Fiction logo

The Quest for the Silver Pharaoh

by Scott Parsons (Missions Meister) 3 months ago in Fantasy
Report Story

Chapter 1

Father MacGregor studies the Spear...

"Father, here is the research you requested, I hope it suits your needs.”

“Thank you, Cameron, you can head back to the parish for the night, we can continue tomorrow.” Father MacGregor could barely see through his glasses. The dust from the documents Cameron brough him went airborne as the young page set them on the table with a bit less caution than MacGregor would have preferred.

“Very well Father.” The page turned on his heel, leaving the chamber quickly to avoid MacGregor changing his mind.

MacGregor opened the tome with gloved caution. The manuscript was well over three hundred years old and the brittle, yellowing pages were not kept in what would be considered a professional manner. “Surely there must be some reference here. Some piece of the puzzle…”

Bryan MacGregor had always been considered a bit of an odd fellow by his school chums. His studies always drew him away from most of the "normal" activities of most young men. Time at school was spent more in the library than outside with the others, studying tales of bold knights, great battles, bright fairies, and fiery dragons. School masters would chide him for not focusing on his more practical studies, but they could not deny his aptitude for literature. Not that his grades were any sort of problem, just his interests seemed to keep his focus elsewhere.

The Great War was over before Bryan was even born; however, tales of soldier's heroism were exactly the type of great reading that he soaked up during his time at school. His home life and large family meant there was plenty of help on the farm on father's return from the trenches. While he did his share there was always somewhere else he'd rather be.

So, he finished his schooling, graduated with highest honors, and took to the Catholic church where he could pursue further studies. There he kept his head in his work, focusing on history and art. That all changed during his time at a Diocese of London when a Jesuit by the name of Murdoch met with young Bryan and showed him a path that would change his life forever. It took little convincing for him to join the order.

Then came the Reich. The “Blitz” tore through Poland and left an already war exhausted world in shock. The lack of enthusiasm on Parliament’s part did little to extinguish the fire in the chest of the younger generation at the outrageous act of villainy Germany committed. Bryan was no exception, he immediate sought service though the church and was sent to seven-weeks training at The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre Amport House. His focus and determination un-faltered by his lack of physicality, he got through the training and was almost immediately snatched up by the Special Operations Executive due to his special talents for finding the hard to find.

Now here he was, in a dusty library, once again searching for something that could break open the mystery. Oh, how he loved a good investigation! Some smugglers were shipping artifacts out of Egypt and melting the treasures for their intrinsic gold value. Didn’t the fools did not realize that the true value of the artifacts was vested in their history? The short-sightedness of man is the fault of folly.

In the depth of his research he didn’t realized he was being watched until the quiet cough broke his concentration.

“Father MacGregor.” A deep familiar voice shuttered by a whisper came from across the table.

Not even looking up from his research, MacGregor knew the source. “Colonel Brown… Nice of you to join me, have an interest in some stolen canopic jars? Need a place to hold some cigars or something?”

“Cute MacGregor, sometimes you are a bit too informal for your own good.” Brown was a military man from a family of military men. He served in the Great War 25 years ago and now had taken a position in the SOE special assignment group, which MacGregor reported to. With chaplains reporting directly to the church, the military connection was tenuous at best. Respect was given and rank was recognized, but MacGregor answered ultimately to a higher power and this at times perturbed Brown. Still, Macgregor garnered the respect of the brass and Brown was no exception.

“Well”, Brown continued, “I’ll have you know that you have been expressly chosen for reassignment. It’s a shame you won’t be able to take that old book with you, might be the only friend you have.” A wry smiled crept over the Colonel’s weathered face “You get to work with the Yanks. Some sort of special group that the SOE and OSS are putting together. They think your talents might prove useful.”

“And just like that I’m supposed to drop what I’m doing and jolly off to dance with some blokes who just decided to finally join the fight?” MacGregor was more than a little perturbed at this. He was so close to breaking open this case and recovering the artifacts. “So, who is going to finish the work I’m so close to finishing here?”

“Petersen.”

“Petersen?! Of all the bloody... Petersen’s been at this for less than a year! Not to mention he’s Protestant! He doesn’t know a canopic from a cartouche!”

“No matter, pack your things and report back to Cairo for your next assignment.”

After a moment of silence. “Sir, yes sir!” tossing up a rather sloppy salute followed by heavy footsteps echoing and the slamming of the library door.

The train from Tura to Cairo was teaming with people, pets, livestock, and soldiers. MacGregor found the conditions cramped for his six foot, though narrow, frame.

While tensions existed between the Empire and King Farouk, Egyptians remained neutral through the recent negotiations with both sides. MacGregor could travel freely, for the time being at least.

He was most upset about the interruption in his research and being packed on a noisy crowded train did not help the situation at all. More than once he had to invoke a blessing to control the urge to lash out at a Stanger who intruded on his personal space, a Tommy asking for a quick blessing on one trinket or another, a native trying to sell him some strange dried fruit, all manner of noise and unpalatable smells tested the Lord's patience.

Just as he was about to doze, he felt a frail hand touch his arm, not enough to awaken him. A dream perhaps? An old man dressed in nemes and a tattered robe was knelt on his right side in the train aisle. Then a crackling voice, barely a whisper, reached his ear. Egyptian, a strange dialect, but understandable.

"Baaša, I bring you tidings of great import. The time of resolve is upon us, Psusennes sends his regard. The silvern nṯr is the power of ages. Many seek the light, but few can brave the shadow. Follow Ra's blessing to the victory of Hor."

He felt the cool smoothness of metal slid into his palm which startled him awake. Shocked he looked about the bustling cabin but saw no one.

"Blimey! What was that about?" He looked in his right hand and there was a small silver cartouche. A man with the head of a falcon engaged in a battle with something. The opponent’s figure was scratched and unrecognizable displaying only human arms and legs but no head or body. "Most strange, most strange indeed."

"Now arriving in Cario!! All passengers must disembark at Cairo!"

Gathering his bag, MacGregor joined the mass exodus from the train, keeping an eye out for his frail visitor.

HQ was set up in a small nondescript warehouse just outside of Cairo proper, right on the rails. MacGregor hastened this room assignment so he could get a change of uniform before going in front of the brass.

Still pondering the small cartouche, his mind reflected on what the old man said. “Power of ages... Ra’s blessing…” It couldn’t have been a dream, he had the cartouche firmly in his grasp, but where did the stranger vanish to? Why him? This would have to wait. He needed to get to HQ to report to his new command and was none too thrilled about having to report to the yanks at the OSS.

Fantasy

About the author

Scott Parsons (Missions Meister)

I am an avid fan of old fantasy and science fiction. Some influences would be Michael Moorcock and Robert E. Howard. Currently working on a TTRPG with a WWII theme. You can find out more at www.okkultenrpg.com. I

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.