Birthdays of Those Still Aging
| April 5th (5)
April 10th (12)
April 24th (6)
April 24th (6)
| July 5th (16)
July 5th (16)
|August 12th (16)|| September 5th (6)
September 29th (42)
| October 12th (14)
October 17th (42)
October 31st (13)
|November 22nd (16)|| December 2nd (4)
December 2nd (4)
Baldur and Odin’s Return
Baldur and Odin came to Bakersfield, escorted by Skadi. The Aesir held a great feast celebreating their safe return. Frigg immediately went out to renew the oaths that all things in the world had made to never harm Baldur.
Ruben Confronts the Mother of the Lost
One day, during a family dinner, Ruben grew increasingly irritable and agitated. Then, unable to stand it anymore, he sought the Mother of the Lost with a, “We need to talk.” They left the dinner early. Ruben returned a few days later; and the Mother of the Lost proceeded to go to each and every one of her children (and Morevuka) to ask them if they would allow her to “tie a tether” to them. They agreed, and the Mother of the Lost increasingly became more lucid and present with each “tether” tied.
MaMa’s Rise and Fall
MaMa, in collusion with Isaiah Tooley, the bandit king (who attacked the farmlands and villages outside the wall thus splitting Captain Maria Jiminez’s forces), attempted a coup on Bakersfield town hall. MaMa managed to successfully overcome Captain Maria, who called to Ken for help. He appeared right away, just in time for Captain Maria to pass out from her wounds. Morevuka immediately offered her healing services; and once healed Captain Maria updated Ken on what was happening and asked him to get the governer to safety.
Meanwhile, Lady Baker had sent word to Senbast, Galen, and Ruben. They all gathered together in short order, quickly laid out a plan, and started forth on solving the problem. Senbast wove a spell of protection and concealment on town hall, Ruben flew Hector straight to MaMa, and Galen flew Phobos to Isaiah Tooley. Morevuka updated Ken on all these events.
Ken found the governer well protected and none the wiser. He quickly informed her what was going on and instructed her not to leave the building until he says it’s okay. She quickly sent word out to the rest of her staff to do the same. He went back to Captain Maria to keep apprised of the situation.
It wasn’t long before Ruben, covered in blood, returned with MaMa’s head and presented it to the captain. Captain Maria, rather shaken, snapped, “You know there’s such a thing as due process.” Ruben then said, “So put me on trial, then.” And the Captain said she would seriously consider it.
Galen, on the other hand, sat down and talked with Isaiah Tooley and his followers. They threw down their weapons and returned some hours later, led by Galen, intent on redeeming themselves through community service.
Later, they were given medals for their service to Bakersfield. Ruben was not put on trial.
Ken Corners Ginger
With Ken back in town, it wasn’t long before he caught wind of Ginger’s new superpowers. He tried the indirect approach, asking her if anything unusual happened in the last year or so. Ginger insisted that everything was normal. Then he attempted another tack: getting an update on her life and the babysitting gig. She began speaking about field trips, one in particular to the Razorbacks. Ken pointed out that the Razorbacks are a long way away… Ginger insisted she knew a shortcut. Finally, Ken said, “I don’t know what you’ve been up to, and you don’t have to tell me about it. But you shouldn’t lie to me.” At this, Ginger wilted and confessed everything. Ken thanked her for telling the truth and dismissed himself briefly.
He proceeded from there to Morevuka and shouted and cussed and stomped around. Morevuka served him tea and a muffin. He left them untouched.
That taken care of, he went to the Mother of the Lost to ask for advice on disciplining Ginger. He stated he was still too angry to think of an appropriate consequence — but he knew that he was never going to let her out of his sight again. The Mother of the Lost expressed that was enough of a consequence for Ginger.
Finally, Ken returned to Ginger and asked her why she stole his powers. She mentioned how she really wanted them for a long time, because all the cool people who have them get to go places and do things. Eventually it surfaced that this was partly about feeling powerless when Gianna was wounded. Ken explained to Ginger the nature of power and responsibility, and then told her that he’s going to be supervising her. If she wants to rebuild trust, she’ll have to stay with him and do what he says. Ginger reluctantly agreed.
How Elsewhere Came to Be
The dark earth beckoned Morevuka away to the World, to a secluded, thick, shady forest that was utterly silent and still as if it were frozen in time. The earth’s whispers bid her stand beneath the branches of an aspen. And nothing else.
Meanwhile, Ken and Ginger were mucking about Bakersfield when Ken sensed a new, strange pathway. It was not insistent, but it was very odd, a powerful impression that was at once familiar and entirely foreign. There was a distinct sense of wrongness about it, but Ken couldn’t put his finger on it.
The first thing Ken did was go to the Mother of the Lost to ask her if she knew anything about it. When he described what he was feeling (“it’s trying to be there but not supposed to be there, or it’s trying to be something it isn’t”), the Mother of the Lost said, “That’s now?”
Ken: “Not to get your off track here, but it might work better if you told me things in the order they happened.”
And then the Mother of the Lost told him (and Ginger!) how Elsewhere came to be.
“Though She-Who-Hungers is always hungry, every new moon evening the emptiness within her seems to grow bigger, more gaping, more insistent. Though it is difficult to ignore, She-Who-Hungers need only wait until dawn before the hunger begins to wane.
One evening, however, it was too much to ignore. She-Who-Hungers looked upon Bakersfield and the people there and knew she would soon be lost to her hunger. In desperation, she shaped a new Bakersfield, one which looked the same but was utterly emptied of people, appearing as if it had been abandoned, in the hopes that she would wander lost within it, guided by neither lantern light nor moon nor stars, until dawn came.
This is Elsewhere.
It was not enough.
She-Who-Hungers, though unable to leave, saw that there was nothing around to eat and cast the emptiness out like a net and drew it to herself. Young children felt this call most keenly and journeyed to and through the many doors that led to Elsewhere, and wandered the empty streets at the bidding of their searching hunger.
Among these children were Summer and Leliana. They recognized the dark, oily shadows around them and knew that something was amiss. So Summer called to her fellows with a voice like young spring thunder, breaking them of their trance, and Leliana lit the way with hair of fire to guide them to her. Together they traversed Bakersfield, seeking the lost children. When they had found them all, Leliana called upon her peerless memory to return to the door that had taken them there in the first place.
But the shadows were growing thicker. They had been found, and were being pursued.
Meanwhile, the waters spoke to Galen of something deeply wrong. He sought his brothers, and the three of them conferred about what to do. Ruben knew that they should seek the Drowned King, but knew not why. Galen knew that there was something strange afoot with She-Who-Hungers, but knew not what. And Senbast was drawn somewhere, but knew not exactly where. So the three of them started by seeking an audience with the Drowned King in the Castle Under the Sea. Indeed, when they told him of their presentiments, he heeded them — it was a new moon evening and his wife had been out of the castle for some time. He strapped on his boots of soil and followed the brothers to Bakersfield, where Senbast led them to the door.
There the lost children were gathered. Summer and Leliana stepped through not long after, and, seeing their brothers, told them what had happened. The Drowned King stepped boldly forth into Elsewhere and lured She-Who-Hungers back to the Castle Under the Sea with his blood, where he kept her until dawn when she returned to herself.”
So Ken and Ginger awaited dawn before approaching She-Who-Hungers, and he offered to make it harder for hapless wanderers to simply wander into Elsewhere. He also offered to close the doors utterly to Elsewhere to She-Who-Hungers. She-Who-Hungers, though uneasy about the thought of Elsewhere, declined the offer — after all, if others were safe, it would be a good place for her to go when she was overcome by hunger. So, together Ken and Ginger sought all the doors to Elsewhere in Bakersfield and made it so that there would be a greater chance the door would send them somewhere else. For extra assurance, Ken also placed “door chimes” through Elsewhere, in case someone did somehow make their way into it.
Upon Morevuka’s return, she got the full report and sent shadow wolves into Elsewhere. And then she grew some tea and gave it to Svantovit. He was already ready with a fresh muffin for her.
When Star-Bringer learned of these occurrences, she first ensured that everyone had made it out safe and then gave her liquid moonlight to She-Who-Hungers, who was grateful. Then Star-Bringer created a children’s prayer to help them in a time of need to safety with the aid of a star.
Ginger’s Caught Red-Handed
Although with Ken’s guiding hand Ginger was becoming more thoughtful and responsible — and indeed, a good role model for Fox, Beaver Kit, and Trout Boy — it was clear that when she was with the three of them her growing sense of responsibility faded in favor of the fun pranks that they pulled together. Ken talked to Ginger about responsible pranking: who to choose to prank, how to keep the pranking harmless, and how to properly own up to the consequences.
It wasn’t long after that when Thor approached Ken with Ginger in tow. Thor was amused, but it was clear that Ginger had been caught making mischief. Ken told Ginger that in these cases he would ask the pranked party what was a fair consequence and she would have to do that. As a result, Ginger scrubbed the floors of the Aesir festhall every morning and every night for a week.
This clearly didn’t discourage Ginger for long, however — later, Sekhmet brought her to Ken, clearly fuming mad. It turned out that Ginger and Coyote’s triplets had gotten her drunk and shaved her tail while she was sleeping. True to form, Ken asked her what consequence she thought appropriate. Sekhmet stated that execution was most appropriate. Ken negotiated her down from that, and eventually Sekhmet was willing to settle for the severing of the hand which did the deed. Ken asked Ginger if she thought that was fair. She said no. He asked her if she had any better ideas. She was at a complete loss, unused to punishing herself. So Ken agreed to Sekhmet’s demands, provided he would be the one to chop Ginger’s hand off. In a panic, Ginger was ready to run — but Ken opened a pathway from her mind to his and told her that it was going to hurt but promised it would not be permanent. Ginger decided to trust Ken and presented him with her left hand, which he promptly severed with a clean cut from his ax.
Satisfied, Sekhmet returned to Meten-Khai-Ra with her trophy, and Ken immediately brought Ginger to Angel, who had already been warned by Morevuka to set down her book and wine. While Angel was regrowing Ginger’s hand, they discussed exactly what was going on, and what the parts were in Ginger’s stump. They also talked about the music of the world. Ginger was calmed down considerably after this, but noticeably subdued for the next few days.
Ken approached her later and they discussed what had happened. He wanted to make it clear that he did this not because he was being mean but because he was afraid of what would happen to Ginger if he had let Sekhmet chop her hand off. Ginger said that she knew. He asked how she was doing. Ginger said that she was doing okay, but that she would never go to Meten-Khai-Ra ever again. She’d also been thinking a lot about how much pain Gianna must’ve been in when she was stabbed, and she didn’t even get to get healed real quick.
From then on, whenever Ginger visited Gianna, she was much more helpful.
Later, Star-Bringer was updated on Ginger’s doings at a family dinner. She admonished Ginger about pulling pranks on deities she knew nothing about, especially when there were different values at play. Though she was uncomfortable with the way Ken handled things, she couldn’t think of anything better. So in the hopes that Ginger would choose her targets with a more discerning eye, she gave Ginger a book about the gods.
