The Arabian Desert, East of the Nile. Al Ahmar
Tumble weed suddenly rolls past a desert side-winder; frightening the snake and making it slide its curved body smoothly into the sand. The air is hot, boiled by the harsh sun. Suddenly, clouds begin to gather. In moments, the sunny desert turns dark as early night, and the foreign rumble of thunder scares the baffled desert animals into their fiery hot holes. Sand dunes begin to heave as though the earth has a heartbeat. An unnatural coldness eliminates the haze of the torrid desert air and from the darkest part of the stormy clouds, Nut, born of the sky, emerges.
A sand dune explodes, raising brown sand into the sky. The second one, He of the Earth, comes forth. Geb.
Suddenly a comet lands in the nearby sand dune. Amun, the Elder, has arrived.
The mortals of Egypt, West of the Nile, feel the tremors. They know their gods have come. Wards against evil are redrawn in freshly spilled blood. Doors are locked shut. The palace shuts down. The incense censers cease to pour forth smoke and the adulations in the temples dry up as Egypt falls to silence. Even the god-king dare not stretch his neck to the desert.
The three elder gods are the points of a pyramid, the primeval sigil of power. It has been aeons since they found company with one another; that age when they bound the beast Apep, before submitting themselves into sleep, having handed the earth over to their spawn, their pantheon. Now, they have awakened again for the same purpose.
“She comes”, Amun intones, his voice inseparable from the rumble of thunder. His body crackles with lightning. His robes are calm, though the desert is pummelled by harsh winds. Amun, creator.
For a moment, the sounds of lightning and thunder cease. Impossible silence reigns as the universe welcomes another powerful being. Lightning crackles while performing a picturesque dance over an area of sand within the coverage of the gods, and the grains begin to move in a fluid whirl, like water. The three do not waste time waiting for the serpentine form of Apep to manifest. Apep was never to be underestimated. They hurry towards the troubled sea of sand, hands and eyes glowing with power.
As they converge on the troubled spot, Apep with a mighty cry of fury shoots out, head first. Her many eyeballs ablaze with fire from the rage of her age-long imprisonment. She thrashes, her gargantuan head darting in all direction, searching. Then she sees him, Amun, the orchestrator of her torment and her burning rage crystallizes into icy hate. She lunges at him.
Osiris, Lord of the Sun Palace.
Ra, the stranger from another place, had not come to pay him obeisance. He had not even revealed himself in any apparent way since his coming. Had Osiris not being attentive to the Sun and it’s workings, he would not have known that it had bound itself to the yet unseen stranger. Now it is all revealed. Apep has been released and Anubis had renounced his sonship to be re-united with the bloodythirsty Wepawet, his war Aspect. Set is no more…and this ursuper, Ra (they say he is a glorified Hawk) has cast a challenge. The battle field is on the Nubian Desert, that desolate plain outside his realm of influence. His displeasure at his authority being challenged is so great, it has taken the soul of the pharaoh’s queen to satiate him.
He regards his loyal ones; Nephthys, Sobek, Sekhmet and Horus his son, by Isis.
“Prepare for glory”, he says, as he climbs down his throne of luminescent gold. He regards his hands as he brings it up. They are glowing, manifesting his rage. He strides solemnly in his magnificent armour till he reaches the edge of the floating circular palace, and looks down upon the earth, his ovoid eyes taking in the view he desired. The scene below grated on his senses. True power was at work down there.
He had only just learned of the release of Apep. The elders had come down to put the beast back into its pit, but the damage had already been done. Osiris could no longer draw on the strength of the Elders as Lord of the Palace, for they had broken their sleep. Ra was a sly dog. He had known this. Had Isis told him? Now he would face this Ra with his own strength. Osiris was not perturbed in the least, but this would have been much easier if the Apep had not been released. Very well then…
He lifted his face rudely to the Sun and gave a hostile cry as he ‘fell’ to the desert below.
