Artemis went to see the witches to unload some Heavy Burdens, and then found out some super upsetting stuff about who probably killed Oly and Perseus for real; luckily Balsam was there to administer consolation hugs.
Oly caught us up to what’s been going on since being sort of murdered; fun outfits, cool dream scenery, discovering possible ebil creatures infesting your bestie (the usual)…and then, ofc, ending up being dream-born into someone else’s mind-prison!
Not-Selene saw us out with a big (uncomfortable) reveal that she’s preggers with a surprise Perseus nooboo; the peanut gallery was less than stoked.
“Ist Anubis living amongst us once more, mine heart?” Asked Raet, “he dost so often cometh here to visitist, but perchance mineself ist mistaken, and verily he doth once again call thist place home?”
“I don’t think so, Majesty,” Pili frowned; come to think of it, Nubs had been hanging around The Rise an awful lot lately.
“Ah! Mineself did wonderest!”
“For it doest seem ast tho he andst Kebechet art quite risen above the trappings of dissonance that didst once lay betwixt their hearts,” she smiled happily, “looketh! See howest he doth follow her aroundest so verily sweetly noweth!”
Pili chuckled as the realization hit him, “well fuck me; she’s totally got him by the balls.”
“Er…she doest whateth with hist testicles?”
“Hardly,” sighed Hatshepsut, “it was my idea; they were constantly bickering, did it not drive you mad?”
“Why do you think I moved him over to the expansion?” Pili snorted, “well, this works too, sure.”
“Wouldst one of thineselfs please do tell mineself what in Goddess name–”
Nafi giggled, “can’t say I blame her; he turned out pretty well, huh?”
“Mineself doest take thine meaning, most assuredly!”
“Hey, you two!” Pili grumbled, “I’m standing right here!”
“Tola made me get caught?!” Deshret felt her stomach drop out her ass.
“That fucking bastard!! Where is he?! We’re gonna have words–” and probably some damn violence too!
“Calm yourself, girl,” the witch chuckled, which was kind of a weird reaction, actually, when someone calls your grandkid a fucking bastard, but whatevs.
“What Tola did was for your own good; he cares a great deal for your well being.”
“Well, I don’t godsdamned see how sending me to live in a shitty outside dungeon thing–”
“Because you see nothing,” hissed the older woman, suddenly looking a bit scarier than normal, “your mouth runs so quickly your mind does not have a chance to do anything else but hang on for dear life.”
“Mean,” she protested quietly.
“You were kept safe from those who would wish you harm,” the witch explained with a bit less mean, “being in hiding is not always a glamorous existence, I’m afraid, but it was all for the good of you and your babe.”
“Yeah, okay, I get it,” kinda, “but, like, he didn’t even tell me or anything–”
Dude was officially all kinds of cut off.
“When it comes to subterfuge, child, the fewer people who know, the better.”
The lady sorta had a point, but still–whoa, wait a sec…
“Hey, does that mean my kid’s going to be some kinda–whatever you are? Mystic? Or…somethin?”
Sabit’s laugh was sharp and sudden, “no, silly girl; of course not.”
“Okay, but, you just said she’s your great-grandkiddo–”
“And so she is, for her father is my grandson, and the only child of my only son,” Sabit pinned her with one of them looks, “but that is not how ‘whatever I am’ works, dear, I am sorry to tell you.”
“Are you though? Cuz you actually look kinda pleased about that shit,” Deshret tried super hard not to be all pouty about it; having a magic baby would have been dope, ok.
Whatever, not like that psychic crap was real anyhow, right? It was all just made up to trick people and stuff…she probably sounded like a huge dumbass for even sayin it out loud.
“Truly, I am,” she totally lied, “for I would be pleased to finally have an Heiress to my line.”
Okay, maybe not a lie, but it was super hard to tell for sure.
“Yeah, okay, but you were the one going on about how she’s not a normal human baby or whatever, so I’m supposed to just assume that means she’s not…special?” Hello, lady; logic is your friend!
“I did not say she is not special, daft creature, I said she would not be what I am.”
Wow, woman, semantics much?
“Most witches will tell you that it is safe to breed with humans as you please, for nothing will come of it, but I tell you that this is untrue.”
“Huh, okay, so witches be all out there bangin folk, and like…spreading magic cooties?”
