In the Court of the Winged Pharaoh

April 16, 2016:

Around 1480 BC, in Egypt, the Outsiders meet some of the local heroes

Karnak, Egypt

A glorious temple complex near Thebes.

Characters

NPCs: Pharaoh Hatshepsut, Hawkwoman. Kiya the Mad, Fist of Khonshu. Nabu the Wise, Magician of Fate

Mentions: Rama-Tut Skaar

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Strangely, the Egyptian soldiers do not direct the Outsiders to Weset (the city which will be called Thebes much later). Instead they lead them to the Nile, to a barge, and then to the great temple complex of Karnak downriver. To questions they will say only they are going to see the Pharaoh, which seems actually very exciting to them. The Pharaoh is rarely seen by mere mortals, unless they are priests or nobles.
The Karnak temple complex is crowded today, but too many of the people are obviously warriors, not worshippers. The presence of the Outsiders draws some attention, but surprisingly less than it could be expected. And instead of a temple, they are taken to a large wooden building raised between the temples of Amon-Re’s and Mut. It looks new, but it also looks no expenses were spared, with gold decorations and murals of praise to Horus and Re inlaid in the beams and walls.
A small crowd of priests and warriors waits inside, and the soldiers with the Outsides immediately take the places closer to the chamber’s gates. Then they wait, everyone is waiting. But not for long, it is only seconds before an old priests announced with grave voice:
“Her divine majesty, daughter of Ra, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, King of Upper and Lower Egypt.” An armored woman steps forward.
Hetshepsut, a woman that ruled Egypt for three decades in a place and time women were second class subjects. Modern historians have long wondered how could she have managed such feat. Now the Outsiders know why. She stands half a head taller than most men here, although that is barely above average for a Twenty Century woman, but what catches the attention first are her wings. Huge, eagle-like feathers wings attacked to an Nth-metal armor of archaic, if alien design.
Standing on the throne’s dais, not even wasting a second to sit down, she gestures the small group of time-displaced heroes. “Outlanders, approach to me and let me know what brings you to this troubled land. I am told by the wise that you need help, and can help us.”
And by the way, Lunair comes in just after the Pharaoh, along with a woman cloaked in white. Everyone gives wide berth to that woman.

Lunair DOES wander in just after the Pharoah. She seems to be less afraid of the woman in white, but more in awe and grateful. There's a quiet sadness about her, too. She nods at the words spoken.

There was a lot to take in even though there was nothing to take in at all. These times were long before Seikatsu, aka Reese was born. Even though she traveled through these lands close to two hundred years ago, the language here and the dialects were different. It was hard to catch some of the words that were considered modern -now-, than it was then.
Time is odd, in that regard.
But still, Reese kept close to Roy and Starfire, using the latters arm as a clutch even as she moved with her staff like Moses. The gnarled branch served as her eyes as well as an extra set of feet once she felt hitches and notches, stepping over them, her ear turned and attuned to her surroundings as the gathering slowly approaches the Pharoah. Reese, even though she instigated this union, kept quiet. Her eyes glowing briefly to garner the position of everyone around them. While she could not see, she could tell just by that little flash of chi-seeking alone that Lunair was present, and the Pharoah herself was something.. different.
"Great Pharoah." Reese quietly speaks, unraveling her arm from around Starfire's own to approach, her staff slowly lowered to the ground in a straight line as she takes a knee to offer homage with her head bowed deeply in respect.

"Are we sure she's not a winged alien who crash-landed here too?" Roy whispers to Kori as he regards Hetshepsut with a curious look, before he blinks at Lunair. "And what is Lun doing there?"
As Reese speaks, Roy hesitates, and then follows suit, imitating her greeting in turn. "Great Pharoah," he intones as well. "We do, though how your wise men know this, I gotta admit, I'm lost about."