His cohorts followed suit.
Apep, the mighty serpent rushed towards Amun, and only just missed ramming her monstrous head into his form because he moved sideways in a flash. The force of her head on the sand caused a minor tremor. Nut and Geb took advantage of this momentary confusion from the blow and shot towards her head, both arriving in tandem and dealing a powerful blow each. The serpent raised her head suddenly and Nut and Geb were sent flying through the air as her muscular tail swiped them from behind. Amun called down lightning and struck her shiny length. She didn’t even cry out.
“I have spent the ages of my isolation preparing myself for this. Do you think your tricks of light can slay me? Curse you Amun; I shall feed on your essence this day!”
Fire jumped from her mouth and struck at Amun. He raised an invisible shield, so that he was still standing when the flames quickly burned out.
“Shush, serpent! Your revealing is not to my purpose. You go back to your origin this day”
By a sleight of his hand, tongues of fire fell from the agitated dark skies and rained upon the serpent. She burrowed savagely into the dune to escape the stings, and Amun; the first Elder caused the sand to cough her back out and watched as she was thrown into the air. Apep would not be overcome. From her dark protruding scales materialised a torrent of fiery spikes. They fell quickly to the ground, their piercing heat melting the desert sand into rough glass and causing her adversaries to shield themselves. This distraction extinguished Amun’s firestorm.
Then she did something she had never done before. Perhaps it was her anger that caused it.
As she fell back to the ground, she reduced drastically in size and slithered faster than a Egyptian Asp toward the surprised Amun, wrapped her scaly length about his lower parts and flung him at the nearest entity, Geb. It happened so fast. Apep was already on the move again, but Nut drew to herself the air between the particles of desert sand beneath the dragon causing the desert floor to collapse like weakened granite slabs from the quarries of Thebes. This slowed her down, giving the other two fallen gods time to collect themselves them and shoot balls of power at her. They both hit her square on her serpentine head, stunning her.
Halfway through his fall, an upwards-surging ball of white heat hit Osiris in the face, forcing his form to rebound upwards into the sky for a while before he righted himself and regained balance. He instantly materialised his sword and raised it just in time to parry a powerful blow from Ra’s as Ra appeared above him and struck. They stood apart now, floating on the air currents.
“It is you who challenges me? Your destruction shall serve as a deterrent to all who would defy my Lordship”, Osiris hissed
“This day, as long as the Sun burns, you will fall by the hand of Ra”, his adversary countered
And so they battled. Time was not to be wasted.
The cohorts of Osiris were caught off guard for a moment as they continued their fall. Osiris had begun his battle. Theirs would soon begin.
They landed powerfully on their feet on the soft desert, causing a minor sandstorm, and barely had time to reconnoitre their surrounding before Anubis in his war aspect, Wepawet the armoured ,two-metre tall Wolf-Jackal, threw himself at Sobek of the Crocodiles and Entertainer of War. The others did not pay mind. This was the way of the celestials. One to exclusively match another in battle
Selket, the Mistress of Scorpions, suddenly lifted herself from beneath the sands and joined battle with Nephthys, the fire-breathing goddess of Lamentation and death.
The Leonine-faced Sekhmet materialised in full battle armour, silently challenging Horus the deity of the Day.
The War of the gods began.
The stunning of Apep was a decisive move. It so appeared that the three gods had surrounded Apep. Each shot chains of lightning around the throat of the giant slithering abomination, seeking to strangle her to a subdued state. Apep had already anticipated this, for this was how they had bound her before. She did the only thing she knew would save her; instead of trying to attack all three at the same in a fit of blind determination, she went for one. Geb.
She pulled powerfully on the ethereal chains of the other two gods as she headed for Geb, while spitting a fireball at him. Geb quickly levitated, holding on to his chains. Apep roared in rage. The other two gods began pulling down on their hands, causing the chains of lightning to wrestle down Apep’s head violently on the ground, raising a sea of sand. They succeeded, and Apep was further weakened by a blow to the head.
