He hid himself in the Valley of the Kings, under the tombs of the greatest remembered. When the desert is thrashed by the winds that come in from east of the Nile and the sand storms arise, Set harbours every particle, his powerful mind calculating each trajectory and stipulating the course of events. When they who render fealty to him are caught up in his embrace, his aspect is revealed as a coalition of rapidly vibrating dark particles. Set sees all.
His eyes open suddenly, particles in his face forming a circular space to denote this action. He had been in solid darkness a moment ago before his meditation. Now, the musky tomb was bathed with light like the center of the sun. A presence stood behind him. One which had come with considerable stealth despite its highly conspicuous aspect.
Set would not let another being cause him trepidation. He closed his eyes, a mild apprehension at this gamble tugging at him. If this stranger had come with malevolence, it would have been carried out swiftly.
“Stranger, what is it you seek in the presence of Set?”
Ra stared at his host, particles of light twirling quickly around his form. A startling contrast to the bleak darkness that was Set. Power was present in this room. Nothing like the weakened and greedy Anubis. His eyes shone brightly as he opened his beak to make announcement.
“He who has mastery over the workings of Disorder, I seek your fellowship…” Ra paused to gauge an early reaction.
Set was silent. He stood still, facing away. waiting. Ra continued, strangely impressed.
“I have learned that your consort Nephthys has defiled herself with Osiris, Lord of the palace. If you did not know this, I shall assume you have not planned comeuppance. I offer you a more rewarding path and unabashedly state my desire. I seek the seat of Osiris. I desire that the Sun, Ra, encircle my form as I sit upon the throne at the centre of the Palace. Join my campaign, for I make ready to battle Osiris and all who incline their ear to the sound of his voice… The Lord of the Mound has sworn allegiance already at the price of the return of his War aspect, and the sister of your unfaithful consort, Isis… has shown great sympathy towards my purpose. ” he spoke slowly, watching the swirling mass of dark particles for some involuntary response. Set had not moved all the while even at the mention of his concubine’s infidelity. Isis had been sure he hadn’t known about it. Was she wrong?
The empty space in front of Ra suddenly grew denser as darkness coalesced into being and Set; Master of Entropy, He who considers the trajectory of every grain of sand in a sandstorm stood before Ra; He who had bound himself to the sun by virtue of their equivalent appellations.
“Why would I risk my respect in the Palace to help you, a rebel? What makes you more worthy than I to sit as Lord?”
Ra hid his mirth.
“If you wanted to reign before my coming, I would be having this talk with another, for you would have usurped that son of a dim star, Osiris. It is not your intention to reign supreme for you take pleasure in solitude and hiding. The restraints of power do not give pleasure to the Chaos that is you. You are a strange one, immortal. I have learned of you since my coming. The others openly wonder about why you never show yourself anymore and I hear that even those who worship you long for your embrace. ”, Ra paused for a moment and changed direction, “The beast Apep plays a part. I need you to seek its release from the dungeon in the Du’at. ..I need the elders to come down and use their might. I must battle Osiris in his own strength”, he paused again, “…and as to why I am worthier…”
Set’s body broke through the roof of the sealed tomb before he was completely certain Ra had struck him. He tunneled upwards through sixteen yards of earth before he broke the surface of the desert and crashed on the ground, creating a small crater in the compacted sand. He was already up and moving before Ra levitated out the tunnel. Egypt was already enveloped by the darkness of night. The only witnesses to this scene were the ancient monuments to the pharaohs and a group of marauding grave robbers on a far away tomb.
The Valley of the Kings was bathed in brilliant white light for a quick moment as Ra’s form met violently with that of Seth. Chaos was unraveled, Light was disseminated. The grave robbers found themselves blinded, permanently. The forms of the two dueling gods merged, one attempting to overcome the other, their tussle urging the silent plain into a violent sandstorm.
“You will lend me your allegiance”, Ra growled above the howling wind.
“You cannot bind chaos to your whim, stranger, unless it so agrees.” Set drawled, enjoying the tussle.
Their energies were focused. None would give way to another.
The particles of brilliant light were the first to coalesce into the furious form of Ra. He opened his dark beak and gave a cry that resonated with the roaring thunder in the firmament above before Set’s darkness enveloped him. A ball of light erupted from the sky and rammed into the scattered particles that was Set. Set’s heavy voice sounded in a tortured groan mixed with anger at the audacity of this Ra. The particles dissipated suddenly and coalesced into the figure of Set behind Ra before he could swivel to meet him. He didn’t see which part of Set the blow came from, but his beak was buried in sand before he made sense of Set’s maneuver. Set didn’t stop. The desert sand solidified into thick serrated bands of off-white sandstone and began to tighten around the subdued figure of Ra. Pain coursed through his body and he cried out as the bands cut deeper and deeper into his leathery skin.
