes, willing her to tell him what had happened between her and Jacob. Alex pulled her hands from his praying that he had not empatically saw her ordeal.
The hours passed slowly. Alex paced their cage, her stomach tight with tension. She jumped at the slightest noise. Her restlessness made Derek feel even more helpless that he couldn't free them, that he hadn't been able to keep her safe. He pulled several bags near his and motion to her to sit down. "Alex we've faced worse and survived, this time will be no different." She looked into his eyes focusing on the strength, self-assurance she saw there.
"What are they waiting for?"
"I don't know. We should get a clue soon, most megalomaniacs can't go for long without telling their victims their plans."
Alex pulled her legs to her chest, wrapping her arms around her knees and rested her head on them. Derek sat across from her waiting. The grating of the opening door woke Derek. Jacob and several guards stood in the doorway.
"Dr. Rayne I see you've made yourself a home." He started to move toward Alex who was asleep. They had been without food or water for a long time and were starting to suffer from dehydration. Her breathing was shallow through chapped lips. Derek stood blocking his path. "We need water."
Jacob said something to one of the soldiers, who left the room. "You have 48 hours Dr. Rayne. I suggest you and Ms. Moreau enjoy my excellent hospitality until then. It is not in the plans that you to die just yet." He emphasized the words. A soldier returned with several water pouches and food. Jacob started to carry one of the pouches to Alex. Derek pulled it from his grasp. "I won't let you hurt her a second time."
Jacob shrugged, "Have it your way, she will be mine again, soon enough."
Derek could only glare at him in frustration. After they left, Derek poured the cool liquid into his palm and gently wiped Alex's face. She grasped Derek's hand, her mouth greedily sucking the moisture from his fingers. The water felt gloriously cool as it spilled over parched lips and down her throat. Derek's reaction to her lips against his skin was immediate and intense. He gritted his teeth to still the moan rising in his throat.
"Alex." Derek pulled his hand away. "They brought food."
"I'm sorry... Derek, I don't know what made me... I'm sorry." She sat up. She pulled at her soiled clothes. "I wish they'd let us bathe."
"Why don't we eat."
Alex looked doubtfully at the tray piled with food, her stomach grumble. "Do you think its safe?"
"I think so. Jacob told me we were safe for awhile longer."
Alex's face had closed at the mention of Jacob's name. They ate in silence as Alex withdrew farther and farther into herself. Derek could feel her anger as walls. He started talking to break down the tension. "Alex I need to know. Did he hurt you in any way?"
Alex realized it was unfair to Derek to let him think that Jacob had raped her. "He tried, but my bite is definitely worse than my bark. I'll have to tell Nick how good a teacher he is."
"We'll both have to thank Nick, who I'm sure is on his way with the others. We've been missing for three to four days now."
Nick tore the headphone off and threw them against the wall. The Cairo house precept chose that moment to enter the control room. "Still no word."
"No." Nick paced. "It's like Derek not to contact us. But not Alex. They're in trouble."
The precept moved to a desk in middle of the large room. "Hello, Thomas. Do you have the equipment and supplies I ordered? Good. Yes, we're going back to the dig. Also tell Yenealem to pack the guns and ammunition." He turned to face Nick. "Shall we go save our friends?"
Nick had a hard time convincing Rachel to stay and it was impossible with Phillip. The company piled into the waiting jeeps and were soon traveling into the Egyptian night.
He who has no name, walked into the room where Jacob sat hunched over, his eyes burning with anger. "Why so angry?"
"You said that she would be mine to do with as I choose."
"Jacob, Jacob, Jacob. You should be thanking me. That young women was about to skin you alive. And as I've told you before, everything in its own time. The legacy members are on their way. Alert your men."
The wind storm started after the caravan was fifty miles into the true desert. The wind howled and blew around them. The sand blasted against the jeeps, peeling away large flecks of paint. A jeep four behind the one Nick was riding in, turned over a steep embankment and was soon lost from sight. The Cairo house precept stopped. Nick pulled out another tracker and watched as a red light moved across the screen. "Ten degrees to your left, slow they're not to far ahead." They found the jeep by bumping into it.
Nick covering his face and arms the best he could went to see about the others. It seemed forever but soon the precept heard voices and the sounds of struggle. He and Phillip pushed open the door and started pulling in bodies. The jeep was soon filled with swirling dust and coughing men. Once the door was closed inventory was done. A tall lanky man leaned against the seat his face blistered and bleeding from the storms fury. "We lost Teshmone, the jeep landed on him."
