Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Ardeth Bay, or Rick, Evie, and Alex O’Connell. I do however stake claim to all others. No infringement was intended and no money is made from this. This is for entertainment only.

Rated: M/18 for sexual content.

Comments: This is the sequel to “The Medjai Prince.” I do not have any knowledge of Egyptian cultures and some of this stuff is off the cuff, so forgive me if I make mistakes.

As Tasha walked through the house; she could hear the commotion outside. She knew darn well, what those two were up too and she once again would have to break it up. As she went down the steps into the courtyard, she could hear a commanding voice and the sound of staffs hitting. She sometimes wondered of the two, which was worse when it came to their exercises.

She rounded the shrubs to see Ardeth swing the staff in defense of his young pupil. She stood there for a moment watching his muscles flex as he gave his instructions. His voice rang out strong as he shouted his instructions in his native tongue. She couldn’t take her eyes off him as he moved.

He looked wonderfully handsome wearing only his black pants, and boots. She watched as he moved, he was so swift and fluid in his motions. She could see the perspiration on his bronze skin. It shimmered in the sunlight and made the tattoos on his chest and arms stand out. His heavy medallion bounced off his hard chest as he moved.

His hair was wet on the edges from sweat. He was graying at the temples but he was still just as handsome as the night he rescued her. He was still a mighty warrior in her eyes and in her heart. She knew she had to stop them for now. She cleared her throat causing Ardeth to look at her.

“I hate to interrupt,” she said, “But someone has other lessons to tend to.”

“Oh mom,” came the boy's voice.

“Oh mom,” she said mimicking him, “I’m serious.”

“Oh,”

“And I expect you to clean up properly before your instructor gets here.”

“Oh Geez,” he said, “It’s only Aunt Evie.”

“Richard,” came Ardeth’s voice, “Obey your mother. We will continue this later. Go.”

“Yes father,” Richard said obediently turning the staff over to Ardeth. He bowed to his father and then Ardeth gave him a warm smile.

“You did well today,” said Ardeth, “Now go and prepare for your lessons.”

“Yes father,” smiled Richard. He turned and ran past his mother.

“Hey,” she said. He quickly came back and gave her a kiss. He took off again towards the house as Tasha looked after him. Ardeth walked up behind her, “He gets more like you everyday,” she said.

“And this is a bad thing?” he asked.

“Not really,” she smiled, “I can’t believe how big he’s getting. It seems like only yesterday I gave birth to him, has it really been six years.”

“Yes my sweet princess,” he said as he slipped an arm around her waist, “I am sorry for keeping him so long. We lost track of the time.”

“It’s all right. You know, I know very few six year olds who act as mature as him,” she said, “It’s your training, and discipline.”

“Among my people he would have been a great warrior,” he said.

“Do you miss them?” she asked turning to him.

“Some days more than others,” he said looking into her eyes, “But my place is here with you. I do thank you for helping me teach him. I want him to know of his heritage and be proud of it.”

“He should know of the Medjai and their ways,” she said caressing her husband’s cheek. “It is part of you. It made you who you are, the man I love,” she smiled as he kissed her sweet lips.

“And where is our little princess?” he asked.

“She is waiting in the nursery for her father,” she said, “You promised to teach her another song.”

“Ah, yes,” he smiled, “My little nightingale. Let me clean up, change and I will join you shortly.”

“All right,” she smiled.

She started away from him only to feel his strong hands on her waist. He drew her back to him and turned her about to face him. She blushed under his heated gaze and loved how he could still make her feel so virginal at times. He aroused her so easily. As he held her to his chest her senses were filled with his spicy scent, his skin was hot against her.

“After I teach our daughter a new song, I will take you to our bed,” he said in a low tone.

“Then what will you do?” she asked coyly, seeing the desire in his dark eyes.

“I will make you sing,” he said with a devilish smile that sent a chill through her. She knew full well what he meant.

“Ardeth,” she said in a near breathless gasp.

He pressed his lips to hers engaging her mouth in a passionate kiss. She quickly parted her lips to him as she snaked her arms around his neck, and sank her fingers into his damp hair. She felt a shudder rack her body as he ran his strong hands up her back. She sagged against his strong frame, only his strong embrace keeping her from slipping completely to the ground. God how she loved him, his scent, his feel, his passion, and his love for her made her heart soar. They were so wrapped up in each other that they didn’t even realize that they had company.

“Why don’t you two get a room?” came a familiar voice. Ardeth pulled back to see his old friend standing there.

“We have an entire estate,” he smiled releasing his wife.

“Honestly darling,” came Evie’s voice, “You’re just as bad.” She joined Rick on the terrace.

Tasha and Ardeth approached them and as Tasha hugged Evie, he saw the flicker in her green eyes. He hadn’t missed the look of sorrow that crossed over her face as she hugged her pregnant friend.

“You look well,” said Tasha smiling now. She patted her friends full stomach, “How are you doing?”

“I’m all right,” she said, “I’m praying for a girl, Alex, John, and Andrew are enough of a handful,”

“Well you waited long enough,” Tasha teased.

Alex was now almost eighteen now and a strapping young man who strongly resembled his father. Jonathan, was seven and Andrew five. She definitely had her hands full.

“Well my treasure hunting days are behind me I think,” she said.

“Thank God,” said Rick, “Last time she nearly broke her back in that cave in.”

“Well that’s behind us now,” she said, “I love the idea of having a daughter to dote on.” Rick gave her a look.

“Easy O’Connell,” said Ardeth, “You would like having a daughter. They are a true joy. Speaking of which, mine is waiting for me. If you will excuse me,” he said.

“I’ll be up in a bit,” said Tasha as he walked away. He simply waved his hand in acknowledgement.

Ardeth left them and Evie left to find Richard. Rick walked with Tasha into the parlor. After pouring them some tea, they sat for a long time. Finally Tasha spoke.

“Rick?” she started, “Has Ardeth ever expressed any unhappiness about being in England?”

“Why would he do that?” he asked, “Ardeth loves you and the children.”

“I know he loves us,” she said, “But I asked you if he likes living in England.”

“He has never expressed any displeasure in living here,” said Rick, “I admit he had a hard time adjusting at first, I mean he had never seen snow before, all the traffic, and the clothing. All in all, I think he’s taken it in stride. He’s following his heart when it comes to you and your children. He truly feels that his place is here with you.”

“I just feel like I should have given him a choice. I should have at least suggested that we could return to Egypt,” she said, “You and Evie have a home there, I would have been able to adjust as well.”

“Does it really matter?” asked Rick, “It’s been six years.”

“It’s just sometimes at night I’ll wake up and he’ll be standing outside just looking at the stars,” she said, “I think he’s homesick.”

“No,” said Rick, “His home is here with you and the children. He knows that in his heart. Believe me there is a lot in the desert that I’m sure Ardeth wants to forget.”

“God,” she sighed, “You’re right, I’m sure I’m making too much of this.” Rick stood up and walked over to her. He took her hand in his.

“Ardeth is here with you,” said Rick, “And he’s here because he wants to be trust me.”

“You’re right,” she said, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, that’s what friends are for,” he smiled, “Listen I’m going to steal Horus and go for a ride, all right?”

“Of course,” she smiled, “I’ll see you later for dinner.”

Rick left the room and Tasha slowly rose to her feet. She made her way upstairs to see what Ardeth was up to. As she walked down the hallway, she could hear Ardeth’s voice drifting from the nursery. She remembered the first time she had heard him sing. Richard had gotten incredibly ill and the only thing that comforted him was his father’s voice. She hadn’t known that he had such a deep rich voice.

She stood outside the door for a moment and closed her eyes. A chill ran through her as she heard the ancient words escape her husband’s lips in song. She didn’t understand half of what he was singing but the emotion in his voice practically moved her to tears. She soon heard him stop and she moved quietly into the room. She smiled as she saw them.

