History can be fascinating, but unfortunately for me, museums give me no sense of history. They're simply filled with dead things. They can't give me the feeling of wonder that a good book can. Even the power that some items can gather seems to be lost, once they've been in a museum for a while.
However, my class was visiting the Prescott Museum of Science, so I was stuck with it. We'd had the tour and now we were free to wander around. Gary said to Wil and I, “Let's go see the mummies. They fascinate me.” I looked at Wil and he seemed to be interested as well and I just shrugged. I could bear it for a little while for my friends, so we headed for the Egyptian exhibit. The other boys headed directly for the mummies but I was pulled in another direction.
There was an exhibit of Egyptian artefacts against one wall. They were behind glass and there was a barrier, so you couldn't get any closer than five feet. My eyes focused on a necklace and I could feel something from it. There was a message on it. Maybe. That's what it felt like anyway. Like the magic an Elder or Healer could put on something to attract attention, but at the same time it was a little different. It was hard to tell, because it was so old that if it was a message then it had weakened over time.
I knew that I had to get closer and actually touch it, before I could tell any more. I reached out with my mind and ignoring the werewolf minds of my classmates, I looked for another. Prescott had many of them and I was hoping a werewolf was available with the authority I needed. I found one and she was a museum curator. While her interest was primarily the Sumerians, she was in charge of the whole Middle East exhibit. Anne Bennett.
A careful woman herself, she probably wouldn't let even an Elder examine one of the artefacts unless it was worth the museum's time. The rest of the time passed in a blur. Tal was acting as chaperon and the other kids were aware that he was also my bodyguard. Ever since I had been shot last summer they knew I was different, most of them probably knew I was were. But like their parents and ancestors they wouldn't talk about it. It was a Benson secret.
Up in Mom and Paul's room I opened the safe and counted out twenty one hundred dollar bills. This was my money and depending on where it led, I might or might not get reimbursed. I said to Tal, “Here, you better carry this. It won't look quite as odd for you to have this much money.” He put it into his wallet.
The museum was open until eight and the cafeteria had decent food so we would eat after we got there and then see the curator. It was unlikely we would be able to see the necklace until after the museum closed anyway.
When I heard the knock on the door, I said, “Come in.” and looked up as two people entered. The first, a man with dark blond hair and gray eyes caught my attention. He reminded me so much of my brother and the lethal capabilities he had gained in thirty-five years in the Army.
The second was a child and he looked to be about eleven or twelve and I was simply going to dismiss him, as I did with most children. I don't hate children, but they tend to make me nervous. Then he changed. Suddenly an impression of enormous power came from him and I focused on him. A werewolf and an Elder. As young as he was I knew that this could only be Robby Hansen. Edward had talked about him to me on a couple of occasions. Some of the things he had told me about this boy were hard to believe. I'd known Edward since our university days, twenty-five years ago and he never exaggerated.
Then suddenly the power was gone, though I realized he had simply drawn it in so it was no longer visible on the surface. He had to have enormous power to reveal himself that way to an ordinary werewolf like me.
“Robby Hansen?” and though it was a question, I had no doubt in my mind that's who it was. He gave a graceful werewolf formal bow and I nodded my head.
His enormous green eyes looked at me calmly and he spoke softly. “Yes. Your secretary said that you'd be back here and you'd be glad of the interruption. This is Tal Peters.” He introduced the man, who held out his hand and took mine gently but shook it firmly.
I gave a wave, telling them, “Pull up a stool. Sarah always seems to know when things aren't going as planned.” They each sat on the stools I kept around for visitors. I gestured at the photographs, as I switched off the special light I used to view them, explaining, “These are some tablets from Sumer. They're in the British Museum and when I was there in late November one of them caught my interest. It almost looked like another story, so I asked them for photographs of the tablets and this is the first chance I've had to look through them. Nothing of interest I'm afraid.”
Robby grinned and said cheerfully, “Never another Gilgamesh when you want him.” and I couldn't help but laugh.
“How may I help you, Robby Hansen?” I asked.
“There's an item in the Egyptian exhibit I'd like to look at.” he said. I started to open my mouth to explain my policy, when he added, “I'll make a two thousand dollar donation to the museum to examine it. It's a necklace, with tiny flat plates joined together to make a chain and it has a ruby suspended in a gold mounting. It called out to me this afternoon when I was here with my class. There's a message on it of some kind, put there by an Elder or Shaman. It's very old and faded. I don't know whether it called out to me as a Shaman or simply to me, Robby Hansen. Tal.”
The man got out a wallet and counted out twenty, one hundred dollar bills. I closed my mouth and nodded. I didn't normally let non-academics examine any of the exhibits, but if Robby was willing to donate two thousand dollars he must consider it important.
I said, “Very well, let's go back to my office and I'll write you a receipt and alert the guards that I'll be taking an item out of one of the exhibits after the museum closes. I'll put it in the safe overnight and then replace it in the exhibit in the morning. The guard will have to stay.”
Robby said, dryly, “I don't think you want him right in your office. Maybe right outside.” I began to protest and then nodded. I had a feeling that Robby was right.
I led the way back to my office after switching out the light. After alerting the guards and writing a receipt for the two thousand dollars. Robby asked, “What do you know about the necklace?”
I got out the exhibit file and opened it to the necklace. I handed him a photograph and he looked at it closely. I told him, “Egypt isn't my specialty, but we're a small museum and they lumped all of the Middle Eastern exhibits under my curatorship. The necklace seems to be from either the late 11th or early 12th Dynasty. The transition occurred in 1937 BC. The tomb that it was found in, appears to be of a fairly important person, perhaps a relative or friend of Pharaoh. The funeral objects were sparse, but that seems to be deliberate. There were no inscriptions on the walls. There is an engraving on the back of the gold mount of the ruby.”
I passed a drawing of the engraving to Robby and he looked at it and smiled and then passed it to the man he called Tal, saying, “Interesting, the head of a wolf and the head of a man. What do they think, the possibility that it was a priest of Anubis or at least a follower?”
“Yes that's what they seem to think.” I said to him.
“A much easier explanation, is that he was a werewolf and the engraving simply shows both sides of him.” Robby said seriously, “It's unlikely that he was associated with Anubis since the engraving is that of a wolf not a jackal. Of course, not knowing what you were looking at it might be hard to tell that it's a wolf. The engraving of the heads isn't very good. It's amateurish in fact. I wonder if the werewolf did the engraving himself. The necklace itself is too well crafted for the artisan to be that bad an engraver.”
I took the necklace in my hands and I could feel the power in it. Weak with age but it was there. It appeared to be a Shaman's magic, yet there was something else as well. It called to me yet when I concentrated on it, it rejected me at the same time. No, not rejected. It needed something from me before I could access the message. Another indication that it was a Shaman and not an Elder who had left the message. Blood magic was rare for Elders, though Shamen used it on many occasions.