Starfire knows what she should be doing, this was a history not theirs, a future that died - and yet she walks in with Reese looped into her arm, guards at her front and back and watches as reese takes to knee. Where they seemed hand in hand, Starfire's lineage did not permit her soul to truly bow, and where her soul did not go, nor did she.
The pupiless emerald gaze flickers as it shifts from Reese to that of Lunair, last seen at the temple of Sehkmet, and where things would seem dire with the spread of golden wings and the introduction, Starfire still smiled, a gesture small, but coming upon the uptilt of chin and only the downcast of eyes that gives an unspoken homage while the entry and title is announced.
There is a manner of respect, a manner of placement, and where Starfire knows she should kneel, she does not, the gauzy white of her dress flickering from the drape along arms where it met that which clung upon torso. Hands offer outward and in the broken dialect of vendors she had gathered from contact and exchange she speaks.
«"No dishonor to the great Pharoah, I seek to approach and only stand in your shadow so no lies can be between us."» And only then do her hands extend forward, cupped upward in their reach as head lowers. A bow without a kneel of supplication.
Roy's question though has Starfire's eyes opening in that direction towards the floor of the Hall. "They adore her. We can only do the same." Or the threat becomes very real for them.

Nathaniel’s eyes widen briefly when the winged woman appears. “Nth metal?” He whispers. “Strongly attuned to a -human-,” he is checking the readings on display on his bracers, small symbols of light flashing almost too fast to read.
Oh, and he should do something. Right. He kneels.
Only the old man that announced the presence of the Pharaoh stands on his way, sliding with deceptive agility between him and the winged woman. “Who are you?” He demands. “My name is Nathaniel and I…”
“NO. You are Rama-Tut. I remember -you-.” The worlds of the old man make the crowd whisper and look in amazement. Hetshepsut, who was nodding in polite acknowledge to Reese, Roy and Kori, about to voice a ritual greeting, glances at the old man. “Nabu? What is wrong? Rama-Tut? He went into the City of the Gods fifteen centuries ago.”

Lunair looks happy to see the others, but there's definitely a tinge of sorrow and it's not just over leaving her fuzzbuddies behind at the temple. She will kneel politely, too. She blinks, her eyes widen. Nathaniel is a TUT? She peers owlishly at Nathaniel, and the others. And the winged woman makes her curious, too. She seems a bit shocked at Nathaniel's demands. "Um. Who is Rama-Tut, may I ask?"

Once the bow of respect was issued, Reese takes the time to gather her staff, using it as a brace to pull herself from her knees upon the ground. Just when she was about to speak as well, the commotions happen which leave her stunned to silence. When Nathaniel was first introduced, it was as a friend. Could he be a betrayer?
Nah. He seemed nice enough! Right? But now was the time to bow out, not leave considerably, but place herself behind Roy and Starfire with a slow few steps back, if she could move Roy to stand shoulder to shoulder with the taller woman she would, but that would have been just rude. But they could hear her, her words quiet.
"Roy, Starfire.. what's happening?"

"I guess we could…" Roy murmurs to Starfire in agreement, as he rises once again.
Whatever more he might have done after that was lost in the confusion over Nathaniel's identity, as well as the old man's assertion. Briefly confused, Roy shoots a look at Nathaniel, before answering Reese.
"I think the past just caught up with our new friend."

The shift of events has Starfire's query falling to the wayside; a fall that comes with the descent of hands and arms and the rise of her head from that bow. Reese moving in behind her is enough of a warning, and one that has her righting her posture and curling her hand in, in that tuck against dusky huen thigh, exposed between the slits of whispy cotton. From that fist a faint glow is fought back, but the bracers at her wrist slowly behin to develop, fabricating over skin in a nearly painted violet metal bearing the red gems just over her wrists.
Stand down? No. Nathaniel may have a history here, but diplomacy and covertcy is something Starfire was borne into in Tamaran, and her people came first.
A hand rises to Lunair, and if she is able, the gesture calls her to their side to rally their numbers because if Outsiders needed to go against a kingdom they needed to be side by side.
"First Reese's history and now Nathaniel's… But how?" Starfire will not act before listening at least, but for now her eyes slide from Roy and Reese to the Pharoah and Nabu in wait."

