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Thread Contributor: BesRhythm of life
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#1
This soul was one of his.

Bes rested his head on the empty vessels shoulder, tears slowly carving down dark cheeks, he had failed this mortal in his life, he held onto the sullenly glowing embers of his soul, awaiting his Sister or Father, or one of Deaths direct minions.

His followers were nominally craftholders, homemakers, families, but anyone that invoked his name to make their home welcoming was his. And he theirs.

He did not mind being a minor god, never seeking power, dominion, and in this world his hold was weak, unable to do enough to bless this man. To lighten his burden, because if Bes had been a greater god there would be no way a follower of his would succumb to despair in his home, in Bes’s bailiwick.

“I failed him.” He explained to the familiar presence that joined him.

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#2
Raani knew her realm. She knew the moment when a fire of the soul was replaced with coals. Just as the first to use fire did, she would carry that small lingering heat to her realm, feeding it until it grew strong once more.

But even more than she knew the touch of death, awaiting rebirth- she knew the feeling of her brother's heart. It beat inside her chest, alongside her own, and she always knew when he needed her. She knew when he was happy, when he was proud, when he was sad- and she could feel through him, the life that had just been ended.

It was with that that she left behind her duties for the day. She waved off obligations, asking her priests to fulfill a role they shouldn't need to. She rarely cared enough to seek out an individual when they passed. But Raani would allow no other than her father or herself to carry the soul of her brother's faithful. She stepped into existence, taking a deep breath at the sight before her.

Walking forward, Raani bowed her head, pressing a kiss to her little brother's scalp. "No, Brother. You did not fail him." She whispered, crouching and taking a moment to wipe the tears from his cheeks. She took his hand in hers, giving a brief squeeze to remind him he wasn't alone. Then, she let go and carefully reached forward, her hands going through the vessel's chest as she cradled the last spark. Her aura flared warm for once. The heat of raging inferno, feeding the ember and cleansing what she could from here.

She stayed still, mind focused on the task until at last, a small fire grew from the soul she held in her palms. "There is always tomorrow." She offered to her brother, showing him the dancing flame.

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#3
Not every soul that passes went through his hands. In some worlds, there were other, lesser gods of death that handled their own. On other worlds they would cry the names of their deity during life and go to rest with them. But in many, many worlds, it was him or his underlings that brought the dead to his kingdom.

On the occasion that a dying soul called out for his wife or children, it was always Seth that came to them. The faithful of his pantheon would always fall under his banner, his responsibility, and he saw to them himself lest they grow lost or despondent.

Tonight a soul called for Bes, and Seth was there immediately. His son had not seemed to wish for many followers; for one to die would be noticeable for him.

Seeing the state of his son, however, the old god paused, passing through the veil enough to be solid in this world for his children, “You did all you could. That is all that can be asked of you.” Seth moved to sit next to his distraught son; the man could wait, he was calm and in his care he was warm and comforted the way it seemed only the dead ever were.

He let his daughter comfort her brother, shifting away even as Raani moved to sit, his hand reaching out to grasp Bes’ shoulder firmly, but gently.

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#4
He was a young god, a minor god, but his purpose, his reason, his very being was to lead his followers to deliverance. He never promised a painless road, but his pact was that the trials and burdens would mean Something, that their end be worth the suffering. Tears slid past his sisters tender touch, craving tracts across the normally joyful gods visage; “I failed him here.” He saw Rani breathe the cycle of rebirth into John Wakefield’s soul and it brought him none of the peace she intended.

“This was his home Ranni.” They were twins, they knew each other’s hearts and minds; yet the specificities of each other domain must of necessity remain obfuscated, but those words should mean Something to her, that here where his dominance should have been supreme he had failed.

His Father was so beyond Bes that he could stand next to the young god and be unnoticed unless he trespassed directly onto Bes’s bailiwick, ‘all he could-‘ dark eyes turned towards the feel of his Father, seeing the moment he stepped between the veil and allowed Bes to see him. “And I failed him.” He repeated, his whole existence was as a God as they all were; his Father could never fail his main domain, people would always die, his sister could but only by willful action. Bes? Bes was not strong enough to fail willfully!

