|Sanctity of Life
Author: Sabertooth Kitty PM
Sequel to "An Egyptian Love Story"- Maat desires to have a child of her own, yet her husband Thoth seems to have a different opinion...Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Fantasy - Words: 11,096 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 04-17-03 - id: 1282378
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sanctity of Life
**Sequel to An Egyptian Love Story**
Rated PG-13 for mild violence, angst, and sensuality
Author's Notes: One reason I wrote this was because someone reviewed An Egyptian Love Story and commented that it was too short, that I should either make it longer or make a sequel. The story was intended to be short and sweet, so I decided on writing a sequel.
Keep in mind that even though the deities refer to each other as Lord and Lady, there are exceptions. For example, married couples (like Thoth and Maat) call each other only by their names, or occasionally pet names (dearest, lovely, etc). In addition, family members may call each other by their familial position (consorts, parents, siblings).
This story's main focus is Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of architecture and design. She was related to the god of wisdom, Thoth; he was said to have been her father and husband (though some texts claim that they were brother and sister). I decided to take this idea to a new extreme- was there a child before Seshat??
For those who have already read An Egyptian Love Story, here's what's happened since: Thoth and Maat did eventually marry, and for the past couple of years things seemed to be going quite well for them. Of course, that changed one spring morning…
In the quiet gardens alongside her temple, Maat strode down the narrow path. She often rose early from her bed to admire the beauty of her courts in the early dawn. It seemed to calm her, strangely enough.
Suddenly, the goddess halted. A small mouse scurried past her feet. It stopped and looked up curiously.
Maat laughed. The rodent had stuffed its cheeks with seeds, and it had quite a humorous look upon its face.
Sniffing the air for a moment, the mouse turned and ran into a small hole. Then, just as the goddess was about to walk away, another even smaller mouse poked its head out.
The goddess smiled. Ah, the youth of the creatures, she thought as she lightly touched the baby mouse's head. How pure and innocent they seem.
Continuing on her way, Maat soon came upon a quiet pond. As she approached, an ibis raised its head above the papyrus reeds. She wasn't surprised; since her marriage to Thoth, ibises were becoming more and more common in her courtyards.
The ibis stepped out of the reeds, carrying a few sticks in its beak. It walked over to a mound of mud and arranged the sticks around the nest. Brushing away the leftover material, it carefully wedged the last stick near a large egg.
Another smile crossing her face, the goddess turned and walked away. How that ibis cared for its egg. It touched her, in some odd way.
As she walked along the path, Maat peered outside her courtyards. A gazelle stepped through the short grasses, towards the thicker brush.
Puzzled, the goddess stopped and watched the gazelle as it cautiously entered the taller grasses. A moment later, it stepped back out again, this time accompanied by a smaller gazelle.
Maat's eyes widened. Another mother, she thought. What could this mean?
Later in the day, Maat strode the outskirts of a small city. She had seen enough of the birds and beasts; perhaps a walk among the mortals would clear her mind.
Turning her head towards the river, the goddess saw a fishing boat leave the docks. After unleashing the nets, the fishermen almost immediately discovered that their nets had been filled. One fisher seemed to be pulling on one end of the net with great difficulty. Then, a small boy came up behind him and grabbed an edge of the net. While his help seemed futile, the boy did not go unnoticed; the fisher, apparently the boy's father, smiled as he and the other fishermen tugged the net inside the boat.
Maat stood in awe. Again I see this, she thought. How peculiar!
A scream interrupted her thoughts. The goddess turned to see a young girl pull her hand away from a thorn bush and cry in pain. At that moment, a woman approached the girl, knelt down beside her, and kissed the girl's wound. Sniffling with a smile, the girl wiped a tear from her eye and hugged her caring mother.
The goddess soon felt a chill run through her body; a cold, lonely chill. She began to realize that something in her life was missing… but what?
That night, as Maat stepped into the Hall of Judgement, her mind wandered. She felt troubled, but did not understand why she felt this way. A mouse's young meant nothing to her, and yet it did; the crying child should not have bothered her, and yet it was so. Why? How?
"Maat?" said a familiar voice.
Shaken from her thoughts, Maat blinked in confusion, apparently surprised. She stood in her usual place of the Judgement Hall by the scales, and yet the scene seemed odd.
Across the hall, the goddess noticed Osiris seated at his throne. Behind him stood Isis and Nephthys, his two sisters. Drawing her attention back inside the main hall, she glanced at Horus, the son of Isis. At the foot of the scale where she stood was Anubis, the son of Nephthys.
Again, despair overwhelmed Maat. What could have been causing these pains, this growing agony?
A hand rested upon Maat's shoulder. "Maat?" the voice said again.
Maat turned and saw who it was. "Thoth," she replied.
Concerned, Thoth gently took the goddess aside. "Dearest," he whispered, "you don't seem at all well. Please, go home and rest."
Smirking, Maat laughed (though somewhat unconvincingly). "Thoth, I am fine," she remarked. "In any case, I must stay and watch the scales of Judgement."
Thoth shook his head. "No," he stated firmly. "Maat, your condition troubles me. Please, dearest, go home; I shall watch the scales."
With a heavy sigh, Maat began to leave the courts. She could not understand it; what was upsetting her?
"My son," Isis called to Horus, "open the doors; let us begin Judgement."
Suddenly, Maat stopped. Her eyes widened and she almost had to gasp for breath. Those words echoed on in her mind. "My son," she breathed. "My son… my son…"
The goddess had finally realized why she had been so miserable. Isis, the fisher, and even the gazelle had all been blessed in a way she never had.
Biting her lip, Maat continued to walk away from the courts. "I am barren," she uttered, a tear rolling down her cheek. "I am… childless…"
For hours well into the night, Maat laid upon her bed in despair. She never considered the thought of a child before; why was she so concerned now? How did she not notice this before?
A new figure entered the room. He quietly set his scrolls down and approached the goddess. "Maat?" he cooed. "Dearest? Are you feeling well?"
Her eyes brightening, Maat looked upon this new face. "Thoth," she greeted with a smile, "I am feeling quite well now."
With a simple nod, Thoth sat beside Maat on the bed. "That is certainly good to hear," he remarked. "I began to worry about you, dearest."
Maat grinned, leaning on her husband. "Tis only a matter I have been most concerned with," she assured. "It is rather unusual… perhaps it's best left alone."
Unconvinced, Thoth pulled Maat closer. "Come now, tell me of these things," he said, running his fingers through her hair. "What troubles you?"
Sighing heavily, Maat swallowed her fear and made the proposal she wanted to hear- "I want a child."
