Hermes arrived in the conference room long before anyone else, and looking around, he was both confused and somewhat excited. There was the central table surrounded in chairs–as anyone would have expected there to be at such a gathering of the Gods–and around the edges of the room, there were couches…not the kind for sitting, reclining at a symposium sipping wine, but for sleeping, or more likely, for leisurely afternoon sex.
The Gods started to come in, and Hermes recognized many of them: Osiris, Apis, Ptah, Isis, Anubis, Thoth, some naked quiet boy, someone else he couldn’t quite make out, and finally a ridiculously-bearded figure with a modius on his head. Following these were the usual–and a few unusual–Greek suspects: Zeus, Dionysos, Eos, and…Hades.
Hades, Hermes thought. This will be interesting.
There was a sound–something between a shout and a mournful song–from outside for a few moments, and then Memnon came in and sat by his mother’s side.
As everyone looked around, the figure that Hermes could not quite make out began to speak, his voice low and gravelly and almost a whisper, but it could be heard in the divine marrows of each deity’s bones.
“It has come to our attention that our plans to unite the peoples of Egypt and Greece more closely are not proceeding as quickly as we had intended,” the hidden figure said.
“And we in Egypt are accustomed to waiting a great deal of time for things to progress,” the starry-eyed Ptah said.
“What concern is this of ours?” Zeus replied rather imperiously.
Ptah continued. “Much good will occur in the world if Egypt and Greece are able to unite; it will not always be an easy road, by any means, but with the innovative spirit of the Greeks and the time-honored traditionalism of the Egyptians, surely great accomplishments will follow when these two cultures are allowed to more freely mingle.”
“Have our efforts failed thus far?” Eos looked at her son.
“They have not failed,” Ptah resumed, “they are simply not moving fast enough. Memnon’s birth, life, and cultus has been positive, but limited in its scope. Naukratis’ foundation has been a boon, but it is one city between two continents. Much more needs to happen.”
“What do you propose?” Zeus asked impatiently.
“Wait! An oracle comes,” Ptah interrupted.
Into the room came a figure with ram’s horns on his head, looking somewhat like Zeus. Zeus rolled his eyes, and a distant peal of thunder was heard as he did so. The hard-to-make-out figure brightened somewhat.
“I am Zeus-Ammon, and I have come to portend our future course.”
Hermes listened in to his father’s thoughts for a moment.
I don’t know if I regret that particular divine fling or not…Ammon is no Ganymede.
“A child of many Gods is upon the earth, about to unite three continents of the world in a way that Memnon could only dream about…”
“Hey!” Memnon objected. “I’m only a demigod, what did you expect?”
“As he is a child of many Gods, this will also be the work of many Gods.”
Now Zeus’ patience was exhausted. “Enough of this idle vagary and vagueness! Speak clearly, oracle, or do not speak further at all!”
Zeus-Ammon retreated from the group, and Zeus rolled his eyes again, a faint electric arc sparking from his eyebrows to his hair.
“It is true,” Osiris began, “there has not been as strong a connection between Africa and Europe as is needed.”
“And what about Asia?” Zeus added, simply to nip at the Egyptians’ heels a bit.
“Asia has been in close contact with Africa for long before Europe was even a glimmer in Ptah’s eye.
“Ha!” Zeus spat.
“As I was saying,” Osiris continued, “it is time to move this process more quickly and with more dynamism. If we do not act decisively, then Alexander’s conquests will have little benefit for humanity, and our own fortunes may diminish. Thus, we have a plan. Everyone, meet Osorapis.”
The figure with the modius on his head stood up, somewhat timidly.
“He has existed in the shadows for a long time,” the hidden figure said.
“A minor part in our cast of thousands,” Ptah said, “sprung from my colleague Osiris and my herald Apis.” Both Osiris and Apis looked at Osorapis and grinned as widely and proudly as they could manage, which to Hermes still looked like little more than a slightly curved line.
“And what do you expect of him?” Zeus demanded.
“He will be the bearer of the image of many different Gods, and will spread out from Egypt to eventually reach Asia, Greece, and even Rome and the reaches north and west of it, into Germania and even Britannia.”
“Obscure forests and backwater islands–what concern is this of ours?” Zeus objected.
At last, Isis spoke. “If you wish to go to those places in your own time, Zeus, you may do so; however, given your reluctance, doesn’t it make more sense to send someone else to do it?”