“I was with him this night, I knew he would need the comfort, the healing of Home as he had so many other nights and-“ Bes didn’t sob, but a resurgence of liquid blurred his vision. “It was not enough, he couldn’t see the path-“ Bes was not Fate, but he worked closely with that Eternal and the thousand broken threads whipped his being mercilessly; a child never born, a wife never met, hundreds of cases never solved-

“I failed.”

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#5
The word was in fact more than enough to drive Bes's point deep into Raani's heart. To fail the man here, was the same as Raani accidentally cursing a faithful to a life of nothing but pain. It was, beyond anything, their purposes. Bes had the hearth, and happy endings. Raani had Ruin, and Rest. But when ground down to one word, Raani was the Goddess of Rebirth, and her brother was the God of Home.

A sympathetic tear rolled down her cheek at the sheer pain she could feel emanating from him. Raani forced her eyes closed, forced herself to close off from Bes, just long enough to channel even more strength into the soul she held. When she could give no more without damaging, she smiled sadly at her brother and folded her hands closed around the flame. When her hands opened again, they were empty.

They soon found a different precious item to hold, carefully placing the empty vessel to rest on a nearby table, to free up her brother's arms so that she could tuck his head under her chin and hold him to her side. She stroked his hair slowly, not knowing what to say, but allowing the run off of her brother's pain to dredge up tears she would have otherwise not shed.

"You can not take all of the blame on your own shoulders. I do not know enough to say for certain why this happened, but I know you well enough to know that you offered him everything you could. You did not fail him." She whispered, rocking him slightly, saddened for both of them. Him, that this was so unfamiliar as to cause unbearable pain, and Her, that she was so used to death that her heart held no sadness for John Wakefield. Only for her brother.

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#6
Seth blinked as the soul left the veil. His eyes, soft and hazel where he had appeared to help his son, to ease and comfort as he could, closed momentarily as he registered the change, the abrupt sense of the soul going elsewhere, leaving him alone.

He could see where he was unwanted, and apparently, unneeded.

There was no contest for the soul; his daughter took it, forcefully, but he wasn’t going to argue this, not right now. Not when his son was so distraught. Fighting about this now would only further upset him.

Home was a foreign concept for the older god; his home had once been Egypt, then he had moved to Sumeria, then to Greece, and on and on, but the closest thing, the place that had once been what he had thought was home had been a little island with a resort on it and people who were hearty and happy. He hadn’t known a true home in many millennia. Home. “You were with him, Bes, and that should have made a difference. This is not your failing, not alone, this is…” Seth sighed, “Tragedy.” But he had seen countless such deaths, had watched gods fail.

They moved the body about, made a mess of the scene, but Seth said nothing; he would put things to rights once the two had moved on, he would take care of this, it was the least he could do. “Tell me, son,” he looked to Bes as he spoke of failure, “Do you intend to bless him in his next life?” He tipped his head, waiting for the affirmative, “Then you will not have failed him.”

Seth had a place in his heart for John Wakefield. The reason he was angry with his daughter was because she stole any chance Seth would have to bring him to the afterlife, to let the man stay in his kingdom until it was time for him to be reborn, as all souls were meant to. She rushed it, and yes, he was angry. What had been his point here, then? What purpose was he to have? He would have asked Bes if he wanted to accompany them to the Underworld, but that was not where the soul was anymore. It left him uncharacteristically unsure of how to proceed. He had little to offer either of them in terms of platitudes, and Bes had already shunned little he had offered.

“Death,” he offered quietly, “Is a window, not a door, son. Yes, in this life, this man suffered, but with help,” he motioned to Bes and Raani, “His next can be better, and that is not failure.” He reached to place a hand on each of his children’s shoulders, trying to steady them, to comfort them, regardless of his own feelings, “It is not, perhaps, the way you wished for things to be, but no one, mortal or god, has the ability to control all things. All we can do is our best, regardless of the outcome.”


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#7
Death did not upset Bes; he was too familiar with it and was not so young a god to be a stranger to his faithful finding their final rest. But Death...itwas for him the end. He did not touch souls that passed, held no sway in where they spent their rest, or rebirth. When life left the body Bes was for lack of a better word; done.

