A Truckload of Seth – All Free To Read!

Last month was a mess, this month doesn’t look good either. I am exhausted and trying to negotiate my way through too many committments and my partner’s emotional needs so there was absolutely no time for a Kemetic Resources Roundup.

However, I have managed to get hold of a bunch of publications on Seth, and I think that the Seth-kids following me might like them. All are available on Academia.edu, except the PhD thesis from Birmingham, which I think I got from the Birmigham e-Thesis repository.

Deconstructing the Iconography of Seth – Ian Robert Taylor, PhD Thesis, 2017, University of Birmingham

This thesis is a lengthy, detailed analysis of basically all the instances of the image of Seth in Ancient Egyptian art/writing (almost all, I think he missed a couple from Sethsightings and those from the unofficial survey of Carlo Bergmann), with extensive descriptions and statistics. The aim is to: 1) see if there was a standard way of depicting Seth and 2) seeing how the representation changes with the progressive proscription. The author wades through the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, the Book of the Dead and hieratic and demotic texts, scrutinising the different ways of writing the name of Seth (ideographic vs phonetic, different signs and determinatives, etc..), then moves to the “Sites of Seth” and the worship in the Oases (my favourite part), and to the depictions in temples and tombs, noting the form in which He is depicted and the way His name is written. Examples of personal piety such as theophoric names, amulets and stelae for public display are also analysed. Two chapters are dedicated to an extensive (too extensive) graphical analysis of the zoomorphic and bimorphic (i.e. anthro) images of Seth, with lots of statistics (and no confidence intervals or significance levels). I think the latter is too fine grained for the purpose, but the overall conclusion is that there are no two images of Seth that look the same and there was no standard model. A diachronic assessment of the changes yields the same results as most of the current scholarship, that is that the proscription was limited in time, space and scope and that only some images of Seth (the typhonian animal and the donkey) were execrated, while other depictions were not.

tl;dr: Extremely recommended to get your fill of all the Seth that is left in AE art, including some little-known joys, but the statistical part is deadly boring. Skip it.

The Camel as a Sethian Creature – F. Goudard, in Essays for the Library of Seshat, Studies Presented to Janet H. Johnson on the Occasion of Her 70th Birthday, ed. Robert K. Ritner, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilisation 70, Oriental Institute of Chicago, 2017.

From a specialist in demotic literature, this paper analyses the association between Seth and camels, based on some remarks from the demotic papyrus p. Berlin p.8278 on the Koiak festival, in which Seth is likened to a gml3 = camel because he takes water for himself to Isis and Horus’ detriment. Apparently the Ancient Egyptians didn’t like camels, imported probably from Assyria during the traumatic 3rd Intermediate Period. Camels are desert-adapted animals that stink, spit, make a lot of braying noises (like donkeys) and have also a vengeful character (they will get back at you, eventually). If the shoe fits…

Hathor et Seth, Passeurs de l’Autre – Dimitri Meeks in Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 84/1, The Gods of the Others, the Gods and the Others, Università La Sapienza Roma, 2018 (published by Ed. Morcelliana)

This paper by one of my favourite Egyptologists, Prof Dimitri Meeks, is a preliminary analysis on how both Hathor and Seth have acquired their transcultural position of mediators with foreign countries/patheons in Ancient Egyptian religion. The part on Seth deals mostly with his synchretisation/interpretation with West Semitic Storm-Deities such as Baal of Ugarit and Teshub/Tarhun, but still yields some interesting, novel (at least for me) nuggets, such as the existence of a Sethian cult centre in the Western Delta in the Old Kingdom and the custom of letting bedouins in Egypt for foraging on the 3rd Epagomenal Day. The part on Hathor, instead hit me like a sledgehammer, as it insisted a lot on her connections to the depths of the earth (turquoise) but also of the sea and to sailing. Being much a sea-kid, it made me think if there is any connection between Hathor/Ba’alat Gebel of Byblos and Asherah. Another aspect of Hathor that I had not considered is her role as psychopomp, mediator between the world of the living and the Duat, as she is apparently the deity who brings messages to Osiris (according to the papyrus Vandier). Dulcis in fundo, the paper asks whether Seth and Hathor were a divine couple in Ombos in predynastic times, as they are both transcultural, linked to drunkennes and to gold. In the light of the fact that Nebt-Het and Hathor have a lot of points in common and share quite a few epithets and synchretisms, especially in the Late Period, this is interesting food for thought.

There is a good chance that this is just the first article in a series or that one of Prof Meeks’ PhD students will be writing a thesis about this in the future.

The paper is in French, so if you have linguistic trouble, PM me on Tumblr and I will make my notes available on Penflip.

Foreign Deities, Fronteri Deities: Evidence from the Old KIngdom – Valeria Turriziani in Current Research in Egyptology 2013, ed. K: Accetta, R. Fellinger, P. Lourenço Gonçalves S. Musselwhite and W.P. Van Pelt, Oxbow Books 2014

I have first heard of this paper back in 2013, while I was scouting the interwebs for information on Ash for a creative writing project I have been dragging on since adolescence. It was under a paywall, so I wrote to the author, and since she is a lovely person, she gave me some anticipations, which I incorporated into my now-abandoned draft and which informed my worship of Ash.
Five years later, the paper is now available on Academia.edu as an offprint. It contains information on a group of little-known, minor frontier deities: Ash, Igai, Ha from the Western Desert and the Oases; Dedun from Nubia, Khensyt, most liley also from Nubia, and scarcely-attested Seret. It also analyses the position in the pantheon of more well-known deities Sopdu and Anukhet. The main aim of the paper is determining whether these deities are foreign deities incorporated in the Egyptian pantheon from the Old Kingdom or whether they are Egyptian deities who have acquired foreign trappings as a consequence of their role of protectors of the borders. Except from Anukhet , Dedun and perhaps also Khensyt, who are likely to be assimilated foreign deities, the latter seems to be the case for the examples described.

Of note, she has another paper on foreign deities on the same book as that of Prof. Meeks above (offprint not yet available). There are so many good articles in it.. Hopefully I will manage a cramming session at the Bod before the winter holidays.

That’s it for this month. Hopefully November will be less messy.

Featured Image by Nicolas Jehly


Free Kemetic Resources Roundup August 2018

Welcome back to another Free Kemetic Resources Roundup.

Unfortunately this summer my life has been a complete mess, between submissions to academic papers for work, academic missions, submissions to literary magazines and general craziness, including Wep Ronpet, so I have missed two appointments.

I am afraid that this round won’t be grandiose enough to make up for the two missed ones, but I guess it will have to suffice.

