chaoticset: (o hai thar)

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Created on 2012-05-05 23:13:07 (#1614370), never updated

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Set (or Seth, if you must) is among the oldest of gods held sacred to the Egyptians. He is the god of the desert and storms, as well as other strange and frightening incidents such as eclipses and earthquakes. Though not a true weather god, he has been known to use these powers either to incite fear or respect (usually both) among those who would doubt him. As well as representing the desert -- and that is his creation -- he is associated with the foreign lands and people beyond it, a fact which frequently puts him at odds with his own people. Other associations include turmoil, confusion, illness and rage.

Despite all this, Set is not a purely evil entity. Like mortals, gods are hardly so simplistic. He created and still protects the life-sustaining oases of the desert, and he has pledged his allegiance (for whatever reasons, many of them admittedly self-serving) to his grandfather, the sun god Ra. In this capacity, at least until he was replaced for his ceaseless bragging, Set guarded Ra on his dangerous nightly passage through the Underworld, and it was only through Set's faithful slaying of the demonic serpent Apep that Ra returned to the earth each day to bring sunlight. Or so the legend goes.

Set is the youngest of four children born to Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess. His elder siblings include Osiris, Isis, and his future wife, Nepthys. Incest is...kind of a thing. Royal lineages and all.

In the beginning, Set was revered as the volatile but honorable ruler of Upper (southern) Egypt. When he and his followers resisted unification with Lower (northern) Egypt, which was under his nephew Horus's rule, Set became villainized as a god of darkness, chaos, and evil. He hasn't exactly done a lot to dispell that theory.

It was during this time that Set's true nature came into question, along with his legitimacy to the throne. From the very beginning, long before man was around to record the events, Set despised his older brother Osiris. Not only was the older brother more handsome and more beloved, arguably even the most beloved of all the gods, but he was given a son by Set's wife, Nephthys. Yes, that's his sister, too. As stated, it's just a thing. At any rate, Set was outraged that Nephthys took on Isis's form and betrayed him by sleeping with Osiris and bearing his child, the god Anubis. He never had children of his own, being as dead and infertile as the desert he commanded, so this development was especially vexing. However, the bulk of his anger lay with his brother rather than his wife.

But Set's primary issue with Osiris was a matter of honor and pride. When their father, Geb, resigned from his throne, Osiris took his place. Set felt as though the throne should be his, and he never forgave his brother for what he saw as the most hurtful kind of betrayal.

Clearly, then, his only recourse was to murder Osiris.

Driven mad with the need for revenge, Set schemed for quite some time before developing an ingenius, if convoluted, plot. He had a beautiful sarcophagus made of sturdy wood and rare gems, constructed precisely to Osiris's exact physical measurements. Set then took this coffin with him to a feast held in his brother's honor and announced that he planned to give it as a gift to whomever could fit precisely into it. Many tried, but none could fit exactly. Except Osiris. Taken by the excellent quality and craftsmanship, Osiris tried out the coffin and was delighted that it was a perfect fit. At that point, Set and his fellow conspirators shut and locked the lid, then poured molten lead into the cracks to seal it before tossing it into the Nile River.

Isis set out to look for her husband, needing to give Osiris a proper burial to ensure his soul's successful journey into the afterlife. She eventually found the coffin down the river off the coast of Byblos (now Lebanon). She brought the sarcophagus back with her, but upon stopping to rest before she returned home, Set discovered the coffin while out on a night hunting trip. Blinded by rage and afraid of what the other gods might do to him if his plot was discovered, Set dismembered the body and scattered all fourteen pieces throughout all of Egypt.

A distraught Isis, along with her sister/in-law Nephthys, began the hunt for the missing pieces so that they could once again attempt an official burial. To prevent Set from harming them or Isis and Osiris's infant, Horus, Set's lover, Tawaret, kept him in chains until Isis and Nephthys could complete their task.

Osiris was buried, Set was released and returned to the throne he had usurped from his brother, and everything was relatively normal. That is, until his nephew Horus grew up and learned what had transpired between his father and uncle. Taking it upon himself to enact vengeance, Horus began an endless feud with Set, claiming rightful inheritance to the throne of Egypt as well as revenge for his slain father. Many times the gods called them both to court to beg them to stop, but no viable solution could be reached. Most of the gods agreed that Horus was in the right, and moreover was the true heir to the throne, but Ra, chief among the gods, refused to side against his grandson, Set.

And so it goes, forever.

Eventually, the truth became muddled and passed into legend and myth, and as humans are wont to do, they added and subtracted elements to suit a given need. However strange the truth is, some elements of the story are simply too fantastic to be believed. The infant Horus, for example, was conceived just prior to Osiris's death, not as a product of Isis's necromancy. And Set would also like to point out that he did not, in fact, eat Osiris's penis, nor did any other fish, and how that lurid detail made it into the story at all is anyone's guess. Not enough blood and sex in it already, supposedly. Set also denies that he attempted to humiliate his nephew in the other gods' esteem via rape. That never happened, and while Set freely admits to enjoying the company of both men and women, he prefers his partners to be willing. And finally, he would also like to deny that his physical form bears any resemblance to the infamous Set animal of legend. His heiroglyphs depict him as a fearsome combination of animal parts; this is merely useful propaganda and nothing more.
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