Transformations

    Ana'khu had been practically on her own since she was twelve. Her mother, Shai, had died in childbirth. Then, just after her twelfth birthday, her father Nebseni was killed in a mining accident. His brother P'toth took her into his family and his wife Rena raised her as her own. Rena's three children kept her busy enough, but she still tried to pay extra attention to Ana'khu. After P'toth was taken to Earth to rule over the city there it was even harder to control her. With no blood family left she went into a depression and started to rebel. In time, Rena found if she gave her a certain freedom, she had a little better luck controlling her. She had always been an independent but responsible child, making sure her chores were done first before going out on her own.

    Ana, as everyone called her, was a somewhat mysterious girl. Spending hours alone in her room chanting and singing, then wandering off into the desert by herself. Rena worried about her endlessly but knew she could do nothing to stop her. Whatever it was she did out there seemed to make her happy and that was all that mattered to her. Ana would usually return after a few hours with new beads added to her necklaces, bracelets and rings. They started to vary greatly as she got older, getting brighter, forming more definite shapes, even becoming almost transparent. Ana knew very well that it was against the god's laws for anyone to wear such things, Rena had made sure of that. And even though she was warned she could be severely punished if the gods ever saw her wearing them, she still insisted they were hers and would wear them no matter what. For some reason she never had a fear of the gods the way the other villagers did.

    As the years passed, her beads became gemstones, just like the ones the gods used. Ana was very proud of them and used them in everything from jewelry to clothing, even as decorations in her room. By the time she was nineteen she wore only one completely transparent red gem around her neck. It was in the shape of a teardrop and lay directly over her heart. She had always seemed to be an outcast in the city, but now the villagers seemed to be afraid of her. She heard whispers behind her back that she was evil and would bring bad luck to them by her defiance of the god's laws. But somehow she just smiled and ignored them, then sang to herself as she walked down the streets. Their anger and fear never seemed to bother her.

    Ana left the village one day carrying a small empty bag. Rena had asked her when she would be home, but Ana simply replied, when she got home. After almost a week, Rena could wait no longer and asked her oldest son Nhafu to go out and find her. He had always gotten along well with her, but never understood her mysterious ways. As he walked out the large gates of the village he saw Ana coming over the top of the closest sand dune. He spun around quickly and ran back to his mother, once inside he yelled, "She's back!"
    Rena was furious with her, but her concern took over and she was just glad that she was home safe. She decided then she just had to know what Ana did in the desert for so long. She asked Nhafu, "Son, please ask her where she went, what she does out there, why she has to worry me so."
    Nhafu calmed her, "Don't worry mother, I'll find out, I'll take care of everything." He figured he'd give her a few minutes to settle in before he yelled at her for scaring them all so much.
    Ana had walked straight up to her room and just waved as she walked by everyone. Once there, she pulled the bag out from under her shirt and unloaded its contents on her bed. She separated the small clear gems into piles for each silver setting she had prepared for them.
    Nhafu was also curious to see what she was up to in the desert for so long. He cared about her like a sister even though they were cousins and hoped she wasn't in trouble. Once, a long time ago, he had tried to follow her but she lost him in the dunes. He crept silently up the stairs and quickly drew back the heavy curtain covering her doorway, and then suddenly stopped in his tracks, he did not believe what he saw. Ana's bed was covered with brilliantly sparkling stones, "By the gods," he whispered.
    Surprised, Ana tried to cover them with a sheet but it was too late. "What are you doing in here, get out," she demanded.
    He only ignored her and stepped into the room, replacing the curtain behind him. She repeated her demand to him again, but he would not leave. He asked softly trying not to anger her further, "Where did you get those? Did the gods give them to you?"
    Ignoring him, she turned and started to put them away. Getting angry himself at her silence he accused her, "You didn't steal them from the gods did you, we'll all suffer for this...."
    Ana became furious and interrupted him, blurting out, " I made them!"
    "What? What did you say, you made them, made what, those, how?"
    His stupid questions and disbelief angered her even more and she practically screamed, "Oh! Sit down!"
    Her tone scared him; she'd never spoken to him like that before. Not knowing if she'd been cursed by the gods or taken over by evil spirits, he quickly sat on the floor and kept his mouth shut.
    She slowly walked over to him and took off his necklace, it contained several hand painted beads made out of their mineral. Taking the beads off the necklace, she held them in her hands a moment, and then walked over to her bed. Reaching underneath, she pulled out a tray that had many small containers on it filled with potions and powders and odd smelling liquids. Ana went to work, taking a pinch of this one, a pinch of that, and then began to chant. She sat completely still for half an hour, then slowly opened her eyes and unfolded her hands.
    Nhafu couldn't believe what he was seeing. There, within her delicate hands were three beautiful blue gems sparkling like stars. He jumped to his feet and went to her, holding out his hand she let the gems roll into his palm. Now, he believed her, and knew the power she possessed. "How did you learn to do this, how," he paused. "Please tell me, I am worried, Rena worries endlessly about you, please tell me."
    Ana tried to explain, "I'm not sure really. It all started a long time ago, when I was twelve, after father died. I wanted to be alone so I wandered out to the old mine, you know the one, by Edfu. I was mad at the gods for taking him away and wanted to get back at them. We were always told the minerals here are magic and only for the gods, so I figured if I could find some I could maybe use it to bring him back. If not that, then try to use it in a spell to hurt them."
    "Hurt the gods?" Nhafu laughed lightly, the idea of Ana sifting through the dirt looking for the mineral to hurt the gods just made a very funny picture in his mind.
    "I was only twelve you know. Stop laughing, it gets better." She laughed slightly too. Her story calmed her and she forgot all her anger at him. As she continued she pretended to re-enact the whole scene, using her stones and the tray she used. "I actually found a large chunk of the mineral and it had a very clear patch on it, like crystals. I had never seen anything like it before and thought I'd found something very special. You know how they always kept the children away from the mines so I'd never seen it up close. It is a beautiful mineral, isn't it?"      "Come on, come on, tell me what happened next." Nhafu's interest grew with each word.
    "Alright. Well, it was such a large chunk I had to break it into smaller parts so I could hold it; it's also a very heavy mineral. Anyway, once I got a small enough piece I held it in my hands, sat on a large rock nearby and just thought about father and how much I loved him and wanted him back."
    "What next, what did you do next?" Nhafu interrupted.
    She smiled, "I felt the stone get warm, then hot, then seem to move inside my hands. I thought it was working, so I concentrated very hard, closed my eyes and sang the song he had always sung for me before bed. After a few minutes, it felt like the stone I was sitting on was moving too, like I was part of it." She was sitting in the position pretending to do it, then stopped and closed her eyes. "It was the weirdest thing, I felt... like... liquid," she finally said.
    Nhafu's eyes widened, he was leaning over to hear every word and practically fell over. "Liquid?"
    "That's the only way I can describe it. It felt like I was water, in a pond of rippling water, just floating. I suddenly realized I was losing myself in it and opened my eyes."
    "What did you see?"
    She laughed, "The stone had changed. It had been just a piece of mineral, now it was different, it had color to it, and was mostly round."
    "What color?"
    "Red, blood red." Her blunt description of the color made Nhafu realize why it was red, for her father's death.     "Then what?"
    "I realized I couldn't bring father back, but I also knew there was something special about the mineral. I figured I'd see what happened with the part that was already crystallized. I did the same thing again but sat on the ground, the rock was so uncomfortable and I didn't know how long it would take. It actually took much longer to feel anything, but eventually, I did. I think I was there for half the day, I just sat and concentrated. After what seemed like days, I looked into my hands and the crystals had turned solid red too. I wondered why they became solid and didn't keep their clarity."
    "Why not?" He asked, expecting a perfect explanation.
    "I don't know," she laughed. "I just know that when I sat on the rock, it was easier. It was also easier in the cave. I figured the rock was made of the mineral and being in the cave surrounded with the mineral helped too. I tried to do it other places at first to see if it made a difference, and it did, it never worked the same. After many years I got better at it and could finally do it anywhere. It just took time and practice I guess. I learned that I could make the colors change easier if I put something that color in my hands with the mineral. It seemed to just melt into the rock. The shape was the hardest to get right, the oils helped me to smooth the surface and bring out the clarity. Eventually, I could make anything that I wanted."
    "What ever happened to getting back at the gods?"
    "This is my revenge." She held up her necklace. "I do what the gods say I can't. In this way I pay respect to father and mother, and defy the gods. I think what I can do is a gift from them, and I will not stop."