No particular theme either, just a few things I have found surfing around the web during the hiatus.

First of all from the Dictionary.com website, a list of words derived from Ancient Egyptian, including, of course, ebony and ivory.

Another list of Ancient Egyptian Loanwords that found their way into English, much longer and graded by likelihood of the ethymology, can be found on egyptologyforum.org. A word of warning though, the author of this list is quite critical of the Black Athena Afrocentric theories so I would recommend skipping it if this attitude irks/irritates you.

Related, it might be worth checking out the Egyptologists’ Electronic Forumas a whole. It is a mailing list and bulletin board that aims to connect academics with people interested in Ancient Egypt; it seems bit old-fashioned, but it is currently updated and on the homepage you can access a range of other goodies, including digitized publications, databases, etc… Definitely worth it.

Moving to AV resources, this moth we have a VR experience that lets you walk around and explore the famed tomb of Nefertari, Great Royal Wife of Ramesses II. Developed by the folks from Curiosity Stream, a company that specializes in producing on-demand non-fiction content (documentaries), this VR experience is unfortunately only available to those people who own an HTC Vive device… Bollox!

Another change of direction towards dig/project websites.

First of all the Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project from the University of Memphis (not the one in Egypt, XD). I stumbled upon it because I was looking for pictures of Seti I being fabulous on war chariots, but I stayed for the detailed description of the architecture of the Hall, for the explanations of different epigraphic techniques and findings, for the complete photographic tour and the freely available project reports. One is in French, but you can’t really have it all sometimes.

Second, and sorry if this month is mostly about my special interests, we have the Hyksos Enigma Project, conducted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Bournemouth and led by one of my favourite egyptologists, Prof Manfred Bietak,. This project is aimed at studying the Hyksos, who ruled the Delta from Het-Waret in the 2nd Intermediate Period, from an archeological, paleoantropological and paleobiological point of view, to try and figure out where they came from, what was their historic trajectory and where went afterwards. The grant for this project was awarded in 2016, so there isn’t a whole lot of info online yet, but watch this space.

Third, and still firmly within my research/fandom interests, the fascinating and sometimes mind-boggling website of the independet researcher/Saharan explorer Carlo Bergmann. This German dude has spent (almost) every winter since 1982 travelling around the Sahara with his camels first and then with his jeep (by his won admission, he’s growing too old for camel rides), scouring the rock shelters and caynons of the Egyptian Sahara for petroglyphs, rock painting and engravings and has documented sites where no other archeologist has been. He is also famous for his (rather controversial) theory that much of the later Dynastic Egyptian heology originated from the nomadic pastoralists population that lived in the Sahara at the end of the Saharan Wet Phase (Saharan Ceramic). His website is convoluted, but there are a lot of interesting tidbits hidden within his survey reports, including quite a bit of new, otherwise unknown images of Seth. I recommend using CTRL +F and digging in.

And this is it for this month. The September update might be late or not happen at all because holidays, finally.

Uncle Sethehemnakht’s First Wep Ronpet

And now for Wep Ronpet something completely different: a Late Bronze Age Fanfic, featuring a bunch of sons and daughters of Ramesses II, a disgruntled former Hittite Emperor and a nonbinary Syrian charioteer.

Inspired on real events of the Late Bronze Age, the carnival of Salvador da bahia and its escolas de samba, plus a truckload of imagination. I have headcanons about the Ramessids.

Hopefully the RL people in it are not too angry at me, especially as I treated them at least a bit better than some other authors (*cough*Christian Jacques *cough*). Being written as queer and polyamorous is better than not existing at all or being written as an abuser and an idiot.

Mild CW because Nefertari and Seth-her-kepesh-ef were technically (at least) half-siblings, even though they were married IRL. Also Urhi-Teshub/Sethemnakht has what would later be described as PTSD, because let’s face it, he’s been through a lot even in RL.

“Nakht! Nakht! Wake up!” someone calls, shaking him gently. Someone else giggles close by.

Urhi-Teshub, once called Mursili, third of his name, former Labarna of Hatti, and now known as Sethemnakht by his new family, opens a bleary eye. The room is still dark, but the other side of the bed is empty and cooling and his erstwhile bedmates are already dressed and stand expactantly next to the bed, fully dressed and eager to go.

“It’s not even sunrise, go away!” he mutters, but only half-heartedly. It’s Wep Ronpet, his first since he arrived in Kemet, and he has agreed to take part in the celebrations. It’s just his luck that celebrations are supposed to start at the asscrack of dawn.

He rolls out of bed and grabs the tunic he had the sense to lay out the night before, struggling into it with the poor coordination of someone who would have slept for a few more hours.

“Remind me, why are we doing this?” he asks.

“To chase all the demons of isfet away and have a fresh start to the year. And because it’s really fun, you’ll see.” Crown Prince Seth-her-kepesh-ef, AKA K’shef replies with one of his trademark grins. His red hair is still tousled with sleep in a way that makes Urhi-Teshub’s fingers itch to bury themselves in it.

“It’s been a family tradition since the time the Old Temple of Seth was built, and you are family now, love.” his wife Nefertari points out, laying a warm, warm hand on his arm.

“Yes, even father used to do it before he was crowned, and grandfather before him, and so on. We’ve always saluted Khepri-Ra and called the new year forth like this.” K’shef adds, nodding to himself.

“I too was skeptical at first, but you’re going to love it, promise.” Matbaal jumps in. Zie is dressed as a man today, as K’shef’s charioteer. Zie is a maryannu, a warrior youth, from the contested lands in Amurru, but has been living in Per-Ramesses ever since Kadesh, and by now behaves almost as if zie’s never lived anywhere else.

“Alright. Alright. – Urhi-Teshub concedes – Let’s get going, shall we?” he adds, stepping towards the door.

“Hang in there, handsome. Here, this is for you.” K’shef stops him. Something flies through the air and Urhi-Teshub catches it by reflex. It’s a small parcel wrapped in soft cloth. He looks a question at his former enemy and his family, but they only nod, so he unties the knots with shaky fingers.

Inside the red cloth there is one earring, wrought in gold, its pendent moon-shaped and decorated with a bull in a marsh thicket in red, turquoise and blue enamel.

“Wow… it’s beautiful…” he whispers, half struck with awe. It’s not just that the workmanship of the earring is amazing, but also that after all he’s been through he’s grown unused to kindness and affection and it always surprises him that people would want to give him gifts.

“Happy New Year, handsome.” K’shef says, placing a brief kiss on his lips.

“Why…? Why this gift?” Urhi-Teshub finds himself asking.

