YvtW: Scene - Entry to Tuat
Scene 2: This will take place mostly concurrently with the previous sequence of scenes. Posting wise, it should go between (one of) the splits in the previous sequence.
Summary/notes: Me and Elrohir arrive at where the sun is descending into Tuat. Other souls are also gathered there for the journey down into the underworld. So the sun-boat goes down into Tuat, and most peeps are dropped off at the first gate 'cause they got separate ways from Ra (exception possibly being the pharoah(s)). So we go through one or two doors (check Book of Gates) before Elrohir notices something odd about one of the serpent doorwardens. His warning comes late and the two are transported elsewhere (some kind of limbo?) and confronted by the Logrus, who first tries to talk them out of their trip and then threatens them. Resolution continued in separate (set of) posts.
It seemed like they had been flying forever, over the same desert landscape since the landmarks of the Giza dissapeared beyond sight, and toward the distant mountain range of Abydos. But now a change came, in the form of the descending sun. This was no gaseous cosmological body that lit the sky - it was a great vessel of Light, illuminating without blinding, warming without searing. It was also a great god of Light, fierce and noble, divine beyond comprehension and yet intuitively approachable to all.
Other souls had also gathered at the western horizon where the sun was descending - it mattered not that they all journyed west from a wide sprectrum of north to south. Here, in the realm of spirit, all paths west led to a single point if they knew the road, and none led west if they did not. Many of the souls were cloaked in blessings - conferred unto them by funerary rites and memorized prayers, empowered amulets and sacred writings - the best that each could afford. The blessings had led them on the journey to this place, and held them safe from the demons and dangers that still lurked in the shadows of even this most sacred of places. Now, it would be the power of these blessings, and the knowledge of how to use them, that would determine if they could gain a place on the barge of the Sun, in order to enter into the underworld.
Many strived, with prayers and hymns, with spells and charms, with demands and pleas... but only some succeeded. The rest were left by the wayside under the shadow of Abydos, to dwell there for an eternity unless they eventually succeed one evening... or eventually fall to shadow.
From afar, Tanith and Elrohir observed the attempts of the shades as they attempted to ascend to the Sun-boat. Many of those who succeeded had called upon the spells of transformation - whether into the benu birds embodied by the Ba, or a divine hawk, or into forms mimicing the gods themselves - and others succeeded with words of power and command; a few even had the expediency of having reserved a place there for themselves through their funeral rites. Two of these advantages they held as well, although of different quality and from different source than the Egyptian souls. But it proved sufficient, and both were admitted onto the sun-barge.
Once settled and returned to their natural forms, Tanith took out her datapad again, and started to correlate the spells and prayers for the underworld. She wasn't sure if they would need the same protections as the dead spirits within Tuat, where spells are needed for even simple things like breathing, but it was better to be safe. Muttering the words under her breath so she could familiarize herself with the unfamiliar pronunciations, she was momentarily distracted by Elrohir's gasp.
Looking up, she saw what had awed him. Before the Sun-boat, at the command of Ra, the Mountain was opening. It was no mere gate or portal that opened upon the mountain - it was the mountain itself that split apart from the heavens down to the dark depths of the underworld. Through that gate, Ra passed into Tuat, to the praises of those souls upon the barge, and the lamentations of those left behind.
"For the first time, I feel the stirring of my Teleri blood," Elrohir whispered softly.
"What do you mean?" Tanith asked, "we're on a boat, but there's no water anywhere around here, much less the sea. Or gulls, for that matter."
"I speak not of the Sea-longing," Elrohir explained, "and 'tis never the Sea that has called to me, though I have seen those waters. But as Earendil, my forefather, sails the skies of Middle-earth, so I do not think one needs water to set sail. Nay, I think my heart hearkens rather to my grandfather. It yearns to sail the stars." There was wistfullness in his voice.
"It is a rather grand experience, even now," Tanith agreed with a far-off look. "Maybe we'll have some time for it after this quest..." And before you return to your world. The words were not spoken, but understood between them.
Elrohir smiled sadly back. The two of the stood near the prows of the Sun-boat in companionable silence as Ra descended into Tuat, and the gates closed behind them.
More notes: I'm gonna skip writing the first 2 divisions in Tuat since it'll take way too long to research and the texts are way to confusing, and it's not worth going through all of that just for the sake of one PC. If the others ever manage to find their way into Tuat, I'll write up the place for them. Meanwhile, I'm going to jump right into the 3rd Hour for the two of us, which is where we'll be encountering the Logrus.
They raced down the great hallway, weaving in and out of falling debris and armed guards. A shadow fell over the general area.
