Theme: Retelling of a myth
Isis, Osiris, Set, Nephthys, and Horus are all siblings, born to Geb and Nut.
Isis’ son was named Horus, too.
Osiris and Isis are married. Nephthys and Set are married.
Anubis supposedly the child of Nephthys and Osiris.
Thoth is the god of magic, wisdom, etc. He helped in the birth of all kids of Geb and Nut.
The Nile stretched out in its entirety in front of her, full of life and beauty. On any other day, she would have felt at peace, all her emotions settled for once. But today, she felt only an odd restlessness that she could not explain.
She gave up trying to understand the turmoil and began to watch the birds that flew over her head. Some dived into the sparkling blue of Nile to catch fish. Some were settled rather calmly on the slender muzzles of the crocodiles.
She watched as a crocodile tried to make its way towards her. She gave a small smile before shifting herself away from it. She stood there for a long while, just staring at the wonder that nature had created before she sighed. Perhaps the charm of the Nile was withholding its serenity from her.
She slowly trudged back to the palace, her women following her but always at a distance. Once inside her bedchamber, she collapsed onto her bed, her mind still persisting on upsetting her.
The sun was already sinking and Osiris, her brother and consort, was still nowhere to be found. Set, her other brother, had invited them to a feast last night. She had claimed to be ill-disposed, for lack of a different excuse. She did not hate Set. She simply disliked him and the company he kept. All that Set had ever done with his life was envy Osiris. It was perhaps a cruel thought, to base someone’s entire existence on envy but she knew it to be true. She had been there, after all, following her brothers as a child.
Osiris’ birth had been celebrated in a way none of theirs’ would be. No one had proclaimed Horus or Set the joy bringer. It had always been Osiris. Osiris, the one prophecied to be the mighty king who would bestow glory upon his people.
She understood Set. She had felt the same envy every time she had looked at Osiris. As children, there had been nothing she could not best Osiris at. Yet, it had been Osiris who received all the praises. Once, it had seemed unfair and perhaps it was. But now, as his friend and confidant, she understood. He was the best among them, not because of his magic or other physical skills. He was the first king because he wanted peace. He taught people to live in peace and harmony. She did not think the Set, who was the embodiment of chaos and war could give them that.
She had come to love Osiris long go. Set, she doubted, would ever feel any love for Osiris.
Sitting up in her bed, she looked out through the window. Sure enough, the moon was rising. It was a full day since Osiris had gone with Set. It was possible he had departed from there to attend to some duty. But she knew him. He would never leave without assigning either her or Nephthys to assume control in his absence, another thing that irked Set. That his sisters were trusted to rule better than him.
Walking outside, she called to one the guards, “Did the king come back before I did? Did he leave any message?”
The one standing to her right answered, “No, my queen”.The answer did nothing to calm her mind.
She moved back into her bedchamber to pace when she heard a commotion outside.
“I want to see my sister!”, a feminine voice was screeching, “You can’t hold me back”.
Nephthys, she thought, sighing. She might have over-reacted and forbidden Nephthys from entering the palace when she had found out who the father of Anubis was. It wasn’t about Nephthys betraying her by being with Osiris. If that had happened, only Osiris would have had to explain it to her. No, it was how Nephthys had done it. By pretending to be her.
She didn’t much like the idea of anyone pretending to be her, not even her beloved sister.
She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard another screech, “Isis!”
Rushing outside, she saw her sister’s tearful face. She was being held back by two burly guards. Frowning, she signaled to the guards to let go of her. Nephthys stumbled and would have fallen if Isis’ hands hadn’t shot out to catch her sister.
Worry filled her as she took in Nephthys. Her sister was still sobbing and appeared to have difficulty breathing. Nephthys wasn’t one given to tears. Whether or not Nephthys had betrayed her, she was still her sister and it was, therefore, her duty to comfort her.
Slowing her thoughts, she rubbed her sister’s back, walking her into her chamber and making her sit on her bed. It seemed to work and her sister’s weeping seemed to be lessening.
“There is…there is no time for this”, her sister said, trying to speak and sob at the same time.
She frowned again and pulled the wine pitcher from the nightstand. Filling a glass to the brim, she handed it to her sister, “Drink this. Then tell me what happened”.
