A/N - The End - or is it?
Chapter Twenty One - After Life – Addendum
The actual moment of death is fleeting. One moment I was fighting for breath, the next I was floating above my body looking down at myself – my eyes wide open, dull and lifeless. It had occurred so quickly I was still processing the fact and how it had come about.
That morning I had awoken feeling better for the first time in days; my fever was down and I was no longer sweating. In fact I felt so well I could argue with Alexander.
"Go. They're expecting you to give the prizes."
"I'll be gone less than an hour, maybe two, no more."
"I'll be fine."
"Glaucus will stay in call if you need him."
Once he had gone I wrote some more but my hand could no longer hold the stylus. I felt so hungry and dizzy that I thought a little food would help give me strength and start me on my recovery. So I called in Hero and ordered a small boiled chicken and a cup of wine. It was Ptolemy, to my surprise, who returned with the tray.
"Alexander told me you were finally feeling better. We had despaired of you. Here, drink this – it will help down the chicken."
I did not eat much and Ptolemy soon left to attend the games. At first the food seemed to help but about half an hour later my gut cramped in agony; getting steadily worse I tried to call out but no sound came out of my mouth and my throat felt it was on fire. In desperation I knocked the tray to the floor and this brought in Hero and Ankhtefi. One look at me and Hero was running out of the doctor in search of Glaucus whilst Ankhtefi pressed a cold cloth to my head as I was once more burning up. Hero returned a long while later, tears of rage in his eyes.
"He's gone to the theatre!"
"Go fetch the king, Hero." Ankhtefi ordered. "Do it NOW."
I could only nod in agreement and the boy ran out again. The pain was tearing me apart and I could not stop the screams from erupting, no matter how hard I tried. I was praying for one thing only, to hold on long enough until I could see him one more time – but I suddenly fell listless; the pain eased abruptly because I was no longer aware of my body in a physical sense. "Hurry, my Alexander. Please!"
I had prayed for naught – he did not come for my living eyes to look upon one last time. Floating near the ceiling I saw him burst in then stop in his tracks: slowly he walked to the bed and looked down at my body. Grabbing it by the shoulders he started to shake it insanely and then he screamed – gods, how he screamed!
"Phaistion! No! This can't be! Come back to me, my Phai – don't leave me!"
I tried to go to him, I tried with all my soul but the more he screamed the more I drifted away until a voice called from behind me.
Turning I saw a bright, white light and I moved towards it without conscious effort…
I found myself in a white room facing a man dressed in white who smiled and told me to sit: doing as I was told I noticed I had no 'body' at all, I seemed to be made up of light.
"I've been reading some of your book – it has helped us a lot in your Judgement. Now a few last questions and it should be done."
He proceeded to question me on things that seemed insignificant to me – small things I had done as a child or as a page in training at Pella – but my answers appeared to satisfy him and he finally stopped, smiled and said:
"You've passed Judgement, Hephaestion Amyntoros. Congratulations."
I was a bit shocked and did not understand. "But where is the River?"
"The Styx – you do not seem to be Charon."
He laughed at that. "Oh, no I'm not him! But if you need a river then you'll find one on the other side of that door. Why don't you go take a look?"
I got up and drifted in the direction he had pointed out to a door that had not been there before. Opening it I stepped through and found I had a body again – legs, arms, and everything.
I was also looking at a river, not the dark slow moving waters of the Styx, but the crystal blue ones of the Nile. I saw boats drifting lazily along its length and the sound of laughter rose up to where I stood in wonder. Why was I in Egypt?
"Well you aren't really. This is the celestial Nile and you are in the Duat. Hello again Phai."
I swung about and saw the owner of the voice sitting on a rock next to Maks who was watching me with laughter in his eyes. Ty stood up and came over to lead me to a seat between them.
"When did you two die? I am dead, aren't I?"
"Oh, yes." Ty answered, a bit too cheerfully I thought. "You're dead alright. And Maks here has been dead over, what has been love? Over a thousand years?"
"Close to that." Maks replied.
"You were always dead, all the time I've known you? Who was that man who asked me all those questions?"
"That was Anubis." Ty told me.
" He was truly a god? But why was I being judged by an Egyptian god – I'm Greek."
"Ah, as to that – shall we say I have a bit of influence about here and I asked old Zeus if I could borrow you – and Alexander."
Maks rolled his eyes at that but smiled at me encouragingly.
"Alexander isn't dying – at least I hope not…"
Then the sound of raised voices behind us drew my attention to the door I had come through as Anubis came storming through it followed by – my Alexander. I caught my breath – he looked so young, as he had when we first crossed to Asia; did I also look as I had then? But why was he here?
"It's been eight months since you died, Phai." Maks whispered to me. "Time isn't the same here."
All I could give him was a quick nod before I ran over to my king; he turned from snarling at Anubis and saw me then we were in each others arms, half laughing half crying. It took some moments for us both to re-engage with the heated conversation going on between Ty and Anubis – if that man was a 'god' he was acting as I had never imagined one to be. Perhaps that was because he was Egyptian?
"It's breaking all the rules, Elder!" Anubis was yelling at Ty. "He is a Pharaoh, he should stay in the Royal Enclosure; they are never made Khepri and he shouldn't be allowed to leave the Duat, ever."
"Yes, yes – I know all that. But this is a special case. You can't have one without the other with these two and I need both."
"The Council will not agree…"
"They don't have to – I'm overruling them."
"Elder! Oh, I give up!" and Anubis stormed off back the way he came.
Ty laughed and clapping his hands, walked back over to us, putting an arm around each of our shoulders and, winking at Maks, said:
"Welcome to the After Life boys!"
A/N – The Duat is the Ancient Egyptian 'heaven'; a perfect version of Egypt. They believed that once they had passed Judgement they would stay there, be young and healthy again, and enjoy eternity.
'Khepri' means many things; it is the name of the Sun god in his dawn manifestation; it also means, in Ancient Egyptian, to 'Become of oneself' – a human is made up of various parts: the body, the life force or Ka and the personality or Ba – if you pass judgement then these two forces unite and become an Akh, a being of pure energy. This can then be put back into the resurrected, mummified body (or Sah) and it becomes 'Khepri'. All of this is based on my studies of Ancient Egypt but the idea of 'Khepri' is my own though still based on their theology.