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(Ireland) Your Decision

POSTED: 26 Jan 2013

  • Date and Time: November 16th, 1934; late afternoon/early evening
  • Setting: Communal tent shared by Meti, the Marenasers, and the Menma’atres.
  • Weather Conditions: Clear and sunny, but cooling down
As soon as they were alone, Akhom lost his power of speech as if the gods had stolen it right out of his mouth. He searched for the right words and only came up empty.

For the first time in his life, he didn’t know what to say.

In substitution, he held out his hands, painfully frustrated and almost pleading, as if to physically grope for words. They spoke with greater volume than did his voice, asking a million unspoken questions at once: what have we done? What was I supposed to do? Was it right? What if it isn’t? Are the consequences worth it? Is our faith enough? What happens next? How many more sacrifices can we make until we have nothing left to give?

But he didn’t expect answers—if he didn’t have them, then why should Suhad? For that matter, why should anyone human have them? Perhaps, Akhom thought, perhaps this choice was not really a choice, just disguised as such. Perhaps this path was penance for the Medjai massacre, and for whatever was in the Box Sutekh had given them. But only the gods knew; what right had he to claim otherwise? Moreover, what right did he have to demand answers of Them? He was only a mere mortal, and They omniscient and all-powerful.

Only They knew.

Frustrated, he sighed, and then greedily, Akhom roped Suhad into his arms. Now, when all was said and done, he could lay himself bare for her. Neither of them had to hold themselves together when they were here, alone.

That was the beauty of their love: they held each other together in ways no one else could.

Akhom settled on their cot, with Suhad in his lap. He kissed her hair and tucked the top of her head under his chin. Finally, somehow, he found his speech again.

“I’m sorry, hayati,” he apologized, pausing and carefully deliberating his next words. There was no light way to approach it, but he couldn't ignore it. “For Tuya. For this mess Sutekh has gotten us into. I fear we have but unleashed Apep Himself.”
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33 years old
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Sanny
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POSTED: 29 Jan 2013

Suhad curled into her husband, seeking his heat and his reassuring solid bulk. Her shoulders shook as she leant against him, tears falling silently down her cheeks. She snaked her arms around him, pulling her knees up to her chest. She felt so fragile and tiny in his embrace, a bird in the jaws of a jackal. But his muscled arms were gentle around her, cradling her and keeping her safe. She had never in her life felt as safe as she did nestled in his embrace.

His chest rumbled as he spoke, and she closed her eyes. Her head pounded with blunt, hot pain.

"I fear too." she said quietly. Fresh tears sprung out of sore, swollen eyelids.

She moved in his arms until she was face to face with him. She cupped his face with a slender hand, stroking his cheek with her thumb. Softly, so softly is was barely above a whisper, she asked "Are you asking me if we were right, my love, to let him free?" She kissed him, before pulling back and looking sadly into his eyes. "I don't know. I cannot lie to you my heart, though I wish I could." She paused and pressed her lips together. "Apep pales next to the hells Sutekh will unleash when he learns that she-"

Suhad closed her eyes, her face a mask. It was painful and unreal all at once. Though the deepest, secret centre of her heart ached with the loss, knew it as keenly and intrinsically as she knew her own name, still she couldn't admit it was truly happening. Like floating on the high of poppy milk, she knew and could feel the pain, but it wasn't connected to her. Like it was happening to someone else.

And yet every time she closed her eyes she saw again Meti Wasret's terrible, empty stare, and knew as she'd known the first time. Tuya was dead. Slain by Medjai hands. As the Medjai had been by the hands of her husband. Their Chief.

By Akhom's hands, too.

Suhad wrapped her arms around Akhom's neck, nestling her face against his collarbone, inhaling his scent.

"Akhom," she said into his neck, voice wavering sightly. "I told you once you would have to make a choice. Back when this hell began, I warned you you would have to choose between following your brother into the dark and betraying him for the light."

Her words caught in her throat and she rocked against him, wanting to be swallowed up by his bulk. To crumple into him and cease to exist as an independent person. To become something greater than the broken pieces of their individuality. He'd always brought out the best in her. Her beloved. Her husband. Her monster, whose hands yet bruised from the violence he'd unleashed just a few hours before. She slid her hands down his back and under his shirt, feeling the warmth of him. Her fingers traced the still slowly healing scars that tore him.

"Tell me we made the right choice tonight. All of the ways forward are so dark and all the prices so heavy. I do not know that we can carry it." She pulled her head up, eyes searching his face. "Where is the lightness in this? There is always a choice my love, but I am so afraid. I am so afraid we are all just stumbling in the dark down roads we can only pray are the right ones."
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POSTED: 09 Apr 2013

Suhad never made a sound, but he knew from the silent sobs racking her shoulders that she was weeping in his arms. Something coiled tightly inside of him, then – something of potentially explosive proportions. The pained, stricken expression he pictured on her face alone could drive him to murderous rage, and woe betide anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Woe betide Sutekh, when Akhom found him.