Ardeth was sitting in the chair with their daughter cradled in his strong arms. His hair was still damp from his shower and hung around his dark face. Amanda was sleepy in his arms as he sat with her. She smiled again seeing the look of love in his eyes for his daughter. She loved seeing this side of him, the tender side of her mighty warrior.

Amanda was the opposite of Richard. Richard had Ardeth’s dark hair and her green eyes, where as Amanda had her mother’s hair and Ardeth’s dark eyes. They both had the perfect combination of their mother and father’s features. Ardeth saw her movement and raised his eyes to hers.

“She needs to nap,” said Tasha softly.

“I know,” he said quietly.

Ardeth rose to his feet and carried their daughter to her bed. He tucked her in and kissed her forehead. He turned to his wife. He took her hand in his and led her from the room. After quietly closing the door, her turned to her again. He saw it at that moment, the pain in her deep green eyes. He knew she was thinking of their Angel.

“Tasha,” he said softly, “You have to let go of your pain.”

“I know,” she said quietly, “It’s just sometimes I wonder.” A tear slid down her cheek as he drew her close.

“Darling,” he said softly, “These things happen,” he whispered. “No one knows why. It was no ones fault.”

Ardeth remembered that night, the night they lost their child. It was over a year ago now. Everything was going so well for them. Tasha had been nervous about having another child so soon after Amanda but she was excited just the same. It was a freak accident. She fell on the staircase. Nothing could have prevented it.

Ardeth recalled the fear that tore through his heart when he found her lying in a heap at the bottom of the steps. He had been out riding and had often blamed himself for not being there with her. He thought he had lost them both at that moment. Tasha had broken her leg in the fall. She was devastated when she found out she had lost their baby. They would have had another daughter. It broke her heart and she was unable to deal with it at first. Ardeth took it upon himself to name her Angel, for she was with Allah now. He hugged his wife close.

“Tasha,” he said softly.

“No Ardeth,” she said, “I’m not ready.”

“As you wish,” he said gently to her, “But I still desire to take you to our bed. I want to make love to you.”

“Yes Ardeth,” she said quietly.

He took her hand and led her to their bedroom. After closing the door, he turned to her. He caressed her cheek with his hand feeling her tremble as he did. She was just now coming back to him. For months after their daughter's death Tasha had turned Ardeth away. He tried to understand the pain and confusion she was feeling, but he had to admit it had hurt when she recoiled from his touch.

Eventually she opened herself up to him again. He was thrilled when she once again allowed him to touch her, to love her once more. Moreover, he did love her, with all his heart. He looked at her now standing before him. It made his pulse quicken as he saw the love and desire now mingling in his bride’s eyes.

He drew her close pressing his lips to hers. She eagerly opened her lips to him letting his tongue explore her hot mouth. A deep moan escaped her chest as she pressed against his strong body. He sunk his hand into her thick hair holding her close as if she’d disappear if he didn’t. She slipped her arms around his strong shoulders as he backed her towards their bed.

He laid her down resting his weight on her as she wrapped her legs around him. She moaned into his mouth as she felt his erection pressing against her. His mouth quickly left hers as he trailed hot kisses up her neck to her ear. He nipped at the sensitive skin as she pressed against him.

“I love you,” she whispered to him as he gently explored eager body.

“I love you too, my precious blossom,” he said to her as he nipped at her ear.

He brought a hand up cupping her breast through her blouse. She gasped as his fingers caressed her bringing her nipple to a hard peak beneath her top. He fondled her gently before moving his hand to unbutton her blouse. He pushed it open kissing her soft skin as he slipped it from her body. He removed her bra as well and then once again lowered his lips to her skin. Soft sighs escaped Tasha’s lips as he kissed and caressed her breasts. He was taking his time, savoring the feel of her and it was causing her desire to grow hotter.

He took a taut peak in his mouth sucking it deep causing her to cry out. She arched her back to him as he teased her and caressed her. He released his hold on her and moved to the other breast repeating his actions as she moaned under him. He then moved up to kiss her lips again. He felt her hands on his waist tugging at his shirt. She pulled it loose and Ardeth moved to let the garment come off.

He lowered himself to her again feeling her breasts press against his skin. The medallion around his neck touched her and she felt the coldness on her. He once again kissed across her chest as he sought out the zipper on her skirt. He lowered it and moved to slip it from her body.

He then moved to place light kisses on her stomach as he caressed her legs with his strong hands. He felt her rise to his touch as he moved down trailing kisses over her silken panties. He slipped his fingers into the waistband and tugged them gently slipping them down over her hips. He removed them completely and moved back to her.

She opened her legs to his soft touch and shivered as she felt his lips on her skin. His beard brushed the inside of her thighs, his long hair trailed over her and he teased her to a point where she thought she would explode. He nuzzled the tight nest of curls before him causing her to tremble. He then moved down parting her tender folds to drink of her sweet nectar. She cried out at the feel of him exploring her so tenderly. He ran his tongue up finding her sensitive jewel and stroking it gently. Her whole body jumped as the sensation coursed through her body.

She couldn’t contain her moans as his tongue and fingers explored her, probing her deeply and gently. She ached to feel him inside her, longed for that sweet friction that only he could give her. He could feel how ready she was and he moved from the bed. He undid his pants pushing them over his strong hips. They fell to the floor and he now stood there naked, and fully aroused. He moved to the nightstand and retrieved a condom from the drawer.

In his heart, he despised using them but he knew that Tasha was not ready to face getting pregnant again. He opened it and slipped it on respecting her feelings. He moved back to the bed and couldn’t help but smile as she opened her legs to him. He could see her trembling with desire as he positioned himself between her thighs. He let his tip graze her opening causing her to gasp at the feel.

He slowly moved into her only giving her an inch and withdrawing then two, repeating his sweet torture. He held her hips in his strong hands to keep her from moving and getting more of him. Her moans grew louder as he teased her giving her only so much of him. He had found that was one advantage to a condom, he could go even longer with her. She tried to squirm against his grip. She needed to feel all of him. She soon let a deep groan escape her sweet lips.

“Ardeth,” she moaned, “Oh…my love…please,”

“As you wish, blossom,” he whispered to her.

Ardeth released his hold on her hips and she immediately wrapped her legs around him causing him to sink deeper into her hot chamber. A growl escaped Ardeth’s body as he finally felt his control splinter. He slowly began moving inside her as she rocked her hips to meet him. He began to plunge his full length into her faster as she cried out for him. Her breath came in short gasps as he thrusted into her now there body’s slamming together racing towards their sweet climax. He felt her hands on his buttocks as she urged him on desperate cries escaping her sweet lips.

“Oh…” she cried, “Ohh…yes…my love,”

Before Ardeth could respond, he felt the muscles inside her contract on his shaft. The sensation nearly caused him to collapse as it triggered his own release. He caught himself on his elbows and lowered his face to hers. His breath was hot on her skin as he hovered over her trying to recover. She reached up gently cupping his strong face in her hands and drawing him close. She kissed his soft lips as he shifted to withdraw from her. He looked into her eyes and smiled.

“I will be back,” he said.

He left her side and disappeared into the bathroom. He came back a short time later and slipped under the covers with her. He pulled her close feeling her backside come flush against him. He kissed her soft shoulder feeling a sigh escape her lips. He loved how perfectly they fit together. He nuzzled her neck letting the hair of his beard brush her skin. She let out another deep sigh.

“Darling,” he whispered, “Are you all right?”

“Yes Ardeth,” she said.

“Are you sure?” he asked. She rolled to face him and he once again drew her close.

“Ardeth, do you like living here?”

“What kind of question is that?” he asked.

“Well it’s just there have been times when I’ll wake up and you’ll be standing outside looking up at the stars. I thought you might be homesick,” she said.

“I am not homesick my love,” he smiled at her, “I should have told you sooner but I feared that I would upset you.” He paused and looked at her, “Darling, when I go outside late at night I go to talk to Angel.”

“Ardeth,” she said.

