Hakuno looks up from the text she’s reading, as loud footsteps and voices can be heard coming in her direction.
She looks over at the young sleeping blond haired boy to her left on her bed,praying that this commotion doesn’t wake up the four year old.
“Princess! You can’t go inside your mothers chambers like this! The young prince is sleeping!”
So it’s exactly as she thought then. Her daughter is back home, after her two week stay away from Uruk, in Ur.
A door flings open, and in comes a tall, short blonde haired woman, dressed in a bright yellow men’s tunic.
She meets those same bright crimson eyes, as her fathers. Strong and determined.
That’s when she notices it. Her daughters face, and arms are covered in blood.
“Aea….” Hakuno starts.
“I have returned home mother!” Aea smiles brightly, at Hakuno.
“You’re filthy.” Hakuno comments, finally standing up from Caster’s desk.
“What are you doing mother?” Aea steps closer, to Hakuno, attempting to put her arms around her.
“I’m trying to get you to go take a bath, Aea!” Hakuno explains as gently as she can. “You’re covered in blood, what in the world were you up to?!”
“Oh this?” Aea looks at her arms, as if she’s forgotten, exactly what the liquid on her skin was.
“I was hunting, with the boy father forced me to go see for two weeks in Ur. We found an animal, and the kid couldn’t kill the animal, so I had to.” Aea sighs exasperated.
“Once I saw how boring he was, I left. Seriously mother, all of these men are boring, even in the military no one can keep up with me in battle, and they think they can keep up with me in bed?” The blonde laughs. “This is why girls are more fun to toy with than men.”
Okay, Hakuno has heard enough. She doesn’t really care what her daughter does, as long as she’s safe and happy, but she shouldn’t talk about people like that!
“Aea, you can’t talk about people in that manner. You’re twenty-two, you should know better!”
“I’m just playing mother!~” Aea turns her attention to the sleeping boy on the bed. “How is Eluti?” Motioning her head to the boy fast asleep. “Where are the other boys?”
“Eluti is fine. He’s just tired. Kashid, and Ludari, are at their lessons, and Akiya is with your Appa.”
“Me and Nungal wanted to be the only set of twins.” Aea pouts. “But Appa had to ruin it with Kashid, and Ludari.”
“Speaking of your brother,” Hakuno brushes Aea’s hair back from her face. “Go see Nungal, after you bathe. Your Papa, should be with Nungal, while he’s getting his tattoo.”
Ah, that’s right, Aea damn near forgot, Nungal is getting his tattoo for Enki. He’s supposed to dedicate himself to Enki in the next few days, and then give his first speech to the people, that night.
“You also need to tell your father, how it went with that boy. I’m assuming from what you’re telling me, it didn’t go so well.”
Aea looks down at her small tattoo of a snake on her right forearm. She bleed and cried, just for this small tattoo.
She can only imagine how much pain Nungal must be feeling right now.
She’ll go tease him for a bit.
“You should come with me, mother!”
Hakuno shakes her head no. “I can’t, I have to stay here and finish reading these reports, and Archer will probably return soon with Akiya, when he needs to be fed.”
The truth is, she just doesn’t want to hear Nungal in pain.
“Hmm…okay, mother.” Aea takes a few steps toward the door. “I’ll return for dinner, with you and the other boys!~”
“Take a bath, Aea.” Hakuno sighs as she the door closes. These kids, are too much like their father she decided as she sits back down to finish her work.
Maybe she can actually finish some of Caster’s work, before another member of her family interrupts her.
“Stop whining.” Caster Gilgamesh orders, hearing another yell come from his oldest son, Ur-Nungal.
“Easy for you to say, father when-” He cringes, as the turtle shell the priests are using, prick his skin again. “When you’ve already done this!”
“It’s only the outline.” Caster reminds his son. “You have yet to get your tattoo filled in.”
There’s more to this?! Nungal inwardly groans.
“You’re fine.” Gilgamesh assures his son. “This is tradition, Nungal. It’s important that you have this done, before your speech.”
And his father just has to remind him of that.
“King Gilgamesh is right.” One of the priests speak up. “High Prince Ur-Nungal, as a servant of Enki, your patron god, I must remind you, that to dedicate yourself fully to Enki, you must get this artwork done on your body. It is tradition for males in Uruk, to have artwork on various parts of their body. Even your father has done so.”
Nungal glances at his Caster father’s tattoos on his arms. Those had to hurt.
“Have you practiced your speech lately?” Caster asks, for what has to be the hundredth time this week.
“Remind me why, I have to talk to the people again?”
“Our people need to get used to you.”
“They see me in town all of the time.”
“With your siblings. Not as high prince Nungal.”
Nungal rolls his chocolate eyes, before settling them onto his pet lion Ea, whose sleeping comfortably next to him, on the ground.
“At least someone is comfortable…” Nungal mutters.
