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Endless Daydream
Tag: Adhira | 8/5
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#1
It was morning twilight when Hannibal climbed the steps to the temple of Manasa. Her favorite time of day, the very beginning of each day. This, he knew, was where he would find her; even if he didn’t know her as well as he did, even if he didn’t know who she was… All he would have had to do was follow the tug at his soul toward his love.

It had been too long since he’d felt that familiar pull. A couple of centuries, perhaps? Not so long, they’d been apart for much longer in the past, but days bled into months into years, decades and finally centuries. The time apart did them both very well, allowed them to follow their own paths and devices, and yet, to know she was near again? There was nothing quite like it. She was a balm to his soul in many ways. She was also possessed of a gift of getting under his skin, of finding every possible way to aggravate him. He loved her.

As he walked, people, followers of his Beloved, moved to give him space to walk, clearing the center of the corridor for him, and he smiled. It was, perhaps, unnerving for her people, to see a god draped in shadow and death smile in a way that could only be described as ‘fondly’ whilst visiting a temple devoted to a life goddess. And yet, none moved to impede his progress, and instead they bowed their heads in deference. It was always nice to start like this, fresh, with nothing to work through, to apologize for. No grovelling, from either of them. This was the best sort of restart.

So it was that as he was let into the throne room. He never looked it, but he took care not to step on or kick any of the serpents, and seemed to have no reaction at all to the naga of the temple. You just got used to some things after a few eons. After him trailed a tall, broad shouldered youth wearing a headpiece that proclaimed him a priest of Set, carrying a small chest, and as they came to the door, Hannibal motioned to his follower to go ahead, looking rather impatient before offering his Beloved’s priest and priestess a nod and smile, allowing his priest a few extra moments to scurry up to the foot of the goddess and offer the chest before the god followed, offering the goddess a far warmer smile than that which he deigned to offer anyone else.

“Beloved, it is very good to see you. Tell me you’ve fared well since we last parted?”
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#2
The Goddess that currently called herself Adhira was nothing if not...dramatic: case in point she had sensed his unique energy the moment she had passed the threshold of this crossroads dimension. It was only a matter of time from than that he would come to join her. That the last time they had parted had only been the bittersweet goodbyes of lovers embarking on long separate journeys and not the blood stained wars that had marked OTHER partings meant that she would greet him with joy and not bitter still simmering rage.

For she did not simply hold grudges; no she nurtured them, fed them, slaughtered them with the fall harvest, erected a temple on its bones and danced upon the earth of the grave.

So yes quite good they had parted well the last time.

Cald in layers of Diaphanous gold the Goddess greeted her mate in song; the first hints of her came from her voice echoing out from the top the great staircase leading to her dais. Her song was simple, reaffirming that her heart still was held in his grasp, none of her followers dared to join her instead providing the delicate musical accompaniment that enhanced her greeting.

The offering was set aside, not ignored but for later as she ended her greeting a step above where he waited respectful to her prominence in her own temple. Her gentle welcoming, warm smile triggered her Priests to fall to floor bowing to the pair.

It was always joyous when the Mother and Father rejoined in love.
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#3
In the beginning, when he had still been young, Hannibal would have proclaimed that music and dancing were not something he paid much mind to. In the intervening epochs? He had come to appreciate the...aesthetic...of such things. It had begun so long ago, when he had been waning, not quite human, not quite still a complete god, when he had begun to lose himself in such things, in the minds of those performing, and it had carried on since.

To be greeted by the sound of his Beloved singing? The last portion of his walk, from the threshold of her throne room, Hannibal moved forward with his eyes closed, his mind settling downright gently upon those gathered with no compulsions or orders, simply making contact while also gaining the use of their eyes, and their response to the music. None might join his Beloved in her song, but that didn’t mean that none were touched by it, and it was that that he let wash over him, accompanying his own feeling, and Hannibal began to dance. He still moved forward, of course, his footing sure regardless of his eyes being closed; many eyes were on him, many minds showed him where he was, he didn’t need his eyes for this. His lips curled into an easy, warm smile that his priest hadn’t seen before, but could appreciate. The man knelt and bowed between the two gods, but he watched his own god with the care of the faithful.