“I know it may seem silly, I mean she passed through our lives so quickly, but I love her. Somehow, it makes me feel better to go outside and just talk to her. She’s always in my heart, she’s my little girl,” he said. He saw the tears in her eyes, “I am sorry honey.”

“No,” she said, “Don’t be. It’s really quite lovely.”

“I use to do it when I was a child,” he said moving to sit up in the bed, “After my mother died, I would wait until everyone fell asleep and sneak away from the village. I’d sit on the dunes, look at the stars, and talk to her.”

“You never told me how your parents died,” she said.

“Blossom,” he said softly.

“You don’t have to,” she said quickly.

“It has just been a long time since I have talked about it,” he said.

“Ardeth,” she said. He looked at her.

“Part of living in the desert is the threat of being attacked. There are other tribes, desert dwellers, and gypsies. My father had gone off with the warriors from our tribe to protect the city again. During the night, a neighboring tribe came into the village. They raided our village, raped our women, beat the elderly who were with us. I was Richard’s age,” he said as his voice went cold, “They restrained me as one of them raped my mother.”

“Ardeth,” she said touching his arm.

“I closed my eyes to it, but her screams,” his voice caught and he stopped, “When they left I went to her. I cradled her in my arms, I tried to help her, but there was so much blood. She died in my arms.” Tasha stifled a gasp. “When my father and the other’s returned to the village I was still laying with my mother. They set out to hunt the men down but he never found them. My father died just before my first encounter with Rick and Evie. He was killed trying to protect the city.”

“Ardeth,” she said quietly, “I’m sorry.”

“It is all right,” he said, “It is something I have learned to deal with.”

“Still,” she said.

“I will always have ties to my homeland,” he said, “Egypt is in my blood, a part of who I am, but my home,” he looked at her, “My home is wherever you are.” He kissed her lips, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she said as she slipped into his arms.

They lay together for a long time before dressing for dinner. Tasha loved their time alone after making love. It was during that time that Ardeth would truly let his guard down. They would hold each other sharing caresses, and tender words. They would talk, and more often than not laugh.

When Tasha discovered that Ardeth was ticklish she couldn’t help but attack him. What made it worse is that Ardeth would fight her by holding in his laughter, as he would squirm away from her. It just made Tasha that much more relentless. She would sit on his chest and tickles his ribs, until his face would grow red. He could easily throw her off but he never did. He would finally give in, causing a loud boom of rich laughter escape his lips. He had developed quite a sense of humor.

They soon made their way downstairs to the dining room. Soon they were all assembled around the table, including Alex and his brothers. Ardeth couldn’t get over how Alex had grown. He looked more like Rick everyday. They talked over dinner. Tasha never got tired of listening to Rick and Ardeth’s adventures in the desert. She loved the sparkled that would come to her husband’s eyes as he talked about home.

Tasha had just set out desert when she heard the front bell ring. She excused herself to answer it. She pulled open the front door to see a man in black robes standing before her. There was something familiar about the man and as he reached for his veil, she noticed the tattoo on the back of his hand. He was Medjai. Her heart quickened as he lowered his veil.

“Omad!” she said. Instead of responding to her, he lurched forward. Tasha stepped forward to help him as he slumped to the floor, “Omad?” she said as fear tore through her heart, “Ardeth! Ardeth, come quick!”

Ardeth ran to the front door followed by Rick and the others. He stopped short seeing the man lying there. He stepped over and his eyes widened as he saw his friend lying there.

“Omad,” he said going to his friend. Ardeth knelt down seeing he was barely conscious.

“Ardeth,” said Tasha as she showed her blood soaked hand to her husband. Ardeth ripped open his friends robe to see a deep gash in his chest.

“Alex,” said Evie, “Run and fetch the doctor quickly.” Rick stopped his son knowing that it wouldn’t do any good. Ardeth stripped the cloth from a nearby table and pressed it to his friends wound. He looked at Tasha.

“Did he say anything?” he asked her.

“No,” she said, “He just lurched forward and slumped to the floor.” Suddenly Omad moved and Ardeth bent over his friend.

“Omad,” he said, “Omad my friend, what happened?” Omad struggled to focus on his friend.

“Mohammad… was murdered,” he said softly, “The Medjai…are…”

“What?” asked Ardeth.

“Caleb…has…taken…over…leadership,” said Omad, “He…is…prostituting…our women… Selling…off…our…crops,” he let out a hard gasp.

“Omad,” said Ardeth, “Rest now my friend.” Omad shook his head.

“Caleb…had…Mohammad…killed,” said Omad, “It…was…the…same…tribe…that…killed…your…mother,” Ardeth’s breath caught in his throat. Omad gasped, “I…am…sorry,”

“For what?” asked Ardeth.

“I…tried…to…get…here…in…time,” said Oman, “I…was… followed. They… need…you…my prince…”

“Omad,” said Ardeth, “Fight.”

“Take care…of Kali…” said Omad as he closed his eyes.

“Omad, Laa! Omad!”

“Ardeth,” said Tasha softly, “He’s gone.” She watched as Ardeth made several gestures over his friend and spoke.

“He rides with Allah now,” said Ardeth. Rick bent down next to him.

“Come on,” he said slapping his friend on the shoulder, “We’ll give him a proper send off.”

Rick moved as Ardeth helped him hoist Omad onto his shoulder. He carried the body from the house as Ardeth went upstairs. Tasha followed him to their room and watched as he went to the closet. He pushed his other clothes aside and soon pulled out his black robes.

A chill ran through Tasha’s body as she saw them. It had been so long since Ardeth had worn his Medjai robes. They had hung in that closet almost forgotten over the passing years. Now she watched as Ardeth laid them on their bed. She walked over to him as he began to unbutton his shirt. She placed her hands on his and stopped him. He looked at her for a moment and dropped his hands to his side.

She worked the buttons on his shirt, opening it and sliding it from his body. She moved to remove his pants as well. Once he was naked, she found his black pants and helped him step into them. She cinched them around his waist and moved to gather his remaining robes. She helped him put them on and placed the sash around his waist. She then retrieved his boots from the closet. After his boots were on, he watched as Tasha moved to the closet again.

From the top shelf, she brought down a large wooden case. She placed it on the bed and opened it. Inside was a bundle of black velvet. She parted the material. Inside were Ardeth’s matching, pearl handled scimitars. They glistened brightly in the light, polished until they nearly glowed. His belt was there as well.

She helped him on with his belt and then carefully handed him his swords. Once he was dressed, she looked at him. Ardeth always looked handsome but seeing him in those robes after so long took her breath away. She approached him running her hand over the silver threads of his robe. Tears formed in her deep green eyes.

“Tasha,” he said softly, “Tell me what you are thinking?”

“You gave up so much to be with me,” she said softly, “You left everything you knew, everyone you cared about.”

“Not everyone,” he said drawing her close.

“Still,” she said, “I can’t help but think that if you had stayed in Egypt...”

“Stop,” he said firmly, “I need to tell you something I have never told you before.”

“What?” she said.

“I knew of you before we even met. Allah had already shown me my destiny. I didn’t see your face but I knew in my heart that first night. When I found your scarf in the sand, smelled your scent on it, I knew,” he said looking into her eyes, “You are my destiny Tasha. I dreamt of you, of us, being here together as a family.”

“But now that Omad has died,” she said, “What will you do now?”

“You already know the answer to that question,” he said, “I must to return to Egypt. Caleb will destroy everything I spent a lifetime protecting. And you know the stories, he must not disturb the creature.”

“I thought the books were safe?” she said.

“If I know Caleb he will stop at nothing to find them,” said Ardeth, “I cannot take that chance.”

“I want to go with you,” she said.

“No,” he said gently gripping her shoulders, “It is too dangerous.”

“I won’t go into the desert with you,” she said, “I can take the children and stay at Rick and Evie’s house in Cairo. Please, Ardeth I can't stand the thought of having that many miles between us.” When he looked into those green eyes he couldn’t refuse her.