Ra battled Osiris in the skies above while their minions made war on the ground. Lightning flashed amidst the clanging of swords in the heavens as both tussled for the throne. Osiris did not give way to Ra’s onslaught. Frogs leapt forth from the Nile and water turned to blood as the two deities resisted each other. The skies over Egypt darkened and the air turned icy whenever Osiris had the advantage.
Osiris had a mastery of the sword which was not competently rivalled by Ra, but what the latter lacked in skills, he made up for in speed. His reflexes were the only thing that kept him from falling before Osiris, as they flashed across the desert sky with swords clanging violently and producing streaks of blue lightning. There was never enough time for Ra to use his abilities for Osiris held him captive within the realm of duelling.
After what seemed like an eternity of striking and parrying wildly, there was a miscalculation and Ra overreached with a thrust of his sword, and he was struck powerfully on side of his face with the flat of Osiris’ blade. The powerful stunning blow threw him far from the immediate presence of Osiris. His adversary was strong, Immensely strong. Little wonder he was Lord of the palace. Osiris took advantage of Ra’s weakness and headed straight, determined to make one last strike to subdue the fool that challenged him to battle.
In those few moments, Ra called upon the power of the sun. It was the only opportunity that had opened to use his powers. He suddenly had an inspiration. As Osiris drove the tip of his sword into the apparently weakened figure of Ra, the unexpected happened.
Ra burst into tiny spheres of light. Osiris, totally unprepared for this, couldn’t stop his movement and ended with within the tiny thousands of sphere. He suddenly felt vulnerable and made to shoot himself out of the presence of Ra.
“You shall not defy Ra”, the voice came from everywhere at once, a split-second before each sphere exploded mightily. This was Ra replicating what happened continually on the surface of the Sun.
At this moment, when Ra’s victory was being accomplished and Apep the serpent was slightly weakened, reality froze and all existence went into suspended animation.
Isis waited at the vacant Umm Bissila Mines on the barren plains of the Arabian Desert. It had been five days since the decisive battle and the Sun Palace was now filled with subjects but no king. They had called a temporary truce after the disappearances. The tension was still palpable, especially between Nephthys and Isis, but no one was ready to break into battle when an end was not foreseeable. Horus had refrained from laying claim to the throne, for Anubis had called Osiris father before him and would fight him to the death. The fact that he had regained his powerful War aspect wasn’t lost on the falcon-head Horus. They would wait for the return of the one who would be their King.
She didn’t know what exactly she was waiting for at this location, but she believed it had something to do with the disappearances. She had felt the tug to come here and just wait. She had been standing on the same spot for two days.
Ra, Amun and his spawn had not been found after the battle. The others knew something had happened, but no one remembered exactly when the personalities left the fray. One moment they were there, and the next they were gone.
It began raining in the desert. She waited apprehensively. This strange occurrence could only mean the time for the unexpected was at hand.
The space north of her position shimmered unnaturally, a loud rustling sound, blinding light…and Ra tumbled head-first from empty space into her presence. She was startled.
She started toward him, but he was on his feet before she could reach out to help him.
Ra stood straight. There was something different about his visage. She felt a power about him that was not present before. He smelt of the sun…and something else, something more powerful.
He looked at her solemnly and a light smile played across his features. His ovoid eyes had a strange blue hue to them, almost faux illumination. He lowered his eyelids halfway as he spoke.
“Isis, consort” Isis started at the sound of his voice. It was now gentle, yet commanding, the sound of one who was sure he would be obeyed. This Ra was evolved.
“You shall not bow to me as Ra”
Then he that was known as Ra told her his new name. It was welcomed with lightning and thunder. The desert winds howled at its pronunciation.
And Isis fell before her god.
Thanks for reading. the finale comes up on Sunday at 9am 🙂