Avalon 2.11: Deeper Underground

            It seems the sorceress had more than one trick up her sleeve, but she had no way of knowing that Wadjt and the Kairos were dear friends from long ago.  Once it was clear that the sorceress was effectively disarmed, ten-year-old Emotep acted like a real grownup.  He got Wadjt, defender of the north and young Sakhmet, defender of the south to make friends.  The future depended on it.  After all of that Serket, the scorpion goddess showed up and everyone vanished, together.

###

            Emotep found himself in a great room, cathedral sized, with columns regularly spaced to make a labyrinth of sorts indoors.  The stars could be seen in the spaces overhead.  The sun was to their left and cast great black shadows off to their right.  But the moon was to their right and full, and it cast its own shadows off to the left.

            “Where are we?” Katie asked the operative question. 

            “Home?” Sakhmet breathed the word.

            “Last time I was here, I thought I was in outer space and beyond that, I was a girl.”

            “Yes, about that,” Sakhmet turned on him.  “Would that make you my older-younger sister, or what?”

            “Sorry,” Emotep grinned at his memory of what mother Vrya of the Aesgard always called him.  He paraphrased.  “I am your brother even when I am your sister.”

            “That’s my Kairos,” Lockhart grinned, and all the more when Katie moved in close and took hold of him.  She was frightened.  They all were, and Neferet scooted around to where she could hold both Emotep’s and Sakhmet’s hands, and walk, if she wanted, with her eyes closed.

            Quite apart from the hot brightness of the sun and the glittering, silvery brightness of the moon, there was a greater brightness ahead of them.  Serket was gone, but in her place there came another woman, one who reminded Katie and Lockhart a little of Innan, the goddess of desire they met in the Middle East.  At first they imagined this might be the Egyptian version, but the woman looked at them and spoke.

            “Innan my mother,” she said.  She was dressed in armor, not unlike Emotep’s and looked hard, like for all her beauty she could kill in a heartbeat.  She grabbed Emotep’s chin and stared hard into his eyes for the longest time.  It was impossible for Emotep to bear until the woman made a pronouncement.  “Not my son.”  This triggered something to come up into Emotep’s eyes that blunted the stare of the goddess, and the words helped.

            “Not my mother,” he said.  She almost smiled and patted Neferet on the head before she turned to Sakhmet and grabbed her roughly by the upper arm. 

            Sakhmet protested.  “Mother!” but it did no good.

            “Daughter take too long to be here.”  She dragged Sakhmet off with one more word.  “Come.”

            They all followed until they came to an alter at the far end of the room.  Osiris was there shining brighter than the sun, standing on the pedestal that put him above everyone in the hall.  He was a ghost of sorts, but certainly not dead yet.

            Isis was also present with all four of her children.  Bast was in cat form and came to stand, or rather sit beside Neferet.  She allowed the little girl to let out her nervousness by petting her fur.  Anubis stood quiet, stately, and totally threatening in his jackal-headed presence which would frighten a minotaur. 

            Horus and Hathor were also there and stood beside their mother, Isis.  Hathor, who looked to be about twenty-one and no longer a teenager, had the true look of Innan about her, even more than Ishtar.  She was the Egyptian version of Innan.  Horus turned around last of all, and he had on glasses, and not the wire rimmed ones the Kairos made for Enki.  Horus had on black rimmed, square, purely geek glasses. 

            “I don’t know if I can,” he said to Emotep.

            “Just do your best,” Emotep responded.  “That is all I can ever do, but I have found when you do your best it is often better than you thought you could do.”

            “Very wise,” Osiris said from the podium.  His voice boomed through the great hall and gave all the mortals chills.  The voice was not dead, but not exactly alive either.  “But that is not why you are here.”

            Isis stepped up to Emotep and a few tears fell.  “Thank you,” she said, which was unheard of.  The gods never showed gratitude to anyone, especially a mortal.  “As long as his heart continues to beat now and then he remains partly in this world.”

            “It will be alright,” Emotep said, and added the word, “Grandma.”  Isis looked at him and started to shed some tears in earnest.  She reached out and kissed his forehead so he felt her tears run down his own cheeks.  She turned to walk back to the altar and her children as Mother Bast leaned over and licked Emotep’s hand.

            “Now, as for the worshipers of my brother dancing on my tomb –“ Osiris paused.  Something went out from Emotep, something he did not know, but even the gods paused to listen.

            “In a hundred years, Horus will find a way and Sakhmet will be taken by fury.  I will be there to help light the fire and douse the fire.  In a second hundred years, I will watch from the palace window while the two lands are united.  A child at last will rule in peace over the two lands and the sun will rejoice and the moon will be happy.”  Emotep shook his head.  “That is all I  know.  He looked up.  Toth was there.

            “Kairos.”  Toth nodded his head briefly as a sign of friendship to Emotep before he went to a knee before Osiris.  “Lord,” he said.  “These three come before you for judgment.  Their hearts were heavy until this last day when they sacrificed their own lives for the sake of the children.”

            Katie Harper drew in her breath.  She recognized one of the men, though they did not appear to notice her presence at all.  They were spirits only, ghosts not given to recognizing flesh and blood.  To be sure, they all noticed and seemed to recognize Emotep well enough, and without the least bit of surprise that he would be present among the gods; but they did not see Lockhart, Katie or Neferet at all.

            The ghosts fell to their knees before Osiris and then they fell to their faces.  Osiris spoke once more.  “I, too am grateful for seeing that one’s personal feelings must not interfere with the performance of one’s duty,”    There was a flash of light, Osiris bright, and Emotep, Neferet, Katie and Lockhart found themselves on the edge of Abydos, Lincoln and Decker having just emerged from the underground.

            “Sudden dismissal.” Lockhart took note.

            Emotep pointed behind them at the field of the dead.  “I imagine he has to judge a bunch there and doesn’t need our two cents.”  Emptep felt the tug on his sleeve.  He looked down at Neferet and then got down on one knee to be face to face with her.

            “Sakhmet?”  She was asking.

            “We will see her again, as soon as she learns to sneak away.” 

            Neferet looked satisfied with that answer.  They hugged and Neferet skipped off into the crowd of children and adults to find her father. 

            “Thank you,” Emotep said, sounding suddenly like the ten-year-old boy he was.

            Lockhart and Katie both glanced at the dead on the field and then the living parents and their children.  Lockhart spoke.  “You’re the boss.  I’m just the assistant director,” he turned to Katie.  “Which makes me the number two paper shuffler.”

            Katie said “Faugh,” but she did not quite get the accent right.

###     

            The travelers are optimistic, filled with the hope that the Danna in the next time zone might send them home without a need to continue through the time gates.  They know she is a full blooded goddess, not one made like Zoe.  The only trouble may be reaching her as they travel through a world like Tetamon’s world.  Men, spirits, gods and aliens are poised on the verge of what Lincoln calls the ancient version of World War II.  Reaching Danna may be doubly hard given all the creatures still on their trail, and especially the ones that seem to be catching up.

Avalon 2.12:  Celtic Dreams … Next Time

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