“You will stay in Cairo and you will not venture outside the walls of the estate without protection,” he said firmly.

“Yes Ardeth,” she said. His gaze softened on her.

“Come,” he said gently taking her hand in his, “We must pay our respects.”

“Yes Ardeth.”

Ardeth led his wife back downstairs and they walked out to the back of the house. As they approached the back of the estate, he saw Rick, along with Alex and Richard laying out the body of his friend. He was now on a platform surrounded by wood. Evie approached with a large bottle in her hand. Tasha gathered Richard and Amanda to her as she watched her husband.

“What is he doing?” asked Richard quietly.

“He is paying his respects to his brother Omad,” she said softly, “He is ensuring his spirit completes its journey to heaven.”

Ardeth approached his friend’s body and began chanting and moving around him. Tasha stood mesmerized as he performed the ancient ceremony. Although his face may have hidden his emotions, his voice didn’t. Tasha could hear the sorrow as he spoke.

Finally, Ardeth approached Evie. She opened the bottle and Tasha watched as he spread the liquid on one of his scimitars. He lit it on fire and approached his friend. After a few final words Ardeth dropped his sword igniting a fire. Tasha bowed her head as they all stood silent. Tears slipped over her cheeks as she too mourned for Omad.

Soon Ardeth moved from the fire and approached his wife. He allowed her to embrace him and he could feel that she was crying. He hugged her close for a moment before releasing her and looking at her.

“Take the children and go inside,” he said, “I need to stay for awhile.”

“Ardeth,” she started.

“Please,” he said softly caressing her cheek. She looked in his eyes, compelled to obey him.

“Yes Ardeth,” she said, “Come children.”

She gathered Richard and Amanda to her and walked back to the house. She prepared the children for bed. She changed them into their pajamas and tucked them in. Once they were asleep, she went to their bedroom. She was hardly surprised that he wasn’t there yet.

She swung open the doors of the terrace and stepped outside. She watched as her husband stood there the flames illuminating his face. He stood tall, and proud as he remembered his friend. It broke her heart to see him that way. She knew that Omad was more than a friend to Ardeth, they were like brothers. Now he stood in the light of the fire mourning him in the only way he knew how.

She moved back into the room and went to her dresser. She took a small bundle from her dresser and changed her clothes. She lay in bed waiting for her husband to come inside. She knew that Ardeth had to return to Egypt. He had taken an oath that took precedence over the one he made to her. She understood it; it had always been a possibility, now it was a reality.

It was late when she heard movement in the room. She opened her eyes but the place next to her was still empty. She felt a cool breeze and saw the doors to the terrace were still open. She slipped from the bed and stepped into the doorway. Ardeth was at the railing staring out into the night air. Smoke hung in the air and she could still see the fire smoldering in the distance.

“Ardeth,” she said softly. He didn’t answer her at first. She stepped out into the cool night air and spoke again, “Ardeth.”

He turned to her this time and the coldness in his eyes melted as he drank in the sight of his wife. She was draped in a long black garment that he recognized instantly, the thin robe of material she had worn in the desert. In the desert, she had worn garments underneath. The moonlight illuminated her and he instantly realized that she was practically naked before him.

The black material was transparent now as it lay against her light skin. He could see her full round breasts, her flat stomach, her full hips. He could even see the nest of tight curls at the juncture of her beautiful legs. Seeing her in the moonlight brought back the memories of her in the oasis bathing. How much he had desired her that night.

As his eyes traveled over her, he could see her responding before he even touched her. Her nipples seemed to grow hard right before his eyes, her chest heaved as her cheeks flushed. He could nearly sense her desire pooling in her sweet oasis. He had seen it in her eyes.

She had wanted him to come to bed, wanted to make love to him. She wasn’t trying to seduce him but she quickly saw it happening. His eyes seemed to darken instantly as he looked her over. His eyes conveyed to her what he wanted from her. He moved towards her his long legs bringing him close in an instant. He gripped her arms gently drawing her close.

“Tasha,” he said roughly, “I do not wish to harm you.” His dark eyes burned into hers. He felt her take his hand and press a familiar little package into his palm.

“Do what you need to,” she said softly.

Ardeth backed her against the wall and Tasha gasped as she felt the cool bricks against her back. Ardeth quickly stripped his robes from his body letting them fall. He undid his pants as well letting them pool around his ankles. He slipped the condom on and parted her robe. She let out a gasp as he grabbed her under her buttocks and lifted her. She instantly wrapped her legs around him and moaned as she felt him sink inside her.

Ardeth moved hard and fast inside her causing her to cry out. She clung to him struggling to meet him as his passion quickly consumed him. Ardeth thrust into Tasha, her moans filled his senses driving him harder. It wasn’t long before Tasha felt her orgasm rip through her body causing her to arch against him. Her muscles contracted on him triggering his release. He thought his knees would give and he struggled to hold her to him. He moved from her and he felt her bring her legs down. He carefully lowered her until she was standing before him. He hugged her close to him.

“Did I hurt you?” he asked.

“No darling,” she said quietly stroking his back, “It was wonderful.”

“Do not lie,” he said softly.

“It is truth,” she said, “You gave me pleasure.”

“I love you,” he said quietly.

“I love you too,” she said hugging him close, “Now come to bed.”

Ardeth moved from her, gathered his clothes, and took her inside. That night he lay in bed holding her close against him. He loved that she knew him so well, knew what he needed from her and willingly gave it. He lay still listening to her gently breathing within his arms. He loved her so much, and he knew what he was risking.

He had often thought of returning to Egypt, but he had hoped it would be under better circumstances. They had to move quickly while there was still something of the Medjai left. His wife soon stirred in his arms and nuzzled against his strong chest. He kissed her gently and he soon drifted off to sleep.

Packing was swift the next day as Tasha prepared for their journey. She packed the trunks as Ardeth made arrangements for their voyage to his homeland. He knew Richard was excited about the trip but did not know how to tell him that this trip was not for pleasure. Rick and Evie were more than happy to let Tasha and the children stay at their home. In fact, Ardeth was surprised to learn they were going as well.

Rick insisted on going with Ardeth to see if he could help. Evie and Tasha would stay at the house with the children. Jonathan would be there and Rick insisted there were plenty of people at the estate to keep the girls safe. Ardeth appreciated that his friend was willing to make the journey with him.

Tasha took a deep breath as the cool ocean air whipped at her auburn hair. She stood at the rail watching the crisp blue water churn as the ship glided through it. She could hardly believe they were going back to Egypt. She could still remember her first journey there, how excited she had been. Even though her little excursion led to her kidnapping, she wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Everything she had gone through was worth it, because it gave her Ardeth.

She was pulled from her thoughts as familiar arms wrapped around her waist. She felt his beard tickle her neck as he kissed her softly. She tilted her head to expose her neck more and placed her hands over his. She leaned back against his strong chest and let a sigh escape her body.

“It’s breathtaking,” she said softly.

“That it is,” he said into her ear, “Not as breathtaking as you though.”

“Ardeth,” she said with a light laugh, “Where are the children?”

“With their uncles,” he said, “They are in one of cabins playing. Once we arrive in Cairo Sera will be there to help you with them.”

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen her,” she said, “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her.”

“Yes, but she understood when you wired her and told her you were all right,” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

“Did you pack something formal?” he asked suddenly.

“I think I have something why?”

“Evie said there is a formal dinner tonight,” he said, “I thought you might like to go.” She moved from him and turned to face him.

“Sounds nice,” she said running her hands up his chest. “And after dinner?” she said smiling at him.

“Anything you desire,” he said leaning into kiss her. She wrapped her arms around him kissing him back.

It was later that night and Ardeth was growing impatient as he waited for Tasha. He sat on the bed tugging at the collar of his tuxedo. After being with Tasha over seven years he had come to understand why she took so long in the bathroom. It still set him on edge however, when she kept him waiting. Finally, the bathroom door opened and as Ardeth raised to his feet his mouth fell open.

