PRW Runner-up Tour: Nut, The Forever Lonesome Sky Goddess by Alexandra Perchanidou
The arches around her shone golden with each step she took towards the aisle. This was her happiest day, a day where all the gods and goddesses were not fighting, gossiping, plotting against each other. For once they would all gather and celebrate a day of happiness.
A day of a wedding.
Nut’s blue hair was twisted up on an elegant knot, stones decorating the crown of her head, while the white fabric fell on waves from her chest to her feet, creating ripples of sparkling tiny diamonds. It was a gift from her parents Shu and Tefnut, who were standing beside Ra, close to the top of the aisle.
And to the right of Ra, at the base of the pearl made aisle, he was standing.
She could still the recall the nights when she was to stretch upon the sky, creating and holding the stars on her body, the tips of her toes and fingers touching the infinite skies of Earth. The humans had created temples, small castles on every region, despite the rough ruling of Ra. But thanks to him, the earth was fertile and people could celebrate the coming and going of the seasons.
It was one of those nights, when Nut would ascend from her tower at the top of the highest mountains, spreading her blue tinted wings from her arms, heading up to bring the night once again. As she flew away from the mountains over the plains of this single continent where the humans resided, she saw a man running into the night. Even from her height she could see the brown dark skin of his, the brown long hair and the eyes that glowed like amber.
His stride was strong, confident of his power but she focused on what he was leaving behind him. A trail of green light covered the ground and soon wheat appeared, growing healthy and strong. “Geb.” She muttered softly, watching the god of earth blessing the human fields. She hadn’t realized that her voice was carried with the winds until she saw the god in question stop running and titling his head up.
Their gazes locked, his amber eyes with her dark purple. Despite his speed, Geb wasn’t tired and Nut hovered above him, forgetting for a moment her daily task. She could feel the pull of the sky, night needed to come and the stars in her mind begged to be released. “My lady.” Geb’s smooth voice echoed in the night and with a quick nod and a nervous smile, Nut flew upwards, letting her body grow bigger and bigger, until the night fell and the stars shone above a smiling Geb.
They spent months greeting each other, sometimes close to nighttime others at the gatherings of the gods, when the humans would present at the hallways of Ra’s labyrinth castle and offer their sacrifices. Tefnut, Nut’s mother, would smile at her daughter as she was stealing glances with Geb and her father Shu, god of air, who already knew from the winds what his daughter was doing, would beckon Nut towards Geb. They were a matching couple despite their opposites.
They were balance.
Nut stopped right in front of Geb and he pulled slowly the veil which covered her face. He smiled at her as he pulled her hands toward his and together they turned to Ra. A almost eight feet, the god of all gods was magnificent with his clothes pristine white and the symbols of his rule, the ankh and the scepter on his hands. His yellow eyes and dark green skin glowed as he leaned down and placed his signs of ruling upon the heads of Nut and Geb.
“Here we bless the union of our earth and sky. Here we share the happiness of their love.” Ra’s voice flattered slightly as if the word felt sour on his mouth. “May the Eye of mine and Ma’at’s feather always be the guides of your eternity.”
Everyone on the wide chamber roared with joy when Geb kissed Nut. His lips tasted of honey and sunshine, warmth and spice; he was truly intoxicating.
“Ra has received a prophecy.” Geb spoke as he entered the resting room. Nut got up from her armchair, a book open in her hands.
He saw the worried expression on her face and sadness enveloped him. He didn’t want to tell her the news. He didn’t want to see her beautiful eyes watering from tears. She was supposed to be starlight and night, cool air and love, not grief and anguish.
Geb felt her pale white hands on his chest, slowly making their way on his cheeks. He looked down at her. “Tell me love. What has made you so troubled?”
Geb covered her hands with his. “Ra has gotten word from the Underworld, the lower plains, where Anubis and Ma’at reside. He summoned me when he learnt it.”
Nut closed her eyes for a moment as if bracing herself for the news. “Ra has issued an order. We are not to have children.”
She snapped her eyes open, horrified. “Why? Why would Ra do this to us?”
“Because he fears that our children will overthrow him.” Geb stated miserably and Nut stepped away from him shaking her head in grief and disbelief.
“Our children would never try to overthrow Ra! This is crazy and scandalous!” Nut shouted, rage making her wings appear on her hands. The blue feathers were dark, almost black from her anger and sadness.
Geb hugged her. “His words were clear: “Nut shall not give birth any day of the year.” That’s what he said.” He felt her cool tears falling on his skin and Geb held her tight, cursing Ra for his suspiciousness. If they were not to have children, to celebrate the fruit of their love then how would they continue on eternity just the two of them?
“Thoth!” Nut shouted as she flew into the wide gardens of the god’s residence. “Thoth, where are you?” she shouted again as she landed.
The sound of steps was heard behind her and an ibis-headed man with brown robes steeped into her vision. He opened his arms, like a father waiting for his child and Nut run into him, crying miserably.
“I know Nut, I know.”
“Yes, but Ma’at’s words always carry a deeper meaning. As the god of wisdom, I am not allowed to take sides but I can tell you this; Ra cannot be the only one who will rule the humans.”