Surprised, the ibis-god chuckled slightly. "Come again?" he asked, hoping for a different answer.
To say the least, Maat was a bit flustered. "I want a child," she repeated. "Thoth, I have been plagued with images of our fellow deities, the mortals, and even the beasts which bear their children. A gazelle with her calf, a woman with her child, Lady Isis with her son Prince Horus… yet here I am, barren as the desert sand. I want to have a child, Thoth."
Thoth was silent. He didn't know how to approach her like that. True, he never dreamed of upsetting his wife, but the truth of the matter was that he was a bit bed-shy. They had always slept in the same bed, but they rarely slept together. He would have enjoyed a child himself, but he just could not bring himself to actually begin the process.
Without a word, just a sigh, Thoth slipped under the covers of the bed. He hoped to end the conversation on a hopeful note.
Unfortunately, Maat was not so easily convinced. "At least consider the matter," she pleaded, lying down next to Thoth and running her finger along his arm. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to have at least one child? A son, perhaps, who might take after his noble father?" She smiled seductively, hoping to charm her husband.
Though quite taken with Maat's lustful attention, Thoth turned away. "I shall take your concerns into consideration, dearest," he replied, sounding a bit nervous.
As Maat drifted off to sleep, Thoth remained awake for the next few hours, pondering the very same thought. "A child?" he mumbled. "How could I possibly…"
Thoth's concerns carried on for quite a few days, well into the week. It dominated his thoughts; no matter how he tried to get his mind off the subject, there it was again. He couldn't understand why Maat suddenly wanted a child! She never seemed too concerned about it before. How and when did all of this come about? How did he suddenly become involved?
Standing within Ra's grand courts, Thoth tapped his reed against an open scroll nervously. Even when he pretended to write something, the reed hadn't been inked in quite some time. He would occasionally mumble something about children, and this greatly concerned yet another deity.
"Lord Thoth?" a voice asked.
His thoughts interrupted, Thoth turned to see Ra, the falcon-headed ruler of the gods, staring back at him. "Lord Thoth, the burden of despair is heavy upon your shoulders," he said. "Might I inquire why?"
The ibis-headed deity shook his head. "Nothing that ought concern you," he assured. "Tis only Lady Maat. Her… concerns are overwhelming me."
Intrigued, Ra leaned in closer. "Oh?" he queried. "How so?"
Pausing for a moment, Thoth answered, "I would rather not discuss the matter. There are personal feelings which-"
"Nonsense!" Ra interrupted, placing his hand on Thoth's shoulder. "Speak, and I shall listen. Your worries shall never pass my lips for any other. Lord Thoth, cast your woes upon me."
With a heavy sigh, Thoth shrugged. "It is a difficult situation," he admitted. "Lady Maat has asked an unusual request of me. She… she desires a child."
Ra was silent for a moment, taking in Thoth's comment. "I do not see your problem, Lord Thoth," he replied, obviously missing the point. "If anything, it is a blessing- if Lady Maat desires a child, then by all means give her a child. It is not as if you…"
Suddenly, Ra remembered that one detail he had overlooked. "Oh," he said simply, glancing at Thoth, who clearly seemed upset. "In that case, I… I suggest that you work out this matter for yourself."
Was that not what I tried to tell you in the first place?Thoth thought as he went back to tapping his reed.
At that moment, Ra snatched the reed away from Thoth. "It is time you sorted through this difficult matter," he informed. "I bid you leave early at my request."
Thoth smiled, satisfied with at least one favorable event. Perhaps a quiet stroll among the mortals was exactly what he needed to clear his mind…
On a small farm outside one of Kemet's great cities, a young boy sat upon a large boulder. His simple clothing had been ripped and stained from the harsh conditions, and his hair cut short to keep from getting too hot. He scribbled on a sheet of papyrus paper. Poorly educated, the boy only knew a few words, including his name and those of his family.
A young man, though much older than the boy, stepped outside. His clothes were a bit more choice, and he himself seemed well-groomed. "Shesto!" he hollered. "Why are you not working?"
"The calf is sick," Shesto replied as he continued to write. "He cannot pull the plow; therefore, I cannot plant the crops."
Angered, the young man took Shesto's scrolls and threw them to the ground. "Quit writing that nonsense, boy," he ordered, pointing to the lone plow, "and get to work!"
Sighing, Shesto stood. "Of course," he groaned as he moved towards the plow.
The young man nodded and walked back inside the farmhouse. "Worthless boy," he muttered under his breath. "I would rather sell him as a slave than keep him here."
With a low growl, Shesto leaned on the plow and snorted in annoyance. "Miserable brother-in-law," he spat. "When I am fully grown, I shall leave this place. Perhaps I can become a wealthy merchant, then return when he is old and mock him."
As Shesto grasped the plow and struggled to move it, a tall figure quietly strode past the farm. Upon noticing Shesto, he stopped. "Boy!" he called out. "Excuse me, boy!"
Shesto looked up from his work, now clearly seeing the figure. It was a taller man, far older than he was. He wore a decorative pectoral, which matched his garbs and headdress. His face, however, was that of an ibis rather than a man.
The young boy blinked and rubbed his eyes; he simply could not believe what he was seeing. "Lord Thoth? Most high lord of wisdom?" he questioned, shaking his head. "It could not be so; my eyes must be deceiving me."
"Your eyes do not deceive you, boy," the deity remarked, approaching Shesto. "Now, why might I ask are you struggling to pull that heavy plow? Surely, you cannot move it on your own."
A smug expression appearing on his face, Shesto strained to move the plow once more. "No one else will help me," he snapped,. "Our calf is sick, and my brother-in-law 'works' so that he can feed and house me."
To say the least, Thoth was in shock. "This is outrageous," he commented, kneeling beside Shesto. "Boy, do your parents know of this?"
Halting his progress, the boy stepped away from the plow and glared at Thoth. "I have a name," he growled. "I'm Shesto, and my parents are gone."
For a moment, Thoth was quiet. Apparently, he hadn't realized exactly what the boy had been through. "Gone?" he repeated.
Upset, Shesto sat back down on the boulder. "I would rather not talk about it," he muttered.
Thoth took a moment to look Shesto over. Clearly, this boy had experienced a great amount of loss in his life. His parents had already passed into the afterlife, and presumably an older sister as well. He needed to be with a true family, or at least a loving couple who would actually care for him.
Suddenly, an idea came to mind. Thoth smiled as he approached Shesto. "Perhaps it would be best that you find a father and mother who are interested in a child of their own," he suggested. "I know of a charming couple who would give anything for a child like you."
