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Intervening Fate

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The tranquility of the desert, the soft, yet raging undertones of the ever shifting sands would be something Keket would recall for millennia to come. Being the daughter of Anubis, the guardian of the underworld and all its inhabitants, Keket was born and reared in the bright and ambiguous land of the gods. Nothing ever had a solid shape, materials simply formed at the will of the commander. He father preferred a dark and simple arrangement in his territory, a place that would give neither comfort nor fear to those he traveled with on the path to judgement. Gray walls, empty urns, cream ceilings to remind all who passed through of the separation from their mortal life, they were now with those who lived in the endless sky, and of course, the black cabinets that lined the walls like an endless library (Keket recalled that the style was Greek). These cabinets contained the lives of everyone that passed through his abode on the way to their counsel with Maat, Osiris, and Ammut. Those that were still under the watchful eye of Nut and Geb were kept on a writing desk, a quill and ink (notably British in its style, but her father always preferred dabbling in all available cultures and timelines) constantly writing the stories of the followers below. The only light source in his domain were small candles of tallow that burned dark and heavy, making the gray walls darker with the soot of their eternal burn.

Her Uncle Osiris, on the other hand, the actual ruler of the underworld, preferred a bright (perhaps overly so) existence. One that resembled Horus and his sun territory. Many gods and their offspring visited Osiris so he wanted it to be welcoming to all. White and green, the colors his favorite disciples decided to represent him with, decorated almost every available space. The fountain before the staircase leading into his chambers was an emerald green with white beings that appears to be flying children pouring water out of small urns. Keket thought it could have been Roman or Greek, not that she thought there was much of a difference between the two cultures, being that they were almost replicas of one another, even though her Uncle Thoth would have knocked her upside the head for making such an assumption. Her bird-headed uncle had his domain made almost entirely out of books and looking glasses, so he was never not in the know about the world below.

Each god had their own domain and Keket knew almost each and every one, except her grandfather Set, she didn't like being in there, much less around her uncle in general. He was a hateful one, especially after the fiasco with Uncle Osiris' body parts. Aunt Isis didn't speak to Set for almost 300 years she was so infuriated with him. Her father had told her once, under the influence of some Egyptian beer (his personal favorite), that Set always had something brewing in that strange looking head of his and Keket was wise not to spend too much time around him. Not that she wanted to anything, her grandfather's domain was dark, darker than her father's. Everything was covered in sand and blood splattered the walls, being that Set controlled storms and violence. The thing she hated the most was the clay wheel in the center of his chambers, with small ushabti, broken and disfigured, surrounding it on the floor. The scene screamed danger and evil. She tried to tell her father that something was afoot, but he paid her no mind, at least at first. It wasn't until she came home one day after practicing her powers with Baset that she found her father looking through his cabinets, something he never did.


He looked up as if he had been struck, his jackal eyes searching Keket as if he had never known her.

"Daughter of mine, I need to know," He went back to searching, this time frantically, "describe Set's world to me, every detail."

"But why, father of mine?" Anubis rarely spoke to his daughter on such a level, training her since her creation to deal with emotional distance since she would later take his place as the guardian of the dead.

"Because I fear the worst. One of my files is missing. The name is insignificant, but every name has its place."

Panic set in like a nasty wound in Keket's heart. The stealing of a file, a person's life story, is equivalent to blasphemy against Ptah, their one and only. Human life is reverent under his eyes and anything done to jeopardize it is punishable by a fate worse than death. Just as he brought the gods to life, he could take it away just as easily. Her father was placed with a heavy burden of managing all of the lives, living and dead, and the humans and lived under Ptah's watchful eye, for one to be missing was unimaginable.

"Ushabti scattered around a single clay wheel. The clay bodies were broken and morphed, the center of the chest missing in each other and looked as though thrown to the ground in anger. Father, I don't understand, what is Grandfather Set planning?"

In an unusual show of weakness, her father collapsed to the floor. Keket immediately ran to his aid, "Father?!"

His jackal head, soft to the touch with the jet black fur that coated his long and regal face, was placed in her lap, her blue, starry eyes searching for illness or injury. In all of her years, she had never seen her father as anything but strong and unwavering, a leader.

"Daughter, let me see you as you are."

Keket was at first confused but realized that her disguise was still on. Every god had to practice wearing a human disguise for their appearance to Ptah at their coronation and if they ever needed to go down to the human world. Keket's was of a simple Egyptian woman, black hair, tan skin, and deep, beautiful brown eyes. Focusing her magic, Keket allowed her true form to emerge, a young jackal, just as her father. Her fur was deep brown rather than her father's night black. She touched her muzzle to his and waited for him to calm down from the loss of the file. He would tell her what he needed from her in due time.

Once he was calm in the presence of his kin, he was able to move to a chair and inform his young daughter of his plan.

"Daughter, the implications of the missing file is dreadful if it should progress the way I fear." He sat back and closed his eyes, as if to visualize the carnage he predicted. "A human's file contains not only every detail of their lives, but also their essence, what makes them...them, in a sense. At the end of every completed file are the results of their judgement. Your Aunt Maat, Uncle Osiris, and Ammut all have input at the end, including the measurements of the heart against the feather. If a person's heart is too heavy, they could be annulled of their sins during a hearing, requested by myself or the accused. I often have to represent doctors that let their more genial and suffering patients pass into the night when they could have saved them." There was a pause as if the ancient god was reflecting on such cases. After a moment, he continued,

"Even when their sins are cleansed, the results are still printed in their file. Should anyone with ill intentions get ahold of such a file, they could consult the darker magics of our world into manifesting that essence into a ushabti, just as Ptah did during the Creation. They need the file though, it couldn't just be out of thin air, as it seems your grandfather attempted. The resulting being would be nothing but a shell, simply existing. With the essence, they could recreate the human, and even wipe their prior memories. I can only imagine the horrors your grandfather is planning." Anubis sat there quietly, brooding over what his own father was planning. It would be nothing but havoc for the humans. Foreboding ate away at his nerves like a scarab, hungry and relentless.

"Father, whose file did he steal?"

"Anuk-su-namun of Thebes."

Keket's eyes wondered over the seemingly endless dunes under the night sky. Nut had made sure that Keket would be protected by the dark of night when she arrived in Egypt. Although, she wasn't sure if she needed it as she couldn't see the entrance to Thebes anywhere, much less any sign of civilization.

'They must have dropped me here for a reason.' It was better to remain optimistic, at least that's what Aunt Hathor told her every time she was frustrated when a spell or medicine didn't work the way she wanted. Her family tended to know more than she did so she assumed that someone would find her or she would stumble upon something that would help on her journey.

As if on cue, Keket heard the soft plodding of equine hooves in the sand, a party had stopped and most likely spotted her.

'Here we go.' Taking a deep breath, something she didn't do in the realm of the gods, Keket turned around to address her new company.