Nut stepped away from him wiping her tears. Her blue hair was falling down to her shoulders and the dark grey dress was clinging to her sides. “I don’t care about power Thoth, never had. Why do I need power when I can command the sky and the stars?”
“Your words are wise child.” Thoth’s ibis head moved to the sky, then back to her. “I will help you but you’ll have to trust me.”
“Anything Thoth. Tell me what to do”
“You’ll do nothing. You see, the year has only 360 days. Ra declared that you can’t have children in this span of time. But what if I create more days for you and Geb?”
Nut stared at him wide eyed. “How will you do that?”
“The god of the Moon, Khonsu, always rivals Ra’s light. If I could take some moonlight from him then I would create enough days for you and Geb.”
Nut smiled at him and kissed his palms in a gesture of gratitude. Thoth shook his head and held her shoulders. “You are brave Nut but remember that Ra will not tolerate this behavior.”
“I will not regret this Thoth. Neither will Geb.”
“So be it child.”
Geb stared at the dark sky, watching the stars blinking as Nut stretched her ethereal body over Earth, bring night once more. He sighed sadly and walked to his study. A map was lying on the table, showing the borders of each divine residence while the humans were scattered around them. From the upper plains where Ra and the elemental gods and goddesses resided to the lower plains where gods like Anubis, Ma’at and lower ones lived, Geb preferred the lakes on the borders between the residents of Thoth and Tefnut. Nut always liked to swim there.
He looked at the window again. The moon wasn’t visible. Maybe Khonsu was gambling again and the earth god wondered what and with who he was gambling. The dry season had already began and for the god it was a time of rest. He would get to spend more time with his wife, trying to heal her wounds.
“Geb…” her ethereal voice sounded and he sprint towards the window. He saw stars falling, a star shower enchanting and beautiful to his eyes. The winds spoke to him of a location, away from the populated residents and worried the god jumped from the window of the tower, welcoming the ground under his feet. He ran towards the direction of Nut’s voice with the stars above him a guide.
Five days. Thoth had managed to win from Khonsu five more days by tricking the god to gamble his moonlight. Nut and Geb couldn’t be happier for this chance. And within this span of time, along with the help of Tefnut, Nut’s mother, the sky goddess gave birth into five children. Their names were unique and echoed like a song into the divine plains: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Set and Nephthys.
But their cries didn’t go unnoticed. Ra found out where Nut and the children were held and along with his guard he arrested them, while Geb was away at the lower plains tending at the farms of the humans. His powers weren’t enough to protect Nut, but since the children were gods and goddesses born by the union of the polar opposites, the balance was a pulse that stretched into the very core of every god and goddess.
Ra’s guards arrested Geb and together with Nut, they were brought before the aisle of Ra, the very same he had blessed them on their wedding day. “You have disobeyed my orders!” Ra roared his yellow eyes gleaming of power.
But Nut and Geb stood brave before him. They were earth and sky; nothing could scare them, not now. “We never disobeyed you.” Geb said.
“Your words were for the days of the year. So I found a way and created five more days.” Nut spoke, not wanting to betray Thoth and his kindness for her.
Ra was silent. He understood that he couldn’t kill the children but a punishment had to pass. He smiled down at them. “You are right. But that doesn’t change the fact that you gave birth. That was also an order.”
“And with what right do you deny us to have children. You are the sun god but we govern the skies and earth!”
“Kill our children and we shall destroy humanity!” Geb roared and earthquakes shook the ground.
Ra continued smiling. “No, I will not kill you.” A tornado appeared suddenly and lifted Nut from the ground. She shouted trying to control the winds, which had trapped her body, but it was impossible.
Geb shouted her name and when he tried to catch her, he found his feet struck to the ground. His amber eyes shone and the god growled at Ra. The sun god lifted his right arm and Nut’s body ascended towards the open part of the ceiling. “Nut shall forever stay on her ethereal body bringing the night and you Geb, shall forever stay on the ground unable to take your human form again.”
“No!” they both roared and stretched their arms trying to touch each other.
Ra turned to Nut’s parents. Tefnut watched with silent horror her daughter’s punishment and Shu had tightened his fists, holding his promise to Nut, not to speak but instead take care of her children.
“Shu, will have the duty on keeping you apart from each other. LET ALL THE GODS AND GODDESSES KNOW THAT FROM THIS MOMENT EARTH AND SKY SHALL BE SEPARATED FOREVER!”
Ra’s voice created earthquakes and the skies darkened as Nut ascended to the sky, losing her human body as higher she went. Geb called and called her name as he was losing his onw body at the same time. Their cries echoed, the gods remained silent, until everything calmed and the skies cleared again.
Shu wailed as he shed his human body and took the responsibility to keep the pair from touch each other again.
Centuries passed. The five children of Nut and Geb grew stronger and shaped the hierarchy of the gods. Every night when the stars appeared to the sky, the winds would carry the rustle of leaves the soft hum of earth towards the blinking stars. And at the same time when stars would fall to earth, just before they would dissolve on the air, few stardust would fall on the ground touch it. It was the only thing Shu could do for Nut and Geb.
And the humans would know the story and some of them would strain their ears to the sky and listen to the humming song of Geb and Nut.
“Stars and dust, earth and stones
Hearts were lost but they remain close.”
Follow Alexandra on Twitter (@Alexperc92)
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