I took out my penknife and pricking my finger, I let a drop of blood fall on the ruby. While the jewel was examining my blood, I healed the small wound. Trying to access the jewel, this time it accepted me. The one who had put the message on the necklace was a direct ancestor. I allowed Tal and Ms. Bennett to see the message. It was a series of disjointed images and went past very quickly.
When it was over I went into a trance and gathered the scattered bits and pieces of the image, putting them together, slowing them down, then interpreting them.
I opened my eyes and said, “I can give you no names nor can I give dates. But this is the story as I see it. This man and about a dozen others, came down from their home in the north. From where I don't know, Germany, France or England, all are good possibilities. There were both men and women in the group and they were explorers, simply curious about what was over the next hill, around the next bend. They were all young, all in their early to middle twenties.”
I explained, “They seem to have crossed the Mediterranean by ship and perhaps landed somewhere well west of Egypt, for I get the impression of a long journey. They came to the Nile and traveled south, for a period of time. The necklace may have been from the 11th or 12th Dynasty, but the one who owned it was from a much later period. The explorers came on an encampment and it included chariots as well as foot soldiers and servants and wagons. Not surprising, because from later events it appears it was Pharaoh and some of his family.”
I paused for a second, before saying, “There were several children ranging in age from about five to twelve and each of them had a servant. The servant of the youngest became careless and allowed him to wander away from camp. Humans in Egypt were at the time sometimes prey as well as predators and an old lion, rejected by his pride, was wandering looking for food. He spied the child but he was seen by the werewolves who had been watching the camp for a couple of days.”
I explained gravely, “If it had been an adult they probably would have ignored it, but we have always had a soft spot for children. They changed to were form and attacked the lion. Now a lion who was in his prime could have held off even thirteen wolves long enough to escape. As I said he was old and they killed him, with only minor injuries to themselves, except my ancestor was hurt somewhat more seriously.”
I told them that, “Pharaoh and his soldiers had come upon the scene as the werewolves were battling the lion and imagine their astonishment when the wolves changed into human form. I don't know if the Egyptians regarded them as gods or not, they seem to have had some respect for them. Pharaoh was a loving father and he would have rewarded those who saved his son richly. They simply pulled back and changed back into wolves, fading into the wilderness. Only my ancestor who was too badly hurt to do that and his mate, stayed.”
I said, “They took him back to camp and they had a doctor, or whatever they were called in those days and he bandaged my ancestor's wounds. Pharaoh took the two werewolves with him, after they tortured the careless servant to death. A loving man but a cruel man as well.”
I told them, “The two werewolves were honored in Pharaoh's court and they stayed and he had half a dozen children. His wife died when the last of the children were reaching adulthood. At this point, his former companions showed up again, heading back home from wherever they had been. They also had children and one was a woman. She became his second wife, while his sons went with the others and headed back to where they had come from.”
I said, “He had two children by his second wife, but she died giving birth to the younger child, when the older one was in his mid-teens. The older one was evil, at least that's how my ancestor sees him. When the younger child was about nine or ten, somehow the older son was able to bond with the younger one, as if the boy was a familiar. He used his power to increase his own. However, he still was afraid of his father and he fled, taking the child with him and a friend as well. The friend was a Mage and I don't know exactly what he did. I assume he created a little universe and transported the man and the boy into it. I saw four people and two of them are aging but the other two seem to be stopped in time. Apparently, the Mage halted time in the little universe when he created it. With sorrow my ancestor buried a miniature sarcophagus to represent where his sons had disappeared and went home to die. The sons are locked into the little universe where time has been stopped and there they'll stay until they can be rescued.”
“Did it tell you anything more?” asked Ms. Bennett.
I told her, “Yes, it told me where to find the sarcophagus.” She started to say something. I smiled, “It doesn't matter if it's an area that was flooded by the Aswan Dam project. I only have to get near it.”
We were on our way home and I was thinking: 'Where to put a child?' The Ross's would take one more, but I didn't think this one would be appropriate. He was a werewolf and must be a potential Elder or a Healer to make it worthwhile for his brother to bond to him. How that was accomplished, I had no idea. Perhaps the older brother's Mage friend had done it.
I said to Tal, “Stop at Len and Jeannie's, please Tal.”
He said with a grin on his face, “Ah, that's why you wanted them to get married, so you could stash kids with them.”
I smiled back, saying, “No, but I have no objection to taking advantage of it. The Reynolds clan was once a very large one. Now there are only Jeannie, Sam and Sam's two brothers. The clan developed a genetic flaw, that prevents those who have it from having children. Only Sam is free of the flaw in his generation, so he's the only one who can have children naturally. The brothers are married and they plan to adopt and I'd put the kid if we can get him in one of their hands. I don't know exactly how the bond will affect the boy. I may be able to force the bond to me. Not the ideal solution, but it would probably be best, since he must have some power or the brother wouldn't have bothered with the bond in the first place. Both Jeannie and Len love kids and they plan to adopt as well, but I don't think they planned to start this soon. We have to know where he's going so we can forge a passport, for him.”
Tal asked, “As I remember, through a lot of Egypt's ancient history they tended to shave their heads. If we produce a passport what are we going to put on it, shaven or unshaven?”
I said firmly “Unshaven. His hair is shoulder length and like mine, up to a few months ago, it's reddish blond. Possibly, with both his father and the father's children, it was so exotic that Pharaoh enjoyed the sight of such an unusual hair color. I can put the image directly into a werewolf artist's mind and then we use the computer to change it into a photograph for the passport.”
I was suspicious as soon as Robby came in the door. He had that gleam in his eye that he had when he was matchmaking. Obviously, since he no longer needed to do that with Len and I, he must be looking for parents.
I demanded, “All right, how old is he or she?”
Tal looked astonished, but Robby's big green eyes just twinkled. He was very hard to surprise. He said, “I don't know exactly how old he is, between eight and ten I would say, but I can't be certain. He'll be quite small for his age, by our standards. I don't even know his name, I know he exists, but I don't know if I can get him out of the situation in which he's in.” The last part was said somberly and his eyes were no longer twinkling, but had gone cold.
I got Len, Tal and I some wine and a Coke for Robby and then sat down to listen to his story. He finished with, “As I told Tal, both of Sam's brothers are also unable to have children, but unfortunately, if I learn how to move the bond, I think at the beginning at least it should be to me, because there's no way of knowing how powerful he is. That means he has to be in Benson, within two or three miles and much closer would be better. The Ross's are a possibility, but he's going to be an orphan lost in a time so far from his own, irrevocably lost to him that he may feel completely bereft.”
Robby’s eyes were solemn, as he said, “He will be lost like no other person has been. The Faeries were thousands of years out of their time but there was a whole tribe of them, Molan actually wanted to be here where he could have enormous power. Unless they are so overwhelming that he becomes ill I won't remove those memories though I can age them a bit. Like I did with Jamling, I can give him our language and the social niceties of life. He'll need much more attention at first than Jamling. Since both you and Len will be working out of your house, you have more time to spare for him.”
