A/N: For YGO writing contest Season 10 Round 3 – Headdressshipping (Priest Mahaado x Priest Seto).
The timeline of the YGO canon is hardly accurate (makes it 3000 years and two hundred on top), but it does correspond with the date Seti II ascended to the throne.
Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yuugiou! franchise and I claim no association with any of them. No copyright infringement intended with this and no money is being made from this. Please support the creator by purchasing the official releases.
Warnings: worksafe, though veers slightly into the dark and dreary territory near the end.
It is year 1203 before current era and Mehhur stands over his own corpse, trying to understand just what exactly is going on. That he has parted from life is clear, for he can see his surroundings perfectly though all light is gone, and he does not feel the crushing weight of the stones which collapsed over him. This must be what death feels like, he reasons. His Ka has been sealed inside the tablet and now, as Ba, he wanders this earth until somebody recovers his body from the ruins and performs the necessary rituals for a safe passage to the other side. But nobody comes.
A few days later, after he has wandered outside and witnessed the destruction Zadkh Nekht-Paaneah wreaks upon the land, he stands by his fellow guardians, unable to help them or shield them in any way. He watches them fall, one by one. He sees them lose all hope, and despair in the face of death. There, he sees others just like himself – a group of five, later four, then five Ba again – trailing his apprentice and his Pharaoh. Those two appear to be the only ones capable of seeing them, but when he approaches this group of oddly clothed people, they take no notice of him. Whatever forms of spirit they are, he is not the same.
The moment when Atemu passes his throne onto Sety, Mehhur finds himself in the latter's company, witnessing the most curious sight – the newly crowned Pharaoh Set bidding goodbye to his cousin while his own being lingers by. He cannot tell the exact moment when they split apart. He must have blinked too long because one moment there is only one Sety, and in the next – already two.
"What is the meaning of this, Mehhur?" Sety demands, staring at the sight of himself bowing respectfully to the departing pharaoh. He realises that, for his Ba to have left the body, he ought to have died first. He looks around, sees no one else and turns back to Mehhur.
Mehhur cannot explain this. Sety is not dead; his Ba should not be wandering around. Soon, the same comes true for the magician as well when a ritual is held to put his soul at ease and guide him on to the afterlife, even though his body remains forever buried inside the collapsed mountain temple. They go to the mourning Isyt, hoping that her ability to see into the future will help her see them also, but to no avail. She remains oblivious to their existence and whatever the Necklace shows her, it is not their predicament, nor their future.
It is year 974 before current era when they realise that there are some people who can take notice of them. They have left their home after watching everyone they once knew and held dear pass away. Even their children are gone. Sety has watched himself take a wife for the sake of taking one because Khasekhet is still alive in his heart. He has watched his children grow up and die before their time, assassinated in the struggle for the throne. Mehhur has watched his youngest and most promising apprentice Maanai grow up, grow in skill and power, and marry. He has watched Isyt marry, give birth to children that could have been his, and grow old. They never notice the two lingering ghosts, seeking a way back, though Maanai has enough power to look into the realm of the dead if she would so desire. Protecting the new Pharaoh and his children, however, is her primary task and she takes it very seriously.
When they can no longer bear the pain of observing the life they no longer are a part of, they leave their home to travel from one city to another, from one side of their former land to the other. Eventually they cross the borders and enter the neighbouring lands. They cannot slide or glide or travel with the power of a mere thought; they have to walk the earth, though without feeling hunger or thirst, or ever tiring.
A blind Jewish woman, gifted in the art of seeing, is the first one in centuries to notice them. She is a poor old beggar on the streets of Urušalim and they are just passers-by, but she turns to them, begging for a morsel to stave off her hunger or a sip of water to wet her dry tongue. Surprised, they stop and speak with her, but apart from being able to sense their presence, she can provide no further help or advice. Because of this, though, they actively begin seeking out seers and magicians, and anyone else possessing the ability to see beyond the physical realm. Their travels take them all across the world.
It is year 221 of current era when they return to the Roman Empire after their trip to the Orient and run into an old acquaintance. A man of the higher class by the name of Quintus dons the Ring and where he goes, debauchery and murder follows. He does not notice them at first, but gradually begins to sense their presence. Eventually, the spirit sealed inside the Ring emerges to identify himself, as well as laugh in their faces upon realising their predicament.
"Bakenra," Mehhur snarls, old resentment spiralling back to life, but he cannot touch him. They are but two wandering ghosts, insubstantial to the world around them, while Bakenra has found himself a body to inhabit and developed a means to do it.
Perhaps there is a hint of envy present.
Sety wonders how many vessels he's had before and finds the very idea disgusting, but the spirit only mocks and taunts them. They follow him around, bearing witness to every crime he commits until his vessel dies from the hand of an assassin in his own bed. The Ring is stolen by one of his relatives and locked away; hidden from everyone and everything but the eyes of Sety and Mehhur, though they cannot and are unwilling to keep guard of it for the rest of their existence. Their primary goal is to either find a way back to their own time and back into their bodies, or move on to the afterlife, now that more than a thousand years have passed. They don't even know which option they would prefer currently.