Surprised, Shesto peered up at the ibis-god. "You do?" he queried, cocking his eyebrows. "Who?"
Chuckling, Thoth knelt beside Shesto. "I would be willing to purchase you from this brother-in-law of yours; I have been in dire need of a… servant," he said with a wink. "You shall be safe in my care, Shesto…"
Maat sat alone in her grand temple. She sighed as she dreamed of the child she could only hope for. Perhaps she had been somewhat demanding of Thoth, but she assumed he would have understood. Did he not share her feelings? Did he, perhaps, dream of raising a child he would have been proud of? To be a father?
At that moment, a young boy approached the goddess. He could not have been more than 10 years of age, yet he carried himself as an adult. He wore only a simple garment tied around his waist, and with his dirt-covered complexion he seemed to be a farm boy. "Lady Maat?" he said.
Looking up, Maat saw the boy and smiled. "Hello, child," she addressed. "What brings you to my temple?"
"A family matter," the boy replied with a smirk. "My father has told me that my mother would be here. He tells me that she has been quite lonely here, and that I might lift her spirits."
With a sigh, Maat grinned slightly. How she wished she could have been this boy's mother! He seemed to be a kind, well-mannered child; she certainly would not have minded raising him as her own.
Another figure entered the room. "Maat, dearest," Thoth said, turning his attention to the boy. "Shesto, I see that you have made yourself at home."
Surprised, Maat stared back at her husband. "What… exactly do you mean?" she inquired. "This boy still awaits his parents."
Shesto intervened. "Not exactly," he pointed out, approaching Thoth. "My parents passed away when I was very young, and quite a few years ago my older sister- who had been taking care of me since their deaths- fell ill and died during the night. I have been living with my brother-in-law, but he does not care well for me." Shesto smiled as he looked up to the ibis-headed deity. "Lord Thoth rescued me; he bought me as a slave, though in reality he asked me to become his son…" He stared at Maat hopefully, "…and yours as well. Would you let me?"
Her eyes flooded with tears of joy, Maat stood and embraced Thoth. "Thank you, Thoth!" she praised. "Thank you, my loving husband! I have a child!"
Thoth pulled Maat closer to him. "So long as you are happy, dearest," he cooed, whispering in her ear. "I love you." With that, he tenderly kissed her cheek.
Disgusted with seeing two deities (two adults) sharing a tender moment, Shesto pushed himself between Thoth and Maat in order to get their attention. "Excuse me," he remarked, trying to change the subject, "now that I am your son, must I still call you Lord and Lady?"
Chuckling, Thoth playfully rubbed Shesto's hair. "It is not necessary," he answered.
A smirk crossing his face, Shesto nodded, "Thank you… father…"
The following evening, Isis and Nephthys entered the Judgement Hall, engaged in a heated conversation. "And that, my sister," Isis concluded, "is how I finally retrieve my amulet from those marauders."
"How exciting!" Nephthys complemented. "Please, Sister Isis- tell me more!"
Isis grinned, more that willing to share any word-of-mouth she could offer. "Well, I assume that you have heard of Lady Maat and her dilemma," she reported. "You know, how she has been requesting a child from Lord Thoth, with great anticipation?"
Shaking her head, Nephthys laughed. "Have I!" she replied. "I always assumed that Lord Thoth was a bid modest, but to avoid Lady Maat's advances? This thought must gravely upset him."
With a slight chuckle, Isis continued down the hall with her sister. "Their turmoil has ended," she informed. "Lord Thoth has-"
Before Isis could finish, Nephthys quickly interrupted her. "He went unto her bedchamber, did he?" she assumed, adding a sly chuckle. "I thought so; even he would have had to succumb to his passions-"
Irritated, Isis took her fingers and snapped Nephthys' lips closed. "Not exactly," she corrected, letting go as she and her sister took their places beside Osiris.
Strangely enough, Osiris had heard his wife's remark. "Not exactly what?" he questioned, cocking his eyebrows. "Isis, my dear, what are you hiding?"
At that moment, three figure entered the Judgement Hall. Maat, the female figure, took her place beside the scales as Thoth, her male counterpart, stood beside her. The remaining figure, a young boy, sat cross-legged against the wall, almost like a scribe. He was dressed in a while kilt with golden trim, and gold cuffs adorned his wrists and arms. A single side-lock dangled from his otherwise shaved scalp, a sign of youth.
Smiling, Isis addressed both her sister and her husband. "Behold the child of Thoth…"
Time quickly passed. Over the course of a few months, Shesto steady became accustomed to his new life as Thoth's adopted child. He spent much of his time learning from the other neteru, especially his parents. While Maat was consistently doing what she could to care for the boy- she was a new mother, after all- Shesto seemed to be forming an even closer bond with his noble father…
Thoth stood at the offering altar of his temple. All night he had been working with various spells and incantations. He decided to try one final spell for the night, an experimental figure he had invented.
Sighing, Thoth laid a piece of paper beneath a small torch and slowly waved his hand across the altar. He uttered many an ancient word, flowing steady and undaunted past his lips. In the smoke of the flaming torch, an anhk- the symbol of life- took shape.
Satisfied, Thoth turned and left the altar. "The spell of fate is pure genius," he complimented. "Perhaps it is in its juvenile stages, but it shall progress as time goes on."
As Thoth left the temple, the torch continued to burn. The anhk, however, flickered and disappeared in a swift breeze…
The ibis-headed deity strode the corridors of his abode. These hallways were always dark or dimly lit, but this night something seemed particularly ominous.
Suddenly, Thoth stopped. In a nearby room, something was stirring. He did not feel comfortable with that thought; his attendants were usually asleep at this hour, so naturally this did not feel right.
Nervous, Thoth stepped inside and soon discovered Shesto, asleep in bed. He tossed and turned, mumbling and moaning. As he watched the boy wince and a tear roll down his cheek, Thoth knew. "Oh dear," he uttered quietly. "The poor boy is having a nightmare."
Deeply concerned, Thoth approached the bed and sat beside Shesto. He caressed the boy's back tenderly as Shesto whined and cried in his sleep.
Thoth could only watch him helplessly. He could have intervened and stop this horrid dream, but an action so reckless could seriously damage the boy's spirit. Despite what parental urges pleaded for him to do, he knew that the best thing was to let it be; once the damage had been done, he would certainly do what he could to reverse the harmful effects…
The next morning, the sun shone brightly through the corridors of Thoth's temple as Shesto wearily opened his eyes. He yawned, sitting up and looking about his room; something seemed different. "Hello?" he inquired.
