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Thread Contributor: SethHell's Belle
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#21
Seth couldn’t disagree that it was a non answer. But to tell her the truth was to gamble that she wouldn’t care, and he liked this place, he liked the woman sitting across from him. He had met precious few people who could and would speak with him freely, treat him as they would another so fearlessly, and today he had finally met another who would. But he couldn’t treat her like a child, either. Doing that would waste the precious gift he’d found here today.

While Belle might not demand answers, she had asked questions, and Seth was loathe to break what little trust she seemed to have in him.

And then she asked if he were a little bit dead and he snorted laughter, shoulders shaking with it. It wasn’t cruel laughter, it wasn’t at her, but rather bemused and sad at the same time. There were no god-killer weapons here in Hub, and likely never would be. Still, it was not as though gods could not die. “No,” he managed to answer her after a few moments of unbridled laughter that got the attention of the restless undead in the cafe, some looking surprised, some perplexed. “No, my dear, sweet lady, I am not dead, not even a little bit, but death is a part of me as surely as I am sitting here with you.”

He sighed, “I am Seth, god of the dead. As well as a few other domains that aren’t relevant just now.” He shrugged, letting her react as she would.

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#22
Belle’s eyes widened; not in fear but recognition. She’d heard him pronouncing his name ‘set’ and some how hadn’t put two and two together!

Now Belle had been in Hub long enough, had met enough ‘fictional’ characters to understand that so many myths and legends, but also books were actually retold tales of other universes.

So she had no issue accepting the fact that he was the god Set from Egyptian mythology.

Little g mind you.

And she expected at least SOME of what she knew of him to apply even if he wasn’t that EXACT version of Set her world had crafted its Mythos on.

“Well now.” She blinked mind working furiously to come up with an amusing anecdote… “Ah should have suggested a salad shouldn’t I?”

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#23
Seth, Set, it was more or less the same name, used in different regions of Egypt. He had been called Seth originally, and then when they had decided to turn him into something he was not, they had shortened it to Set.

Little g. Seth smiled, unoffended at her thought; she had her own god she worshipped, and if he chose to try to poach her, he might succeed, but for the moment he was content to let her believe what she wished.

A salad. The god sitting with Belle at the table chuckled, his smile growing just a bit more open and honest, “As I said earlier, I spent much of my younger life as a vegetarian… But that was before I moved to a less unstable country and changed my approach to things.” He shrugged, “Greece was more welcoming than Egypt ever was.” There, at least, they hadn’t constantly pegged him as a villain, and his divine ‘family’ hadn’t ceaselessly tried to kill him, or force him to kill them. It had been an improvement, to say the least. And he had met Demeter there… And her daughter.

He missed Persephone sometimes. But he was happy with Adhira.

"It's amazing to find that you know that little tidbit of knowledge. I had always thought they portrayed me to be far darker, especially once I had gone to ground after they murdered the majority of my priesthood."

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#24
Honestly it was all Belle could do not to wiggle in her chair like an over excited poodle. Chris might ‘geek out’ over meeting Iron man and Captain America, but Belle? Belle was holding onto her composure by teeth and toenails!

Just to THINK of the HISTORY he had witnessed! Even if it had been on another earth! The myths he could explain, the first hand histories he could retell-

Belle might just swoon if she let herself think about it at all!

“Greece?” She all but pounced on that tidbit, forcibly reminding herself that he was her customer, guest and she needed to remember her manners!

“Ah read a few translations, but-“ she waved a hand half resigned “Ah can’t read the original texts, but there have been enough back and forth and conflicting interpretations of the ‘gods’ of various-“ She almost said ‘mythology's’ “religions-“ she corrected smoothly “Tha’ ah prefer ta assume the better rather than the worst.” After all why should she judge historical or mythological figures harsher than she did the living?

“But if ya do really love lettuce ah make a fabulous warm bacon dressing butter lettuce salad.” If she said so herself!

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#25
Alright, so he had had believers, followers, worshipers, even lovers. But to meet a new one? One that wasn’t from any of the worlds that he and Adhira had cultivated to love them? It wasn’t the first time something like this had happened in his existence, but it was rare enough that it was still a novelty. He said nothing of Belle’s excitement, though his smile grew, and he relaxed just a touch in his seat, not slumping, but there was a...sense of something more there as he relinquished his hold over himself, his aura, his power, just a smidgen.