Tasha stood in the doorway as she ran her hands over the red dress. She saw the look in Ardeth’s eyes and had to smile. It was exactly the reaction she wanted from him. He stepped closer to her, his eyes traveling over her body. A smile crossed his full lips as he gestured towards her.

“Is that the same dress?” he asked her.

“Yes,” she smiled, “I was surprised it still fit after two kids.”

“Yes,” he said as he slowly circled her, “It still fits.” It hugged her body just as well as it had years earlier. He stepped in front of her.

“So?” she said, “What do you think?” A chill ran through her body as he stepped closer to her.

“I think we are going to miss dinner,” he said as he drew her close.

“Then I guess it’s a good thing I’m not wearing any undergarments,” she smiled.

“You tease,” he said.

“Check for yourself.”

Ardeth hugged her to his strong chest as his gaze met hers. His eyes were already dark with desire, as he looked at her. Her eyes shown back at him full of love, and passion, sparkling like emeralds in the light. She shuddered as she felt his skilled hands travel around to her back. He found her zipper and slowly drew it down anticipating what he would find. He slipped his hand under the silken material and found she wore no bra. She saw the flame flickering in his brown eyes as he let his hand travel down. She had been telling the truth and he now found himself completely aroused.

“Natasha,” he said roughly, “My sweet blossom,” his lips grazed the skin on her neck as he hugged her close, “The passion you stir within me.”

“Ardeth,” she sighed as he began nipping at her neck and ear, “My love, my heart. Ardeth?”

“Yes blossom,” he said.

“There shall be nothing between us tonight,” she sighed. He pulled back and looked at her.

“Natasha,” he said, “Are you sure?”

“Yes Ardeth,” she said, “I am willing to open myself to bearing more children.”

“My love, I need you to be sure. I do not want you doing this because of something I said or did. I did not wish to pressure you,” he said.

“You didn’t,” she said caressing his cheek, “You have been more patient and understanding than I could have hoped for. I love you for that,” she smiled as she undid his tie from his neck. “And to be truthful, I enjoy being with you even more without them,” she blushed.

“And enjoy it you shall,” he smiled as he claimed her lips.

He felt her hands move up swiftly to push his jacket from his body. He dropped his arms letting it slide off and drop to the floor. He almost laughed as she slid her hands down to his waistband. She undid his pants letting them fall around his ankles before unbuttoning his shirt and removing it.

That was one custom she was glad he never given into and that was the wearing of underwear. Ardeth reached up and took her dress in his hands. He brought it down in one swift movement leaving her naked before him. He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bed.

As he laid her down, she cupped his face in her hands. His dark hair fell down framing his handsome face. She caressed his cheeks and let her fingers trail over his thin beard. He smiled softly at her as she drew him close.

“Ana ahibuk ya (I love you),” she said. He arched his eyebrow at her.

“Where did you learn that?” he asked.

“Evie taught me,” she smiled, “She’s been tutoring me in your native tongue. It’s been seven years I needed to start sometime.”

“Well then, ana ahibuk ya hayati,” he said.

“Ardeth,” she smiled.

“You understood.”

“Yes,” she said, “You said, I love you my life.”

“Very good,” he said, “Now enough talk.”

“Aiwa (Yes),” she said.

He let out a low growl as he moved in close and pressed his lips to hers. He had discovered quite by mistake that when he growled and purred into his bride’s ears that he received quite a response from her. He kissed her deeply, slowly, exploring every inch of her sweet mouth. She pressed against him as he caressed and explored her beautiful body.

Her soft moans hung in the air as he kissed and nipped at her hot skin. After seven years of marriage, Ardeth still found himself completely consumed when it came to his wife. He hadn’t known that he could love someone so passionately, so completely and it was a feeling he enjoyed each moment, of everyday. Tasha arched her body to him as his lips and tongue ran over the skin of her breasts. He caressed her so tenderly, and each touch made her body throb harder for him.

After everything they had been through, she found her love stronger and deeper than ever. She let out another soft moan as he drew a hard peak into his mouth, sucking it deep and hard. She sunk her fingers into his thick hair as he continued to explore every inch of her. He moved down her body slowly now kissing and caressing her as he gently parted her legs. She shivered as the hairs of his beard brushed against the soft skin of her thighs, tickling and teasing her as he made his journey towards her sweetest of spots.

She gasped as she felt him drink of her nectar. He explored her so tenderly, yet deeply, and thoroughly. He enjoyed watching her writhe in ecstasy as he pleasured her. His whole body ached as she cried out in pleasure. He tore his mouth from her and moved up quickly to settle between her legs. She reached for him drawing his face close to hers.

“Ardeth,” she whispered.

“Are you ready to soar with me, my love?”

“Aiwa (Yes),” she said.

Ardeth pushed slowly inside her as she looked in his eyes. They closed slightly as a gasp escaped his lips. It had been too long since he had truly felt her. He held still inside her feeling her warmth, her wetness, as she contracted around him. He began moving inside her as she moved to meet his rhythm. Their moans soon filled the air as they joined their bodies together repeatedly. Tasha clutched at his strong arms as he thrusted into her.

As they moved together neither one could stop the moans of pleasure that broke from them. The sound of his low moans with high-pitched ones mixed perfectly together as they now raced towards their final destination. He felt it and saw it as he looked at her face just then, she shattered beneath him, her body convulsing around him as she cried out in pleasure. Her body tightened on him triggering him to release his seed, pumping it deep within her receptive body. She grabbed him as he went to move from her.

“Laa,” she gasped wrapping her legs around his waist, holding him inside her, “Don’t.”

He held himself still as she continued to quiver around him. He hugged her close and softly started kissing her neck. She let out a soft moan as his tongue traced the contours of her neck muscles moving up to her ear. She moaned again as she felt him begin to grow hard inside her again. She instinctively moved against him.

“Blossom,” he said in a harsh whisper. She felt him grip her shoulders.

“It’s all right,” she said, “Take me again love.”

Ardeth began moving against her again causing her to moan his name softly. The climax was quick and although it wasn’t as intense as the first time, it was just as enjoyable. They cuddled close afterwards and he whispered softly into her ear. She loved the way he conveyed his love in his native tongue. Over the years, she had begun to understand it more and it made her melt inside to hear it. As they lay there they heard a gentle rap at the cabin door.

“Who in the hell…” started Ardeth sitting up a bit in the bed.

“Relax,” she smiled, “It’s just dinner.”

She rose from the bed and pulled her robe on. She tied it tightly around her before going to the door. She opened the door to the young man who wheeled a cart in. She signed for it and he turned and left.

“You planned this,” he said sliding forward to the edge of the bed.

“Yes,” she smiled, “And I had a little help.” She moved the cart over to the bed and joined him. He kissed her neck as she set the food out.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you too,” she said, “Listen, we have the whole night alone. Alex and his brothers are going to watch Amanda and Richard for us. Evie said she would check in on them, so it’s just us.”

“Not that I do not appreciate it, but why all the trouble?” he asked.

“First, it’s not trouble. Secondly, you are going into the desert when we arrive in Egypt. I have no idea how long you will be gone, or when you’re coming back. I want you to remember what you are fighting for.”

“Blossom, how could I ever forget that?” he said drawing her close, “I will return to you and our children, that I promise.”

“Ardeth,” she started.

“Tasha, you are my heart, my life, nothing will keep me from you. Please, trust me, you know I am a man of my word,” he said, “I need you to be strong for me.”

“I will Ardeth,” she said.

She kissed him as a tear slipped down her soft cheek. He wiped it away with a gentle touch as he hugged her close. She loved him so much, and she had to admit she was scared. She knew that Ardeth was a great warrior among his people and that he was hardly out of practice. She knew that if anyone could protect and restore the honor of his people it would be him, which is why they sent for him.

