This is an astral post, so if you are not interested in such things, you do not have to read.
Sekhmet led me toward the main forecourt where we would greet her guests. As we walked, I whined at her about how I didn’t want to greet anyone, but I wanted to continue to explore. She flicked me a very irritated glance. “You are hardly dressed for exploring and I was able to find every room you’ve ever been in today. I think you’ve done enough exploring.” Pouting as we walked back to the main entrance of her palace, I slumped my shoulders and did my very best to look as put upon as possible. After a few moments of silence, she asked, “What did you think of the pool?”
“Um,” I responded. How did I answer that? I was not even remotely a sexual being in any instance, which seemed irritate her. She said I should be all about it, being her daughter. She also reminded me that I had been enjoying sex for as long as I had been able to have sex (in previous lives), so what the hell? That’s usually how the arguments went but it just didn’t interest me. The thought of her cavorting with ten or twenty different lovers all at once flicked into my head and I was slightly nauseated. “Um,” I said again, mostly to try to clear the bile in my throat.
She laughed at my response. “I think it’s quite a lovely place.”
We wandered around the maze of her home until we finally came to the forecourt. I was already exhausted by the time we arrived and guests hadn’t even begun to show up. She turned to me, eyeballing my get up critically. She was, per usual, gorgeous and flawless. I felt like I was wrinkling the linen (which I was) and as though I needed a nap (which I did). She smoothed out the wrinkles in my dress ruthlessly and then straightened the beaded collar her servants had put around my neck. She fussed at my clothes for a few more minutes before nodding to herself.
“I need you to stand up straight, for once, and not slouch.”
“Yes, moth-er,” I snapped.
“I need you to remember that you are here to observe and nothing else,” she reminded me. “You will not explore. You will not engage. You will merely sit and watch.”
“Yes, moth-er,” I snarked. At least I finally have confirmation that I am a decorative piece, I thought moodily. It was one thing to just assume that I was to be seen and not heard, like a child. It was quite another to finally have it confirmed. I stared moodily down at Sekhmet’s collar, trying not to feel hurt and trying not to say anything dumb.
“I also need you to stop acting like a petulant child,” she snapped. “I realize that things are moving forward and you are very confused, very uncertain, and very tired of me keeping secrets from you. However, all of this is for your own good. For our own good. So, please do not embarrass me. Do not speak unless spoken to. Do not embarrass me.”
“Yes, moth-er,” I pouted.
“You are unteachable,” she muttered and turned to the pylon mounted entrance.
I waited under the beating sun, hoping that I could sneak away without her noticing me. I knew I was behaving like a child, but I was tired already. I had met her Seven Arrows and the whole experience had been a whirlwind of emotion. I had found her sex palace and that had also been a whirlwind of emotions. I felt as though I could be forgive for acting like a spoiled brat, considering all the things I was not knowing and all the things I had found in such a short period of time. Also, it’s not as though her party really impacted me at all, so what the fuck?
I stepped slightly behind Sekhmet as she moved forward ever so slightly, her ears pricked intently toward the entrance. The first visitor showed up and of course, it was a face I recognized.
He was dark-skinned and bald-headed. His eyes were dark and predatory. As they lit upon me, they brightened in recognition, but that was the only indication that he knew me. He wore a thin white linen skirt with a golden girdle. He also wore gold sandals and a golden pectoral collar. His gaze swept the forecourt appraisingly for a moment. Re stepped forward and embraced his daughter, a host of attendants or people or hangers on coming in behind him.
As I was bid, I quietly watched the procession.
It was a who’s who.
In no particular order, I saw Ma’at arrive with her entourage on the heels of Djehuti. He eyeballed me in a way that made me feel like I was on the menu and walked away. Mut showed up on the arm of Amun with their child, Khonsu. They all gave me a significant look and then walked away as well. Heru-sa-Aset winked at me as he said hello to Sekhmet. On his arm was a very pretty young lady who I felt meant nothing to him. His uncle, Heru-Wr, gave me a courtly bow but he was the only one to truly acknowledge my presence. I wanted to hang out with Heru-Wr as he walked into the forecourt to meet and greet.
Sutekh arrived in typical fashion, looking as though he owned the place and was also unwelcome. He greeted Sekhmet voluminously and outrageously, kissing her cheeks and remarking on what lovely décor she had. He eyed me as he said it and I wanted to punch him in the face. As if he knew how I felt, he laughed and laughed, as though he had made a great joke, before going on to mingle. I wondered how awkward it was for him with his brother and nephew around, but when I looked, it didn’t seem like things were so awkward now.