Nathaniel stands up, looking a little pale. “That is something… that could happen, but it is not written in stone.” He looks at the others and sighs, “as a time traveller, things I have yet to do, and I might never do, can cause me problems.”
The old man seems confused and irritated. “Aye. Of course. Pharaoh Rama-Tut was… not of his time either. Oh, it was so long ago. And I am old.”
Hetshepsut seems thoughtful. The woman looks at the Outsiders thoughtfully. “Nabu, the Gods advised us to bring these outlanders here and seek alliance. You told me so.” He looks at Starfire. “Tell me who you are.”
The old man grunts and nods. “But now I see the tapestry of Fate is frayed. Frayed because of the actions of…” he glares at Nathaniel. “Ah, but Rama-Tut told me so, long ago, when he was old we were… almost friends. A riddle that I pondered for so long and now makes sense.”

Reese turns a little to the side, her stick brought close to her chest as she listens and kneads. The question that Starfire has and Nathaniel's answer brings a slight smirk upon her lips, though one that was immediately hidden as she draws her hood down closer to hide her face.
"And it seems things of my past are becoming a slight problem here. Slight." Reese hand waves. But it could have been worse. COULD be worse. Just may very well be worse.

"… -your- past, Reese?" Roy asks. "I thought it was Nathaniel's past… or future… damn time travellers."
Shaking his head, Roy flashes a crooked awkward grin at Hetshepsut. "I hate to admit it, your Eternalness, but asking us what's going on probably would result in some kind of headache where we butcher some analogy about how time is a river that does some crazy whirlpool things."

When Reese moves and speaks, among the commotion made by Nathaniel's presence, Starfire peers over her shoulder to Reese and a brow slowly climbs higher, a hand reaching back to rest over the top of Reese's stick, pressing down in a manner that brings the base to the floor with a light resounding thud. No, no hiding. Especially not when the Pharoah addresses her and turns gaze upon them.
"Queen of Egypt, Daughter of Amon-Re, Eternal Goddess," Where Egypt is adapting to female leaders, Starfire knows how to address them, as there was no line in Tamaran.
Though Roy speaks and it relly does make sense to her, she nods his way in gesture. "We're here from several stars to the right and straight on until…almost 3000 years from now." Too much Peter Pan? "How we came here is unknown, but we mean no harm in any form. Can't speak for him," Thumb gesture towards Nathaniel. Sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose before she straightens and takes a single step forward, the gold and lapiz bangles around angles chiming.
"But all he has told us runs the same course. We're here. We want to know why, we want to go home." Pause. "To our whirlpool."

The old man called Nabu wanders to the wall of the chamber, the crowd parting at his presence as if he was a God. Which he might well be. The nobles, soldiers and priests seem all pretty confused, and keep a reverent silence.
Hetshepsut, her face half-hidden by a bird-shaped helmet, looks vaguely amused. “Too many metaphors. My priests abuse of them too much already. I am no stranger to the ways of magic and other, foreigner devices,” he spreads her wings as explanation. “You wish to return to your home, and Egypt is threatened by rebellion and strange demi-gods. Wise Nabu believes everything is related. But Ra help me, he is the master of talking in metaphors.”

"No.." Reese murmurs towards Roy, using the edge of her stick to lightly tap the heel of his boot. "Not here right now, in the West. The wild west. This?" She shakes her head. "Seems to be a collection of futures and pasts mixed together." But just as she would like to step away and probably skitter out of the temple proper, the heavy hand lands upon her staff which gives her a slight stiffened reply. No hiding, fine. She was going to stay here.. for now.
"Metaphors aside, great King." Reese finally mutters, keeping the veil over her face, and even if she faces straightward and off in the wrong direction, her features were still seen by the Egyptian Goddess, her head soon lowering in a bow to raise again. Ever vigiliant in showing respect. "Perhaps you hold the key of our return home, and we possibly hold the key of your liberation. Allow us to lean upon each other so that we can find ourselves in a satisfactory situation."

"Metaphors… uh huh. See, I knew it, time metaphors were gonna come into this," Roy snarks, before shutting up when Reese speaks up to appeal for a solution.
Still, as he ponders a bit more on the Pharaoh's words, Roy leans over to murmur to Starfire, "She said threatened by demi-Gods, did she? What do you think she means?" Maybe offer to help, in this case, is the underlying tone in Roy's query.