I was born Seth, but after my original pantheon turned brother against brother, nephews striking out at uncles…” he shrugged, “I travelled. I went to Sumaria for a while, married, had a child that I wasn’t allowed to raise, and then found my way to Greece.” His eyes were still hazel, but for a moment they almost seemed to shine crimson. Just for a moment. “Greece was… Better. Not perfect - the pantheon there accepted me, their leader embraced me as his brother, but he was an imperfect god, as are we all.” He spread his hands, “But I found a wife, and love, and for quite a while I was content.”

That had all been before the fighting had truly started, before all-out war had broken out. Not just internal strife, as humans would tell it, but pantheon fighting pantheon…

“Few could read the original texts, Belle. Our written language was far from easy to interpret.” It was sweet, how she strove to remain inoffensive, to withhold judgment. “Oh, some pantheon’s followers got plenty right, my dear. They portrayed some of us in the right light, at least some of the time.” He leaned forward, eyes alight with amusement, “But what I truly despise was how they turned terrible moments into children’s fairy tales. They turned the insane into heroes. The selfish and evil into loving and sacrificing. And they turned those of us who simply worked hard, did our jobs, into the villains.” He sighed, settling back in his seat, “Historians turn in their graves to see their work muddled so.” And that was actually the truth…

Did he love lettuce? Seth smiled indulgence and amusement both present on his features, “I enjoy a good salad from time to time, I suppose. Once, it was all I ate, and that….” He chuckled darkly at the memory, “That was different. Back then, I had absolutely no taste for meat - eating the dead, even of the animal kingdom… And…” he blinked, then shook his head, “As Seth, I was a vegetarian. My other forms were not so picky about their diet. And eventually, I became Nergal, and later Hades, and I was not so specific then, either.”

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#26
Well Belle might technically ‘believe’ in him; in the way that he was there and she had no reason to doubt he had in some universe been worshiped as a god. But that didn’t equate to the ‘belief’ of someone to had faith in his Godhood.

“Sumatra..” Belle’s nail tapped thoughtfully on her lips, she was gonna hit the books tonight! See if she could find who he had been.

Greece.

Greece?!

Oh oh was he saying- “On someworld you were Hades too?” She gasped excitedly.

Belle was torn, she hated to contradict him but- “Fairy tales have a purpose.” She defended quietly, “Children need clear cut examples of right and wrong. And when they get older they need to know that even the ‘hero’s’ don’t always escape unscathed.”

Belle felt for him, she honestly and truly did, but even now there was a man behind the Batman cowl and she was CERTAIN that his story was muddled beyond any resemblance to reality. That didn’t mean he still wasn’t a symbol of hope for the children of Gotham who hid under their beds at night, for fear of dangers outside their home...and from within.

Belle’s heart bled for those nameless children, sharper than her compassion for all souls was her heart's cry to protect the most vulnerable.

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#27
Belief was belief. She recognized him for what he was - he made no claim to infallibility or perfection. That didn’t make him any less a god. (Zeus was seriously flawed, and people worshipped him as a KING of gods…) He chuckled, “They didn’t call me Seth there, either.”

On some world. Seth chuckled, “On many words, my dear. But mostly I go by Seth, my first name. Though I did enjoy being Hades at least most of the time.”

Oh, he didn’t disagree. Fairy tales did serve a purpose, however… “Indeed they do, we are not in disagreement there. But when you turn a villain into the hero, and take some poor soul who was merely doing his work and living his life and decide to make him into the villain because you like his name or what he does less… Well, that is simply mangling history, is it not? Especially when the actual events could work just as well.” But no, people liked Zeus, and they feared death, so the god of death became the villain. Loving him became a forced thing, friendship became servitude. Ah, well, such was humanity.

Belle’s compassion was the sort that seeped out, that found footholds in the soul of another person and tried to grow. Seth was a creature of death, bringing souls who had died to their final rest; compassion only made things difficult for him. While he would prefer to be able to claim that he had no compassion at all, that would be a lie, and he knew it. Instead, he buried it under duty and quiet and boredom. “Sweet Belle, heroes rarely escape unscathed, or they wouldn’t likely be heroes. We all lose at some point or another, regardless of our intentions. That is the way and balance of the world.

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#28
Belle loved a good discussion, especially on history and even more so on mythology and the impact of stories. How ever her mama had raised her to have manners; he wasn’t some history buff who had no more connection to the material beyond passion. No he had lived it. Or some version. And to argue the misrepresentation of his own personal story? That was cruel.

Her arguments of the nature of children’s stories to simply complex issues meant that the King and Father should be less vilified than he probably deserved, and the god that was trying to do a job that no one else wanted, a lonely god was easier to make the bad guy.