Birthdays of Those Still Aging
| April 5th (6)
April 10th (13)
April 24th (7)
April 24th (7)
| July 5th (17)
July 5th (17)
|August 12th (17)|| September 5th (7)
September 29th (43)
| October 12th (15)
October 17th (43)
October 31st (14)
|November 22nd (17)|| December 2nd (5)
December 2nd (5)
Fury Comes Home
As Morevuka sat in the Twisted Aspen, she heard a familiar voice carry through the buildings and walls of Bakersfield.
|“I heard you.”|
It was responded to by a voice less familiar.
|“Who are you?”|
There was a pause.
|“So… you heard me, and… and here you are. You gonna grant my wish or whatever? You can do this for me?”|
|“Yeah. Yeah I can.” Fury sounded almost surprised.|
|“Well then do it!”|
|“But are you sure this is what you want?”|
|“Yes! What makes you think I’m not sure?”|
|“There’s a lot more at stake here than just what you want.”|
|“I don’t care.”|
|“But you don’t understand…” Fury fell silent. The silence was stretched out. And then:|
|“Oh.” Another pause, a contemplative one. “Yes. Yes. I’m very sure now.”|
And then there was the sound of blazing fire, and a loud explosion. A crater was blown where Mama’s Shoe, with Angela in the middle, dazed and thoughtful, surrounded by the hurt and the dead.
From there, Angela — Fury — went to Danmairge. She began to call out to the Swan Maiden, but the Swan Maiden had already sensed that she’d had a guest and arrived just in time to greet her. When she saw it was Fury, however, she pulled up short. The two of them stared at each other for a while. And then:
|“So… are you… are you here to stay?”|
|“Yeah. Yeah I am.”|
And then the Swan Maiden flying tackle hugged Fury with a vengeance. Morevuka sent a shadow wolf to Fury to ask who she wanted to know she was back. Fury responded with, “I guess everyone.” This was done in short order — even Sanura was broken from her star communion, but Ken and Ginger were out of reach at the time. The Swan Maiden shortly began cooking.
That done, Morevuka popped over to Danmairge and offered Fury a cigarette. Fury, who had not smoked in years, hesitated.
|“Do you smoke still?”|
|“I… I don’t know…”|
|“I ask because I miss spending time with you, not because I want to smoke or want you to smoke.”|
|“I… Yeah, I know. I… I miss you too. Let’s… have a smoke break.”|
Although this familiar ritual was comforting and comfortable, Fury quickly found that smoking alone had lost its appeal.
In short order, the Found flocked to Danmairge. Fury was greeted by everyone, each of whom were in various states of overjoyed, and she was caught up on ALL THE THINGS. Sun-Bearer promptly reestablished fandom time in the Castle Under the Sea.
Seeing how long she’d been gone, how big the kids had gotten, and how happy everyone was to see her, how much everyone loved her… Fury was utterly overwhelmed. She began to cry, for the first time in nearly 20 years. Seeing that she was embarrassed, the Swan Maiden ushered her to a private room for a little while. But it wasn’t long before Fury decided that she wanted to spend time with her family more than she wanted to not be embarrassed, so she spent the evening expressing all the emotions.
Later, Star-Bringer went about choosing a permanent lucky star for Fury.
Return to Order
Soliloquy: Return to Order
After Svarozhich had settled into his hollow to sleep, Yesen visited him in his dreams and began to give him a full report of all the things that happened while he was gone.
Fated to Fall
Five years to the day of the Drowned King’s and She-Who-Hunger’s wedding, the Tuatha marched off to war against Cethlenn’s and Lir’s forces.
Prior to that, Mannanán mac Lir and Fand had approached the Drowned King and asked him to house their daughters, his half-sisters. He agreed, and they bound them to him with a geas.
For the days leading up to the deployment, the Morrígan had sought each of the Tuatha, save the Meaige, those among the Found, and Manannán mac Lir’s daughters, and wordlessly took their clothes and washed them with the aid of the Meaige. Finally, when that was done, the Morrígan removed her own clothing and presented them to her daughter to wash.
Ken and Ginger were nowhere to be found for the week surrounding the time the Tuatha were marching off to war.
Star-Bringer bestowed her blessings upon the Dagda, Ogma, Brigid, and Manannán mac Lir before they left.
A year and a day later, their Fate came upon them. The Tuatha gathered together, divesting their power utterly unto the Morrígan, becoming as mortals in the process. Lugh and Nuada returned to find their kin in war, and immediately joined the fray. Together, the Morrígan, Lugh, and Nuada sought Cethlenn, and together they managed to bring her down. But they each were lost, and the others fell under the Formorians’ weapons.
Thus ended the war, and thus ended the children of Danu.
At sunset one evening Set emerged from the fog surrounding Meten-Khai-Ra, Ra’s body cradled in his arms. He sought Anubis and instructed him to wash Ra’s body but not prepare him for burial. During this time, the Netjer received word of Set’s and Ra’s arrival and gathered around him and asked him about what had happened.
Set reported that all he remembers is being surrounded by impenatrable darkness. Within this darkness shone Ra’s body. He sought it and sought a way out. But piecing together that he was inside Apep, Set stopped and, through sheer force of will and strength, cut himself from Apep’s stomach. From there he traveled many days and many nights in search of the rest of the Netjer.
Star-Bringer asked if he saw Horus or Osiris. Set said he did not look: the most important thing was getting Ra’s body to safety, so he didn’t look for them.
|“Right, but we need to worry about the others too.”|
|“I’m sorry, miss — who are you?”|
|“I am Sebamiewet, bringer of stars and daughter of Bastet, and wife of Abirakhet who is the bearer of the sun.”|
The conversation ended there at that not-quite-snub.
Later, in privacy, Sun-Bearer told Star-Bringer about what he’d seen through his swallowed eye. Ra’s heart had not been beating, but his glory was bright and painful — given what he’d learned about Ra from Isis, Sun-Bearer suspects that one day Ra will return to life, but he’s uncertain when that will be. In regards to Set, there was something very menacing about his turbulent, ever-shifting visage, but also a strong sense of guardianship and pride in his ability to protect. Sun-Bearer was unsure about how to feel about Set, given this insight.
Isis, on the other hand, was impossible to read. She’d drawn the stars about her face.
Star-Bringer later went to Isis to discuss proceedings with her.
|“An auspicious but sad day. I guess you were probably hoping that Osiris and Horus were coming home too.”|
|“You know that we have friends that see everything everywhere. Maybe if we ask them to focus their attention on the search we would have some luck. If these two have returned, maybe the others have returned and are lost or in need of help. Don’t give up hope.”|
Isis smiled a thin smile and gave Star-Bringer a tilt of the head, and accepted Star-Bringer’s offer to seek Osiris and Horus.
Star-Bringer then went to visit Morevuka in the Twisted Aspen. Morevuka brought out tea to hear her out. After some discussion, Morevuka said that she would ask her boss if she could do this and also inform Ken that Star-Bringer wanted his help.
Ken returned upon being asked for help (with Ginger) and asked how he could be of service. Star-Bringer asked him if he could enter Apep’s belly and search for Osiris and Horus. Ken said that he’d need more information first — and a babysitter for Ginger while he was gone.
From there Star-Bringer and Ken began to gather more information about Apep. They sought Bastet first.
|“Mother, you have experience with Apep. What happens to things that get eaten by him?”|
|“Nobody knows. Only Set has returned from inside Apep.”|
From there they sought Thoth with the same question.
|“Presumably they are digested. I cannot say for sure. Not enough data points.”|
|“Are they digested by stomach acid or… ?”|
|“I’m afraid I don’t have that information. Not even Set was able to tell me.”|
|“What are the odds that someone will die instantly in Apep’s stomach?”|
|“Highly likely. I would offer a calculation but it would be a rough approximation.”|
Given that information, Ken apologized to Star-Bringer and told her that he didn’t think he could safely explore Apep’s stomach. However, he offered to use his Path Magic to seek Osiris and Horus intead. Star-Bringer agreed.
Sun-Bearer agreed to act as Ginger’s guardian (primarily at night), and Ken arranged with her to do as she wished during the day provided she tell Sun-Bearer exactly what she planned on doing. He also prompted Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer to come up with a list of rules and clear boundaries for Ginger. This proved no problem whatsoever. (Sun-Bearer is good at rules and boundaries, and Star-Bringer found nothing objectionable about them.) Ken arranged with the Drowned King to be an emergency daytime babysitter in case Ginger broke the rules. He agreed. And then Ken spoke privately to Ginger about what would happen if he didn’t come back. (Both seemed utterly confident that he would return.)
Before Ken left, Morevuka gave him a shadow wolf to carry in his pocket so that she could check in on him weekly, and facilitated a mind link between him and Ginger so they could keep in touch whenever they wanted. Star-Bringer sought the other Netjer and asked them for help or blessings. Blessings were given (for that was the politically correct thing to do for someone who was seeking their king). Nephthys gave Ken a reed doll that was from Horus’s childhood to help him locate Horus.
With that, Ken departed.
Fury and Ares
At a family dinner, Fury brought up an encounter she had with Ares. He had sought her for retribution; he wanted her to kill Adonis for fathering a child on Aphrodite.
|“Are you sure?”|
|“Of course I’m sure. I’m here asking you.”|
|“Why are you asking me? Can’t you kill him yourself?”|
|“I don’t want to make Aphrodite upset.”|
|“Isn’t that exactly what’s going to happen if I kill Adonis?”|
|“Yes, but I won’t be the one who made her upset. And with Adonis dead she’ll start seeing me again.”|
From there Fury laid the consequences out further for Ares. She surmised that, in her grief at the loss of the father of her young child, Aphrodite may not wish to see Ares anymore regardless. At this thought, Ares balked and withdrew his request.
Star-Bringer, thoroughly impressed, congratulated Fury on standing up to Ares and making him think, and then (after consulting the Swan Maiden about what would be an appropriate gift) invited her to dinner.
Ginger and Her Foster Family
Surprisingly, Ginger found Sun-Bearer very easy to communicate with. His clear boundaries were easy to follow, and he was very firm about them which offered her a sense of comfort and security. Every night they ate dinner together and discussed their day, and then Ginger would tell him and Star-Bringer (if she was around) about her plans for the next day.
One night, Sun-Bearer prompted her about her day.
|“My day kinda sucked. I felt sorta sick all day and didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done. And then I got my first period. It sucks and it’s gross. I don’t wanna birthday anymore. Can I hide my birthday in Kenspace? Please?”|
|“I don’t think that’s a good idea. You’re not the only one who has that birthday.”|
|“But growing older is awful!”|
|“Not everyone feels that way.”|
|“But Gianna has to curl up for days when she gets her period.”|
|“Boys share your birthday too, and they don’t get periods.”|
|Ginger grumped, “Well lucky them.”|
|“There are also plenty of girls who don’t experience much pain when they menstruate. I’m sure some of them were born the same day as you.”|
|“Maybe you can work with Ken to find an alternative after he gets back.”|
|“But I feel gross and sick and achy now.”|
|“Well, there are ways to ease that. But I… ah… I’m afraid I don’t have any experience with that. You can talk to Sanura… Susan, Angela, Aida, Moe, Lisa, Carmen, Sofia, Dovile, Lena… oh, I’m sure Mokosh knows a great deal.”|
|“… Mokosh has pierogies… that might be nice… I really don’t feel well, though…”|
|“Then I’ll go get Susan’s advice for relieving cramps. You can take some time to decide what you feel comfortable doing. Just let me know before you do it.”|
From there Star-Bringer took the reins, ensuring that Ginger got a collection of comfortable underclothing, showed her how to wash them most effectively, showed her how to arrange her clothing so that her blood wouldn’t leak out or show. Before Sun-Bearer left, he heated a soft animal skin water bottle between his hands to help Ginger.
Eventually Ginger had girl time with all the girls Sun-Bearer had suggested in Mokosh’s cottage.
After being updated via mind link, Ken challenged Ginger to find two alternatives to hiding her birthday and suggested that she talk to people about being old so she can get an idea for the consequences of never getting older.
At the next Found family dinner, Ginger asked Dovile what it was like being old. She got a mostly positive response, which was very heartening to Ginger. She began to seriously consider some alternatives to hiding her birthday.