At that moment, Thoth entered the room from the outer corridor. "Good morning, Shesto," he greeted. "I see that you… slept relatively well last night.
Sighing, Shesto lowered his head. "Not exactly," he muttered.
Curious, Thoth approached Shesto and sat beside him on the bed. "Oh?" he queried. "Would you… care to tell me about it?"
After a long pause, Shesto finally spoke. "I had a most unusual dream the night before," he explained. "I was alone, for a moment, and then I started to hear familiar voices. I… assumed that they were of my parents."
Intrigued, Thoth leaned in closer. "Your… true parents?" he assumed.
"Yes," Shesto replied. "I called out to them. I asked them to come forward, but they hardly answered me at all. They asked me to come find them… but I was in darkness. I could not see them; I could not find them." A tear rolling down his cheek, he added, "It was as if I was being tortured, as if they did not care. I could not bear to go through that horrible nightmare… not again." His eyes wet with tears, he embraced his father, crying on his shoulder.
The ibis god gently patted Shesto, hoping to console the child. "There now, boy," he whispered as the boy wept quietly. "I understand how difficult this must be for you, but you must press onward. You are strong in spirit, Shesto; never forget that."
Comforted, Shesto looked back up at Thoth, wiping a tear from his eye. "Thank you, Lord Th- father," he corrected himself, laughing a little. "Pardon me, I am still learning."
Thoth chuckled a little. "It's quite alright," he assured. "There is never a moment that you should stop learning. This cosmos of ours hides more than you might expect. If anything, I want you to keep learning."
The boy nodded, standing from his bed. "Continue to teach me, father," he remarked. "I am more than willing to listen."
A smile crossed Thoth's crooked beak as he stood. "An excellent idea," he agreed, walking out. "Come, boy- we haven't a moment to lose."
Shesto grinned. "Yes, father…"
Some time later, two lone figures strode through the wilderness of Kemet in the early dawn. The male figure, having the head of a jackal, walked at a slow and steady pace. The cat-headed female figure followed close behind him, swinging her sistrum as she babbled on. "I'm telling you, Lord Anubis," she chimed, "this young boy Lord Thoth has adopted is so adorable! He is so young, so sweet... I want to embrace the child every time he's near!"
Anubis rolled his eyes. "Lady Bastet, the child is 10 years of age," he pointed out. "I would appreciate it if you stopped speaking of him as a suckling! Even mortal children require some type of dignity!"
Frustrated, Bastet sighed. "Pardon me for a complement," she grumbled. "I cannot help it if the boy looks precious."
Cocking his eyebrows, Anubis glanced at Bastet. "Perhaps," he replied, "for a mortal."
Bastet twirled about, shaking her sistrum in an attempt to escape Anubis' melancholy mood. "Lord Thoth seems quite pleased," she remarked. "He appreciates the boy."
The jackal god stopped and stared at Bastet. "Yet he is a mortal boy," he reminded. "Does that not bother you, Lady Bastet?"
"Why should it?" Bastet questioned. "Of course the boy is mortal; the only difference is that he cannot…" She stopped, discovering what Anubis had hinted all along. "He cannot live forever."
With a hard nod, Anubis continued his trek through the grassy plains. "Exactly," he confirmed. "Even with a spell of immortality, should he fall ill or gravely hurt himself, the boy will die. He was born a mortal; nothing can change his carnal traits, including death." He glanced at Bastet out of the corner of his eye, adding, "Lord Thoth will have to judge him eventually, and should the boy fall short of the scales, he may have to testify against his own son."
Upset, Bastet stopped. She hadn't realized how great a risk Thoth was truly taking. Did he realize this?
Feeling a bit guilty for causing her grief, Anubis approached Bastet. "I apologize, Lady Bastet," he uttered, "but I speak the truth. There is really nothing we can do but watch as Lord Thoth enjoys what time he does have with the boy."
The cat goddess smiled weakly. "He is a young one, Lord Anubis," she said with a whine. "Must we really be concerned?"
Anubis shook his head. "No," he lied. "Lord Thoth has been in stranger situations than this; he will persevere through this, whether he may want to or not…"
Thoth wandered through the corridors of his temple. He sighed, reminiscing on the past few months. He had not realized how much more rewarding life could be with a child. Shesto had learned so much from him, and even Maat was satisfied with the boy's diligence in his studies. Perhaps there were times that he was less-than-perfect, but they did their best to set him straight. No matter what happened, however, their love for the mortal child only strengthened.
As he passed by a rather large chamber, Thoth noticed something. Peering inside, he noticed Maat seated on the floor, reading through a rather unusual scroll. She smiled and occasionally nodded, never taking her eyes off the papyrus paper pages.
Curious, Thoth entered the chamber and approached his wife, glancing over her shoulder. "What incantation is this?" he queried.
Maat stared up at Thoth and smirked. "This, my love, is no incantation but a story," she informed. "Shesto has shown many of these to me; he seems to be a very good scribe."
Chuckling, Thoth sat beside his wife. "Indeed," he agreed. "Most children are told to read a scroll when their parents wish to divert their attention; Shesto, however, writes his own scrolls to keep himself amused."
The goddess laughed. "Yes, I used to be able to keep track of all these scrolls," she remarked. "I believe I lost count after the twenty-ninth!"
Himself amused with the joke, Thoth laughed and shook his head. "I cannot believe this," he muttered. "I never imagined how intriguing it would be to become a father."
Upon hearing this, Maat stared at her husband. "Oh?" she inquired.
The ibis god nodded and laid back against an ebony pillar. "Perhaps you were correct after all," he complimented. "Raising a child is not as stressful as I expected it to be. In fact, it seems to be quite rewarding…"
Many more months passed. Life in Kemet among the neter had been going quite well, for the most part. There was nothing to be concerned about, no conflicts to be resolved. Sadly, this atmosphere would soon be shattered by an unwelcome visitor…
Shesto wandered through the plains of Kemet in the early dawn. Maat had given him permission to leave, as he was on his way to visit a good friend of his; he would soon be leaving on an excursion, and he wanted to wish him best of luck.
Approaching the river, Shesto saw an older figure sitting atop a boulder. It was another boy, early in his teenage years. Still, like Shesto, he bore the side-lock of youth. A sword hung at his side as he surveyed the horizon.
A smile crossed Shesto's face. "Nefertim!" he called out.
The young teen turned his head to see the boy. "Shesto?" he assumed.
With a laugh, Shesto ran forth and approached Nefertim. "I see that you are well-prepared for your survival training," he commented. "I assume that Lord Ptah and Lady Sehkmet are accompanying you."