Len asked, “You don't intend to send him to school?”
Robby shook his head, saying, “Not immediately. He was from an important family, so he probably had some type of tutor, or perhaps his father taught him. I'll do the same and send him to school next fall. Jamling ended up with his age group after I was finished putting the needed knowledge into his mind. Aaron ended up a year behind his age group, but so far he's doing well where he is and he's small for his age so he fits in. Since this boy is from so far in the past, he'll be really small for his age and a few months before he starts school won't hurt him.”
I thought about the children he had found and the families he had put them with. Jenna and Angelo with the Ross's, Jamling with the Jansens, Aaron with his own family. None of them regretted what had happened, they took great joy in fact. I looked at Len and nodded and he nodded back. It would be nice to hear the sound of children again. I was missing it a little after the Hansen-Wilson circus and I imagine Len felt the same.
“When do we leave?” I asked and Len grinned.
Robby explained, “Saturday probably. We need to forge a passport, we'll make Len his father and create records for him. It'll have to be from an affair Len, I hope you don't mind.”
I giggled and Len laughed. Neither of us had been celibate. I had an advantage in that direction but he had needed to be careful. I said, “That was long before I met him. The past is past, but he better not do it in the future. Though with your record, Robby, we'll probably end up with a dozen.”
His eyes gleaming, he said, “Not a dozen, unless you want that many, but I don't like one child families, as I once told Steve Ross. The child misses out on so much. I'll see if the General will put it into a Diplomatic pouch and send it to Cairo for us. Tal can pick it up.”
I was waiting in the restaurant in the Cairo hotel we were staying in, when Tal came back from the US Embassy. He said darkly, as he joined me, “I've picked up a tail. Two of them actually and I recognize one of them. Or at least I've seen him, before. I saw him in France about two years ago. For some reason I felt I shouldn't lose them.”
I reached out with my mind, if they had followed him one of them at least should still be outside. I found them and told Tal what I had found. “They're Catholic priests and they belong to the Miracle Squad.”
“Who the hell is that and what the hell are they interested in me for?” Tal demanded.
I told him, “I've heard of them, but I didn't know they had a name for themselves. They investigate miracles and unusual sightings and they fight vampires. You were seen one time fighting several men and you revealed the speed and strength that a werewolf has. They've been watching you ever since, trying to decide whether you're a vampire or not. And no, just because you're able to go out in bright sunlight doesn't mean that you're not a vampire. A really powerful vampire wouldn't be affected by sunlight, not like the weaker ones would be. Well they're a nuisance and you're right, losing them would just have made them more determined to find you and follow you. I'll see if I can't get them to join us and to get them off of your case.”
I got up and went outdoors. They were sitting at a small outdoor cafe just opposite the hotel, for those who preferred real Egyptian coffee and cuisine, at a more reasonable cost then the hotel provided. I went right up to them. I nodded to them, asking, “You are following my cousin and I just want to know, why?”
They looked at me steadily and the older one said, “We will tell you if you are willing to undergo the test.”
“Which test is that?” I asked inquisitively.
“To prove that you are not a vampire and then we must know about him as well.” he said.
“You are priests?” I asked and they nodded, “I have no objection to proving that my companion and I aren't vampires. I know what the quick test is and I know what the full ritual is. I must hold a wooden crucifix dipped in holy water, for thirty seconds.”
They looked at each other and the older one nodded and the other somewhat younger produced a wooden crucifix. I could feel the power in it as I took it in my hand. These priests deeply believed in what they were doing and it had become invested in the tools of their trade. The crucifixes, bibles and holy water. I held it for the required thirty seconds and then a second thirty seconds before I handed it back.
They nodded and said to me. “We will go with you.”
They got up and put some change on the table and followed me across the street. They introduced themselves to Tal, “I am Father Patricks and this is Father Reardon.”
He nodded and said, “I'm Tal Peters and the child is Robby Hansen.”
I said, “Lets see, the ritual, well I passed the crucifix part, if one of you will pass a crucifix to Tal. Tal you have to be able to hold a wooden crucifix dipped in holy water for thirty seconds. Hold it for a minute.”
Tal took the crucifix as offered and easily held it for a minute and then passed it back. He said, “I could feel my hand tingle.”
I told him, “Yes, I don't know if I believe in God or not Tal, but they do and that invests enormous power in the items they carry.” not trying to be anything but honest with the priests. I smiled at them, “Even if I was an atheist that power would affect me just as much as it would affect a whole-hearted believer. Now the bible, I think is next.”
The older priest produced a bible and I put my hand on it, saying, “I swear on this bible which has been invested with the power of good that I am not evil nor are my people though we do differ from ordinary humans.”
I waited until the priests offered it to Tal and he said the same words and also held onto the bible until it was withdrawn. I explained, “Now for the holy water test. This is different, Tal. You drink a small amount and if you were a vampire it would act like the most virulent of poisons and you would go up in smoke.” I took the vial and I swallowed the water and I saw Tal do the same and for the first time the priests relaxed.
Father Patricks said, “Okay, we know that you're not vampires, then what are you?”
I said softly, “That's not something you really need to know. You only need to know that we hate vampires with a depth that you will never know. They believe they sold their souls to the devil and they are pure evil.”
Amused Father Patricks said, “You don't know whether you believe in God, but you believe in the devil?”
I told him gravely, “I didn't say that Father, I said that vampires believe they sold their souls. The ritual they go through requires the sacrifice of two children of my people and one child of your people. It wouldn't work if they didn't believe in the devil and at the same time they must believe in God. That's why the instruments of your faith can affect them so severely. If you call your boss, I can prove that we are under the protection of your Church.”
He looked doubtful for a moment then taking out the ubiquitous cell phone he dialed a number. When someone answered he talked in what sounded like fluent Italian for about two minutes and then handed me the phone. He said, “Don't ask for a name, please. You may address him as Monsignor.”
I nodded, saying, “Hello, Monsignor, I imagine you have a secretary. If you would please have him look in the St. Francis of Assisi file, you will find a missive which says in Latin. 'Regarding Mario and Tomas and their people.'” I could hear Italian in the background. Obviously, he had taken the phone away from his mouth.
He came back on the line about a minute later and said in perfect English, “Yes I have it.”
I told him, “If you will turn it over you will find some dates. These are dates which tell when we contacted the Catholic Church for aid. The last should read April 4,1954.” I told him.
“It does.” he replied.
“Above that it should read August 7,1939. Paper and handwriting seem to date from proper period.” I continued. “On this occasion the Church decided to make sure that the letter was of the correct date.”
“It does.” said the Monsignor.
“If you open it you will find the following written in Latin.” I asked with a little bit of humor, just to see what type of person he was, “How's your Latin, Monsignor?”