Nephthys’ reply was to throw the glass at the ground. Isis watched its contents spill as her sister yelled from behind her, “Don’t you understand? There is no time for this”
Her eyes narrowed on her sister, her patience stretching thin, “What happened?”
“Osiris”, Nephthys ground out while another sob seemed to rock her.
Blood drained from her face and all other thoughts flood her mind. “Osiris what? Did something happen?”
She took hold of Nephthys’ shoulder and shook her when she got no reply, “Did anything happen?”
“Osiris is dead”, Nephthys sobbed harder. Isis let go of her and backed away, pressing a hand to her still flat belly.
This couldn’t have happened. I must have misheard her, she thought, her breath becoming short and fast.
“What?”, she asked again, softly.
“Set had him thrown into the Nile”, Nephthys said, her sob finally becoming a dry heave. “We need to find him, Isis”
“Who?”, she asked numbly as her brain processed words. Set. Osiris. The Nile.
“Osiris. We need to find his body”, Nephthys said, looking determined even though her eyes were still red-rimmed.
“Why?”, she thought she was going to be sick. He couldn’t be dead. She hadn’t even told him they were going to have a child. This couldn’t be right. Her eyes began to fill with tears but she blinked them back. There was no use crying. It would not bring her Osiris back.
It was hard to put a leash on all the grief that was trying to drown her. But now was not the time to immerse herself in the inviting hands of sorrow. Now was the time to think clearly. If Osiris was dead, there should be no doubt who his successor would be. She had to stay strong for their child.
Pushing her emotions aside, she listened to Nephthys’ speak.
“Because my brother deserves to live. You can bring him back”, Nephthys said, hopefully.
Isis could only blink, emotionless. She had her powers. But it wasn’t within her powers to bring back the dead.
“I can’t”, Isis said as plainly as she could, trying not to feel sorry for herself for not being able to do that. Nephthys had to know that. The dead belonged to the realm of the underworld. And even Anubis, he who ruled the underworld, could not bring Osiris back to life.
“What do you mean you can’t?”, Nephthys screamed at her. “You are a healer! I’ve seen you bring animals back to life”
“From near death, Nephthys”, she said as she tried to find the link that connected her to Osiris.
If he was dead, why hadn’t she felt anything? She realised she was wasting precious time. From near death. Maybe her Osiris wasn’t dead yet. She could heal him if he wasn’t yet gone to the underworld.
She ran without waiting to see if Nephthys would follow. She stopped only when she reached her destination.
She stood in front of the Nile, allowing her magic to seep into the earth and into the dark depths of Nile. She didn’t feel her sister’s presence behind her until she spoke.
“You are searching for a golden chest. He is in a golden chest”, Nephthys said quietly.
A chest. She felt a rage so great she wondered how it was that her magic didn’t explode, taking her down with it. Her magic seemed to only intensify gently as her anger began to rise. At that moment, she knew she would have killed Set if he were nearby.
She felt a sudden simmer. Her link with Osiris seemed to be burning bright, instead of the steady white it normally emitted or the dull faded one when she had thought him dead. Osiris was angry. He couldn’t be dead. Not yet.
She wondered why it was burning bright only now. He must have felt her anger then. It was a good thing. Maybe he had been faint earlier. It did not matter. The only important thing was that he was alive.
She tugged at the link and felt a replying tug at the other end. That did not say much about his location.
Concentrating on finding him, she forced every once of her magic into the earth, knowing she would regret it later. Magic had its price. It was like physical exercise. One can only push to a certain extent.
She didn’t know how long she stood there, waiting for a sign. She felt him just as she was about to give up. He was near the sea. She blinked. She wanted to jump into the Nile but knew it was a foolish thought that would endanger both her and their child.
Breathing out her frustration, she remembered her initial plan to stay calm. Slowly she turned around to Nephthys.
“I will find him”, was all she said before she strode back to the palace, leaving Nephthys standing there.
“I lift the order I gave before. Princess Nephthys is allowed to enter the Palace anytime she wants. Have her shown to her chamber when she comes back”, she said to the guards at the entrance, knowing her sister would return.
Inside her chamber, she sat on her bed and stared out at the moon through the window. She felt drained. She needed her magic at its full capacity when she went out to search for him. But she also needed to manipulate the sea.
He was near the sea. He would have to be brought ashore. It wouldn’t do to have him go into the sea indefinitely. He wasn’t dead yet, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t weak.