Really pleased how well this fostering arrangement was working out, Star-Bringer approached her husband again about having children. After some discussion, they decided that they would wait until the effects of Osiris and Horus coming back — if they were to come back at all — were over and the Netjer stabilized once again. (Also Star-Bringer gushed at length about how adorable Sun-Bearer was in his handling of Ginger’s period.)
After emerging from her intel reporting to Lord Father Svarozhich via his dream, Yesen proceeded to spend every following Emotion-Having Tuesday getting angry and throwing things. But, upon seeing how everyone was waiting on the edges of their seats for the Lord Father’s awakening, it wasn’t enough.
Yesen began to spend increasingly more time in dreamland. For a while she frequented Galen’s dreams because generally they’re nice and sometimes they’re intriguing — but soon he caught her. After some discussion, he invited her to hang out with him, Ruben, Senbast, and Leanne throughout the rest of the week/on the weekends. She took him up on it.
Ruben and Eloisa
At a family dinner, Ruben mentioned that the Teotl had arranged a marriage between him and Eloisa Cruz on his twentieth birthday. Concerned, Star-Bringer checked to ensure that Ruben was okay with marrying for politics rather than for love. He laid out the points for her:
- The Teotl need more help if they’re to survive, but they can’t afford to be in debt to anyone else and their culture doesn’t give a whole lot of space for it anyway.
- Eloisa says she’s okay with it.
- Eloisa is Alejandra’s daughter, and Alejandra is Tezcatlipoca’s daughter. That makes this a powerful political alliance.
- Ruben’s at no shortage of love and support in his life. So “finding love” is not a high priority for him. And he refuses to date anyone he can brain control. So chances are low that he’ll “fall in love.”
- Marrying for political reasons does not preclude love of any kind, either inside or out of the marriage.
- Even if he were to “fall in love,” marriage is an economic construct which won’t in any way enhance his commitment to someone he loves. In fact, it entails a sense of ownership, which is not something he considers conducive to an egalitarian relationship.
- He’s very much against passing his psychoses on via any children he and Eloisa might have, but Mom says that that comes from a place of self-hatred and it doesn’t account for passing on his coping mechanisms or helping his children find more effective ways to cope. He figures she’s probably right. In any case, children aren’t a requirement in a marriage, so he can cross that bridge if/when they ever get to it.
- He has three years to change his mind.
- Failing all else, divorce is a thing.
… but (after a prompting look from Lisa) he expressed he appreciates her caring.
Along those lines, Eloisa has approached him about hanging out on a regular basis, because she intends to get to know her fiance. Ruben asked everyone if it’d be alright if she joined them for a family dinner sometime.
A Mother’s Request
Frigg lighted outside Star-Bringer’s windowsill and rose from her falcon form, drawing back her cloak of feathers. She requested an audience with her. Frigg’s manner was subdued, and the air around her heavy. She asked Star-Bringer if she could shed a tear for Baldur, or for a family losing their most beloved member, a son his father, a wife her husband, a mother her son, a people their sunlight and joy. Star-Bringer could not help but oblige and asked if she could assist further. Frigg thanked her but couldn’t think of anything. Star-Bringer offered her encouragement before she went on her way.
Eventually, Frigg went to Morevuka and asked the same of her. Dobrozhe was happy to lend his sadness and empathy to Dovile (and Yesen). Morevuka asked Ken on behalf of Frigg, who offered some of his own tears for her. Humbly, Frigg thanked them and continued on her journey.
With the death of Baldur, the Aesir had grown grim. A funeral was held to send Baldur to Helheim, during which Nanna threw herself upon the pyre. Hod was detained, his sentencing awaiting Frigg’s return.
The World descended into the coldest global winter it had experienced to date. Ken, noticing this was occurring, went to every community he could find to let them know that the winter was only going to get colder and harsher and that he was willing to bring everyone to a safer place. Together, him and Ginger began to move towns and cities to near Bakersfield.
Birthdays of Those Still Aging
| April 5th (7)
April 10th (14)
April 24th (8)
April 24th (8)
| July 5th (18)
July 5th (18)
|August 12th (18)|| September 5th (8)
September 29th (44)
| October 12th (16)
October 17th (44)
October 31st (15)
|November 22nd (18)|| December 2nd (6)
December 2nd (6)
Svarozhich awakened from his very long nap. The Bogovi Council, as headed by Dobrozhe, was dissolved, and Svarozhich began looking over the matters they had discussed and the laws they had decided on. He also began seeing petitioners. The following are the major decisions he’s made and petitioners he’s seen:
- The Bogovi are no longer to interact with mortals or interfere with their affairs.
- The Bogovi are not to get involved in foreign politics.
- Dazhbog angrily demanded recompense for Svarozhich kidnapping Lada and wiping her memory so that she would forever remain by Dazhbog’s side. Svarozhich did not offer any.
- Morena formally requested permission to have another child, this time by her husband. Svarozhich denied her request.
- Mokosh reported to Svarozhich about Mokosits’s remolding by Svarog and begged him to give Mokosits a place among the Bogovi. Svarozhich refused.
- Svarozhich officially stated that he would suspend judgement on whether or not Yesen should continue to exist until a later date.
Although he did not expressly forbid Morevuka, Dobrozhe, Yesen, and Mokosits from attending Found family dinners, they had to report where they were going and why everytime they left Domobog — and Stribog had sanction to watch their every move outside of Domobog. Moreover, Dobrozhe was given new duties at his father’s side which kept him away, and Mokosits was instructed to be the official gofer for all matters regarding the Slavic souls.
As a result, Morevuka — and company — became more withdrawn around friends and family.
Ken Finds Horus
After over a year of travel, Ken finally reached the end of the path. There he found Osiris, conveying Horus’s head (for he was unable to find the rest of Horus). Ken introduced himself and informed Osiris that his family had sent him to find him. He then asked if Osiris would like a ride back. Osiris accepted, and was quickly brought to Meten-Khai-Ra.
Morevuka send word along to Sun-Bearer, who went to break Star-Bringer out of her trance. The other Netjer began flocking to Osiris.
His job done, Ken went to find Ginger (who was utterly excited to see him). The two of them were curious about events, so they unintrusively eavesdropped from afar.
Nephthys was the first to approach Osiris, by far. She was very formal with him, but asked to touch Horus’s head. He allowed her to, presenting the head, and she stroked Horus’s brow, utterly reserved but for the resigned sorrow in her eyes. Then she turned away and sought some distance as the others approached.
Isis was the next to arrive. Upon seeing Horus’s head, her demeanor closed up instantly. Osiris saw this and touched her face. She opened up just enough to put her hand over his, but soon drew away and took her place by his side.
Soon it was known that Horus was beyond Isis’s abilities to fix. His head had been bitten off by some crocodile beast, and the rest of his body could not be found — presumably eaten. He’d been dead for some time, and being as how his heart, lungs, stomach, and intestines could not be found, Anubis could not call upon his spirit to ask questions. Horus was well and truly lost to oblivion.
Morevuka sought the moist, dark earth for answers. Its response: “The Lord Father decreed that the Bogovi would not get involved in foreign politics.” She apologized and withdrew her assistance to Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer.
A funeral was held for Horus. She-Who-Hungers and the Drowned King were both invited to attend, which they did. Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer also attended, but Star-Bringer was troubled by the fact that whatever it was had killed Horus was still unknown and at large; and, moreover, that this clearly meant that the Netjer would not be able to find the stability they had before. Sun-Bearer agreed — they would have to find a new balance. Star-Bringer decided to approach the Mother of the Lost about whatever it was that had killed Horus.
After the funeral, Set approached She-Who-Hungers about her hunger, seeming to think they had common ground. She didn’t appreciate that, told him to back off, and he did. Later she expressed this to Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer, and made it clear that she was highly suspicious of Set but doesn’t want to get involved in Netjer politics.
The Mother of the Lost’s Counsel
|“Will it be possible to locate whatever’s out there that ate Horus? Will it be helpful if I do?”|
|“You shall find what you are looking for, but no, it won’t be very helpful. However… you will be safer looking there, but safest here.”|
|“This really seems important. I can feel that everything is going to change, that things are changing already. I want this sorted out before it all changes. I want it finished and… and clean.”|
|“It will be finished, but I’m afraid it won’t be clean.”|
|“If I go, will I hurt anyone?”|
|“Beyond reason? Beyond repair?”|
|“Very few things are beyond repair. But this would take a long time to repair, and it may not be repaired at all.”|
|“Whoever — whatever — did that to Horus… is it a threat to us?”|
|“Yes and no.”|
|“Was it solely the deed of a mindless creature?”|
|“Have I brought another snake home?”|
|“Is Horus simply gone forever, the way the legends say?”|
|“Yes. Yes he is.”|
At that, Star-Bringer thanked the Mother of the Lost and bid her farewell until the next family dinner.
Later, when she reported this to Sun-Bearer, he drew her into a tight hug. She told him, “If that thing comes after you I’m kicking it in the teeth.”
Ginger Says Goodbye
Upon his return, Ken picked up his guardianship of Ginger anew. She bade Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer goodbye, complete with hugs. Star-Bringer hinted that she could come over for dinner a couple times a month. Ginger seemed to like this idea.
Set Calls for Council
A week after Horus’s funeral, Set called for a Netjer council regarding who would pick up duties as the sun bearer and king of the gods a week hence.
Isis approached Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer and strongly advised them not to go to the meeting — to instead absent themselves under the pretense of mourning, so that the council cannot be held. Star-Bringer asked her why, to which Isis responded, “Because I don’t trust Set. Because in the past he has tried to murder my son for the kingship. On more than one occasion.”
Star-Bringer consulted her husband about what he wanted to do. Sun-Bearer stated firmly that he wanted to go to the council, hear Set out, and make it clear that he is willing to capitulate if Set is truly the best person for the job.
Isis persisted, expressing that this council was most certainly a power play — that Set would do everything in his power to seize the kingship, even if it meant killing Sun-Bearer, which it most likely did. So long as they filibustered the meeting, they could ensure more supporters and then safely keep things the way they are.
This didn’t sit well with either Star-Bringer or Sun-Bearer, both of whom wanted to start their new relationships with honesty and forthrightness. Sun-Bearer also stated that if he attended this council, not only will he have given Set the opportunity to be civil, but if Set doesn’t take the opportunity then it will be eminently clear and they can move from there. Isis stressed that if he went and it came down to violence Sun-Bearer would most certainly lose — and in turn the Netjer would be lost, and indeed a great deal more.
|“Lady, I don’t mean to disrespect you, but you say that Set is hiding things. And yet upon his return there has been a sense of you withdrawing and hiding.”|
|“Are you trying to blame me for not trusting Set?”|
|“No, there is no blame to be had. You have valid reason for your suspicion, and I am very grateful for your concern, as I know Derrick is. But hiding yourself from those you perceive to be a threat and hiding yourself from all are not the same.”|
|“And how often have you hidden yourself?”|
|“Have you met me? I hide nothing. I give away far too much.”|
|“That is exactly my point.”|
|“You think this would be a detriment in this situation?”|
|“Absolutely! Vulnerability is the most powerful weapon.”|
|“Is it always backstabbing? We are gods! Why are we so petty? There is enough power for everyone! Yet we all scrape and claw for more! If I had known this was what godhood was, I don’t think I would’ve signed up! Not that I did…”|
|“I could not even begin to explain.”|
|“Do you not know, or do you not have faith in my ability to comprehend?”|
|“There is a great deal that I do not know, and there is a great deal that you do not know.”|
|“Tell me about it… Can you give count of who would stand behind Derrick currently if it came to it?”|
|“Yes. I know of ten who would support me or have supported Horus. There are twelve who stand between, and four whose respect for Set runs deep.”|
Taking these presentiments seriously, Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer decided they would take some more time to think it over and gather more information.