They ate their dinner before returning to their bed. Ardeth continued to make love to her through the night finally letting sleep come to them before the sun rose. In a matter of days they would be in Egypt and he would have to leave his family, to fight for his people.

When they arrived in Cairo Sera was at the O’Connell’s house to greet them. She hugged Tasha hard and cried as she met the children. Soon everything was brought into the house and everyone was settled. It was late so Ardeth and Rick decided they would wait until dawn to ride to his village. They still needed to go over what exactly they were going to do.

That night after making love to Tasha he held her close as she slept. He knew how dangerous it was going to be, and the thought of leaving her behind tore at his heart. It was a difficult decision to weigh his commitment to his wife against the commitment to his people. He was her husband and a father now. Still, he had spent a lifetime defending his tribe, protecting them, and he had sworn to do all he could ensure that the “Creature” was never again raised. He was grateful that she understood that he had to go; yet he knew she was afraid for him.

It was early when Ardeth rose from their bed. He dressed quietly as Tasha lay in bed. Despite his quietness she stirred in the bed and rolled to see him standing there. It sent a shiver through her to see him there.

He looked at her as her eyes traveled over him. He was wearing his old robes, bleached more gray then black from the desert sun. He had leather holsters criss crossed across his chest, with bullets and his gun in its holster. His scimitars hung from his trim waist. In his hand was his turban and veil. She sat up holding the bed sheet to her chest.

“I did not mean to disturb you,” he said.

“Well I hope you did not intend to leave without saying goodbye,” she said.

“No,” he said softly as he approached the bed, “I would not dare to do that.” He sat on the bed as she moved over to him.

“What about the children?” she asked.

“I already went in and kissed them,” he said, “Richard wanted to go with, but I already explained to him that is not possible.”

“They will miss you terribly,” she said.

“And I shall miss them,” he said caressing her cheek, “And you.”

He watched as she moved from the bed and dressed. She pulled on a simple tan dress and tied her hair back from her sweet face. She then walked with him downstairs where Rick was waiting for him. Evie was waiting as well and they made their way outside. Alex had the horses packed and ready for them.

Ardeth placed his turban on his head and looked at the sky. It had been so long since he had seen an Egyptian sunrise. He had almost forgotten how beautiful his homeland was. Ardeth moved towards his horse his hand still clasped over hers. He turned to her then, and pulled her close. “Ana ahibuk ya hayati,” he said as he caressed her cheek, “I will return to you blossom.”

“Aiwa,” she said softly, “I love you Ardeth.”

He pulled her close pressing her to his chest. His hand still cupped her cheek as he brought her lips to his in a searing kiss. She clung to him clutching his robes in her hands as he slowly probed her sweet mouth. He wanted to sear her into his senses, carry her essence within him to keep her always with him. He reached up as he kissed her his strong hand gripping the scarf in her auburn hair and drawing it down. As he backed out of the kiss he drew the scarf between them.

“I will carry this next to my heart,” he said looking at her. “You carry my heart,” she said placing her hands over his.

“Go, my love,” she said softly to him, “And restore your people to their rightful glory.”

“Allah has truly blessed me,” he said looking at her.

“I as well, now go,” she said, “The sooner you go the sooner we will be together.”

He gave her one last kiss and placed a strong hand to her belly. He spoke something in a whisper she didn’t understand, before mounting his horse. He tucked the scarf into his robes and looked at her one last time before turning his horse and riding away. As he and Rick rode Rick turned to Ardeth.

“What did you say to her?” he asked Ardeth.

“It was not directly to her,” said Ardeth, “I was asking Allah to watch over her, and the children, including the one she now carries.”

“She told you she was pregnant?” asked Rick.

“She did not need to,” he said.

Rick left it at that as they rode from the city towards the Medjai village. He had learned long ago that Ardeth had a sixth sense that you didn’t argue with or question. They rode in silence as Rick could sense Ardeth was deep in thought.

Ardeth had no doubt that they knew he was coming. If Omad had been followed then they had to know. Once out in the open desert Rick and Ardeth rode hard towards his village, and Ardeth couldn’t help but feel apprehension at what they would find.

They stopped away from the village and decided to wait for nightfall before going in. They checked their weapons, and strategized as to what they were going to do. Ardeth had no way of knowing if Caleb would even be in the village. His first priority was to get to the village and see who would stand with him, and who would die.

Ardeth knew that if there were enough men still loyal to the true Medjai ways he would have greater success of stopping Caleb’s plans. He could not believe that one of his own people would take such a path. His feelings were strong. He was angry, and disappointed in his one time friend.

As darkness fell Rick and Ardeth made their way towards the cluster of tents he had once called home. The village was in severe disrepair but Ardeth pushed it aside, trying to stay focused on the mission he had laid out for them.

As they crept among the tents Ardeth observed several women he had known, they were shackled like slaves, serving food and wine to strange men. His blood boiled inside him as he saw them being groped and molested by the men. Their clothes were in tatters barely covering their bodies, and some of them were not even women, but young girls, no more than children.

Ardeth signaled to Rick and they both stood poised and ready to attack. On Ardeth’s signal they sprang from their hiding places. Screams filled the air as Ardeth and Rick blazed through the village slaying any who came against them. The women gathered together as Ardeth swung his scimitar cutting down the men who had dishonored the women he had once sworn to protect. The clangs of Ardeth’s scimitar echoed with the sound of Rick’s guns being fired into all who attacked. It seemed like only a matter of moments before they were the only ones left standing.

Ardeth turned his attention to the group of cowering women. He raised his hand up slowly drawing the veil from his face. One of the women broke from the group and threw herself at his feet. Ardeth recognized her as Kali, Omad’s wife.

“Praise Allah,” she wept as she lay on the sand, “Our Prince has returned.”

“Please Kali,” said Ardeth gently reaching for her, “That is not necessary. You are all safe now, rise my sister.” She rose to her feet and stood next to him. She turned to the women who were still unsure of him.

“You need no longer fear,” she said to them, “This is Ardeth Bay, our bravest, and most skilled warrior. He has returned to help us, he will defeat Caleb, and restore honor to our people.”

“Kali,” he said, “Where is Caleb?”

“He took the rest of the men to Hamunaptura,” she said, “They are suppose to be meeting a man there who claims to have the books.”

“I want you to take the women and what is left of the horses. Ride to Cairo and go here,” he said handing her a paper, “My wife will care for you until it is safe for you to return to the village.”

“Ardeth,” she said, “Omad?”

“I am sorry,” he said, “Rest assured he died bravely, and he succeeded in his mission. We honored him with a proper ceremony.”

“Thank you,” she said fighting back tears.

“Go,” he said, “When we have disposed of Caleb we will send word.”

Kali gathered the shaken women and got them on the horses. She then headed across the desert towards Cairo. Rick and Ardeth stayed in the village that night. They disposed of the bodies, and made repairs to the village before settling in to eat. Ardeth reached up removing his turban from his hair. Rick looked at him as Ardeth stared up at the stars.

“It’s been a long time hasn’t it old friend?” he asked.

“That is has,” he said.

"How did you know?” he asked drawing a look from his friend, “How did you know Tasha was pregnant?”

“Just a feeling,” said Ardeth, “And the look in her eyes,” he said with a soft smile. “She gets this most beautiful glow in her eyes when she is with child. I guess I have grown accustomed to seeing it, I have seen it three times before.”

“Do you think she knows?”

“I am sure in her heart she does,” he said, “I think she just didn’t want to tell me before I left. She wanted to be sure, and to wait until this unpleasantness is over.”

“Do you know this Caleb?” asked Rick.

“Yes, we grew up together,” he said, “Caleb has always been jealous of me. He was not as skilled as me and the other warriors. Despite his lineage he was over looked to take over leadership of the tribe. Respectfully when I left, the job should have passed to Omad after Mohammad. That is what I recommended when I left to be with Tasha,” he let out a deep sigh, “Tomorrow we shall head to Hamunaptura one more time, my friend.”