It was not that John Wakefield had died, it was that he’d died in pain, out of turn, that he’d felt so alone that he exercised that human strength of free will to cut short his existence.

It was that He had died hopeless.

It was that he’d died believing it would bring him more happiness than the life his god had carefully arranged.

‘Do you intend to bless him in the next life?’

Bes understood his Father and Sister held a more pragmatic view; that the pain and mistakes of one life could be rectified in the next and all would be well.

The problem with that was that it was Bes who settled those scales, and in this man’s case he had failed.

Their power was for the cycle. His was for the now, the living.

He was a naturally easy going god, and he heard his Father’s deep heartfelt attempt to comfort him-

“The next life he could choose not to be mine and I could not blame him.” Bes blinked to the living room, his tiny altar was nothing more than a dish beside the TV with a open packet of skittles.

Bes was a simple god, all that was required was a small offering of food, on this world the Mythos said he had a sweet tooth so faithfully John Wakefield bought a few packages of travel sized skittles every week, some for Bes and some to give to the children his job put in his path.

Bes had been honored that his follower had put his offering at the same level as the tiny bits of comfort he offered the young often traumatized souls he found in his work.

“He cared so much.” And that was the cux, his Father and Sister held hope and focused on the next life and Bes could only live with the grief for THIS life lost.

It was not the first follower he’d lost, but Bes’s power intersected with Luck and Fate enough that it was vanishingly rare for him to lose one before they were meant to.

“Thank you for coming Father.” He could See Last his grief to how uncomfortable the elder god was, that even his sister flailed for a way to make this right.

All their great power but neither came close to his domains.

He was not dismissing Seth, trying to reach out even as he pulled away from his sisters comfort; he deserved to be in pain. And He could not let Ranni bring him Rest.

He had never wished for power, content to lay his blessings, tease the patterns of fate, but now… “I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t- he couldn’t feel my Love.”

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#8
Death was a necessary part of living. Without it, no world would survive. Humanity claimed that death was the end of life, but the dead knew better; there was so much more afterward. Bes, however, seemed to agree with the mortals, and that… Threw Seth for a loop. Bes was a god, he shouldn’t be so upset about a mortal’s death, there would be another life, another chance. He asked Bes if he would bless John Wakefield in his next life, not because he wanted to upset his son, not because he knew there would be a next life even though he did, but because…

Ah. Seth nodded slowly, “Yes. He might turn away from you,” it was possible, mortals could be fickle, and their love was never guaranteed, even for a god. But… “But I did not ask if he would worship you in his next life, my son. I asked if you would bless him then.” Even as Bes disappeared to the living room, his father was still there, beside him, hazel eyes watching his son, sad but steady, “Because you can, you know. They need not choose you for you to bless them.” It was a matter of power. Bes had little interest in becoming powerful, but his lack of power was what had caused this mess.

It went against every rule Seth had made for himself when it came to his children. Every caution he had taken. And yet… Bes was so very sad. It hurt Seth to see him like this, grieving so deeply for this life, for his follower who had cared so much. Who had been, in that way, so much like his son.

He was being dismissed. Or perhaps not. It had sounded like a dismissal, and yet Bes was here, reaching for him. Even as he pulled away from Raani, Seth moved closer, cool and calm, but all of him attempting to comfort nonetheless. It was easier for him to give comfort in another form, but tonight, he was needed like this. Bes had always been human when Seth had seen him, and so Seth was human now. He needed time, just a little of it, really, to prepare what he would do.

Quietly, Seth’s essence embraced Bes’, soothing and gentle, “I’m sorry, Bes.” It was, at least in part, his fault that his son had so little power. A problem that Seth could work to rectify, though not all at once. “You must allow yourself to grieve, son. But later, perhaps a week or so from now? I would like very much for us to share a meal. If you would like that.” He could prepare in a week. “I would like to help you if you would let me.”