It is not until year 1228 of the current era when they finally learn the reason why the majority of the world's populace is passing them by. In Romania, an old, wizened gypsy woman who can read palms, hearts and cards, and see beyond the physical forms reads into their beings the way scholars would read a scripture.
"You are no longer a part of this world," she says and they can't help but roll their eyes at how obvious that is. She notices and takes offense, but adds a small explanation nevertheless, "Your destiny was changed. Your future no longer exists."
They ask her for more details, but she is unwilling to divulge any more of what she has seen and chases them away. When they do not leave willingly, she performs a spell that expels them from the area and prevents them from entering the gypsy camp again.
"Snotty ungrateful ghosts," is the last thing they hear from her before something akin to a blanket made of dense energy shields the woman and her tribe.
Sety and Mehhur loiter around for a while, but cannot reach them and eventually move onwards in search of the next person with powers.
It is year 1483 and in Spain they find a young girl named Juana who can see them. She speaks to them and calls them angels, and asks them questions about heaven and hell which they cannot answer. They only know of the Fields of Aaru, of the Hall of Two Truths, Anubis, Osiris and Ammit; of hearts lighter than a feather, and twenty-one heavily guarded gates to pass through.
She is taken by the Inquisition and detained for months before a trial is held where she is accused of blasphemy. She confesses to everything and denies nothing. Witnesses are called and they confirm having heard her conversing with empty air and afterwards retelling of an afterlife that is clearly of pagan origin. She is sentenced to imprisonment for four years, most of her parents' properties already gone due to paying the procedural expenses of their daughter, and as part of her punishment they lose what is still left.
Ridden with something faintly resembling guilt at her predicament, the two restless beings leave and never look back.
It is year 1564 and Sety and Mehhur are decidedly frustrated. For millennia now they have been trying to get back to their own time. For millennia, they have been hunting down every witch, shaman, alchemist and magician in existence all over the world, hoping for someone with the power to send them back to their own time. So far they have found none. While people with special abilities have crossed paths with them plenty of times, there have been twice as many frauds and wasted efforts that have resulted in a handful of sparks, a few puffs of smoke, hideous stench on more than one occasion, and the two of them still firmly rooted in the present.
Currently they are standing in the middle of a large and very complex seal drawn with white chalk on the floor of the lab of Jakub, a Polish alchemist, while he prepares to send them back in time. He has already tried it with black and red chalk and slightly different symbol combinations, resulting into nothing more than flickering candles, which almost blew out from the huge cloud of thick smoke that filled the room after the previous attempt. Some of that smoke is still swirling in the corners near the blackened ceiling.
This time, when Jakub begins the incantation, Sety and Mehhur can feel the telltale tingling of magic as it begins to draw tight around them. Its pull increasing to the point where it feels like the entire room would ignite. The air crackles and Mehhur, being skilled in magic himself in his lifetime, can already see the fabric of time tearing.
And then the air catches on fire. Within moments, scrolls and spell books lit up, heating up to room and causing the retorts and assorted vials to explode, spilling liquids that evaporate almost on the spot. Jakub's robe is no exception. He doesn't even feel the fire, still reeling from the powerful backlash of the magic. Unable to save him, Sety and Mehhur can only watch the destruction unfold. The fire catches easily, decimating the entire house and six others closest to it.
They leave the area only when there is nothing but smouldering coals and swirling ash. They exchange resigned glances and settle not too far away, silently mourning the lives lost. It isn't just regret. It is twisted envy as well because those souls are allowed to move onward; to leave this world once and for all. And they had come close this time; closer than ever before.
It is year 1695 and they are grasping at straws. A catholic priest is reading them the Last Rites under the wooden arches of a small, dark church. It is not their belief, but there is no one left who could perform an Ancient Egyptian ritual for them. Though after witnessing how ineffective that had been for Mehhur, Sety no longer believes that it holds any power over them. Neither does this religion.
It is year 1749 and they are on a ship to the new continent, seeking new sources of magic, though it is more out of inertia rather than belief now. They have walked through fire far too many times; they have been cheated out of eternal rest or even an explanation why they are trapped in this state, and they have grown cynical. They have retained only the reason to seek out new people with magical prowess and have them attempt spellwork too complicated for their abilities. The number of dead magicians, shamans and mediums in their path keeps steadily increasing.
Here, they seek out Indian tribes in search of the shamans other travellers have told incredible stories about. Somewhere has to be one with enough skill to send them back or send them forward. They find no shaman willing to do what they demand, but they do receive some wise counsel.
The old Indian man peers at them with lidded eyes, though his gaze is sharp, and the smoke from the fire in front of him slowly spirals upwards.
"Your destiny was changed," he says, using the same words a gypsy woman has spoken more than half a millennia ago. "Your future no longer exists."
Sety and Mehhur grow impatient, but there is something in this old man that stops them from doing anything.
