Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part Eleven-

He dropped the paper he’d been studying and glared at Jamil, who laughed and shook his head.

“Dude, you’re jumpy today. Maybe I should wear bells or something to let you know when I’m near,” Jamil suggested.

“No. I was thinking about something else,” Anubis said, forcing his mind back to the present and not dwelling on his past memories. He couldn’t afford to get caught up in them. At least not right then.

“What had you thinking so hard?” Jamil pulled out the chair next to Anubis, then sat. He propped his chin on his hand as he stared at him.

“Just old memories of when I last heard this language spoken,” Anubis admitted. He didn’t have to say when that was.

“Did your tribe used to speak it?”

He could see the gleam in Jamil’s eyes. The man wanted to study Anubis, to learn all he could from him, and while Anubis would usually be willing to talk about the things his ‘tribe’ had passed down to him, the secrets of Petra were his to keep.

“Yes. The young people of my tribe are scattered throughout the world now, but there are a few elders who still speak this language and know our stories. When I was young, I understood the importance of keeping our past alive, so I begged them to teach me.” Anubis stared at the jars, but he was seeing Rahkoum, his grandfather, frowning at him when he pronounced a word wrong. His knuckles stung in phantom pain from being struck by a reed if he spoke poorly while talking to his grandfather.

“My grandfather was a scholar, as much as any of my tribe could be called one,” he clarified. “I guess you would call them storytellers nowadays. He was the one who taught me.”

Jamil tilted his head. “You were close to your family?”

Anubis huffed. “Not really. I was close to my grandfather until I came of age, then I was needed to guard the herds and go on raids.”

He bit his tongue. The nomadic tribes still around in this century didn’t raid any more. Now that the world was more civilized, those who lived in the cities frowned upon those activities. Hell, most of them thought nomads were heathens and beneath their city brothers.

“Does your tribe pray to Allah?”

“Are they Islamic or heathens who worship the old gods? Is that what you want to know?” Anubis turned to meet Jamil’s curious gaze. “They have accepted the new religion.”

“New religion? Islam has been around for centuries. It isn’t new,” Jamil pointed out.

Anubis nodded, acknowledging Jamil’s statement. “That’s true, but my tribe has been around since before Mohammed established Islam. We accepted Allah as our true god, yet we still respect and honor the old gods that called the desert home.”

“Covering your bases, huh?”

“You could say that.” Anubis looked back at the paper he’d written the inscription down on. “The writing states who the jars belong to and when they died.”

Jamil hummed, obviously trying to encourage Anubis to keep talking. He didn’t want to say anything more, but he needed to stay in Jamil’s good graces in case the man discovered more artifacts. There might be things uncovered Anubis needed to take back to Scotland and keep out of enemies’ hands.

“The organs in this jar,” he pointed to the larger more elaborately decorated one. “They belong to Prince Okilma’s wife. I’m not entirely sure when she died or how. It doesn’t say, but she was only nineteen.”

“How do you know that? And who the hell is Prince Okilma? There’s no record of him in any books I’ve read.” Jamil pursed his lips as he thought.

“His reign wasn’t very long,” Anubis muttered. “The smaller jar holds the organs of Prince Okilma’s young son. The boy was only five years old when he died.”

Jamil leaned back. “How do you know that?”

Swallowing, he tried to think about how to cover up what he said. There was no way he could know that. “I might have heard something in my tribe’s legends about the prince.”

“Really?” Jamil’s eyes lit up. “I would love to hear all those legends, especially if they’re about a previously unknown prince. At least, we have proof that he existed.”

“Actually what you have is my word about what this writing says,” Anubis informed him while gesturing toward the canopic jars. “I could be making this all up.”

Jamil laughed and shrugged. “You could be, but you wouldn’t have the reputation of being a honest man if you were going to lie to me about anything. Plus UNESCO wouldn’t allow you to work as a consultant for them if they doubted you.”

That was true. Yet Anubis had every intention of fudging his stories to make sure Jamil didn’t learn the entire truth of what had gone on all those thousands of years ago. Luckily, Jamil would never think Anubis’s knowledge was anything other than legends, not first hand.

“Do you know anyone else who could collaborate what you think this says? Are there any of your tribal elders near that I could talk to?” Jamil eyed him with a rather knowing look in his eyes.

“Unfortunately the answer is no to both of those questions. The elders of my tribe wouldn’t come near here or Petra for that matter. To them, spirits haunt the place and they see no reason to visit there. There are very few elders left who read this language. My grandfather was one of the last and he died years ago.” Anubis wasn’t lying about that. He just kept out how many years it had been since his grandfather lived.

Jamil swore softly. “Damn. Well, I guess we’ll have to go on your translation, though I’ll start sending out emails. Maybe there’s someone we don’t know about out there who can read it.”

“Maybe.” He wasn’t worried about that.

::I’m going to send Thoth to you. He’ll be an expert and also be there to support you if need be.::

::You don’t have to do that. I’ll be fine.:: He didn’t want one of his brothers there, watching over his shoulder.

Isis’s sigh echoed through his mind. ::Jamil wants proof that what you said is the truth. This way he’ll have it without anyone else interfering.::

He didn’t argue, knowing it was worthless. Isis did what he wanted and the only one who wasn’t subjected to his manipulations was Sekhmet.

2 Responses “Anubis”

  1. Bobbi says:

    Enjoying the story thank you

  2. thanks TA – great excerpt!

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