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Horus: Chapter 19


CHAOS ERUPTED. THE Kana brought up their own weapons to stave off the attack but the effort was useless. Screaming mad, the city people slammed into them, not caring who stood and who fell. Horus's army stood its ground, his men waiting for the Apsiu to run at them, though he could tell they wanted to attack also.

One Kana reached his side and clashed with a Moru. Horus fought another off as they surrounded him on all sides. He suddenly found himself protecting his uncle from getting trampled.

Thoth pushed Isis behind him, holding out his hand. Set curled in on himself and covered his head as his own men ran past. A light shot from Thoth's fingers and enveloped him, forcing the Sha to run around him. Horus left his post and joined his army, spotting Anubis and moving in to fight beside him.

The Kana were overwhelmed, but not giving up. Seeing Set go down hadn't broken their resolve as Horus had expected it would; they were only angrier, fighting harder than before. If anything they were more dangerous and fanatical without a leader than they had been with Set.

The Moru realized this. They fought back as hard as they could, but the Kana were slowly wearing them down, driven on from behind.

Horus watched the battle, and Buto's voice echoed in his mind, with words he suddenly, for some reason, remembered.

There is power in a name, Horus.

And a more recent exchange:

You'll fight for me?

Call my name, and I'll be there.

He found his horse, pulled himself up, and brought it around. He flung up his arm, lance pointing skyward, and shouted as loudly as he could.


All around him, an eerie wail arose from the Moru. They lifted their weapons over their heads.

The clouds ripped open. A blinding ray of light tore through the sky, landing upon the armies below. It struck the metal, sending dazzling sparks every which way. The Kana howled and tried to cover their eyes. The Sha, spooked by the noise and confusion, started turning, running into each other, trying to escape.

Isis's kite broke away from her grasp, flying straight into the heart of the fray, screeching and raking at the Kana with its talons. Horus's army rallied around the attacking bird as if it were their standard.

The Moru began chanting a name, but not Ra's. They chanted Horus's name, and everyone else took it up as well as their new battle cry. Horus ignored any feelings of self-consciousness he may have had, howling and charging at the confused Apsiu.

It was hardly a fair match. The Sha, large and clumsy, stumbled and tripped over themselves and each other, bawling like lost calves. The horses easily surrounded them, weaving through the chaos, leaping nimbly over fallen bodies and darting out of harm's way whenever a frightened Kana lashed out. Part of Horus's army--especially the humans--yelled and jabbed at the Apsiu with glee.

"Stop!" Horus shouted over the clamor. "Take prisoners! Whoever asks for quarter, gets it!"

Several looked disappointed but, under Sobek's supervision, obeyed. The Sha, sensing they were being herded, moved docilely to form a knot surrounded by Horus's soldiers. A few Kana fought back; one launched himself at Maftet, screeching; Upuat's sword effectively stopped him. A few other Kana--including a pair of lieutenants--surrendered, begging for leniency, promising to side with the obvious victor. Most of them, however, simply allowed themselves to be rounded up, heads hanging and wings drooping in defeat, offering neither hostility nor a plea to defect. None of them looked in Set's direction, as if afraid that by merely looking at him they'd be stricken dead. Apsiu or not, they had a code of honor also.

As soon as they'd been rounded up Horus glanced back at Set. He climbed off his horse and walked toward him, lance in one hand.

Everyone watched, even the Kana now. No one spoke or moved.

The protective field around Set dissolved and Horus stepped over him, pointing his lance at Set's throat and poking him slightly. He saw brief fear flash in his uncle's eyes, replaced by steely resolve and that look of hate he knew so well. Set was wounded badly, but he wasn't dying. The lance hadn't been powerful enough for that.

"Go ahead," he wheezed, his breath rasping in his throat.

Horus stared down at him a long time, trying to rouse up the anger inside him. Yet all he could keep feeling was pity. He tried reminding himself how Set had murdered his father and tried to kill him, and Isis, and how he'd hurt Anubis and everyone else around him; but all he kept coming back to was how pathetic Set looked now, lying in the dust and bleeding. Set seemed to sense his feelings, as he snarled feebly and tried scrambling up; the lance tip stopped him, poking harder at his throat, and he fell still. Horus considered running it through him, then shook his head.

"No," he said quietly, drawing it further away. "I won't have your blood on my hands." When Set glared up at him he only shook his head again.

"We do share the same blood, Uncle."

"Coward!" Set hissed. "Just like your father!"

Horus turned away, looking around at the wide ring of faces surrounding him. "No more killing," he said, loud enough for all to hear. "The fighting stops now. There'll be no execution for traitors and usurpers." He glanced at Set, at the captured Kana still hanging their heads, and chose his words carefully. "They're to be banished to the western desert, to fight amongst hyenas and scorpions and fend for themselves."

Behind him, Set hissed again.

He raised his lance, driving it into the ground next to Set's head. His uncle flinched.

"Your king speaks thus!"

A cheer swelled up and burst forth from the people and Moru gathered. They raised their weapons and shields and banged them together under the blazing sunlight, their cry echoing off the city walls and into the cloudless sky vaulting overhead.

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