    His head lowered thinking of how he mistrusted her. "But the villagers... fear you, they think you're evil, even Rena worries something is wrong. If what you do is not evil, then why not tell everyone, show them what you can do."
    "What I do is still forbidden by the gods. The villagers will never understand, I cannot expect them too. I knew if I told all of you, that you might be hurt because of me. If I kept it to myself then only I could be punished if the time came. That's why I hid it from you. The knowledge of me just having the stones is not enough to punish the whole town for my doing."
    Nhafu smiled at her, "I guess, but still, you could have told us where you went or how long you'd be gone. Mother still feels responsible for you, she loves you and worries for you so much...."
    "If I told you where I went, you'd come after me and my secret wouldn't be secret anymore, would it? I am grown up now, if you haven't noticed and don't need to be looked after."
    "Yes, but you still live here and she still takes care of you and loves you and it's the least you could do...."
    "Ok, ok, I get your point. I will tell her, in my way, my time. Please don't say anything to her. Understand, I don't want her to be hurt because of me. She is the only mother I've ever known and I love her, but it may be better the less she knows. I will try not to be gone so long, or to at least say when I'll be home. I do not wish her hair to get grayer over me."
    He smiled, nodded and walked to her. "I'm so glad you're ok." He gave her a big hug then kissed her lightly on the cheek. "I must tell mother something, she's probably frantic by now."
    "Tell her I'm fine, I'm sorry to worry her so, I just needed to be alone. I will talk to her in the morning, I need to get some sleep now."
    "Ok, but she still might come up just to check on you."
    "I'll pretend to be sleeping."
    Laughing, "You always were good at that."
    "Excuse me, how do you know?"
    "I can always tell, it's the way you breathe. After years of sleeping in the same room with you as children, I learned to tell when you were really sleeping and when you were awake."
    Ana laughed, "Anything else you learned about me before I got my own room?"
    "We'll save that for later, you better get to pretending to be asleep." He laughed and headed for the doorway. "Are you hungry, can I get you anything?"
    "I'm fine, thank you, and don't think you can get out of my question that easily."
    He smiled softly and looked into her eyes. "I'm glad you're back, I missed you." He headed downstairs and tried to keep a straight face.
    Rena and the rest of the family were sitting around the front room relaxing after dinner. When she spotted Nhafu coming around the corner she practically jumped out of her chair almost spilling her tea everywhere. "Well?"
    "She's fine mother, she's tired and went to sleep."
    "What did she tell you, you were up there a long time."
    "She didn't mean to worry you, she just needed to, umm, be alone to sort some things out. She won't do it again without telling us where she's going, ah, what she's doing. She's really sorry."
    "Is that it? All this time, that's it?" Her motherly look wore on him.
    "She said she'd talk to you tomorrow and not to worry, she's fine, really."
    "Fine, fine, then I guess everything's ok, we can all go back to what we were doing, she's fine." Her constant worrying had taken its toll, now she was so frustrated she couldn't stand it. "Tomorrow, yes, we'll see, bright and early, we'll see."
    "Don't be mad mother, remember what father always says, 'Anger only fuels the fire of the gods'."
    "Yes, well, your father is on another planet, he can not help me now. Damn the gods for taking him away from me," she yelled looking up shaking her fist at the unforeseen enemy.
    Nhafu hadn't seen her this angry in a long time, he knew she meant it. "I wish father was here too, he'd know exactly what to say to make you smile."
    Her face softened as she thought of P'toth, "Yes, he could make me smile, my dear husband, only he." She hugged Nhafu tight and whispered in his ear. "Don't you ever think of leaving me."
    He said back, almost in tears, "No mother, I won't."

    The sun had just started creeping between the openings of her window cover when Rena called everyone to wake up. Ana knew she'd have to talk to her today and had spent half the night deciding what to say. After her morning ritual she prepared to go downstairs.
    Rena had breakfast cooking and the twins, Tenpu and Ta'ari were playing in the front room, but she didn't see Nhafu around. She walked slowly up to the table and sat down. "Good morning aunt Rena," she said softly, smiling.
    "Morning child, we'll talk after breakfast, now relax and do your chores." Rena hadn't slept well either, she'd been up half the night trying to decide what to do about Ana.
    "Where's Nhafu this morning?" She asked trying to change the subject.
    "Not sure, I just found this note that said, 'Back before breakfast.'"
    "Oh." Ana started her cleaning and went out back to wash her clothes. No sooner had she started then Nhafu came into the back yard. "Where were you?" She jokingly asked him.
    "Went to check something out. I also got some of that bread that mother loves so much."
    "Trying to soften her up for me? It might help, thanks."
    "I figured it can't hurt," he said laughing. "You'll need all the help you can get." He continued laughing as he walked in the house.
    After a bit Rena called everyone in for breakfast. She had always been a great cook, but this morning she'd outdone herself. The bread added just the right touch to make it a perfect meal. Ana had been eating dried meat and stale bread for a week. She was so hungry she ate enough for two people, barely stopping to breathe.
    Rena watched her and smiled to herself, she only eats like that when she's happy, she thought. After breakfast Ana helped her clean up and then she sent the twins off to school. Rena had decided to talk to her after Nhafu left for the mines.
    On his way out, Nhafu winked at Ana and smiled at his mother, knowing what was to come, he was glad to be leaving.
    Ana finished up her chores and sat at the table until Rena was done. She had it all worked out in her head, but wasn't sure how to start. When Rena joined her she smiled brightly but got tears in her eyes. "I miss my parents," she tried to speak evenly, without stopping. "You've been the only mother I've ever known and I never meant to hurt you but I think it's time I start looking after myself, not that I don't want you to care for me anymore but I am old enough to be on my own and...."
    "Ana, Ana..." she interrupted, "I understand, you do not need me to take care of you, but I wish to be there for you and help you in every way I can. I only want you to know that I worry about your safety, there are dangers in this life you do not know of and without a family or a man to look out for you, it is easy to be hurt."
    Ana smiled, "I think I know some of what you speak of and I do know that I am different from others, but I am not afraid. I want you and your family to be my family, forever. I only wish my freedom as a woman, to make my own decisions, to come and go as I wish and make a life for myself."
    "But child, you have always made your own decisions, come and gone as you wished, I always knew you did what I asked out of love and respect, but you have always been your own woman. That's why I worry so, you do not follow the god's laws, or follow the town's laws for that matter, and it may get you into trouble some day."
    "I only worry that my defiance will show badly on you, and you will be held responsible for me."
    "Nonsense, I am well aware of the laws and if you haven't noticed I have slight sway with our leader, you remember him, my brother, Khon'asu."
    "Yes, that's why I tried not to involve you in my doings, at least you could always say, 'She's my husband's brother's child, how am I to control her when she is not my own' and people would understand."
    "Dear, I love you as my own, I would give my life for you, let the people talk as they may, they can do nothing about it."
    "I know, but still I am sorry for all the worry I've caused you over the years, and I'm sorry I didn't talk to you sooner."
    "I understand and forgive you. Give me a hug." Rena held her tight and never wanted to let her go. "So now will you tell me what you do in the desert and where you find these?" She reached down and pulled up Ana's red gem on her necklace.
    Ana laughed and laughed, and Rena joined in. Ana thought she'd get away without having to say what she did but then she knew Rena better than that. Ana finally settled down and said, "Ok, if I tell you, you can't tell anyone."
    "Is it that secretive Ana, really?" Rena kidded her.
    "Yes." She answered back seriously.
    "Then tell me and I promise to never tell a soul. Have you told Nhafu?" She smiled,
    "Yes, but he's the exception, we know we can trust him, I trust no one else."
    "Alright then, between us three," she agreed.
    Ana told her the same story she told Nhafu, even though her plan was not to tell her the truth, at this point she couldn't see a reason to lie to her anymore.
    Rena let her tell the whole story uninterrupted and at the end held her close. "I always knew you were special, but this proves it."
    "What do you mean?" Ana asked seriously, finding something else behind Rena's words.
    "I've never said anything to anyone about this but I think it's time I told you."
    Ana's face turned pale and she felt dizzy, she almost knew what Rena was going to say.
    "Your mother was a very special woman too. Some say she wasn't from our world, that the gods brought her here from another place, a different place than Earth. She didn't look exactly like us, her hair was red as flame, her eyes were blue as the sky, she spoke a different language, and was dressed differently then everyone else who was brought here."
    "How did she get here, where was she from, was there anyone else like her?"