It also occurred to her that he must have drowned by now. If he was near the sea and he had started at the Nile, then there had been plenty of time for water to pull the chest down. Gold could float on the water but Osiris would weigh down the chest. She had to know what was happening.
She let her magic engulf her again and blinked to clear the vision in front of her, waiting for it to be replaced by her true vision. She saw then, what was holding him to life. He wasn’t in a chest. He must have broken free. He was holding on to tamarisk wood, which managed to make him stay afloat.
The vision began to blur and she could see black dots floating in front of her eyes. She was almost completely drained of her magic. She held on to her magic anyway. She would have time to replenish later.
She fixated on him. With information about where he was and how he was floating, she tried to manipulate the direction of the water. She gently nudged the water with the remnants of her energy, pushing him towards the city of Byblos. The last thing she remembered doing was shoving all her power into disguising him as a tamarisk tree before she blacked out.
When the sunrays announced the arrival of a new day, she only wanted to snuggle into her bed and forget everything else. She felt the tiredness deep in her bones. But she knew her duty and the thought of Osiris alone made her push away from the bed.
Looking at her reflection in the mirror, she knew she looked grand enough to attend a royal affair. That’s what her trip was about, to attend a foreign affair, at least for the world.
“You didn’t tell me you were leaving”, Nephthys said from the entrance to her chamber, eyeing her clothes.
Isis only tilted her head, “I said I will bring him back”
“From wherever he is”, she knew her replies were bothering Nephthys but she did not want to speak of his location. Or the fact that he was alive. That bit of information was hers to cherish so no one will find a way to take it away.
“You said you couldn’t bring him back to life. So why do you have to waste such efforts?”, there was undertone anger to the words, even as Nephthys shrugged.
“Because he deserves a proper farewell”, she said before striding out of her room.
“I leave my sister in charge in my absence”, she told her Vizier before stepping into the boat. It was midday before the arrangements for her travel had been completed and she could not wait to set sail. “My brother Set is banned from entering the city until I or the King says otherwise”
The old vizier nodded and she signaled for the men behind her to row. If all went well, she would have Osiris installed back in the palace very soon.
All did not go well, to say the least. Kneeling on the Byblos land, she wanted to pull her hair out.
The tree was missing. The tamarisk tree that disguised Osiris was missing and her magic could not spot it. It was as though the disappearance had occurred a long while ago. The only other answer would be that her magic had gone wrong and she had misplaced him. Surely, that hadn’t happened. Her magic never went wrong.
And it didn’t do her any good that she could not peer into the past or the future.
She had asked for the rowers to go back, not wanting anyone to hear of what happened to their King. Now it appeared she was going to have to rely on her magic to get herself around.
She looked around one last time, to make sure she hadn’t missed some vital clue.
Resigned, she began to implore the idea that she may have placed the tree somewhere else. Transforming herself into a snake, she slithered along the shore, retracing her path through the seashore, searching for her tamarisk.
The tree had to be somewhere near.
The tree was nowhere to be found. Isis sat on the seashore of Byblos, staring at the sea as though it might offer the answers that she sort. It was useless now, anyway. She had felt the link snap. He was dead.
He had been alive last night. Today, she could only console herself with the knowledge that she had tried.
The only feeling she felt anymore was fear. Not anger or resentment, which would have fueled her blindly. Instead, it was fear that kept her awake. If Set had killed his brother for the throne, he wouldn’t have any qualms about murdering his nephew.
The thought of her child’s death alone kept her from breaking havoc on her brother. She was powerful. But she was emotional and weak at the moment. Plans of revenge or forgiveness would have to wait.
As waves crashed on the rocks, she thought about how it would feel to walk into the sea and never return. She needed to hide her child, from Set and anyone else who would be interested in the throne.
The wheels in her mind turned and she did what she had been thinking of. She walked right into the dark inviting sea and turned herself into a fish.
She needed to find somewhere to hide her child. Plan forming in her mind, she swam against the water currents, along the marshes of the Nile delta.
When she reached her destination, the city of Buto, she transformed into her human form and made her way to shore, water drops falling like pearls from her dress as she walked.
Once there, she sat cross-legged on the sand and called out to Hathor, the goddess of the sky in her mind. There was no reply, not a whisper of the goddess’s existence.