Just as Adhira came to rest in a carefully chosen place, so too did Hannibal, turned to face her, a step below the mate of his heart, head tipped up just slightly to smile at her. He stood with one hand behind his back, the other loose at his side, and in one fluid motion, he bowed to her; they may be equals amongst their followers, in the worlds and universes they had conquered together, but she was his mate, and this was her temple, and he showed her the respect due her here. The bow was a formality, not held (he was, after all, a god, and her equal) but given freely.

And then he opened his arms to her, “Ah, my love, it has been too long since I have felt the warmth of your presence upon me.”
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#4
In the beginning even for a Goddess the ideal of womanhood required she learn to entertain men, dance, song, of the gentle arts of wifedom for which she was prophesied to occupy.

Bangled and bejeweled forearms rested on his shoulders, fingers caressed down the back of his neck. “Hello husband.” She did not bow to him. In her temple she was superior, just as she would show him respect in his own.

“Too long since you have bestowed your grace upon us.” The twin priests stood heads bowed as they came forward, “the fruits of your last visit have grown strong and well.” The man and woman pushed back their hoods, minor godlings, not the strongest in pure power they had produced, but filled with subtlety learned at their mother's hand the last few centuries.

Both bowed to Hannibal “Greetings father.”
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#5
Hannibal, in any of his incarnations, had never really expected her to simply submit to him. No one who was worthy of being his mate, his wife, would have been so… Meek. As a rule, if he could subvert someone so easily, then they simply weren’t worthy of his time for more than the moment his attention fell on them to find entertainment.

When she draped her arms around him, he smiled, the shadow and darkness melting away from his eyes as well as from around him, leaving him standing with her. Of course she hadn’t bowed, in this place, her place, it was he who bowed. That was their way.

Oh, they were being quite formal today, weren’t they? “All the better than we are both here today, then.”

The fruits of his..?

Oh.

He looked at the twins, priests of hers, both of them. Clever, Beloved, clever. Not only were they protected by being her children (their children, though being his afforded them FAR less protection than being hers), but being priests of Adhira made them nigh untouchable. Not only would he be risking her wrath in one way, but in two, and he would not do such a thing.

Not unless it became very apparently necessary. And even then, he would have to take care with it.

Still, these two bore watching. Less powerful, yes, but well protected, and obviously favored by their mother. Father, they called him. He nodded to them, eyes sharp, watchful, and full of mistrust, “Greetings, children.” He didn’t know their names, and wondered if he’d ever come to care to learn them. It was… Possible. Not all that likely, but it wasn’t impossible. “You have served your mother well?” He asked them, not Adhira, because of course she would defend them. He wanted to hear their answer, and while it was tempting to sink into their minds, here, in her temple, Hannibal would not. He knew she would neither approve nor let it go so simply. Not ever, but especially not here, she wouldn’t. So instead he watched them carefully for duplicity, the cloak of darkness and death resuming its place around him.
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#6
Over the eons she had learned the best ways to deal with her Mates paranoid tendencies around their children, it paid to...avoid him till they were grown and could care for themselves. It also gave her time to raise them in what was honestly her pantheons more nurturing traditions. Her family didn't have the habit of eating or chopping each other up.

Raising them to be her High Priests gave them a duel layer of protection, and with a few centuries under their belts gave them experience needed to survive her Mates paranoia.

“We serve Mother in all things.” The twins intoned in unison. Straightening both raised their eyes to him, respectful but greeting him as father and fellow god and not simply as her priests. “And hope to learn from you as well.”

Flicking her eyes between them the Goddess sighed, he really never bonded with their children as she did. It had long been a source of grief that he could not share the pure joy of creation, potential, life renewal that having a child filled her heart.