    Rena smiled, "She came with others from Earth, and yes there were four other women like her, but they all died very shortly after they arrived here, an unknown sickness took them. We did not know where she was from, she never told anyone, at least I don't think she did. Anyway, after the others died and she lived, she was cast out of the city. Your father, being the kind, gentle man he was, found her and brought her back. She had been wandering the desert for weeks but when he found her she seemed to be fine and was even more beautiful than before. He fell in love with her and made her his wife. She was never truly accepted by the people, but since he was the town leader they could do nothing about it. After a few years of trying to fit in, she made some friends and finally became accepted by the town elders. They found she had special powers they could use for certain things. This was all done in secret but P'toth told me a few things that happened."
    "Like what, did she transform rocks too?"
    Rena giggled, "I believe so child, yes, but I didn't know that she did that then, only when you told me about what you did that it made sense she did it too. You see, she always wore gems like you do now, and no one knew where she got them. What I did know about was her ability to tell when sandstorms were coming, and the rains, and when to plant. She had a way with plants and nature and taught us much. A lot of what you see today in the fields is because of her, but no one would admit that now. She could also heal certain ailments by using the mineral and her thoughts. She always said she wished she could have brought more of her things with her so she could do more for us, but no one ever knew what she meant. I guess maybe where she was from they were more advanced than us and knew the ways of the gods better. Then she got pregnant with you. When she died giving birth to you, you were considered a miracle."
    "What happened to her, why did she die, why has no one ever told me the truth?" Ana demanded without realizing.
    "Ana, calm down, I will tell you all I know." Rena put her hand on Ana's cheek, "You look just like her, the red in your hair, the green of your eyes, all a part of her, beautiful."
    Ana smiled and sighed. "I'm sorry, I just can't believe no one's ever told me this before, I've never heard anything from anyone about her, it's all just so...so...."
    "Unbelievable, I know, but I have the feeling you already knew it was something like this, didn't you."
    "Yes," she smiled, "somehow I knew."
    "I really don't know why she died, that part is truly a mystery, but I do know that she loved you. She talked to you all the time, I think she told you all about herself and that's how you knew, you heard her."
    "Maybe, I guess, but I was inside her, how could I?"
    "A mother's connection to her children is very strong, I believe her connection to you was stronger, part of her special abilities. I have something for you."
    "What?" Ana asked excitedly.
    "Follow me." Rena said, leading her into the back yard. She picked up a shovel and started walking around the yard scratching in the dirt. "Now where was it?" she said to herself. "Ah, yes, here, here it is." When she started to dig Ana asked if she wanted help. "Sure, grab a shovel, no telling how deep it might be now."
    Ana had no idea what she meant, but picked up a shovel and helped. Soon they hit something hard. They dug around it and lifted it up. It was a small wooden box. Rena took it over to a table and pried it open. "Your mother gave me this when she started labor with you, I felt like she knew she wouldn't live to give it to you herself. She told me to give it to you when the time was right and I'd know when that time was. This is the time." She lifted a piece of pure white cloth out of the box and handed it to Ana.
    It fit perfectly in the palm of her hand and was as heavy as the mineral she was used to. She unfolded it very carefully and exposed a perfectly clear brilliantly cut gem. It was bigger than any she'd ever made and was cut to perfection so it sparkled like the heavens on a moonless night. As she held it up to the sun it created every color imaginable, making rainbows on the ground below. "It's perfect."
    Rena was taken back by its beauty, she had never seen the contents of the box. "Yes it is, it's amazing," she looked closer at it and momentarily lost herself in it.
    "You've never seen it?"
    "No, she gave me the box and said not to ever open it, only to give it to you. I don't know anything about it, I'm sorry, I wish I could tell you more." Her head lowered as she felt helpless to give her an answer. Suddenly she was drawn to the white cloth, it was strangely glowing. As she looked closer at it, the color started to change. "Ana, look, Ana...," she shoved Ana's arm when she didn't respond.
    Ana was still staring into the gem, she seemed hypnotized by it. With Rena's sudden jolt she came out of it and sputtered, "What?"
    Rena pointed at it.
    The cloth was now completely gold with some kind of black writing on it. It seemed familiar to her but she couldn't read it. "What is it, what does it say?"
    "I don't know, I think it's in your mother's language." She had seen Shai use writing like that a few times in notes to herself, but she did not know what it meant.
    "Wait, what happened to the white cloth?" She asked, slightly confused.
    Rena pointed again, "This was the white cloth."
    "The white cloth became this? How, did you see it change, where was I?"
    "I think maybe when you touched it you made it change, it's been waiting for you all these years."
    "But, but, how, what was I doing?" She still couldn't remember what happened.
    "You were looking into the stone, into the sun."
    Ana lifted it to the sky once again and concentrated on it. Her mind was caught in a spiral of light drawing her up, she felt like she was floating, like liquid.
    Rena watched her a moment then decided to sit down, it had been an exciting day and the sun was high overhead. After a moment she looked up and saw Ana's eyes were closed. "Ana, are you ok?" She asked, a bit worried. When Ana didn't move she got up and shook her lightly saying her name over and over. When she did not respond she decided to splash some cold water on her face. She went to the trough to get some and when she came back Ana was smiling. "You scared me, what happened?"
    "I'm not sure. It has to settle in I think, but I'm pretty sure I just saw my mother's world. I can't explain it, it was beautiful. She didn't make this stone, someone else did, the teacher, it's passed down through families, it teaches. I know it doesn't make sense, but there's so much going through my head right now I just can't explain it. You were right, I am special, well, at least half special. I think we need to get out of this heat and get something to drink."
    Rena agreed and they both went inside. "What now?" She asked pointing to the stone.
    Ana looked at it, "Don't tell anyone, I want to give it some more time, see if I can learn anything else. Besides that, nothing has changed, I'm still here, you're still here, we're family and I love you. Thank you for doing this for me."
    "I only did what I was told, you did the rest," she stroked Ana's head and kissed her on the cheek. "I thanked the gods when you were born, and knew you would be looked after by them. I think somehow they do watch over you and guide you, no matter how you feel about them, they did bring your mother here and with her, came you. I am very happy they did."
    "Right now, so am I." For the first time in her life, things started to make sense. Dreams, visions, the things she'd seen, the things she knew, it all came together. "I'm gonna' take a walk, and don't worry, I'll be back soon, promise," she started laughing as she got to the door, "really."

    Ra had grown tired of being alone, even with all his servants and the children he kept for company, he still felt empty. He wanted to find a woman that he could love, a mate, an equal. He had never loved a woman before, but knew if he found the right one, he would love her for all eternity. He searched all of his larger colonies, but found none of the women to his liking. They all seemed too interested in worshiping him or were too afraid to show any real emotion at all. Ra wanted someone special, someone that was a challenge and whose beauty could almost surpass his own. He knew there was a woman out there somewhere, just like him, and he would find her.
    Of all the planets he ruled over, Abydos was the smallest. He rarely visited it and almost passed it by. It only held the Naquada mines and a very small colony of servants. But then he remembered, "Ah yes, I did bring some very beautiful young women to that planet years ago. I wonder if they would still be so beautiful? Change course for Abydos!" He demanded to his guard, who immediately followed his order.
    He landed his ship on the pyramid as usual but something felt different. He hadn't been there in many years, he hadn't needed to. The shipments arrived on time and his guards kept everything in order. After the ship was docked and the area secured by his guards, he went down to the temple. He told the guards of the planet his intentions and they filled him in on the latest details of the mining.
    When he was done with them, the Horus guards set out in their gliders for Nagada to tell the villagers of Ra's plans.
    The village watchman saw the gliders approaching and sounded the ceremonial horn.
    The guards landed and met Khon'asu at the town's center. A guard informed him that all the villagers, especially the women, must attend the ceremony at Ra's temple. The ceremony was always held at the same time after Ra's arrival, the next day after morning prayers.
    Khon'asu asked the guard what the gathering was for, he prayed Ra's unscheduled visit was not to punish them for something.
    "You will find out then," the guard said without emotion, turned and left.
    He was somewhat relieved, if they were to be punished Ra would not wait, he would be swift and deliberate about it. He did wonder why the guard demanded the women must attend, then turned and went to inform all the villagers.
    When the announcement was made, Ana decided she would not go. Rena told her she did not have a choice, and would go whether she wanted to or not.
    The last time Ra visited, Ana was eleven and only saw him from far away. She knew he wore a great golden mask and long colorful robes. Ana always remembered that day, the sun reflected off his jewels and made them sparkle like the stars. She was very envious, and didn't understand why she couldn't wear such beautiful things. Nebseni explained it was forbidden and she would be punished if she were caught wearing anything but the beads they made from their mineral. Soon afterward, he was killed in the accident and Ana discovered her gift. Rena warned her to be very careful, and never let any of Ra's guards see her. Ana kept that in mind but stubbornly still wore her jewelry. That was the only time she'd seen Ra and wondered what brought him back. The words Khon'asu used in saying, 'all villagers, especially women, must attend', stuck in her head. Why the women? She thought.