Death after all was something many children even in the modern age understood, had touched their lives painfully. And it became easy to blame that pain on the embodiment of what took your mother in the night.

“Ah’m sorry.” For his pain, for his turbulent history, for every time he saw how his story had been rewritten. It wasn’t fair, and just because life wasn’t fair didn’t mean someone shouldn’t try and make it right even if all she could do was apologize for the actions of others, and offer her empathy.

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#29
Stories, changing history to be gentle on children, to teach them lessons they needed to learn, was… Understandable. Right up until it became accepted as fact rather than a cute retelling of a twisted event. Hercules was not a good man who had always done the right thing only to be treated badly by his stepmother. Hercules was a madman who may have tried to do the right thing, but was punished for his temper and stupidity by a goddess who valued hearth, home, and family more than the rights of a single demigod. And some ridiculous storyteller decided to make a god who hadn’t even had anything to do with the whole damn thing into the villain. And an inept one at that!

There were evenings, when he wasn’t with Adhira or spending time with one of the mortals here, that he sat and reminisced; missing specific gods who had been his friends and allies back then. He rarely thought back to Egypt, or even Sumeria, with the same wistful longing. He had perhaps been happy there. Exhausted, overworked, but happier.

She apologized, and he frowned, reaching to pat her hand before reaching for another fry, “Don’t be. You had nothing to do with any of it. Loss and pain are a constant, even for gods.” He smiled, "It teaches us who and what we truly are, how we deal with it."

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#30
Belle nodded slightly, she wasn’t naive, she knew loss and pain were an inevitable part of living-

Her hand went to touch the ring hidden, her pain was healing, but Belle cherished the ache that remained, spending a moment to remember who was lost, and the love he had so freely shared with her. It wasn’t the moments of passion (although Belle could never forget them!) no it was the mornings when he woke her playing his violin, or when he brought her newspapers folded into a bouquet because a Ghost had no money to buy her flowers. Those were the memories that she allows herself a moment to relieve before gently packing them away.

“I hope not alone?” She has seen the tale of Persephone as the tale of romance that it had been. Not the mishmash of later translations. And that woman...well Belle would be awed to meet her...

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#31
The gods eyes grew focused on something very, very far away as Belle’s thoughts permeated his mind. She had lost a love. A sweet one, if he saw things right, and a ghost, a restless spirit, at that. No wonder she fed the dead so reverently; her lover had been amongst them. He wondered if her ghost had moved on, finally found the peace and rest of the afterlife, or if his departure had had a less serene reason.

He felt her. He too, had lost a love. Persephone. Not always known by that name. Few gods kept the same name everywhere, or throughout their lives. They changed, they grew and changed, and so did the names they used. He had been Seth first, and he had gone on to become Nergal, then Hades, with others that came after, and then finally he had become Seth again.

Not alone. “No, I am not entirely alone. There is another from my world, but it is not who you would hope it is.” He gave her a small smile that quickly turned wistful and sad, “I loved Persephone, you know.” And he missed her when he paused to remember, “But when the world evolved, she did not survive.” That was the kind way of putting it. She had lost her followers, belief waned, and another had swooped in and taken what had once belonged to her, leaving him alone for a time. “But myself and another survived.” They hadn’t just survived, they had conquered, they had won…

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#32
Yes. If Belle has never met James, never learned how to feed him, never seen that moment of incandescent joy as something as simple as the pleasure of food was returned to him...she would not have likely ever thought to make a restaurant who’s purpose was arguably to feed the poor souls that had not moved on.

If Belle has seemed compassionate before it was nothing on the wellspring of empathy that opened up, “I’m sorry.” She respectfully bowed her head, saying her own prayer that that woman who had once been a goddess had a full life before tragedy struck.

She’d read fiction on the deaths of gods from lack of followers and now belle wondered if that too was something rooted in another worlds truth.

Or if he meant something else with ‘evolved’.

Perhaps all humans had grown beyond the physical.

“I’m glad you were not alone.” She stared sincerely.

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#33
In a sense, Seth was glad that Belle had met her James. If she hadn’t, then he would not have come here, would not have been pulled here by a ring that had been given to this rare woman by a ghost. Seth would never have met her, never had this conversation, and that would have been a shame.

He hadn’t lied to Belle. He had indeed loved Persephone. For a time, he had believed, foolishly, that they would be together for the rest of eternity. That belief had been quite short lived, of course, as humanity had turned further and further away from their gods, beliefs, and prayers. The beautiful, warm Queen of the Underworld had faded quickly even as their river had begun to run dry and their dog had died. She apologized and he gave a short chuckled that held little real humor. “We were happy. But nothing lasts forever. We live long enough to accept that fact. I mourned her, but you cannot mourn forever.” He wondered if she had survived as a mortal long enough to be able to find in the Fields… It was possible, he knew. There were others who had died as mortals that he himself had brought to their afterlife… But when Persephone had gone, he had lamented, and sunk into his misery quietly.