“Have you been here long?” She questioned turning his attention back to her.
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#7
Paranoid tendencies? It was only paranoia if it weren’t true. And Setesh’s experience had taught him that it was very, very true that family was dangerous. That children killed their parents, and brothers betrayed brothers for power, domains, followers, wives. Over the millennia, the story of Setesh had grown darker, casting him as the villain, but it hadn’t started out that way. Once, he had been a far more lighthearted god.

But family wasn’t to be trusted. Time had taught him that.

So now, Hannibal watched the twin priests. If his Beloved would just let him sift through their minds every so often, if she would just let him… He gave a quiet but long suffering sigh that was only broken at the answer. “Well,” he answered the back dryly, “Hopefully not all things.” (It wasn’t unheard of, though, they were gods.) it was the closest they were likely to get to actual acceptance without him looking into them, making sure they were safe. For his Beloved as well as for himself. Learn from him? The smile that touched his lips was not a bloodthirsty one, but rather an amused one.

How long had it been since he’d been amused by one of their children?

He didn’t really remember. But it boded well. “Well, for that you’d have to come to my temple, and I doubt your mother would give you up.” Mostly because he figured she would worry, though making them her high priests lent them the protection they needed.

Looking back to his mate, he spread his hands, “Not long, no. Not even by human standards, my love.” He chuckled, “But long enough to find a bit of amusement.”
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#8
The pair of twins smiled slightly, “If mother truly wished us to serve in that way we would of course do our utmost to please her.”

Adhira simply watched, yes they were Gods, and when `children` did not necessarily have to mean from your body...things easily became...muddled. She and Set were of an age yet he had married one of her daughters in the between times of their Story. It was something that simply occurs when you were literally eternal.

“We would delight in trading services at your Temple Father. Mother has always made it clear when we finally met you that we would give your our service equally.”

Adhira stepped in at that point; “I thought perhaps we could try something new.” She offered brushing gold wrapped fingers over his cheek. “We have shared worshipers, and paired priests of both, but perhaps we should see how having a few a children of ours who lead our followers as paired priests..” Adhira smiled at them. “They are good children.”
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#9
The smile that Hannibal gave the twins was incongruous with the flash of jealousy that came and went within a moment, but it lasted longer, and it wasn’t entirely disingenuous. “What properly dutiful children you are.”

He wouldn’t be allowed to sift through their minds, but he might find a mind of one of her priests with memories of these children from his absence. As far as their parentage, he didn’t bother to question it; Adhira wasn’t one to present another’s child as his own. He might not trust in much, but he did trust in that.

They would delight, would they? Give their service equally? His eyes found his Beloved’s and he looked to her as she spoke, saying quiet on the subject. This was Adhira’s temple, after all, not his, and he would listen. He wasn’t so gauche that he would make an attempt to argue with her, not here and now. His own temple, his own hierarchy of followers, was set up… In a unique way. There was no singular highest priest that spoke directly to Hannibal, there was a small group who disseminated his will to his people. It left no room for dictators, no room for monumental betrayal, and instead left him at the head of his own church. In his absence, this group did rule for him, but as a council of sorts, and it was not made up solely of men, but of women, and always with one or two of the very young, and one or two who were older. It worked out quite well, and kept uprisings within his church minor.

“We do…” He watched the ‘children’ carefully, “They can present themselves to my temple, and if they are accepted by my priests,” he spread his hands, “Then we can proceed.” Not that it would be a matter of the priests not accepting them as priests, but as part of the leadership. “They will likely have to earn their positions.” Because that was how his church had always been, and being the children of Setesh would not earn them golden keys to the kingdom. His favor or lack of favor would speak to the priests, however. “Are you willing to work for your placement?” he asked them quietly, not for the rest of those gathered to hear. Some godlings expected everything to be handed to them, and he was curious about these.
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