     The time came for the villagers to make the journey to Ra's temple, and the horns were sounded. Ana watched from her window as the people started to leave the village. Rena came to her room and told her she must come, she looked at the red gem on Ana's necklace and shook her head. Hesitantly, Ana got up and followed Rena outside, still wearing the necklace. She joined the rest of the family and proceeded to walk to the temple.
    The crowd began to hush as several of Ra's guards appeared at the entrance of the temple. Next Anubis appeared, followed by many children beautifully dressed and covered with gold and jewels. Finally, Ra stepped out from the darkness of the temple and sat at his throne.
    Anubis ordered all the unwed women to the front. Ana hesitated and looked at Rena. She smiled and nodded for Ana to go. When all the women were at the front, Khon'asu knelt down and began to chant the sacred prayer. All of the villagers followed him except for Ana. She was on her knees, but did not put her head to the sand like everyone else. A Horus guard noticed her and walked toward her intent on making her bow her head. Ra stopped him and told him to return. Surprised, Khon'asu stopped chanting and lifted his head, slowly followed by all the people.
    Ra looked at Ana, never had anyone defied him, he was quite surprised by her challenge. He slowly stood and walked toward her, leaving a golden shadow in each footprint behind him.
    Ana lowered her eyes thinking she was to be punished, but she did not fear him. Ra stopped in front of her and put his hand under her chin, he lifted her head back and the sun glared in her eyes. She squinted at its brightness and still did not look at him. The pressure of his hand under her chin made her stand up and she looked right into the eyes of his great golden mask. Ra removed his hand and slid it down the side of her cheek, down her neck and slowly to the point between her breasts where the jewel hung. He held it in his hand and seemed to ponder it a while, then suddenly let it drop back to her chest. He stood a moment longer, just looking at her, then turned and slowly walked back to his throne.
    Everyone had watched what happened, but no one knew what to do. Khon'asu began the prayer over again, hoping they would not all be punished for Ana's disgrace. When the prayer was over, Khon'asu stood and motioned for everyone to rise.
    Anubis stepped forward and announced, "Ra will choose a mate if she is worthy, all unwed women come to prove yourself, bow before your god."
    One by one the young women walked up the ramp to present themselves to Ra. Some of the more eager girls brought gifts to win his favor, although he was not impressed with them as much as he was by Ana.
    Ana stood in the back trying not to be noticed, but after all the other girls had gone, she stood alone. A guard came toward her and she knew he meant to drag her up the ramp if necessary, so she slowly walked forward. The guard stopped short of grabbing her when she confidently walked past him, her head held high not giving him a second glance. Slowly she walked up the ramp, feeling it was not necessary for her to come up to him, since he had already come down to see her. As she walked, she felt his presence growing, she could almost feel his hand upon her face again. She stopped where she felt comfortable and looked at him.
    Ra looked at her, eyeing her up and down, then motioned for her to turn around. Ana was furious, but was in no position to argue his demand. She quickly turned her back to him stamping her feet all the while, waited a second, then finished the turn with a thud and fiercely glared into the eyes of the mask.
    No one could tell, but behind his mask, Ra was smiling. This was something that he rarely did, and he was quite pleased with Ana for giving him the pleasure. Ra motioned her away and she quickly proceeded down the ramp, stomping her feet all the way. When she returned to the group, Ra whispered something to Anubis.      With a voice as loud as thunder Anubis announced, "The choice is made." He motioned to a guard, then told him to bring the stubborn one. The guard knew who he meant and immediately went to get Ana. Looking rather fierce as he walked toward them, all the girls stepped back in fear, except Ana, she stood her ground. The guard grabbed her arm but she pulled it back from him, she couldn't believe she was the chosen one. Impatiently, he grabbed her wrist and dragged her with him.
    Ana looked back to Rena and Nhafu for help but they could offer none. Rena tried to smile and yelled to her, "Be brave child, be who you are."
    The villagers were stunned, but could do nothing. As Ra stood up, Khon'asu cried out, "All hail Ra." The villagers voices rose up around him continuing the chant several times. Ra then turned and disappeared into the shadows of the temple. Anubis took Ana's arm and dragged her behind him, as she kept trying to pull away. The other guard was behind her and pushed her along when she fell too far back.
    Khon'asu finished the ceremony, then turned and began the long journey back to the village, everyone followed except for Rena and her family. Rena was quite worried about her, but Nhafu assured her Ana would be just fine. For some reason, Rena believed him and followed the others back home.

    Ana had never been inside the temple before, not many people had, and it was something she didn't really care to do, but once inside she found it quite beautiful. She had stopped pulling to get away and was now pulling to look around. She was held back to let Ra and his guards go through first. They disappeared into the temple's darkness and then she heard a frightening noise.
    After a bit she was pulled down the corridor, and positioned over a circle in the floor. Suddenly a bright light covered them, large circles came down around them and she heard that frightening noise again.
    When she opened her eyes she was in a different place. The guard looked at her and spoke menacingly, "You are inside Ra's home and can not get out. Do not try to run, there is nowhere to go. Follow me."
    Ana was brought to a large room with many women servants. He pushed her into the room making her almost lose her balance and fall to the floor. She turned and looked up at him raising her chin in defiance of his power. He did not move, but suddenly became a very large barrier in the doorway. Ana wondered if he was there to keep her in or someone else out, since she obviously couldn't escape why did he need to be there.
    Behind Ana, the women busily moved about and whispered among themselves. The oldest woman came to get Ana and led her to a chair at a small table. Ana glanced around at all the small cups and bottles noticing how beautiful everything was. There was a golden handled brush on the table that had several different colored gemstones in it. How lovely she thought it was. Ana had figured Ra would surround himself with the most exquisite things and the most radiant jewels, but she could not believe what she was seeing. Everything in the room was detailed with gold and jewels and strange symbols that now seemed more familiar to her, "Mother", she whispered. Long silken curtains decorated the walls and beautifully colored sheer fabrics draped over a large canopy bed. After admiring every inch of beauty around her, Ana finally sat in the chair.
    Immediately, the women swarmed around her. They brushed her hair and cleaned her face and arms, then did something Ana thought was very strange. Some of them started to mix the powders in the bowls together, while others measured out amounts of the bottles. Gradually, the desired colors were produced with the powders, and by adding some of the prepared scented liquid, their concoctions were complete. With steady hands the women went to work, painting symbols on her shoulders and arms, then the backs of her hands. They were the same type of symbols Ana saw around the room. She knew some of the symbols from her mother's language but did not understand it. When one of them brought a fine brush to her face, Ana stopped her and asked, "What is all this for, what does it all mean?"
    The woman replied, "If you do not know, I can not tell you, but I must finish."
    Ana knew she would get nowhere with these women, they were too faithful to Ra to give away any of his secrets. Ana finally let the woman finish her work, after objecting to the way she was being treated. The oldest woman quickly added the finishing touches to her eyes, lining them with black, while another woman added a rosy color to her lips. When both were finished, yet another woman appeared holding a mirror. Ana did not recognize herself, she looked so different, so beautiful.
    When Ana began to smile the women began to laugh and the oldest spoke softly, "We knew you would change your mind, now, you are ready."
    "Ready for what?" Ana asked, expecting an answer.
    The old woman called the guard and he immediately came to get Ana. This time she told him that she would walk by herself and she didn't need his help. Somewhat surprised, the guard decided to let her walk in front of him.
    The guard guided her through a long passageway to the opening of a large room. Ana recognized this place, it was where they had come into Ra's palace. That was where the strange light seemed to capture them and transfer them here. Ana loved the large ram-headed statue that guarded this entrance, its detailed features loomed fearlessly in the darkness of the room.
    The guard touched Ana's shoulder, then pointed to the right, "This way." She walked through another doorway into an even larger room. As Ana walked through the entrance the guard said softly but with a very threatening tone, "You will respect Ra, and you will kneel."
    Ana said nothing and kept walking. The great hall was very dark, the torchlight danced off the tall pillars lining the path to Ra's throne. In the dim light, Ana could see two large hawk-headed statues, one on each side of the throne, their wings folded toward it as if in prayer. Almost to the platform where the throne sat, the guard grabbed Ana by the shoulder, "Stop here, kneel." Ana did as he said, she was alone and felt no comfort from the guard, she knew now was not the time to test his patience. Suddenly, there was a very low rumble all around her, the room began to shake and the walls began to move.