While Sun-Bearer was continuing his daily duties, Star-Bringer sought advice from Hathor. She invited her to Crook’s haven for tea and cookies, and carefully broached the subject of the upcoming council meeting.
|“You know… Isis is troubled by some repurcussions of the return of Set and what happened to Horus. She came to Derrick and I about it and she wants us to forestall the scheduled meeting.” She proceeded to go into greater detail about Isis’s plans.|
|Hathor grew a little grim and nodded like, ‘Yeah, this makes sense.’|
|“I’ve read about these people for my entire life but that’s not the same as knowing them. You know everyone, and you like everyone, and you want the best outcome just like the rest of us. What’s your take? What’s the climate? Do you agree that you should use this tactic? Honestly, I don’t like it. I feel like honesty is almost always best. It feels like if we do as Isis desires, we’d be perpetrating the same old patterns and I don’t want to continue that vicious cycle.”|
|“Oh, honey. I’m sorry you’re getting wrapped up in all this. But I’m afraid I may not be the best person to ask about this. You see…” She thought a moment, then squared herself. “A long time ago, Set raped me. He hasn’t tried it since. But I don’t trust him, and I haven’t spoken to him much in that time. I fear Isis’s consternation is not entirely unfounded.”|
|Star-Bringer was utterly taken aback, and a hardness entered her eyes. “Aside from distrust of Set — which is understandable, I don’t like the look of him anyway — do you think if there was a peaceful vote, do you think it would come out in Set’s favor?”|
|“Unfortunately that’s a complicated question.” Hathor proceeded to describe the power of being the right hand of Ra, and how much credibility someone in that position has. If it was just about guarding then maybe it would come out in Set’s favor. But since it’s also about trust and power… she’s not sure. Different things are important to different people and she has no idea what Set wants/intends to do with that kind of power given how unpredictable he is.|
|“Of course I didn’t expect a headcount or anything so this is really helpful, thank you. It’s really looking more and more like Set will try to turn this into a physical altercation. I wonder… Can you keep a secret?”|
|“I’ll try, but if it’ll hurt anyone…”|
|“Well… I won’t tell you how I know this, but I know I can create a copy of someone, so maybe I can make a copy of Derrick and send that to the meeting…”|
|Hathor told her that it indicates 1) Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer are afraid and 2) they’re willing to lie to everyone.|
|“Yes… I see your point. What about if I put protections on Derrick… ?”|
|“Well… on the one hand that might make Derrick look respectful of Set’s power. On the other hand it might make him look afraid. I’m not sure who would think what, but it would certainly make quite a statement.”|
|“I don’t think I can make something powerful enough anyway.”|
|Hathor didn’t disagree.|
Given no other recourse, Star-Bringer expressed that she was afraid and she didn’t know what to do. Hathor gave her a big hug and a great deal of sympathy, and lamented that she didn’t know either, but she’d look for ways to help.
Star-Bringer invited Bastet to dinner and gave her fine wine.
|Bastet took her time sampling the food and wine, leveled Star-Bringer with a look, and said wryly, “Offering accepted. What was it you wanted to talk about?”|
|“First of all, I love you, woman. I did this because you’re great. Secondly, I can see where Crook gets it from.”|
|Bastet simply waited for Star-Bringer to ask what she was going to ask, patiently bearing the defensive rant that followed.|
|“We should do something like this a little more often. Let’s do this more often… if you’re not opposed.”|
|“Not at all.”|
|“Great! But… you were right in that this meeting has a purpose. Surely you’re up to date on the council meeting…”|
|“… and Set.”|
|“Yes. And Set. First of all… did he wrong you in any way?”|
|“He took my dear sister against her will. I’d consider that a wrong.”|
|“Yeah, okay. Point taken. But I meant you specifically.”|
|“No, he hasn’t dared.”|
|“Yeah… I figured. But you’re not a fan either.”|
|“You could say that.”|
|“As one of the guardians for Ra on his daily journey… you know the situation and the players better than anyone else. Do you have any insight to offer?”|
|“You may and… you want more offerings?”|
|“That depends on what you want to know.”|
|“For starters… if Set does become the bearer of this honor… would you work with him as well? Is that how that worked in the past? Or would he be seeking to edge you out too? I know it’s not as politically advantageous, but it’s still an important job. Would he desire to have that entire office unto himself?”|
|“I should think not. It’s not his place. And he hasn’t tried it before.”|
|“Do you think that his desire to retake his old position is more than the duty and honor of performing it?”|
|“Absolutely I do. There’s no question of that.”|
|“Do you have any opinions on his directions as far as being in charge? Do you think it would be fair or foul for the pantheon?”|
|“I think it would be chaos. This is what Set wreaks, either intentionally or not.”|
|“I’m getting pretty strong vibes that this council is a ruse. Do you concur?”|
|“Perhaps. I would almost expect Set to come up with other ruses, though, so I cannot say for sure. But I’ve never been terribly interested in politics.”|
|“I wish I didn’t have to be.”|
|“Well, you didn’t have to get married to Abirakhet, knowing his ties to kingship.”|
|Star-Bringer prickled. “Yeah, I kinda did.”|
|Bastet said nothing more, instead sipping more wine.|
|“If it came down to it… you’d be on Derrick’s side, right?”|
|“I thought so. But you’re hard to read.”|
|“Good.” At that, Bastet smiled.|
|“Has Isis shared her fears with you?”|
|“Isis shares very little with me. And what she does share she does so to gain some kind of leverage from or over me. I’m surprised you haven’t asked about her.”|
|“Asked about her… ?”|
|“Like you are asking about Set.”|
|“To be honest, it hadn’t occurred to me.”|
|“I suppose I should not be surprised.”|
|“What do you mean by that?” Star-Bringer tried to keep her expression neutral, but could not help feel a little insulted.|
|“Isis is very good at what she does. And what she does is deceive. She’s as manipulative as Set. But at least with Set we know he’s against Horus. Isis, on the other hand… has hurt Horus as often as she’s hurt Set.”|
|Star-Bringer was stricken. “So… can I expect her to be willing to harm Derrick?”|
|“That would be a safe bet.”
Star-Bringer deflated. Bastet watched her a little, then said, “It’s not to say she doesn’t care. But in some ways that makes it worse. Because you don’t know when she’s caring about you and when she’s using you and when she’s doing both.”
|“So… if this were to be an altercation… what would that look like? Would it be to the death? What can I expect?”|
|“It would be safest to assume it would be to the death. For how else can Set completely assure his ascension?”|
|“If there were a way to make Derrick mortal again, would that do it?”|
|“I’m not sure… That wouldn’t necessarily disqualify him…”|
|“Not worth it then. Well… if you were in my really cute shoes…” she paused to show them off, “… what would you do?”|
|“I would try to find a way to buy time until Ra’s return, and then I would go to him with this dilemma. Failing that, which may be likely, I would face Set with my husband and defend him to the death. And I would do it with my shoes off. I prefer my feet to be bare.” Bastet offered Star-Bringer a smile.|
|Star-Bringer nodded, chuckling at Bastet’s last couple of statements. “Is there any way to judge when Ra will awaken?”|
|“I’m afraid not.”|
|“Will this take days or eons?”|
|“I… don’t know. There is no precedent for this.”|
|“How should I stall?”|
|“Start with what Isis has planned, and look for opportunities from there.”|
|“If you have any more insights at any point in the future… would you please, please come to me about them?”|
|“Of course, habibti.”|
Star-Bringer Updates Sun-Bearer
After Sun-Bearer’s return from his duties the next day, Star-Bringer approached him and gave him an update about what she had gleaned from Hathor and Bastet. Sun-Bearer took it in all as a matter of course, contemplating insights new and old.
|“You don’t seem surprised at all about my mother’s assessment of Isis.”|
|“No. Bastet is very observant.”|
|“So you… agree with her?”|
|Again Star-Bringer deflated. “God, I’m so gullible.”|
|Sun-Bearer gave her a hug. “I do think she cares, very deeply. I just think the way that she cares can be dangerous.”|
They proceeded to discuss a plan of action. Sun-Bearer stated that he thinks Bastet’s tack is the best option: stall until Ra wakes up and then consult him about the dilemma. That unfortunately had to start with doing as Isis told them to do, and to the letter. However, he stressed that they had to remain very vigilant for an opportunity for their own tactics because it would be all too easy to rely entirely on Isis.
|“Derrick. I need to know… with Tim, you said that if it came down to a confrontation, given all the lives that yours affects, given the importance you have to so many other people… you would not sacrifice yourself. If you were to be in direct conflict with Set… would the same be true? Would you not sacrifice yourself?”|
|“Sanura, if I got into a fight with Set, I would do everything in my power to win.”|
|“Then know that I will stand by you. I know I’m not very physically inclined, and am not a capable warrior, but I will do all that I can to help keep you safe. I will not stand by and watch you from the sidelines. I trust you were planning on this.”|
|Sun-Bearer looked at the ground and waited for her to finish. When she did, he said, “Actually, I was planning on discussing with you about staying with Lisa should it even begin to look like there would be a fight.”|
|“Well, that’s not happening. I know that you don’t want me to be hurt, but —”|
|At that, Sun-Bearer took a deep breath and looked to her. “It’s not that I don’t want you to be hurt, which I don’t. It’s not that I am scared out of my wits for you, which I am. It’s not that I love you, which I do.” He took her hands in his. “Sanura, I said I would do everything in my power to win. Well, you are the single most effective point of leverage against me. If something were to happen in the course of the fight, if you were subdued and held hostage or tortured… I…” He paused, considering his next statement very deeply. “I would lose.”|
|This stunned Star-Bringer. For a while she groped for words, and then she said, distraught, “I’m… I’m not supposed to be your weakness.” She was on the verge of tears. “I’m supposed to be your strength.”|
|At that Sun-Bearer drew her into a tight embrace. “You are. God, you are, in so many ways.”|
|“I’m terrified, Derrick. You’re caught up in all this and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t want it to come to violence.”|
|He continued to hold her. “I don’t either. I’m sincerely hoping it won’t.”|
|Star-Bringer attempted to shore herself up. “Well… I… I’d like to go get Lisa’s advice, if you think that’d be prudent. Maybe a new perspective will help us.” She started to shift to prepare to rise and head out.|
|“Of course.” A pause. “But we don’t need to be in too much of a hurry. We still have all night. Did you want to take a moment to just sit here like this and… and just be… vulnerable? With me?”|
|And then Star-Bringer fell even more in love. “Yeah… yeah, I think that would be good.”|
The Mother of the Lost’s Counsel, Reprise
Together, Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer sought the Mother of the Lost. She left a door open for them in her library, leading to the depths of her demense.
