Egypt, 1991 BC:
Prince Amentep’s world had come to an end because of a stick roughly three feet long — an arrow. He prayed to all the gods of Egypt that a different odd-looking stick given to him by his uncle could give it a new beginning.
The prince cradled in his arms the body of his one true love, Taia of Thebes. The blood running down his body and dripping onto the ground told him that their time together would soon be at an end. She had taken the enchanted arrow meant for him and had told him she was glad that she was dying in his place as a testament of her love for him.
Every few moments, Taia’s dark, pain-filled eyes would flutter open, and she would gaze up into the face of her beloved. Each time, she found focusing much harder.
“Perhaps,” Taia said, her voice barely more than a whisper, “the gods will allow us more time together in our next lives. Farewell, my love.”
As her breath became little more than crimson bubbles on her lips until she finally stopped breathing, Prince Amentep barely registered the arrival of his uncle, who told him that the people wanted to make him the new pharaoh, now that the brief reign of the terrible Black Pharaoh was over. But Taia was gone; the prince had no wish to live without her.
Using the Ibistick given to him by his uncle, Prince Amentep ordered it to take its life, but nothing happened. His uncle first explained that it could to no harm to its owner, then told him an astounding truth. Because Princess Taia had been struck by an enchanted arrow, she was not truly dead but would merely sleep for the next four thousand years. As this realization fully hit him, he gave hurried instructions to his uncle.
Holding back his tears, he turned his attention back to the dying woman. He kissed her forehead and spoke to her one final time. “I don’t want to wait until our next life,” Amentep whispered.
Calling on the power of the Ibistick, Prince Amentep caused a deep sleep to come upon both Taia and himself. As his eyes closed, he felt her body lie next to him. He knew now that it wasn’t the limpness of death, but the peacefulness of rest, and he smiled.
The prince’s eyes were scarcely closed when his uncle called in the prince’s most loyal supporters, who spirited him and Taia away.
According to Amentep’s commands, their bodies were purified for mummification. Because of the powerful magic laid upon them, all that would be needed once the purification was complete was for the body to be wrapped in the prepared cloth. Once the process was complete, the bodies were carried to a hastily prepared tomb to be sealed in, awaiting the spell’s end.
The final act of the followers of Amentep was to place the Ibistick into the bandaged hands of the prince.
Thus, for nearly forty centuries, Prince Amentep and Taia of Thebes slumbered, remembered only by those who buried them and their descendants. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See 1st story, Ibis the Invincible #1 (1943) and Ibis the Invincible, Whiz Comics #2 (February, 1940).]