He wasn’t proud of that.

“Thank you. There are others out there. Gods, I mean. I just met a new one not so long ago.” he winked to Belle, “It would seem to me that you have met her, perhaps.” He shrugged, he saw the magic of the love goddess on Belle, but that didn’t mean Belle was aware, and Seth wasn’t one to tell others’ secrets.

Science. Science and disbelief had started the downfall of the gods on his world. On many worlds. Humans were fickle creatures, drawn to the newest, shiniest things….

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#34
Belle blinked at the accusation she’d met another god, “Well I don’t think so but all kinda folks pass through for a meal.” Belle chuckled “An’ ah don’t often ask for their pedigree.”

Belle was a woman who believed in God, but she also wasn’t some damn fool anti-Vaxxer, she believed that prayer held power but that God also helped those that got out and pushed on their own.

One of her favorite stories was of the man stuck in a hole; he prayed and prayed for help, a man came by with a ladder asking if he needed help. The man said no god would save him. Next came a fire man, than a doctor. He turned them all down till he died of starvation. When he went to heaven he asked God Why he had not saved him and God said ‘I sent three people to help you!’

For Belle this was how God and Fate intertwined, and why anyone who refused to do charity or help others because ‘God would supply’ were the worst fools.

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#35
How interesting. Belle didn’t seem to realize that Sune had blessed her. Seth smiled, “Only when they’re curious about your trinket, hm?” There was no offense in his tone, and his smile was amused and conspiratorial.

Belle, it would seem, was practical as well as faithful. It was a rare combination; he had known his share, been worshipped by enough of those like her that he could appreciate her for it. She expected others to be decent, to be intelligent, to think and do for themselves. He liked that about her.

Finishing the last of his fries (and silently lamenting the loss) he smiled, “I can see how it might be difficult to tell; this place tends to mix us all up together, allows us to mingle and mesh as we will. It’s a unique thing, to be able to do so, and perhaps one of the reasons I like it here as much as I do.”

He smiled, sitting back in his chair, placing enough space between them that he could not easily reach out and touch her, or taking something she was holding, “I have told you who I am, why I came here, and honestly, I’m quite willing to tell you nearly anything else you’d like ask” He shrugged, there were always going to be things that he would prefer to keep to himself, that was expected, he was the god of death, “I have a single request for you, Belle, and you are free to decline, though that would not hopefully be the case. Would you mind showing me the trinket that drew me here?” He tipped his head, “It is yours, I would not take it from you, but I was not deceitful when I said I was very curious.”

Truth to tell.. Well, he would tell it, then. “In fact, having met you, I am yet more intrigued, and concerned. Not everything from my domain is….safe...for mortals, and I would rather be sure in this case.” Because he liked her. “I won’t ask or bother you about it again, regardless of your answer.” That didn’t mean he wouldn’t return, or that he wouldn’t watch over her, because he did like her.
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#36
“Only when they talk about wanting to get their hands on my engagement ring.” She corrected briskly.

And that was the crux of it, she needed to explain why she was so protective of the simple ruby band.

Belle drew out the long chain, metal warmed by the proximity to her heart. “The man ah loved gave me this. Promised to be mine in every way he could be.” The thick ring hinted at being of a more masculine design than what belle would have chosen for herself. But in her eyes it could not have been more perfect.

Belle rested the precious object on the palm of her hand, offering it to him to see. There was no fear he would steal it, after all if she wanted to be perfectly practical he could have done that at any time. But her action was more influenced by her belief in him. That he wouldn’t take something that meant so much to her.

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#37
Belle might have meant the statement to be taken seriously, but Seth chuckled quietly and nodded, “I said I wanted to see it, not take it from you.” There was no offense taken; she was so very protective of the bauble, and he could understand why. Some universes held little lockboxes, caches with whatever little treasures Seth wanted to keep for himself. His original universe held a such a vessel, hidden away where no one would find save himself. Another held the few precious things that Seth had been unwilling to leave behind on that first world, safely tucked away, again hidden, on a world where he ruled in entirety, conquered while Adhira had been off, doing her own thing.