"Of course," Nefertim responded. "It is natural for my parents to be protective of me. I am sure Lord Thoth and Lady Maat feel the same for you."
The younger boy nodded slightly. "Yes," he said, thing for a moment. "Nefertim, is it possible that you… might not come home?"
Nefertim laughed. "Honestly, Shesto!" he shouted. "My parents are deities; I am immortal. Even Lord Osiris is not truly dead!"
Though relieved that Nefertim was relatively safe from death, Shesto was still uneasy. "You are a demigod," he pointed out, looking up at his friend. "As the son of Lord Thoth, am… am I considered that way as well?"
Unsure, Nefertim shrugged. "I suppose so," he guessed. "You may wish to consult Lord Thoth, but I do not see why you should be considered otherwise."
Shesto grinned in satisfaction. "Thank you, Nefertim," he replied as he stood and began to walk away. "Best of luck with your training! Ankh, Udja, Seneb!"
"Ankh, Udja, Seneb," Nefertim added, "and good-bye…"
That afternoon, Thoth busied himself in the Great Library and Record Hall of Ra. H wasn't due to accomplish his other tasks for a few more hours, and he valued this time alone simply because it allowed him to clear his mind.
As Thoth carefully read through a large scroll, a voice interrupted his musings. "Father!" he called.
Thoth turned his head and smiled. He did not need to, however; he already knew who it was. "Shesto," he said.
The young boy approached Thoth, sitting on the floor beside him. "Father," he addressed, "I have questions."
Curious, Thoth seated himself on the floor and leaned in close, with attentive ear. "Speak," he responded.
Sighing, Shesto paused for a moment. "Am I immortal?" he asked.
Surprised, Thoth was silent. The boy had never asked that question before; it was, however, an important matter. Due to the circumstances of his birth, Shesto could never truly be immortal. There were certain rituals and rites that could alter the aging process of the body, reversing the affects of death from old age. In fact, so long as the boy was under 18 years of age, the rituals could still be performed!
The ibis-headed deity nodded slightly. "I am afraid, Shesto, that you could never be fully immortal," he answered. "However, there are rituals which can bless a mortal with demigod-like qualities."
Immediately, Shesto's face brightened with hope. "Father, may we perform a ceremony?" he pleaded. "Please?"
Chuckling, Thoth nodded once more. "Of course," he agreed. "It only seems proper that my son should become a demigod-"
Suddenly, Shesto launched himself at Thoth, embracing him with all his might. "Thank you, father!" he cried out in joy. "Thank you! Thank you!"
As Shesto continued to praise him, Thoth smiled. He had only known the boy for a few months, and already he loved him. Perhaps Maat did have her reasons; despite the difficulties, Shesto was well worth raising.
Finally, the boy let go. "When can we begin?" he queried, excited.
"I shall make preparations for tonight," Thoth replied. "In the meantime, perhaps you could help me here? These scrolls won't organize themselves, you know."
Shesto was a bit hesitant. "If I could, father, may I leave to tell Nefertim of this event?" he inquired.
Thoth was somewhat unsure; he knew where Nefertim and his parents were that day, and he did not like the thought of having Shesto travel alone in the wilderness of Kemet. "Shesto, perhaps it is best you wait until Nefertim returns home tomorrow," he suggested. "The wilderness is no place for-"
Anxious, Shesto knelt at Thoth's feet and gazed hopefully into his eyes. "Please?" he begged. "I promise to be careful; I will ask Lady Sehkmet to escort me home this evening. Please, father, may I? Please??"
After a moment of careful consideration, Thoth nodded with a heavy sigh. "Alright, but be careful," he warned, "and when you finally return, I do not want to hear anything about wild beasts or marauders-"
Grinning, Shesto tightly embraced Thoth once more. "Thank you, father!" he responded as he turned and ran outside. "I shall see you tonight!"
Satisfied with how the situation had been handled, Thoth turned back to the scrolls. He enjoyed seeing Shesto rejoice with the simple aspects of life, especially friendship. He was always pleased with the boy's presence.
Little did he suspect that this would be the last he would see of the young mortal boy…
An excited Shesto ran through the dense brush of the wilderness. He simply could not wait to tell Nefertim that he was to become a demigod! This was such a big moment for him; he had to tell his friend, lest he forget.
Peering over the brush, he saw it- the training grounds! A few small tents had been set up, and a campfire had been started off with some kindling. Nefertim sat outside his tent, sharpening arrows for another training session.
Shesto pushed through the brush and into the open, waving his hands wildly. "Nefertim!" he called out.
Upon hearing this, Nefertim looked up in surprise. "Shesto?" he inquired, almost shocked.
With a warm smile, Shesto began crossing the shallow river which separated him from the camp. "I have wonderful news, Nefertim!" he exclaimed. "You will not believe it! I must tell you!"
A new figure started drifting down the river towards Shesto. It appeared to be a log, but in the wilderness of Kemet looks were often deceiving.
His eyes widened in fear, Nefertim stood. "Shesto, go back!" he warned. "A beast is stalking you, Shesto! Retreat!"
Surprised, Shesto looked about. "I see no threat," he reported. "There is no beast about; only a mere log."
The object drifted closer. A low growl penetrated the river waters. Apparently, this was no ordinary log or piece of driftwood, for this figure had teeth and a taste for blood…
Maat approached the Temple of Ra. She was expecting her husband to join her in the Hall of Judgement that evening, yet something did not feel right.
Discovering her husband at the foot of the temple stair, Maat sat beside Thoth. "Dear?" she inquired.
Thoth looked up from his musings and gazed at Maat. "Dearest?" he queried.
The goddess laid her hand on Thoth's shoulder. "You do not seem well," she pointed out, coming closer. "What distresses you?"
With a heavy sigh, Thoth hung his head in dismay. "I worry for Shesto," he explained. "Earlier, he came to me and asked if he could be made immortal. I told him that I would certainly try and bless him with the qualities of a demigod."
Smiling, Maat leaned on Thoth and looped her arms around his neck. "Indeed, you are a loving father," she complemented, gingerly kissing his cheek and adding, "and an excellent husband."
The ibis-headed deity blushed slightly, but nevertheless misery returned to him. "He went to tell Nefertim of this gift," he continued, looking at his wife with a concerned expression. "He is traveling in the wilderness, alone. I fear that-"
"Do not despair," Maat interrupted. "Lord Ptah and Lady Sehkmet will gladly watch him; Shesto is in good hands, my dear. Not only that, but we have taught him how to detour lions and other such predators."
