We sadly confirmed Oly/Perseus stuff (one slightly more lamented than the other, lol), and Persephone failed to arrive in time to save them against murderous Selene-possessing entities (oi).
Celina had the blues (greys?) because her super happy perfect life with the best husband/kids/dog ever was making her sad…speculation as to whether or not the sad originated with the life…or what’s going on with her body outside the life!
Later Cassie (who may or may not be a little cray cray now) went to see her grieving witch friends to get cousin Jerry’s phone number. Eep!
Everywhere she turned to look, Hatshepsut felt dissatisfaction…no matter where her eyes fell, and no matter whom her eyes fell upon.
It was worrisome, but also it made her heart sad, for she loved her family and wanted good things for them.
Raet was lovely, as a queen and a mother and a woman; lovely and sweet and weak. She needed others to lean on, be it Pili or Nafi or Horus’s long-gone father, and this was not fitting for an Amazon Queen…surely Athena had noticed?
Hatshepsut had to believe that the Goddess gave Raet so many guardians so that she might survive to bear a strong princess.
Kebechet, for all her shortcomings, was a strong woman…or was it truly strength? It seemed to Hatshepsut that true strength should look less disconcerting on a person, and make her feel more confident as a Tribal Sister for her future Queen…
…but with every day that passed, Hattie grew, and learned, and felt her dissatisfaction with her elder sister increase.
Who was truly more fit to lead? Raet with her kind smiles and florid manners, or Kebechet, with her burgeoning ruthlessness and vanity?
Not for the first time, Hatshepsut thought that Pili would have been a better choice, but such things were unheard of among her people as they were forbidden by the Goddess.
What would her grandmother have thought? Bastet had been described to her as being both kind and strong…and surely this was the truth, for she had been chosen by Athena Herself. A queen did not have to be perfect, but she did needs be effective, and leave her Tribe better and stronger after her reign.
Did Raet not meet that criteria, however? There was an argument to be made on either side, perhaps…and perhaps it wasn’t as simple as a yes or a no. Regardless, Athena had clearly shown Bastet’s second daughter Her favour, and that was no small thing.
Hatshepsut considered she might leave to settle her own Tribe, as Maat had done in times past…but everyone knew how that had ended up, and perhaps Athena had allowed the plague because she was displeased at the fracturing of her Amazons; perhaps leaving was seen as abandonment and disobedience?
But there were no rules to go by, alas; the culture brought to Al Simhara by the Themysimrans was not theirs, and Hatshepsut was beginning to believe that trying to use Themysimran ways was where they had gone wrong in the first place.
They were not Themysimran, they were Al Simharans…and now Simchu Pichuans? One thing was certain, however; Athena had removed them from Themysimra for a reason, and chosen Bastet’s blood to carry forth Her will…why did no one else speak of it? Did they not see?
Raet saw only lovely things.
Kebechet saw only herself.
Hatshepsut, however, saw ever so much more.
The Ayar Court of Sim’Caritambo had been a surprise, though of which sort, Arsinoë was not certain.
It was equal parts less and more awful than she’d anticipated, but it was also beautiful, and thankfully not full of the promised corpse violating savages…
…so far as she’d yet seen.
The people of Simchu Pichu were also a surprise…
…and perhaps none more so than Princess Nenetl, who was the first and only child of The Ayar himself…ah, but that was now incorrect, was it not?
“No, duenna, I do not wish to see my new baby brother…what do I care for him?” Her Highness was as self absorbed as any girlchild Arsinoë had ever seen, but not as much so as she’d been led to believe of a princess…though in fairness, the Al Simharan slave had never before met a real princess.
“In any case, he is not The Promised One, and so I have no use for him, yes?” It was true, the entire Court whispered behind their hands of this prince who was not Marked by the favour of Ayar.
“But he is your kin, Highness; it is expected that you will go to see him,” she reminded the girl, “surely you do not wish to appear uncaring? It would displease your mother, I am certain.”
Nenetl frowned, considering, “then I will see him,” she declared with no small amount of sobriety, “but we will not linger?”
Arsinoë could not repress a little smile at how the princess began to straddle the line between the obligations of womanhood and the mercurial fancies of a child; “No, Highness, we will not linger.”
