Ra wakened, saw that all creation had become foreign to him, and stopped the evening. He called each of the Netjer to order, including Sebamiewet, Abirakhet (who was brought back to life by Isis at Ra’s bidding), Iahkemet, Djedferen, Mesnehnef, and even Ahu. They gathered in Meten-Khai-Ra, tense, waiting. Ra called them in one-by-one, asking each of them to relay their stories about what had happened.
Abirakhet was among the first to be questioned. When he emerged, the utter awe in his expression still lingered. He was dazed when Sebamiewet saw him, but quickly grew alert as his wife approached him. They were reunited in person at last — and Sebamiewet wasted no time getting Abirakhet to hold his son for the very first time. Many tears and much hugging was had.
And then Sebamiewet was called. Ra invited her into his holy demense and sat her down.
|“Sebamiewet. Last time I saw you, you were still a fledgling. I have missed a great deal.”|
|“What have I missed?”|
|“Well, first of all, it’s really nice to meet you. You’re so cool.” She took a moment to assess whether or not she could sass Ra, decided she couldn’t, wrinkled her nose, and said, “Well, I think you probably know all of the details already. I don’t want to bore you by telling you everything again. What do you want to know from my perspective?”|
|“I want to know everything. That’s precisely why I called you here. We have plenty of time.”|
Thus bid, Sebamiewet gave her version of the story from start to finish, answering any clarifying questions Ra had. But curiosity tugged at her.
|“Horus’s death was left in ambiguity. You might find it beneficial to find out what killed him, lest it threaten us. If you like, I can…”|
|“Thank you. That won’t be necessary.”|
|“So, you know then?”|
|She attempted to read him, but found his demeanor even less forthcoming than Isis’s. “What killed him?”|
|“Sebamiewet, that information was given to me in confidence. Rest assured, it will be dealt with appropriately.”|
|Sebamiewet nodded her acceptance and asked, “Since you know what did it, is there any chance we can at least recover his body so he can rest?”|
|“No. It has been lost.”|
|After expressing her condolences for Horus and his family, she went on. “This is very impertinent, but sorry, I have to ask: why were you asleep? What made you like that?”|
|“I was not asleep. I was dead. I do not know why. I do not know why I rose.”|
|Immediately she began backpedaling. “I just wanted to know in case I could do something next time it happened, but okay, I guess not.” She continued from there, eventually leading into the foremost concern on her mind.
“You know what happened with Derrick. Things were going fairly well under his charge — not perfect, but we were working with what we had. And, after studying all of you for so long, I thought I had a clue when I entered this family but… everything that happened after Set’s return… I learned a lot.” She paused. “I’m trying to be respectful of everyone and not bitter about what happened, but I’m hoping that you can see the wisdom of trying to break out of these patterns we are all in. I assume you know that Derrick attempted to make peace and it was ruined by distrust and discord.” She took a moment to mutter wrathfully about Eris.
|“Sorry. As I was saying, my friends and I busted our asses to bring the old gods back. We lost people; some of us died. And we brought so many back… but so many we returned to their places of honor have been lost. Irrepairably this time. If we don’t learn to be different, it’s going to happen to us too. There are people among these gods that I value too much to see that happen. We have to change. We have to… to become better people.” She sighed heavily. “My son has grown up so far with so little I… it wounds me deeply.” She took another breath. “I lost Derrick, and it all had to do with politics and mistrust. It has to stop or the Netjer will wind up just like the Aesir.”|
|Without comment, he dismissed her. “Thank you, Sebamiewet.”|
|“Before I go… am I… doing a good job? With the stars and all?”|
|“That remains to be seen.”|
|She hung her head, but another thought occurred to her just before she left. She turned and said, “I’m glad you’re resurrected again. I’m not sure if you like me, but… if you wanna… stop by sometime?”|
|“Thank you, Sebamiewet.”|
With that, she departed and returned to Abirakhet and their son. Hathor greeted them warmly, expressing a great deal of excitement at the reunited family. More hugs went around, and much joy was shared.
Ra proceeded to speak with every last one of the Netjer. Once that was finished, he emerged from his demense and began handing out assignments. Many were familiar, but changed to accommodate the functions of the New World. Sebamiewet was tasked with learning the history of the stars. Abirakhet was tasked with guarding Ra’s body at night alongside Set; but he would remain alive and active during the day. Iahkemet was to continue her duties with the dead in the Castle Under the Sea. Djedferen was to collect and record the Ren of all things. Mesnehnef was stripped of his powers and left to live the rest of his life as he saw fit. Ahu was not given any tasks, but told to report to Ra at his majority of 15 years of age.
They were sent out immediately to begin their assignments. With that, the day finally dawned.
Ragnarök ended, as all things must.
When it was over, they regrouped. Sigyn sought her boys which she had hidden away from the eyes of the world, and brought them back with her. Those who remained went to Idavollr, led by Vidar and Vali the elder. There they found Baldur, Nanna, and Hod waiting for them. They discussed many things: Ragnarök, the runes, and what to do now.