“New Year tradition.” Matybaal shrugs zir shoulders.

“But I don’t have anything to give you.” he protests.

Not only he didn’t know anything about this gift-giving tradition, but even if he had, he’s lost everything when he’s been ousted from the throne and now has nothing to his name, not even the clothes on his back. All he has he owes to the generosity of the King, bloody Ramesses Meryamun, and of his family, who for some reason decided to take in a failure like him and give him a chance.

“For us it’s enough that you’re here with us and that you’re better.” Nefertari intervenes with her customary kind but steely tone.

She slips the earring out of his fingers and undoes the clasp.

“May I?” she asks.

Urhi-Teshub nods and moves his hair away, letting her clasp it on his only remaining ear.

Nefertari steps back from her work with a pleased smile.

“Perfect.” she declares, then places a kiss on his lips.

“Mom! Dad! Aunt Maty! Stop doing the naked thing with Uncle Nakht! We need to get going or we’ll be late!” Little Seti, the oldest son of K’shef and Nefertari, calls from the other side of the door, rapping it hard enough to wake half the palace.

Nefertari rolls her eyes and lets go of him.

“Saved by the gong…” she teases.

Even though she should be married to her half-brother K’shef and he should be married to Matybaal, the fact that each of them is doing the other three is the worst-kept secret of Per-Ramesses, but nobody seems to care, least of all the kids.

“Alright, alright, we’re coming!” K’shef declares, much to the delight of Little Seti and his baby sister Tuya, who start bouncing up and down like crazed little monkeys.

The whole family makes its way to the imbarcadero and to the little non-descript boat that awaits them. On Wep Ronpet there are no princes, nobles, or simple citizens. All party together, so they put their backs to it and start rowing to the other side of the city, to the Old Temple, built a little over 400 years before next to the old harbour.

They are in fact late. When they get to the plaza in front of the temple it is already full of people with drums, trumpets, whistles and sistri. Chatter and jangling mix in the cool morning air and the northern wind brings the smell of the sea, some twenty leagues away.

“Took you long enough, brother!” exclaims Sethemwia, one of K’shef’s younger brothers and the Chief Admiral of the Navy. He has his brother’s red hair, but coily like his Nubian mother’s, and tons of freckles all over his sandy skin.

“Sorry brother. Preparations took longer than expected.” K’shef replies with one of his winning smiles.

“I can see that. You all look spiffy. Especially my two favourite little monkeys! Now who wants presents?!” Sethemwia exclaims, turning towards the kids, who giggle and whoop in delight.

Among the crowd Urhi-Teshub can see a few more of K’shef’s siblings, but mostly veterans and their families and people from the local district. The rest of the princes have split between the various quarters of the city: scholarly Khaemwaset and young Merenptah will march with the temple of Ptah, P’re-her-wenem-ef and Montu-her-kepesh-ef will march under the banners of Ra, while Ramesses Junior will likely be among the drummers of the temple of Amun.

Urhi-Teshub takes the red strip of cloth from the old lady who is handing them out to the performers and uses it to tie up his hair in a Hittite war-braid. He’s not technically going to war, but they will be fighting demons with their noise and at least his hair won’t get in the way.

Everybody will have a good view of his missing ear, lost in battle at Kadesh, but he cannot care less. The crowd of the Temple of Seth is made mostly by veterans, many of whom have gained their scars in the same battle as him. He will blend in just fine.

He picks up his drum from the cart, checks the wrappings around the drumstick handles and slides in position among the ranks, next to K’shef, Matybaal and Sethemwia. The kids are a couple of rows in front, under the watchful eye of the high priest of Seth, armed with sistri, rattles and whistles, while Nefertari, bedecked in ribbons and feathers to resemble the Bennu bird on the day of creation, has joined the other dancers at the front, as expected.

They have rehearsed this for a while, ever since K’shef brought him to the Temple to meet his Lord and alleged divine ancestor, back when Urhi-Teshub was still barely recovered from his ordeals. The Lord of the Temple was somewhat similar to his erstwhile patron Tarhun Pihasassi, the Storm God of Hatti, only a lot more angry, reckless and feral. Urhi-Teshub had felt an instant kinship with Him, a feeling of support and understanding from a dethroned, maligned king to another.

It goes without saying that after that he has spent a significant amount of his time at the Old Temple, basking in the comfort of knowing that survival and growth were possible even after a mess like the one he had been through. He had drawn strength from the strange deity of that town, and in the process he had found himself involved in all sorts of local matters and activities gravitating around the sanctuary. And then with the serenity he had managed to found has come the realisation that even better things could be in store for him as long as he dared to open himself to the possibilty without fear of more betrayal.

He had been looking for spiritual comfort, and in the process he has found himself a community friends, brothers, three wonderful lovers, two amazing children to look after, a family. The unconditional support of his new patron and the kindness of his rescuers had made all of that possible.

“Come on Followers of Seth! Time to let the rest of the city know why they call us Loud Of Voice!” the High Priest yells, taking his place at the head of the procession with his divine standard and his full regalia.

“And one! And two! And one, two, three! GO!” the old man cries, rising the standard and letting it fall again.

It’s the signal: Urhi-Teshub wacks his sticks against the skin of the drum with a vengeance, together with the rest of the troop. sistri are shaken, rattles are rattled, the people start singing and clapping as they dance and the Bennu dancers shake their feathered costumes in an imitation of flight.

Step by step the procession advances through the streets of Per-Ramesses among wings of jubilating population. Flowers are thrown in their path, and the people cheer and hoot and join the procession, singing the praise of the Creator Ra who gave them all air to breathe, the inundation to thrive on and Ma’at of which everythig lives.

Urhi-Teshub plays his drum with abandon. His voice is already hoarse from singing, his heart is full of joy and any memory of the irritation he has felt for having to wake up so early has abandoned him.

The sun rises over the Temples and canals, over the palace and the barracks, bathing him with its divine life.

They say that Wep Ronpet is a time of rebirth. It certainly feels so.

The Long, Dark Night of the Sun

Meditative (but not too much) fiction on Nebt-Het on the 5th Epagomenal Day 2018, because She doesn’t get enough attention, which She should because She is amazing and because Her story has so much unexplored conflict and so many feels that’s a damn waste. Also, She and Seth rock together and I will fight anyone who says the contrary.

Based on several myths and tons of personal gnosis/feels, plus CT 373.

I am exagerating some plot points for dramatic/narrative effect. I mean no disrespect.

CW: angst, shame, guilt, low self-esteem, unhealthy coping mechanisms, language, violence, some manipulation, drowning, blood and gore.

