'Tis Better To Have Loved
TITLE: 'Tis Better To Have Loved
GENRES: Mythology, fantasy, romance/love, drama.
SUMMARY: Once you've felt it, it's hard to let go...as Hathor learns. An original myth.
WRITING STATUS: Completed.
WRITING DATE: Circa 2002.
LENGTH: 1400+ words.
CONTENT WARNINGS: None.
COPYRIGHT: This story and all characters, unless otherwise stated in the Disclaimers, are copyright © tehuti_88 and may not be used or distributed without permission. The reader is free to print out or download a copy of this story for offline reading as long as the author's copyright information remains upon it. Please do not distribute; if you wish to share this story, send a link to this page.
DISCLAIMERS: Certain characters are from Egyptian mythology. Although aspects of this story are loosely based on Egyptian mythology and culture, artistic license has been taken as this is a FANTASY story. Please take note that this story was written around 2002 and that my writing style and understanding of the mythology I created may have changed vastly in the meantime.
ADDITIONAL INFO: NA.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This short story ties in with the other Kemet short stories and/or the Kemet/Egyptian mythology as I make use of it in my writing; as such, it might not make much sense out of context. Recall "Sobek & Hathor (AKA Heart Of Clay)," where Hathor has vowed she would never marry any god? And next thing you know, there she is, married to Horus. This here is just a little story I wrote to explain the situation. A definition--"heka" is magic power.
IT WAS, OF course, the arrows that got her in trouble. That, and the fact that she should have been working with them in the privacy of her own rooms. To fiddle with them in public...she'd known for a long time that that was foolish. Yet she did it anyway. She'd thought, of course, that she would make no mistakes. She was wrong.
It was the first month of the reign of King Horus. The son of Osiris, having vanquished Set, was now ruler over Kemet, and had moved into his father's great palace upon the earth. Prince Anubis, Lord Thoth, Lord Upuat, and the others of Osiris's train joined him there, forming his new court. Since his coronation, many of the other gods had traveled from celestial Kemet to meet the new king for themselves. Most came back chattering and nodding amongst themselves. He was young, there was no denying it. And he seemed rather out of sorts. Yet he'd defeated Set, so he would have to make a good king for Kemet.
Lady Hathor found that dissent seemed to come from some of the most unexpected sources. Her father, God Ra, for one...he had helped Horus achieve his victory, yet now that the young god sat upon the throne, the elder sun god kept watch over him with a wary eye. Whenever anyone spoke to him of the new king he would often grunt noncommittally or else not reply at all. Hathor believed she knew where his reaction came from. Horus was young. Horus was inexperienced. Perhaps he had merely had blind luck on his side when he'd won the throne.
Blind luck didn't make a decent king.
She thought over all of this and more as she sat outside the throneroom in the great hall, picking the arrows from her quiver and sorting them, smoothing their feathers. She'd finally gotten to meet the young king for herself, and didn't see what all the fuss was about. He would most likely make a mediocre ruler, at best. No one to praise, and no one to condemn. Kemet could have done worse. At least he wasn't Set.
She sat in the hall now waiting for her sister, Bastet, to finish speaking with him. The poor god, he'd been busy all day greeting newcomers and visitors. By the time she'd gotten to him she'd seen the exhaustion in his eyes, and had sensed how he just wished to get away from all of them. He probably had more than enough heka to give one swipe of his hand and knock them all over in their tracks, but that didn't seem to be how his mind worked. Unfortunately for him. She pitied, though, how he'd have to sit through Bastet's endless babble, until the cat goddess grew tired, or bored, or both. She wondered if her sister had been flirting with him. The thought made her mouth twitch in a smile.
Flirting? Well...the two didn't look as if they'd make a decent couple. Still, it could be an interesting diversion...
She'd actually been on her way to shoot someone else--without their knowledge, of course--when Bastet had dragged her here. She'd lost a bit of time, and perhaps her quarry; maybe her sister would make a good replacement. She tried not to laugh.