Relieved somewhat, Thoth nodded. "I suppose," he agreed. "The journey is brief, and he should be able to guard himself against the wild beasts. Perhaps he is safe after all."
At that moment, a loud blood-curdling scream interrupted their conversation. The voice was quite juvenile… and very familiar.
In an instant, Thoth and Maat ran towards the wilderness. "Shesto!"
For hours on end, Thoth and Maat wandered through the wilderness, crying out for their son in hopes that he would reply. No answer came, and so they searched onward.
Finally, the two deities reached a shallow river. The lioness-headed Sehkmet had recently slain a rather large crocodile, blood flowing into the river waters. Across the river stood Ptah and his son Nefertim, both quite shocked at what they had to witness.
Thoth approached Sehkmet as she bathed her hands in the river. "Lady Sehkmet," he addressed, "what has happened here?"
Sehkmet stood and looked at Thoth. "Nothing short of a horrifying scene," she assured, her gaze somewhat disturbing. "A rather large crocodile was stalking your son and mine; thankfully, I stepped in before Nefertim could be injured."
Maat came forward and stood beside Thoth. "What of… Shesto?" she inquired.
There was silence. Thoth gazed at Sehkmet hopefully as Maat held her husband's hand tightly; they feared the worst.
Finally, Ptah stepped in and broke the silence. "Lady Sehkmet and I came as quickly as we could," he began, "but when we arrived… Shesto had been slaughtered. His corpse has been severely broken by the jaws of the beast." He paused, adding, "We apologize, Lord Thoth- this must be absolutely devastating for you."
His eyes wide with shock, Thoth could only stand and gaze ahead. He felt his own body become weak from grief, but it hardly mattered anymore. Shesto- the one boy who even came close to being his son- was dead, gone, forever.
Sighing, Sehkmet handed Thoth a small leather pouch. "I was able to salvage the boy's heart," she said. "It seems to be the only part of him that still remains whole."
The ibis-headed deity held the pouch close to him. He hung his head in solemn silence for a moment. He then turned and left Ptah, Sehkmet, and Nefertim as Maat followed close behind him…
Days, weeks passed. Thoth spent the majority of his time alone, mourning for the loss of his adopted son. He hadn't felt despair this great since the tragic death of Osiris, but this was very different- this boy, though mortal, had been a member of his family, and he loved him unconditionally.
At times, Maat had also wept for Shesto, but her thoughts were now more focused on her grieving husband. How tragic, how devastating this must have been for him! Often, she would blame herself; had she not requested a child to begin with, none of this would have ever happened.
After quite some time, Thoth stopped eating and hardly sipped even a glass of water. The nights passed too quickly, as he had stopped sleeping as well; in fact, no moon had brightened the night sky in nearly two weeks. He stopped attending Judgement, leaving Anubis and Horus to his duties.
A month had gone by, and the pantheon began begging Maat to do something. Even she was convinced that this horrid experience was spiritually killing him…
Maat waited outside Thoth's main temple. It was getting quite late, and her husband had yet to move from this place. She feared greatly for her husband.
With a heavy sigh, Maat entered the main temple. Thoth stood at the main altar, two torches lit on each side. The boy's heart had been laid in the middle of the altar; despite the face that it had yet to be embalmed, it had remained whole.
However, Maat was most concerned with Thoth, who had been standing into the same position for hours. His frame had grown thin from lack of nourishment, and his eyes dry from constant weeping. What had changed the most, though, was his own heart- nothing seemed important to him anymore. This boy meant everything to him, and with his death his world had been shattered. He could not care for others, or even help himself; all he cared about was the one life he lost.
Approaching her husband, Maat laid her hands on Thoth's shoulders. "Dear," she addressed, "please come to bed."
Thoth did not answer.
"My husband," Maat begged, "please, come to bed with me."
Hanging his head, Thoth still did not reply.
Deeply upset, Maat grasped her husband's hand. "Thoth, please!" she exclaimed.
The ibis-headed deity turned to see his desperate wife. "Dearest," he finally said.
The goddess gazed into her husband's eyes hopefully. "Please, come to bed, dear," she pleaded. "It worries me to see you in this condition. Come to bed, Thoth- for the sake of your wife, please rest!"
With a simple nod, Thoth turned back to the altar. "I shall come," he agreed. "I need but a moment alone, and then I will come and rest."
As Maat quietly left the main temple, Thoth lightly touched the boy's heart. I would give anything to see you again, he prayed silently.
Sighing, Thoth turned and left the main temple. He soon entered his own private quarters. The scent of the room was unfamiliar, yet welcoming. "Jasmine," he murmured, "and imported lavender."
Comforted, Thoth seated himself on the bed. It had been so long since he had felt the comfort of a bed. How wonderful this felt…
Thoth turned his attention to the moon-less night sky. He still grieved for Shesto; had it not been for his wife's intervention, he would have remained at that altar. Did he still belong there?
At that moment, Maat entered Thoth's private quarters. A long, lavishing gown fell gingerly over her shapely frame, and she smelled of sweet lavender oil. Her makeup had been removed, yet she still retained her youthful glow.
His heart skipping a beat, Thoth gazed at Maat in awe as she approached the bed. He had not felt this way since the moment he first saw her. Such beauty, such grace could only belong to her! Just being in her presence calmed him… soothed him… aroused him…
Maat seated herself beside her husband on the bed. She stared at him for a moment, concerned. "Thoth?"
Moving towards her, Thoth embraced Maat as he gazed longingly into her eyes. "Maat."
Surprised, Maat was unsure of how to react. Seeing the lust in his eyes, she knew. "Thoth…"
The ibis god leaned closer to his wife as every emotion- including pain and sorrow- drift away in a sea of passion. "Maat…"
That evening, a quiet change came over the land of Kemet. The cold night air seemed to become warm as day. The dark sky beamed brightly with the light of a full moon as a new star twinkled in the darkest portion of the heavens.
Thoth did not return to the altar that evening….
Wearily, Thoth opened his eyes. Darkness surrounded him, deeper than pitch-black. No longer was he in his bed, in his temple, or even in Kemet; truthfully, he was unsure of where he was at all.
A quiet voice alerted him. "Lord Thoth," he whispered. "Lord Thoth!"
His eyes wide, Thoth stood and looked about. He recognized that voice! "Shesto?" he queried.
Sure enough, a young boy stepped out of the shadows. "Lord Thoth!" he called, waving his hand.
Overcome with joy, Thoth ran forth and embraced the boy. "Shesto!" he cried out, a small tear escaping him. "Shesto, your spirit lives on!"