Not a darkfic. Happy ending guaranteed.

Nebt-Het doesn’t know why she has let her sister convince her to board the Night Barque with her. Or rather, she knows it all too well.

It’s the cold season, when nights are the longest and the Barque is most threatened by the creatures of isfet, and tonight is the longest night of all, when the the Creator Ra-Atum is at their weakest. It’s nearly an all-hands-on-deck job to keep Them safe and Aset is determined to make her appearance and show the rest of the netjeru that she is smarter, wiser and more powerful than the lot of them by repelling the s/nake and all its minions with her magic.

Nebt-Het would have been content to stay in her quarters at the palace, to read and weave a little bit, maybe have a look at the ledgers and fix the purchase orders, or look after Heru’s gaggle of children, content to believe that her days of sailing and fighting were over and gone like her ill-fated marriage, but Aset knows what makes her tick and is not above using it.

Nebt-Het has served on the Barque long enough to know that no matter how powerful and wise a netjeret, accidents can happen, and Aset knows that she knows.

“If you don’t come, little sister, who will protect me?” she asks.

“Would you let me brave the s/nake alone?” she insists when Nebt-Het pretends she’s not heard her.

“You’re the only one I can trust to watch my back. Please… if you don’t come I won’t be able to go either.” she says, delivering the final blow.

As much as Nebt-Het doesn’t want to be in a radius of 10 thousand paces of her former workplace, she knows all too well that the safety of the Barque is paramount and that the crew needs Aset and her magic on this most risky day. She cannot put all of that in jeopardy for the sake of her persobal comfort. She has to go.

“Alright, alright. Let me just get my shawl.” she concedes finally, putting on a brave face for the sake of her sister.

Her brave face lasts only until their landing at the quay. They are among the first to arrive, thankfully, and the person that she doesn’t want to meet will only arrive at the end, when Ra is ready to switch ships, nevertheless her heart thumps in his chest like a war drum and her hands feel shaky and cold.

As more and more netjeru arrive, Nebt-Het wraps herself more tightly in her shawl and presses herself closer to her sister, almost blending in her shadow. She doesn’t want to be seen, but she doesn’t want to embarrass her with her anti-social, childish behaviour. She is there to support her, she has to be seen, so she braves the glances, the stares, the glares.

They haven’t told her to her face, but she knows that many in the Great Ennead and beyond blame her for pushing the conflict between her brothers to a head with her indiscretion. They don’t know about their agreement, they wouldn’t want to know.

It is all too convenient to blame everything on Seth’s supposed wickedness and greed and her promiscuity and wantonness, instead of questioning the behaviour of their beloved king in the months prior to his death: the climate of paranoia and suspicion the king had created around them, the humiliations he had inflicted them up to the absurd request that they give up baby Anup as a hostage to ensure their good behaviour.

No, better to keep quiet about it, lest they sound disloyal to the dead and to the Perfect One’s heir. Questions are impolitic. Disapproval is much more in vogue.

It is convenient for the courtiers to believe that everything would have been much better if she had had the self-respect not to whore herself out to her sister’s husband because of her supposed insatisfaction. They are not brave enough to tell her what they think of her, but they are definitely self-righteous enough to treat her with coldness and contempt for her supposed sins.

Nebt-Het keep her mouth shut and her eyes down. She doesn’t want to know who is staring, she doesn’t want to get angry at them and make a scene. She has already caused her family enough embarrassment.

“Are you alright?” Aset asks.

Nebt-Het nods and paints a thin smile on her face.

“It’s just the glare of the sun. You know how sensitive my eyes are…” she lies. She doesn’t want to ruin her sister’s day.

Ra arrives shortly afterwards, with his entourage of genies and spirits, with Sia, Hu and Heka, his heralds, and his troop of bodyguards.

It’s been months since the last time she’s seen her estranged husband, since the day he was defeated and thrown into the dirt at the feet of Heru’s throne, many years since she’s been any closer to him than the length of the weapon in her hands, but the call of his presence is still as powerful as as it always was.

Nebt-Het shifts her gaze away at the first glimpse of sandy skin and red hair, she turns her back at him, but her traitorous heart misses a beat anyway. If she could she would rip it out of her chest.

She doesn’t miss him, or worry for him, or feel anything at all for him but contempt and anger for destroying their family, she tells herself. Whatever she might have been before, she is a loyal, loving sister now, one that does not long for her brother’s assassin, that does not dream of the sound of his voice or the touch of his skin, one that does not ache with longing and loneliness from being apart from him, one that does not wish she could roll back time and somehow make things return the way they were when they were happy together, a family.

She wraps her power around her like a second shawl, shielding herself from the heady, electric buzz of his presence. Her skin and her hair are as dark as she can make them, just a shade lighter and more muted than Aset’s copper and lapis-lazuli black. She lets her spare, boyish form fill out and erases every freckle from her face and shoulders. She used to love how she shared this unique feature with her husband, but now she isn’t willing to concede him even this satisfaction.

She’s Aset twin, her helper, her companion. Her form shows where her loyalty lies, and if he is saddened by this implicit refusal, all the better, she tells herself, ignoring the way her skin feels tight and itchy and wrong.

The trip is a torture, but she bears it bravely. Her darkness-adapted eyes never stray from the wake of the Barque, her bow sings like a bird of prey, despatching demon after demon as they try to crawl over the gunwhales and board. She is still as good at this as she ever was.

His voice echoes in the darkness behind her, barking orders and yelling battlecries, his laughter sounds like distant thunder among the splashes and yells and explosions. She wills herself to ignore it, but it’s all to easy for her to imagine herself to be back in the days in which they fought together at the prow of the Barque, bow and spear, fire and thunder.

She’s so focused on ignoring everything that is not the demons in front of her that ot takes her a few moments to process the yell when she hears it.

“All hands! All hands! The w/orm is upon us!” one of the genies yells. The worm emerges from the black, oily waters, as thick and long as a palm tree, fangs dripping venom. Countless arrows fly towards it, only to be turned away by his flint-like scales.

Aset starts drawing her power together, her voice rises in a mighty chant of binding, but it will take time to be fully effective and that is just the w/orm’s opening move.

The ship grinds into a bone-jarring halt onto what appears to be a sandbank, but Nebt-Het doesn’t lose her footing. She’s done this for too long to fall for that trick. Sure-footed, she makes her way to the prow, shooting one fire-tipped arrow after the other at the w/orm and yelling all the worst swear-words she knows at it. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference in the bigger picture, but it does for her: she has not felt so good, so light in a long time.