The precept look at Nick who was also wore a small gash on his cheek. "We need to take shelter and wait out this storm." Nick started to protest but Phillip stopped him.
"It will soon be over Nick, it's only a delaying tactic. Jacob and whoever has Alex and Derek will not hurt them yet. It's not time. Trust me."
Alex's eyes returned to him again and again, watching as he drank from the canteen. A drop of water escaped rolling across his skin disappear inside his shirt. Her gazed lingered there taking in the strong neck and smooth skin. She wondered if his skin tasted like his fingers. Alex mentally shook herself. "I've got to get out of here. Away from Derek. With some distance, I can control this."
She had known him as a friend and mentor for the past six years and loved him secretly most of them. She'd always been in control of her emotions, of the urges that surging through her at his touch or smell. "I have to get out of here," her mind screamed again. Alex stood and walked to the steel door, pounding on it. Derek moved to stop her. "Back off Derek. I can't stay in here like this much longer, it's too close."
"Talk to me Alex. We can't afford to panic."
"Talk is the last thing I want to do right how, Derek. Your pushing it, OK? So just back off into your corner over there and let me go crazy by myself. "
His eyes rested on the lips that had been wrapped around his fingers. The thought of it pulled at him, caused his breathing to increase. He imagined the feel of her mouth on other parts of his now aching anatomy. "We can't let our fear or anger get out of hand."
"I know." Alex unconsciously ran her fingers across each other in a drumming motion, signaling her nervousness. Derek took both hands in his and drew her wrist to his lips.
left a trail of heat from her wrist to fingertips
"What?" he whispered.
"I am happy Derek, truly happy."
his tongue traced the lips a breath from his
"Let's see if I can make us both happy."
captured her arms pulling them behind her back forcing
her body closer
"Love me Derek, let yourself love me." She whispered as
moved over him like a soft breeze
The soldiers arrived before daybreak tearing them apart. Dragging them to the throne room where Jacob waited. "Dr. Rayne, Alex. Good, you're here to help me watch the sun rise. It is going to be superb." He motioned to the guards who chained Alex to a pillar near to him. He stroke her hair as he watched his men chain Derek to the stone slab in the midst of the chamber.
Alex pulled at the chains holding her, fighting to put distance between her and Jacob. "Why my love what is the matter?" He stared at Alex and then at Derek. The two would not look at each other hoping to keep Jacob from knowing they had made love.
"Ahh, I see my love has not been true to me. Alex I am truly disappointed." He squatted in front of her, grabbing her face in his hands kissed her violently, uncaringly. "It makes no difference, for our children shall rule the universe." Derek turned his head away, tears of frustration filling his eyes.
"Sweet." Jacob laughed as a cry of rage escaped from Alex. He stepped away from her kicking legs. Turning his attention to Derek. "We have time to discuss all types of pertinent matters, and such a willing audience." Jacob sat on the stone slab next to Derek, he adjusted the gag around Derek's mouth. " It is too bad you did not find the seal. You could have changed the course of your destiny. But both of you know how fickle she can be sometimes."
He flicked some dust from his pants leg. "I know you are waiting for your friends. I have made arrangements to have them suitably greeted, once they arrive. Until then let me entertain you with a little history about your last resting place."
He walked back to the throne and sat down. "My father learned of the temple's whereabouts in 1961, when he work as a digger for the Berlin expedition. My father found details about the tablet here and hid that knowledge from the archaeologist. Unable to posess the tablet himself, he left its secrets to me. To serve our nation at the appropriate time. Don't you agree with me dear Alex, that it is time that our people have what is rightfully ours?" Jacob looked out a slit cut into the stone wall that served as a window.
"The sun rises." Jacob's voice echoed through the rooms vast emptiness. "It is time..." His voice echoed through the empty chambers.
have found the object for which thee are seeking,
Another voice joined Jacob, dripping with venom and menace. "Derek Rayne spawn of Winston, we meet." The air suddenly became foul, causing Derek and Alex to gasp for air. "Your father defeated me once for a short time now, I shall have my revenge on his offspring. I think you'd be honored to be counted worthy to die for the rise of a new generation of conquerors."