He was the reason his wife was crumpling in his own arms.

It was becoming too frequent an occurrence for his liking.

“I know,” he whispered into her hair, only just able to keep it together. “I know. Shhhh.” With tenderness that belied his massive size and lethal capabilities, gently, he rocked her in his arms.

With each sob, his face drew tighter and tighter. He could feel his anger beginning to stoke again like coals on a banking fire. It had never really been put out. Akhom was angry. So angry. Angry at Sutekh, angry at himself, angry at their circumstances, angry at the Gods.

When she kissed him, however, all of his anger seemed to disappear into thin air. Without it, Akhom felt vulnerable, and he knew that she could see right through him. He didn’t know what to say to her, because she was right, so with the pad of his thumb, he wiped away each tear as it fell down her cheek until he could articulate his thoughts. Eloquence was only one of many things he struggled with.

“We cannot just carry it, my love. We must. If we entrusted this burden to Sutekh alone, all the hells would break loose and every land on this earth would be lit aflame with his wrath. I do am not doing this for him – I am doing this for the civilians I murdered,” he paused at his own verbal whiplash, “and for those left alive who must brave the consequences of what they’ve done. I am doing this for the thousands of Akhoms and Suhads and Anhurs within our clans who have been forced to blindly trust and follow Sutekh. Someone must carry this burden for them, because the gods know they cannot do it alone.”

Her fingers felt like fire on his scar. Akhom cringed, despite himself. He could not see it, there on his back, but it was a physical marker of what he’d done, no less. The wound itself had healed up nicely by Suhad’s blessedly merciful hands, but it might as well have been gaping, still – that massacre was still a part of him that was healing.

He wasn’t sure if it would ever heal.

Akhom, slayer of warriors, defier of death, was frightened. But what good was it to tell Suhad as much? With the heavy burden upon her shoulders and grief etched into every line of her face, she could be spared of the admittance, even if he was certain that should could see it written all over him.

They were all scared, and they needed an anchor. Whatever else he was, Akhom could be one. Had to be one.

Carefully, he extricated Suhad from his person and leveled himself with her, meeting her eyes with some sort of hidden strength he wasn’t even aware he possessed. While respect and honesty was the cornerstone of his marriage, unmanning shame had all but crippled his usual vitality after…what he had done. This was the first time in too long that he was able to make stable eye contact with his wife, and speak more than a handful of words to her. With their plight plunging headlong into the inevitable, it dawned on Akhom that time was too short to avoid her like he was. She needed to know, from him, before Osiris swept them away from this hell in which they were trapped like He did Tuya. He would die a thousand deaths and more before he would let the Gods steal him before he fixed whatever was going on between them. Before she knew he loved her more than life itself. Before it was too late.

“I will carry this burden to the Underworld on my back if it meant the chance for you to live, hayati. You are the lightness in this. You are my torch in such a dark path, my soul; my life; my love, and I am sorry. I am so sorry for what I have done to you – to us. But I cannot do this without you. I cannot pull this weight alone. I need you, Suhad.”

As if to physically confirm his need for her, he kissed her deeply and fiercely in a way that had been lost to them after the massacre.

“I always have.”
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33 years old
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Sanny
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POSTED: 01 Jun 2014

Akhom kissed her so hard it hurt, crushing her against his chest, entangling his hands in her hair. Suhad pulled him to her, her arms aching, fingertips digging into his skin as her hands slid across his back.

Her breathing was ragged as she broke the kiss. Her lips brushed his as she spoke, "I need you too," she said simply. "I always will."

She kissed his forehead, his jaw, the side of his mouth. "I love the very bones of you," she said, holding his face in her hand, tracing the strong lines of his cheek with her thumb. "And there is no escaping that."

Slowly, she kissed him. She pulled back as he tried to return her embrace, teasing his lips, achingly slow. Suddenly, she moved her hand from his face to the hair at the back of his neck in one fluid movement, grasping it tightly and forcing his head back, exposing his neck. "I need you, Akhom," she murmured, her breath warm on his neck where his jugular was beating under the delicate skin. Her teeth grazed his neck, her fingernails scratching at the robe that covered his shoulders, chest, feling the hard ripples of his abdomen through the cloth. "I need my husband."

She hesitated, her fingers sliding under the edge of his robe, slipping onto the warmth of his stomach. She shivered slightly, tongue wetting her lips. "I have missed you, my love."
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30 years old
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Charlie
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