    The palace's outer walls were descending, giving way to intense beams of light pouring into the room from outside. Once down, the immense room was bathed in a golden glow, every surface reflecting in harmony with the others. As Ana looked around, she noticed a large sun disk with the eye of Ra hanging high above the stairs that led down to the throne. It was solid gold unlike the mineral one that hung in her town square. Ana was amazed by the room's simple beauty. She was so busy looking around, she didn't notice the two large doors opening at the top of the stairs. The sudden bright light made her look directly at it, but she quickly looked away until something shaded the light from her eyes.
    As the figure stepped out, the light behind it kept it shadowed from her eyes. The guard knelt down beside her and lowered his head. Ana knew it was Ra and she should bow her head, but she couldn't. Ana watched as Ra walked down the stairs to the golden throne, he was surrounded by the same group of children she had seen earlier at the ceremony. She guessed they were his personal servants, as they attended to the long train of his robes. After Ra was seated comfortably, the children lined themselves on each side of him, gracefully sitting along the stairs. Then from out of nowhere, came Anubis, the large jackal-headed personal guard to Ra. He stood to the right of Ra at the base of the platform, looking very menacing.
    Ana began to get nervous, she thought maybe she should bow her head at least once, she didn't want to seem completely disrespectful. She slowly sat back on her heels and began to lower her head when she heard Ra's voice.
    "Why?" it said in a low melodious tone, "Why now do you lower your head?"
    Ana kept her eyes to the floor, she didn't know if she should answer.
    Almost violently, Ra stood, then commanded softly, "Why?"
    Ana raised her head and looked directly into the eyes of his golden mask, her words stuck in her throat, "I'm sorry, I know I should have before but...."
    "Do not say you are sorry if you are not. Are you afraid of me, now that you are all alone?"
    Ana began to speak again, this time her voice did not falter. "I am not afraid, I only...."
    "Good" he said, cutting her off again. He sat down and the two oldest children straightened his robes. Ra nodded his head to the guard at Ana's side. The guard obeyed the command and touched a part of the collar on his headpiece. Ana jumped as it began to disappear, she slid away from him, staring in amazement. The head was a mask that contracted into a collar around his neck. Anubis made the same movement and his mask also disappeared. Ana could not believe her eyes, they were just men, but bigger and stronger than any she had ever seen.
    Realizing she must look quite strange quivering away from the guard, she slid back towards him and stayed up on her knees. With no warning, Ra's mask began to change, a great fear hit her and she lowered her eyes immediately. No one in her village had ever seen Ra's face, she was frozen. Ana peered over to her guard, who had also lowered his head, now she was really scared. She thought, was no one to look at his face, then wondered how long she would have to stare at the floor. She heard Ra's voice again, it was different, softer, not so menacing.
    "It's alright, you may lift your eyes." Ra was pleased with Ana's apparent fear of seeing his face.
    Ana slowly lifted her head, then even more slowly, raised her eyes to meet his. Her shock must have shown on her face, for Ra had a slight smile on his and the children began to laugh. Ana looked at his young child-like face completely surprised. She had pictured him to be old and very ugly, of which he was neither.
    Ana looked deep into his eyes and was caught in a trance, his eyes burned into her like the sun and she could not control herself. Ra raised his left hand and her guard stood. When he raised his right hand, Ana felt like someone was lifting her up by the shoulders. She found herself standing and almost collapsed. She shook herself out of his grip and regained her strength, then looked around, trying to avoid his eyes.
    "Are you afraid of me now?" Ra asked quietly.
    "No!" The word came out of her mouth so sharply, she surprised herself.
    "Very good" he spoke, his voice like velvet that caressed her ears. "Come." Ra motioned with his right hand, his fingers were adorned with golden tips that clicked together as he moved them.
    Ana felt a pull within her and she walked slowly toward him, barely feeling her feet move beneath her. She walked up the steps but stopped at the last one, she stared into his eyes again and was suspended in time. Ra's eyes seemed to glow as he looked right through her, into her soul. She felt him enter her mind and could do nothing to stop him. Time lost all meaning as she looked into his face, noticing again how perfect and young it was. He was her age and so innocent looking, she was attracted to him like she had never been to any man. As rapidly as it began it was over, she felt him leave her mind and she started to feel weak. She closed her eyes and her legs gave out, but before she hit the ground she was caught. Ra held her in his arms and called to her guard, "Take her to her room, prepare her for the ceremony." Ra looked down into her beautiful face, he caressed her soft cheek and handed her to the guard, who gently carried her away.
    When Ana woke up, she realized she was in the canopy bed in her room. How did I get here, she wondered. She sat up and looked at the door, there was her ever faithful guard, she called to him, "Did you bring me in here?" He just nodded without turning around. Ana looked around and noticed the palace walls were closed, then she heard the sound of a bell. After a few moments, the women that had taken care of her earlier, paraded through the door carrying all sorts of things. The last one, the eldest, carried a magnificent white dress. Ana got out of the comfortable bed and walked over to the woman with the dress, "Is that for me?" she asked. The woman just smiled and nodded. "What's your name?" Ana asked her, since she seemed to be in charge.
    The woman leaned close to Ana and whispered in her ear, "Shahlin."
    Ana figured since Shahlin wouldn't say her name out loud, that the servants weren't supposed to tell her anything, but Ana was glad that she did. "I'm Ana'khu, but everyone calls me Ana." Ana told her this hoping to win some trust and maybe even friendship.
    Shahlin smiled and held out her hand, "Please, come this way." She led Ana across the room to a circle in the floor.
    "What's this?" Ana asked, wondering if it was another ring of light.
    Shahlin bent down and touched a small button next to the circle, the floor opened slowly, revealing a pool with steaming hot water. The other women came over and undressed her, then ushered her into the water. Ana was bathed with wonderfully soft cloths and scented soaps. Although she was thoroughly enjoying the bath, she felt uneasy all at once. She felt like someone was watching her, she could feel their eyes on her. Ana sank into the water and looked around, she saw no one but knew his presence. Ra was there. With that single thought, he was gone, she felt him no longer, but with the whisper of his kiss still ringing in her ears, she stood up and looked around again.
    "Are you alright?" Shahlin asked.
    After a moment Ana smiled and answered, "I'm fine."
    Ana was dried with velvet towels then powdered and scented with the most sensuous perfume. Shahlin came up to her with the dress and said with a funny grin, "For you." Then, the women slid the sheer dress over Ana's head and straightened the long flowing train. The front of the dress was quite simple and didn't leave much to the imagination, but the back had many beautiful flowing layers. The long loose sleeves were like wings when she raised her arms. Ana was very pleased, except for its sheerness, it was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen, and could hardly believe she was wearing it. Ana knew how dark all the rooms were and hoped that it would help to conceal her, advantages.
    During the time that Ana was bathing, Ra was meditating in his own hot steaming bath. His thoughts immediately went to Ana, but when she felt his presence, he left her. He did not want her to think he would take advantage of her. Once he knew Ana was dressed, he called his servants to bring his special ceremonial robes. Normally, Ra wore a golden chest plate under his robes, it was his favorite adornment. It held a large sparkling red jewel centered at the top. Ra had compared Ana's red gem to it and besides the size, Ana's was just as brilliant as his. He had been angry at first that she possessed such a jewel, but was bewildered as to why she would wear it in front of him. Ra thought, she knew it was forbidden to wear such things, especially in the presence of her god, why did she? After he had been into her mind, he knew she was very proud of it for some reason, but still wondered why she would defy his laws so blatantly, knowing she could be severely punished. Ra decided not to wear the chest plate, and to find something else, something special in his vast collection.
    The servants slipped the shorter first layer down over Ra's naked body. The silky black material was so fine it concealed nothing. Next, a second longer two layer robe was placed around his shoulders, he extended his arms through the billowing loose sleeves and brought it up over them. It was a blood red color and light enough to see the black underneath. It sparkled with gold dust and was adorned with small black symbols around the neckline and edges of the sleeves. The robe's long silken layers flowed behind him as he walked to the large stone table holding his many extravagant jewels and embellishments.
    Ra looked over the table trying to decide which pieces to wear, then noticed a necklace he hadn't worn in a very long time. It was very old and not as ornate as his newer pieces, the thin gold plate came to a point just below his collarbone and at it's tip hung a radiant red jewel shaped like a teardrop. That was it, he decided, that was all he would wear.