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#9
It had taken a few moments, but Raani understood what her father did not. She knew why this hurt her brother so much. Not that John Wakefield had died. But that he had died at home and in pain. That he had taken his own future and chosen an end to a pain rather than be able to rely on his God. It brought to her mind the soul that she had personally shredded- because she had not had the strength to give her friend the rest that she needed.

Now, no matter what her father thought she had done, John Wakefield would find rest before he was returned. She would not stretch his soul senselessly, and being a priestess of Seth meant that she could aid in his path to rebirth, give him rest, and lead him to her father's realm nonetheless. It surprised her that Seth could not feel within his core, the presence of another God's blessing inside his domain.

She hadn't even thought that he would do so personally. Raani may have made some connection with her father, but she had seen living with her father's blessing- and seen no other actions that he took himself. He had people to escort souls to his realm. One of them being herself.

The sore tone of Bes's voice had Raani holding down a sob of her own, feeling her heart rend in two as he pulled away from her. She had no desire to force rest on Bes, she only wanted to be at his side. To help him bear the load of this loss. Still, she loosened her embrace for him to move more freely, pulling a hand up to brush his hair back from his face and press a kiss to his temple.

"I am so sorry, Bes." She offered, her voice quiet with understanding. She had sought power for not dissimilar reasons. She had been so weak that her attempts at blessing had ended always in pain. Raani had never wished her brother to understand that. Resting her forehead against his shoulder, she sighed. "I would offer you a portion of my power if I thought you would take it." She whispered, knowing that despite her strength, she still stood weak enough that doing so would signify a notable drop in power. And she didn't truly know how, such that she was certain she would butcher the process and potentially her remaining power. She would make that sacrifice for him. Without pause.

She sighed, unable to come up with anything more she could do. She glanced at her father, hoping he would allow Bes to see his faithful in the afterlife before letting out the last of her air in a hiss matching the small snake form that coiled around her brother's shoulders. Before her mind caught the hint of her father's disapproval over her brother's sorrow, and with a flick of her tongue, she pooled from there to shift into a small puppy in her brother's lap. A puppy with a bifurcated tail.

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#10
Bes’s mobile mouth, so often wreathed in smiles, shifted into the barest hint of one, responding to his father - “He shouldn’t have been mine.” But the human had so valiantly fought the path others had placed him on - “He spoke to the dead, before the souls had passed he could hear them.” and that had no place in Bes’s power, that was a blessing or curse from a wholly other source. And John Wakefield had seen that claim on his soul and turned away from it, praying with desperate hope to the kinder God who in the end failed him.

“I cannot.” Bes’s smile was sad now, “I must be invited in Father. My power is too little to give my Blessing unasked.” Oh he was still a god, and could manipulate small events in a person's life, but the overarching protections and plannings? No. He couldn’t ‘see’ those that didn’t believe well enough to hold them to him.

Bes graced his family with that soft sweetly sorrowful smile, they both tried so very hard and both were so very bad at emotions, his love for them stretched out, offering them shelter in it, the knowledge that he felt them, heard them, appreciated their words and efforts on his behalf.

Hearth and Home.

It was simply his nature to nurture those bonds, even now, in his grief, Bes gave back comfort and love, resting a hand on Ranni’s hair he shook his head. “No sister.” for so many reasons, Bes had never sought power, and he would not take what she had worked so very hard to gain.
But also very honestly Bes Saw better than any of his family could what he would become if he drank of that endless well the rest of this Family supped from. When he was no longer Home, but Fate, a laughing mad god playing the strings of every universe to his personal tune. No. Puck was only sweetly tolerable because of his limited effect, Bes would not wish to become a creature that no longer even cared about the sadness in his sister's eyes.

Snuggling Ranni into his arms Bes nodded to his Father. “I would like that.” The home had grown cold, life had left it, there was nothing here for him to tend to, he knew his sister and father would see to John Wakefield tenderly for his sake, and so he must be satisfied.

He was a God, and Grief no matter how raw, over a mortal could only be sustained for so long.

“Thank you.” he clasped his Father's shoulder feeling the Elder God’s discomfort, “For this time.” they were all Gods and the demands on their attention were as countless as the stars.

He knew Ranni would stay with him and clung to her shifted form with the same comfort as a beloved teddy bear.

