Here's the chapter I promised! And sorry for not updating. I had school and I might have lost inspiration to continue (I swear school is the source of all evil) . And don't get me started on homework (I think that's Apophis's source of power). So sorry again.
This chapter is dedicated to Sheilove, who helped me regain my inspiration.
"What do you hear?"
She opened her sapphire eyes.
She examined the cemetery in a mixture of awe and confusion.
"Where are we?" Sadie asked.
I jumped of the top of a tomb and relaxed by breathing in fresh graveyard air.
"New Orleans." I answered her.
"Sorry?" How could she not know of this wonderful city?
"The Drowned City," And the best place on the face of the planet I wanted to tell her, but I held my tongue. "In the French Quarter, on the west side of the river-the shore of the dead. I love it here. That's why the Hall of Judgment often connects to this part of the mortal world.
I could hear jazz down the street.
"What are they celebrating?" Sadie asked.
"A funeral," I said. "They've just put the deceased in his tomb. Now they're 'cutting the body loose'. The mourners celebrate the dead ones life with song and dance as they escort the empty hearse away from the cemetery. Very Egyptian, this ritual."
"How do you know so much?"
"I'm the god of funerals," duh. "I know every death custom in the world-how to die properly, how to prepare the body and soul for the afterlife. I live for death."
"You must be fun at parties," Sadie said. "Why have you brought me here?" Straight to the point, eh?
I spread my hands to summon linen wrappings to make a bench with them. Her eyes widened when she figured out it was mummy wrappings.
Once the bench was finished I sat on it and motioned Sadie to sit too.
"I don't like Horus," I said. I really don't like him. He always thought he was the best at everything, that he could do anything, that he was the greatest of them all, that he was better then me just because of skin color. "He's loud and arrogant and thinks he's better than me. But Isis always treated me like a son." Unlike my mother.
She crossed her arms, somehow, that made her look even cuter, "You're not my son. And I told you I'm not Isis."
I tilted my head, an annoying habit I can't seem to shake off,, "No you don't act like a godling. You remind me of you're mother."
Sadie looked incredibly shocked, "You've met my mother?" Her blue eyes were suddenly very piercing. They made me nervous. I never get nervous.
"I-I know all the dead, but each spirit's path is secret. I should not have spoken."
"You can't just say something like that and then clam up!" Oh yes I can. "Is she in the Egyptian afterlife? Did she pass your little Hall of judgment?"
Was she always this inquisitive?
I glanced at the scales, "It is not my hall. I merely oversee it until Lord Osiris returns." After all, I am weak compared to him. Just look at the Hall of Judgment, I was not able to fix it like Lord Osiris would. "I'm sorry if I upset you, but I can't say anything more. I don't know why I said anything at all. It's just...your soul has a similar glow. A strong glow." Maybe it was her eyes. How they seemed so welcoming, to me anyway. I felt like I could tell her anything, and she wouldn't tell. Like I could trust her completely. That is a rare luxury, to be able to trust someone completely. And not worry they will tell someone. Maybe that is why I said so much.
"How flattering," Sadie grumbled. "My soul glows."
"I'm sorry," I said again. "Please, sit." I was practically begging her, like a puppy. How pitiful.
She looked at the bench in distaste. I should have have summoned one instead of making one with mummy linen! I thought, in panic.
After what seemed like forever, she sat down next to me. She gave me a glare.
"so," Sadie said sulkily. "what's that form then? Are you a godling?"
Well, at least she thought I was a godling. I could get away with this by just lying. But I decided to be truthful.
I put a hand to my chest, "You mean, am I inhabiting a human body? No, I can inhabit any graveyard, any place of death or mourning. This is my natural appearance." I braced myself for the painful words that I always received from the other gods (especially Horus), because of my skin color.
"Oh," was what she said instead. She looked disappointed for some reason. She was probably disappointed that I didn't look like a proper god should look like.
"So," She said. "If you can't tell me anything useful, at least help me. We need a feather of truth."
I shook my head, "You don't know what you're asking. The feather of truth is too dangerous. Giving it to a mortal would be against the rules of Osiris."
"But Osiris isn't here." She pointed out the obvious. "That's his seat, isn't it? Do you see Osiris?"
Unfortunately, no. I ran a finger down my chain. A gift from my mother. Even now, I don't know why I have kept it. Something unexplainable, I guess.