He who has no name nodded at Jacob who took a knife and drew it slowly down the middle of Derek's chest. Alex seeing what was about to happen, pushed her abilities and reached out to Derek's mind, sharing his pain, taking it onto herself. Derek opened his eyes as the pain lessened. He turned his head towards her. Her head hung down on her chest, her hair limp with sweat. She raised her head feeling his eyes on her.
Derek bit down hard on his tongue to keep back the scream rising in his throat as Jacob pressed the knife deeper, cutting across his unprotected chest. Derek's blood flowed onto the stone slab beneath him. Ignoring Alex's sobs, he concentrated instead on keeping conscious, knowing that Nick, Phillip and would arrive to free them. His being conscious might give them the advantage.
The grinning skeleton shimmered into appearance next to Derek. It dipped its finger into the blood flowing onto the slab. A decaying tongue sucked hungrily at the finger. Ribbons of flowing light moved over, through the tattered and hanging flesh. Alex watched in fascination as a face appeared covering what had been only bone before. Sounds and smells filled the air around them.
Scenes of destruction, floods, battles, volcanoes. He who has no name held the cup Jacob handed to him under the flowing blood, he drank deeply. "I am whole." He screamed into the air.
"Bring the tablet." He commanded Jacob, who hurried out. He returned with the tablet clasped greedily in his hands. "Now Jacob you shall have your new world and I my revenge. Speak thou thy request."
The storm continued to rage. Nick and Phillip feeling that crucial time was being lost persuaded the precept to move. The going was difficult for miles and then suddenly the blowing sand and howling winds stopped. Nick looked back at Phillip. "He's been diverted, we've got to hurry." They stopped several miles from the temple. Phillip grabbed Nick's arm, "Let me go with you."
"No, Phillip. You stay here with the seal, we're going to need that thing working to save our behinds."
"OK." Nick turned to the precept and the others preparing for battle. "Give us exactly one hour before firing. We will have taken out as many of the sentries as possible. Phillip feels that Alex and Derek will be in the throne room, while the madman conduct the ceremony. Most of the mercenaries are bivarack about 200 yards to the east of the temple. Most of our fire power should be directed there initially. If we succeed, we will meet at the throne room."
Everyone OK'd the plan and moved on to their duties. Ten men stood a short distance away waiting for Nick to join them, they were the first strike team. Nick adjusted his weapons belt once again as he tried to find the words to say, what might be goodbye to his friend. He looked at Phillip who smiled. "You just find them and keep them safe until I arrive with the Calvary." Nick nodded OK and walked to join the others. They soon disappeared over a mound of shifting sand.
Jacob held the tablet to him, his face flushed by excitement.
eyes of man, of all the tribes of the world shall be
And he drank of Derek's blood.
Jacob, thinking that all was his, decided to gloat. He unchained Alex who tripped Jacob. He pulled her to her feet and pushed her toward Derek. "I've decided to be generous and let you say goodbye to your lover." Alex removed the gag from Derek's mouth. Taking his face in her hands she kissed him gently. Jacob grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her away, but not before she had passed to Derek the key that she had palmed off Jacob.
Nick pulled the rifle from his back and snapped several rounds into the chamber. He sighted the barrel at the guards stationed near the entrance and squeezed the trigger. The rifle's sound muffled by the silencer was followed by a loud thumb as the guard was pushed into the air and hit the ground in slump of arms and legs. Nick signaled the others and darted around the entrance and into the temple. The sounds of gun fire and cries of wounded men reached Derek and Alex's captures. "You must complete the ritual now." The spirit shouted. Jacob raised the knife high.
Not really knowing why Phillip began to read the ancient script on the seal.
eyes of man, of all the tribes of the world shall be
towards the one true God
Alex screamed and pushed herself between Jacob and Derek, who was working to free himself. The spirit seeing his plans falling apart in his anger took Jacob's hand and plunged the knife into Alex's chest. For Derek time slowed down to the moments it took for Alex to fall to the floor at his feet. Jacob stared at the knife and then moved toward the spirit. "No." He screamed. "She was to be mine. You swore to me. That is why I served..."
Derek cradled Alex in his arm, his hand pressing his shirt against the jagged hole in her chest, where blood bubbled and soaked into the material in his hand. Around them the temple floor began to heave and the walls crumble and shake. Jacob looked around him all the splendor and ornaments were gone. The guards were gone, his clothing hung in about him in tatters. Derek turned toward him, sword in hand.