"So then we stay and help, and in turn we get help." Starfire is done with metaphors as well. Roy's words have her nodding slightly. As much as she loves it here, as much as everything here calls to her very core, this is not everyones home and something is very wrong, there is a reason they are here, so lets get to it.
"Help you, we can." The hand that had planted upon Reese's guide lifts and the small bracer of purple now expands back in a pixellated gleam, painting between middle finger to loop around and back, spreading to rest just at mid forearm, then from that hand a light glow begind to emit.
"My name is Koriand'r, otherwise known as Starfire and these are my companions. Show us your threats and I assure you…" Looking to the rest of them a small quirk ticks at a corner of henna stained lips.
"We will give them a run for their dollars." Money, Star… money.

Hetshepsut nods, pacing thoughtful. “The nobles of the Lower Egypt have rebelled, claiming no woman is fit to be Pharaoh, even though I passed all the test the Gods set on me, all the labours and monster slaying… argh, those fools!” It sounds there is a story, and the winged woman wasn’t exactly handled her throne by mere birthright.
“They follow a man called Sekhrey Kang. He has abilities they claim have been granted by the gods and other men of great power follow him.” Nathaniel looks aghast when he hears that name.
“I saw two of those men,” interrupts an eerie voice. “One was made of sand; the other was an archer in purple with magical arrows. He brought low the green giant of the outlanders.” She sands behind Lunair. “But I saved this one, she bears a name I like,” she leans on Lunair, the woman in white weights almost nothing.
“Kiya the Mad. Fist of Khonshu,” explains the Pharaoh, as if that explained everything. “Three years gone from my court and you come today?” The other woman nods, “she told me to come.”
Hetshepsut hrmphs, then turns to Koriand’r and the others, “is this true? A green giant? How many others made this trip through time with you?”

Lunair frowns. "I'm sorry," She looks sympathetic. "Um. And thank you," She beams as the woman leans on her. Aw. Then the beam fades. "I think he sent Skaar back to his own home and time," There's a sadness. "I mean, on one hand, restoring the time stream. On the other…" Handwobble. She doesn't seem bothered by Kiya the mad in the slightest. But then, one might argue that Lunair herself is a bit… loony.

"Well, like Kori says, we can help you out. One princess there helping out another, my daughter's gonna plotz when she hears about this," Roy grins.
Looking towards Lunair, the archer studies the woman in white, before tilting his head at Lunair. "What's a Fist of Khonshu?"

The mention of Skaar has any semblance of a smile on Starfire's face fading. The show of power seems to go static, flickering in her fisted hold and as her head turns, the fall of flame huen hair veils her profile - expression as well. The eyes that peer through the deep ruby strands glow almost, a luminescence of those eyes that holds back the power she has garnered since being here in the land of Ra.
"Skaar may be gone, but that does not make the truth any less. He was ours, and I am not one to let someone do that and roam free still." A look towards Lunair and Starfire's eyes narrow lightly, sliding that gaze towards the woman in white. From the fisted hand to bicep, Kori is suddenly tensing, and using every strand of willpower to keep calmed, it is evident in the slight temor either seen or felt.
When Roy mentions Lian, though, she takes a deep breath to swallow the rage, awaiting more answers first.

Kiya slinks close to Roy, “me? I am the Knight of Luna, the chosen of the god of the Moon, goddess of Vengeance. Have you done anything that deserves vengeance, Roy Harper?” Apparently Kiya thinks Khonshu is a he and a she. “She is also a sorceress,” notes the Pharaoh. “And she loves metaphors. Maybe you will get along with her better than…”
“My King, I beg your attention,” Nabu speaks from his corner, a door of golden light seems to have appeared in the wall of the chamber. “Thoth will give us advice. His riddles are easier to decipher than Khonshu’s, I assure you.” The door opens. Follow me…” he turns, “the outlanders too.” And although no one has invited her, Kiya the Mad will try to sneak behind.
Hetshepsut looks vaguely irritated. Maybe Koriand’r has better idea. “You said you didn’t know how you came here? Do you know why?”

Lunair watches Kiya slink over. She tilts her head. Oh dear. Hopefully Roy won't get vengeanced. Lunair shakes her head. She really has no idea how or why they got here, other than possibly pissing off a hissy wizard or something. But it has been interesting. She looks to Nabu, as he speaks. "Okay," She nods. She will follow the Nabu - one of her flaws at work. She's like a duckling, and tends to follow around random people.

