A/N hey all! i'm so sorry it took a while to update, real life has been keeping me super busy lately however i've stayed up late to work on this for you! i had to do some digging through history books and such for this chapter so i hope it's all okay! alert/favourite/review/etc - i love you all and remember, enjoy! :)
A dusty path greeted the soles of Eleanor's feet as she wandered the winding path, the sand and dirt trampled down from years of footfall. The sun sat high in the dominating sky and by stealing a glance upward Eleanor could instantly tell the time, it was midday, the sun was at his highest. Bringing her gaze back to earth, literally, she stood still in silence, observing her surroundings with a warm smile. On each side of the path sat high walls of impenetrable limestone, sand piled high around it, protecting it from the weather. While truly a marvel in itself it was the sight before Eleanor that captured her attention. Sat proudly before her lay The Valley, where the Kings and Queens of an ancient world were placed to rest.
Moving forward once more, the path beneath her shifted, morphing from compacted sand and dirt to pure grains, warmed by the suns loving rays. A giggle slipped between Eleanor's roughly parted lips as the warm yet rough substance slid between her toes, as a young child it had irritated her but now she welcomed it, for she was home.
Starting off in a sprint, Eleanor couldn't help the laughter that tumbled from her as she ran upon the sand, surrounded by the ancient world she had found herself pulled into throughout her life. Though she found herself in a cemetery of sorts, where people mourned the loss of life, she was full of joy.
As the heat from the sun grew unbearable Eleanor sought shelter in the doorway of an open tomb, pausing at the entrance to bow in respect before crossing the threshold. She had no idea where the urge to do so had come from, it just felt the right thing to do, almost natural. Entering the shady space she rested against the strong structure, admiring her surroundings with a wistful smile.
"Sister, why do you shy away from its beautiful rays?" a gentle voice broke the silence of The Valley. Allowing her blue eyes to drift she sought out the source of the voice.
"Hathor." She breathed, recognizing the Goddess instantly. Hathor stood tall, her slender frame clad by a long white gown, which cascaded to her ankles. Upon her feet she wore golden sandals, the same colour as the sand she walked upon. Her glossy black hair fell to her waist, perfectly straight and seemingly undisturbed by the gentle breeze that caressed The Valley. Her facial features were conflicting; her strong and harsh bone structure gave an indication to the power she held while her eyes contained a tenderness and deep understanding. In one graceful motion she swept open in her arms and without a seconds thought Eleanor ran into them, embracing the Goddess.
Holding her sister close, Eleanor couldn't help but feel at ease, the last time she had visited had been two years ago as she had recovered in the intensive care unit. Hathor had informed Eleanor that she would wake soon, that everything would be different, but that she was walking the right path. That one encounter was the very reason Eleanor had continued to live, albeit in fear, but it was living nonetheless. Her curiosity about said path had encouraged her to fight on.
After what felt like hours but was in fact minutes, Hathor pulled away, taking Eleanor gently by her shoulders to look into her bright blue eyes, the Egyptian sunshine reflecting upon the liquid pools. "Father wishes to see you, he says it's important." She stated, an urgent tone to her usually calming voice. Nodding her head in acknowledgement, Eleanor allowed herself to be led along the sandy path towards the largest tomb in The Valley, the resting place of 50 out of the 52 sons Ramesses II fathered.
Turning a corner the tomb entrance fell into view, along with the four figures stood before it. As the pair drew closer Eleanor's eyes focused upon the figures and one-by-one it became apparent to her as to whom they were. Breaking free of her sisters' hand she ran the last two hundred feet, straight into the embrace of the tallest of the four. "Father." She breathed, submitting herself to his tender hold.
"My daughter, it is so good to hold you once again. How have you been?" The tall man enquired, pulling back from the embrace to regard his youngest daughter with his own set of bright blue eyes, it was clear who she inherited those from.
A smile blossomed upon Eleanor's features as she in turn looked over the man who had helped bring her into the world. True her mortal mother and father conceived her, but they wouldn't have been able to without this mans help.