Wesir arrived with Aset, the two of them looking as in love as ever. They were followed by their sister, Nebthet, tiptoeing behind them. Ptah and Nefertum arrived together. Nefertum watched me as Ptah greeted Sekhmet familiarly and warmly. They chattered at one another for a few minutes as Nefertum eyeballed me. I felt like he was trying to catch my measure and I wanted to catch his as well. I didn’t know anything about his relationship with my mother or with her consort, but he seemed okay from the little bits I knew of him. After a few moments, he gave me a slight nod and then turned to greet Sekhmet.
Some of the gods who arrived, I didn’t know on sight. I thought there was Seshat and had to look at what was on her head to be sure. (I was right.) I saw someone who may have been the mysterious Babi that Djehuti had screwed over once, but wasn’t entirely sure. I couldn’t ask Sekhmet since I was clearly there as an ornament. I decided I would ask her later. Some of the lesser deities arrived, too, from the nomarchs in ancient Egypt. I was pretty sure I saw Hapi and Sobek. I’m almost positive I saw Khnum and Sokar. There may have also been a few others, unknown names, and quite a few netjeri from the Duat. I only recognized a few because, you know, a being with a knife-head is kind of hard to miss.
The final member of the group to arrive was none other than Hetheru. I felt my heart lighten as her beauty impacted the entire room. There was nothing but silence upon her entry and I felt enamored with her, as I was sure everyone else in the room was. She was gorgeous. She was perfect. Around her danced a few little dwarves, waving around banners and generally being merry and joyful.
Hetheru was wearing a thin linen sheath that came to her mid-thigh. She wore a dress of finely woven beads and netting over it that came down to her golden feet. She tinkled whenever she moved and I was in awe of her grace and stature. I could never wear that, I thought to myself. As she came in to greet her sister-self, her eyes passed over me. And there was no reaction.
I waited for her to turn to me. I waited for her to say something to me. I waited for her to acknowledge me in some form. This was the other goddess. This was the other main mover and shaker in my life. This was the one who had taught me about all the different kinds of love. This was the goddess who explained to me about why orgasms were a good thing. This was the goddess who had held my hand when I thought my IRL counterpart was leaving me. This was the goddess who would pillow my head upon her breast and make me feel relaxed and complete for a while. This was the other goddess who meant more to me than life itself.
This was the one who made me heart squeeze and made my eyes fill with tears at the sheer majestic beauty of her.
She didn’t so much as look at me.
I felt as if I had been forgotten. I felt as though I was nothing and nobody. I felt shame and horror at what I had become. I didn’t even know what I had become. I honestly didn’t. At that moment, I thought I was some monstrosity that everyone and everything should ignore and hate upon. I was Sekhmet’s now, I realized, and maybe that was the point. I wasn’t there for Hetheru. I wasn’t there for Aset or Djehuti or Khonsu or Sutekh or Heru-Wr or any of the other gods I had passing relationships with or solid relationships with. It hadn’t even hurt this much when Mut, my mawat, had ignored me. It killed me as Hetheru swept right on by.
I wasn’t hers.
I wasn’t theirs.
I was Sekhmet’s.
I was her toy, her thing.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to run up to Hetheru and grab her by the face and say, “I’m right here! Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember who I am and what you helped to make me? This isn’t just my fault – it’s yours, too! It’s everyone’s fault and you all knew and I hate every fucking one of you!” I didn’t, of course. That probably would have embarrassed Sekhmet.
I sucked back my tears. I was wearing makeup and crying would have embarrassed her, too. I was a strong, lean, mean machine and I had to fucking act the part. I looked down at my feet and then looked at Sekhmet from the corner of my eye. She gave me a silent signal and I was able to walk away from the main entrance. I was able to wander amid the shadows. I was able to hide my pain deep within me and wander among the guests, not listening to a damn thing they said to each other. It didn’t matter what they said to each other. The screaming in the pit of my stomach was all I could hear anyway.
I observed as I had been ordered to do. I watched the conversations, most of them polite anyway, happen amid her guests. The netjeri that I could recognize from the Duat, the ones that spells were spoken against, didn’t mingle. They just stood around and were very intimidating-looking. I figured that was their whole point. Maybe it really wasn’t the spells that people said over the souls of the deceased that kept them at bay, but that they really couldn’t do much but stand around like majestically weird-looking jerkoffs.
I was feeling kind of bitter.
I watched as Nefertum chatted with Khonsu. Out of all of them, they looked the youngest and probably had the most in common. Nefertum was an eternal child and sometimes, so was Khonsu. They both wore the side lock of youth, anyway, and they kind of resembled one another. Nefertum wore blue lotus blossoms, I noticed, in his side lock with the huge crown thing that he was often shown wearing. Khonsu wore the moon headdress he was most well known for. Both of their fancy hats looked so damn uncomfortable to me.