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#11
The mortal had spoke to the dead. Seth would seek the soul out later, speak with him, see if there were anything that he could do to ease his discomfort. He felt sympathy for the poor mortal; such an ability was often more a curse than a blessing…. “I’m sorry.” The words could be meant for mortal or god, or more likely both. “He was yours because he chose to be. There is no should or shouldn’t. Choice is the right of every mortal, regardless what they can or cannot do.” Even this last choice had belonged to John Wakefield, as upsetting as his son might find it.

The old god looked to the tiny altar, his eyes looking at it without seeing it any longer. He looked past it, to what remained of the man who had done what he could, had offered his god those things he thought would be accepted. “If you could, you would bless him regardless his worship.” It wasn’t a question any longer; in Bes’ place, Seth knew he would do the same. Had yearned to do so in the past.

When Bes reaches his essence out to comfort him, Seth accepted such comfort for one reason; he did not want to push his son away.

Bes may not desire endless power, but now Seth saw the truth of it; he had too little. His son should be able to pass his blessings on to who ever he desired, not be kept from even saving this one follower. It was a problem that Seth could do something about. Bes might be unwilling to take power from his sister, but Seth could open a door for the young god. Raani had too much more than her brother, who had too little.

He thought his wife would approve of his decision. It wasn’t the reason for it, but that thought brought a smile, though small, to his face. “I would as well.”

Time. Seth offered Bes a warm smile that reached his eyes, “My son, for you and your sister I will always have time.” It would not always be easy to come when they called, but he would not ignore them in their need. He might worry that they would turn on each other, that this family they were slowly building might be ripped to pieces like the last, but if he were honest with himself, and he wasn’t always, he loved them both.

Just as he had, and still did, love both of his first sons.

He almost dared to hope that he wouldn’t regret it this time.

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#12
So many things of mortality were beyond Raani's comprehension. She would never know discomfort in speaking to the dead. Neither was it her gift to give. She knew faithful of hers had struggled with their ability to cause such damage to the world around them, but the idea of being so hurt by the souls of the dead was too foreign for her to understand.

Frankly, Raani was distressed. Certainly mortals had turned from her worship. But that was a rarity. She was the goddess of rebirth. Once one had found themselves among her clergy, they were there until they made a decision to stop. There was no need to consider her worship each life, separate from all previous decisions.

Her distress did not matter however. Her confusion did not matter. She curled into her brother's aura, and laid hers in front of him like a blanket. Such that he could wrap it around himself if he wished, or ignore it if he'd rather.

She offered her voice softly, resisting the urge to push rest into the sound, such that she could soothe her brother. "What little should and shouldn't there is- boils down to this brother. He chose you. So he should have been yours. If someone were to worship our father, it wouldn't matter if new plant life sprung up under his step. He should worship our father. Because he chooses to. I have a few faithful in disaster prevention efforts. The opposite to what I am. But it does not matter. If they choose you, then they should be with you." Raani explained, hoping her emotions would come across more clearly than her words.

"He did his best to spread warmth in his life. He was yours. As he should have been." Raani whispered against her brother's mind.

She also did not need to hear him say the words to know he would not accept her power. She knew enough from discussing her gaining of power with him in the past. She had more than she absolutely needed in order to control herself as she had once sought- but Raani had always known her brother didn't have the same designs on his godhood as she had on her own.

Even if she didn't understand exactly why he did not want power so.

She snuggled easily, content to let her brother use her as a thing of comfort. She nuzzled him as well as she could, unused to this form as she was.

It was a great deal less flexible than she usually found herself when at this size. The puppy form was also much wider than she normally was. Raani would require time to adjust to it.

She gave a single dignified nod at the comment from her father before she stretched her mind to theirs. "My time is best spent when it is with my famiky. I too will always be there if either of you have need of me." Raani glanced at her father, relinquishing her touch on her brother's mind in order to speak to their father alone. "Regardless of being in your priesthood or in mother's. You are doing what you can to accept my search for power, and I appreciate that, but know that I would not hesitate to sunder myself from it if such would aid those I love."

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