VII: THE COMPANY OF THE GODS
Quietly, the band of deities entered the main corridors of Isis' temple. Sehkmet lead the way, her face showing slight anger in the incompetence of her fellow gods. Anubis and Sobek followed, staring straight ahead in a somewhat emotionless state. Bastet was behind somewhat, as she let Nephthys rest her weary head on her shoulders.
Curious, Anubis turned his head back slightly. Many times he had seen Bastet dance and celebrate with others, but never had he witnessed her tenderness towards those who needed it most, as his mother. It surprised him somewhat, but it also seemed to encourage him as well.
The doors to Isis' private quarters opened, allowing five other gods to approach them. Isis stood before them all, and then approached Anubis, her adopted son. She did not speak; she was simply at a loss of words.
Smiling, Anubis embraced Isis as any anger he held against her seemed to drift away. Now he saw her a blessing in his life- the one who saved him from sure death. It was certainly not her fault that he was born the way he was.
Letting go, Isis smiled back. "Lord Anubis," she said, using his appropriate title, "please explain these sentiments. Are you not angered with this situation?"
Anubis nodded. "I am, Lady Isis," he replied politely, peering at Horus out of the corner of his eye, "but I have had countless hours to ponder, and there is no reason that I could find to unleash my anger upon those who only wish to seek my best interests."
Standing in the backround, Bastet was quite surprised with Anubis' words. True, he had always been forgiving, but when angered he was a force to be reckoned with. She wondered for a moment what happened to change his mind.
Then, Anubis turned his head to view Bastet. As the other gods communed amongst themselves, he nodded slightly and mouthed the words, "Thank you."
Before Bastet could find a way to respond, the goddess next to her stepped forward. "Sister Isis?" she requested.
Isis immediately turned to face this new goddess. "Sister Nephthys?" she inquired, walking towards her. "Why did you come here? What troubles you?"
Sighing, Nephthys lowered her head. "Lord Set knows," she stated. "He has discovered the secret of Anubis' origins while visiting the grave of Lord Osiris, though I am skeptical of why he was there to begin with. He returned home in a rage, throwing our most precious heirlooms to the ground and crushing them. He then approached me and..."
Nephthys stopped and covered her face, her sobs leaving her at a loss of words. She could not bear to tell them what horrors Set had forced upon her. The very thought of his actions left her shedding tears.
As Isis embraced Nephthys and let her sister cry on her shoulder, Anubis snarled and clenched his fists in anger. Whether she raised him or not, she was still his mother, and he would do what he could to make sure his wretched uncle would get what was coming to him.
Noticing Anubis' growing anger, Bastet came before him and laid her hand on his shoulder. "Lord Anubis, calm yourself," she advised. "There was nothing you could have done to prevent it."
"Then what do you suggest I do to eliminate this fury burning deep within me?" Anubis asked.
Bastet stood before Anubis and looked straight into his eyes. "Perhaps it would help if you... if you laughed," she suggested. "Laughter brings about happiness, after all."
Anubis cocked his eyebrows. How could he laugh in such a horrifying predicament as this? "Explain," he urged.
Reaching out her hand, Bastet touched one of Anubis' long jackal ears and rubbed behind it gently. Immediately, Anubis felt a tingling sensation run through his body as he grinned slightly. He could not hold his laughter and soon found himself chuckling softly.
Finally, Bastet stopped scratching Anubis' ear and simply smiled. "See?" she said. "You do not have to laugh due to proper circumstances. Laugh for any reason or none at all, and you shall find yourself revived of serenity."
Chuckling, Anubis gently laid his hands on Bastet's shoulders. "Lady Bastet, you have taught me much about joy," he admitted. "You have shown me how to bestow it upon others as well as myself.
The cat-headed goddess blushed slightly. "Surely you couldn't mean that, Lord Anubis," she remarked. "If anything, you have taught me how to cope with such tragedies as those of Lord Osiris and Lady Nephthys."
Smiling, Anubis nodded. "Perhaps we have both learned something this night?" he hinted.
Not responding verbally, Bastet only closed her eyes and tilted her head, gesturing a respected "Yes." With that, she touched the tip of Anubis' nose and turned to approach her sister Sehkmet.
For one reason or another, Anubis soon felt another sensation overcoming him, only this time it wasn't as sensitive. It felt more warm and welcoming, like the embrace of a loved one.
The feeling soon departed from Anubis as Ra and Thoth began walking towards him. He composed himself, being careful not to disgrace himself before the respected deities. Despite his precautions, however, they seemed greatly distressed.
When the two gods were at last before Anubis, Ra sighed deeply. "Lord Anubis," he began, "I trust that you realize the circumstances of Lord Set's discovery. Lady Isis and Lord Horus were already endangered, and now you are as well."
Confused, Anubis replied, "I am afraid that I do not understand what you are implying, Lord Ra."
Though a bit reluctant, Thoth intervened. "Lord Set has come to associate you with his anger," he explained. "Keep in mind that you have now been identified as the son of Lord Osiris through Lady Nephthys. Due to this adulterous union between his brother and his wife, he now despises you as much as he does Lady Isis and Lord Horus, as well as your mother, Lady Nephthys."
There was silence among the three gods. There wasn't much left they could say.
A moment later, Ra spoke again. "Lord Anubis, we must recover the sections of Lord Osiris' body," he stated. "Lady Isis insists, and quite honestly so do I. We do not know how many sections there are, or if they can be recovered. We wish to seek your skills in our efforts."
Anubis could not refuse Ra's proposal, even if he wanted to. "Indeed I shall assist," he agreed. "Though I never knew him or perhaps never would have, Lord Osiris is still my father; that should be reason enough."
Ra and Thoth smiled. They assembled the gods and began to explain their plans at recovering the corpse of Osiris...
Yeah, this chapter was kind of short. Don't worry- the next chapter will be much longer, I promise!