He laughed and said, “Very good, thank you. In this office it's used much more than in most of the Catholic Church these days.”
you shouldn't have much trouble with this.” and I began to recite
from my memory, closing my eyes to see the copy a Werewolf Historian
had showed me, using mind-speech as well, so that Tal could also hear
it, but deep, at the primal level so he could understand it.
'The villagers came to me today and begged for my help against a Vampire. I would have gone to their aid but I was too ill to get out of bed, despite my will. Two men came to me and they demonstrated something that astonished me and then volunteered to go after the Vampire and asked if I would write down my impressions of their people for Mother Church. They were called Mario and Tomas Cantara and bravely they went against the Vampire and killed it with the help of some holy water I had blessed.
Both men unfortunately died, but their companions said they went to their deaths willingly, to rid the world of another Vampire.
My impressions of their people are favorable. They are honest, forthright and goodness shines through most of the them, though they tell me they have their share of evil ones. I recommend to Mother Church that those who come to her attention be regarded as good people, to help and be helped whenever necessary.
Francesco of Assisi'
“That's it, Monsignor. I can tell you it has been used fourteen times since it was first written.” I told him.
“I believe I have read in certain secret texts somewhat more about your people.” he said to me.
I grinned, saying, “You would have, Monsignor. Though I could give you another title I think since those texts aren't available to those under a certain rank in your church. I won't do that, I'll just say that as impressed as St. Francis was by Mario and Tomas and his companions, he was no fool, we have had to prove our character on several occasions. Usually it was in helping to destroy a vampire, something we are always delighted to do.”
He told me, “Very well, may I speak with Father Patricks, I'll tell them that your companions name will be removed from the list and that yours won't be added to it.”
“Goodbye, Monsignor, if you need my aid for any reason, use this 1-800 number. Use the name Francis and the password St. Francis of Assisi.” After giving the number, I handed the phone back to the Father, wondering why I had told him how to get in touch with me. I just had a feeling and I didn't ignore those feelings. They weren't always right, but they were right more often than they were wrong.
The priest shut his cell phone and said, “You are no longer on our list. Either of you. Good day to both of you.” Nodding to us they stood up and walked to the door.
I thought they were the perfect marks. Americans, father and son and just wandering, not paying attention to anything around them. I sure made one big mistake. I decided to try the kid, he had a wallet in the back pocket of his shorts and in a foreign country kids quite often carry a tidy sum of money. I got the wallet all right and then what felt like a clamp fastened around my wrist. I was suddenly pulled so I was between them. The boy transferred his hands on my wrist and took his wallet back and put it back in his pocket.
The boy said sternly, in mind-speech, *Bad werewolf, bad!! By the way, in case you don't know it, you're in deep, deep trouble.* I guess he had broadcast it to the man because he looked down at me and grinned, shaking his head. The kid let go of my wrist then, but I was too scared to even try to run, not that I could have gotten far, since he was an Elder.
The boy sorta introduced me, saying, “Tal, meet Freddy Courtney. He runs wild, he steals, he swears, stays out all night, he ditches school, about the only thing he doesn't do is cheat in school. Of course that may be because he's almost never there. Your old friend Randall really has a handful here. I'll just have to do something about that.” My heart sank, I didn't like the sounds of that at all.
I saw one of the kids I ran with dip into somebody's pocket and then he jerked his hand out and grabbed his hand and then began blowing on it. “What happened to him?” I asked, apprehensively, knowing somehow that the kid had done it.
The boy grinned, but said unsympathetically, “I'm really sorry to disrupt your gang's little business ventures, but if I can see them, I feel obligated to stop it. Right now, he feels like he just dipped his hand into a burning fire. It'll only last a few minutes, but he'll probably be wary for a while. Unlike you, Frederick, he's over fourteen and I have to put a cut-off date somewhere. I figure fourteen is old enough to decide whether you're going to be a thief, or an honest man. Now if he'd been nine like you, Frederick, every time he dipped into a pocket, he'd get the same feeling. Think about that Frederick.”
It wasn't something that I wanted to think about, thank you. Obviously the man had been here before, he had no trouble finding my father's jewelry shop. He pushed open the door and the bell rang announcing our entrance. My father came out of the back room, all five feet four of him. His eyes lit up with delight when they saw the man and then they went bleak when they saw me. He forced a smile back on his face and greeted the man with a hug, saying, “Tal, it's so good to see you again. It's been what, almost eight years?”
“Just about that, Randall. This is Robby Hansen and Freddy tried to pick his pocket and Robby's not happy about it at all.” Tal said with a grin.
“Robby Hansen, Robby Hansen.” He repeated, then a big genuine smile leaped onto his face, as he asked, “The Robby Hansen?”
Tal shuddered, saying, “What, did you think there was more than one of him? Randall, I assure you that one's quite enough thank you.”
Robby stuck his tongue out at him and then turning me around he lifted me up and dropped me on the counter. He let go when I was about a foot above it and I tell you that hurt and I began rubbing my bum. He said, “We'll talk about why we came after I've dealt with Master Frederick. You don't like that name, Frederick I know. Of course, that's why I'm using it. Count one, you're a pickpocket and a general all around thief.” He stared at me for a while with those enormous green eyes of his and then he turned his back, saying, “Take my wallet, Frederick.”
I couldn't resist, after all he had invited me and I felt what my friend had felt. My fingers felt like they were burning and I put them in my mouth to cool them down. Robby turned around again, saying sternly, “As I said Frederick, you're only nine, so I have no objection to interfering with your career of theft. Anytime that you put your hand in a pocket that isn't yours you'll feel exactly the same thing. That will last until you're fourteen.”
I looked at him in horror, fingers still in my mouth. He continued, “Now your other careers in crime, shoplifting and just plain stealing or anything else that you know is against the law. You're quite well versed in the law for a nine year old. I suppose so that you have the satisfaction of knowing when you break it. Whenever you're doing something you know is wrong then you'll feel this.” I felt what seemed like a hard swat to my bum and though I jumped, I just shrugged it off.
He gave a grin but there was no humor in his eyes as he said, “Oh I wouldn't ignore it, Frederick, it's not a one time thing like putting your fingers in someone's pocket. It'll reoccur every ten seconds as long as you're holding an object or have one in your pocket which you've stolen. Also, you need to make new friends, as long as you're with someone you know is a thief, you get the same thing.”
I shuddered, his eyes were very cold and his voice was very soft and at the same time very frightening. He told me, “Now school. Missing school will get you the same treatment but only at thirty minute intervals. However the period we're talking about is from the time you miss school until you return to school again. Whether that's overnight or over the weekend. I really wouldn't miss the weekend, Frederick, or a long weekend. Not only will it be painful, but I imagine that you'd have a hard time sleeping with someone swatting you on the bottom every thirty minutes.”
“Now staying out all night. What time is he supposed to be in bed, Randall?” Robby asked.