    Meanwhile, Shahlin had painted only one symbol on Ana's right shoulder, the eye of Ra. Ana wondered why she had to wear Ra's symbol, but knew she would get no answers from the servants. Shahlin finished Ana's face and asked the other women to go. When they had gone, Shahlin lifted Ana's red jewel into her hand and shook her head, "Stubborn you are."
    Ana smiled a very proud smile, "I made it myself."
    Shahlin shushed her, "Do not say such things."
    "Why?" Ana asked.
    Shahlin whispered into Ana's ear again, "Only the gods wear such jewels and know the magic to make them."
    Ana knew she was not a god, but also knew that she had made the gem. She decided not to argue with Shahlin, then asked, "Am I supposed to take it off then?"
    "Do what you feel." Shahlin took her hand and walked her to a large wall mirror.
    Ana's mouth dropped open and she almost started to cry. She had never felt so beautiful in her life. Her smile lit up her face and she started to twirl around in front of the mirror looking at herself. A bell sounded and broke her mood, she stood still and asked Shahlin, "What does that mean?"
    The old woman looked at Ana admiring her beauty and said, "It's time." Shahlin nodded at Ana trying to ease her doubts, then turned and walked out the door.     Ana suddenly felt very alone, she tried to run after Shahlin but her guard stopped her.
    "It's time," he demanded.
    "Move!" Ana tried to demand, then looked up into his frigid eyes and gave up her threat.
    "It's time," he said again and took her arm.
    Ana pulled back with all her strength, but could not release her arm from his grip. She stopped struggling and said, "Ok, I'll go with you. It's time, huh."
    The guard let her go and allowed her to follow him. She rubbed her arm where he had firmly held it, saying softly under her breath, "You really need to loosen up." He headed a different way this time, stopping at a room she had not seen before. Taking a torch from the outside wall, he lit several others inside the room.
    Ana stood at the door watching the room come to life as he lit the fires. There were many different statues of gods in a large circle, each one had a bowl of incense burning on its stand, the smoke rose in circles around the majestic statues forms.
    When the guard returned, he pointed to the floor and said very softly, "Wait here until it is time, do not move."
    Ana knew he would not tell her what he meant, she nodded in agreement and knew she would find out. The guard walked past her and down the hall into the darkness. Ana was surprised she was left alone, she looked around to see if there were guards hiding in the room, but saw nothing. As she stood there looking around, she heard a door being opened and quickly came to attention, then clenched her fists in nervous anticipation. A dim light glowed through the doorway opposite her and she saw Ra step into the light.
    He stood in the doorway a moment and looked at Ana, he was impressed by her beauty. At that moment, he knew he had made the right choice.
    Ana could see his smile from across the room, the white of his teeth seemed to glow in the darkness. At this sight she felt much better and relaxed, but wondered what she was supposed to do.
    Finally, Ra broke the silence, he raised his right arm and stretched his hand out to her, "Come."
    Ana felt a warm breeze come from behind her and lift the veils of cloth from around her. It was time. At once, they walked toward each other to the center of the room. Ana took a deep breath and inhaled some of the smoke from the incense burning around the circle. She became hypnotized, her mind clouded with mystery as she inched closer toward him. He stopped just outside the circle of statues, having no control of herself, she stopped as well.
    At this distance Ana could see Ra very well, she hadn't noticed before because of the darkness of the room, but she could see right through his clothes. She then became very aware that Ra could see through hers as well, although now, she was not embarrassed. Ana found herself staring at his perfectly formed youthful body, then took in every beautiful curve of his face. His long black hair hung loose around his shoulders and had a brilliant shine to it. At the same time, Ra studied every curve of Ana's shapely body, admiring the beauty standing before him. He wanted her, now.
    Startled, Ana heard a low rumbling and felt a slight vibration in the room. She stared into Ra's eyes, as they began to glow he stepped into the circle and as if he was a magnet, Ana was pulled in with him instantaneously. After Ra had entered the circle, the statues eyes began to glow bright red, it was as if his presence between them created their life. Ana felt dizzy but continued to walk toward him until they met at the center. They stood about a foot apart staring evenly into each others eyes. Ana could feel the intensity of Ra's power radiating from within him.
    Ra raised his hands between them and held his palms toward her. She lifted her hands slowly and placed them lightly to his. At his touch, she felt a fire begin to burn deep within her, deeper than she knew existed. Ra began to chant, repeating it over and over, Ana closed her eyes and heard the words come from her lips, even though she did not know their meaning. She could feel him entering her mind again and this time she was completely open to him. She felt his touch on her lips, but did not move. Then, felt him penetrate her being and she flinched at the thunderous intrusion that shattered her innermost secrets. Now, Ra knew everything about her, who her mother was and what she could do. Suddenly, her head flew back and her knees almost buckled under his intense influence, she could barely stand but felt his body envelope her.
    With his strength and power controlling Ana's body, Ra allowed her the freedom to explore the universe of his mind. Ana was spellbound, caught in a flood of color and light, memories of his childhood, feelings of loneliness and anger, becoming an outcast, being taken away from his village, scene after scene flashed before her eyes, it was almost too much. The images slowed and the feeling intensified, Ana saw Ra change from a young man into a strange and powerful god. She saw his empire being built, watched his control of incredible powers grow, how he took over many uncivilized planets bringing fear to all the people, making them slaves and servants to his authority. When she could barely stand any more, the feelings changed again, he was very sad and lonely. For all his divine power and worldly possessions, he was not happy, and did not know how to be. Ana felt his desire for love and companionship, Ra had never loved anyone, but he desperately wanted to.
    Ana began to feel uncomfortable, she felt she was invading his deepest, most private thoughts. She wanted the visions to stop but had no control over what she was seeing. At last she saw Nagada, her mother being brought to the village with the others, her father marrying her, then all the events that brought her to this moment. With one great burst of light, Ana opened her eyes and saw Ra still standing with his palms to hers. She was confused, she knew she felt his kiss and his arms around her, but he hadn't moved. How could this be, she thought, then remembered his power over the mind. He had a special gift to see into other people's minds, to go places and see things without being there. And, as Ana found out, he could project his presence to others, allowing them to feel his touch. With this thought, she was reminded that now Ra knew all of her secrets, she could hide them no longer.
    Ra opened his eyes and gazed into Ana's. Without a word said, he let his hands drop to his sides and took a step back away from her.
    Ana's head was clearer now and she felt very different. She understood everything now, and knew part of him was an innocent young man yearning for acceptance and love. She wanted to give herself to him and show him what love could be. At this thought, she knew she would do anything for him, she wanted to try to make him happy. Somehow, she also knew that Ra understood her and would do anything for her. Finally, for the first time in her life, Ana felt at home and free to be herself.

    Ana and Ra lived happily together, ruling over their planets in peace and harmony. After a few months of Ana asking him to take her to her mother's planet of Aeleon, Ra finally gave in. He had told her the whole story of how he came to save her and some of her people from the alien invasion that tried to take over their planet for it's natural resources.
    He had been searching the galaxy for a planet he had heard of that had beings of incredible knowledge and technology. He eventually found it and found a way to communicate with the strange beings there, who called themselves the Rhontu Ka. They were peaceful and highly developed, but held little technology Ra could use. Their planet was half tropical jungles and half arid deserts, and they lived mostly underground. He came to an agreement with them to trade for supplies of certain resources he did use and went on his way.
    In the next system, he came upon a planet rich with life that was being attacked by an unknown enemy. He joined the fight and fought off the invaders but not before the cities were in ruin. The planet had become a wasteland and most of the people were dead.
    Ra brought the 63 survivors he found to his ship and kept them quarantined from his crew after learning why most of them had died. A virus had spread though them from the invaders. It seemed something in the their DNA was toxic to the Aeleon and only the ones that had an immunity to it survived.
    After searching through what was left of their computer database, Ra discovered the incredible abilities and knowledge these people had of nature and healing. With nowhere else for them to go, he decided to bring them to the Rhontu Ka. There, they might be able to bring the half desolate planet into greater balance and expand the planet's resources while making a new home for themselves.
    Ra did a test to see if the two beings would be able to live together. He injected the Rhontu Ka's DNA into a volunteer from the Aeleon, then waited a week to make sure there was no ill effect. When it seemed they were not toxic to each other, he set them up with enough supplies to live for 6 months. Hoping by then they would have transformed the deserts into temperate grasslands, ready for civilization. He had his own plans for the small planet.
    He kept 5 women to bring to Abydos and tested them for any negative effect with human DNA, as well as with his own. The Aeleon were a very sensitive people and he noticed their immune systems were very fragile. They seemed to have many weaknesses for all their natural ability, he did not understand it. After weeks in quarantine, he let the women out to move semi-freely around his ship.