Seth leaned forward as Belle pulled the chain, exposing the little ring that had pulled at his power so well. Looking at it, Seth understood why it had called to him so strongly. It was a powerful item, even now he could hear it. Slowly, he reached out, eyes never leaving the ring save once to glance up to Belle, as he moved to curl her fingers around it. “Take care with this, Belle…” She had quite the engagement ring.. “That ring will protect you, but I wouldn’t suggest using it aside in a life-threatening situation.” He left his seat as he stood, leaning over the table to kiss her forehead, a blessing from the god if there ever had been one, “It is my hope that you shall never have use of it, but if there is a being out there who I trust with this, it would be you.” She was too good to be easily corrupted, too sweet to allow it casually.

Not that he wouldn’t be looking after her in the future. Few earned the god’s interest, let alone his fondness, especially amongst mortals, who would be gone so quickly. Belle had done both.

Allowing his own power to brush against the rings, he quieted both of them, god an artefact. “He must have loved you greatly indeed, to give you that.”

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#38
Color dusted across her cheeks; he was a very handsome man and even if the kiss reminded her more of a beloved uncle than flirtation. Honestly she would have likely objected if it had held any sexual over tone. She had JUST met him after all!

“I know he did.” The ache was there, the grief that had crafted a protective wall around her heart had been splintered by time and allowing herself to do more than just live again.

The grief, heartache, pain, they were still there, but it was the pain of something torn long ago. Yes it hurt...but she would love again. And the tears that prickled from letting herself remember her first true love...well they too would fade in time.

“Use it?” Belle blinked confusion bringing her back out of where her memories had taken her. It was just a ring, why did he make it sound as though she was carrying a weapon?

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#39
Uncle??

UNCLE!?!

He was a GOD, damn it! Yes, he was glad she wasn’t going to object to a bit of simple affection, but still! Mortals and their overblown sense of selves! If the cafe grew just a hint dimmer, well, the god was offended, but not angry.

That crimson spark shone in his eyes again if Belle looked for it, but Seth smiled to her. It was a quiet, almost sad smile of someone who had lost those they loved before, and understood the pain of healing from that. He placed a gentle hand over hers, seeing her tears and yes, understanding them. He was the god of death, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know loss. He did. Oh, he did.

He was a god, and he could have helped himself, he could have rolled back his powers and abilities, he could have, but he was a god, and gods tended to indulge themselves. Seth was, in this moment, quite interested in Belle, and thus, his mind found hers and he listened.

The lover, fiance (Humans had some very strange customs, if you wanted to marry, just marry already!) had been a ghost, which he had been aware of, but the man had been cursed. He understood that Belle, sweet woman that she was, believed that her James had gone on to heaven, but Seth wasn’t entirely certain.

He could find out, though.

Nodding, Seth’s smile grew just a touch more knowing. It was a weapon, though she didn’t realize that. Reaching out, he straightened her fingers and touched with a sliver of his power to spark against it receiving just the smallest of reactions from the ring. “It will protect you. Keep it near, on your chain is fine, but don’t use it unless you must.”

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#40
Belle was not completely obvious to the fact that e had well..an aura, one that deepened, waxing and waning with his mood. She wasn’t even unaware that it could be seen unnerving. She wasn’t with out self preservation instincts; what her time in Hub had brought home was that Belle was very very often going to be in the same room as folk that could flick their finger Even on accident and there would be one less Belle.

So she’d figured she’d had a choice; she could live like a mouse ‘fraid of everything and everyone. Or she could just...live.

Treat everyone she met with the same expectation of decency she’d done her whole life.

Belle wasn’t gonna fear life. So the choice was pretty darn simple.

God, angel, alien, demon, multidimensional unbounded being. They all met the same smiling cheerful open woman.

Maybe that made her simple.

But it also made her happy.

Clear blue met Seth’s dark gaze with out guile, she saw there not pitty, but understanding, compassion, and she answered it, bowing her head slightly in thanks for empathy.

“James told me the same.” Belle tucked the ring back next to her heart. She was smart enough to know that both men knew more than they had told her. That her ring was more than the simple token of love she’d thought it was.

The familiar weight settled where it belonged and Belle smiled up at him softly, “ah will.” She promised gracefully coming to her feet. “Ya finish Your shake darlin’ ah gotta pull the turnovers out before they burn.” Belle stated. She wasn’t beating an escape, she had chores to do, and if he was still there when she came back out of the kitchen she’d be happy to sit and talk more.

As for his bill...well to be very honest Belle didn’t fuss overly, folk paid what they could, some paid more and some less. Some paid what was the listed price and some didn’t pay a cent. Some paid in barter some in skill. She’d gotten the armored shutters for her front that way.


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