|“There’s a lot of things that may happen because of Set’s return and his designs. He has desires that are unknown and worrisome. You know the past that occurred. We don’t know if we can avoid an outright conflict with him. I, as you can imagine, want to be there with Derrick if something goes wrong, if it’s not avoidable. I am fully aware that it’s not the smart choice and he has indicated his preference that I spend a little time with you if that happens. He feels like it would be more advantageous because of his focus. I, on the other hand, understand his point and feel it’s valid but also I worry that even though I’m not a warrior that I could help more than I could hurt. I wanted to know if you saw any hints about the more advantageous arrangement for Derrick’s survival.”|
|“I believe I already indicated — at least I think I did — that it would be safest if you stayed with me. Not just for you, but for Derrick and everyone involved in these tangled affairs.”|
|“How sure are you on a scale of 1 to 100 that this is the best solution?”|
|The Mother of the Lost just offered her a sympathetic smile.|
|Star-Bringer grumbled that she’ll be beating Sun-Bearer up later.|
|Eventually the Mother of the Lost said, “Ra will rise one day. And when he does, he’ll set things right.”|
|“With everything you know, and will know, and have known…” Star-Bringer offered a sardonic smile before continuing. “Can you tell me what I can do to protect him?”|
|“It won’t be protection that he’ll need from you. It’ll be love and support.”|
|“What are we, the Hallmark Channel?”|
|“Yes. Why do you think we hardly hear from Dovile and the few times Ken’s around he doesn’t speak in Russian?”|
|Star-Bringer got a little frustrated and then nodded and mulled over a few things. Sun-Bearer squeezed her hand, and she squeezed back, a little harder. Eventually she accepted that she won’t be able to help as much as she would like in the way that she would like. And then she asked, “I know that I’m not particularly adept at deceptions and politicking in this way… Love is never in question and support as well… but do you guys think my support should not include delving further into the intrigues and opinions of the Netjer?”|
|The Mother of the Lost glanced to Sun-Bearer and then answered, “That is a tangled web that has been woven for thousands of years.”|
|“To be honest, I haven’t taken action like that because all this is way over my head. There’s no way I can cover that ground without thousands of years myself. I’m afraid if you get involved in this way you’ll get in too deep and won’t be able to come out.”|
|“If you feel you’re in over your head, how am I supposed to leave you to it by yourself? How am I supposed to just sit and watch you from the sidelines?”|
|“There are many steps between now and then. It hasn’t turned to fighting yet. So stay. Be with me. Maybe there will yet be an opportunity for you to help.”|
|After digesting his words for a moment, Star-Bringer eased and offered him a smile. “You mean I’m on the team, coach?”|
|Sun-Bearer smiled back. “Any day.”|
Birthdays of Those Still Aging
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| July 5th (19)
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|August 12th (19)|| September 5th (9)
September 29th (45)
| October 12th (17)
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October 31st (16)
| November 7th (0)
November 22nd (19)
| December 2nd (7)
December 2nd (7)
After Sanura and Ken have a discussion about the Netjer troubles, Ken approached Ginger to ask her what she thought about the situation, the changes, and the people involved. Ginger had heard bits and pieces here and there while visiting and having dinner with Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer, but, as she had said she wouldn’t actually go to Meten-Khai-Ra ever again, that was the extent of it. Her impression was that Set is an asshole and probably wants to kill Sun-Bearer which means that they can’t actually sit down and talk this out.
After hearing her incomplete picture, Ken compared the situation to gang politics. Right away Ginger got it and all the implications surrounding it and became quite distressed. From there Ken explained that he refuses to pick a side even though he sorely wants to — he was planning on avoiding the conflict by being nowhere near it because he knew that if he got involved he would do things, terrible things, that he didn’t want to do. He also encouraged Ginger to consider what it would mean to pick a side and talk to people who have had to face these kinds of choices or would be able to help her work out the consequences (specifically Morevuka, Fury, Rose Thorn Child, and Sun-Bearer). Ginger took these words to heart and sought out each of the people he suggested.
Morevuka expressed that her choices — past, present, and future — have everything to do with what her duty is. All personal consequences were to be dealt with separately. Ginger then asked her what she planned to do about all this. Morevuka said that she would wait and watch, because she was told not to get involved. And if Sun-Bearer should die, she will continue to do her duty and mourn later. Ginger sulked about how lame that was for a while, thanked Morevuka for talking to her (and the muffin) and left.
Fury, on the other hand, broke down all the possible consequences of Ginger joining Sun-Bearer in this political struggle, moving step-by-step through potential outcomes. Ginger was utterly focused, and grew increasingly horrified and overwhelmed by all the possibilities. Realizing that she was being much too much, Fury decided to stop and suggest that maybe Ginger talk to someone else.
Rose Thorn Child described his experience with gang politics (and cosmic politics!), explaining that for each new decision he made he was prepared to die to ensure that the conflict would end sustainably peacefully. Ginger was overwhelmed by the thought of having to accept dying anew with literally every decision.
Finally, while Sun-Bearer did not express to Ginger that he’d rather her stay far away from this conflict, he did explain all the ways that she could be used against him, and how, if anything happened to her, he’s not sure how he’d be able to live with himself. Defeated, Ginger went to Ken and said she’d be going with him.
Before they left, Ken swore an oath to Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer: if they are ever trapped in a place where they can’t leave, they can call on Ken and he will free them.
The Found’s Foreign Policy
Star-Bringer sought the Mother of the Lost regarding the Found’s involvement in Netjer affairs. The Mother of the Lost stated that they will stay out of it but will offer asylum to those who ask for it. They cannot risk a multi-pantheon war because a great deal of them have connections — and strong ones too — to other pantheons.
Senbast expressed that he would not be going to Meten-Khai-Ra during this conflict and will remain firmly neutral. She-Who-Hungers and the Drowned King are also steering clear of Netjer politics, because their position as keepers of the dead for all pantheons ties their hands pretty firmly.
Isis expressed that she strongly believes Set has had enough time to become very aware of the Found’s ties and will also not risk a multi-pantheon war. That would be incredibly foolhardy, and Set is many things but he is not a fool.
The Netjer Council
Isis, Osiris, Sun-Bearer, Star-Bringer, Duamutef, Imsety, Hapy, and Qebehsenuef began the 72-day process of mourning together; naturally spending most of that time chatting about Set. Star-Bringer approached Isis, asking about what Set’s next move will be, which Isis admitted she didn’t know. Then Star-Bringer asked whether it would be politically prudent if she gave a lucky star to Sun-Bearer, and Isis told her it would be fine.
After the council had passed, Khepri approached Isis and spoke with her. She closed up and stiffened. Seeing that she would not be forthcoming, Sun-Bearer asked her what happened.
It turned out that, while Set was at the Council with all the Netjer who were not currently in the boycotting process, Ares, Phobos, Deimos, and Enyo stole Ra’s body and brought it to Set, who then announced that he would not release the body until every last Netjer comes to the next meeting in a week’s time.
Stunned, Star-Bringer asked what they were to do next. Isis expressed that Sun-Bearer would be a suitable sun for the time being, and he could continue to do what he had been doing since before Set arrived. But she also expressed that Ares’s involvement only serves to confirm her suspicions about Set intending to turn this to violence. The best thing they can do is not play into Set’s plans. She advised Sun-Bearer to surround himself with capable people whom he trusted while he carried out his duties across the sky. Star-Bringer offered to join Sun-Bearer, but he expressed trepidation for the same reasons as when they were discussing her living with the Found at the first sign of violence. She decided to get started right away on commissioning Sun-Bearer’s lucky star, staying with the Found while she began her communion with the starry sky.
Immediately after, Star-Bringer went to the Mother of the Lost and demanded to know if she had known this would happen. The Mother of the Lost offered Star-Bringer much sympathy and explained that her trust in the Mother of the Lost would be shaken a great deal in the days to come. But, as she had said before, Ra will come back and set things right.
From there, Star-Bringer asked about how the Theoi were involved, what their involvement in this burgeoning political conflict would look like and entail. It was then Galen arrived astride his pegasus. The Mother of the Lost suggested to Star-Bringer that he might know something.
|“Would you happen to know what Ares was up to today?”|
|“Yeah, um…” He ran a hand through his hair. “That’s what I’m here about. Nobody’s really happy about it. Athena least of all. And, uh, Mom — ah, Mom 2, that is — she’s… really kinda upset.”|
It turned out that Hera had attempted to talk Ares down but failed. Star-Bringer, alerted to this, demanded to know how long they had known Ares would do this, to which Galen responded that he only just found out today and has no idea how or how long Hera had known. Then Star-Bringer asked if any of the other Theoi would stay out of it, to which Galen said that it seemed for the most part like they would, and that he has no idea what was in store for Ares and company. (Seeing that Star-Bringer was really stressed, Galen offered her a hug and some amenities like bath salts or chocolates.)
As arranged, Sun-Bearer brought Star-Bringer out of her star communion before the boycott each week. Over the course of the next month of council boycotts nothing happened, but Sun-Bearer began to strongly suspect Isis was planning something. Using visiting his wife as a pretense to leave Meten-Khai-Ra (and with her creating a false Sun-Bearer as she had with Sigyn and her boys to solidify the pretense), he met with Athena, and they worked together to come up with a plan to allow Sun-Bearer to speak on peaceful terms with Set. Acting as head of the Theoi pantheon, Athena would arrange and mediate the meeting.
Working around Star-Bringer’s lucky star project at Sun-Bearer’s request, Athena delayed the initial meeting date by a couple weeks.
Isis Sows a Seed
Without interrupting Star-Bringer’s communion with the stars, Isis approached her, requesting a moment of her time. She expressed deep empathy for Star-Bringer’s struggle — being able to do nothing but stand by and watch as her loved ones are at risk is awful, and she’s sorry that Star-Bringer has to endure it.
Star-Bringer expressed deep appreciation for Isis reaching out like this and pointed out that she’s not the only one who’s enduring this: Isis is too, watching her grandson get caught up in this political struggle couldn’t be easy. But she told Isis to take heart, expressing deep faith in Sun-Bearer’s intelligence, resourcefulness, and drive. If anyone could find a way to solve this peacefully, it would be him — after all, it’s not the first time that he’s succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.
|“Thank you, Sebamiewet. Those are very comforting words. Your faith in your husband is inspiring. But, given the opportunity to help, what would you be willing to do?”|
|“Well… I was ready to punch Thor in the face after he’d knocked Derrick out, so…”|
|She smiled. “Well, I have an idea and it won’t involve punching anyone in the face. Would you be willing to hear it out?”|
|She did not express her slight disappointment that there would be no punching involved. “Yes, of course.”|
|“My recommendation to you is to conceive an heir.”|
|Star-Bringer was completely surprised, but quickly gathered her wits. “Isn’t it too dangerous for a baby?”|
|“Were the situation, the people involved, any different, then yes. I wouldn’t have even suggested it. But you are staying somewhere Set dares not touch you. You and your child could stay there until your child reaches majority and is able to defend himself.”|
|“Even with the best family, this child would be growing up in what’s effectively a prison, living in constant fear of being murdered by Set. Does any child deserve that?”|
|“I believe if the line of succession were secured, Set will be more inclined towards civil discussion. After all, it makes the political situation that much more complicated, and much less easily solved by violence.”|
|“I’m not sure. Let me think on this.”|
|“Of course. Thank you for hearing me out.”|
From there, Star-Bringer discussed this possibility with Sun-Bearer, expressing deep trepidation about the child growing up not free, and the skeevy feel of this whole thing, using an innocent child to further a political agenda. Sun-Bearer expressed that A) it did make a great deal of political sense, B) freedom isn’t a concern because either way politics would restrict their child’s movements (after all, their marriage contract stated that large portions of the heir’s upbringing would be by Isis and Thoth), C) the stability of the Netjer was at stake here which is sadly more important than them and their hypothetical child, and D) they could ensure that politics did not define their relationship with their child. But he didn’t like the idea at all: saddling their child with a political burden of this nature inspired in him a deep unease. Given this stalemate, Star-Bringer decided that she would go with what Sun-Bearer thought. He expressed that the responsibility should not fall entirely to him. Eventually they decided to seek the Mother of the Lost for help with this decision.
|“How important is it to you to appease Isis?”|
|“What do you mean?”|
|“If you take Isis’s suggestion, that would leave her to believe you are trusting her. She may be less suspicious of you, which is another political benefit. But if we aren’t talking politics… I recommend you talk to Mokosh. Legend has it she conceived Mokosits so that she would have a representative in the world to spread worship of her.”|
They took her suggestion. Star-Bringer invited her to join them in the library for tea and made up as fine a homemade spread as she could manage. Mokosh accepted their invitation; and Star-Bringer carefully stepped around the issue, trying to make Mokosh more comfortable and prime her for the coming topic. Sun-Bearer, on the other hand jumped right in.
|“We’re facing a tough decision: we’re considering having a child to secure the line of succession and give us political leverage. Neither of us are happy with this idea, but it makes a great deal of sense. We’d appreciate any input you can offer, or any experiences you’re willing to share.”|
|“Ah yes. This is very… tricky.” She grew serious and thought for a long moment. “You are speaking of Mokosits, da?”|
|“Hmm. Yes. I had Mokosits for power. Even leaving out the worship and honors I gained from him, the connection I had with the people that no one else did.. all children are… resources, and resources are power. This is a fact of life. But this is not the only reason I had Mokosits. He is my dear son and he knows this. Our relationship is deeper than politics. However, we still answer to the politics, and he hurts because of it. And I hurt because of it.” She considered for another moment. “But this is very different. I… broke a law. The two of you would not be breaking a law, not that I know of.” She looked up to the two of them pointedly. “In any case, I do not recommend breaking any laws. Breaking laws causes too much… noise. If you must do anything with laws, you listen to them respectfully.” She continued, “I do not know what it would look like otherwise, except maybe with Vilka and Sashunya. Talk to them, see how they feel.”|
She also offered them fertility assistance, if that’s what they decided to do. They thanked her for her time and offer.