Eleanor's mortal father was infertile and the man before her had unselfishly helped them when her mother had asked him. Eleanor had never dwelled upon why the man before her had helped her mother, but she regarded him as her father with the same amount of affection she held for the man who walked the mortal realm.
He stood at around 6'5, which Eleanor noted was ever so slightly shorter than her lover. His skin held a light tan from the Egyptian tan, Eleanor couldn't help but smile at that, of course the God of the Sun would have a tan. His frame was sturdy and emitted a sense of authority and power. Through the years Eleanor had noted the drawings of her father, always showing him with the head of a hawk. It made her chuckle internally, her father sure as hell had the eyes of a hawk and his crooked nose could be mistaken as a beak. It wasn't hard to see the resemblance, especially when he concealed his chocolate coloured hair underneath a dark blue and red headdress.
"I've been well, father. I left home, I'm living in California now with Viktor and his friend, Asher." She informed him with a bright smile, her eyes glazing over in adoration at the mention of the man who took care of her so well when he didn't have to.
"So I've heard! Isis tells me you prayed to her this evening and mentioned a 'lover' of some sort?" he prodded gently, a knowing smile gracing his features.
A blush swept furiously across Eleanor's features as her eyes widened, her head turning to the beautiful woman stood to her fathers right. "You told him?" she squeaked, unable to keep the surprise off her features.
Isis's laughter rang out into The Valley, an elegant and melodic sound that suited her so well. "Of course, little one! A father's job is to ensure their daughter's lover is worthy."
Shaking away the thought, Eleanor regarded the other two figures stood with her father and her favourite Goddess. She recognized Osiris instantly, who stood to the other side of his wife Isis, thanks to his green skin. His presence however unsettled her. The god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead was with her and yet she was unsure as to why. On the left of her father stood Shai, the God of fate and destiny.
Hathor stood to her side, her gaze flickering between her kin, a light frown upon her features at the motley combination of Gods and Goddesses gathered together.
As if reading his daughters mind Ra spoke up, "Osiris and Shai have some news to share with your sister." He addressed Hathor before turning to Eleanor. "I'm not sure you'll like what you hear, my child, but it is imperative you heed it."
A look of confusion washed across Eleanor's dainty features at her fathers' words and her head moved expectedly between Osiris and Shai. Shai stepped forward first, his brown all-seeing eyes locked onto Eleanor's blue ones. "The moment you were conceived your destiny was chosen, you were born to end a war that has raged on for centuries in the underbelly of the world, an underbelly you have witnessed."
Osiris stepped forward at this point, standing beside Shai. "It is my fault that this destiny was given to you, and for that I will be forever sorry. I have tried to ease the pain and the pressure by asking your sister to gift you with the one thing you want the most in the world, and I'm happy that he doesn't disappoint." A smile flickered across the green-skinned mans face.
It took a second for the puzzle piece to slot into place inside Eleanor's mind but she soon cottoned on, her eyes widening as she turned to Hathor. "Asher. You sent him to me?" she inquired. True she was happy to have found him, but the thought of someone dictating that they would be together saddened her.
Shaking her head, Hathor sent her sister a fond smile. "I created him to be your perfect companion, the antithesis of you, your true soul mate. You are a boat on drifting on the Nile and he is the anchor. However I had nothing to do with the two of you crossing paths, that job fell to your darling Viktor." She informed Eleanor.
Eleanor couldn't help but let her jaw drop slightly, "Viktor is in on this too? He befriended Asher so that I'd meet him, so that Asher would what? Help me or hold me or love me while I settle this war you speak of?" her brow furrowed, not liking the concept of having to fight a war.
"All of those things, and many more. We have not worked alone in this, ask Asher about his beliefs, the Gods of his people, and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. Your darling Viktor wants the best for you, he thinks the world of you and this is his way of ensuring your happiness" Hathor stated in complete confidence.
Confusion spread across Eleanor's features as she turned back to Osiris and Shai. "What war will I be ending? And what underbelly are you talking about?" she demanded, her temper starting to flare as she remembered the rest of their earlier conversation.