One of her arrows finally finds its mark: it flies straight and true into one of the w/orm’s platter-sized eyes, making it erupt in a spray of flaming, stinky gunk.

The w/o/rm trashes madly in agony and the rest of its coils emerge from the waters, all around the Barque.

“Good shot! You got it really mad, love!” Seth exclaims, chuckling as if it was the coolest thing ever.

“I am not your love.”

The words itch on her tongue, but replying would mean akcnowledging him, and that’s not something she is willing to do. His praise, his very existence means nothing to her.

Oily water splashes over the gunwhales on the alteady grimy deck. The w/orm inhales a raspy breath and hacks out a spray of sizzling acid. Nebt-Het side-steps neatly, only to collide with something at her back.

A jolt of electricity goes through her as her shields overload and collapse. It has been long, so very long since the last time she has experienced it, but the feeling of her skin pressed against his, of their powers mingling is enough to steal her breath away and make her freeze for a moment, caught between misery and delight.

She turns without realising and finally she sees him: he’s spattered with blood and ichor, bruised, disheveled and yet he is the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen and he’s looking at her with a rapt, delighted expression.

“Hey, you two! Watch out!” someone yells.

“Wha…?” Nebt-Het’s slightly inane question is cut short by a heavy, slimy impact that sends her flying across the deck, to impact with a crash against the side of the Barque.

Seth yells a curse as he flies overboard. Thick coils wrap around him, dragging him under. The water churns into bloody foam.

Nebt-Het is back on her feet before she knows. She leaps straight over the side, headfirst into the water and shifts her shape as she hits it. She is a fish now, the Abdu fish, ten cubits of scaly muscle, with sharp eyes and sharper, serrated teeth.

“My Lord Seth! Hang in there!” one of the sailors yells, picking up an oar and beating the shit out of the closest coil, but it doesn’t release him. Through the chaos Nebt-Het thinks she’s seen him turn into a hippo. That form’s lung capacity will gain him a bit more time, but not if the w/orm manages to squeeze him to death.

She swims her way into the melee and sinks her teeth into the coils. She twists and turns, tearing chunks of rank, disgusting meat off the w/orm’s bones. Her fins are like knives. The water turns to a bloody soup, but her efforts are enough. The mangled coils loosen around severed nerves and muscles, and Seth turns back to his smaller human form and slips out.

Nebt-Het darts towards him and lets him grab her dorsal fin without a second thought, then kicks her tail into great pushes to compensate for the extra weight. By the time their heads breach the surface, he’s gone limp and still against her, his lips are blue and his chest is still. Nebt-Het panics for a moment as he slips off her back. Only one thought occupies her mind in its entirety: she can’t lose him again.

She shifts back to her usual form. She needs hands so that she can hold his head above the water, a human mouth to speak words of magic.

“Hidden are the ways for those who pass by! Light is perished and darkness comes into being! Life is provided! Air is breathed among the waters!” she yells at the top of her lungs, but it still isn’t enough and she doesn’t have the time to chant it over and over until it works, not with the current pulling them away from the Barque and the w/orm who could get its act together and come for them at any moment.

“Air is breathed among the waters! Breathe!” she repeats, and presses her lips against his, pushing breath and heka into him as hard as she can.

He comes to with a jolt, coughing water and thrashing instinctively, looking for something to fight, like he always does.

“Calm down. It’s alright. You’re safe.” she whispers, trying to keep him from drowning them both.

“Nebt-Het… you… you saved me.” he manages to say, still sputtering water.

She wishes she could say something witty to push him away, but all she manages it a vague noise and a massive blush.

“We need to get out of here.” she finally says.

“No time for that. Can you fly?” he retorts. The w/orm has had enough of thrashing and is now charging back through the waters towards them.

“What do I need to do?” she asks, gathering her heka for the transformation. It’s incredible how easily she has fallen back into the old pattern.

“Put its other eye out, set it on fire, distract him for me. Buy me time.” Seth explains, a wicked glint in his eyes.

Nebt-Het nods and takes off before her tongue can get the best of her. She soars in the flat, cool air of the Duat, gaining altitude, then dives towards the wo/rm’s head, claws outstretched, skreeching madly. She misses by a hair, turns back and tries again, getting in its face.

“Burn, abomination!” she skreeches. A plume of fire jets from her beak, making it flinch and retreat for a moment before its huge, foul head snaps forward, jaws outstretched to try and swallow her whole. Nebt-Het dodges out of the way and manages to land on its head.

“Get a move!” she yells and she shifts again, turning back into her feminine shape. Huge knives appear in her hands. She sinks them in the w/orm’s eyes to the hilt, blinding it. She hangs on as tightly as she can, but the thing thrashes so violently that she goes flying again, out on the water, and not a moment too soon, because Seth appears, leaping from the shore, spear in hand, wreathed in lightning, yelling his battle-cry.

The meteor iron tip of his weapon pierces the wo/rm’s stone skin and the heka courses through its body, overheating what passes for its blood, and in a blink of an eye the w/orm explodes like a poorly cooked vase, showering everybody in the vicinity in charred guts and gore.

“Yes! That was awesome!” Seth yells. He’s back in the water, none worse for the wear, and he’s swimming towards her, as if nothing had ever changed.

“I have missed this. I have missed you.” he adds. They are floating together, close enough to touch if they wanted. She wants it, she wants it a lot, even though she knows she shouldn’t.

“It was a mistake. It means nothing.” she lies. She still would rather die than see him come to harm. She’s a traitor.

“It means everything to me.” he says and she still loves the way he’s upfront about these things.

“Look I know I messed up, alright? I understand why you are mad at me and don’t want to see me again, but… the sad truth is that I am not over you, Nebt-Het. I am still yours, maybe I will always be. I just wish… I don’t know. That we could fix things. That you could come back home. It’s a half life without you.” he continues, a hopeful look in his eyes.

Tears gather in Nebt-Het’s eyes. It hurts to hear him say all the things that she feels but has never dared to admit. It hurts in a good way, like rebirth, like being freed from a shackle.

She can’t say the words, but her heka says them for her: her skin returns to its sandy-pale colour, her braids bleach back to the colour of linen, and freckles bloom anew on her skin, like grass regrowing after a drought. She is still his, deep in heart she has never ceased to be, not even when she tore down a cave on top of him or set him on fire.

“Forgive me sister, but I can’t…” she thinks. She can’t throw all of this away.

“I missed you too.” she whispers, and this time when their lips press against each other is to exchange something even more vital than breath.


Meditative fiction on Aset for the 4th Epagomenal Day 2018.

