Content warning: Artie has a bit of a potty mouth; brace yoself, kk.
Marketa said some real mean stuff about Deshret while free-ballin (boobin?) in a pool and giving Sabit a Stern Dressing Down about slacking off mystic spymaster duties (or some shit); later Sabit showed up at Desh’s breezy digs and said hi in a creepy kind of way.
Desh got the heebie jeebies (understandable).
Also, Kebechet walked through the jungle in an unsafe way and got scolded by a (naked) Anubis who was just trying to be a good guy in his own way…it kind of got weird, though, when she told him about the boom boom plan. Faces were made. Incredulity was had.
“Excuse me, Mistress, but is now an inconvenient time to speak with you about an important matter?”
Balsam waited for Madame Pennyroyal to be done using her mouth so that she might answer him; he was, if nothing else, a very patient man…
…Though she certainly did take her time with her captive satyr.
“Prim! Is that my offspring?” Gasped the creature, when at last she released him.
“No, Cornelius, as I have already told you, our Perseus is no longer among the living; this is my Familiar, Balsam Reed.”
“Are you certain? He looks a great deal like me–”
“He really doesn’t,” for all that the Mistress seemed to have been enjoying her paramour’s company only moments earlier, Balsam recognized her tone of Long Suffering Disapproval.
Cornelius would do well not to persist; that was a tone that had previously led to at least two other beings having been turned into amphibians.
“Perseus is just there, over the mantle, if you wish to see his portrait,” she added.
Many would think her stiff, or perhaps unfeeling, but Balsam could hear the deep sorrow etched on her words; it continued to pain his heart that she suffered so.
“Oh no,” huffed the creature, “that can’t be right! He doesn’t resemble me at all–”
“You had a question for me, pet?” The Mistress asked, rather sharply.
“Not a question, I’m afraid,” if only it were that, “regretfully, I must inform you that I am with child–”
That was her Flustered and/or Disappointed Surprise; it had yet to lead to anyone’s direct demise, but you never knew if it were going to morph into Irrevocably Incensed.
“My most profound apologies, Mistress, I assure you it was not intentional–”
“Remind me, once more, why we decided not to have you spayed?”
“I-I do believe it would actually be neutered, Mistress,” he considered for a moment, “well, most likely? In any case, I had promised to be more careful in the future–”
“Yes, and that seems to have worked out terribly well, hasn’t it?”
“You’re so beautiful when you’re angry, my verdant succubus–”
“Cornelius, I do believe it that may be time for you to leave.”
“But we didn’t even get to make boom boom–!”
“Er–never mind, you are correct, I should go,” ah, so the creature did have some instincts of self-preservation after all.
“Let me know if you’d like to play catch sometime, son!”
“It’s like this big, ok.”
“For your sake, Mistress, I hope so.”
“Yes, well, let’s go mix you some prenatal potions then, you troublesome creature,” she huffed, “and you can tell me who the father is, and how this happened, and then I can decide whether or not I need to go turn someone into a toad.”
For all her gruff complaints, Balsam knew he was fortunate to serve a witch who cared so much for his well being; truth be told, he wasn’t certain that she did not think of him as a secondary child, in the way one does, sometimes, with pets.
“I am certain toading will not be necessary this time, Mistress,” it would not be fair to lay the blame for these circumstances at the Osiris boy’s feet, “unless, of course, you are very cross with me.”
“Your doing, was it? Explain.”
And so he did, in the most sensitive manner possible, considering the late Mastress Oly’s involvement in the situation.
And when he had recounted the tale as faithfully, and carefully, as possible, Madame Pennyroyal gave him one of her Very Stern Glares, and said simply; “I see.”
“I do hope you will forgive me, Mistress, for not disclosing this to you earlier; I had thought it, ultimately, inconsequential,” he sighed, “until it became apparent that there were indeed, consequences.”
“Yes, well; you will take your potions as I prescribe, and avoid performing any dangerous experiments for the remaining term, do I make myself clear?”
“As a scrying bucket, my lady,” relief washed over him, though he had not truly expected her to react especially poorly.
“And I do apologize for interrupting your private time with Master Cornelius; that was rather thoughtless of me–”
“Never mind that, it was a foolish notion to begin with,” she grumbled, “I am not immune to ill conceived spontaneity when in distress.”
“I know that I cannot replace my son, truly…or perhaps it was only a desire to escape reality for a few moments, but I–”
“There is no need to explain, Mistress; grief leads us down many strange paths, at times, and you are free to plunder as many idiotic but well-endowed satyrs as you require, if it helps you get through the day.”
“Thank you Balsam,” she murmured, “I know I do not say it often, but you are the finest Familiar a witch could ask for…repeat accidental pregnancies aside, truly.”
Madame Pennyroyal let him pull her into a tight embrace; sometimes even very powerful ancient sorceresses just needed a nice hug.
“Still abed?” Sighed Selene. Artemis wondered why she even asked, because duh; pretty clearly still in bed, yeah. “I was hoping to have a sisterly discussion with you–”
“I’m not in the mood.”
“But you are never in the mood!” Huffing this time, or at least a pretty aggressive sigh.
“Apparently I’m grieving; it’s what people do.”
Can’t a girl just wallow in peace?