"You," he turns to Mehhur first, "were meant to live. You," he addresses Sety next by merely shifting his gaze to the right, "were meant for betrayal. Your days yet to come changed your living days and you will live until it rights itself again."
Afterwards, there is only silence.
It is year 1873 and they have become nothing more than haunts. They are nothing but two vengeful ghosts trapped in a life which did not play out the way it should have, for which they are now taking revenge upon the present world and the people who can see them in any way they can. All benevolence they used to have has disappeared. All good intentions have been swept away in the tides of the time, logic and reason stripped from them, leaving only raw instinct behind and rendering them into a pair of bloodthirsty poltergeists who chase after everyone with even the tiniest spark of magic.
Currently, they have cornered a medium, dark-skinned Rosina who is unsuccessfully trying to get out of the shed she is trapped in and away from the tools assaulting her. She can hear them laughing, but no one hears her screaming.
It is year 1996 and Yuugi Mutou completes the Millennium Puzzle, setting into motion events which will alter the future. Sety and Mehhur are still in America, now haunting a middle-aged witch and her clairvoyant brother. The brother makes it out alive, though just barely, but doesn't live long afterwards.
By now, they are two hungry ghosts. They are nameless. Thoughtless. Vengeful. They are the story written out of history by Bakenra's, who calls himself Bakura now, interference and Atemu's victory, which rewrote the past not only on a duelling board, but all the way across millennia. They are the path of the least collateral damage which the wheel of eternity could grind out of the fabric of time without upsetting the entire balance of the world.
And they are out for blood.
A/N: The devil's in the details, they say.
Seto – Sety; shamelessly stolen from Sety Merenptah – which is the birth name of Menmaatre Seti I, a 19th dynasty Pharaoh. I presume that this would have been Seto's birth name, and only upon ascending the throne he would take on a new name as per the custom – Seti or Set.
Mahaado – Mehhur; a mystical divinity, "The Flood".
Mana – Maanai; name of a mother of a great priest in the 19th dynasty.
Kisara – Khasekhet; shamelessly stolen from Khasekhemwy, the fifth and final king of the 2nd dynasty whose name means something along the lines of "The Two Powerful Ones have Risen".
Isis – Isyt; since 'Isis' is the English rendition of the Greek rendition of her name, and a recent study suggests that her name in Ancient Egyptian might have been Usat – the Egyptologists also tend to pronounce her name as "ee-set" – I chose a middle ground.
Bakura – Bakenra; stolen shamelessly from Bakenranf, a king of Egypt of the 24th dynasty.
Zorc Necrophades – Zadkh Nekht-Paaneah; shamelessly compiled from Zadkhiau – a chief who unsuccessfully revolted against Piankhi-Meramen of the 22nd dynasty; Nekht – "strength"; a commandant of Lower Egypt in the reign of Osirtesen I of the 12th dynasty; and Paaneah – "the life", from Zaphnath-Paaneah which is the name given to Joseph, 11th son of Jacob (sold to slavery by his brothers) by Pharaoh according to the Bible (Genesis, 41:45).
Urušalim – Jerusalem; mentioned by this name in tablets datable to 1400-1360 BCE found in Tell el-Amarna, in middle Egypt.
Romania – here, Byzantine Empire; called this by its inhabitants and neighbours at the time.
Gypsies – also Roma, Romani; recorded in the Byzantine Empire at the beginning of 12th century, have been present in Asia Minor since 9th century, didn't progress further in Europe until the 14th century.
Hall of Two Truths - twenty-one gate - Fields of Aaru – judging/weighing of hearts - bypassing monsters that guard the gates on the way to the - fields of eternal (after)life. Now, there is an ongoing discussion whether there were 15 or 21 gates. Basing my judgment on some basic Egyptian numerology, I chose 21: 3 x 7 because three is the basic symbol for plurality and seven symbolises perfection and completion, while fives aren't as common.
Ammit – the devourer of the dead who didn't pass the Weighing of Hearts.
The Spanish Inquisition – established in 1480, grew in popularity very fast after the first auto-da-fé – ritual of public penance with subsequent execution of the accused – held in February, 1481 in Seville. Pictured is the standard procedure of prosecution. Only irredeemable heretics were burned. Everyone else got imprisonment, confiscation of property, exile, or a combination of those.
Chalk – in the 16th century, the colours of chalk were only red, black and white.
Alchemist Jakub – largely inspired by the character of Daniels Rēbuss from the book "Trīs vella kalpi" by Rutku Tēvs, depicting 17th century Riga, capital of Latvia.
Juana – 4th most popular woman's name in Spain in late 15th century.
Rosina – actual name of a slave girl from the 19th century.
Sources cited/referenced: Wikipedia (feel free to mock), www. s-gabriel. org, Encyclopedia Britannica, The Holy Bible, "An Archaic Dictionary" by R. W. Cooper, 1876; "Trīs vella kalpi" by Rutku Tēvs, and "Der Bildhauer des Pharao" by Elisabeth Hering, 1963 (Latvian translation, 1972).