There was no other choice.

Atem could not let himself stop thinking that simple thought. There was no other choice. He had to do this for his people. The people of Egypt.

That was his duty as Pharaoh. But that did not make this decision any easier

The Millennium Puzzle hung around his neck, the heavy weight of the gold both a comfort and a worry as swung much like a pendulum around Atem's thin neck. He raised a slow shaking hand to steady the pendant.

The gold on Atem's fingers made an odd clanking sound as they collided against the metal of the puzzle. He squeezed his fingers tighter around the sharp corners of the puzzle, pressing his rings into them until the gold pressed into his flesh.

There was no other choice.

Atem urged his horse forward, gently forcing the steed to place one hoof in front of the other in a comforting pattern. They walked through the ruined streets of his once glorious city. The stone buildings all lay in ruin, toppled against each other in a scene of mass destruction.

The sun was setting, Ra's guiding light leaving his people in their time of greatest need. Even the gods could not save egypt now. This was out of their hands.

For when the Gods did not have the answer... when one could not even pray for safety, what was there left to hope for?

People were screaming. Atem could hear them not just in the distance anymore. He could hear them crying over the bodies of loved ones that had not been lucky enough to escape.

Or were lucky enough escape. It was impossible to tell.

They sounded so heartbroken. Their voices pierced through the thick smoke like knives that cut into Atem's soul.

How could he have let this happen? As Pharaoh it was his duty to protect his people.


There was blood every where, the sickening red colour matching only to the flames that burned high into the sky. So very high... Atem wasn't even aware that stone could burn. Apparently, if the flames were hot enough. Nearly half of his city was alight. And the cries of those still trapped inside mingled with those of the mourners.

Dark magic had spread across egypt with all the force of a plague, destroying everything in his path. For a reason that none of the people suffering here could understand.

There was no possible way to doubt that they suffered more than anyone else at this moment. Rich, poor, high born and low, needlessly they suffered, together yet so far apart.

Atem was going to fix it however.

There was no other choice.

Further and further from the city Atem went, until he was standing at the city gates. Or what had been his City gates before all of this had happened. The gates where in far worse condition than the city. What had once been a strong stone wall was nothing more than scorched earth. In some places the sand had been transformed into glass by the shear intensity of the fights that had ensued.

Fights that still continued. Atem could see the vague mass of the dark one hovering on the horizon, where his few remaining priest where struggling to keep it contained. This would not go on, and fi nothing was done, Atem knew that Zorc would waste no time in levelling Memphis to the ground.

Just outside the city, there was an old temple, long since forgotten since they had built their capital. Newer, grander monuments to the gods had been built in their honour. But those had all been desecrated in the attack.

Atem swung off the back of his horse, not even bothering to tie the horse done. If what he had planned succeeded than it would be a complete waste of Atem's time.

Heavy steps took Atem to the front steps of the old temple, the leather of his shoe scoffed against the sand that lined the cracked stone floor, grinding the particles in deeper. He paused for a moment, outside the arched doorway that marked the entrance to this sacred place.

There he stood, trying desperately to regain control of his emotions that fought to take control, of the panic that was slowly but surely eating away at his resolve. As Pharaoh it was his duty to save his people, but Atem was not just a Pharaoh. He was a seventeen year old boy.

Who was going off to risk his life for thousands of people that he didn't know. Death scared him, the idea of dieing before even getting to live his life. Before he had the chance to fall in love, to have children.

There was no other choice.

The Millennium puzzle pulsed against his chest, and an angry glow lit in the centre eye pice as if sensing its wearer's indecision.

Atem may only be a seventeen year old. But he was still Pharaoh, the living representative of the Gods on the mortal plane. There was no place for him to be indecisive in his duty.

There was a circle etched into the centre of the temple. The soft and delicate gold that marked the boundary was chipped and broken in it's age, but it would serve. With a soft sigh, Atem circled the room, using the magic of the puzzle to light the candles and incense that covered every available surface in the room. Atem could only hope that these meagre offerings would last through the entire ceremony. They where old, some of the candles almost burned down into stubs.

They would serve.

Atem squeezed his eyes tight as he walked into the centre of the circle, each step bringing him closer to something that he did not want to do. By the time Atem reached inside the material of the purple cloak he was wearing to the sheathed dagger hanging on his belt, Atem's hand was shaking far to much to be able to hold onto it.

Clenching his fist, Atem fought to keep the hand on the hilt, and pulled it free. The ceremonial dagger glinted in the low light. The hilt was gold and rubies were studded along the hilt. The blade was made from the same material, but without the gemstones. a prayer to Ra and the great Mother Isis was inscribed all down the flat part of the blade.

This knife had never seen the light of day before, never been used for any other purpose beside looking pretty in the main temple in the palace. A sacrificial dagger, for a practice that had long since been forgotten. One that the puzzle had been whispering in his ear since this had all began.

Atem shifted his weight, squaring his shoulders and tensing the muscles in this legs, before starting to chant. The words were spoken in a hushed town, n a language that his father had taught him many years previous. One that only the Pharaoh and Prince of Egypt was allowed to know, the language of the gods.