Grinning, Shesto gently pushed away from Thoth. "I know," he remarked. "You seemed quite concerned about that."
"Indeed," Thoth replied as he stood. "When I realized that your body had been broken, I feared the worst. I noticed that you had yet to attend Judgement, and I naturally assumed…" His words trailed off, as if uncertain.
Shesto sighed. "I have reason, Lord Thoth," he explained. "I wanted to approach you first, to say goodbye, to let you know that I was doing well. I saw how you mourned and grieved my loss, and while I am honored to know that I had such a place in your heart, I worried for you. I realize that I am lost, but I do not wish you lost as well." He paused for a moment, adding, "Kemet still needs you, Lady Maat still needs you… and in your role as judge over the Scales of Truth, I still need you."
Silence followed. Neither said a word; not much could be said.
Then, Thoth let a smile cross his crooked beak. "Of course," he acknowledged. "Thank you, Shesto; you albeit short life had greatly changed mine. So long as you know that, I can live on in peace."
The young boy nodded slightly. "I am grateful, Lord Thoth," he said. "This shall not be the last we meet." He turned to walk away, and then glanced over his shoulder. "Do not despair- you shall be blessed again, and sooner than you might think." With that, he disappeared into the shadows.
Confused, Thoth looked about, searching again. "Shesto!" he called out. "Please elaborate, Shesto! Explain this blessing! Shesto!"
A new voice caught Thoth's attention. "Thoth," she whispered as the cool spring breeze. "Thoth…"
"Thoth," Maat purred as her husband lay asleep next to her. "Thoth, dear- awaken."
Opening his eyes, Thoth turned his head to see Maat. "Dearest?" he inquired, sitting up. "Has morning come so soon?"
Wrapped in the gentle fibers of her garments, Maat rose from the bed. "Indeed," she responded, eyeing her husband, "morning comes too quickly for those who relish in the evening."
As his mind began to drift, Thoth suddenly remembered something. "Maat… I dreamt this night that I saw Shesto," he explained as Maat, now somewhat concerned, leaned closer. "He assured me that all was well with him; I expect that he will soon attend Judgement."
Then, Thoth turned to his wife with a perplexed expression. "He also said something of a blessing," he added. "I am unsure of what exactly he means by this, but I suppose we shall find out soon enough."
Maat smiled and embraced her husband. "It is good to see that you are handling this situation quite well," she commented, lightly kissing his cheek. "I assume that you feel able enough to accomplish your duties?"
Thoth nodded, rising from the bed. "Yes," he said, changing into fresher garments, "perhaps it is time that I move on…"
Time passed since Shesto's death. Thoth seemed to be readjusting well, as Maat had. The rest of the pantheon was relieved that this nightmare was finally over, but to keep it hidden (in such a case this should happen again) they swore a secret oath to never mention Shesto or his existence. This gravely upset some of the deities (Ra, Isis, Nephthys, Anubis, Bastet, and especially Nefertim, to name a few), but it was for the best…
Within Ra's grand temple, Thoth stood beside the supreme divinity. He shuffled through the day's notes, occasionally adding side-notes for clarification purposes.
Ra smiled, happy to see his assistant and close friend in a more pleasant mood. "Lord Thoth," he addressed, "never in my days have I seen you so productive. What brought about this change?"
Sighing, Thoth glanced at Ra. "Lack of any other task, really," he admitted. "These days I need to busy myself with something, considering…" His words trailed off; they both knew.
In an attempt to console him, Ra laid his hand on Thoth's shoulder. "I understand," he said out of sympathy. "At times fate works against us, but it is something we cannot change."
Thoth smiled. "I know," he replied. "Time passes, events shift. I must move on; there was nothing I could have done." He nodded slightly, adding, "My spirit has been healed."
At that moment, a new figure hurriedly entered Ra's courts. "Thoth!" Maat cried out. "A word with you, my dear!"
Surprised, Thoth approached his wife. "Maat, dearest?" he queried. "What troubles you?"
"Nothing! Nothing troubles me at all," Maat chimed, sighing happily. "However, there is one matter which should greatly concern you."
The ibis god gently took his wife's hand. "Yes?" he inquired, concerned.
A grand smile crossing her face, Maat took a step back and lightly touched her belly. "I am… expecting," she answered.
To say the least, Thoth was stunned. He never expected that Maat would become pregnant, especially through him. This must have been the blessing Shesto had spoken of! He was absolutely shocked… yet absolutely delighted.
Chuckling, Thoth embraced Maat. "I… I have a child," he remarked, his voice rising. "I have a child… I am a father!"
His joy overwhelming him, Thoth approached Ra. "Maat is with child!" he exclaimed, embracing the falcon god. "My child! I am a father, Lord Ra! A father!!"
Though a bit disturbed with this expression of joy, Ra smiled and nodded. It seemed as if time had indeed healed Thoth's wounds, and with this new child, perhaps even strengthened him…
Thoth paced worriedly outside his own temple. Many months had passed since he had first heard of Maat's pregnancy, and his anticipation for the child grew as his wife's belly. Only mere hours ago did she go into labor; he wished he could have seen her, but Lady Bastet (the patroness of childbirth) had shoved him into the outer corridors.
"Lady Maat will be fine," the cat goddess promised. "Your worry and her pain will be great, but your patience and her perseverance shall be rewarded. Enter not into these chambers, Lord Thoth; when the time comes, you shall know."
Bastet's words slightly puzzled Thoth. She was never usually cryptic with her speech. When could he finally see his precious wife and their newborn child? How long must he endure this anxiety?
Suddenly, a high-pitched wail interrupted his thoughts. That voice… it sounded so innocent, so helpless… he had to know.
Nervously, Thoth wandered through his corridors, towards his private quarters. His heart beat rapidly beneath his chest; he needed to see Maat, to make sure she was well.
Upon reaching his quarters, Thoth had been stopped by Bastet as she stood in the doorway. "You may enter," she said with a gentle gesture.
Thoth entered his chambers and noticed Maat, lying still in the bed. She wearily opened her eyes and smiled. She had suffered great pains for countless hours, and yet she had remained strong.
The ibis-headed deity approached his wife, gently kissing her forehead. "Hello, dearest," he cooed. "I do hope that you are feeling well."
Nodding, Maat lifted the bed-sheets from her chest. "See for yourself, dear," she remarked.
A rather small infant nestled comfortably in the warmth of Maat's bosom. It roused, babbling as two small hands reached out for a loving parent.