Set laughed mirthlessly, “Yes! Caw like the glorified bird that you are, stranger. I shall not acknowledge you until you best me. You will prove your mettle before Set, or I will banish you to the realm of that cur, Anubis.”
Ra’s screams ceased at the mention of Anubis; to be so belittled to the strata of one he now had power over stoked the embers of his easily stirred rage. His eyes glowed with sudden power at the audacity of Set. He had once been commander of the Sakuteri of Emperor Asu-Raneh back on his home world. He was now an Immortal who had bounded this world’s sun to himself for eternity; Set shall never lord it over him. He spoke in gasps as he stood with great difficulty under the yoke of Set’s restraints.
“I Am Ra… and you… shall submit… to ME!”
With a howl of rage, Ra transfigured into a specter of solid light. A powerful beam of sunlight drew a straight path from his feet, covering the distance between the gods to the feet of Set and exploded, launching him high into the air in a shower of sand. He was still below his amplitude before Ra appeared above him, a shimmering ball of light and heat in the desert night. Set tried to disperse,but his adversary was quicker; Ra’s beak opened in a victory squawk as he shot a ball of power at the still rising figure of Set, shooting him back into the ground as forcefully as he had been shot out, causing the earth to tremble slightly. The desert storm suddenly stilled and the sound of falling sand could be heard as far as the river plains of the Nile as Chaos was subdued and Set bowed to the might of Ra.
Anubis, Isis and Bastet, her maiden stood behind Set as they regarded the Portal of AKhanistet, the prison. Each bellow made by a furious and imprisoned Apep, Serpent from the Nile rattled the floor and shook their resolve. Anubis, Lord of the Dead was in his element. His wolf head was held high; his pride was almost like a cloak around him and he felt most at ease, for this was the Underworld, his realm.
Bastet, the maiden of Isis and who was mistress over all felines was the most agitated. She did not share their blind faith in this avian god who forced his way to their world and tried to topple it but she had no right to go in a direction different from that of her mistress. Isis had chosen to follow the stranger from another world. Her lot was forever with bound with the path of Isis.
It had been decided that the bound representation of ultimate evil, the serpent Apep be released to force the hand of the others to battle and cause the awakening of the Elders. Ra was on his way to the Sun to revel in meditation, and the goddess Isis had already foretold of the heat of battle that would soon be upon them. Now was the time.
Isis drew out her divinity staff and drew a circle of light on the blackened floor. She drew the necessary wards sigils in and around it and spoke life into the circle. The young gods gasped as they heard her tongue twist with words, stirring ancient magic in their bones. As scions of the first generation; Anubis and Bastet had never heard the forgotten language spoken before and marvelled at what other secrets their parents had held from them.
“Now!!!” Isis shrieked and Set stepped into the warded circle just before it flared and coated him in a thin sliver of light. Anubis, acting on their carefully ordered plan, threw his circlet of runes at his cuckolded step father who caught it out of the air fitted it around his arm, summoning the beast Ammit from her eternal station. She materialized and roared her pleasure at being released from the dull monotony of the Hall of Truth. Drawing from the depth of Ammit’s knowledge about the rites involved in this venture, Set spoke with reverberating words to the pit that housed the shackled Serpent.
“Apep! I have come for you!! Too long has passed since you stirred the desert sands and wrought Chaos on the plains. Osiris is complacent, worrying himself only with adultery and childish mind games. Help rid the land of his weakened rule. We need him to join battle with us in his own strength!”
From within the depths, eight glittering eyes of differing hues opened glibly and a fiery yawn erupted to the surface. The heat singed the whiskers off the animal headed deities but Isis, Set and Ammit remained untouched. The serpent spoke in a slippery rasp that sound like thousands of scarab beetles scurrying across tomb floors.
“I have no fight with that repository of foolishness and weakness that is Osiris. My grouse is with those that have abased me so. I shall subdue and devour the sleeping ones, Amun and his spawn. Let me out and I shall let you slay your brother and his pawns when he falls. Revenge is all that has kept me awake and alert, eagerly waiting. I want my due, and then I may embrace the darkness”
Isis stepped forward and gently touched her brother’s arm. “You know the cost of releasing him? Can you bear it?” There were tears in her eyes.
Set’s features melted into something akin to ruefulness. He put a comforting hand over his sister’s. “The Apep isn’t the only one who has grown weary of Immortality. Chaos has crippled me. I find neither pleasure nor resentment in existence. When Ra petitioned me, I realized he had unwittingly given me a way out”
Set ripped off the circlet that bound him to Ammit, breaking the magic that held her to the Hall of Truth. She let out an ear piercing shriek and gamboled off in the opposite direction; away from the god and back into the darkness of the underworld. Set shoved his sister violently into the arms of her maiden and she let out a wail of despair as he let himself fall into the endless pit.
see you on friday at 9am for the next installment 🙂