    He had grown close to one just as they arrived at Earth. The woman was Shai, her mother. It wasn't just her beauty that attracted her to him as much as something deep inside her, an inner peace and tranquility that he so longed for.
    Knowing he was sending her to Abydos with the others, along with a group from Earth, he kept his feelings hidden and sent them all through the Stargate. He never saw her again. He only remembered her when he thought of finding a wife. Little did he know he would come to love her daughter.
    When they arrived at the Aeleon homeworld he was surprised to see it had slowly begun to rejuvenate itself. The mountains were green and the land covered with plants and grass. There were still areas where nothing grew, but it was coming back.
    As they flew over the surface in the glider Ana tried to picture what it would have been like when her mother lived there. The crystal showed her many things about their history and the people, but it didn't seem real until then. She said good-bye to her mother and felt whole at last.
    Finally free of her past she felt ready to move on and start a family with Ra. They had been trying to have a child since their marriage on Abydos, but Ana knew she wasn't ready. Now, she felt different, she wanted more than anything to give Ra a son.

    After two years of marriage and seeing about half the universe, Ana and Ra were still very much in love. Although Ana still hadn't conceived a child, Ra was glad just to have her at his side.
    They had learned many things from each other. Ana taught Ra how to transform the quartz mineral into any kind of precious gem he wanted. He learned quickly, while it took Ana much longer to learn his techniques to control the mind.
    After much practice, Ana could communicate all her thoughts to Ra from anywhere in the palace. As they traveled, she practiced her mind projection from farther and farther away. She would leave the palace in a glider and go to the opposite side of whatever planet they were on and try to talk to him. His link to her was very strong and grew tremendously over the years.
    Now, they could communicate from different planets. Ra didn't know how far apart they could be for their link to work so he decided to send Ana on a mission. He had heard that some of the people on Earth were beginning to fight his guards there and he wanted to find out what was going on. He asked Ana if she would go in his place and bring him information on what was happening, he needed to bring the people under his control again. Ana agreed, knowing her uncle P'toth was still leader there and thought how nice it would be to see him again.

    P'toth had been taken back to Earth to be the leader of the people there when Ana was 7. The former leader had died of old age and a new respected leader was needed to take control. Since Nebseni was older, he got to stay on Abydos while P'toth got taken away from his family. Ra decided he could be more easily controlled if he worried for his family's safety.
    P'toth missed his wife and family dearly and with very little communication between the two worlds he hadn't learned of his brothers death until recently. Believing it to be Ra's fault, he began to question his authority even more, and started thinking of revenge.
    He had heard Ra was going to send someone to gain control of the people, but he didn't know who. He knew Ra wouldn't come himself, that he would send someone else first to make sure it was safe for him. Knowing his niece had become Ra's wife, he figured he might send her to try to tame the people, using her sway as a family member. He certainly didn't want her to be hurt, but he couldn't let Ra control his people any longer.

    Ra and Ana said their good-byes at the stargate. Anubis and two of the best Horus guards Ra had were going with Ana to protect her. Ra told Ana to try to communicate with him once she got to the other side. He worried about her but knew she could take care of herself. What he didn't know, was how bad the situation had gotten on Earth. He gave her one last passionate kiss, and she disappeared into the gate's shimmering light.
    The guards were waiting for her on the other side. As soon as she appeared, they lifted her from the cold ground and made sure she was alright. This was only her second trip through the gate and she felt a little disembodied. When the strange feeling subsided, she tried to reach Ra, sending him the phrase, "I love you Ra."
    Ra had been waiting by the gate, he eagerly listened to the universe for Ana's message. With great joy, he felt her send her love, it was more of a feeling than exact words, but he knew it was her. In all his great delight he sent his undying love back to her knowing she would feel him too.
    Happily, she received his amorous feelings and knew he got her message. With that out of her way, she fixed her hair and straightened her dress, then headed straight for the entrance of the pyramid.
    Nebseni had told Ana all about Earth when she was little and how beautiful it was. He told her stories of the creation and the gods, the cities and the people, telling her someday he would take her back with him. She did not know what to expect but was looking forward to seeing P'toth again and telling him all about his family.
    P'toth and the city's highest priests were told to expect an emissary. They were also informed that Ra wanted a peaceful end to their problems and he was willing to listen to the people.
    Two priests met Ana and the guards at the entrance to the pyramid temple. Fearing that Ra's guards and whoever was with them might be attacked, they brought large cloaks to disguise them.
    The priests told them that when the people attacked the guards here, they found out the great heads were masks and quickly learned to operate them. After they had killed some of the guards, they placed their bodies in the town square to show everyone that they were not gods.
    Ana hesitated at this news, she wasn't ready to fight an entire civilization and she desperately wanted Ra by her side. Feeling there was no turning back, she ordered the guards to lower their masks and followed the priests into the city.
    P'toth was waiting at the back entrance of his sanctuary for the priests to arrive with their visitors. Very quietly, the priests led them into the back entrance. Once inside, Ana took off the cloak and P'toth recognized her, he was shocked to see her, and now feared very much for her life.
    As soon as Ana saw P'toth she ran to him and wrapped her arms around him. "I missed you so much. I'm so happy to see you. Rena and the kids are fine, they miss you and send their love." She was so happy to see him, she almost forgot why she was there.
    "Yes, yes, it's wonderful to see you again too, but let's get upstairs quickly, we have much to discuss and it's not safe here." P'toth brought her up to his private room and told the priests to stay in the sanctuary. Anubis was ready to fight, he stood next to Ana and told her he would not leave her side. The other guards moved around the room making sure no one else was around.
    He explained the situation to Ana but she couldn't believe it. She would not believe her uncle was responsible for the rebellion on Earth. P'toth told her the story of Ra's initial take over of the planet. He told her of his enslavement of all the people, his abuse and ruthless killing of anyone who would not obey him.
    Ana told him she knew everything already, that it was in the past, and since then he had changed.
    P'toth told her it was too late, the people would not be slaves to anyone any longer. He told her she should go back to Ra and forget about him and Earth.
    Ana didn't know what to do. She loved her uncle but loved Ra more than life itself. She decided to go home and try to work something out with Ra.
    The priests guided them out of the city and P'toth walked the rest of the way to the pyramid with them to make sure they made it home. Inside, Ana told P'toth of her plans, she would not give up.
    P'toth kissed her cheek, his eyes were sad and his voice shook as he said good-bye, "Please tell Rena and the children I love them, I have them in my prayers every night. Tell her I'm sorry we will never see each other again, but it's something I must do, she will understand."
    "Uncle, do not sound so final, we will work this out, you'll see." Ana tried to be positive, and smiled at him. He waited until they were all through the gate and went back home intent on stopping Ra at any cost.

    On the other side, Ana was scraping herself off the floor and trying to reach Ra. He immediately felt her and heard her words rush into his mind. The guards brought Ana safely into the palace and followed her to Ra's private quarters.
    Ana ran into the room and jumped into Ra's arms, she hit him so hard she knocked him over and they both landed on the floor. They spent the rest of the night in bed and only stopped when the servants brought dinner.
    The next morning, Ana decided she had to tell Ra the truth about Earth.
    He became furious, he was angrier than she'd ever seen him before and that scared her. "How could they disobey me, they will pay for killing my guards, they will not get away with this!" His voice echoed off the walls and became like thunder. He stormed off toward his control room yelling, "If I have to destroy everyone on that planet, I will!"
    Ana could not believe he would destroy the entire planet. She decided to follow and try to talk to him. Her love outweighed her fear and she knew she could make him understand. She gave him a minute's head start to cool off, then moved slowly down the corridor towards the room.
    Anubis stood beside him in front of the panels, going over charts and figures. It looked to Ana as if he was gathering an army. She knew she had to act quick. She entered quietly and put her hand on Ra's shoulder.
    He was startled by her touch and lifted his arm in defense but stopped short of hitting her. "What are you...." Ana's shrunken position and evil glance told him he had made a mistake, "I am so sorry, I would never hurt you my love, please forgive me...."
    She regained her posture and tried to forgive him, with a smile, "I know you did not mean it, I forgive you, but we must talk."
    "I have to work this out, Ana. Please...."
    "Now!" She demanded.
    He was surprised by her commanding tone and felt the power within her, he had taught her well. "Very well, come." He took her hand and brought her to the window.
    "Why can't you just let Earth go?" She asked quietly, as if it was just a simple request.