The puzzle started to glow more brightly in response to his words. As the light spread to the floor, the gold circle started to glow as well, the broken circle mending and becoming whole once more.

Atem could feel the Puzzle's magic filling his mind, he welcomed the sensation, letting it overwhelm him, take control of his body. The puzzle had the answer to solving all of Egypt's problems. What ever unexplained, unexplored magic contained within the puzzle and all the similar items was more powerful than anything Atem could understand.

He was the vessel to contain it.

Suddenly his arm jolted into the air, but Atem wasn't the one in control. The puzzle wanted something. Something in exchange for using its power to save Egypt. As the Puzzle forced the blade of his dagger down the inside of his wrist, Atem realized what it wanted.

Blood spewed free from the deep cut. The dark red liquid streaming from his wrist in rivers. The blood streamed down his arm, onto the floor, and onto the puzzle. When the red touched the golden light of the circle, the colour of the glow was immediately changed, flaring an angry red that filled up the entire room.

The Millennium puzzle was built up into numerous pieces, and Atem's blood seeped its way into the individual cracks, flowing into the centre.

The pain was impossible. Atem had felt Knife wounds before, but this was beyond that. As more and more of his life-giving liquid was drained into the puzzle which began to pulse. More and more quickly with each and every drop. Soon Atem's heart was starting to follow that rate. One that was far to fast for the organ to take. The lack of a steady rhythm cause Atem's hole body to quake, and his head tilt back as he screamed.

Screamed as the darkness started to touch the edges of his vision, screamed as the world started to swirl from the blood less. Screamed as the pain finally took him down to his knees.

This was worse than anything Atem had ever prepared for, worse than anything he could ever have imagined. Even as his body started to shut down from the blood lose, Atem realized that that there was more happening here than his death.

The puzzle was doing something. Blood was no longer going inside the puzzle. Instead it seemed to overflow from between the edges, and the remaining blood that was flowing in was coating the smooth surface in a rusty, metallic red.

Finally Atem became too tired to scream any longer. Losing his balance, Atem fell jforward landing on his face against the stained stone floor. Dimly he was aware of the blood that stained his cheek. He curled up tight as the pain over took every single atom of his body, and the bright red glow started to disappear.

Atem was afraid to shut his eyes, for he knew at this point that if he did that would be the last time he ever closed them again. But his eyelids where becoming to heavy to hold open any more. Atem searched desperately through the pain to try and find something to focus on, to distract him from the pain and tiredness.

Out of the corner of his eye, Atem spotted the puzzle from where it had landed in the centre of the puzzle. Atem realized that he had curled himself around it when he fell, and his blood drenched hand was resting slightly on top.

Atem could feel the heat resonating from the item as the pulsing grew faster and faster until it felt like it was vibrating.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light enveloped the puzzle, glowing far brighter than anything else had ever dreamed, as bright as the sun. It burned at Atem's eyes, at his skin... it was so bright. It felt like the flesh was being burnt away from the bone in the space of three seconds.

Atem let loose one last scream as his entire body was enveloped in the light, as his vision blacked out, and the burning pain enveloped his face and chest, Atem could see the Puzzle give one final pulse before it shattered.

A beam of light erupted from the temple, shooting straight up into the air. All of Egypt paused in their fighting and mourning as their heads all shot up into the air. The beam was beautiful, a mix of every colour that it was possible to name, and some that none of them had ever seen before.

The beam widened in the sky, spreading out farther, sweeping across the sands, pass the useless walls, and though he destroyed city. The light bathed everyone in a gentle warmth, filling the Egyptian with hope even as they sat by the dead.

In the distance, the Dark one screamed a horrible animal like screech as the light struck through him like a night. The dark partials that formed his body ripped asunder by the magic. The priests all paused as their own items lit up in response.

The dark one was gone.

When it was all over, Egypt would rebuild stronger and more powerful than before. Everyone would pause to think about the young Pharaoh that had disappeared from the battle right before the beam of light struck the city. They would praise him, knowing that it was because of this Pharaoh that the had a chance to bury their dead and move on with their life.

However, out of respect for the chosen God, his name was never spoken again. Even as generations passed, and the story was passed on from generation to generation the name was never spoken until it was forgotten entirely.

Maybe that was a good thing. For a body was never found, their Savior never given the proper rights for a burial. To speak his name would only bring damnation on already wandering soul.

The story went that the only thing that had been removed from the temple was the broken remains of the puzzle, that still burnt with gold fire. The temple itself looked like nothing had ever existed their. The Puzzle pieces where placed within a box, and where placed within a quickly done stone sarcophagus, one that would not have been completed from decades more... one that should of been the Pharaoh's. The rest of the times where placed on the top, set onto their individual resting places. And buried in what would have been the Pharaoh's tomb.

Waiting, patiently for history to repeat itself once more. Until 3000 years later a teenager thousands of miles away from the tombs of egypt solved the millennium puzzle.