“Wouldn’t be a trip to the desert without stopping there,” smiled Rick.

“Yes I am afraid it has become tradition for me, has it not?” he said, “Maybe the third time will be a charm?”

“Ardeth,” said Rick, “Don’t tell me you’re developing a sense of humor?”

“What do expect after seven years in England with you?” he smiled.

After eating they settled in for a goodnights rest. It was strange to Ardeth to sleep alone now; he had grown so accustomed to having Tasha next to him in his bed. He missed her warmth, her softness, and her sweet caress. He missed how perfectly she fit next to his body as he laid with her, nuzzling her hair taking in her heavenly scent. He just wanted to end this so he could be in her arms once more.

The next morning they set out on their journey to Hamunaptura. Ardeth hadn’t thought he would ever have to make that journey again. After they all nearly died the last time he thought his duties as guardian to the city were complete. The books had been hidden, and the city was deeply buried. It never occurred to him that someone among his own people would dare raise the creature for their own selfish gain. They were still several days away and Ardeth often thought of his loving bride and the words she had said to him as he left. He would indeed restore honor to his people.

Tasha and Evie opened the house to the Medjai women. They made sure they were bathed, clothed, and well fed. With them there Evie was free to rest, as her due date grew closer. Tasha gave comfort to Kali. She had not only lost her husband, but most of the women had been raped under Caleb’s rule. Some were with child and in addition Tasha had herself started to feel the tell tale signs of pregnancy. She would get light headed, and nauseous.

She had suspected she was with child before he left, and she had a feeling he had known. The way he had touched her stomach, the words he spoke. She wanted him home, in her arms, in her bed. They were grateful to have Alex and Evie’s brother Jonathan to help around the house and the women cared for Richard and the other children.

That night Tasha stood in front of the mirror looking at her figure. She ran her hands over her stomach, and smiled. She wasn’t showing just yet, but she couldn’t help smiling. She didn’t think she could handle becoming pregnant again after losing Angel, but now that she was, she was very happy.

It made her so happy to be carrying his child once more. There was something about being pregnant that made her feel on top of the world. She liked knowing that she was carrying a part of Ardeth within her. She could hardly wait for him to return to share it with her.

She jumped when she heard movement on the terrace outside. She moved carefully towards the doors and heard a familiar screech. She smiled as she saw O’Connell on the railing. She was surprised the bird was still around after all the time that had passed.

“Hello there,” she said, “Still loyal to your Master I see.” She reached down and removed the scroll from his leg. She unrolled it and read it to herself, “Blossom, Rick and I are well. We are on our way to Hamunaptura. I miss you Al Ahibuk (my love), and will be with you soon. Ana ahibuk ya hayati,” she took the scroll and wrote a reply. She placed it on the bird and he disappeared into the night, “I love you too Ardeth,” she whispered as the bird disappeared from sight.

When they arrived at the city Rick and Ardeth knew a night attack would once again be to their advantage. They lay on the ridge above the fallen city. Ardeth knew that even if Caleb didn’t raise the creature that the books would be dangerous in his hands. Rick looked at him then.

“I think we’re good,” said Rick, “We should still have enough ammo to do this.”

“Well,” said Ardeth, “Some of the men down there are loyal to the true oath of the Medjai. I pray to Allah that when they see me they will take up arms to help us.”

“Well I’m sure ready to go home,” said Rick, “If I’m not there when that baby comes, I’ll have bigger problems then Imhotep to deal with.”

“I understand old friend, we shall end this tonight,” he said.

That night Ardeth and Rick thundered into the camp, weapons drawn. Ardeth’s instincts were right. When the men saw that their leader had returned they rose up against Caleb to defend themselves. The sound of scimitars clashing and guns firing filled the air. Ardeth sought out Caleb who he found trying to escape with another man. Ardeth nearly froze as he saw the man’s face. It was the man who had raped and killed his mother.

Ardeth attacked them both, his scimitar cutting through the air with speed and skill. Caleb fought back but was of little challenge to Ardeth’s strength and skill. Ardeth let out a groan as the blade of Caleb cut his shoulder. He was relentless though and soon Rick joined the fight.

Ardeth took his attention away from Caleb turning it to the man who murdered his mother. His anger boiled hard as he stared the man down. The man scrambled back from Ardeth as he relieved him of his sword. He was already injured and bleeding heavy as Ardeth stalked him.

“Please,” said the man holding a hand up to Ardeth.

“You expect me to show you mercy after what you did?” said Ardeth.

“What?”

“You do not remember?” said Ardeth as he loomed over the man, “You came to my village. You raped my mother in front of my eyes. She died in my arms because of what you did to her. That is a memory I have carried with me for years.”

“What are you going to do to me?”

“I shall let Allah deal with you,” said Ardeth.

They tied him up as the rest of the men gathered together. The books had been recovered and placed on the horses to be taken back to the village. From there Ardeth would arrange for them to be taken back and placed in a safe place. They tended to his wounded brothers. There were handshakes and somber thank you’s as they stood together. They soon mounted the horses and left the other man for the vultures.

Ardeth knew he was already dying from his wounds, and never would have survived the trip back to the village. He led the caravan of men in the direction of their village. His thoughts now turned to reuniting with his wife and family.

“Aunt Tasha,” came Alex’s voice, “Aunt Tasha!”

“Alex what are you bellowing about,” asked Evie.

“A message came from Uncle Ardeth, and father. They are returning to the village and want us to come as soon as we can. We are to bring the women,” he said.

“They did it,” smiled Tasha hugging Evie, “Praise Allah.”

“Indeed,” said Evie, “Alex ready the horses.”

“Yes mother.”

Tasha gathered a few things as she readied the children to leave. She could hardly believe it had been two weeks since she had last held him in her arms. The trip from Hamunaptura was long and she was glad they were only a few hours from the village.

Sera rode with Amanda; Alex took Richard, Jonathan, and Andrew rode together, while Tasha kept an eye on Evie. Despite her discomfort she wanted to be with Rick. They had to take their time and Tasha was getting anxious. When they finally reached the village the women were greeted by the men as families were united once more.

Kali had her brother and his family to be with and it made Tasha happy that she would not be alone. Tasha was standing with the children when she heard Amanda cry out.

“Father!” she yelled releasing her hold on Tasha’s hand.

Tasha looked up to see Ardeth across the camp. She smiled as she watched the children run to him. He dropped to his knees in the sand hugging them close as they leapt into his arms. He kissed them both, his brilliant smile spreading across his lips. She could hear them hurriedly chattering to him as she approached. He looked up and met her gaze then rose to his feet. Those around him grew quiet as he looked at her.

He reached for her drawing, her close as she smiled lovingly at him. He pressed his lips to hers as she wrapped her arms around his strong shoulders. He kissed her deeply, passionately, and with a consuming fire that made a throbbing come alive inside her. He soon pulled back to look at her.

“My sweet blossom,” he whispered, “How I have missed you my love.”

“I missed you as well, my heart,” she said caressing his cheek.

“Tonight, we celebrate!” he yelled as his people cheered.

There was much celebrating that night as the Medjai rejoiced in victory. They ate, danced, and laughed. Ardeth did not want his people to mourn. He wanted them to live. As it grew late Ardeth left quietly drawing Tasha with him. They slipped into their tent and once again drew her close. He kissed her as she smiled at him.

“Where are the children?” she asked.

“They are sleeping with their uncles tonight,” he smiled. She looked at him. “What?” he asked looking at her.

“You already know,” she said.

“That you are with child? Yes,” he said, “I knew when I left you that day, it was on your face.”

“There is something else we need to discuss,” she said.

“What is that blossom?”

“You said that your place is with me. Home is wherever me and the children are.”

“Yes,” he said.

“Then home will be here Ardeth,” she said.

“Darling,”

“Ardeth, they need you and you need them. There is so much that needs to be done for them to continue to survive here. I appreciate what you did for me, but you belong here. Egypt is in your blood.”