Later, Star-Bringer decided that A) this political act might help the child have a more stable future, B) politics were going to happen anyway, and C) they’d already decided to have a family, and soon. Why let Set disrupt their life any further than he has? They needed to take their lives back from him.
Sun-Bearer was still trepidatious, still chewing on the political situation, still thinking about what Mokosh had said, and what she hadn’t said. But he could not articulate his discomfort, and could not justify not going through with it. He asked Star-Bringer if she was certain this was what she wanted. She said as certain as she can possibly be.
They went to Isis about their decision to secure her trust in them. She blessed them both, weaving her magics to ensure fertility.
February 14th, 2033, they conceived an heir. Star-Bringer then returned to her star communion, to be awakened before the meeting so she could spend time with her husband, in case anything went awry.
Sun-Bearer and Set
With Athena acting as mediator, Set agreed to meet with Sun-Bearer, alone. Prior to the meeting, Morevuka sneaked a shadow wolf into the shadows of Sun-Bearer’s belly. They began to broach the topic of negotiations.
Before they could make any significant progress, Duamutef, Imsety, Hapy, and Qebehsenuef launched a surprise attack on Set. Isis stepped in and spirited Sun-Bearer away to her demense. From there, Set called upon his allies to ensure that Athena did not flee and quickly subdued the four sons of Horus. Thus freed, Set declared that the Theoi had lost their credibility — if they truly wished to honor their allegiance with the Netjer, they would join him. Athena refused, stating that the Theoi are to remain neutral. Ares then challenged her right to leadership, and suggested that they engage in single combat until one of them cannot continue fighting. Cornered, Athena agreed.
They fought, and Ares scored many minor wounds on Athena which began to wear on her after some time. However, she managed to wound him seriously. Panicked, Ares pulled back and quickly called upon Fury’s vengeance. Fury attempted to talk Ares down, but he demanded and the cosmos called to her.
Fury, unable to turn away, brought the full force of her retribution upon Athena. Athena was promptly killed.
Ashamed of his cowardice, Ares claimed the kill. Fury took Athena’s body and brought it to the Theoi. Upon seeing that Athena was dead, and being told of what had happened, Hera quickly took sovereignty as Queen of the Theoi and officially broke the alliance between the Netjer and the Theoi, and threatened exile for any Theoi that choose to get involved from this point on.
Artemis, very much against Hera being in charge, promptly sneaked out to offer allegiance to Isis.
Trapped as he was, Sun-Bearer asked Morevuka via his shadow wolf if she would be willing to tell Star-Bringer of proceedings, as he could not do so himself. She expressed that she could not, but that she would gossip to Lisa about events and let her decide to do what she saw fit with the information. Sun-Bearer thanked her.
The Mother of the Lost had Star-Bringer broken from her communion to update her on events that had occurred. Star-Bringer’s immediate impulse was to demand her husband’s safe return. The Mother of the Lost advised her to wait where it was safe. Ignoring her advice, Star-Bringer sent a star cat to request a meeting with Isis at the Bibliotheca Consilium, which was accepted.
|“As Derrick’s wife and the mother of his child, I demand that you forgo all this bullshit and return my husband to me!”|
|“My heart goes out to you, Sebamiewet, but I’m afraid I cannot safely do that given all that has occurred.”|
|“Maybe you shouldn’t have broken into a peaceful negotiation and fucked it up!”|
|“I can understand why you’re angry, but all I knew was that Abirakhet was alone with Set. So I did what I felt necessary to keep him safe.”|
|“And how did you know that?”|
|“Eris told me.”|
|Star-Bringer paced. “That bitch!” Then she threw an accusing look Isis’s way. “So you didn’t think, perhaps, to not act on information from her? Have you not heard of her legends? Do you not know that listening to her never turns out well?”|
|“I have met her and dealt with her personally on many occasions. So yes, I know better than the legends would suggest about what to do with any information she offers! But could I risk losing Abirakhet? Would you!?”|
|“Could you have faith in the person you trusted to replace Ra!? How many years have you known him now!? Now please bring him here.”|
|Isis took a deep breath and schooled herself. “I can take you to him.”|
|“And I would be free to leave? With his heir? With no issue?”|
|After taking some more time to master her anger, Star-Bringer said, “If that is the only way I will be granted permission to see the father of my child and assure myself personally of his well being, then I suppose I will accept it. For the time being. But I also have to ask, Aunt, Queen Isis… having gone through this yourself, knowing the pain of it, I question how you can willingly put another one through this.”|
|Isis coldly responded, “I think you have every right to question that,” and offered nothing more.|
Star-Bringer proceeded from there to inform the Mother of the Lost that she would be gone for a few hours. Just as the Mother of the Lost asked if Star-Bringer would mind taking Ruben with her, Ruben knocked on the door to the Bibliotheca Consilium asking his mother what she wanted him for. Star-Bringer checked with Isis, who accepted, and agreed. They then left to gather some of Sun-Bearer’s effects and construct a hasty care package.
Upon Star-Bringer’s arrival, Sun-Bringer immediately rushed over to her and gave her a tight hug. They held each other for a while, both of them stiff and trembling with impotent anger. But Star-Bringer pulled away, calmed herself, gave him the best smile she could given the circumstances, and teased him.
|“You’re out of my sight for one minute and look what happens!”|
|Sun-Bearer took a breath, trying to let the humor go.|
|She attempted to soften her joking some. “You shouldn’t be here. You’re supposed to be making plans to build a nursery.”|
|At this, emotion quickly overcame Sun-Bearer. He buried his face in his hands and broke down into tears.|
Seeing that she wasn’t doing so good at the humor thing and at the verge of tears herself, Star-Bringer composed herself and beckoned Ruben over to present the care package. She assured her husband that she would be doing everything she could to get him out and asked him if there was something she could get for him in the meantime. There was nothing he wanted.
From there, Star-Bringer demanded of Isis how Sun-Bearer was to continue his duties and also remain safe. Isis stated that those who had been protecting him before will continue to protect him, and she has already woven her own magical protections upon him. Isis also offered to arrange regular meetings between Sun-Bearer and Star-Bringer, with Ruben continuing to act as chaperone.
(Ruben crossed his arms and said, pleased, “‘Chaperone.’ I could get used to that.”)
With her husband’s help, Star-Bringer decided that she would spend until the 18-week mark of her pregnancy (when her child could hear her voice) in communion with the stars, and then arrange for meetings after that. She asked Ruben if he would mind visiting Sun-Bearer in her stead. He did not object; and neither did Isis. Then Star-Bringer and Sun-Bearer parted with a goodbye kiss, and Star-Bringer returned to her cosmic duties.
Set issued to Isis an ultimatum: deliver Ra’s body in a week’s time or he will kill Duamutef.
Hathor approached Set personally and appealed to him for peace. Sekhmet, who was with him at the time, grew increasingly restless and frustrated by Hathor’s plea. It was not long before she was driven to violence: she ran Hathor through with her claws. Though alive, Hathor was seriously wounded. She withdrew to safety to recover.
Isis did not deliver; Duamutef was killed and his body mutilated and destroyed, thus ensuring he could not rise again. Sun-Bearer, devastated at the wounding of Hathor and the loss of his half-brother, appealed to Isis. She explained that the four brothers had agreed to fight Set knowing they would eventually die, and so she would remain unyielding that their sacrifice would not be in vain.
Then Set issued another ultimatum: deliver Ra’s body in a month’s time, or he will kill Hapi.
Isis did not deliver; Hapi was killed and his body mutilated and destroyed, thus ensuring he could not rise again.
Then Set issued another ultimatum: deliver Ra’s body in a month’s time, or he will kill Imsety.
Isis did not deliver; Imsety was killed and his body mutilated and destroyed, thus ensuring he could not rise again.
Then Set issued another ultimatum: deliver Ra’s body in a month’s time, or he will kill Qebesuenef.
Towards the very end of that month, Ares, Phobos, Deimos, and Enyo launched an attack on Sun-Bearer as he made his way through the sky. Though he was defended staunchly by Bastet, Monthu, Maahes, and Wepwawet, they proved no match for the four war gods. They were subdued and captured, only barely managing to allow Sun-Bearer to escape.
Isis did not deliver; Qebesuenef was killed and his body mutilated and destroyed, thus ensuring he could not rise again. Set issued his next ultimatum: deliver Ra’s body or he will kill Monthu.
Once more Sun-Bearer appealed to Isis. She believed that Set was bluffing: these were powerful cosmic forces he was holding hostage, and not even he would risk disrupting the cosmos.
Desperate, Sun-Bearer came up with a plan to undercut the entire civil war.
The Sun Sets
Two weeks before the specified 18-week mark, Ruben and Angel approached Star-Bringer, breaking her once more from her communion. Angel proceeded to do a routine check-up, during which Ruben made smalltalk.
|“How’d it go?”|
|She looked skyward. “I at least gave them a heads up… I tried to explain to them that it’d be some time before I return… I don’t know if they quite got it but they can’t say I didn’t warn them, I guess.”|
|“Well, it’s June 5th right now. We woke you up a little early, but Derrick asked me to deliver the news.”|
After the quick check-up, Ruben and Star-Bringer proceeded to the Bibliotheca Consilium. Waiting for them was fresh, hot tea and snacks. After Star-Bringer had settled in and taken up her cup of tea, Ruben leaned forward and began.
|“Now this is one hell of a bandage, so I’m gonna do what I can to rip it off quick.”|
|Hearing this, Star-Bringer stilled and set down her cup of tea, placing her hands on her knees.|
Ruben proceeded to update her on the escalation of the Netjer civil war and describe the plan as Sun-Bearer had described to him:
- Senbast, acting as a messenger, would deliver a message to Set: that Sun-Bearer would trade the Ren of his eye for the hostages and a meeting alone with Set at a time when Isis would be busy.
- If Set accepted, he would propose the following:
- Sun-Bearer would continue to transport Ra’s body through the sky during the day.
- At sunset, he would present himself to Set to be slain, so that Set would be unquestionably in charge.
- Nephthys and Anubis would take Sun-Bearer’s unmutilated body, tend it, and present it to She-Who-Hungers and the Drowned King for safekeeping.
- Set would guard Ra’s body throughout the night.