“There you have it! See? When you slow down and think, marvelous things can come of it!”
“Tiny bits of magic hidden away in mortal flesh, and what does this mean? Well, it depends greatly on how many times the magic is compounded on the line, but think of every extraordinary person you’ve ever met, yes? Poets, musicians, dancers, singers, great speakers, seers, and even those who only just seem to be inexplicably irresistible!”
“So, like, talented people aren’t really talented, they just full up on hocus pocus?”
Did this ho think Desh was bornd yesterday or some shit?
“Yes, essentially!” Her eyes went all wild looking, “and it varies, of course, depending on where the magic came from, and how long it’s been in the family.”
Deshret got the feeling that she was supposed to be especially shocked or excited about that last part, “oh, okay…wicked?”
Hopefully that sounded stoked enough?
“Indeed! For one would expect it to diminish over time, yes? Watered down, generation after generation of mortal blood diluting the spark of magic…but no! It grows!”
“I have studied the phenomenon for centuries already, collected so very much data, but ah! It can be a challenge to find good subjects, it is why I first came to Simchu Pichu, for there is much magic here among the population, and no other witch to claim it as her own…actually a fairly challenging obstacle to overcome, you might not think it, but we do constantly bump into one another, it can get very messy when squabbling over territory!”
“Well, there is the sorcerer, of course, but he is hardly an obstacle,” she frowned, “where was I? Ah, yes; magical growth in family lines–”
“You, like, don’t really have any friends, do you?”
“Well, I’ve been known to foster a young witch here or there, and occasionally dally with a mortal, but let’s do try and stay on topic; have you ever noticed that your opinion or interest in people tends to effect how they treat you?”
“Never mind,” bitch huffed and tried to look like she wasn’t being all judgey, “most mortals who have been gifted with the spark of magic can affect change within themselves and do marvelous things; you, however, can affect change in others.”
“Woman, I’m calling bullshit on that, I think I’d know if I was magicking people–”
“Well, you aren’t doing in consciously,” the witch had the nerve to titter even though she was the one talkin crazy, “no more so than any other gifted human, but it is a very rare phenomena, no doubt there is some connection to your demonic predecessor–”
“Omg! You’re as bad as that stodgy ho Arsinoë!” Crazy and fucking superstitious! “There ain’t no demons, okay? Lot’s of folk have eyes like mine, don’t mean a thing; it’s just a weird brown colour ffs–”
Unexpectedly, the witch lunged forward.
“Whoa! Easy with the freaky knife there!”
For a moment her entire scalp tingled with heat, and then something quite unexpected brushed against her shoulders.
“What the actual crap–“
“There is more to this existence, Deshret the Gaul, than you, or I, or any other being in all the worlds do know,” full on creepy voice, “magic is real, demons are also real, as are many many other supernatural beings you cannot conceive of–”
“Cheese on rice, lady! I believe you, okay!”
“I went to a great deal of trouble to procure a red-eyed Gaul for my research,” she went on, apparently giving zero fucks that she’d just magic’d up a whole head of hair out of no-damn-where, “that you are clearly the firstborn daughter in a long line of firstborn daughters was a delightful bonus, and why I permitted you the use of my grandson.”
“Sorry, I’m still freaking out about the hair, what?”
“It is what I was saying earlier, about how magic intensifies more with each generation, despite being repeatedly watered down by more and more mortal blood,” the witch reiterated, even though pretty much nothing was getting through at this point because hair and GD magic.
“It is actually very similar to the way magic is passed from a witch to her heir, but in the case of humans, it is through the female line that the magic expands–”
“–are you following, my dear?”
“Uh huh, yeah, you betcha.”
“Demons are a lower class of chaotic primordial beings, the higher classes are more varied in their aspects; what you would probably consider to be gods–”
This crap just got real.
“There is no need for alarm, it is unlikely they take notice of you,” bitch smiled as though that wasn’t some kind of shady thing to say.
“Simchu Pichu is a place of power, it is why I came here to study, for the people of Sim’Caritambo have been singled out for the attentions of one particular of these primordial beings.”
“You mean the Conqueror guy they’re always yammering on about?”
“The very one! Ayar they call–”
Deshret’s shrieky gasp must’ve startled the witch.
“Are you unwell?”