She sat patiently anyway, letting the goddess play her mind games. At the moment, she did not mind particularly. She wanted protection for her child and if she had to endure a few moments of toying for it, then so be it.
“I thought you would never come”, she heard a husky female voice at her side. There was a hint of a smile in the voice.
“I need your aid”, she said without turning her head.
“Now, why would I offer that?”, Hathor was laughing softly now.
“We are of the same blood. Isn’t that reason enough?”
“Blood didn’t stop Set from killing your husband, did it?”, more laughter.
She felt the blood leave her face, “How did you know of it?”
“Ah, child, you can count on me to know everything”, the goddess sighed, as though pleased with herself.
Isis pulled herself together, “You know, I thought you loved Ra”, she yawned.
At the mention of Ra, Hathor sat up straighter beside her. “What of him?”
“You wouldn’t want Anep to know Ra’s secret name, now would you?”, she heard how poisoned she sounded but it didn’t bother her.
Hathor’s head turned to study her profile, and she laughed again, “Fair enough. What would you have me do?”
“I want your protection for my child. Until he is ready to take the throne for himself”
Hathor’s head tilted, “I can do that”. After a moment, she added, “You are also welcome in my home”.
“I suppose I owe you something for this”, she said, turning to look at the goddess finally.
Hathor’s laughter rang out again, “Yes, you do”.
She did not find courage in her to leave Buto before her son was born. She named him Horus, the one far above. He would turn out to be a fine man like his father, she thought.
And when he was born, she had to leave. Her duty to her deceased husband was not yet done. She hadn’t set foot into human civilizations for a while now and did not know what had happened to Egypt. She could only hope Nephthys had protected her throne until the false foreign affair ended.
But before knowing what was going on in Egypt, she had to find her husband’s body. They were both children of gods, so their bodies did not degrade as the humans’ did. She needed his body to send him to the underworld properly.
So, she went to the city of Byblos, where she had last seen the tree in her vision. On the familiar shores, she wandered again, with no clue as to where she would find him.
She heard the laughter of children then. She smiled, thinking of her son back in Buto. Slowly walking towards them so as not to alarm them, she sat at a rock by the shores, watching them play by the water.
Close to them, a few women sat watching the children attentively. Going unnoticed by both parties, Isis sought the peace that had been missing for over a year now. She wondered if she was doing the right thing. Instead of going back and keeping her throne safe, she was here, trying unsuccessfully to find her husband’s corpse. Perhaps she would never succeed. But did it really matter? What good was knowing that her son’s throne was safe when her husband would never reach the underworld safely?
She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard screams. She pushed to her feet when she saw one of the boys erratically beating at the water. She saw one of the women trying to swim to the boy while the others were busy pulling the other boys away from the sea.
The boy was getting dragged too fast into the depths by waves, which kept getting higher and higher.
The woman has no chance of getting to him, Isis thought before she turned herself into a snake and slithered into the water, still unnoticed.
Swimming quickly to the boy, Isis let her tail wrap around the child and pulled him towards the shore, away from humans.
Once near the shore, she switched back to her human form and waited for the child to wake. When he didn’t open his eyes immediately, Isis let her hand brush over his chest, trying to see if he had swallowed too much water already.
Assured he fainted due to panic and would wake soon, she picked his tiny form gently and began walking towards the humans.
The women were crying frantically when she arrived. One of the women spotted her and let out a shout before running to her and taking the child from her hands.
She felt the loss of the child but before she could rage, one of the women placed a hand on her shoulder and whispered, “You saved his life”.
She nodded and watched as the women fawned over the boy, who was gaining consciousness as the loudness of voices around him kept rising.
Another woman turned towards her, “You should come with us. King Malcander will reward you handsomely when he knows you saved Prince Maneros”
She thought about it. Once her hunt for her husband was over, she would need allies. She had no doubt about Nephthys’ capability to hol the country in her absence, but once Osiris ‘ death news spread, she would need to have allies to keep her claim of the throne strong.
She nodded, wordlessly and smiled back as the boy smiled at her shyly from where he stood among the women.
He walked to her as she watched, he shyly reached out a hand and took her hand in his. She smiled and walked after the women, letting them lead the way, with the prince walking beside her.
Once they reached the palace’s hall, Isis went eerily still. The King and Queen of Byblos stood before her and heard the women recount the tale of Isis saving Prince Maneros.