“Nine o'clock,” my father told him and he was obviously enjoying my predicament.
Robby nodded saying approvingly, “A good bedtime for a nine year old, Frederick. If you're out after nine o'clock unless you're with your father, you feel one of those swats once every five minutes until you get home and get to bed.”
“Jesus Christ, you ain't going to leave me with nothing.” I complained.
He grinned and said, “Ah, yes. That reminds me, your swearing.” Whoops, I ran right into that one, I thought with disgust. “I think burned fingers for a flagrant abuse, I won't punish you for accidental ones and I'll leave you hell and damn.” I thought with annoyance, that I wouldn't be able to do anything fun from now on.
His voice was grave, as he told me, “Now your father isn't going to like this but I'll show you why he never uses corporal punishment on you. I'll show you a week in your father's life when he was a boy.” I don't remember much, I just get a feeling of nausea whenever I think of how he was treated as a kid.
He paused for a minute, before saying, “Now one last thing, you don't respect your father, you think that because he's small he's not very important. I'll give you a few impressions of his life as a member of the SAS.” I learned that day that my father was a very dangerous man. The last thing I saw was him sparring with the man who was with Robby, Tal Peters and it was full contact. Despite the fact that he was overmatched, he was giving as good as he got. Robby showed me several others sparring with Peters and most of them were closer to his size but none of them fared as well as my father, I realized with pride.
“Now that Freddy has been dealt with, we need a helicopter. There'll be four of us going down and there may be five or six coming back. I don't know yet.” Robby said and I could see Tal Peters look at him in surprise when he mentioned how many might be coming back. He continued, “We'll want to leave at about six in the morning, so if you could, have a car pick us up at the hotel at about five. When you go to charge it you'll find that there are two accounts under my name and one of them will say Robby Hansen, Private. Charge everything to that account please. Make sure the pilot of the helicopter is a werewolf please, if we're lucky some very strange things are going to happen.”
He looked at me and suddenly his large green eyes were warm and I felt a shiver run up my spine. A good kind of shiver, as he asked, “Well, Freddy, are you going to behave yourself?”
I asked, “Do I have a choice?” and there was something in my voice. I don't know exactly what it was or what it meant but it wasn't bitterness. Oh I don't know, but the glimpse he'd given me into my father's past had changed me.
Robby said gently, “You always have a choice, Freddy. If you want it enough you can work through the pain. People go through much worse things for good or ill.”
I said quietly, “I don't think I want any of the things that your punishments will stop me from doing, enough to go through what I would have to go through.”
After we left Randall's shop, I asked, “You said there might be five or six, what exactly do you mean by that?”
said thoughtfully, “I'll tell you all when we get back to the hotel.”
and I had to be satisfied with that.
Len asked as we entered the hotel suite. “Why are there two passports and not one and you've got clothing for a small adult as well as for a child?”
Robby explained seriously, “I've been through the message that the necklace gave me several times. I've stripped a lot of the emotional content from it and I'll show it to you again.”
I was in the message, as he said the emotional content was no longer there and as it continued I began to feel a wrongness to it, a darkness. I realized why Robby was now doubtful.
Then it was over and I looked at Jeannie and Len and they had the same thoughtful look on their faces, that I had on mine. Jeannie said for all of us, “There's something wrong, somehow, but I'm not sure what.”
Len and I both nodded. Robby said, “I've felt that wrongness once before. Len you were there. Nelson March, Diane Whitworth's manager. The impression of two personalities, the one we first saw is loving, or at least seems so. The other personality is much darker. Once I removed most of the emotional content I could feel that darkness. I think that we're looking at another split personality. Only Nelson's second personality was almost a duplicate of the first, gentle and kind. The second personality I feel here is an evil personality.”
He stated bluntly, “That brings into question the whole message. I think we can believe that what we are looking for actually exists, but is the son the evil one or is it the father? A wife dies giving birth to a child and he apparently loves the boy, but is that when his personality split. Does one half of him love the child, as part of his wife and the other half hate the child because he killed his wife? If the older boy loved the younger one unreservedly, was he perhaps protecting the child, the evil side of his father more and more evident. And that's why the son eventually ran, taking his brother and his Mage friend going with them?”
Robby speculated, “He may perhaps be stronger than his father, but is he willing to kill the father to protect the younger child? Probably only if he has to, having a Mage friend gives him a way out. If the Mage friend could create a little universe and then hide the two sons in it and stop time, but putting a time limit on the universe, say perhaps of one hundred years. That would be long enough for the father to die a natural death. But something happens to prevent that part of the spell from being completed. Is that when the father found where they were and does he kill the Mage before he can complete the spell? That should have destroyed the little universe according to what I've been told, but somehow I don't think so.”
“I think that when we reach the site, we'll need to be careful. We can't assume the message is in a sense a lie, but we can't take it at face value either.”
Randall picked us up in the morning and he had Freddy with him and the boy was different this morning, thoughtful. He'd been thinking about what he had learned about his father and for the first time he respected him. He wouldn't change completely overnight, this was a lull before the storm. He'd make a token protest, he was too spirited to do anything else. The punishments I had put on him would remind him and give him an excuse to become a normal child.
Freddy even managed a little smile when we said hello. The trip to the airport took about an hour and Randall introduced us to our pilot, an expatriate Irishman by the name of Wall O'Reilly. He was talkative but he didn't say anything and those shrewd blue eyes seemed to see everything.
He asked, “So where do you want to go?”
I turned my back and winked at the others, as I said, “South.”
“Now, I wasn't thinking that yud want to go north, now would I.” he snorted.
I turned and grinned at him, saying, “Oh, I don't know, you used to go north when you were smuggling cigarettes into Egypt. Of course you weren't flying a helicopter then.”
He was looking at me warily. “Now, how did ya ever hear bout that?”
*I'm a mind reader, Mr. O'Reilly, of course. Don't worry I won't tell anyone, since you seem to have reformed.* I told him.
He snorted again, “A bloody Elder, that's all I need and a smartass one at that.”
I smothered a grin, telling him truthfully, “Actually south is really about all that I can tell you at the moment. You'll have to follow the Nile. I think what we're looking for is south of Luxor and ancient Thebes, that's only the impression I get. It could be to the north of Thebes, but somehow I doubt it.”
O'Reilly was grumpy for a while but he loosened up after a bit. We stopped for fuel once, just before we reached Luxor and then continued on our way south. I had my eyes closed now and I was concentrating hard, wishing I had Blue to help me, when I felt a faint stirring and it gave me a direction. I said, “Turn west here, Mr. O'Reilly.” and he snorted again but he did as he was told.” After about a half an hour later, I told him. “Now, south.” after about another forty-five minutes. I said, “We've almost reached our destination.” and I opened my eyes.