- At dawn, Isis would bring him back to life so that he might take over his duties anew.
- This would continue until such a time as Ra rises again to make his own decisions about who will guard him.
Ruben also reported that Sun-Bearer already obtained the consent of everyone else who would be involved (except Isis and Set) and wanted to see Star-Bringer again before he acted on any of this. But only if she was confident that she could refrain from so much as mentioning anything about his plan, because there was no way for them not to be around Isis. And the sooner the better, as he didn’t have much time to carry his plan out lest Isis catch wind of it.
After pacing for some time and composing herself, Star-Bringer went to Sun-Bearer. The months had not been kind to him: the grief and helplessness weighed on his features, as well as the stress of his own plan yet to come about. First and foremost she offered him comfort — but she could not put off her concerns for long. She reached out to his mind to discuss her displeasure with his intention to bend the knee to Set. But the only suggestion she could offer was to exact some kind of equal price from him: if Sun-Bearer should die at sundown, Set should die at sunup. Sun-Bearer expressed that his bargaining position wasn’t that good, but he would see what he could do.
Before they parted, Star-Bringer requested to remain in his mind throughout this ordeal, and offered to watch in her place among the stars. He agreed to this, partially for her sake and partially for his own.
While among the stars, Star-Bringer turned from them to observe the proceedings. As she looked at the world below, she beheld Ra’s glory, beautiful and ineffable and grander than anything in the cosmos, any star in the sky. It was then she knew that he would rise and set things aright.
Unable to focus on anything but Ra in her place in the stars, Star-Bringer decided instead to shift her attention to her husband’s experience of events through their mind link.
Senbast was sent to Set; Set agreed to the initial terms.
When the meeting time came, Set summoned Sun-Bearer via the Ren of his eye. Sun-Bearer composed himself utterly, addressing Set calmly. He laid out the plan, to which Set responded:
|“And how does Isis feel about this plan?”|
|“Isis doesn’t know.”|
|Set drew back in re-assessment. “This sounds too good to be true.”|
|Seeing his opportunity, Sun-Bearer responded, “Yes. I don’t know you. I don’t know if I can trust you at your word. If you agree to this plan, I will need some kind of assurance. Like your Ren.”|
|“Then, perhaps, that you die every dawn, as I die every dusk.”|
|He looked Sun-Bearer over again, considering the terms deeply. “My body will remain intact?”|
|“It will go to and remain with Nephthys and Anubis for safekeeping?”|
|“And it is you who will kill me.”|
|“That would be most equitable, yes. But I’m open to negotiation.”|
|He smiled in amusement. “No, I was not asking, I was saying. Those are my terms.”|
|He tilted his head. “So you will accept this arrangement?”|
|“Very well. Let us get our affairs in order and meet in Meten-Khai-Ra proper at dusk, then. Bring witnesses. I will be doing the same.”|
At that, Sun-Bearer ensured everything was in place and returned to Isis’s demense and awaited her return. Once more he drew about himself the mantle of calm composure and as much of an air of authority as he could. When she arrived, he approached her and informed her of the plan and her place in the plan, allowing no room for negotiation.
Through Sun-Bearer’s eye, Isis had drawn the stars about her entirely, making her utterly unreadable. But from Star-Bringer’s place, she roiled with energy so strongly that she managed to draw some attention away from Ra.
|“How do you propose to meet with Set in this fashion when you are bound here?”|
|“If you do not cooperate, I have given Set the Ren of my eye.”|
|At this, a burst of energy lashed out like a solar flare. The stars drew back from Isis’s face, revealing utter anger. “You fool! You don’t understand the cost of your bullheaded defiance!”|
|He waited calmly for her to settle before saying, “Do you have anything else to say?”|
|At this Isis drew back, still furious, but stunned and lacking words.|
|“Then you will get Ra’s body and accompany me to Meten-Khai-Ra proper, where the transfer will proceed without any interference.”|
|Immediately she settled, becoming cold and unreadable. The stars clustered around her once more. She crossed by Sun-Bearer and went to retrieve Ra’s body.|
Together, they proceeded to Meten-Khai-Ra proper, where Nephthys, Anubis, She-Who-Hungers, and the Drowned King were waiting. Set was there as well, with his supporters standing back. Others began to gather around, drawn to this fateful meeting. Sun-Bearer addressed the gathering crowd, informing them of the arrangement he’d come to with Set and Isis so as to end the civil war. Then he facilitated the transfer of Ra’s body and the return of the hostages. Finally, he stepped forth to meet Set.
It was then that Star-Bringer turned back to the stars, unable to bear watching her husband die, not trusting herself not to do something about it.
Set reached for Sun-Bearer, and then, with a sharp jerk of his hands, the mind link was severed.
When she turned back, Set had taken up Ra’s body as Nephthys and Anubis had begun to wash Sun-Bearer’s. His body was safely transferred to She-Who-Hungers and the Drowned King, and they began their return to the Castle Under the Sea.
After she had composed herself, Star-Bringer went to the Castle Under the Sea. Through She-Who-Hungers’s eyes, she was able to behold Sun-Bearer’s soul. She spent the entire night there, and the entire second night, before returning to the stars.
Glutted on victory, Ares returned to the Theoi with Phobos, Deimos, and Enyo, expecting that a place would be waiting for him there. Hera turned him out, firmly reiterating her decree. Stunned, betrayed, and hurt, Ares and his children left in search of Zeus.
Is It Over Yet?
Shortly after the resolution of the Netjer civil war, Morevuka notified Ken of the events that had occurred. He and Ginger returned to Bakersfield to check in on Star-Bringer to offer morale support. However, as they talked to her, Ginger grew increasingly upset and agitated. Star-Bringer extended empathy and support — and Ginger, realizing that her emoting wasn’t just being allowed a space, calmed herself down and offered Star-Bringer support instead.
After that, Ken asked Ginger if she wanted to go to the Castle Under the Sea to check in on Sun-Bearer. She took him up on it right away. With help from She-Who-Hungers, Ginger was able to look upon Sun-Bearer and talk with him directly. Realizing that death wasn’t the end, Ginger calmed considerably.
Having become increasingly more aware that the paths were incessantly calling to him and having already brought as many Earth folks to Bakersfield, Ken decided to tie up loose ends and continue on his eternal journey. He discussed with Ginger what she’ll do with herself while he’s gone. She expressed that she didn’t really know — and asked him for advice how to find out. Ken helped her develop a network and support structure so that she’ll know who to ask for things to do.
Once figuring out how to structure her life, Ginger approached Star-Bringer and offered to babysit for her after the baby was born. Touched, Star-Bringer accepted and extended an invitation to her to come over whenever she likes.
It’s A Boy!
On November 7th, 2033 at 4:55 PM, Westley Alexander Sultan was born in the Bibliotheca Consilium. He was 19.76 inches in length, weighed 8 lb 3 oz, and had two eyes, a nose, a mouth, four limbs, ten fingers, and ten toes.
Birthdays of Those Still Aging
| April 5th (9)
April 10th (16)
April 24th (10)
April 24th (10)
| July 5th (20)
July 5th (20)
|August 12th (20)|| September 5th (10)
September 29th (46)
| October 12th (18)
October 17th (46)
October 31st (17)
| November 7th (1)
November 22nd (20)
| December 2nd (8)
December 2nd (8)
Five months after Wes’s birth, Resolve and Rose Thorn Child talked to the Found at family dinner about starting a family of their own. They were met all around by sass and support (and a little bit of excited gushing). A few months later, after consulting with the Teotl and getting their resources and structure squared away, they took the plunge and got pregnant.
Dry Eye and Head Held High
Frigg returned from her quest in search of tears for her son utterly defeated. A giantess had refused to cry for Baldur, completely destroying any chance of his return. Hod was sentenced to execution and Loki was sentenced to imprisonment and torture. Odin turned Loki’s young twin sons on each other and bound Loki by their entrails and suspended a snake above his face so that its venom would leak into his eyes.
Eventually Sigyn came by with a bowl to catch the venom, but prior to that Loki thrashed in agony, causing violent earthquakes.
Morevuka carefully gossiped (and did NOT offer intel) about this turn of events to Ken, who set a course for Loki right away.
How the Mighty Fall
One day, a black meteor fell out of the sky and crashed just outside of Bakersfield, causing an earthquake. A rain of blood followed it.
Black Sun rose from the crater, severely wounded, and snarled at the sky before disappearing.
Ruben and Resolve appeared not long after. After some quick discussion, Ruben volunteered to seek out Black Sun, and told Resolve to stay home. She reluctantly agreed. He reported in to the Mother of the Lost briefly, grabbed Hector, and started off to go find where the mad god had gone.
Huitzilopochtli, restored to his place as the Fifth Sun and King of the Teotl, approached the Mother of the Lost to begin negotiations for La Dama’s hand in marriage, offering a large bride price.
Though La Dama and Huitzilopochtli had been raising Summer and Leliana together and seeing each other for four years, nothing had been mentioned to the Mother of the Lost about marriage. She relayed the message to La Dama, who was caught utterly off-guard and very uncertain and uneasy about the suddenness of this proposal. The Mother of the Lost told Huitzilopochtli to come back later after La Dama had a chance to process and come to a decision. Huitzilopochtli accepted this as a matter of course and left.
He returned the next day with a larger bride price. Once more the Mother of the Lost put him off; and he returned the next day with an even larger bride price.
La Dama decided to take it upon herself to discuss this with Huitzilopochtli. However, while she tried to work out whether or not marriage was right for them, he would not speak of anything except the bride price. They both only grew angrier and angrier at each other; and La Dama was getting more and more alarmed at his sudden forcefulness. Finally, La Dama broke off the relationship.
Enraged, Huitzilopochtli rose his hand as if to strike her. Summer, having been drawn to the argument, jumped in between Huitzilopochtli and her mother. Resolve, sensing that Summer was in danger, moved the earth to get to her and saw Huitzilopochtli poised to strike.
He stopped himself, but Resolve promptly took La Dama, Summer, and Leliana back to the Mother of the Lost. There they stayed; and La Dama decided for her and her daughters’ safety to never return to Acopa while Huitzilopochtli was in charge. Resolve decided to stay with them for an indefinite period of time.
Later, after Star-Bringer was broken of her communion of the stars, she expressed sympathy to La Dama but was glad for the company.
Tooth and Nail
Galen approached the Mother of the Lost, expressing that he felt strongly that she needed him for something. She instructed him to wait at a specific spot outside of Bakersfield because Ruben was going to return. He did so immediately, without questioning.
Early that evening, Ruben did indeed return, mortally wounded, his entrails spilling through his hands. Galen wasted no time in taking him to Angel for healing; Ruben told him to call for a family meeting pronto.
That night, the Found gathered in the dinner hall and Ruben reported what had happened.
He had in fact found Black Sun: he had created a den of darkness and madness to sit and seethe and plan. By the time Ruben got to him, he was conferring with Malinalxochitl about waging war on Huitzilopochtli. They reached an accord — Malinalxochitl had spent a long time carefully gathering resources and an army to do just that, and Black Sun had a great deal of power himself.
After Malinalxochitl left, Ruben attempted to talk to Black Sun, to appeal to the Alejo in him, so that he might turn away from this course of action. At this, Black Sun grew enraged and attacked Ruben. He managed to barely escape with his life and began to limp home to inform everyone else of what had occurred.
However, on his way home, Hector saw that he was mortally wounded and bided his time until it looked as if Ruben would collapse. Then he took the opportunity to try and kill him. Ruben was forced to kill Hector and had to drag himself the rest of the way home.
After giving his report, Ruben stated that he’d be returning to Black Sun as soon as possible after cramming his face full of food.
