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The Quest for the Silver Pharaoh

by Scott Parsons (Missions Meister) about a month ago in Fantasy · updated about a month ago
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Prelude - Glint

"There weren't always dragons in the Valley." Generaloberst Gruber mused as the weak, yellow light of the oil lamp did little to illuminate the map on the table.

"Keep that flame away you fool! Do you want to cost us the entire expedition?!" Grueber slid that lamp further away, diminishing its glow from his work.

"It has to be here. What are we missing?" Gruber stared at Adom, the lead of the laborers.

"I know not Zaeim. We have pulled the sand from every spot you have requested and still nothing."

It was true, they had removed tons of sand from the valley and yet the prize was just as far from his grasp as ever. The Reichsführer had placed a great amount of trust in him and it was well-known that he would not suffer failure, especially when they were so close.

Grueber's recent promotion within German Thulegesellschaft's Order of the Green Dragon after the expedition to Tibet heaped praise upon him and his family. It also raised the expectation and responsibilities that he would be held accountable to. What was missing? Why hadn't they found where Montet had secreted his find?

"Get back out there, offer a reward for the man who finds the sarcophagus!" Grueber's patience was faltering.

"Yes Zaeim, of course..." Adom slipped through the tent flap and out into the hot desert dawn.

Retreating to his chair, the General reviewed his notes once again, as if the thousands of previous reviews left some small detail unturned. The discovery of the tomb two years ago loomed even larger that Carter's discovery two decades prior. Pierre Montet was, to say the least, a leader in the field. His discovery of the Silver Pharaoh would have made bigger international news than that of Tut, but war has a way of diminishing such things.

Montet knew the Reich was coming and, with that, his discovery was in danger of being captured. So, when he retreated to France to be with his family, he left breadcrumbs of clues saying that his hastily packaged prize was shipped to Cairo from Tanis. The thing about such an obvious trail is that it is almost never real. While several of the artifacts made it to Cairo, the sarcophagus never did. It had to be staged somewhere between Tanis and Cairo. Grueber and his team had investigated shipping routes, drovers and the locals for any hints of the whereabouts of Montet's find. They were close, he could feel it.

Now he sat here, in this chair, his only connection back to a more comfortable, civilized life that he left behind in Köln. He wasn't a family man; his career and drive saw to that. However, he did miss his soft bed and softer women.

As sleep just begun to close around him, excited screams echoed from outside. Adom burst through the tent flap. "Zaeim, we have something you should come see!!!"

"Lead the way! You best be sure this time Adom, for I will not suffer more disappointment from you or your men. My order pays well for your services, well enough that you are easily replaced!"

Adom cowered at the German's anger. Slinking out the door and into the blazing sun, leading the Generaloberst to the dig site 100 meters away.

The morning sun grew warm on his face as Grueber's eyes gleamed with avarice. Adom was right, this was excellent news indeed. Montet, that wonderful fool, had relied on the wrong people to transport his discovery to Cairo. The logistics of transporting the smaller treasurers was nothing compared to getting the sarcophagus and coffin to its destination at the University. In order to ensure its safety until appropriate transport could be scheduled, Montet and his team moved the larger items to a temporary location in a minor tomb to secure them until they could be moved. With the onset of the war, they were supposedly left there.

"Humans are fallible." Grueber thought. "Promises of money or pain make it all too easy-to-get information." The Reich had plenty of those two choices to offer those who stood in the way of its goals and Grueber had both checkbooks to write from.

As he stared with disdain at the bloody mess before him, he was happy this drover chose the latter. The sizeable figure was hanging, swinging slowly back and forth, suspended by chains hung from a makeshift wood frame. Warmth from the sun had started heating the body and not doing any favors to the multiple small wounds that covered the body. Two blazing hot braziers on either side making the blood from the wounds bubble. A small smile crept over Grueber's face as he looked at the tray of soiled instruments sitting on the small table next to the scene.

It had been a long night and the drover had a bit of pride in him. Pride was good. Grueber liked pride, it made this last longer.

He picked up a thin scalpel in his gloved hand, making sure the sun glinted off it into the remaining eye of his subject.

"You have done very well. Da Fürher would like to be here to thank you personally for helping us find his prize. However, there is something you still are holding back, maybe something about a key, a small item that would be useful in unlocking the tomb where the sarcophagus is held? Would it be a small cartouche? Something with in the form of Amon Ra?"

The figure quivered, a low moan escaping where lips once parted.

"A shame. You have been so accommodating in getting us here and helping us find this treasure."

The scalpel flashed as Grueber carved a small bit of flesh off the neck and casually tossed it into the left brazier. The once proud drover no longer screamed, that time had passed. He barley struggled as Grueber repeated cuts at various parts of the body, each shaved piece becoming fuel to the brazier's hungry fire.

"Adom! Gather the coffin and get it on the truck. Get this scheisse out of my site, feed it to the jackals. We move to find that key!"

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

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  • Jasmine S.about a month ago

    Nice beginning to the story, I honestly wanted more. You just have a few spelling errors. "appropriate transport could be..." "As he stared with disdain..."

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