The young Al Simharan woman had not been trained in the art of child rearing, but she had been well educated and raised with the refined manners that appealed to the Seneschel of Sim’Caritambo…
…being given to Princess Nenetl as duenna, companion and tutor, had been more welcome a household position than Arsinoë had ever dared dream of…
…and for all that her journey had been taxing, she was pleased to have been sent.
The red-eyed demon girl had ended up in the harem…
…a fitting task for such an empty headed creature; to lay on your back and wiggle around for the amusement of a man; but Arsinoë did not wish to think of what sort of tainted beast might be one day squeezed out from between those smooth thighs…what if the succubus bore the next king?
Surely such a thing could not happen, however; the Conquering God would not seek to Mark the whelp of an ill-favoured Gaulish slave girl…would he?
It did not bear thinking of…but then, if the Court gossip had the right of it, no concubine would produce The Ayar…or any other babe, for that matter.
“A shame that father’s harem is cursed,” sighed the princess, eerily parroting Arsinoë’s thoughts out loud, “for now mother will have to have another baby, and she does not care for it.”
“Her Majesty does her duty,” the duenna reminded her charge, “as must we all, despite our personal desires, yes?”
“I know it,” huffed the girl, “but if it is another boy who is not Marked, then that is also another son that mother will have to give to spill his blood on Ayar’s Throne…and what if I am sad about them when the time comes, duenna?”
“I know I should rejoice for The Promised One to have many brothers, as father did; for the blood of many brothers makes for a stronger king, yes?”
“But I think it will make me sad to see them die…is that a wicked thought, duenna? Would Mother Temaz and Her Handmaidens frown upon me for it?”
For the first time since her arrival, Arsinoë felt a cool horror wash over her.
Cursed, they said…the whole damn harem.
The girls whispered about how three times a concubine had gotten knocked up by the king, and three times they’d just up and died, as if smacked down by the hand of The God Himself…
…purple, and flailing, and frothing at the mouth; a horrible rictus of pain following them into the afterlife.
Deshret had ignored it as stupid gossip, which was totally normal with groups of young women…but now she couldn’t help but wonder if it was true, and a seed of dread grew in her belly as surely did another kind of thing grow.
Would their God of Death strike her down too? Would he steal the breath from her throat until her beauty was consumed by discoloured swelling and bone-snapping convulsions…her mouth went dry as she imagined how shitty that would be.
And what if He didn’t God-slam her? What if she alone, among the whole herd of concubines, got massive and was singled out and celebrated by the entirety of the 12 Houses…only to pop out a normal not-silver haired kid? Or worse; a kid that didn’t look like the King of Sim’Caritambo at all.
“Dumbass,” she scolded herself in a whisper, and her eyes searched for him of their own accord.
It was forbidden, of course. Punishable by death? Probably; she’d never asked, but that seemed like the normal thing that would be punishable by death, right?
They were in love, duh; who would risk execution if it wasn’t love!
But what a fucking mess…Deshret knew she wouldn’t be able to hide it for very long, they kept pretty strict tabs on reproductive stuff up in this crazy joint. Guess that made sense when everyone was hella thirsty for king-babies though.
‘Betcha any money that queen is banging some rando dude,’ made sense, right? King was clearly shooting blanks if his whole damn harem was ‘barren’, didn’t anyone else think of that? Were they just pretending, or were they all really that dumb?
‘I need to blow this popsicle stand.’
Would he help her escape if she told him about their baby? There’s no way it wasn’t his baby, right?
Like, the king banged her enough for the first few months with no dice…
…but then she starts riding a new dude and BAM; pregnant!
Gotta be the prize from door #2…right?
Well, you can’t fault logic like that!
A quick thank you / shout out to a couple unnamed background sims (who will eventually become named foreground sims): bellagorilla’s Hatasu Aui (whose gorgeous rear end also appeared in Chapter 68), and Damaro’s Ophelia Ayar.
So, what’s Hattie going to do about all this lack of good leadership (you can probably make a pretty good guess.)
Next chapter we’re going to explore what happens when you add a splash of misinformation, and a dash of crazy, to a pile of murder…