Slowly letting go of the Prince’s hand, Isis closed her eyes and let her instinct take her wherever it wanted. She heard the Queen speak to her distantly as her legs walked with a mind of its own.
She stood before a pillar in the hall. It looked like a pillar yet she could see through the disguise she had fashioned. They had cut her Tamarisk and fashioned it into a pillar.
At least her quest was at an end. It was irrational to rage at the people for their ignorance, so she let the anger fade. But the anguish of the past year came rushing back. The grief that had been bottled up for over a year came out altogether, no longer willing to stay hidden. She let the tears flow this time. This was proof that Osiris was truly gone.
She didn’t feel the time pass. She wiped the tears away with the back of her hand when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning around, she saw that it was the Prince. She gave him a wavering smile and stood up and saw the King and Queen standing behind the Prince, looking at her with concern.
Queen Astarte broke the silence first, “We heard of what happened at the sea. It is not just a Prince you saved, but also a mother’s heart”. Isis noticed the tears in the woman’s eyes for the first time and nodded.
“And a father’s “, the King added with a gruff voice, “We are indebted to you. No amount of thanks will equal what you have done for us. But we have to try. Please ask for anything that you want”.
She looked at them and back at the pillar. She knew what she wanted, “I want this pillar”.
She watched as confusion clouded their eyes. “The pillar? It is just wood. Please ask for anything. Gold, silver, land, any riches of the world”, the queen said.
“It is not just wood”, she said with a soft voice laced with determination, “This is what I want”
The King was watching her. “Let her have it, Astarte”, he said when the queen looked as though she wanted to argue.
Still confused, the queen nodded nonetheless. They ordered the pillar to be taken down while they were refreshing. Isis was reluctant to leave her pillar but went with the royals as they persisted.
As they sat, the king was still watching her. Isis raised her head and stared back at him, Prince Maneros in her lap.
“It occurs to me that we do not know who the savior of our child is”, the king said and the queen nodded from beside him.
She gave a little smile, “Isis of Egypt”. She watched as their eyes widened and they stood so fast.
“Please remain seated”, she said, waving to where they were.
“Goddess?”, the queen whispered and looked quickly down at her child, fast asleep in Isis’ lap. Isis acknowledged her with a tilt of her head.
“We are honored by your presence in our city and your favor of our child”
Isis smiled, brushing her hand over the Prince’s head, “He is what lead me to my destination”.
They did not question what she meant because she added, “I might need a favor in the future”.
They looked at each other before the King said, “Of course, goddess. May I inquire of the nature of the favor?”
“I need you to swear an alliance to Horus, my son”, Isis said, watching them for their reaction.
The King hesitated for a moment before going on his knees in front of her, “I swear my alliance to Horus, son of Isis and Osiris, with Goddess Isis as my witness”.
Isis nodded, satisfied. “I would need to leave for Egypt soon. Can you prepare for it?”
They nodded in unison. “Everything will be prepared before dawn, goddess”.
With that, they showed her the chamber she would be staying in. The King left quickly, asking permission to leave so he could prepare for her departure. The Queen hesitated, looking at Isis and back at the chamber’s entrance.
“What is it?”, Isis asked, watching the Queen. She had a look of desperation in her face.
The queen drew in a breath, “I may be overstepping myself, Goddess. It is just…”, her eyes filled with tears again.
“Yes?”, she prompted.
“My other son, Dictys”, she swallowed, “He has been ailing since birth. You are a healer and I thought…”, she trailed off at that.
“Bring him to me in the morning, before I leave”, Isis smiled as she watched the Queen flash a look of relief to her before bowing and leaving her to her thoughts in the chamber.
As she lay awake at night, she thought about what she was going to do next. She had to take Osiris back to Egypt. It would announce his death and the throne would be empty, officially.
I can reign as the Queen mother, she thought. She fell asleep with that thought going around in her mind.
Isis stood on Nile’s shores, overlooking Egypt by midday. She had cured the ailing Prince Dictys as she had promised and boarded to Egypt, with her pillar. The pillar had been cut into many pieces, which was her mistake because she should have told them to keep it intact.
It was quite a torture, being able to see through the disguise and see Osiris in pieces. She supposed she could place him together.
The pieces had been placed in a golden box and she decided to hide it in the bushes. This time, she made it disappear. It was still there, but no one could see it.