I don’t work with Her but it is pretty much impossible to read about Egyptian mythology without finding out loads about Her, and there is also a lot of UPG coming from my interactions with other deities from Her family. I am exaggerating plot points for narrative/dramatic effect but as always I mean no disrespect.

Heru has freckles because one of his epithets is He of Speckled Plumage. Seth and Nebt-Het have them because UPG.

CW: grief, angst, depression, suicidal thoughts (sort of), language.

Their hut on the island of Chemmis is a far cry from Osiris’ kingly palace, but by now it feels quite homey.

Chemmis is far away from the court, from intrigue and danger. It is safe because of its isolation in the almost impenetrable marshes of the Delta and Aset knows she and her sister couldn’t keep on running and hiding in plain sight even if she wanted to.

The quest to retrive all the scattered pieces of her beloved husband, the magic she has woven to revive Osiris and transmutate him into the King of the Duat, the stress of finding him again, of talking, touching, loving him again and then immediately losing him, the grief, the demands of pregnancy and delivery; she has ben through a lot, and it has left her physically and emotionally drained, too exhausted to keep a step ahead of Seth and his minions.

Now she has someone else to look after too, someone innocent and vulnerable, the last gift Osiris has left her.

Little Heru, her son, legitimate heir to the throne of Osiris. He’s the only reason she has kept going on at all after losing Osiris again, the only reason she’s not let herself die too to be with him forever.

Even now at times she feels too tired to go on, she feels like she only wants to lay down and sleep forever, but she can’t. Not yet.

If Osiris’s death could not be fixed with her magic, it will be avenged by his son. And for that she needs to live, she needs to make sure he grows strong and wise, smart and fair, she needs to make sure he is prepared for his quest, for his sacred duty.

This is a task she cannot entrust anyone else: not to her sister with her conflicted loyalties and the love she still bears to her murderous bastard of a husband, in spite of everything; not to her loyal friends who followed her into this self-imposed exile. This is something that she needs to do herself.

One day her grief will find closure with the defeat of the Usurper, but that day is long in coming. For now all she can do is look after her son, keep him safe and sound and make sure he grows into the man he needs to be.

Aset cradles him to her chest, rocking him gently. Apart from the inky curls on his head and perhaps the straight line of his nose, he does not look much like his father. He has her copper skin, but there are dark dots scattered across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, freckles like those on the face of her sister, like those all over the Usurper’s sand-coloured skin, and his eyes are a light, undefined colour, something between purplish, blue and grey. Nebt-Het says it is notmal, that her son Anup was born like that too, but she is terrified that they will end up being the colour of storm-clouds like the Usurper’s. She doesn’t want him a to have a claim to any part of her son.

And yet, when she allows herself to think that thought she knows that in truth she is raising Heru to be his in a way: his nemesis, his defeat, his death even, but his nevertheless.

Those days she wishes she was never anything but what she claims to be, a peasant woman on the run from a cruel, abusive village headsman, seeking to restart a new life somewhere safe and welcoming, she whishes that she didn’t have to look out for the Usurper’s minions, that she didn’t have to hide her powers and bide her time, to raise her only son, her only love, her only joy to be a weapon.

She whishes that this quiet village in the marshes was all the future held for her and her son, that she could just watch Heru grow up and become a fisherman like the rest, that he could just find a good wife in the next village and have a bunch of pretty, ordinary children, that she could grow old mending nets and minding her grandchildren, that no more challenges or suffering were in store for any of them, but none of this is really possible.

She has her duty and he his, and yet sometimes she weeps not just for the life that they lost together with Osiris, but also for the ones that they can’t have.

The Voice of the Sea

Not-so meditative fiction about Seth on the 3rd Epagomenal Day 2018, because he is the absolute best.

Inspired by the Astarte Papyrus.

CW: violence, language, angst, blood and gore.

As soon as he arrives on the beach, he realises things are quite bad.

“There is a giant snake-fish-man-thing on the beach” kind of bad, which thankfully is his favourite kind of bad.

Seth banks towards the sand and plummets down as fast as his wings allow, without ever looking back to see if Ba’al is following him on that cloud of his.

The sand feels good under his feet, it’s a bit like being back home in the desert and he feels immediately refreshed, even after a long night fighting the s/nake on the Barque.

Fishface must have planned his attack quite carefully, timing it when the majority of the heavy hitters would be busy with kicking s/nake ass in the Duat. Thankfully Heru, Sobek and the two Ladies have managed to keep him occupied somehow, probably by stalling.

Threatening waves churn just off the coast, held in place as a deterrent in case any of the netjeru tries to rebel, but nothing seems too horribly compromised, no one is dead or too mangled and he is the first one back, which means that Fishface’s ass is his to kick. Perfect, he thinks, chuckling to himself.

“Hey Fishface! Yes, you! I’m down here!” he yells at the top of his lungs, attracting the snake-fish-man-thing’s attention and interrupting his tirade on how he was the most amazing thing to ever grace the surface of the Earth.

“I am Yammu, Lord of the Sea, also known as Judge Nahar, the most powerful of the Elohim and legitimate sovereign of Ugarit. Who dares disturb me?!” the fish-dude asks, turning towards him with what he must think amounts to a baleful stare.

“Wow, so you are him, eh? I have to say, you don’t look much like your brother Ba’al. I mean, no offence, but he doesn’t look like a cross between a snake and a dyspeptic fish… But you have different mothers, don’t you?” Seth continues, unfazed.

Yammu’s mismatched mouthful of needle-like teeth grinds together with an ominous sound, but Seth ignores it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t even make it to the top ten of the scariest things he’s seen.

“I’m Seth, Lord of the Storm, Chosen of Ra and Protector of the Solar Barque. I came here to chew natron and kick ass, and I run out of natron. This is my hammer. How can we help you?” he introduces himself, summoning his weapon. He hasn’t really had time to clean it and it’s still covered in demon bits. All the better, he thinks.

Yammu eyes him and his weapon with a shrewd glint in his fishy eyes.

“So you are him. The Usurper. The Traitor. The Outcast. The one who lost the throne to his weaker, younger sibling.” Yammu hisses finally, eyes narrowing. A forked tongue flicks out, tasting the air.

“And that’s nothing so pleasant to be reminded of…” Seth thinks. Why is he even letting Fishface talk, he asks himself. He should be kicking the jerk’s arse into the next plane of existence before the others arrive and steal his kill, but something in his voice makes him pause and listen.

“We’re not so different you and I. Strong, powerful kings who have been dethroned by unworthy whelps and their cohorts with tricks and subterfuge. We should be ruling, not them. ” Fishface continues.