"It's true that I've waited here for ages, keeping my station. I was not imprisoned like the rest. I don't know why...but I did the best I could. When I heard the five had been released, I hoped Lord Osiris would return, but..." I just shook my head. "Why would he neglect his duties?"
"Probably because he's trapped inside my dad." Sadie surprised me.
I stared at her. "The baboon did not explain this.
"Well, I can't explain as well as a baboon. But basically my dad wanted to release some gods for reasons I don't quite... Maybe he thought, I'll just pop down to the British Museum and blow up the Rosetta Stone! And he released Osiris, but he also got Set and the rest of that lot."
"So Set imprisoned Osiris," I summarized (for some reason, I love summarizing), "which means Osiris has also been trapped by my-by Set."
I almost called Set my father. I had to be careful to not slip like that again. I just hoped Sadie didn't notice that.
Judging by her facial expression, no such luck.
"You understand, then," Sadie said. "You've got to help us."
"I can't. I'll get in trouble." The real reason why I would not give it to her is that I didn't want her to burn up because of a small lie.
Sadie just stared at me, and laughed. "You'll get in trouble?" She exclaimed. "How old are you, sixteen? You're a god!"
I felt myself go red with embarrassment. "You don't understand. The feather cannot abide the smallest lie. If I gave it to you, and you spoke a single untruth while you carried it, or acted in a way that was not truthful, you would burn to ashes." That was true.
"You're assuming I'm a liar."
What! No!. "No, I simply-"
"You've never told a lie? What were you about to say just now-about Set? He's your father, I'm guessing. Is that it?"
I mentally groaned. I could tell her he is my uncle, my cousin, even my grandfather! But I did not want to lie to her... I will distract her maybe... Yes that is is. I will distract her!
Or try, anyway...
"Are you usually this infuriating?" I asked
"Usually more," She said. How come I am not surprise?
"Why hasn't your family married you off to someone far, far away?" I meant this as a completely rational question, so I thought she would say something rational. Instead she ranted.
"Excuse me, death boy! But I'm twelve! Well...almost thirteen, and a very mature almost thirteen, but that's not the point. We don't 'marry off' girls in my family, and you may know everything about funerals, but apparently you aren't very up to speed on courtship rituals!"
I was taken by surprise by that. Am I really that out of touch? Perhaps I should get out into the mortal world more? And death boy?! Seriously?! Even I could come up with better names!
"Apparently not," I said. Yes, I should definitely get out more.
"Right! Wait-what were we talking about? Oh, thought you could distract me, eh? I remember. Set's your father, yes? Tell the truth."
Oh Ra! I thought. I thought I could distract her! Oh, well. I better get this talk over with.
"Yes," I confessed. "At least, that's what the legends say. I've never met him. My mother, Nephthys, gave me to Osiris when I was a child."
"She...gave you away?" There was no mistaking the shock in Sadie's voice.
"She said she didn't want me to meet my father," I explained. "But in truth, I'm not sure she knew what to do with me. I wasn't like my cousin Horus. I wasn't a warrior. I was a different child."
I tried to keep the bitterness out of my voice. Even after all these years, the fact that my own mother had given me away still hurt. It hurt worse then bee stings. That's why I still don't know why I've kept this chain.
After a long pause Sadie said,
"Maybe she was trying to protect you. Your dad being Lord of Evil, and all."
Maybe that was it. Maybe that is why she gave me away. I hope.
"Maybe," I was desperate for a change of subject. "Osiris took me under his wing. He made me the Lord of Funerals, the Keeper of the Ways of Death. It's a good job, but... you asked how old I am. The truth is I don't know. Years pass in the Land of the Dead. I still feel quite young, but the world has gotten old around me. And Osiris has been gone so long... He's the only family I had."
Sadie looked at me for a while. Perhaps in shock, or surprise. I did not know.
"Help us rescue my dad," She said. "We'll send Set back to the Duat, and Osiris will be free. We'll all be happy."
I was very tempted to give her the feather of truth. But I did not want to break Lord Osiris's rules.
I shook my head. "i told you-"
"Your scales are broken," she interrupted. "That's because Osiris isn't here, I'm guessing. What happens to all the souls that come for judgment?"
I shifted nervously. I disliked talking about that. I wasn't about to tell her what happened to the souls. But I made the mistake of looking into her eyes. My willpower crumbled.