Whether it was the good sense of her statement, or simply the fact that Zeus had not yet had sex with Isis and thought this might be a good in-road, he began to come around. “Hmm…I see what you mean.”
“Do you agree, then?” Isis asked, somewhat more seductively than she had intended.
“Of course!” Zeus thundered.
“Then sign here, please,” Thoth–who had been carefully recording the entire proceeding–offered a papyrus scroll and a quill. Zeus flicked it away, and sent a small lightning bolt out of his finger, burning his name into the papyrus. Thoth began laughing in a shrill and high-pitched fashion, and Hermes knew immediately what was afoot.
“I shall begin collecting my tributes from the Goddesses of Greece immediately,” Isis said.
“What do you mean?” Zeus asked.
“Our pantheons are to unite, not just under Osorapis, but under myself as well. All of the Greek Goddesses, and many others, will fall under my mantle, and their attributes will be my own. I shall spread from Egypt to the isles, to Asia, to Greece, to Rome, and further afield without difficulty nor opposition. I shall be the Goddess pre-eminent amongst Goddesses for centuries to come!”
“I did not agree to this!” Zeus protested.
“Actually,” Hermes began, “you just signed an agreement saying exactly all of that, and more.”
“More? What more?” There was a note of fear in Zeus’ voice.
“More deities are to be made, and others will be branching out,” Hermes reported. “That naked child there will go with his father and mother, Isis and Osorapis, and will do outside of Egypt what Horus–both Elder and Younger–did within it. And there’s still yet more,” Hermes said.
“Does it involve me?” Zeus asked.
“Other than granting some of your gifts to Osorapis, no. But, two new deities must also come forth to bridge my roles with the Egyptians: Hermes Trismegistos, born of myself and Thoth, and Hermanubis, born of myself and Anubis.”
“Aah,” Zeus said, somewhat relieved. That’s what the couches are for. He remembered back to the creation of Zeus-Ammon, and though he was somewhat annoyed with the results, the process of creation was not without its pleasures, even though Ganymede’s were more exquisite.
Hermes moved toward one of the couches, and Anubis did likewise. Anubis began sniffing at Hermes’ crotch, while Thoth simply stood back, wrote, and laughed.
“You’re next, smiley-bird,” Hermes said, equally jocular as well as vicious.
“And what about me?” Hades spoke, at last.
“There is a dream that will be sent to Ptolemy, with your image in it,” Ptah said. “Ptolemy will send to Sinope to appropriate a statue of you for use as one of the first images of Osorapis. Do you consent to this?”
“What if I do not?” Hades asked provocatively.
“Then there will be other options,” Osiris said.
“There is an image of Endovellicus amongst the Celtiberians that might be suitable,” Thoth offered in between recording every groan of pleasure and bark from Hermes and Anubis.
“Or perhaps the Phoenician Melqart, now called Herakles of Gades,” Ptah suggested.
“In fact, I think I like those ideas better,” Osorapis spoke up, timidly.
“No, no, NO!” Hades said. “Fine, I consent–have my image and my attributes, and bring my presence more fully into the light of day from its hiddenness.”
“Very well,” Osiris concluded.
The Greeks rose to leave, except for Hermes–still wrestling with Anubis–and Dionysos, who had been lounging languidly, not really paying attention, in a gentle semi-inebriated stupor.
“Do you require something of me?” Dionysos asked.
“Only that you give your gifts to Osorapis,” Ptah said.
“Okay…but I want to do it THAT WAY,” Dionysos exclaimed, pointing to Hermes and Anubis on the couch.
“Very well,” Isis agreed, and shoved Osorapis toward another couch, where Dionysos gladly stretched himself out and smiled.
“One final thing,” Memnon said, as the Greek party was nearly out of the chamber.
“What is that?” Osiris asked.
“The name, ‘Osorapis,’ doesn’t exactly roll off the Greek tongue.”
“What?” Osiris was shocked.
“No, it’s true,” Memnon continued. “Don’t underestimate the power of names.”
“He’s right,” Isis agreed. Osiris looked equally shocked again at his wife’s words.
“Then…” Osiris mustered himself at this affront to his name, “what do you propose?”
“How about…” Memnon paused.
“SERAPIS!” shouted Hermes in the throes of passion with Anubis.
“Serapis…Serapis…SERAPIS!” the former Osorapis said with glee, as Dionysos licked his lips and invited him closer.