He has a nice voice for a snake-fish-man-thing, and some of the things he is saying make quite a bit of sense. He is undoubtedly stronger then Heru, and his little brother has cheated countless times in their contendings. Even in their final duel, the kid’s only managed to hit him where it hurts because the reflection of the sun on his shield dazzled him…

“You should join me, Seth. Together we could rule both Kemet and Ugarit with an iron grip. We could be have whatever we want, make these weaklings, these worms, grovel at our feet.”

Seth’s brows furrow in concentration. There is something not quite right, but at the moment he can’t quite figure out what it is. If only Fishface would stop nattering, maybe he would be able to concentrate long enough to do so.

“We could take their riches, their land, their women… The Universe would be ours for the taking… We deserve it.” Fishface natters on obliviously, with that irritating fishy-snaky lisp of his, but what makes him snap is probably the self-congratulatory undertone he detects in his voice. It’s as if by letting him talk he’s pleasing him and he’s not in the habit of pleasing anyone who tries to steal his mom’s jewellry, humiliate his favourite enemy, and kidnap one of his lady-friends for nefarious purposes.

“Would you shut up for a second?!” he roars, surging forward with a mighty leap and a snap of his wings.

His hammer connects with Fishface’s jaw, caving it in, but one blow is not satisfying enough and he dives to follow as Yammu falls backwards.

“Shut up! Shut up!” he yells as he rains blow after blow on any available part of Fishface’s slithering, bucking, thrashing form.

He had never really wanted to be king, but there no one else around better qualified after he killed Osiris, so he had shouldered that duty and tried his best to do Ma’at, even though he was not the right man for the job, because it was his responsibility, his duty. It had never been about greed or about jealousy, about the advantages he could have gained from being king. It had been about his family and about how he’d been played into believing that Osiris wanted to tear it apart.

And the only reason he hadn’t immediately given the crown to Heru when he had showed up was because a weak king was worse than no king at all, and he’d had to make sure, make double damn sure that Heru was strong enough to do what was needed, to be the King Kemet needed. And maybe what Kemet needed was a smart king, one that could talk his way out of sticky situation, one that played to his strengths and solved problems with the tools he had at his disposal, whatever they might be.

Heru is his king now, and he doesn’t want the damn crown back. He is happy with the way things are because he had been a barely decent king but he is the best at the job he has now, at standing between Kemet and the monsters who threaten it, at being the necessary evil that keeps even worse stuff at bay.

“I am not like you! I. Am. NOT!” he yells, more to convince himself than him. His throat feels sore, his voice hoarse, his arms tired.

Something tackles him into the water and he loses his grip on the blood-slickened haft of his hammer. He goes underwater, thrashing to get free and gulps a mouthful of coppery blood-tainted water.

“Seth! Seth! Stop it, damn you! Stop it! He’s dead!” a voice yells in his ear.

He manages to find which way is up, get his feet under him and emerge. What’s left of Yammu floats a few feet away. There is almost nothing left of his stupid fishy face, only a few fragments of scales, bone and brains. The water is shallow and calm and almost completely red with blood. The menacing waves are gone.

“Did I… did I do this?” he manages to say. His head spins, everything aches. There is no better kill than overkill, but that’s a bit extreme even for him.

“Yep. All on your own.” Nebt-Het replies. Her dress and her white-braided hair are drenched in blood and water, but she is smiling. Seth decides to take it as a good sign.

“He was trying to hypnotize me.” he mutters, trying to keep his balance though he feels close to passing out.

“Note to self: never try to hypnotize Seth. He emphatically does not like it.” Nebt-Het jokes. Her arm slides around his waist, supporting him discreetly.

“You are not like him, love. Everyone who knows you knows that.” she whispers as she leads him to the shore.

The sand under his feet makes him feel instantly better again, but as he sits near the break he notices something red and with a familiar shape floating in the blood-stained foam and grabs it.

“Is that…?” Heru asks, a question in his sharp, mismatched eyes.

“Yammu’s heart? Yep. Got it in one.” he replies.

“And what do you plan to do with it?” Heru insists with a tinge of worry.

“First of all, we don’t want this asshole here to return again, right? Second, we have this great unknown at our door and we need to take ownership of it.”Seth replies, deliberately vague.

“So…?” Falcon-boy tilts his head in a cute, bird-like gesture of confusion and interest.

“So, maybe all that power would make one insane like him. What if we share it? Each of us takes a chunk and an aspect.” he proposes.

“You want to consume it?!”Heru looks horrified, but intrigued. Good.

“Got a better idea?” he goads.

Heru keeps silent, then shakes his head.

“Thought so.” Seth comments with a smirk. A flint kinfe appears in his hand. He calls his heka and the tough, fibrous heart falls into pieces.

“So, who’s in?” he asks.

Many hands reach out to grab a piece: Nebt-Het of course, and Heru, marsh boy that he is, and Aset who was never going to leave any opportunity for power pass her, and even some wild cards like Hapy, who claims their piece with a disgusted grimace.

Seth claims the last one and consumes it in one bite. The power of the waves and of the stormy seas crashes through him. It is his now. He sees sailors and travellers and explorers, captivated by the distant horizon, adventurers, enthralled by the voice of the sea, and madmen, braving its power with flimsy boards and sails and lots of courage and laughter, and he loves what he sees.

“I will never be like you, Yammu. I will be better.”

Heavy Is the Head

Meditative fiction on Heru on the 2nd Epagomenal Day 2018.

This is mostly about Heru Sa-Aset, with dashes of Heru-Wer. I have to say that I don’t interact very much with them, but my personal understanding is that they are two temporally distinct versions (pre-osirian and post-osirian) of the same general entity, the falcon deity of the sky and regality.

Same as people generally don’t say that there are two Seths (even though a minority of scholars do), but just different ways of seeing the same deity depending on the historical and mythological context, I don’t feel like separating the pre-osirian and post-osirian Herus so rigidly does Them any justice.

Granted, Heru Sa-Aset can be thought of as a less “wide/vast” deity because He is portrayed as more explicitly humanized and vulnerable, because His mythical parable is sort of subservient to that of Osiris and Isis, who are both rather large characters, especially Isis, and because the narrative He’s most known for is rather like a Farmhand-to-Royalty classic fantasy/fairytale trope, but I feel that the original mythologic kernel, that of the battle for the kingdom between Him and Seth remains the same, and that by winning Heru son of Isis graduates to becoming an adult and a king in his own right, Horus the Great.

So, following the footsteps of Gwyn Griffiths and of Bernard Mathieu I am going to go ahead with the idea that both Herus are aspects of the same deity.