She made her way towards the palace and frowned at the changes. The palace was more ostentatious than when she had left it.
The guards moved aside when she entered. She stopped to say, “Ask Princess Nephthys to meet me”
The guards looked at one another, “Queen Nephthys is in her chamber, Princess”
Queen Nephthys? She saw red. Her sister had usurped her throne?
“I can take you to her”, one of them offered and she nodded, controlling her wrath.
Once she was announced, she didn’t have time to speak before Nephthys crushed her in a hug.
“I thought something had happened to you”, her sister whispered before pushing away.
“Is that why you are Queen Nephthys?”, Isis whispered back harshly.
Her sister’s expression hardened. “Set announced Osiris’ death a month after you left. Proclaimed himself King”, her sister turned away from her.
Isis sighed. “I should have known”. She thought for a moment, “How did he convince everyone that he was not overseas?”
“He lied about Queen Aso killing Osiris in a moment of heat”, Nephthys said, “He also had the coffin with him. Though Osiris was not in it”, her sister turned around, her brows pulled into a frown.
Isis nodded, “Osiris must have escaped the coffin. And did Set avenge his brother by killing Queen Aso?”
Her sister grimaced, “Aso made a public display of her regret and pledged alliance to Egypt. Set forgave her at court, with a speech about needing alliances. You know how it is.”
Indeed. She knew how it was. Aso was Set’s lover. Why wouldn’t she help him get the crown?
Looking to the chamber’s entrance, Nephthys dragged Isis towards a corner and whispered, “I spoke to Anubis in your absence”
One of the brows arching, Isis asked, “And?”
Nephthys drew in a breath and looked frantically towards the entrance again, “He said it is possible to bring Osiris back”
Isis stood still, her face blank and tried to stop her heartbeat from rising. It wouldn’t do let her hopes soar. “How?”
“It is only possible if you have Osiris’ body”, she looked to Isis for confirmation and continued when Isis nodded, “You are going to bring him back, Isis”
“Me?”, she asked. Bringing back the dead was not one of her powers.
“Yes, you. With Thoth and Anubis”, her sister said, “I spoke to both Thoth and Anubis. They both think it is possible and are willing to lend aid”
Thoth was a god of wisdom and magic. Could he be right about bringing Osiris back to life? It did not matter, she realized. There was no harm in trying.
“Meet me near the Nile. Bring Thoth and Anubis”, she said before walking out.
Before trying to bring him back, they would have to have Osiris in one piece. She sneaked out of the Palace, not wanting anyone to know of her location.
She opened the lid of the box and felt her stomach turn. She took the pieces out with unsteady hands and laid them on the ground. She had to do this.
She closed her eyes and let her magic take over. It felt like slipping a coat on. It engulfed her and the pieces of Osiris. One by one, the pieces merged. She felt each her magic flow out of her as pulses.
When it was done, Isis opened her eyes to look down at the perfectly formed Osiris. He looked so peaceful like he was in a deep sleep. She brushed a hand over his face longingly.
“Isis!”, she heard Nephthys’s shout. She let her magic fall back so they would be visible.
“Isis”, Thoth said. Isis nodded in acknowledgment.
“How is it possible to bring him back? I don’t think I am capable of that”
“No, you are not”, Thoth agreed and Isis frowned, “Not alone”, he said, looking at Anubis and then at her.
She looked at Anubis with a question on her face. Anubis chose not to answer and instead looked at Osiris at her feet.
He knelt near Osiris and touched him. “He is unable to enter the underworld”
“Isis, give me one of your hands and hold one over Osiris”, Thoth held out a hand towards her.
She did, placing her other hand over Osiris’ heart. She felt Thoth’s magic flow through her and let her magic join his. Together, it was like two instruments played together. Beautiful, in sync and pulsating, as though it was alive.
In front of her, Anubis was still touching Osiris. At that moment, she saw Anubis for the dark lord that he was. He seemed to have an aura of darkness surrounding him.
In a while, she forgot everything about her world. She was simply a bright white light. She did not have a definite form. She felt her light go dim after a while. Then, it blinked out, engulfing her in complete darkness.
“Isis!”, she tried to push the voice away. Who would scream so loudly?
She felt a hand caress her cheek and someone called, “Isis”, this time, it was a soft deep voice. The familiarity of the voice jolted her awake.
