Hello, here's a story. Sorry for the pretentious title, I couldn't help myself. Is it pretentious? I dunno, either way, please enjoy.
The baby was born at the beginning of the flood, which seemed to everyone to indicate great things about what to expect of him. Truly, as the son of the prince, there is every reason to believe he will bring good fortune in the midst of chaos, just as the flood replenishes life with its nurturing waters. Though it is suspected that the queen is pregnant, until the day she bears a son this new child is the next in line to inherit the throne, and because his birth began the flood the likelihood that he will be a great leader is almost guaranteed, whether he will grow to be pharaoh or not. He will be a vizier, a priest, he will be the pharaoh's best and most trusted colleague, perhaps even co-king. It would be a strange position but it is not without precedent, as his eager mother points out. He is surely a gift from the gods, a promise of change, of the rebirth of their kingdom and freedom from darkness. Why else would they have given him blue eyes? Why else would they have timed his arrival for the day of the flood?
Which is why, upon learning from a servant that Akhenaden has named him Set while his mother is sleeping off her post-partum exhaustion, pharaoh Akhenamkhanen is shocked and appalled. This baby, this innocent, adorable infant, who is less than one day on this earth and has yet to wrong anyone, should not be named for the brother of Osiris, the uncle of Horus, the one who killed his own family for jealousy. This baby, who holds so much promise, the nephew of the pharaoh, the first son of Akhenamkhanen's dearly beloved brother, should not be named for the one god he should never resemble. Such a name makes it symbolically impossible that the boy should ever be pharaoh, even if there are no other options. Such a name would forever mar the concept of kingship, would be an affront to every pharaoh who has come before him and will come after, would be nothing short of blasphemous.
Akhenamkhanen, in utter disbelief, asks the servant where his brother is so that he may speak with him and confirm that he was indeed named for the one who killed Osiris, Akhenaden's own father. Akhenaden, the servant explains, is in the room adjacent to the one his mother is resting in, and ready at any moment to bring her her son when she wakes up. The servant suggests that he bring Akhenaden to the throne room, so that the pharaoh may avoid an unnecessary trip, but Akhenamkhanen doesn't want to move the child too far from his mother. So he gets out of his throne and makes his way to his brother, who he had seen with his wife and then unnamed child a few hours before. He had not expected to need to see them again until they were rested and presentable; nor had he expected there to be anything for him to complain about in the boy's seventh hour of life.
Akhenamkhanen knows his way around the palace halls, but the servant insists on leading him anyway, in proper servant fashion. The servant is old, though, and Akhenamkhanen is young and determined, and quickly outpaces him in his haste to see his brother. By the time he arrives at the correct door the servant is no where to be seen, lost somewhere in the labyrinth of halls. He does not ask to be let in, merely announcing his presence before opening the door.
The angle of the sun through the window leaves one half of the room cast in shadow and the other brightly lit. Akhenaden sits in the dark on a bench by the window, clutching his son to his chest and looking down at his face with loving eyes. The boy is wrapped tightly in white linen and sleeping peacefully in his father's arms. This baby is so small that with his head resting in Akhenaden's palm, he could wrap his thumb and index finger around his forehead and have his fingertips touch. He is so fragile that to attempt to do so could crush his head and leave him disfigured for life. But Akhenaden is careful, gently stroking the side of his face with his thumb and holding him up with both arms. When he hears his older brother enter, he glances up to see who's there, smiles a greeting, and looks down again. Akhenamkhanen takes a seat next to him on the bench and helps him stare at the baby's tiny face, the only part of his body visible under the wraps.
"Why are you sitting in the dark?" he asks.
"He's sleeping. The bright sun will wake him," Akhenaden explains without looking at his addressee.
Akhenamkhanen is loath to say anything, fearful of upsetting his brother on what should be the best day of his life. But he knows it must be said, and he sighs and begins. "Akhenaden, I heard you've named him."
Akhenaden still does not look up. "Yes. His name is Set."
"I'm sorry. I don't think I can allow you to call him that."
This draws Akhenaden's eyes away form the baby and onto his brother. "Why not?" he asks, brow furrowed in complete confusion.
"A member of the royal family cannot be named after the one who killed the king, Akhenaden. It would be wrong."
Akhenaden's eyebrows contract even further into the center of his face; his mouth tightens into a thin line. "Wrong? To name my son after a god? What could possibly be wrong about that?"
Akhenamkhanen sighs again. "Any other god, certainly. And there would be no shame in naming a child for this god, were the child in question anyone else. But, considering he may well one day be the pharaoh, giving him the name of someone like Set would be…it wouldn't be right. Set was never supposed to be the pharaoh, and there's an important lesson in that."
Comprehension dawns on Akhenaden's face, slowly loosening the constricted muscles in the center until his brows are high on his forehead and his mouth is the shape of an 'o'. He adjusts the bundle in his arms so as to free one of his hands, and touches his brother's shoulder. "Akhenamkhanen, this is silly. So what if his namesake is not also a pharaoh? Set is just as important as all the other gods, he deserves to be acknowledged as well!"
Akhenamkhanen prepares to explain himself again, but Akhenaden cuts him off to continue. "The fact that it doesn't seem appropriate doesn't mean it's wrong. Think about it. And don't forget, there have been kings before us who have been named for Set who were no worse than any other. It's been done already."
"Yes, well…" Akhenamkhanen says, a little unsure as to how to further explain his reservations.
"Don't tell me you're one of those people who thinks Set deserves our hatred? He's not a demon, he's a god! He helped create this world, and you would hate him for that?"
"I…" Akhenamkhanen lets go a third, resigned sigh, complete with sagging shoulders and a hung head. "I suppose you're right. It just seems contradictory, is all." It takes a moment or two, but soon the humor is back in his face, and he smiles down at his new nephew. "If I ever have a son, he'll be my heir, anyway, which would make Set the perfect name for this one here," he chuckles lightly, and strokes a small wisp of colorless hair on the boy's forehead with his little finger.
Akhenaden looks at his baby, Set, and stares at him quietly. His face tilts forward so that his forehead casts a heavy shadow on the rest of his face, even on the dark side of the room. Quietly, silently, he watches Set with eyes that cannot be seen. He's so silent that for a minute the sound of the baby's breath is the loudest thing in the room. "Yes. Well, hopefully your child will be as perfect as this one." He lifts his face into the light again and looks his brother dead in the eyes. His eyes are stone. "If you're wife is pregnant, that is. Good luck."
"Thank you. I apologize for the misunderstanding. It is a perfectly good name for your son to have." Akhenamkhanen stands up, takes one last look at the baby, and walks away. "Didn't mean to spoil the moment; I'll leave you two alone for now," he says as he disappears into the hall. Waiting for him just outside the door is the servant, finally caught up and ready to escort him back to the throne room. In no hurry this time around, he lets the old man lead him even though he has to almost deaden his pace to stay behind. The walk is leisurely at best, and a waste of time at worst, but it is no matter, as Akhenamkhanen has nothing to do but celebrate Set's birthday. He'll be a good king, if he gets to. And even if he doesn't, the flood says he'll do something.
Please be aware, I don't actually know specifically how most people felt about Set by the time Akhenamkhanen would have been pharaoh. I know that after a certain point he was generally disliked, but I don't think he would have been at this point...
Well, either way, hope you enjoyed, and don't be bashful about reviewing.