Nick threw himself through the door to find Derek and Jacob facing each other. Jacob circled Derek sword raised. He brought it downward to slash at Derek's chest. Derek parried easily tossing him off balance. Derek saw Nick.
"Alex, she is hurt. Help her."
Derek blocked Jacob's next blow with a upper cut and slammed his shoulder into him knocking him to the floor. Jacob's face pasted into a mask of hatred and anger punched Derek in the face with the saber's handle. Derek rolled away giving himself a chance to clear his head. Soon steel clashing aganist steel filled the air. Derek backed Jacob backward into an enclosed space near the throne room. Nick waited torn between leaving Alex and helping Derek.
Derek watched Alex lying on the stone slab, as did the others. Standing over her was a figure in flowing robes. Kandise reaching out and gently touched Alex's face, then placed her hands on the hole in Alex's chest. "Awake young one, be whole. Guard I thee and the life within thee. Awake Alexandra, debts are done."
Alex opened her eyes, accepted the hand held out to her and rose from the slab. "Young Alexandra, I thank thee for thou sacrifice." Alex's hand moved to rest at her stomach. "Yes, sister life started is safe. Know this. As with all things there are more than one path you may travel. Search your heart well. Whatever road traveled and be happy."
Kandise repeated the chant Alex had said to start the journey. "Blood to blood I join with thee, blood to bone I from an original thing am. My name is Kandise, daughter of Nubia. Once debts are done shalt I have rest". She placed her forehead against Alex's and then disappeared.
Back at the house on Angel Island, Derek sought out Alex, he found her in the garden. Tears streaming down her face, hands clutched in the grass at her sides. Music played softly nearby.
evil wind blowing over Africa
Alex did not hear Derek as he walked up on her. Once she knew he was there, she turned her face, wiping the tears away. He sat on the grass next to her facing the opposite direction.
"Hi. We haven't had time to talk since we've been back."
"Hello." She smiled at him as she turned off the CD player.
He sat silent, one arm resting on his upraised knee. The other hand resting near hers in the green grass. "I want to thank you, for saving my life."
"It's not necessary, Derek. We were fighting the same evil."
"I need you to know."
She nodded her understanding. He stared at her. His eyes rested on the locket. He reached for it and pulled it out of her shirt to hold it in his hand. His fingers brushed against the satin of her throat. It was the first time they had touched each other since they'd returned. "Do you think it's wise to wear this?"
Alex took a deep breath, stilling her racing heart and pulled the locket from his grasp. "It will work out."
He waited for her to say more, to give him a clue as to where they stood. She said nothing. It was maddeningly frustrating that they never seemed to be on the same side of the argument at the same time. "I have a question."
"What is there for us?"
Alex pulled at the grass between her legs, unable to look at him. "I don't know." She sighed, placing a smile on her face. "Don't let it worry you.."
Derek took her hand in his, kissing her palm. "You will tell me one day, when I'm ready."
He's eyes held her trying to convey what he sought words to say. "Across the fields I can see the radiance of your smile and I know in my heart you are there. But the anguish I am feeling makes the distance so very far to cross --Deidra Sarault." Derek saw Nick coming toward them. "I've got to go. I'll see you later."
Alex stared after him, sensing the tiny life stirring inside her. "I wish I could be sure, little one. That this is the right future for all of us." She pushed the CD play button, letting the music reach out and hold her.
STANDARD DISCLAIMER AND THANK YOUS
The characters herein are the property of Trilogy Entertainment/Showtime/MGM-USA. I like watching them and writing about them even more. This is fanfiction only, no disrespect or infringement intended and to the sorrow of my bill collectors no profit is being made. If you find this story readable, enjoyable, having some taste, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No writer gets better without the help. I would like to thank Kristin who beta read this for me. Her advise was invaluable. No writer gets better without reading writers better than themselves, thanks to the following for being good as I hope one day to be, Maygra DeRhema and Kellie Matthews-Simmons.
I'd like to acknowledge the authors of two websites where I gleaned information on Babylonian mythology and women in Nubia. Christopher Siren-Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ and Tara Kneller-Role of Women in Nubia.
Without the lyrics of artists Peabo Bryson and Qunicy Jones, my try at writing would be incomplete. Thank you for: I Wish You Love and Lost in the Night, Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., and for The Places You Find Love, Qwest Records/Warner Bros Records respectively.