Day one of being out of my self-imposed exile and what happens? Kenari’s missing gods decide to make an appearance.
We were out on deck, talking about our next jaunt to another planet or the possibility of investigating the other tunnels when right there in the middle of the deck appeared a feather, about half my height, standing on its follicle. It rotated slowly, fading from white to black.
“What is it?” Ef muttered.
“Is it another nightmare?” I wondered aloud as I joined the group that gathered around it.
“It appears to be a real feather…” Word whispered to me.
“Ever been summoned to court in Sigil to justify the things you’ve done?” Kenari asked Ef, who simply nodded. “Consider this a court summons… from Ma’at, the goddess of Justice and Balance,” she finished gesturing at the feather, half-angrily, half-terrified.
“Allright, then… let’s not leave the goddess waiting,” Ef said, adjusting his armor and smiling strangely.
The temple of Ma’at was much like the rest: hieroglyphs everywhere, all over the walls, and a giant, magical ephigy of the goddess’s symbol of the scales wrought in gold. Kenari went to work translating the hieroglyphs while Ef cast his magical sight over the scales. Lenata pitched in here, too, and I just wandered about, watching everyone’s butts.
Word voiced something that concerned us all in his floating about, looking for secret doors. The exits were all sealed. We were trapped in the room!
Now we had to figure out what we were supposed to do to make the goddess let us leave. We hemmed and hawed a bit, until Ef thought that we might need to make an offering to pay for the scrolls that were taken from the temple of Thoth, since Ma’at was concerned with justice.
He placed a scroll he himself had made in the offering bowl. It was consumed with a puff of smoke. The exits remained sealed. Kenari put her conspiracy charts in the bowl, (knowledge for knowledge) and it, too went up in a puff of smoke. I didn’t see what Word put in there, but there was another puff, and then Lenata stepped up to the plate. She took her knife in hand (I was worried she was going to give a blood sacrifice) and then cut off her braid. I was shocked! She’d been growing her hair since she was a little girl, so she told me, and she just cut it off! It was a true sacrifice (something that mattered.) I put one of the power crystals I’d found on the Ithillid ship (power for power) into the bowl, and it, too, was taken like the rest.
Still, the doors did not open. We searched high and low for a way out. The only thing that had changed was that the feather appeared on one of the bowls on the giant golden scale. Again, we agonized about what it all meant, until Ef bit the bullet and climbed into the other end of the scale. From what Kenari had told us, Ma’at weighed the hearts of the dead against a feather. Those who were lighter of heart were allowed into the afterlife. Those who weren’t would have their heart (and soul) fed to the crocodile god. I worried when the scale showed that Ef weighed more than the feather.
Lenata, also weighed more. Word was up next, and he, too was found wanting. I climbed on, next, wondering if the crystals that laced my body made me heavier than all of them, or if the weight of my deeds were what was counted, here. I’ve never killed a living person…
The scale balanced perfectly. I was no heavier than the mystical feather. I climbed down with a sigh of relief. Kenari weighed MUCH more, the scale nearly touching the ground beneath her.
Kenari joined us on the floor and after the scale became balanced once again, the feather vanished in a flash of light and three fourteen-foot tall women appeared before us at the altar in the same flash.
Kenari immediately prostrated herself, like she couldn’t wait to kiss the floor. The rest of us followed her lead, albeit slowly, but only I got down as low. The three women were obviously goddesses, (I could recognize the cat-headed, bare-breasted visage of Bast from her temple, and Nepthys, as well.) The lady in the middle had a feather sprouting from her headdress at her forehead, and white-feathered wings, so I could presume that this was the Ma’at in which whose temple we stood.
Kenari began to make use of her silver tongue, but with a wave of Bast’s hand, was rendered mute.
“HOW SHALL I TASK THE TRANSGRESSORS?” Ma’at boomed out in a voice that sounded like a gavel hitting stone.
“The dreamer is mine,” Nepthys replies, claiming me, “and is innocent.” I could have kissed her hem at that moment, regardless of whether or not I’d been raised to worship her.
“The loud mouthed one is mine, and on a long path,” replied Bast. Kenari looked like she was about to do murder. Or cry.
Word and Lenata launched into a stirring soliloquy about how we were only looking for answers in the case of the sleeping humans and would put the scrolls back when we were done. They’d put two and two together that I was not with them when the scrolls were taken, so that must have been the crime. Ma’at charged us with the task of waking the people. Until we do, we won’t be able to leave the sphere. It is to be supposed that with their worship base asleep all this time (and not praying to them) they don’t have enough power to affect the circumstance, and they’ve been using Kenari’s faith and prayers, (and maybe a little bit of my own) as a means of manifesting.
Since I can’t read the scrolls (either the language, or the magical part) I’m pretty much relegated to organizing what’s been read and sending each scroll off to the temple as Lenata, Kenari, and Aspodel do the actual reading and Word and Ef do the legwork. So far it’s been a lot of necromancy and not a whole lot about anything relevant. We’ve broken for lunch, so I’ve taken the opportunity to write down my experiences.
Hmm… I wonder how Morpheus would feel about Nepthys claiming me as ‘hers’. I’d love to watch the god-fight over a single worshiper… doubtless they’d have a dream-off or something. Maybe it’d get hot and heavy.
Eeew. That’s like thinking about my parents having sex.