Something stung. Hathor gasped and jerked her hand back. Her eyes focused on her fingertip and widened. A tiny drop of blood formed against the skin, the crimson color reflected on the golden arrowhead protruding from her left hand. Immediate panic welled up in her breast. The gold head...the downy white feathers on the end of the shaft. An arrow of love and desire.
She stood up abruptly, scattering the sorted arrows so they fell into disarray again. How could she have been so careless? Not watching what she was doing with these things--and in a public hall--where anyone could walk in and gain her attention! The first thing that would distract her would be the thing with which she fell in love. This thought made her panic grow. She tossed the cursed arrow away and bent down, scrabbling at those lying upon the floor. She sought for a leaden one, with dull brown feathers--the only thing that could counter the spell--that could save her before this could get any worse.
A creaking sound came from the end of the hall. Hathor's heart leapt up into her throat, trying to escape. Her head darted up even as her mind screamed NO! Too late not to look...her eyes focused on someone else's, widening in terror and surprise. Blue-black eyes stared back at her and then blinked.
"Lady...Hathor? Lady Hathor? Are you all right?"
The voice sounded uncertain, as if not sure if it were getting her name right. Hathor could only stare back, unspeaking. Everything around her seemed to fall away, to grow far off and distant, as if in a fog, except for those dark eyes that met her own. She barely noticed when Horus frowned and tilted his head, not receiving a response to his query.
"Lady Hathor? Did you hurt yourself?"
She still didn't speak, even though her mouth opened. He blinked again and then came toward her. She couldn't take her eyes off of his; they were like two pools of liquid onyx with a sheen of lapis. He reached her and bent down to look in her face. Somehow, she hadn't even noticed he was getting closer; when she realized he was right before her she gasped and jumped back. He frowned again, then looked down at her hands and his pensive look vanished.
"Oh. Your hand."
She stared at him numbly as he took her hand, looking at her bleeding finger. The wound was very small, just the tiniest cut; still, he folded her hand in his own and squeezed it lightly. Hathor finally managed to tear her gaze away from his face to see what he was doing. A pale golden glow surrounded their hands, swirled, then faded. He let go of her and she slowly pulled her hand back, flexing her fingers. The tiny arrow-prick was gone, her fingertip again smooth and unmarred.
He sat back on his haunches and she looked up into his face again. This time he smiled at her, and she was the one to blink. She didn't think she'd seen him smile yet the whole time she'd been here. She knew he was young, though he could have passed for her own age. When he smiled, however, he seemed younger, not quite so burdened down with royal duties as he had been before. She was about to tell him he should smile more often when she realized what she was thinking and her face flushed.
"It shouldn't hurt anymore," he said. "Did I help you any, Lady?"
Hathor stared, eyes wide and mouth slightly open. Her heart felt ready to climb up into her throat and fly away. She wanted to lean closer to him, and to run away from him, both at once. His smile, his eyes seemed to sap all reasoning from her. She felt weak near him, yet she felt she would be even weaker with him gone. Her hand began to shake, though he didn't notice.
She tipped her head, very slightly, as much as she was able, and back again, a slow, uncertain movement. "...Yes..."
Horus's smile grew, like a child proud of some accomplishment he'd achieved. He crossed his arm to his breast and bowed his head slightly, then stood. He turned back to the great doors and walked away, his sandals clacking against the tiles. Each clack stabbed through her like a dagger until he was gone, the door creaking shut behind him.
Hathor let out her breath and lowered her hand shakily to her lap. The arrows lay on the floor, forgotten. Now that he was gone, she could have easily dug about for a leaden arrow, yet she couldn't, either. Not now. Not after having seen the smile on his face, the color in his eyes. She'd thought that reversing what she felt would be a simple thing once she set her mind to it. Not so now that it had actually happened. Things were completely different now. Her gaze fell on her hand, and she flexed it again. She could still feel the warmth of his fingers holding it in his own.
It appeared her heart would give her no choice. She was going to have to endure this strange thing called love. Whether she wanted to or not.