Yu-Gi-Oh! and all its characters, are the legal and intellectual property of Kazuki Takahashi and any entities he has granted legal rights to. I claim no rights at all with my story. I greatly admire and feel gratitude to Mr. Takahashi for the amazing story and characters of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Author's notes -
The Ancient Egypt Memory World Arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! inspired me to do some research into Egyptian mythology before tackling this story, which draws on my limited understanding of some of those concepts. The simple version is below. Please look at my writing journal (the link is in my profile) for more detail and links.
Ka - As used in the Yu-Gi-Oh! canon, in some people, ka was something of a person's "spirit", or even a "guardian angel" (as in the case of Kisara - though she used her ka to protect Seto). With Mahaad, there was something of the idea that his ka was also part of his personal power, as well as a guardian force.
Ba - To simplify this story, and be more in accord with the Yu-Gi-Oh! canon, I'm using ba simply as "soul".
Yb - The concept roughly means spiritual heart, so it was a person's moral center, the source of good and evil in that person. As we generally consider our truest selves to exist within our minds, it appears ancient Egyptians believed that one's truest self dwelt within his yb, or heart.
Ren - One's true name. I prefer the idea that one needs to discover one's own true name, so even Mahaad does not know what his is!
Akh - It was believed that, after death, if one successfully passed the weighing of the heart, one's ka and ba were united into one, becoming akh. Akhu (the plural for this word) had many abilities, not the least of which was passing into the Fields of the Blessed to live with the gods.
Ma'at and the weighing of the heart - Ma'at is the concept that there is a universal order which dispels chaos. Ma'at is also the proper name of a goddess, the goddess of truth, order and balance. One's yb (heart) was weighed against either Ma'at herself, or her feather, as a way to judge how good or evil that person had been during life. If the heart was weighed down by sins, it would not balance against the feather, and Anubis would feed that heart to Ammut, giving that person over to final death.
Anubis - Despite the Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, Anubis was not a god of evil or death. In fact, he was the friend of the dead, having devised the rituals that helped ensure the dead person's body would be properly preserved, and that the person's heart would not betray him during the judgement, and thus, hopefully, earn that person a blessed place in the afterlife. I've decided to make Anubis Mahaad's personal patron deity, as Mahaad had been given the task of ensuring the sanctity of the pharaoh's tomb in the story.
Wepwawet - Another jackal-headed deity, who might in fact be another aspect of Anubis, his task was to carefully lead the dead safely through many trials (gates, actually) to the Halls of Ma'ati where the weighing of that person's heart took place.
Maahes - A lion-headed deity who was a god of war. As with many of the Egyptian deities, and distinctly unlike Greek or Roman deities, Maahes has several spheres of influence. I decided to make Maahes an important deity to Mahaad's family in this story.
As always, whenever I venture into actual Egyptian mythology in my stories, many thanks to Lucidscreamer. (She has an account here if you want to read some of her amazing stories.) Your willingness to help me with research into all things ancient Egyptian is an invaluable resource to me!
Judging of the Heart
Chapter One - Resolute
As the sun rises in the sky, and I begin my prayers to greet the sunrise, I feel -- something. It is a strange feeling, gentle and swift, almost as if an embrace brushes my soul, or someone whispers the true name of my heart. Reasoning that the feeling can't possibly herald anything malign, I continue my devotions, marshaling my thoughts into the mindset I know I will require today. Today is the day that I will have to...
I will have to place myself, everything -- my hopes, my fears, my dreams, my destiny, my heart --directly into the hands of the gods. I permit myself a slight, worried, yet deeply heart-felt prayer that those hands will hold me with profound gentleness. Though they are not capricious, I know that what I hope will happen flies in the face of everything my people believe about life, death and what comes after -- and could perhaps enrage my deities. I only hope that the reason behind my revolutionary actions will serve as my defense. That, and the true humility in my heart. I'd never dare to gamble with the gods like this, if not for...
Apprehension tried to rise up within me, only to be deflected before it can seek to trouble my heart. I smile slightly, humbled that my feelings have become a concern. I know now that what I plan to do today has been sanctioned by the gods. No matter what happens, success or failure, I know I am in the hands of my gods. I am touched that my comfort with the happenings of this day is held in such a high a regard.
Somehow, it suddenly feels right to intone the highest prayer of praise for my own patron god, Lord Anubis. I delve deeper into that conviction and...
"So, you have found me. Far sooner than I anticipated, but, it is of no concern." Warm approval colors the tone, of a presence not my own, that flows from within my own heart.
I still in complete and utter shock.
The fleeting impression of a smile flashes across my mind's eye. "Given what you must do today, and the fact that I helped by inspiring you to shape the way of it, is it so surprising that I would decide to help you in so direct a manner? It is not as if I've never been within your heart before," the presence reminds me.
"I -- I've thought so, I've hoped that you have helped me before with my priestly duties, but this... Being able to feel your presence -- to know that you are here... That you would help me, and speak with me, in so direct a manner... That you feel I am worthy... My lord, I don't know what to say..."
"Say nothing. There is no need. I know what you feel. How could I not? But, let me fade into the background during this day. I will step forward to assist you, when needed."
The presence eases back. I can tell it, no, he, is still within me, but passive; allowing me to have primacy on this day. It is a strange, yet comforting thought, to realize that Lord Anubis cares about what is happening enough to not only help devise the ritual I am to perform, but dwell within me to assist as well. I would never dare demand reassurance that my gods care for me, but I am honest enough to admit it touches me deeply that they do. Especially on this day.
I complete my devotions with a lightened heart, almost laughing with delighted surprise as a veritable eruption of the other's joy surges within me when I begin the prayers to my own patron god. If nothing else, this day starts on a mystic high note, permitting me to realize that Lord Anubis is pleased with me in a very real and personal way.
Author's notes --
I am sorry for the extensive author's notes preceding the story. I simply didn't want the story to become bogged down trying to explain these concepts when they would be considered normal and unremarkable to the characters.
It may be a bit unclear (until the events of the next chapter) but the speaker is Mahaad.
Next chapter teaser -- Chapter Two -- Redoubtable
Reviews, comments and constructive criticisms are always welcome! Please feel free to email or message me if you see something awkward that needs to be clarified or fixed. I need all the help I can get.