SWORD, STAFF AND SCEPTRE
I was in the great Temple of Ramses, situated at Abu Simbel. My path took me through the sanctuary, the room that contained the statues of the four gods of Egypt, the room that contained lots more. The sword Ra-sengis at my side. It is a plain nondescript blade with white runes etched into its black scabbard. I strode down the hall, clutching the sword tightly, for its plainness was a ploy to fool the unwary. It is one of the greatest treasures of Egypt. I was not overly concerned about the sword however as it was already in my grasp. I was headed for an even greater treasure, one that would complete the first part of my quest for immortality and godhood. Did that sound mad? I couldn’t help wincing inwardly at the thought for I feared I was half-mad already with grief at the loss of my brother, father and uncle.
I walked on, my steps steady and resolute. Had the vizier Panshj not said that the only way to endure hardship was to become hard? From the sanctuary, I entered the southern treasure room, a great and vast hall brimming with fabulous treasures and religious relics. On a shelf was what looked to be the bracelet of Ramses, a fabled relic that is worth fortunes. I plodded on unseeing of all the treasure. I had a goal. One I could not afford to be distracted from, even by all the gold in Nubia. One the people I loved had died for. I could feel the lump in my throat as I remembered this but I steeled myself and went on.
After going through the hall, I emerged in a corridor that led me to my destination, the pillared hall containing the cippus or pointed rectangular pillars showing Horus triumphing over dangerous beasts. As I had barely seen the treasures and objects in the hall I had passed, I only dimly registered the beauty of this hall. My eidetic memory records it all though and stows it away, the famous figures drawn on the walls, dignifying the deities of Egypt, the beautiful designs and murals which gave the hall its splendor. All only receive a passing glance. My attention was fixed on the end of the hall, where lay the object of my desires, my dreams, and my pains, the fabled tears of Osiris. The black sands he is rumoured to have left for his heir and descendant. I sucked in a ragged breath. After all I had seen, it was not as if I needed confirmation that it existed but here it was. The essence of immortality, one of the most important weapons I needed in my fight against Set, chief representation of evil. I walked towards my goal.
An hourglass, which held the sands, was in the iron-grasp of a statue of Ramses depicted as Osiris, Egyptian god of death. Of the eight statues lined around the room, this was the most awe-inspiring. Not least because of what it held. I stopped walking. My superhuman senses could perceive something odd about this room. I could smell the foul stench of evil in and about. The dark and rank smell was borne to my nose by the stale air of the room. I followed the smell to its source. From behind one of the pillars, a shadow detached itself. A black hooded figure emerged. I stopped to consider the figure. I could still feel other shadows hiding behind pillars. The figure was standing perfectly still, barring my path. Another creature of Seth master of Chaos, seeking to obstruct and prevent me from achieving my destiny to overthrow him and avenge the brother he slew in treachery. I also held the death of my kin against him.
I could feel the rage rising in me, a boiling cauldron of hate that threatened to spill over. I cooled the flames of my rage however and uncurled my fingers from the hilt of the black sword, remembering the instructions I had received with the blade. I glared at the silent figure. Looks couldn’t kill however. I walked on; my hand curled around the hilt of my other slightly more ordinary sword, resolute and determined to go through my foe or foes (as they were definitely more than one in the hall). The figure stood silently, watching me approach, a confident prey or perhaps he saw it the other way round with me as the prey. The plod plod of my steps echoed and resounded in the hall. My other sword was half-drawn, my face set in a silent snarl. It was hard keeping a rein on my rage remembering the deaths caused by one of these denizens of Seth, supreme manifestation of evil and chief instigator of chaos.
I slowed my advance to watch the silent cloaked figure. I had come too far and seen too much to completely abandon caution. I crouched in anticipation as the cowled figure began to move. He slowly placed both his hands on the cowl of his attire and threw it back with his with his bony fingers. My eyes widened in shock and the clatter of my sword echoed in the hall as it (not the black sheathed sword) dropped from my suddenly nerveless fingers.
The hand holding the black sword shook as diverse emotions ran through me. First shock, then pain, then pain again and finally anger. Here was a two-faced fiend. Half its face was that of the shadowy manifestation that had wreaked so much havoc in my life and the other half, that of my brother Amenhotep. The brother I had slain. For a moment pain threatened to overwhelm me and my sorrow drown me, then rage won through and anger engulfed me, sweeping me away in a savage wave, a dense blackness that coalesced and erupted from me in torrents. I didn’t bend to pick up the ordinary sword. My face was set in a snarl.
You will regret taking that form today, foul creature of Seth, I spat.
The creature grinned, a wide feral grin showing its teeth in all hideousness. Jagged serrated teeth they were, a sickening blend of Amen’s face and Set’s, grinning at me. My head pounded while my blood flowed with the force of a roaring avalanche within my veins. I could dimly remember a voice in my head warning me that the sword I held would destroy a mere mortal in an instant. My fingers were gripping its hilt so hard.
In an instant, quicker than the drop of one grain of sand from the hourglass, four dark shapes disengaged themselves from shadows cast by the pillars. Four dark hounds to pull me down as guilt over slaying Amen distracted me. My foe had underestimated me again it seemed.
Fast as it was, my lightning fast reflexes were even faster. I could faintly feel the breath of the slavish hounds of Seth on my face. That was when I drew the sword Ra-sengis, the sword of Ra. The weapon forged for the father of the gods, Amon-ra, from a piece of the sun by Montu, Egyptian deity of war. The sword I was warned not to draw until I had clearly transcended mortality and crossed the threshold into godhood or come as close to it as any mortal could. The sword that would destroy any mortal in a second. I had crossed the point of no return however, driven beyond by the imposter. I no longer cared about my quest or even if I was destroyed. I just wanted to destroy the imposter.
As I pulled out the sword, with the fangs of the hounds of Seth dripping their foul saliva on me, there was a blinding flash that announced the arrival of the sword in the world. In that instant before everything went black, I could glimpse the blazing yellow light of what could only be a miniature sun. At the same time, I felt red-hot, searing heat run through me, destroying my cells faster than they could heal themselves. Then everything went black (Just before it did, I heard the laughter of Seth)
* * *
My name is Osiris and I am something of a rarity, something that has not been seen since the creation of the world and Kemet, the two lands. I am neither man, nor deity, but a crossbreed between both, a demigod that sought to become a deity and end the scourge of chaos that ravaged Kemet my home.
Forgive me for cutting my tale at that point, but I believe that whether deity, mortal or demigod, one should always tell a story at the beginning and so I shall.
Before the search for the hourglass of death and the sands it contained, across the wind-swept sands of Egypt (Kemet, the black land) and beyond, this is what occurred
As told by Osiris, Panshj and the All-Seeing Eye of Ra.
SWORD, STAFF AND SCEPTRE