The Old World: Family
Voices. Noisy. Even though they speak quietly. I sense a sharp pain in my shoulders. My memory returns. The Ashura were here. Worried, I try to get up, but I fail. Halfway up, the pain is too much to bear. I cough and moan. An elderly female human hurries to my side. Her ash blonde hair is chopped short. I like it.
“Master Sekhmet, please be careful,” she says soothingly. “Your injuries are severe.”
“What happened?“ I gasp. The woman looks away. Obviously, this means nothing good.” What happened, human? ” I repeat the question, slightly annoyed.
" They... they took what they came for.”
" What about Ptah. I doubt he would let go of you so easily.”
“Woman, speak.” I am not known to be patient. She flinches, then finally decides to respond. “She... she forced him to come with her.”
“Oh... WHAT?!” I stare at her in disbelief. The human grows so uncomfortable she gets up and slowly walks backward, trusting in the protection of the wall.
“Why?!” I am still in disbelief. Only the pain reminds me that I am not dreaming. Finally, I get up. And fall. I forgot my broken leg. The woman tries to help me. I know she is trying her best. I calm down. And let myself be helped. Ptah always told me to rely on others every now and then. Not all problems are mine to solve.
I’m in bed again. “There is nothing we can do,” the woman quietly says. I want to disagree, but feel too exhausted to do so. Humans give up so easily, like sheep being led to slaughter. Well, not like they can change anything about that. But I can. I want to move fast, but my wounds are too grave. I had to stay in bed for several days. Finally, I am able to get on a horse — with a little help from the human woman. She offered to come with me, but I shake my head. I am heading to the Capital. That is no place for humans. Unless they were dragged in on chains. However, these humans here live freely. Ptah and I were merely protecting them until they could fend for themselves.
The travel is long. Too long. I needed seven days to get there, with several nights of riding through. The horse was so exhausted in the end; it refused to continue even though the entrance gates are visible. I let it run free. Eventually, it will come back to me; once I left the Capital again.
There is a long line of visitors at the gate entrance. The gates are massive. They are so tall; you can barely see the watchtowers. Every visitor was heavily scrutinized. No Ashura were allowed in. Humans had to show a document proving their owner was in the Capital. Even our kind was heavily questioned.
“Purpose?” The guard responsible for me eyed me cautiously. Understandably. I present in torn, blood-stained garbs, looking tired.
She raised an eyebrow. “Please provide us with a document of proof.”
“Then, you may not enter.”
“I need to enter.”
The guard rolls her eyes. She is annoyed. She wipes off the sweat of her freshly shaved head with her bare hand. The spear in her other hand, glistens in the scorching sun. She is about to say something when another guard comes to her aid. Now I roll my eyes. I don’t have time for this.
“Sekhmet. Daughter of Ra.” I repeat myself. Nobody believed me before. She will not either. However, she holds up her hand. I feel a small surge of energy run through me. It’s a tingling sensation, but not uncomfortable.
“Identity confirmed,” she suddenly says, enabling me to pass.
“Wait, wait, wait. How?” The other guard fails to comprehend.
“She is the daughter of our beloved Nu. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you scan her energies instead?”
The guard keeps looking at me, warily. Yes, not all children of Nu look flawlessly every day. I think of my sister Isis and shudder.
“May your day be blessed,” I mumble as I pass both guards and enter the Capital.
The city behind the massive gates is just as grand as you would expect it to be. Tall buildings of lime- and sandstone almost block out the sun completely. The main street is lined with statues of my siblings. Silly heroic poses. Some have animal attributes. There is even a statue of me. I hate it.
I make my way through the crowded streets until I reach the Palace. A large pyramid structure slapped right in the middle of the Capital. Erected by Nu and Geb. The guards outside immediately recognize me and let me pass with no issues. By now, I am truly exhausted. But I continue. For his sake.
Finally, I am in the inner chambers. Some human servants have spotted me and convinced me to look at least presentable to my parents. I oblige to avoid ruckus. By the time I can speak to my family, night has fallen. It is a moonless night. The shadows seem darker than ever.
“Well, if this isn’t a wonderful surprise,” Seth says sarcastically. He wears leathered armor. Always ready to embark on a journey. I know he is jealous. He wants to roam the world freely as I do. But he is confined to the palace walls. Just like them all. Easy targets. Easy prey.
I simply nod in greeting. “Brother.”
“If you are here, you are bringing trouble with you, isn’t that so?” That soft, soothing voice. I hate her. From the shadows, the split image of Mother appears. Only younger. Pearls woven in her hair. She holds up a small orb of light to illuminate the dark hallway. I greet her not, even though she expects me to. A sharp inhale. The corridor is suddenly brightly illuminated.
“What is going on here?” Horus. More likable than Sister. But only a little. He sees me. And sighs. “Stop sneaking around. We are all in the main hall.” He turns around and leads the way. The grand hall is where the throne of Mother and Father resides. It is bright and noisy. Dancers to please both men and women. There is food aplenty. Father and Mother are drinking wine. My other brothers and sisters are sitting at the banquet, enjoying the scenery. As if there is no care in the world. No suffering. No Ashura. So pathetic. But I bear it. For now. For him.