"It increases chaos." I told her. "The souls become confused. Some cannot go to the afterlife. Some manage, but they must find other ways. I try to help, but...the Hall of Judgment is also called the Hall of Ma'at. It is meant to be the center of order, a stable foundation. Without Osiris, it is falling into disrepair, crumbling."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Sadie asked. "Give us the feather. Unless you're afraid your dad will ground you."
For the love of Ra! Was she always this annoying and stubborn? If so, it's a wonder her brother hadn't strangled her yet.
I decided to try to annoy her, just a bit, really.
"I do a ceremony called the opening of the mouth. It lets the soul of the dead person come forth," I stated. "For you, Sadie Kane, I would invent a new ceremony: the closing of the mouth." It worked.
"Ha, ha. Are you going to give me the feather or not?"
That is it! I give up!, I mentally exclaimed. I was not used to this. I was usually treated with respect and fear. I was not used to this kind of behavior towards me! I decided to just give her the Feather of Truth.
I opened my hand, and the feather appeared in it. And besides, Osiris needed it.
"For Osiris's sake-but I will insist on several conditions. First, only you may handle it." I trusted Sadie and only Sadie with the feather for some reason. Anybody else, hasta la vista y ten un buen dia con los muertos! (hasta la vista is a form of bye in Spanish and ten un buen dia con los muertos means have a good day with the dead in spanish)
"Well, of course. You don't think Id let Carter-"
"Also, you must listen to my mother, Nephthys. Khufu told me you were looking for her. If you manage to find her, listen to her." My mother may have given me away, but she was trustworthy.
Sadie looked at me strangely. "Easy."
"And before you go," I kept on. "you must answer three questions for me as you hold the feather of truth, to prove you are honest."
Just make sure.
"Um... what sort of questions?" She asked nervously.
"Any that I want. And remember, the slightest lie will destroy you." I didn't want to scare her, but it was the truth. And the truth tended to be anything but nice.
"Give me the bloody feather." Determined, is she not?
I gave her the feather. I felt the need to explain to Sadie where the feather came from, to impress he a bit.
"It's the tail feather from a bennu," I said, "what you'd call a phoenix. It weighs exactly the same as a human soul. Are you ready?"
"No," She didn't burn up, which was a relief to me. "Does that count as a question?"
I couldn't help but smile. "I suppose it does. You bargain like a Phoenician sea trader, Sadie Kane. Second question, then: Would you give your life for your brother?"
"Yes," She said immediately. I nodded. That was expected.
"Final question: If it means saving the world, are you prepared to lose your father?"
"That's not a fair question!" Sadie exclaimed. Yes it is.
"Answer it honestly," I said.
After a long pause, Sadie said,"If...if there really is no other way, no other way at all," She sounded so pained I almost took back the question. "Oh come off. It's a ridiculous question."
The feather began to glow.
"All right," She relented regretfully. "If I had to, then I suppose... I suppose I would save the world."
How many souls would answer such a question honestly? So far only 7% would do it. Sadie was far more truthful then those 93%. Far more.
She looked up, and her bright blue eyes met my own dull brown eyes.
"I believe you, Sadie."
"Oh, really. I'm holding the bloody feather of truth, and you believe me. Well, thanks."
"The truth is harsh," I explained. "Spirits come to the Hall of Judgment all the time, and they cannot let go of their lies. They deny their faults, their true feelings, their mistakes... right up until Ammit devours their souls for eternity. It takes strength and courage to admit the truth."
"Yeah. I feel so strong and courageous. Thanks," Sadie replied sarcastically.
I stood up. "I should leave you now. You're running out of time. In just twenty-four hours, the sun will rise on Set's birthday, and he will complete his pyramid-unless you stop him. Perhaps when we next meet-"
"You'll be just as annoying?" Sadie interrupted/asked.
"Or perhaps you could bring me up to speed on modern courtship rituals," I teased.
Sadie looked at me, flabbergasted (What an achievement!). I decided to let her know I was just teasing her with a smile. Then I disappeared. I had the element of surprise.
As I walked away to the rest of the Hall of Judgment, I heard Sadie's echo say something about me being 'incredibly hot". Whatever that meant. I will have to ask Thoth what that means when I see him again.
That took a ling time! Well i'm done now. With the chapter. And I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging like that. I had writers block and effing school.
And thank you to all my wonderful reviewers!