It was all well and good Cain interfering in her life but the last thing she needed was even more chaos especially now she had Asher. She wanted him to have nothing to do with any of this, but it seemed the more she learnt the more she realized how much of a vital role he played in all this too.
"The darkness is coming, little one, and it takes no prisoners. You are a child of the sun, the only one that can walk in the human realm, and therefore the task falls to you I'm afraid." Shai explained in a little more detail, though Eleanor still felt confused. "The darkness has had time to plan, to come up with a secure strategy, the only way to win is to do something reckless and something you would never do. Throw the darkness off balance and shake it up a bit. This underbelly is a dark place, where corruption is the norm and deception is a sport."
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Eleanor screwed her eyes shut. "What is this darkness you speak of? If this is my destiny or fate or whatever then I'd like to know what I'm up against so I can prepare."
Osiris shuffled on his feet nervously, an uncomfortable expression on his green tinged features. "Unfortunately I cannot tell you what it is completely, but I can tell you that in my rage I created it several years ago when I was at war with your father, its sole purpose was to find the children of the sun and destroy them." He admitted, dropping his head in shame.
"So all of this is basically your fault? You want me to destroy the creature you made for what? What do I get out of this? The only thing I've gained is Asher and while he's a 'perfect companion' for me I don't think that warrants risking my life considering the fact I've nearly lost it once before. What do I get out of this? What's my reward?" She demanded, her small hands clenched at her side as she tried not to spit out her words. Fair enough they were Gods and Goddesses but they had no right to play with her life like she was some sort of little doll they could control for their amusement.
"Freedom. You'll never have to run again, you'll never have to watch your back, you'll have no need to work and you will be able to sleep in peace with your man by your side and your best friend down the hall in a quaint house with a picket fence if you so wish." Isis finally spoke up, knowing that she was offering Eleanor the one thing she wanted the most in the world.
Mulling it over for a moment Eleanor allowed her teeth to sink into her lower lip, her voice quiet as she voiced her next concern, "And what if I die?"
"Then you will have a place here, with us all, and I swear it with all these witnesses that you will be treated like royalty. It is the least I can do considering that I have endangered you." Osiris offered with a nervous smile. "If that's the case then the world will succumb to the darkness and be thrown into chaos with the number of deceased increasingly escalating, so it would be safer for you here in the long run." He continued sadly.
Eleanor could comprehend her own death, after all she had been knocking on deaths door once before, knowing that technically the whole world was depending on her and didn't even know about it was another burden. It was the next question however that bothered her the most. "What happens if Viktor or Asher die?" she whispered fearfully.
All five beings surrounding her fell silent, sharing quick glances until finally her father spoke up. "We can't help if that happens, they aren't like us, we can't save them or offer them a place here in Aaru. Their Gods may be able to offer them a place in Valhalla should they prove themselves loyal during battle, but even then you would not be able to travel to see them and they could not come here to see you either. I'm sorry my child but it is the way our worlds work."
Eleanor's heart dropped at the news that she could lose her two favourite men, that she may never see them again ever if they were to perish or if she were to fail in the task thrown upon her. "Will any of you help me?" she inquired, sparing glances between her kin and the three other deities around her. Shaking her head, Isis looked regretful.
"We cannot travel into your world, which is why you come here. I can give you this though." She offered, producing a necklace from her pocket. A silver Ankh hung from a thin silver chain, a diamond embedded in the heart of the key. "Be careful with this, and use it only when there is no more hope." She declared, tying it around Eleanor's neck. "You'll know when the right time to use it is, and you'll know how to use it then also." She explained as she stepped back from the brunette beauty.
Letting her new found information sink in, Eleanor realized just how much everything was depending on her, including the welfare of the two men she felt fondly of.
"So the way I see this it's survival of the fittest, I either kill or be killed." She concluded, glancing between the five deities to see them all nodding in agreement.
"What a cheerful thought." Eleanor deadpanned.