Legend of the Phoenix Warriors
Long ago, in ancient times, there was a mysterious traveler who appeared before the pharaoh of Egypt. The traveler had unknowingly done Khufu a great service, he had provided him the safe return of his son, Khafre. As a reward for his deeds, Khufu offered the man a position in his guard. The traveler accepted his offer and stayed by his side for many years.
As the years passed, the traveler, now known as Akil, proved himself not only a powerful warrior but alsoo a brilliant tactician. Akil possessed inhuman strength and an unparalleled knowledge of war, commerce and politics. With his help, Egypt entered a golden age of prosperity. After staying with his army for many years through many battles, he had saved not only the pharaoh’s life, but those of his children many times. One day, Khufu asked Akil to recruit powerful warriors to train, hoping his immense strength and knowledge could be passed on.
Akil journeyed around the kingdom, informing the citizens of the pharaoh’s request. Many warriors were interested and word quickly spread around the ancient world. But he had set a condition for those who would ultimately be selected: they would need to appear before himself and the pharaoh within three days, an inhuman feat for all but the most capable. The warriors who did appear before them, would have one chance to prove their worth. The strongest would face one another in combat.
When the time came, only twenty warriors had appeared. By the end of the day only five remained. Four men and one woman were declared the strongest in the world. Khufu then asked Akil to appoint a successor in the chance that he would fall in battle. To the surprise of all, he chose the woman, Azeneth. Not only had she defeated her opponents, but their trickery as well.
Akil told the pharaoh they would return in a month’s time, with strength much greater than they possessed. Khufu urged him to return as soon as possible, as war was brewing. Akil gave his word that they would indeed return before the next battle. And with that they, set off to train in the wilderness.
Akil promised the warriors strength parallel to his own. He would make them the strongest not only in the world, but in history itself. He cured their maladies and presented them weapons to suit their skills. To Azeneth; he gave two khopesh, to Amus; he gave gauntlets, to Domian; he gave an endless quiver, to Adini; two small daggers, and finally to Gail; a pair of goggles allowing him to see even in the darkest of nights. He then gave all the warriors a special belt, capable of becoming any type of clothing or armor.
Akil did not train them in combat nor wisdom, only training their bodies. Many days passed before they question his methods. Akil did not respond. Instead, he approached the side of a cliff, and with a single strike of his bare hand, destroyed it. He then asked his recruits if they would like to face him in combat. They decided that, no, they did not. Akil went on to say that a show of strength is sometimes all that’s necessary for peace.
Days later, a messenger arrived. He had brought word that the pharaoh was preparing for battle. Akil thanked him and they set out with haste, arriving mere moments before the battle had begun. When Khufu saw the warriors, he questioned their abilities. Akil advised him to witness firsthand that their training had been indeed been successful. By the end of the battle, the Egyptian force of over 5000 men had suffered less than ten casualties.
Khufu was amazed at their strength and appointed them personal bodyguards for him and his family. Despite their new duties, the warriors continued their training. After a few months, an emissary from the warring kingdom appeared bringing talks of peace. The Pharaoh was eager to accept as they had been fighting for many years. Akil advised against this, as he did not trust the foreign nation. He asked Pharaoh to allow him and his recruits to protect Egypt from what was surely a diversion. Khufu denied his request, and set off at once to meet the foreign king.
Akil, however, was not ready to accept this. His hunch was correct, as he had discovered the enemy was preparing for an invasion. He and his recruits set out to confront the army of ten thousand. When the enemy saw they had been discovered, they attacked ferociously. The battle was very long and grim. Stories tell that no matter the injury they endured, the six continued to fight. Almost as if the sand itself was rising to heal their wounds. By the time Khufu and his army appeared, the battle was long over. Akil and his recruits standing tall in the desert littered with corpses, its sand stained red with bood, not a single enemy soldier had been spared.
By disobeying the pharaoh, the warriors had committed treason against Egypt. Bound by law, Khufu had them sentenced to death. Their punishment was to be carried out that very day. He gave them his word that their actions would not be forgotten as the entire kingdom was praising them. With a heavy heart he ordered their throats slit.
While the laws of men were absolute, they meant nothing to the gods. Ra, seeing that the warriors had sacrificed their lives for a land that was not their own, offered them a deal. As long as they stood in Egyptian, they would be immortal. If they served Egypt for one thousand years they would be free to return to their homes, immortal for eternity. The warriors accepted Ra’s terms, and the god branded them, both of the flesh and name. Now bearing the mark of the phoenix, they returned once more to the realm of the living.
Ra exempted Akil, as he sensed that a great destiny stretched before him. He informed Akil and Azeneth of the curses they unknowingly passed to their unborn child. Curses not even the gods could remove. Azeneth would die during childbirth. Ra promised one day she would be reborn, and her gift would be passed to her daughter and then her daughter and so on. Akil left Egypt before this revelation came true, pursuing his own goals. The remaining warriors continued with their duties and their training, far surpassing the limits of normal men. Over time, their original name was lost, now just known simply as the Phoenix Warriors. Still they train, appearing throughout history in times of crisis, waiting for Akil and Azeneth to appear again. Many legends speak that the day they become whole once more is the day the world faces apocalypse.
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