“I thought I heard whining!” A familiar loud voice, comes from the other side of the room.
“Fuck off, Aea.” Nungal says in their mothers native language.
“Ouch. That’s the way you greet me, after not seeing your sister for two weeks?” Nungal notices that she’s holding one of his siblings in her arms.
“You were probably sleeping with both men and women. Doing nothing useful, as usual.” Nungal retorts.
“Sumerian.” Caster hisses. “Speak our language.” Caster, takes the young boy who can’t be much older than eight months from, Aea’s arms.
“Sorry Papa!~” Aea smiles, heading over to where Nungal is. “Whoa, you’re getting a tattoo of Kulullû?”
“It’s Marduks pet, you might too stupid to remember, but Marduk is Enki’s son.”
“Father! Nungal is being moody again!” Aea whines.
Caster brings a hand up to his face, as he holds their youngest son, Akiya.
“Twenty-two. You both are twenty-two, and still act like teenagers!” Caster scolds. “You both are setting a bad example, for your siblings.”
That got both of them to be quiet for a moment, until Nungal groans again, as the priests prick his back.
“What a baby.” Aea sits down next to Ea, petting her brothers pet lion a bit.
“How did it go with, the prince of Ur, Aea?” Caster questions, holding Akiya close to his chest.
“He’s boring. He can’t keep up with me, so I left a day early. I don’t like him.” Aea complains.
“Aea, you can’t keep doing that. We must find you a suitor-”
“Appa says I don’t have to get married, if I don’t want to!” Aea argues. “I want to go back to being in the army, Papa! I like fighting, I can’t stand being in one spot! I want to fall in love normally, like you did! It’s not fair.”
“Boys are boring.” Aea turns her attention back to Ea.
Caster sighs. This girl, she doesn’t understand they have to form an alliance with Ur sooner, rather than later, to avoid possible war.
He’ll try to explain that to his daughter again later. “I’m assuming your mother gave you, Akiya then?”
“No, Appa did. Said he had to go pick up the other two boys from their lessons, with the mages. Eluti is with mother, taking a nap.”
Of course. Honestly, Caster is a bit surprised, that Archer gave Hakuno a break from the baby in his arms.
The kid must have started crying or something, and Aea just happened to be there to take Akiya, off of Archer’s arms.
“My king, the outline of the high prince’s tattoo, is done.” The head priest speaks up. “The sun is setting soon. Would you like to continue this tomorrow?”
Caster nods his head. “That is fine. You all are dismissed.”
The priests of Enki bow to Gilgamesh first, then to Nungal. “High prince, have one of your servants, rub the ointment we gave your father, on your back, before you fall asleep this evening.”
Nungal nods his head, finally sitting up for the first time in eight hours. “Thank you, for all of your hard work.”
The priests finally bow to Aea, before leaving. “Princess.”
They sit quietly for a moment, before a loud laugh, is heard from outside.
Dammit, Caster cringes his younger self is here.
“Let me open the door, you two! You both are much too short!”
A moment later, and two blonde boys rush in the room, heading straight for Aea, tackling her.
“Archer.” Caster stands up, still holding Akiya in his arms.
“Kashid, Ludari!” Aea exlaims.
“We missed you!” Both boys exclaim at once.
“I came to see how Nungal was doing, before I returned to our chambers, but it seems I was too late.”
“The outline, of his tattoo is done." Caster motions for Sian to come stand next to him.
“Hmm, I suppose it looks acceptable.” Archer mummers, turning Nungal around, to look at his unfinished tattoo.
“It will look better, once it is filled in, father.” Nungal promises.
“There are worse gods, that you could devote yourself too.” Archer calls out the two young boys names, who are now trying to wrestle Aea to the ground, before finishing what he has to say. “Like Ishtar for example.”
Nungal doesn’t want to admit it, but his Archer father is right. He would never devote himself to Ishtar.
“Hungry.” Nungal complains, holding his stomach.
As if cue, that child in Caster’s arms starts to cry.
“Caster would have you work yourself to death, Nungal. My son that my other self is holding is hungry as well, it would seem.”
Caster gives his younger self, before deciding to let the insult go. It’s not worth it to get into an argument in front of all these kids.
“Let’s return to mother then.” Nungal starts to head towards the door.
“Wait for us, big brother!” The other set of twins run after, Nungal.
“Aea.” Caster passes off, the crying child to his daughter, on her way out, leaving him by himself.
Peaceful. That’s what this feeling is.
It must always stay this way. The ten of them. The two sets of twins, and the other two boys, Enkidu, his younger self, himself, and Hakuno.
He concludes that Ruler must have been lying to Hakuno. Even if Archer did feed her the herb of immortality the moment they returned to Uruk, nothing bad has happened. In fact, Hakuno’s been at her happiest, since they’ve returned to Uruk.
He won’t allow anything terrible to happen, they won’t go down Ruler’s path.
There’s no time for failure.