Horus-centric, with appearances from Aset, Nebt-Het, Hathor, Ra and generally the Greater Ennead. I am conflating several different versions of the myth for narrative/dramatic reasons. I mean no disrespect.

FYI, Seth’s weapon in the flashback sequence is a homage to a very sethian character in Star Wars.

CW: implied violence, wounds, injuries, injuries to the eyes, angst, language, messed up relationships.

The double crown, the crown of Geb his grandfather, is heavy on his head, but at least it doesn’t burn him, not like it did his father before.

A wry smile appears on his lips. At least in this he’s better than his beloved father, he thinks, but then immediately suppresses that ungrateful thought. He’s better than that, he tells himself. He’s the King now, he needs to act the part and not whine and huff like the immature kid many still take him to be.

He straightens on the throne, trying to make himself look taller, more imposing, more like the adult warrior who defeated the strongest of the netjeru in single combat than like the boy from Chemmis who still dreams of his free, simple life between the marshes and the sea.

With his one good eye he surveys the gathered Ennead. His other eye and most of his face throb with pain after his foe’s final assault and the fierce glare of the sun is doing nothing for his headache, but he can’t allow himself any weakness.

His mother sits next to him on a smaller chair, a step below his on the dais, his wife Hathor on the opposite side, and one step below sits his aunt Nebt-Het, wrapped head to toe in a veil that leaves her face obscured, so that no one can divine what she’s feeling. Her head is turned away from the figure heaped in the dirt at the bottom of the dais, whether in disgust, residual fear or because she doesn’t want to see him come to harm Heru cannot tell.

Seth, finally defeated, lies in the dirt bound by unbreakable fetters that Geb has wrought with his magic. While he was knocked out by his mother’s and his wife’s magic as they tried to heal him, he must have tried to rebel against the guards, because, as far as he remembers, he wasn’t that messed up at the end of their duel.

Or maybe the guards just wanted to prove their loyalty to their new king by beating the crap out of their wounded, fettered former master.

Horus feels a wave of irritation rise within him, but somehow manages to suppress the implulse of pinching the bridge of his nose. Given the current state of his face, that sounds like a really bad idea.

Seth’s face doesn’t look much better now. His big, hooked nose is probably broken, his lips are split and his skin is covered in welts and bruises, but somehow he still manages to push himself to his knees and look up at him with a defiant air, as if to dare him to do his worse.

Heru knows that some in his court want him to show his strength by executing the rebel. His life for Osiris’s life. It seems fitting, it seems justice, but Heru cannot bring himself to do it.

It’s not just that without Seth to defend it from the s/nake every day the Solar Barque and all Creation would be at risk, it’s also that somehow he feels as if he owed the red-haired bastard this much.

He does owe him, in fact.

His mother might have told him about magic and politics and his life as a fisherman in the marshes might have taught him prudence, patience and leadership, but for good or for worse it has been Seth and not his defunct father the one who has taught him how to be ( or most often how not to be) a king.

He’s worked hard to be in the position he is now, he’s risked all.

He’s stronger, wiser, much more resilient thanks to their struggle, to him really. In a distorted, messed up way, Seth has been more of a father figure to him that Osiris could ever dream of be from his throne in the Duat.

“Now you really look like Heru the Great, brother mine. It is an honour to fight against you.” Seth told him just before their duel, with his usual manic grin and an ironic bow.

Heru suspects that it was just yet another move to throw him off-balance for the fight, like deciding to fight with a spear with an iron top at either end of the shaft, but in that moment he had been too happy to care.

It’s incredible how much those words, that recognition, meant to him. Even now, if he thinks about it, he can almost imagine (remember, deep inside his bones) an alternate reality in which there is no vengeance, no baggage, just the two of them, sword in hand, fighting for the crown, in which after the fight there is no humiliation or punishment, just healing, reconciliation. The two of them, working together, almost reigning together, their flaws and strengths balanced by the other, complete and whole.

Heru mourns the loss of that never-was (long past, overwritten) world. He wonders if Seth can imagine (remember) it too, but he didn’t have the courage to ask then, and now is definitely not the right time for any activity with any potential for humiliation.

If he discharges his duty to the end, completing his quest for justice with the death of the murderer, of the regicide, of the traitor, that moment, that dream (memory) of a happier, simpler time will disappear forever and he can’t… he can’t take it. It would hurt, almost as much as the loss of his eye. It would be almost as if another part of him was torn out of him.

He has already given the cause and his father enough. He’s given them his innocence, his sweat and tears, his blood, the last eighty years of his life, his eye. They can’t have this. No, this belongs to him only.

His silence has already lasted too long, though, and the Ennead is getting restless. Eighty years of trial have ahown him how badly things can get out of hand thanks to them. He needs to get to a deliberation soon, but how?

In desperation he turns towards the only one who can understand him at the moment: not his mother, not his beloved aunt, not his former protectors or his wife, but his nemesis.

He turns to Seth, boring into him with the gaze of his only remaining eye, willing him to repent, or at least pretend to, to bow his head and ask for mercy, for a grace he is only too willing to give, but of course the stubborn bastard only tries to stand taller. He’s not going to yield, not even now.

“Do you realise you are going to die?!” He thinks, probably hard enough for him to overhear it, but of course there is no reply and his heart nearly shatters.

The mutterings of the crowd are getting louder and louder. Time has ran out, he has to do something.

He speaks. Him mother and his protectors have taught him everything about rhetoric and it is so ingrained in him that he must do a pretty good job of his inaugural speech even through the daze of pain and his churning feelings.

The crown has never felt heavier, and through the haze he asks himself if this is in a way his last trial for kingship, to let go of what he has found on the way to start afresh, without baggage, so that he can put the trial behind and be his own man.

He is about to say the words he wishes he didn’t have to when Ra, the Universal Lord speaks from his Barque.

“Let Seth live with me on the Solar Barque and defend it from the manifestations of isfet. I will keep him from doing harm. He will never set foot in Kemet again.” They say, and their voice seems to hold a hint of sadness. Perpetual exile is better than death but not a lot.

Nevertheless Heru feels nearly weak with relief at those words. That is a proposal he cannot refuse even if he wanted to, that saves them both and his reputation too.

“Done. The crown grants him this grace and commutes his sentence to perpetual exile.” he declares. Thankfully the throne is uncomfortable enough that he cannot slump too far down with adrenalin withdrawal as Seth’s chains disappear and two sailors of the Barque materialise to carry him away.

“This is not the end.” Seth seems to say as they disappear.

Horus only smiles. He dearly hopes so.