Weighing of the Scales
An idea that literally came to me in a heartbeat and would not leave me be, so I decided to go with it. Unfortunately, I could not find my handy-dandy Egyptian mythology book, so I had to rely on the internet and some creative liberties, so I apologize for any inconsistencies. I hope you enjoy!
Atem found himself sitting upon the Throne that Osiris once occupied. He was Osiris, and Osiris was he, just as he had once been Horus on the living throne. Such was the way of the Egyptian Kings, the Pharaohs.
The afterlife was not what he had expected. True, he had been able to see his friends and loved ones, including his cousin and father and mother once more, but now, he must fulfill the duty of Orisis, one he thought he would never get to experience, before he was allowed to move on to the Field of Reeds, to rejoin his kin and friends. The heavy white Atef crown, flanked by two ostrich feathers rested upon his head like a burden of heavy lead, while he bore the crook and flail, the instruments of punishment and reward, in his hands. His body was bandaged with the white linens of the dead. The Millennium Puzzle rested around his neck, the only familiar presence in the cold long hall, where the hearts of the dead were to be judged.
Anubis, the jackal headed god of mummification and the weigher of the hearts, stood next to his throne, his body caressed and wreathed in shadow, to the point where Atem could not differentiate between the god and them. Only the golden glint of the Millennium Scales Anubis held in his hands proved otherwise. While Karim wielded the Scales, Anubis did as well. He was a god, how could he not? At Atem's feet rested the Devourer, Ammit, the Consumer of Hearts, the demon creature with the head of a crocodile, the forequarters of a lion and the hind quarters of a hippopatamus, fearsome creatures of the Nile. Should the heart, the Ib, weigh heavier than the feather of Ma'at, Ammit would consume it, obliterating the soul, the ba and ka wiped out from existence. The person would have no chance to reside at the Field of Reeds, nor be able to traverse with Ra across the sky.
Thoth sat cross legged at Atem's left, a heavy sheath of papyrus across his lap, a quill in his hand. The god of knowledge scratched furiously at the papyrus, the quill scrapping on the paper, the only sound in the hall. The god was transcribing knowledge, of magic and spells, of history and truths, words that not even Atem, nor the other gods, save Thoth himself, could fathom. Such as it was that knowledge, not strength, was true power
"Lord of Silence," Anubis said and Atem twitched, startled. "There is one more, before your duty is fulfilled as Osiris and you may rejoin your kin in the Field of Reeds."
"Another?" Atem wondered. Like all the souls before him, Atem too, journeyed through the Twelve Gates, only for his heart to be weighed and judged by Anubis, Thoth recording every moment, every millisecond, every thought and whisper of a thought passing through Atem's mind, preserving it for all eternity.
"Yea, another," Thoth said absentmindedly, before going back to his writing.
Atem sat upright, curiousity gnawing away at him. Who could this final soul be? Another, like he, lost to the rivers of time, only to be rescued and released thousands of years later. Was it a good soul, or a bad one, to be eaten by Ammit? Atem had many questions, and no answers.
Then a lone figure staggered down the hall, clad in blood red robes, disheveled in appearance. A single scar marred what would have been handsome features, while long white hair streamed down his back, like froth of a river. The figure's eyes burned with an intensity that Atem had never seen on a thousand men, save one.
"Thief King," Atem boomed, half way out of his throne, crook and flail crossed across his chest.
"Miss me, Pharaoh?" Bakura, the Thief King, cackled manically as he wandered down the hall. The Millennium Ring, Mahad's Item, gleamed in the torchlight of the hall. Atem knew that Mahad was wearing the Item, so why was the Thief King as well? "Can't say that I have missed you."
"You will respect Orisis, the Lord of Silence," Anubis barked, through the warning seemed more of a second hand thought.
"Like he has given me? I think not." The Thief King found his way at the foot of the throne, at Atem's bandaged feet. "You look like your father, when I found him in the tomb."
Atem said nothing. Instead, his eyes glowed with the fury of a thousand suns, burning with anger and wrath, like Osiris himself.
"You have come before the god Osiris, and of Thoth and Anubis, to have your heart weighed and judged by Ma'at, to see if you pass beyond the Field of Reeds. Have you no objections?"
The Thief King pulled back the robes, exposing his chest. "Take what you will. There is nothing left." He sounded bitter and. . .sorrowful.
Anubis was silent and held forth the set of golden scales in his hands. On one side, a pale white feather materialized. On the other, a heart, beating slowly with a life of its own. Bakura clutched at his chest, but fell silent, watching the still beating heart. Atem's face grew pale under his tanned complexion. The Weighing of the Heart was much more gruesome than what the scrolls had pictured. "Then, what say you, have you committed the 42 Sins?"