    "Look out there," he pointed to the stars passing by. "This is all mine, I protect it, keep it safe and under control. I give them back control of their planet, I will loose control of them all, eventually."
    "Would that be so bad?" Ana tried to be coy but his stare burned through her. "I'm sorry, I know what this means to you, I do understand, but...."
    "But, what? Love, this is what I do, this is what I am, you know very well...."
    "Yes I do, and I have to say we've done a very good job of keeping peace and trade between the worlds, but you cannot solve every problem with destruction!" Her anger got away with her and she pulled away from his grasp.
    "I will give you one more chance to talk to P'toth. If the revolt is not stopped within four days time, I do it my way."
    Ana understood what was at stake, but feared she would not be able to stop the revolt. She decided warning them of Ra's plan would be the best course of action. Maybe they could find some way to stop him. She couldn't let Ra know of her intentions, so she kept it buried deep in her mind.
    "Since I will be away for a few days, give me tomorrow, spend the day with me, please?" Ana's voice was low and seductive, a tone he could never refuse.
    "You're wasting valuable time, you know that."
    "I waste nothing when I am with you," she grinned and led him to the bedroom.

    Standing in front of the shimmering pool of light, she kissed Ra passionately as if it was the last time she'd have the pleasure. He responded to her eagerness, and thought it a continuance of the previous days activities. She finally pulled back and looked deep into his eyes, "I love you, with all my heart and soul." She stopped a moment and sighed, "I will make this work, you will see. Then I will come back and we will work on your son some more." She gave him a crooked smile and hugged him tight. "They are waiting for me," she pointed toward the gate.
    Dressed as a peasant to disguise herself, she stepped into the rippling wall of light and made a pleasantly standing arrival. Anubis, who would be her only companion, was also dressed as an Earth peasant, Ana demanded it. She did not want to be noticed by anyone, and in his uniform he stood out tremendously. Except for his size, strength, and the tattoo of the eye of Ra on his arm, he looked ordinary enough to her now.
    They reached P'toth's sanctuary unnoticed and went inside. Suddenly, a priest appeared before them and Anubis stepped in front of her to defend her. "It is only Nefer-ah, uncle's assistant. Where is uncle P'toth now?" She questioned the man pushing Anubis aside.
    He brought her upstairs to his sleeping quarters, and Anubis guarded the door. P'toth was reading when she entered. She quietly whispered to him, "Uncle, I am back, we have to talk."
    He sat up and motioned for her to come and sit next to the bed. "You should not have come back my dear."
    "It is too late for that. I must tell you of Ra's plan. If you cannot stop this rebellion Ra will destroy everyone on the planet. I cannot let that happen. Uncle, please tell me you have a way to stop this." The tears came without warning.
    P'toth and the elders had come up with an idea, and he explained the details to Ana knowing it would calm her. "The best way for Ra to get to Earth is to use the Stargate. He could come by ship but that would take too long and we're hoping we're not that important to him. If we shut the gate down, no one can ever come through again and we'll be safe."
    Ana thought it over and it sounded like it could work. "How will you shut it down? You can't destroy it, it's not possible."
    He laughed, "I know, we tried. We realized if it was buried under enough rock and earth that anyone that tried to come through would be killed. That's what we've decided to do."
    "Bury it, I see. How long have you been working on this plan?"
    "Over a week, it is almost all set, that's why I said you should not have come, you could have been killed. We will be doing the ceremony tomorrow. We have the whole dug and cover stones to tell any who may find it, not to uncover it."
    "What of Ra's guards, are there any left?"
    "I do not believe so, if there are, they hide quite well. I will personally send you and your guard back early in the morning before the ceremony."
    Morning came and Ana hadn't slept. Anubis had stood by her side all night, unmoving and silent. She worried about what was going to happen. She wanted to see what had happened to the people to make them revolt, she wanted to talk to them, and learn their reason for defying Ra.
    P'toth came in and told her it was time to go. He and a priest would lead them back to the gate. As they left the temple P'toth was stopped by some of the elders, they wanted to talk to him about the ceremony. Not wanting to keep Ana from getting back home, he motioned her to go on without him and told the priest to go with them. They had already said their good byes so she was ready to leave.
    As they made their way through town one of the men recognized them and grabbed Ana. Anubis tried to fight him off as the Priest ran to get help.
    P'toth had just called the people together to start the ceremony when the priest came running up to him. "Ana, they got Ana," he whispered.
    P'toth was frozen, he didn't know what to do. He couldn't talk to him there but couldn't leave, he couldn't let her be captured, he knew she would be killed.
    Just then the crowd parted as a large group of men lead by Seth came through carrying an unconscious Anubis, and Ana. Her hands were tied but she did not struggle. They brought her to the center where the other guards had been tied, tortured and killed. The men tied her and Anubis to a pole, as one stood guard over them, the others walked up the stairs to P'toth.
    Seth confronted him, pointing the rifle at his chest, "You knew she was here, what were you going to do?"
    "Nothing, but let her leave, I am going to do what I said, tear down the gate and close it forever. She has done nothing but try to help, she is innocent, please let her leave."
    "Why, so she can go back and tell Ra all about our plan, maybe even stop us herself. No, I do not think that would be wise. She will pay for what Ra has done to us." He turned to the people and spoke to them as their leader. "We must take back our lives, take back our world, and never be slaves again."
    P'toth tried to take back control, facing the people he commanded, "She has done nothing to us, she means us no harm. I came to an agreement with her to keep Ra away from us forever, to let us go in peace. You will be destroying that if you do not let her go back and be with him. If she does not return, he will come and destroy us all."
    "Let him come, we will kill him too. We will not hide, we will not wait any longer in fear, let this be over, now! Take them!" He commanded to his men. They quickly surrounded P'toth and his priests holding them at bay with the rifles.
    Ana knew what was to come and she yelled to P'toth, "I love you uncle, it is not your fault. I love you!"
    Abruptly, Ra woke from his sleep and shuddered at the feeling he had. He looked around for Ana but she was not there. He tried to contact her with his thoughts but got no response. He could feel her fear, and tried as hard as he could to get through to her.
    Ana cleared her mind and tried to reach Ra, then realized she felt him worrying about her. She sent him her love and hoped he would come to rescue her. Ana didn't know that the people were already in the process of taking the gate down.
    Ra called all his guards together and told them he must get Ana back. He would send two guards at a time through the gate in short intervals and not stop until one of them came back with her.
    Seth walked slowly down towards Ana, laughing, "He will not come to save you, the gate is already down, no one can come through ever again and you can not go home." Ra's first wave went through, two of his best hours guards, then suddenly the gate shut off. Ra tried again to dial earth but it would not connect. He tried once more, but when it wouldn't work, he knew they had removed it from the pyramid and he would not be able to save her. His anger rose and he killed a guard that was waiting to go through.
    The people shot the guards as they came through the gate, then pulled it down and disconnected it from the dialing device so it couldn't be used again.
    Ra felt Ana calling to him, her love touched his heart and he cried. How had this happened, why did she go, why didn't he take care of it, why did they take her and not him. He knew he could not save her but he would not let her suffer for him.
    Suddenly Anubis woke up, "What is happening here?"
    "You're about to die, make your peace with your god." Seth gave him a moment to pray, then shot him in the chest. "Have him put in the pit with the rest. He'll make a nice centerpiece. Oh and don't forget to put up the mask."
    "You animal!" Ana shouted.
    Seth continued to explain to her, "You see, we've put all the guards bodies in the hole where we're going to bury the gate, as a little reminder to whoever might find it that it's evil and should not be touched or removed. The cover stones will tell our story and warn of the danger inside. It will never be opened again."
    Ana felt Ra's sadness and anger, he couldn't hide his vengeful feelings from her, they were too strong. "I wouldn't count on it," she said sarcastically.
    "I see you're ready to meet the gods, I will give you a moment to pray for your soul." He opened his rifle and pointed it at her chest.
    She closed her eyes and recited the prayer of Ra.
    Now, Ra heard her every word, he sent his undying love to her, vowing he would never love another. He pushed his mind into hers and controlled her, letting her feel only his love and his body around her. He suddenly felt a second heartbeat, a child, Ana had a child within her. He hid this knowledge from her, he wouldn't let her last thoughts be of losing their son.
    Ana finished the prayer, smiled at his presence within her and lifted her head. Seth aimed and shot, hitting her right in the chest, killing her instantly.
    Ra heard her cry out his name and felt the pain of her death. As she fell to the ground, he fell to the floor as if he had been shot along with her. Laying there crying, eyes glowing, he looked into the stargate and promised her he would get revenge on the people that took her and his son away from him, someday.