Throughout all this, Resolve listened silently, stonefaced. When Ruben stated his intention to leave, she spoke up.
|“I’m going with you.”|
|He merely accepted this with a nod and began to stuff his face.|
|At Resolve’s resolution, Star-Bringer grew trepidatious. But she swallowed her concerns. “Will you be staying with him too?”|
|“If I need to.” She paused, staring at the table. “He needs help, you know?”|
|“Did… did you want me to come with you?”|
|“No. You should stay here.”|
|As if on cue, Wes took the opportunity to babble.|
Star-Bringer reluctantly acknowledged she was right and quickly made some weapons for Ruben from Hector’s remains and gathered a pair of lucky stars for the two of them.
After Resolve and Ruben left, Star-Bringer went to Lady Baker in regards to protecting and evacuating the people of Bakersfield should they be caught in the crossfire of the fight between Huitzilopochtli and his daughter. Lady Baker assured her that she would take the appropriate measures.
The End Times
As Ken traversed the World, he found it inhospitably cold, torn by earthquakes and thoroughly destructive natural disasters back-to-back. All those who had remained behind were now dead, and even the fearsome beasts that had populated the World were now at the mercy of the forces of nature.
Fire giants swarmed from Muspelheim, their armies gathering on the frozen ground of Earth.
The Aesir, knowing their time had come, began to mobilize.
In Bakersfield and Maciticaaltepetl, the sky began to rain blood and gore and body parts throughout the day.
Realizing that more time had passed than he’d initially thought, Ken stopped his journey in Muspelheim and asked Morevuka to relay to Yesen that he would be sleeping. Morevuka did so, and Ken curled up in a cozy place.
His dreams were of sheep, vast meadows of countless sheep. (Also it was unclear if the meadows themselves were not also sheep.) He settled in and waited.
Sure enough, Yesen appeared in her shining cloak, approaching Ken. For a moment he was struck by how much she’d grown since he’d last seen her.
|“You’re supposed to count them before you fall asleep.”|
|“Oh, you know, before, after…”|
|She smiled. “It’s all a matter of how you look at it?”|
|“See, you learned!”|
|Yesen leaned against a sheep. “What did you want to talk about?”|
|“I want to break the rules. And I could use some help.”|
|A fire sparked in Yesen’s eyes. “Which rules?”|
Ken asked Yesen to bring Loki to him. Yesen agreed, telling him to stay put. She went to Sigyn and instructed her to empty out her bowl of venom so that Loki could sleep, for she would guide him to speak to Ken.
Not long after, Loki, guided by Yesen, approached, looking resigned and broken.
|“Vindlerson. What do you want from me?”|
|“I want to break you out.”|
|“Why? I’m an oathbreaker. I earned this.”|
|“Which oath did you break?”|
|“I am responsible for Baldur’s death.”|
|“Why did you kill Baldur?”|
|“Envy, I suppose. He has done nothing, proven nothing of himself, and yet everyone adores him. Everyone and everything had sworn oaths to him never to harm him just for the asking. And yet I have stood by my oaths time and again, have stood by my sworn brother Odin, only to have the shit kicked out of me every time something goes wrong.”|
|“And what was your punishment?”|
|“I was to watch as my sons tore each other apart before me, and then bound by their innards. A snake was suspended over my face to drip venom into my eyes. It’s only because of Sigyn that I can speak with you now.”|
|“So, in response to you breaking your oath by killing Baldur, both of your sons were killed and you’ve been imprisoned by their parts and are being slowly tortured.”|
|“How long is your sentence?”|
|He was silent a moment. “I don’t know. Probably for eternity.”|
|“Well. I’m sure Odin knows what he’s doing.”|
|For a long moment, Loki was silent, wrestling with himself. “Why are you doing this, Vindlerson?”|
|“Because no one deserves to be imprisoned and tortured. And everyone ought to have a brother.”|
|Loki’s deadened expression broke briefly at that, tears gathering in his eyes. But he swallowed all that back and thought for a long time. And then he spoke. “Free me, then.” He regarded Ken directly. “Let’s see what happens.”|
At this, Yesen guided Loki from Ken’s dream. Ken woke up and went to the Mother of the Lost, asking about how to break all the bonds that can possibly bind a person. The Mother of the Lost expressed that she didn’t have access to that kind of information. So, instead, Ken went to Athena’s spirit in Hades. She welcomed him and invited him to play a game of Go.
|“I intend to break all the bonds that exist in the cosmos. Where would I start?”|
|She thought a moment. “I’m not sure. Why would you come to me about this?”|
|“Because you’re a lot smarter than I am and you said you’d grant me a favor, no questions asked. You get that last one for free, though.”|
|She took a long breath, making a few moves on the Go board and thinking. “The only way I can think of is to go to the Fates and cut all the threads.”|
|“You think they would be amenable to the idea?”|
|“Doubtful. They’ve been working on their tapestry since the beginning of time.”|
|“Hm. Let’s start smaller, then. What can I do to free Loki of his bonds?”|
|“The hardest part will be convincing him to break the bonds of his oath. The rest will just be, to put it crassly, cutting through gristle.”|
Ken waited until he’d lost the game of Go, bid farewell, and then went to Loki to cut through his son’s entrails. Yesen had been waiting there for him, chatting with the two of them casually. Ken checked one last time to make sure that Loki was consenting to his bonds being broken. With a fire in his eyes (that wasn’t from the venom) he confirmed.
Thus freed, Loki shapeshifted and left. Sigyn, stunned, uncertain of what to do, asked Ken to take care of the bowl of venom for her. He agreed, and she went off to find her husband. Ken turned to Yesen and asked if she thought it was safe to maybe dump it in the river, thought twice, and left the bowl on a nearby rock. Then Ken thanked Yesen and the two of them departed, going their separate ways.
The Aspen Seed
Yesen returned to just outside Domobog. She stepped within its borders wherein she was promptly confronted by Stribog about her unauthorized departure.
|“Hello, Lord Stribog.”|
|“Lady Yesen. What were you doing outside of Domobog? Why didn’t you report your departure?”|
|She regarded him, direct and unflinching. “I was freeing Loki from his prison.”|
|He was struck dumb for a long moment, staring at Yesen. “I have to—You have to—”|
|“Go to Lord Father Svarozhich. I know. Will you take me there?”|
Stunned, Stribog did so, saying nothing the entire time. They approached Svarozhich.
|Yesen offered a bow to Svarozhich. When she straightened, she said, “Lord Father Svarozhich. I have just returned from freeing Loki from his prison.”|
|The Lord Father stared at her, took a few breaths, chose to let a great deal of things remain unsaid, and sent a brief glare Svantovit’s way. “You realize what this means.”|
|She tilted her chin up. “Why don’t you tell me?”|
|He stared at her again and then said, “Not only is this an infraction, it is… major. You have threatened our position, and you have done so with our ancient foe.” He paused, looking between Svantovit and Prove, both of whom were utterly silent, either choosing to say nothing or not knowing what to say. “The only recourse is to order your execution.”|
|Yesen bowed once more and looked the Lord Father straight in the face with unflinching defiance in her eyes.|
|“Dobrozhe. The hammer.”|
|Stonefaced, Dobrozhe looked to his father and summoned The Lady between his hands. She blazed, hungry.|
|He rubbed his temples, looked at Yesen, and said, “Do you have any final words?”|
|She said nothing.|
Svarozhich ordered Yesen to kneel, which she did, and then ordered Dobrozhe forward and gave him a nod. Dobrozhe, completely unreadable, touched the head of his hammer to the back of Yesen’s head. He held it there, perhaps a moment to long in hesitation, took a deep breath, swung up, and brought the hammer down.
There was a flash, a bang…
And then there was a seed on the ground. Yesen was still there, kneeling before it as she had been.
|Svarozhich stepped off his throne, stooped, and picked up the seed. After examining it and looking to Yesen, he took a deep breath and his shoulders dropped. He glanced at Svantovit. “Well, Lord Svantovit, it seems we have a much more immediate issue at hand.”|
|“Yes. Yes, I would say so, my Lord.”|
|“Well then.” He regarded the lawbreaker. “Lady Yesen, we need to plant this seed.”|
|She rose, staring directly at him, ‘Are you fucking kidding me’ written all over her face. However, instead she said, almost snarling, “As you say, Lord Father Svarozhich.”|
|“Being as this came from you, we will need your help. Where should we plant this?”|
For a long time or a short time, Svarozhich was in counsel with Yesen. And then they began planting and tending to the Seed of the World Tree.
(On the next Emotion-Having Tuesday, Dobrozhe hugged Yesen tight and cried for a long while.)
What a Tangled Web We Weave
Ken left to seek the Fates.
Star-Bringer returned to her position among the stars.
Morevuka, Dobrozhe, Mokosits, Yesen, and Svarozhich worked together to grow the new World Tree.
The fire giants finished gathering their armies and began mobilizing them.
Huitzilopochtli and the Teotl fought Malinalxochitl day after day, neither winning nor losing. Every day it came to single combat between Huitzilopochtli and Malinalxochitl, wherein he would fight her off just to the point of death; and she would return the next day fully healed and filled with ever more wrath.
The people of Bakersfield and the surrounding city-states and settlements and territories began to realize that each of their calendars were doing strange things. Though the strangeness varied, one thing remained the same: it would always be December, even well after December should have ended.
Summer and Leliana, still seething at Huitzilopochtli, traveled alone to Acopa. There they met, by chance, Lance’s spirit. He wasn’t happy either. Together they conferred, and enacted a plan to steal Huitzilopochtli’s sandals.
The Aesir fought the fire giants. Odin was swallowed by Fenris, who was thereby slain by Vidar, and Frigg endured her second great sorrow. Thor fought Jormungandr for nine days and nine nights, and took nine steps from Jormungandr’s body before succumbing to poison. Tyr and Garm fought, killing each other. Heimdall confronted Loki, and they slew one another. Freyr fought Surtr fiercely and lost. Thrud, Hallvardr, Bragi, and Uller were also lost, fighting fiercely and falling under fire giant weapons.
The World Tree had sprouted just enough to be springy and strong. It was called Aspen.
Star-Bringer was summoned from her place in the stars.
And Ken found the Fates. There he saw that their tapestry had become irrevocably tangled. He confered with them as to what would happen if the Fates cut all the threads. They admitted they didn’t know. He asked them when they would’ve finished their tapestry otherwise. They admitted they didn’t know. Ken suggested that maybe they should call this one done. Clotho and Lachesis looked to Atropos. She thought for a long moment and then decisively picked up her scissors…
Right before dawn, Summer and Leliana returned to La Dama and handed her a pair of worn sandals. La Dama knew these sandals well. Stunned and not knowing what to say, she looked to her daughters. Summer crossed her arms and Leliana leaned against the nearby wall, both thoroughly convicted in their course of action. And then La Dama drew them close, hugging them and crying.
Huitzilopochtli searched his house for his sandals. He only found the pair that he’d never worn. He took apart his entire home looking for his old sandals, but what he’d suspected only grew more and more certain the closer dawn approached. Given no other recourse, he quietly put on his new sandals and started his course through the sky.
Malinalxochitl challenged him as before. He accepted in silence, fighting her without emotion. In short order he defeated and killed her. Then he took up her body, continuing his course through the sky. That evening, when he returned to Acopa, he laid her body out before the rest of the Teotl and wordlessly turned and walked away, beginning the long journey to return to his mother in shame.
Shiva stepped out to begin dancing.
Zeus returned, Ares, Phobos, Deimos, and Enyo at his side.
The various governing bodies of the Cities of the New World had arranged an International Conference for Matters Concerning the Calendar.
… and Atropos cut the tangled threads.