She opened her eyes and stared at Osiris bending over her, concern shining in his eyes. She blinked. Once, twice. When assured it wasn’t a play of her eyes, she launched herself at time.
“Osiris”, she whispered into his ears and buried her face into his neck.
“Isis”, he whispered back, holding her.
He pulled away and looked at her, “What happened?”
“Set killed you”, she said plainly, “Thoth and Anubis helped in bringing you back”
Osiris looked baffled for a moment, “You brought me back?”
Isis nodded and then smiled, “We have a son. I named him Horus. I left him with…”, her words trailed off, remembering that they had company. Her son’s location was better kept a secret from the world.
Osiris smiled back at her, understanding. Then he started, “You should not have done that”
Isis frowned, her confusion obvious, “Done what?”
“Brought me back”, his smile slipped and he looked sad for a moment.
“I don’t feel alive, Isis. I’m not alive”, he shook his head.
She looked behind Osiris, at Thoth and Anubis, for an explanation.
“You are tethering him to Earth, Isis”, Thoth said.
Tethering him to Earth? She looked back at Osiris, “Do you want to leave?”, her voice wavered. She didn’t want to lose him.
He sighed, “Isis, I want to stay. But I don’t feel right here”, he took her hand in his, “I’ve lived a good life on Earth. Now I want to experience the Underworld as a whole person. I will always stay with Horus, even if I am not on Earth.”
“He can rule the underworld”, Anubis offered, his expression still stoic. She wondered if his expressions ever changed.
Osiris flashed a smile at Anubis and she felt her heart constrict painfully. He would never get to smile at Horus like that. He would never get to hold Horus. Tears filled her eyes. It seemed crying was the only thing she was capable of in a long while.
“What should I do?”, her voice was hoarse. Osiris hugged her again.
“Release him”, Thoth said softly, walking backward. Anubis and Nephthys followed him.
“Goodbye, brother”, Nephthys whispered and Osiris nodded.
Isis hugged him harder and whispered, “I hope to see you in the underworld”
“You can summon me any time you want”
Closing her eyes, she let her magic guide her. She felt her magic thrumming in him.
That must be the tether, she thought.
Little by little, the magic they had infused into Osiris left him and found its way into her.
She felt the moment his body became lifeless again and cried. When Nephthys touched her, she fell into her sister and cried for all she had lost in the span of a year.
When she no longer had tears left, she stood.
“Thank you”, she said to Thoth and Anubis, “I will not forget your aid”.
Thoth disappeared first. Looking at Anubis, “Take care of him. Please”
Anubis nodded to her and then to Nephthys before disappearing.
Nephthys was still holding her shoulders, “I have a nephew?”
“Yes”, Isis could not bring herself to give more details. Her sister’s hands fell aside.
“Keep him safe. The throne is his”, her sister held something out.
The Lotus Crown.
Isis started at Nephthys. Her sister shrugged, “I stole it. Set doesn’t deserve it”
She hugged her sister. She took the crown in her hand. It belonged to her son.
“I need to leave”
“I know. I hope to see my nephew soon”, her sister smiled, her eyes twinkling.
Isis smiled and looked at Egypt one more time before she walked into the Nile.
She always did her duties. She had done her duties as a Queen. Now her duty was to be the Queen mother.
Her next duty was to see her son on that throne.
Yayy. Finally. After months. I did it. I’m going to have a party.
Anyway, I think this is the longest OS I’ve tried. The myth of Osiris and Isis had a lot of particulars that, I think, would be rushed if shortened.
I chose this myth because Isis gave females in Egypt a power. Isis is believed to have been independent, even if her reign was through males. Since Isis was the foremost goddess, more important than some male deities even, this gave some kind of power to Ancient Egypt’s women.
I also had a moment of realisation while writing this. I always thought Circe by Madeline Miller was dry. So, writing this, I realised that myth is always dry (unless a YA fantasy author is doing it, in which case, it is not dry at all, But they use myths to drive their story, they are not “retelling”)
I tweaked a few things in the original myth because the original myth was sometimes nonsensical. The most important and major tweak is that Horus is born before Osiris is resurrected. I also left out Medjed eating up Osiris. And the Lotus crown thing. Nephthys did not steal it in the original story.
However, the above is not the only version. But the variations are minor in the versions of the myth. I did what I could to patch it up.