I watched as Djehuti chatted with Ma’at and Seshat. I was kind of fuzzy on who was whose consort here. I was pretty sure I had seen Ma’at and Djehuti, once or twice, in an overly friendly embrace. But I was pretty sure Seshat was his accepted consort, historically. As I watched, Djehuti flirted with one and then the other. I wondered if he was a bigamist. I also wondered, stupidly, why the fuck I cared.
Sutekh zoomed around like a kid hopped up on amphetamines. He bounced from conversation to conversation, caroming in like he owned the world and then zooming right back out again. He stopped to chat with his brother, the one the myths are about, and I got to see him (finally) interact with Wesir. The two seemed okay. I wondered, stupidly, if Wesir was speaking in wingdings and grinned at the thought. Above his head, I pictured wingdings in word bubbles, but as quickly as it amused, the amusement died. Sutekh bounced off of his brother and chatted it up with his nephew – no weirdness there, I saw.
Nebthet was also watching from the shadows, like me, but on the other side of the room. She seemed to be an observer just as much as I was. As I watched, Sutekh narrowed in on her, changing course from Re over to his consort. The two greeted each other politely and then embraced in the shadows. I looked away because I didn’t want to see how that ended up. I didn’t think they hated each other. And I didn’t think things were weird between them but I had no illusions that Sutekh would keep their embrace G rated.
As I watched the event, I saw that everyone seemed, well, normal. It was like a family get-together at my IRL partner’s house with his family or something. Conversations were being had. Feasting was going on. (My grapes were a big hit, thank you very much.) The dwarves that Hetheru brought with her were making the gods laugh. As I focused on the dwarves, my aching heart swelled for a moment and I quickly found her in the crowd.
She was with Re now. And they were discussing something happy and gay. I could see the joy on Re’s face at just being with her. And I could see how it was she, and she alone, who made him go back to deciding the fate of the kingship of Sutekh and Heru-sa-Aset. In that moment, I kind of hated her. I hated them all in that moment and I wanted nothing more than to escape.
So, of course, that’s when Djehuti came up to me. I stared up at him from beneath my eyelashes, waiting for him to say something. “You’ve been ignoring me,” he complained. There was no accusation. There was no inflection, really. It was a statement of fact. Yes, I had been ignoring him.
“I had been,” I agreed. I was breaking the rules – I was talking with a god. Uh to the oh. I fiddled with the pendant around my neck. “And then I felt badly for it and I stopped and you weren’t around.”
“That was your own fault.”
I felt frustrated and angry again. It wasn’t my own damn fault. I knew whose fault it was and certainly wasn’t mine. “Maybe she feels like you are beneath me,” I snapped.
Djehuti offered me a brief grin. He had always seemed to enjoy it when I snarked back at him. The two of us, together, we made a pair of snark the likes of which the world had never seen. Of course, that was probably just a myth in my own mindscape. Whatever. “I think that you are in over your head.”
“It may be time for you to move on.”
I glowered up at him and then sent my hot gaze in Hetheru’s direction. I was so, so angry and hurt and a complete mess. I did not have that ability to hide my emotions. “Maybe all of you should stop being so frightened and do whatever the fuck you want instead of pandering to her.”
Djehuti looked thoughtful. “That would take a lot,” he said finally. “And honestly, it’s not worth it. Her claim on you has always been there. You only just realized it. Things could have gone differently, you know, if you hadn’t…” He trailed off, waiting to see if I knew when the moment had changed.
“You mean when I verbally assaulted the lot of you in the white room,” I finished.
“Yes,” he agreed. His tone was sad. He didn’t like that, either, I thought. They had all – every one of them – come upon me and begun to work their stupid little words. And I had been so hurt and angry with Sekhmet that I had lashed out at every single one of them. Words have power, I thought to myself. And my angst and hurt had been unleashed and I had changed the way things were going… to suit Sekhmet’s needs and desires. I felt sorry, sometimes, knowing that it was my own unrealized decision that had caused this solitude.
“You could have told her to go fuck off,” I reiterated. “Instead, you did as she demanded for whatever reasons of your own. You are all fucking fools.” I stiffened my spine and my neck. “Please leave. I am hurt enough today. I don’t need to rehash the old.”
“As you wish,” he said magnanimously.
I hated the lot of them in that moment.
I swallowed back my anger. I was doing that too much, I realized. If I kept this up, I was liable to end up back in that white room. I closed my eyes against everything going on in front of me and took three solid, deep breaths. When I opened my eyes, I felt a little calmer. I felt like I could at least make it through this stupid event and maybe even into tomorrow. The hurt and the anger wasn’t gone, of course, it was just placed in a safe little place, deep inside of me, until I could beat something or someone up with it.
I watched until my eyes glazed over. I kept to myself until I thought I would scream from feeling so lonely. I observed everything I could.
The only thing I learned was that gods were selfish assholes.