Reese really had no clue what was going on. It was easy to follow the conversations, yes. But demi-gods, kings, and queens were way past her purview. But she follows either way, her hand reaching out to grasp ahold of Roy's elbow to allow him the burden of leading this time, so that Starfire could walk on even keel with the Pharoah.

When Kiya gets too close to Roy that glow returns to Starfire's hand in a sudden burst, the other hand also flaring to life with the sleek meld of purple armor over forearms and wrists forming there as well. The tall Tamaranean steps between and lowers from her amazonian height to that of eye level with the priestess of their god Khonshu.
"Pay attention and your vengeance is already there." A narrow of those eyes and Kori straightens, Hatshepsut's exhasperation shared. A light graze of fingers over the stick of Reese's and she steps forward to follow Nabu with Reese and Roy at her side, but momentarily she pauses just beside the Pharoah and her head slowly shakes. "No reason at all, Pharaoh. But we are here and we may as well belong as best we can."

At Kori’s presence Kiya slinks away with eerie grace. Maybe she doesn’t like the sunlight. Fortunately for her, Nabu is leading the group to a rather shadowy chamber, the cool silvery light certainly seems something from the moon. But in the middle of the chamber, on a small table, there is a golden helmet the old man reverently picks up and then dons.
Ah, the conflicts for power among humans are rarely my concern he starts, his voice growing so deep it can’t possibly be human. But the forces unreleased by the manipulation of time itself endanger mortals and gods alike. The Ma’at is threatened. Yet I also foresee that if Horus and Bast become involved, and they shall, the conflict will escalate and the danger will become much greater. This is what I advice, my Pharaoh. The Outsiders here should confront the one called Kang, who was and shall be Great Rama-Tut. We will draw and defeat his army. You, Outsiders, will find your path home in Kang’s lair.

What is it with guys named Kang and being evil? Lunair is mystified. She is curious, though. "An entire army?" She asks. Lunair is a bit baffled by the idea. Nevertheless, she listens, curious and alert. "I'll do my best to help."

If one could feel the power, closer and closer as they approach the chamber, it would have an adverse reaction upon Reese’s skin just like the extreme heat of the land as well as the extreme cold of others. It scalds her, the staff itself nearly dropped to the waysides as her fingers begin to clutch and pull the thin fabric against the parts where visible. Her head shakes ever so briefly as she turns her back to them all, preparing to step out of the room until the decree is laid down and put forth to what they need. There was still, nothing on her lips, yet the only sound that comes from her was the tip-tapping of the cane upon the floor to await the others outside the chamber and to collect her for their journey.

Taking a step back at Kiyu's approach, Roy is silent thereafter as he ponders her question, but when Fate picks up the helmet, Roy points a finger. "Hey, aren't you…" he begins, before waving his hands. "You know what, nevermind, timey wibbly wavy and whatever. We'll just take the other time people out of here and then get out before we do anything crazier. After you, Kori."

The glare not only narrows Kori's eyes, but uptilts them in a manner akin to a felines, and when Kiya slinks away the look that ripples over facade is one of a lion-like feline pleasure as Kori straightens. Hatshepsut is regarded and walked with along side Roy and Reese, pausing only when Nabu gathers the helmet. Lips part and close, drawn thin by the need to be silent insead of saying 'Nothing good ever comes f doing that'…
…and nothing good came.
A glance back to Luna and her expression is shared. Puzzled, yet in Kori determination that will get them all home… Hopefully. She does not know of Kang, but she knows the presence is one that once vanquished - is freedom for more then just -them-.
Reese's reaction is noted as well, a slide of leg to keep her cane aloft and in hand.
"You feel it, don't you?" A whisper that comes after the decree spoken not-from-this-world yet, Nabu. Along that tawny skin small bumps had risen, and it did nothing to stave off her nature. Warrior.
When Roy gestures for departure and tries to point something out Kori pauses, blnking at Roy. "Is he…who? You're thinking, you have that flush that brings out more red, what are you thinking?"
Yep, not so discreet, none the less she wants to know as she is somewhat displaced x3.

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