There was a small oasis about a mile away and an equally small village. There was a feeling of power as we approached it. As we got closer I had a look at the minds of the village people. They were somewhat unusual minds. On the surface this was a Muslim village, but underneath it was very different. The power had drawn the people to this village in very ancient times and they worshiped the old gods, Osiris, Anubis and Ra.
Five got out of the helicopter, but only one of them had any importance. He was a surprise, a child, but one with incredible power. He ignored everyone else and came directly to me. He bowed and it was obvious that it was a normal greeting among his people, whoever they might be, because it was something that was done often yet was always done with respect. I gestured for them to sit, for the others had followed him. He was obviously the leader.
I wondered with amusement how he planned to talk to me. I could speak English in a fashion, but how was he to know this? Again, he surprised me. For the first time I looked into his large green eyes and my heart stopped briefly. A child yes, but he had old eyes and enormous wisdom. He said to me, mind to mind, *Greetings, Shaman, I am here to ask you for your aid. I would contact Anubis, with your help.*
I considered it for a moment and then looking into those wise eyes again, I nodded my agreement and spoke for the first time. “It will take a great deal of time and he does not always accept our contacts.” I said in my language, which since he had talked to me with his mind, he would understand the meaning.
He nodded, then smiled, *It's never wise to rush the Gods, I'm in no hurry.*
I spoke briefly to my son and he went inside to get food and drink ready for the others, it would be a long wait for them. The boy closed his eyes and in seconds he was in a trance. With amusement I realized he was far beyond me in this and in perhaps many other things. I closed my eyes and reached for my center and also went slowly into a trance, but it took me much longer to attain it. He reached out for me and I felt him go deeper into his trance, taking me with him, deeper than I had ever gone before. He reached out with the enormous power of his mind, not demanding but not begging either. Simply requesting contact with Anubis.
Finally, Anubis spoke in weighted tones, *Hello, little one, I have been watching you. I believe it is time for your ancient relatives to return to the real world. They have been locked in time for far too long. The little universe survived because the Mage who created it was also one of my priests and with my permission he joined it to me. I have been providing the power that has kept it intact. Unfortunately by using my power to keep it in existence I can't reach into it, I can only remove my power and allow it to collapse.
The boy said, *Coyote owes me a favor. He hates being obligated to anyone and except for one other he is the most active of the Immortals in this world. This is your part of the world, for him to act he needs your permission and perhaps a little prodding. If he releases them, then you can maintain the little universe and the power it creates for those people here who believe in you and then all three of us win. I get my relatives, Coyote no longer owes me a favor and the power that this area contains, remains in place, perhaps for thousands of years to come.*
*And if he does not agree?* asked Anubis.
The boy answered, with somberness, *Then I will go home, with regret that I could not free them. Two of us will go home without the child they hoped to nurture to adulthood. I will tell our Historians about this incident. If ever our world changes again and Mages become available then they can be rescued at that time.*
I was suddenly aware again and though I was in darkness I knew I was no longer in the little universe that Denger had created. Somebody was talking in my mind and I knew that it was Anubis. *Benermerut, you are about to be returned to the world of the living. A very long time has passed, much longer than you and your friend planned. Denger was able to link the little universe to me, so I could power it, but your father came upon him before he was able to complete the spell which would have set a time limit. You and Uni have been trapped for more than thirty-four hundred years. The one who is rescuing you is an Elder like you and he is a direct descendant of your father. Unlike you he is also a Shaman, though they are no longer called that. They no longer have a religious function, they are called Healers and that is what Uni will be.*
Anubis explained, *He is only thirteen but despite his age, respect his power. He is not a Mage, though he is possibly as powerful as any Mage, Elder or Healer ever born. One of my fellow Immortals owed him a favor and by releasing you he is paying back that favor. The Elder has provided Uni with two mated werewolves who will become his parents.* He said with amusement, *At twenty-two you are a little young to parent a child of nine years, especially when the two of you will be learning how to live in a brand new world at the same time. I am also telling Uni about this as well and he is finding the fact that he will have both a father and a mother very appealing.*
I told him with relief, *I must admit I'm pleased. I love my brother, but I found in the time we were running away that it was impossible to be both brother and parent. I was able to comfort him as a brother, but I was helpless when he needed a father or mother to comfort him.*
Anubis said solemnly, *You will move very far away from where you have lived all of your lives, but think of me now and then. I am no longer very active in the world, but kind thoughts are always welcome. It is time, now you and Uni will be there.*
With what sounded like a clap of thunder, Uni and I were standing holding hands and facing the Elder who was sitting on the ground. He was facing a man I could tell was a priest or shaman. The Elder was a young boy and I could see that he and the shaman were in a deep trance. The area was lit by firelight and lanterns.
Uni said in my mind and there was awe in his mind-voice, *Brother look.* and looking through Uni's eyes I joined him in his awe. To have Anubis tell us how powerful he was, was different from actually seeing it. His aura was incredible. Five different colors divided into many shades and at least three times thicker than any Elder or Shaman or Priest I had ever seen through Uni's eyes. His eyes opened and I was looking into his enormous green eyes and they just gathered Uni and I into the warmest welcome I had ever had.
His mind-voice was equally welcoming, *Greetings, kinsmen. I welcome you back to the land of the living.*
Benermerut came to be called Ben and incredibly that was the name I had chosen for the passport, Benjamin. He was small for an adult, only five feet three inches tall. He was wearing only a loincloth. I thought Anne Bennett would have been disappointed, no authentic Egyptian garb to study.
Uni, as I had expected, was naked. He was nine, but he was only a little bigger than Barry. He could be given growth hormone to get him a little closer in size to his real age in today's world. Ben was young enough that he could have been given growth hormone as well since he was a werewolf, but he refused it, however that was to come.
There was no bond between them such as a familiar would have. Only the close bond of brothers who loved each other and as werewolves who had the ability to use mind-speech in human form. Ben as an Elder and Uni as a Healer. Uni was about the same age as Aaron, but he was much more advanced though their potential was about the same. But they had been watching for potential from him, either as an Elder or as a Healer, a Shaman actually in his day. As soon as they spotted his ability as a Healer he had begun to get training and that had occurred when he was about six, so he had been in training for three years.
It was very strange. My heart had ached when I had gone into what Denger called a little universe, knowing that part of my father hated me. I felt the boy Elder in my mind, later I was to find out that he allowed me to feel him since you could only do so when he allowed it. He gathered the memories of my father and I watched as the memories moved away from me. What he did was to age them so that while they were still there, they seemed to be much further in the past. That way I was able to form an attachment to the two he had chosen as my parents right away, instead of having to get over the grief that the memory contained.