With a warm smile, Maat gently pulled the child close to her. "Congratulations, my dear husband," she whispered. "You have a beautiful little girl; you are a father."
Joy and pride overwhelming him, Thoth took the child and raised her to his eye-level. She was indeed a beautiful girl, more than any child he could ever have. "I love her," he said, smiling.
Maat chuckled softly. "You seem to have taken a liking to your new daughter already," she responded. "Have you decided on a name for her?"
Silent for a moment, Thoth had finally chosen the perfect name for his new child; it seemed fitting in his eyes. "Seshat," he replied. "I shall call my daughter Seshat…"
That night, both Thoth and Maat attended Judgement. Despite Thoth's concerns for her health and the child, Maat assured her husband that she felt well enough to tend to the scales.
At the far end of the hall, Osiris waved his hand. "Send in the first," he commanded.
The doors of the Judgement Hall opened, and a small figure wandered inside. It was a familiar young boy; hanging from his otherwise shaved head was the side-lock of youth, and he carried at his side a few scrolls.
His eyes widened, Thoth recognized who the boy was. "Shesto," he murmured.
Seeing this odd turn of events, Osiris leaned back towards Isis and Nephthys. "Remember the oath," he whispered. "Hold your tongues, and speak of this to no one."
Shesto approached the scales, presenting to Maat what was apparently his heart. "I am ready, Lady Maat," he assured.
With a heavy sigh, Maat laid a long elegant feather on one end of the scale. Anubis took the heart from Shesto and gently laid it at the other end.
Thoth watched in anticipation as Maat bit her lip nervously. How they prayed that the boy's heart was pure! They had already lost him once; neither one of them, especially Thoth, could stand to lose him again.
As this happened, Anubis and Horus exchanged looks of concern. The creature Ammut stared at the boy, panting in hunger. Isis and Nephthys held each other's hands hopefully as Osiris lowered his head, expecting the worse.
The scale halted. Thoth wiped the sweat from his brow as Maat sighed in relief. The Judgement Hall was silent, yet everyone shared the same wonderful feeling.
The heart was lighter than the feather. Shesto could enter the afterlife!
Before Horus could escort Shesto into Osiris' presence, Thoth raised his hand. "Wait," he halted. "I wish to speak with the boy… one last time."
Not objecting, Horus stepped back. A smile crossed his curved beak; he sensed what was coming.
Confused, Shesto looked up at Thoth. "Why did you take me aside?" he asked.
"Merely to wish you luck in the afterlife," Thoth replied, gesturing to his wife, "and something else."
Maat knelt down to Shesto's eye-level. She held out a small bundle and uncovered a sleeping child. "Her name is Seshat," she said quietly, as not to disturb her daughter. "She is the blessing you foretold."
Smiling, Shesto chuckled as he lightly touched the baby's forehead. "Hello, Seshat," he whispered. "You are very fortunate. You have a loving, gentle mother; and a wise, noble father. They both love you very much, and they would do anything for you." He paused, adding, "You had best listen to them; you are the only child they have, and you are more precious to them than anything the world could offer. As long as they have you as their daughter, nothing else matters."
The ibis god and his wife stared at each other, somewhat surprised. These words were so profound for such a young child; they almost could not believe it!
Just the same, Thoth turned back to the boy. "We appreciate your sentiments, Shesto," he remarked with a smile. "We shall never forget you."
Shesto smiled once more. "Thank you, Lord Thoth," he replied as he turned away, "and goodbye." With that, he approached Horus and disappeared down the long corridor…
In the years following, life among the neter of Kemet returned to a fairly normal state. Thoth and Maat seemed to be adjusting well to their new arrangement. As Seshat began to grow, they started teaching her more and more. In fact, when she had fully grown she earned quite a name for herself as the daughter of Thoth…
Seshat sat alone in the wilderness, scribbling notes on a small papyrus scroll. She had grown into a very beautiful goddess, though perhaps a bit thin for her figure; she occasionally joked about inheriting it from her father, but truthfully she did not seem to mind. She was always too focused with her studies to care for much else anyway.
Suddenly, a new voice caught her attention. "Lady Seshat!" he called out.
Curious, Seshat looked up from her work. "Hello?" she inquired.
A young man approached Seshat. He was a tall lean man, and quite handsome for his age. His hair was cut short, as it was traditionally among the common folk, and he wore only a plain white garb around his waist. At his side was a large leather bag, containing scrolls and a reed for writing. "Excuse me, Lady Seshat," he said, "but might I have a word with you?"
Though puzzled, Seshat saw no threat from this man. "If you so desire," she replied as he bowed in reverence to her. "Now, what do you request of me?"
After briefly studying Seshat, the man smiled. "You are Thoth's daughter, I assume," he began. "I know your father quite well. We were very close, he and I. I always enjoyed listening to him; he has taught me more than any scholar could."
Still confused, Seshat cocked her eyebrows. "Sir, have we met before?" she questioned.
The man laughed. "Of course!" he chuckled, stifling himself. "Lady Seshat, most of the time I spent with Lord Thoth was before your birth. I saw you briefly as an infant, but you probably do not remember, do you?"
As Seshat was about to ask for clarification, a new figure approached them. "Seshat, there you are," her father remarked, sighing in relief. "My daughter, why must you-"
Thoth stopped, taking notice of the young man and suddenly becoming very defensive. "Sir, who might you be," he questioned, "and why, might I ask, are you in my daughter's presence?"
To say the least, Seshat was even more flustered. "Father, do you not know him?" she asked.
The ibis god huffed, stepping in front of Seshat. "Of course I do not know this… this lustful lad who dare approach you without my given consent," he snapped, staring coldly at the attractive young man.
Ironically, the man smiled. "I am not surprised that you do not remember me," he said. "It has been too long; I must seem greatly unfamiliar to you. The last I saw of your daughter was when she was but a babe suckling at her mother's breast."
Now Thoth had become confused. How did this man know him? Were they allies in a time of great difficulty, true friends merely forgotten?
With a heavy sigh, the young man turned away. "I must return; my father and mother expect me shortly," he uttered, glancing at Thoth and Seshat once more. "It was pleasant seeing you again, Lord Thoth. Your son sends his highest regards."
Thoth's eyes widened. "Shesto?!"
The young man stopped and looked back, nodding. He grinned, and in an instant he was gone.
Seshat stared at her father. "Son?" she inquired. "What 'son' is this? Have I an unknown brother?"
Thoth shook his head. "Not exactly," he replied, gingerly taking his daughter's hand. "Come, let us walk together. It is time you knew the story…"
THE END! =^.^=