The Vanir — Njord, Freya, Hnoss, Gersmi, and Frigg — were released from their ties to the Aesir. They decided to return to Vanaheim. Ken offered to lead them home; they readily accepted his offer.
Lif and Lifthrasir emerged from Hodmimis Holt and beheld with awe the renewed World. Abundance waited for them; so they settled in and started on their destiny.
Shortly after Tlilocelotlpilli met his final fate, every last one of the Teotl (save Huitzilopochtli) gathered together for a council, including Necalli, Ezmamacateotl, Mahquipia, Ichtacahuazinatl, and Quipatlatl’s children.
Together, they helped shape the Sixth World, and sought to find a leader for it, someone suitable to drive the sun across the sky. Quipatlatl, who had successful leadership experience with not one but two nations, embodied the nature of teotl, and exemplified the values of the Teotl, not to mention had successfully secured an alliance with the deadly Tzitztimitl, was by far the most qualified. She accepted the mantle as the Sixth Sun.
However, she would require power to get that far, just as Huitzilopochtli had. So the Teotl began to discuss proper sacrificial rites.
Ezmamacateotl stepped to the fore, stating that calling upon the people to sacrifice the amount that the Teotl would require would irrevocably destroy the people and collapse the Teotl. Instead, he volunteered himself, willingly agreeing to have his throat cut and be hung upside down so that he may bleed out for as long as they need him to. After much conferring, the Teotl agreed. Subdued, Mahquipia offered to guard her husband’s body and blood and tend to the temple.
That arranged, Quipatlatl freed the Found of their obligations to the Teotl. Ichtacahuazinatl would no longer be called upon by the Teotl; Necalli was freed from his betrothal; and Teyolloihuicac would be returned to where his soul belonged.
Zeus stormed in to the seat of the Theoi, utterly furious. Hera met him with perfect composure. He demanded an explanation from his wife of all the things that had happened, and why she had exiled their son and grandchildren.
She elaborated on what Ares had failed to. Zeus’s fury faded in favor of complete shock. Ares, seeing that his advantage had been taken from him, slinked back some, refusing to meet anyone’s gaze, but protesting that none of this was fair.
Hera finished as calmly as she had started.
|“It’s good that you’re back.”|
|Trying not to be chastened, he replied, “Yes. So it is.”|
|“Now that you’ve returned, my king, what are we going to next?”|
|He turned to his oldest son, steel in his eyes. “Ares, you stay. Hera, summon Hermes. We’ll be back in a few hours.”|
With Hermes’s assistance, Zeus went to Hades and spoke with Hecate and Athena. He begged Hecate to return Athena to him; but she refused.
Zeus returned empty-handed, with no recourse but to call Ares to trial for treason and kinslaying, two of the most severe crimes the Theoi could commit; and also his warlike children were to be tried for treason.
When the trial began, Eris bore witness that it was Amphipyra who dealt the killing blow to Athena. Immediately Zeus sent Hermes to summon Amphipyra.
Hermes arrived at the Bibliotheca Consilium a nervous wreck, and sought his daughter. He paced about, thinking aloud.
|“It’s reasonable to say you that you cut your ties with the Theoi because Zeus didn’t really care to foster your skills and talents, you weren’t given much to work with, and besides! we were gone most of that time anyway not to mention that you’re set up here having made a name for yourself that isn’t Theoi and I doubt Zeus will want to risk a political incident with another pantheon…”|
|Lysandra put a hand on his shoulder. “Thank you. We’re ready to go to the trial now.”|
|“… You want a cigarette?”|
|“Thank you. Don’t smoke.”|
They proceeded to the trial. Lysandra presented herself as Amphipyra’s advocate, insisting that she was under her jurisdiction, and that she had acted well within her rights. Zeus asked for Lysandra’s credentials, for which she cited the Bibliotheca Consilium, hand-built by Athena in front of all eyes to specifically honor her; and she also mentioned that she was responsible for organizing and tending to those who had brought back all of the old gods.
Zeus accepted this and told her to make her case.
Lysandra defended Amphipyra, citing that her place in the cosmos was to carry out retribution at any and all costs to those who ask of it. She called Amphipyra to state what her experience of retribution was. She also called various witnesses to Amphipyra’s vengeful fury, including when she had been called upon to slay Athena. Said witnesses also reported that Ares had claimed the kill for himself.
With the evidence stacked against Ares, Zeus acquitted Amphipyra quickly and ruled that Ares was at fault and sentenced him to execution, and Phobos, Deimos, and Enyo to eternal imprisonment in Tartarus.
After the trial, Aphrodite approached Zeus, begging him to have mercy on her children. Zeus expressed his condolences, but firmly stated that he would not go back on his word. Defeated, Aphrodite and her remaining children returned to the sea, asking Triton if he would allow Adonis to go with her. Triton accepted, and together they left to start a new home.
Artemis, knowing that she had chosen exile, wandered the World until she’d found Apollo. She persuaded him to join her in wandering the cosmos, unbound by the thorny political and social ties of the Theoi; and he accepted.
Later, Zeus met with Ra to reestablish their age-old alliance.
Sweeping Day came.