The excitement that I had felt when Anubis told me that I would have both a father and a mother, came back even stronger and my heart sang with joy. I swung my hand in Ben's and then let go, walking over to my new parents. I knew I could talk to them but I was astonished when they understood me. The man lifted me onto his lap and the woman reached over and gently stroked my chin. She told me, *Robby is letting us understand each other, little one. He can reach down to a level which needs no translation.*
I said blissfully, *I never had a mother before.* She reached over for me and lifted me off of the man's lap and onto hers. Putting her arms around me, she brought her face to mine and rubbed her nose on mine and I giggled putting my hands around her neck and gripped her tightly while she stroked my back.
After Uni went over to get acquainted with his new parents, Ben sank to a seated position and we talked about his father and mother. Ben told us, *When his countrymen came north, Bakt, which was his Egyptian name, I do not know what his birth name was, my father saw my mother and it was love at first sight, but it was a dangerous love right from the beginning. My mother, Mar, had a bad heart and they were looking for my father, with the intentions of leaving her with him. I think they were surprised when they married. The Shaman with them told my father that it would be very dangerous to ever have children, but they didn't care and they had a first child which was me. I watched her as I grew up and she was often weak. It was very dangerous to have a second child and they both knew that, but when she became pregnant again, my mother was determined to have the child even though she knew it would probably kill her.*
Ben explained with evident sorrow, in his mind-voice, *She was an obedient wife and if my father had told her that he must end the pregnancy she would have obeyed him. He was a minor Shaman and could have done it with ease. For some reason, he did not and my mother was happy for the last months of her life. Happier than I had ever seen her and I was delighted when Uni was born. Though I knew that mother would die and I felt incredible sadness as well as incredible delight. My father seemed to accept her death and the birth of Uni, but as the boy grew up, on several occasions Uni came close to death and I began to become suspicious.*
Ben said somberly, *When he was six, a Shaman realized that Uni had the potential to become a powerful Shaman. I think that was the last straw. Not only had Uni killed my mother but he would be a much more powerful Shaman than my father. I began to watch my father very carefully after that and I realized that there were two personalities living in his body. One loved Uni and the other hated him and was jealous of him and wanted him dead. Just before I took Uni and ran, the evil personality was dominant. Even Uni could see it, though my father was able to keep it hidden from those outside the family.*
Ben explained, *Denger was my friend and then my friend and Uni's. When it finally came to the point where I had to kill my father or run, I simply didn't have the ruthlessness to kill my own father, so we ran. But my father was still a strong man and he followed us and Denger could see that he was catching up. He proposed the little universe and he created it and put Uni and I into it, calling on Anubis to provide the power for it. My father must have caught up with him and killed him before he could complete the spell. However did you know to even look for us if so much time has passed?*
I told him gravely, *Once he returned home the more benevolent of his personalities must have taken back control, Your father used blood magic to put a message onto a necklace and it ended up in a museum in our country. It was a little too much of a coincidence that it ended up in my country less than two hours from where I live, in a place that the school children of my town go to on a regular basis. I think Anubis probably had something to do with that.*
Ben nodded solemnly, saying, *He talked to the two of us before we were returned to our world and told us a little of what was to happen. That's why we did not panic.*
I nodded, telling him, *We live a great distance from here. But to get there will not take long. We have mastered the ancients’ desire to fly. First we will go to a modern city which is on the delta. That will take several hours and during that time, I will put our language and much of our social ways into your minds. Then we will go to what will be your new home and that will take some hours and during that time I can continue giving you knowledge.*
him, *Three of us are directly descended from your father, the woman
is married to the brown haired man and you enter a very large family.
Those descended from your father number about one hundred in the place
where you will be living and at least as many spread around the country
in which we live.*
Uni, who would be called David on his passport, would accept no other name but his own. However, no middle name had been entered so it could easily be a nickname, so that was all right. He accepted clothes but only after a spirited argument. He and Barry were kindred spirits, though Uni came by it naturally, never having worn clothing before.
Before I left, I told the Shaman with appreciation, *In token of your help I wish to leave you a gift, Bakkir.*
the box out of my pocket and handed it to him. He opened it and his
face lit up with delight as he took out a small gold head of Anubis
on a gold chain, I had seen it at Randall's jewelry shop and asked him
to bring to the airport. I had a feeling that I would need it.
It took a few minutes before they were willing to get into the 'copter, but once we were in the air they found it a delight. I had let Ben and Uni go through the delight of the takeoff and a few minutes of flight before I took them into a trance. It was a quick helicopter trip back to Cairo, in fact three of us were in so deep a trance we didn't see any of the trip.
By the time we reached Cairo, they would be able to get through customs without any trouble. They spoke US English with an authentic Southern accent and had a good working knowledge of social customs and things like television and movies.
Randall met us at the airport and he was grinning. He told us, “Freddy's got spirit, I must say. He tried you out the very first day. He skipped school today. He's in the car trying to sleep, but every time he gets to sleep what feels like a swat on the backside wakes him up. He says the fact that he can't sleep is worse than the pain in his bottom.”
I grinned, “I figured he'd try things out sooner or later. Tell him that the next time he skips school if he goes and apologizes to his schoolmaster the swats will stop. He might not do it if there's only one night to go through but he might over a weekend or a long weekend.”
Randall said seriously, “I think it was more that he wasn't willing to give up without at least a token fight. He figured skipping school would be the least painful method to do it.”
I smiled at Randall, telling him, “Well I could spare him the rest of the night, but I don't intend to. Stealing something would be much more painful. Knowing that things will happen just as I told him should keep him from the more serious things.”
While my shift did not start until eight, I was generally in at five in the morning. It was a quiet time and I could get much more work done than I could later in the day. Those friends who knew me well, also knew my work habits, so I wasn't surprised when Sergeant Youssef buzzed me on the intercom and said I had a couple of guests. When I heard one of them was Tal Peters, I was delighted. He was a good friend, but I hadn't seen him for four years. The last time he had been working for the US NIA, but I heard he had retired.
I gave him an embrace when he came into the room, ignoring the child with him for the moment. I knew he had lived for his job, I wondered if he had changed and I took a close look. I could tell immediately that he was still working, maybe not for the NIA but for someone and he seemed far more content than I had ever seen him.
Tal motioned to the child, telling me, “This is Robby Hansen, Fuad, I work for him now.”
I was a little confused, why would he work for a child, but then I looked at the boy and seeing his aura, I realized why. The boy had an unusual aura, but it certainly showed his power and belatedly I recognized the name. The word had been making the rounds recently that he was a direct Council representative and probably the most powerful Elder alive. I wondered why he had come to me, obviously it had something to do with my being a Captain of the Cairo Police.
Robby gave a formal werewolf bow and then offered his small hand which I took in mine. Despite his size he had a firm grip and his large green eyes were twinkling. He said in a soft voice. “I asked Tal to bring me. Do you know Randall Courtney?”
I nodded, saying, “He is the primary contact for werewolves coming from outside the country, since he's English in origin and can speak several languages. I understand his son has been running wild lately. I do not understand how a man like Randall can let his son get away with what he does.”