“I do understand what it is to grieve–”
“You sure about that? Because it seems like you’ve been MIA mostly,” okay, maybe that was insensitive, Selene loved Oly too, right? People grieved in different ways, or something; some folks flopped around in bed eternally others, apparently, like to tart up and disappear for days on end. Whatever.
The older girl was quiet for a moment, did she finally fuck off? Artemis felt a slight pang of guilt; she wasn’t looking to be an ass, but damn.
The bed sank a little as Selene planted her rump.
‘Apparently not fleeing after all,’ the pang of guilt made way for a hint of relief. Weird.
“Look, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a bitch, okay? Just want to be left alone–”
Why was that so hard to understand?
“I certainly never wished for you to end up so sad, little sister,” crooned Selene, “I am sorry that your witch-lover died; I suppose it is best not to get attached to people that are not your family.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
Nothing ever would again; not one goddess-damned thing ever again…
“Family is forever, Artemis; you should feel better knowing that your family–”
The younger woman felt a spark of irritation, and roused herself to sit up; clearly this chick wasn’t going to take a hint anyway.
“That my family what?” Artemis growled at her, “dad disappeared years ago, Mosi’s been stolen by a vampire, mom is going bonkers, and you’re acting like a massive weirdo! My family is fucked.”
“I am not a weirdo!” Grumbled the weirdo.
“Piss on that, Lena, you’ve been acting like a nut job ever since the morning of…”
Artemis took a steadying breath, “well, you know…”
Why was this so hard. Stupid Oly. Stupid feelings; no one needed this shit.
“Once again, I am sorry for that,” Lena offered, sympathetically, “I do not enjoy seeing you suffer.”
“It’s not your fault.”
‘It’s my fault for letting that idiot get under my skin–‘
“Do you even miss Oly? I mean I know you guys had some awkwardness going on–”
“We did, yes, a great deal of awkwardness–”
“I mean, look at you! No hate, because that top is bangin’, but you went from mouse to peacock overnight, and I know I’ve been dealing with my own shit lately, but it’s not like I don’t notice how you’re never home now.”
“I simply feel pleased to be alive, I suppose it’s manifesting itself in the way I–”
“And I can’t remember the last time I heard you use a contraction, and wearing sunglasses all the time…are you having a mental break?”
Shit, was she an asshole who didn’t realize her sister was crying out for help?
“I…have no explanation for those things, perhaps–”
“Holy fuck, you are having a mental break! And here I am all ‘go away Lena’,” great, asshole sister of the year! “Oly was your best friend, awkward shit or not!”
Should she offer her a hug or something?
“Crap, Lena, I’m so sorry, I’ve been all wrapped up in my own–”
“I appreciate your concern, Artemis, but that is not why I came to speak with you.”
“Oh, do you want me to like, find you a therapist, or…?”
“I do not need therapy, sister, I wanted to ask if I could help you with your necromancy project–”
“Um, fuck what?”
Artemis’s thoughts jumbled together, and a fresh wave of sorrow hit her in the chest as she remembered what she and Oly had been working on together. But why the hell would Lena–
“I know it may seem like a peculiar thing to offer, considering I am not a witch myself–”
Fucking A it was ‘peculiar’. A weird sort of feeling settled in her gut, out of the blue.
Looking back later, she couldn’t say exactly what prompted the lie in that moment, it just seemed to slip out from nowhere.
“Well, I’m not doing that shit anymore, sorry; burned my notes, gave the books back to the witches, etc.”
“Why would you do such a foolish thing?!”
Selene’s sudden anger unearthed a mass of unhappy butterflies in Artie’s stomach, and the weird feeling expanded.
“Wow, you’re super mad about that, huh?”
“Of course I am angry!”
“I–wanted to share this work with you, Artemis!” For the first time in her life, Selene seemed to shake with rage, “for us to work on something together that was meaningful to our mutual friend!”
The older girl stood up suddenly and flew from the room, “I cannot speak with you any longer, you have sullied her memory!”
That was some Grade A Fuckery right there; Selene should know better! Was this some kind of spontaneous personality disorder?
A sudden urge to check on her research notes surfaced.
It occurred to Artie, on the way to her father’s old storage room, that she hadn’t heard her sister say Oly’s name ever since the incident. Was it relevant? It sure as hell felt relevant…but why? Was some messed up crap being allowed to go on while she was busy being all hung up over her friend’s death?
Maybe…but what kind of crap even? Seriously, what harm could someone with a personality disorder even do that trumped all the crazy shit that had just gone down?
‘Feels like I’m freaking out over nothing…’
It was possible logical thinking wasn’t going to be thing until she was over this grief bullshit.
‘Whatever, I’ll check on the notes and then have a nap,’ maybe more sleep would sort out this random queasiness.
Artie hadn’t so much hidden them as she had stashed them away; looking at the work she and Oly had done together had been too painful, or something, but she’d also lacked the courage to get rid of it entirely.
A quick glance at her grandmother’s portrait sent all thoughts of research skittering away like a herd of startled rabbits.
“Oh my shit…Lena…” suddenly everything, and nothing, started to make sense.
In the worst possible way.
Oh that Artemis, being all vague and stuff; luckily there’s pictures! Looks like she has a real pickle on her hands now, though…enjoy that, Artie 😉
In case anyone was wondering (probably not, but you never know); the witches wear fancy, white clothes during a mourning period, so that’s why they’re all looking like they’re about to get weirdly married.