“Dude–can’t He hear you?” Holy fuck, if gods and shit were real, she was going to have to start watching her swearing and crap, right? Godsdammit!
“What thing the people call their deity does not summon it’s notice, little Gaul; these are the words of mortals, no more do you hear the cries of ants beneath your foot than do they hear us speak our small words.”
Deshret was just about done. Gods were real. Magic was real. She was probably a baby demon or something, and fucking hair, ok.
“Sure yeah; listen, can I just skip that meal you were talking about earlier and go have a nap? My head’s about ready to pop or something.”
“Oh, how inconsiderate of me!” Yeah, about time she figured that crap out, “I’ve overwhelmed you, haven’t I? We can continue this discussion another time, of course; please do go rest for now.”
“Yeah, totes gonna sleep like a baby worrying about getting eaten by monsters or some shit; thanks for the hair.”
This kid needed to pop out soon so they could get the heck outta dodge and away from this nutty place; if Simchu Pichu is where a god or whatever lived, then that was sure as shit not where Deshret was gonna live!
“The garden is looking pretty lush these days,” it was, too; the boy was doing a damn fine job, despite how much time he was spending at The Rise lately.
“Pili,” Anubis blinked in surprise and set his watering can down, “I did not know you were coming today; did you want to see the orchard improvements?”
“Maybe later, I actually wanted to talk with you about Kebechet; the pair of you seem to be getting along surprisingly well all of a sudden–”
“You are angry with me,” the young man shrunk away, “I-I should have asked for permission, first, before–”
“Permission?” Pili felt his stomach sink, was this situation darker than it seemed? “Did–did you force yourself on her, son?”
It wasn’t unheard of, predators, tyrants, or eager young men getting carried away in the heat of the moment…but their Anubis?
“No sir! She came to me and asked; I meant your permission–”
Relief soothed his concern, followed closely by irritation.
“My permission? Boy, it’s not for me to say what Kebechet puts in her lady cave.”
“But you are her father…”
And there it was; the older man counted to ten internally.
“Yeah, and it’s my job to keep her safe from like, crocodiles, and shit; but I’m sure as hell not the creepy guardian of her vagina, you feel me?”
“I–yes, sir,” the boy still seemed a bit perplexed…or was that his expression for horridly uncomfortable because having a sex talk with father figure? Eh, either way.
“You think I own her or something, because she’s my kid?”
“No, of course not!”
“So then, you think I should act like a possessive badass? Maaaybe threaten to beat you down if don’t treat her respectfully?”
Alright, yeah, loaded questions; whatever.
“I feel like the right answer is…no,” he replied slowly, “Pili, I only thought you might have considered it disrespectful of me not to…well…it seems I was mistaken.”
“Yeah kid, you were; that shit makes the Goddess mad,” he hoped the young man understood, and wasn’t just yes-maning him.
“That’s where that whole gross thing starts, you know? We get this idea in our heads that keeping tour kids safe means mediating in their relationships, and laying down the law on their behalf, and where does that lead? Whose law are we laying down, ultimately?”
“Your own, I guess,” Anubis mumbled; the kid looked pretty bummed, Pili hoped it was because he felt like a bit of a dick.
“Hey, sometimes the root of tyranny is love, but that’s a perversion of love, okay? I wouldn’t disrespect Kebs by telling myself I have the right to disapprove; the only law that needs to be laid down in her life, is her own,” he smiled in what he hoped was a kind of reassuring way, “and for that matter, yours in your life; and it sure as shit’s not my job to lay it down, yeah?”
“Yes sir, I do understand.”
“Good man,” Pili smiled, “I hope you give her sons.”
The older man chuckled, “let Hattie have the daughters, it’ll lend legitimacy to her reign.”
“For real; you think my sister’s blind?” Pili snorted, “she sees what those girls are; Hattie will be queen, make no mistake.”
“Oh–my; is anyone going to tell this to Kebechet?”
“Fuck,” Pili repressed a shudder, “not me.”
Hell, not me either!…We’ll make Raet do it?
Man, poor Pili; he just wanted to have a little man to man with Nubs, and maybe give out some advice on how to operate the software…a father figure’s job is never done, apparently!
Kadhi would’ve been proud of you, Pili; you a good daddy to these wayward beans ❤
I think maybe some of your abandoned beans could use a good daddy right about now, though…