Robby his face sober said, “When he was a child Randall was beaten severely by his father, almost daily. He could have turned out like his father, but his personality is much different and even the thought of using corporal punishment makes him ill. His son, as spirited as he is, was somewhat ashamed of his father because of his size and his apparent meekness. Well, Freddy tried to pick my pocket and I've made an attitude adjustment.” He showed me exactly what he meant by that and I couldn't control my laughter. If poor Freddy committed any crimes he was going to thoroughly regret it and I completely approved.
Robby continued, saying seriously, “Actually I think the punishment will be less effective in the long run than what I showed him of his father's life. Both the bad when he was a child and the good when he was a member of the British SAS, for more than twenty years. He now knows that just because his father is small and appears meek, he is a very dangerous man and one to be respected.”
Robby said grimly, “But while I've probably removed the threat that he will become a criminal, I've also put Freddy in danger. He will be forced to sever his ties with his street friends, but the gang that Freddy ran with is controlled by a man named Hassan Moustafa.”
I nodded. I had heard of the man and what I had heard was disturbing. Robby switched to mind-speech then, *If Moustafa harms Freddy in any way, Randall will kill him. I won't allow that. I brought on the danger and I'll solve it. I want you to warn Moustafa that Randall was a member of the SAS for over twenty years. He's absolutely deadly. He's almost as good as Tal and if he had the size it would be a very close match.*
I lifted my eyebrows at that, Tal was the most dangerous man I had ever met and probably one of the best fighters in the world. I began to get a little worried.
*What do you purpose?* I asked him.
Robby said, *I wish to ask you as Elder to Elder to warn Moustafa. Tal and I will be close and if Moustafa doesn't believe you, I intend to kill him.* I looked into those cold green eyes and I believed him and I felt even more worried.
Robby smiled then, but it was an equally chilling smile, as he said, *Don't worry, I can read human minds as if they were werewolf and as an Elder and a Healer, I simply have to paralyze the autonomic system. He'll stop breathing and his heart will stop beating. No way to tell that it's deliberate or simply heart failure or a stroke.*
I relaxed, if he could do it that way there was no way of detecting him and if Moustafa was that dumb and at the same time that dangerous, then Egypt could do without him, quite easily.
Fortunately when I visited Moustafa later that morning, he seemed to be a reasonably intelligent man. I think I was able to convince him that harming Freddy Courtney could get him very dead. Robby confirmed my impression when I talked to him on the telephone, telling me that while Moustafa wasn't a coward, he wouldn't risk his life for so little gain.
Before he hung up he said in his soft voice, “One last thing. The Cairo Police Department has its own instructors, but every department occasionally uses other instructors. I think Randall would enjoy doing some teaching again and he's very, very good. Your department can benefit from his help and if Freddy goes along it should be a real eye opener.”
I thought about that suggestion, after I hung up. The SAS was one of the most respected special forces in the world, to have one of them as an occasional instructor could, as Robby said, only benefit the department. I got out Randall Courtney's file and began to write up a proposal. The Chief of Police owed me a favor and such a minor thing should easily get his approval.
Getting Ben and Uni through customs was as simple as showing Customs their passports. I hadn't made the mistake of having our people provide the same date as ours for an entry stamp. According to the passports, they had been in the country a couple of weeks, were half-brothers and their last name was Peters, their mother Vivian was supposedly a distant cousin of Len's. She had in fact existed and she had died giving birth to a stillborn child of just Ben's age. Changing her records was easy. Suddenly according to altered records she died fourteen years later than she really had, Ben was the child that had been born. According to the changed records had lived instead of died and Uni had been born thirteen years later.
She and Len had been friends and Len told me she'd be delighted to suddenly have two children. She'd longed for children and if she hadn't died with her son, she would have been devastated.
Ben was an archaeology student. On vacation had come to visit Egypt since his area of interest was Egyptology and Uni had come with him. Their deep tans lent credence to the story.
Again the flight home was a quick one for Ben, Uni and I. Taking them into a trance again, I put most of the knowledge that they would need to survive in today's world even if they suddenly got separated from us. I released Uni halfway through the process. By that time he had reached the level of knowledge a nine year old would need. I continued with Ben, borrowing memories from Len and Jeannie and Tal to make him an apparent high school graduate.
Putting the knowledge into Ben and Uni's minds wasn't a quick fix. It was like dumping a lot of information into a computer. Until it was sorted and categorized, they wouldn't be able to use it efficiently.
A werewolf tutor would be hired to give Ben the knowledge of how to use that information, bringing him up to the standards of a real high school graduate. I would tutor Uni and send him to school in the fall. As bright as they were, it would probably only take them six months to have the needed education. Ben planned to go to college where he was thinking of studying archaeology.
Sarah buzzed me on the intercom. I pushed down the button, “Yes, Sarah?”
“Robby Hansen and Tal and Uni and Ben Peters are here to see you, Ms. Bennett.” she said.
“Tell them to come in, Sarah.” I said with excitement, wondering if they had found what they were looking for.
I got up and walked around the desk and when the four came in I looked at the two who hadn't been here before and knew they had.
Robby grinned at me, saying, “This is Uni and Benermerut. Uni refuses to be called anything but Uni, but Benermerut has always been called Ben anyway and that's the name we use.”
They smiled at me as I shook their hands. Robby continued, “I'm looking for a tutor for Ben and I wonder if you'd be interested?”
I looked at him somewhat confused and started to open my mouth to say no, but he continued. “I know your specialty is Sumer but you might find tutoring Ben could be very interesting. It's not often that someone has the chance to talk to an educated Egyptian of the 18th Dynasty, from the thirtieth year of Thutmosis III, in 1449 BC.”
I closed my mouth with a click. He had a point there, a very good point. No other archaeologist had ever had a chance like this and I found myself nodding.
Ben bowed and said, “I thank you for willingness to help. Robby has provided me with the equivalent knowledge of one of your high school graduates. However right now that knowledge is like a book. I need to use it for it to become something that is a part of me. I simply need someone to supervise that process and put me back on the right track if I stray. Two hours a day should be adequate and we can spend an equal time going over my language and the history of my people. I am staying with the Jarvis's right now.”
“Now Uni has something to ask of you. It is for both of us.” Ben said.
The little boy solemnly took a small jewelry case out of the pocket of his shorts and offered it to me. I opened it and saw a tiny gold oblong about a quarter of an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide.
Uni said solemnly, “This is a tribute to our friend Denger, he gave his life to save ours. It says in Egyptian hieroglyphs, 'To Denger, we thank you for saving our lives at the cost of your own. Uni and Benermerut'. We would like you to place it somewhere in the Egyptian exhibit. We put this years date on it so if someone else ever sees it they won't think it's an original Egyptian artifact.” and like Ben he gave a little bow.
I nodded. Much of ancient Egypt existed in museums around the world and I thought it was a fitting tribute to place a memorial to one from that time period in a museum.