"Which ones have I not committed?" Bakura laughed. "You're gods, I am but a simple man, shouldn't you have knowledge of my sins, far more than I do?"
"Very well then, may you heart be weighed against the Feather of Ma'at and may the gods have mercy on you."
The scales wobbled and shifted back and forth, as each and every one of Bakura's sins were accounted for. Eventually, the heaviness and sins of the heart outweighed the Feather of Ma'at, forcing the scales to swing in the direction of the heart. During the whole exchange, Thoth kept his head down, scribbling furiously away, only to look up at the results of the Weighing.
Anubis was impassive throughout the ritual; Bakura however, was not. Bakura had been fully expecting to have his heart consumed, to be wiped from existence, yet to see the results brought an expression of despair across his marred features. Ammit's head perked up, eager for a satisfying meal. The demon growled in his throat, hungry for the heart Anubis deftly plucked the heart off the Millennium Scales, holding the organ in his hands. "Any final words, before you are consumed by the Devourer?"
Bakura straightened himself, fixing his robes. "Only this: Pharoah, you know full well why the heart was heavier, for you caused it." He pointed to Atem on the throne, the reincarnation of Osiris. "The sins of the father are the sins of the son, are they not? You are gods and we are men, so why should we be subjugated to your whims, suffering at your hands for trinkets of gold." Bakura held the Millennium Ring out, the leather thong taut. He released it, allowing it to thud against his chest. He slipped off the blood red robes, leaving him clad only in a white, bloodstained kilt and sandals. The Ring looked cold in the torchlight. For a second, during Bakura's tirade, Thoth ceased writing, to gaze upon the man who dared to call himself "King". It was only for a moment and the god went back to work, writing away.
"Then so let it be written, so let it be done," Anubis held the heart out for Atem to see for the last time and began to lower it, for Ammit to devour it, when Atem shouted:
"Stop! By the order of Osiris, I command you to stop!" Atem shouted, one hand out.
Anubis paused. "You cannot interfere in these matters."
"But I am Osiris, so yes I can, and I demand you to cease this instance!"
"What is the matter, Pharaoh, too cowardly to see me obliterated?" The Thief King leered.
"No, I am not. Were this any other criminal, I would have allowed Ammit to consume you without prejudice. But I cannot allow this to occur, especially since we, the gods, made you what you are." Bakura was struck dumbfounded as Atem continued. "We may be gods, but we are mortals as well, straddling the two worlds precariously, with a single mistake affecting one side or the other. In our pursuit for power, for mere "trinkets"," Atem held up the Millennium Puzzle. "We destroyed our objects, under the belief that they were nothing more than petty criminals, living in a hovel of darkness and evil."
"By order of the Pharaoh and of Osiris and Horus that speak through me, I command that you not destroy this man's ba and ka. For if you are to do so, then you must destroy mine and my father's as well."
"I will not be made into a martyr!" Bakura snarled, his face unbridled fury.
"And you will not. You will pass on to the Field of Reeds, but you must spend the rest of Eternity working, with no shabatis, to aid you in your labor. You will have no aid from any one, but it is far better than to be destroyed from this plane of existence."
Bakura fell silent.
"And, you will be able to see your family and friends once more," Atem finished. Bakura feel even quieter, if such a thing were possible. He was in a state of shock, to be able to see those killed in the massacre of Kul-Elna. "So let it be written, so let it be done."
Anubis reluctantly nodded and the heart vanished from his grip. He began to lead Bakura away when the Thief King batted Anubis' hands away. "I am not a child!" Bakura shouted, but Atem detected a quiver in his voice. Both vanished, well on their way the the Field of Reeds.
Thoth finished writing on his papyrus. "A good Pharaoh is one who is able and willing to give himself for his people and be willing to blame himself for his mistakes." Thoth said, placing the quill on his lap. "Your reign may have been short but you were a good Pharaoh."
"But was I good enough to prevent this from ever happening in the first place?" Atem placed the crook down and massaged his temples.
"You were but a child when your father and uncle went through with this. You cannot be blamed for it, but you redeemed both of them with a single command."
"then let me be rid of the guilt."
"That, is not the power of the gods, that is the power of man. Be rested knowing that you have committed one last good deed for the people."
"Very well then, Thoth. Now, may I go home as well?"
Thoth stood up and led Atem from the throne as a parent would guide an errant child.
"Yes, you may, my King."