Clinging to the boughs of the springy but strong young Aspen, the Bogovi experienced the cosmos being swept together, crushed, kneaded, and remolded. They were not spared, each going through what Yesen, Dobrozhe, Morevuka, and Mokosits had gone through, the branches of the Aspen being woven into their shapes. Once more Svarog shattered his third leg; and once more, when he finished and saw that his creation was good, curled up into the great golden egg to sleep until the next Sweeping Day.
Each of the Bogovi descended Aspen, and the Lord Father Svarozhich called them to order. He started on new decrees:
- The Lord Father Svarozhich issues a formal apology to Lada for the theft of her memories and will, and releases Dazhbog to live with her if that is something they desire. Dobrozhe will take Dazhbog’s old place should he choose to leave.
- The mortal interference ban is lifted; however, some new, stricter regulations are in place in regards to the interactions allowed between the Bogovi and the mortals.
- The Lady Morena may bear another child with whomever will consent to father one on her.
- Mokosits is now an official member of the Bogovi and is authorized to carry out any and all tasks related to his new station; and furthermore is also afforded all the privileges of his station.
- Restrictions on inter-pantheon fraternization are lifted.
- The divorce case filed by Lady Pizamar is re-opened and is furthermore approved and finalized forthwith.
|“As for Yesen…” He bowed his head to her. “Your continued existence is not for me to determine.” After a moment, he added pointedly, “I hope you will exist responsibly.”|
Ruben returned to Bakersfield with Resolve. The two of them were covered in dried blood, dirt, and wounds and leaning on each other heavily; Resolve in particular was barely recognizable underneath it all. They were met by the rest of the Found and quickly taken back to Angel’s domain. Ruben volunteered Sofia for healing by Angel first, alone, desiring to distribute his memories via shadow wolf while one of the others tended to him in the Bibliotheca Consilium.
They had indeed found Black Sun, wrapped so far in his madness that it was affecting the world around him. He’d been sitting upon a black throne, with a phantom Tezcatlipoca attached to his arm and offering him constant counsel. Resolve had approached her father, attempting to appeal to him; Ruben had stood back, waiting, watching.
At first, Black Sun hardly heard them. But then Resolve asked to speak to her Daddy. This caught his attention; but Tezcatlipoca began whispering in his ear. Resolve asked him to tell her why he was doing this, why he was seeking the power he had avoided for so long. He began to lecture her on why his course of action was the right thing to do, parroting Tezcatlipoca’s words. Resolve asked again to speak to her Daddy. This gave Black Sun pause; but then Tezcatlipoca whispered more in his ear. He attempted to divert the conversation. Steadfast, Resolve asked again to speak to her Daddy.
Tezcatlipoca became angry and Black Sun became agitated and confused. Ruben hardly dared to interrupt, but he knew that it was going to turn violent. Indeed, Tezcatlipoca forced Black Sun up and, controlling his arm, summoned a blazing black spear and forced him to attack Resolve.
Ruben jumped in, attempting to sever Black Sun’s arm. Though his weapon cut deep, his ass was kicked a second time. He was smote pretty good — broken in a dozen ways in a dozen places. Still, he tried to get up and fight again, but Resolve pleaded with him not to. So he just sat there, in pain, and watched.
Tezcatlipoca and Black Sun then proceeded to attack Resolve. She held her ground, defending herself but refusing to fight back, asking to talk to her Daddy each opportunity she got. This only made Tezcatlipoca and Black Sun fight harder. It wasn’t long before they got the upper hand. Ruben could see that they were maneuvering to be primed for a killing blow.
Pushing aside his agony, Ruben jumped in between, attempting to deflect the blow; but Black Sun’s strength was greater than his own. He was only able to divert it from her heart to her belly. She was run through.
It was then that Resolve faltered.
It was then that Black Sun realized what he’d done.
He dissipated his weapon and turned on Tezcatlipoca and seized his arm, attempting to tear it off. Tezcatlipoca struck back at him, digging his claws into Black Sun’s heart. As Tezcatlipoca dug Black Sun continued to pull. In the end he was able to rip off his arm. It fell utterly limp and Black Sun burned it to ashes with the concentrated hatred of the sunspot.
And then he collapsed. His wounds were grievous; it was clear that, given that there were no healers handy, he would not survive.
Resolve dragged herself to Black Sun’s side. He began to apologize (barely comprehensibly — Ruben assumed that he was apologizing for every last little thing he’d ever done). She held him until he died. (Ruben checked to make sure that the ashes of the arm were scattered and un-regenerateable.) The world around them returned to the way it had been before Black Sun’s influence… all was oddly verdant and peaceful and… primeval.
Given how neither of them were in a condition to bring the body home, Ruben incinerated it where it lay, and they scattered the ashes where they could manage to.
And then they returned home.
Angel sent word not long after Ruben’s healing that she would be inducing Resolve’s impending miscarriage. Foremost among those to offer their support in person were the Mother of the Lost, the Swan Maiden, and Rose Thorn Child.
A week or so later the Found held funerals for Razorback and Black Sun; and they welcomed El Lobo’s spirit in the Castle Under the Sea.