Moments later, something large and heavy slammed into the other side of the arch, shaking the ground. A guard dressed in the rainments of the blessed flew past them, his spear skittering into the darkness. Slowly, the two of them peeked around the arc, Elrohir keeping a firm hold about Tanith's shoulders as he tensed to pulled them both back at the first sign of incoming danger. In the twilight ambience of the great hall, they could see the shadowy form of a huge serpent, striving against the multitude of armed lesser-gods and mummy-guards that swarmed before it like ants, keeping it from the river of the underworld where Ra's night-barge was being towed.
"You are hurt!" Elrohir suddenly cried.
Tanith winced as she followed his concerned gaze to a slightly bloody tear on her arm. She hadn't even noticed it in the confusion, but now she recalled that she had received the wound from an accidental glancing stab from one of the lesser god-guardians, while attempting to avoid being crushed by the great serpent. Even Culture-verse gelsuits weren't impervious to divine weapons made for the ultimate dark god of an entire pantheon.
"I'm fine," she reassured Elrohir hastily, brushing away the dried blood to reveal the unblemished skin underneath. "My Quickening healed the wounds before I even noticed it."
Elrohir looked a bit relieved at that. "I've near forgotten that," he murmured ruefully. "I am not used to a daughter of Man gifted with immortality and such hea--"
His words were cut off as a huge shadow swept by their hiding area. Quickly, they drew back just as another loud crash resounded against the other side of the arch. There were a few more crashes as several disembodied body parts of the guardian mummies flew by their position, before the commotion moved toward another direction. Together, they dared another peek beyond the archway.
"Somehow, he didn't seem all that scary when he was summarized by a few lines and hails in the underworlds texts," Tanith muttered, taking care not to name any Names. She wasn't sure which of the various names of the "serpent-fiend" the dark god was - he'd been called Apophis, Apep, Sebau, and any number of other names that might or might not actually be the same entity they were watching - but she wasn't taking any chances. "You'd think they'd warn the Dead better than to let them get slaughtered unawares like that."
Indeed, many of the dead souls who had gotten this far had been quickly overpowered by the great beast, and either swallowed or torn asunder beyond healing. The population of souls that entered with Ra had dwindled quickly even before then. Many of those with weaker protections had been pulled off the boat by vengeful creatures that dwelt in the shadows of the two previous divisons of Tuat. Then, when they reached the third divison, there had been what could only be called a preliminary judgement session. The more wicked among the dead, no matter how powerful the protections they had bought for death, had served them naught when Ra judged them to be condemned to the Lake of Fire.
"I must admit, when we were entering this realm, I felt this must be akin to entering Valinor," Elrohir whispered softly beside her. "But seeing all of those who came with such hope and blessings fall, and not all deserving it... It is not my place to speak ill of these gods and their people, but I cannot help but pity them."
Tanith nodded. In Dante's Hell and in Helheim, they had been in the realms where the evil and those deserving punishment had gone to serve their punishment. Here, even the good and the blessed were in danger of second death or worse but for the small protections they had brought with them. Together, they watched as Ra's vessel neared the gate to leave this part of Tuat.
"Took them long enough," Tanith muttered, wincing as the dark serpent-god swept a row of guardsmen into the air. "Whoever wrote the underworld texts must've been on crack if they think this is an hour."
Elrohir quirked a grin. He was used to these sarcastic comments by now, even if he didn't *entirely* understand the cultural references behind them. "Time here reminds me of the Golden Woods," he mused. "I would not be surprised if the flow of time here is different than outside... and with other realms. Wasn't that the case between Asgard and Lady Urd's home realm?"
"Urd's home is in Asgard," Tanith chuckled. "But a different one. I take your meaning."
"Hm... but 'tis still best that we not waste the extra time we are given." Elrohir smiled wickedly as he nodded at Ra's boat. "Make a break for it?"
Tanith shot him a started look, then returned the grin. "You're learning."
Giving the occupied form of the dark god who was being driven back by the increasing number of guards one last look, they ran for the night-boat, intent on passing through the gate before it closed behind Ra. But just as they reached the inner guardian of the gate, Elrohir came to a sudden stop, pulling Tanith back with him.
Tanith stumbled against him, and looked up in confusion. "What?"
"That doorkeeper... it is *not* what it seems."
Tanith stared at the snake guardian by the portal that was just beginning to close. Now that Elrohir mentioned it, it did look very different to the two previous guardians. For one thing, it only had one eye, while the other eye looked familiar... Her eyes shot wide as she suddenly realized what the other eye reminded her of.
Elrohir dodged to the side, pulling her with him. But he wasn't fast enough, or perhaps speed simply did not serve in this case. The one-eyed serpent struck at them faster than any cobra. Then the world tilted.