“And you are in my heart,” he said holding her close.

“You gave me seven years in England. You bent over backwards to adjust and make us happy there. Now I wish to do the same for you,” she said, “We don’t have to stay forever, but we can stay for awhile, can’t we?”

“Are you sure about this?” he asked.

“Yes Ardeth,” she said.

“We do not have to stay in the village,” he said, “We can find a home of our own in Cairo.”

“That is up to you,” she said, “My place is with you Ardeth, and I’ll be wherever you want me.”

“Right now,” he said, “I want you in my bed. I want to feel you beneath me blossom.” He moved to kiss her neck, “I want to taste every inch of you.”

“Ardeth,” she gasped softly as ran his lips up her neck to her ear, “I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” he said.

He reached down and took her into his strong arms. He then carried her to the bed where he laid her down. She reached for him untying his robes and pushing them off his body. She sat and pushed him back with a gasp.

“You’re hurt,” she said.

“It is nothing,” he said, “It has already begun to heal.”

“Are you sure?” She asked touching the bandage.

“Yes,” he said, “Enough talk,” he said dragging her close.

She then took him by surprise when she pushed him to his back and straddled his strong frame. She bent over him as her hair cascaded around her face. She kissed his lips briefly before sitting up and unbuttoning the top of her dress. He watched her hands move undoing the pearl buttons slowly revealing her soft curves to him. He was already growing hard as she undressed.

She shifted her weight and drew the dress up over her head leaving her in only her undergarments. He moved to sit up and drew her close to him. He caressed her cheek as she smiled at him. He pressed his lips to hers and she eagerly opened her mouth to him. His tongue slipped inside tasting her sweetness as a warmth washed over him. He slid his strong hands up her back and let them remove her bra from her body. He moved his mouth to her neck licking and nipping at her skin. She heard a growl escape his lips.

“Ardeth,” she said softly, “Oh my love.”

He moved with her pressing her to the pallet as he rested between her legs. He moved slowly over her teasing, and tasting every inch of her body. He lingered over her, teasing her to a near breaking point before giving her what she needed so desperately from him.

Being inside of her, feeling her warmth clasping him, her moans in his ears, made his heart soar once more. He drew it out as long as he could not wanting the feeling to end. When the release finally came he watched her once more as the ecstasy played out on her face. She arched against his strong body and they held each other close as they recovered from their passionate encounter.

Ardeth then moved his weight from her only to have her draw him near. He rested his head against her bosom as she stroked his long hair with her fingers. He placed his hand to her stomach and she placed hers over his.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“I am fine Ardeth,” she said, “Just the usual symptoms.”

“I will not leave your side,” he said, “I will be here whenever you need me.”

“I know that,” she said caressing his arm, “I have only been concerned with giving birth here in the desert.”

“You need not worry Blossom,” he said moving to look at her, “Kali and the other women will know what to do. You will see when Evie has her baby.”

“I love you Ardeth,” she said drawing him close, “My loving husband, my prince.”

“I love you too Habibti (darling),” he said kissing her, “My sweet princess.”

Ardeth made love to her more through the night, feeling as if he couldn’t get enough her. They finally fell asleep before the sun started to rise in the sky. Ardeth felt at peace as sleep over took him, he was home.

Just days later Evie gave birth to a daughter. They named her Rose and Rick fell instantly in love with their little miracle. When Evie was strong enough they made their journey back to Cairo, as Ardeth and Tasha remained with his tribe. There was much to do around the village and despite being pregnant Tasha pitched right in.

They had to plant new crops and Ardeth purchased new animals to replenish the herd. They fixed buildings and Tasha purchased new cloth from Cairo to make new robes and garments for the tribal members.

She would sit late into the evening sewing by the campfire as others worked preparing meals. Despite being a foreigner they welcomed Tasha with open arms and treated her like a Princess among his people. She and the children quickly adjusted to their new home in the desert.

Richard’s lessons continued with more fervor now that Ardeth was among his tribe. Tasha knew that if they continued to live there he would one day take the tattoos that adorned her husband. Amanda loved being in the village and even she would help with daily chores.

Ardeth watched Tasha over the months, as her pregnancy grew more evident. He loved the glow on her face how beautiful she looked. The closer she got to delivering the bigger she got and Ardeth began to grow concerned for her as she began to have more difficulty getting around. He soon had her staying in bed and resting most of the day. He did not wish for her to hurt herself or their child.

It was late one evening when Tasha awoke her husband. He turned to her in their bed and felt the wetness on the blankets. He knew that it was time and he sent Richard to fetch the midwife. Ardeth sat with her as the contractions came hard.

Despite their protests Ardeth stayed with his wife as she fought to bring their child forth. It was almost into the afternoon when Tasha finally birthed their son. Everyone was elated as the baby came out and Ardeth hugged her close as his loud cry pierced the air. She let out a gasp just then drawing looks.

“I don’t think we’re done,” she groaned.

Another contraction hit Tasha and Ardeth couldn’t contain his surprise as he quickly realized Tasha was about to deliver another child. He moved and soon saw the second head pushing it’s way into the world. Tears stung his eyes as Tasha cried out and pushed with all her might. He went to her grabbing her hand, encouraging her lovingly as she bore down with all she had. Finally the second child slipped from her tired body and Ardeth looked at the baby.

“Ardeth?” she asked as the baby cried.

“A daughter,” he said smiling at her, “A son, and a daughter blossom.”

She let out a sigh as she lay back on the pallet. She soon expelled the after birth as the women cleaned the babies. They wrapped Ardeth’s son and handed him to his father. Kali held his daughter and they took them to the small bed next to Tasha. They laid the babies down and after cleaning Tasha they left them alone together. Ardeth moved slowly onto the pallet to see her eyes flutter open. He took her hand in his as she smiled softly at him.

“Ardeth, are they all right?” she asked.

“Yes my love, they are sleeping now,” he said, “I am so proud of you blossom, you were so strong, so brave.”

“And now I am tired,” she said.

“I can imagine,” he said. “Rest now my love,” he said caressing her cheek.

“They need names,” she softly.

“If you have no objections I wish to name our son Omad,” he said.

“I think it is only fair after all he did,” she said as a yawn escaped her, “And our daughter?”

“Marta,” he said, “After my mother.”

“Yes Ardeth,” she said, “I like that,”

“Rest now,” he said kissing her soft lips, “I love you.”

“I love you too Ardeth.”

He watched over her as she drifted off to sleep. He watched her as her breathing slowed and her body relaxed. She had indeed been so brave as she birthed their children. It made him proud when he saw how she took the pain and didn’t give in to it as she had given birth. He loved her so much.

He then turned his attention to his children, all of them. Richard and Amanda now lay on pallets on the other side of the tent. They were sleeping so soundly. Then he looked at the newest additions in the tiny bed next to him. They both had dark silken curls on their tiny heads. He had seen that his daughter had his dark eyes, and his son had his mother’s. His heart swelled as he looked at them.

His daughter let out a soft cry then and squirmed in the bed. He reached for her drawing her into his strong arms. He cradled her against his chest gently rubbing her back with his large hand.

“Shh,” he said lovingly to the little bundle, “Sleep my tiny blossom,” he whispered.

The crying soon subsided and he shifted her into the cradle of his arms. She was sleeping now, her tiny lips puckered in the cutest fashion. It made him smile as he gently ran his hand over her soft curls.

“You are just as beautiful as your mother,” he said softly, “Allah has blessed me again.”

He had everything now, his loving wife, a beautiful family, and he was back in his homeland. Although he had loved living in England he was glad to be back in his homeland. Egypt was most certainly a part of him; it was a part of all of them now. It was where his love for Tasha had bloomed, and it led to them being blessed with a wonderful family.

Ardeth bowed his head then and prayed to Allah, giving thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed on him. It had been a long and sometimes rocky road but somehow he had found his way. He found his destiny, his life, his love, and he had found his way home. For that he was truly grateful.

The End

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