Then I saw her sitting in the center of temple steps, where people would assemble, now young and nimble; no longer an old woman to resemble, but in truer form with no weave-task to perform. Innana, with storm in her eyes and nothing warm. She glared at me, and flared, “Do you share the pain of my people, or only stare at the ruins to share your judgment upon my own affair with Uruk? How dare you air your thoughts and swear against Dyēus, against any of us?” Innana stood then, “I declare, you’re easy to ensnare; you’d pair well, indeed, with the bitch-witch Bast!”
“Enough!” Kheba demanded and reprimanded, “What are you, god or worthless sod?” And with nod at Nuh, “And see how you behave before this brave child! And this man would gladly lave your feet and hands, slave to help rebuild, and waive any offer to save him the trouble!”
Innana spiritedly lept down to us and kept her eyes on me, except one quick glance at Nuh, then slapped her sister, and grabbed my throat. “Will you, but flesh-and-blood, gloat over all deity? Then you’ll float on stream of darkness in boat of death!” Kheba knocked away her handhold on my neck and blocked another coming hit from the fit of rage into which Innana had fallen. “I’m no doddling old woman now, am I? You should bow and beg, cower before me, and pray I have some mercy left in store!” And at that Nuh deftly left for safe dome of kindly home.
“What? Have you become some dæmonic mutt?” Kheba asked aghast, then suddenly changed toward her seemingly deranged sister. “Ah, so, not slow to reach pitch of terror-bitch to teach? But why must each lesson taught be bought by student at price beyond what is prudent? You provoke fear to invoke reverence enough for suppliant to learn, but then compliant they nevertheless burn against you, and may even in anger turn from what is true.”
Innana blew softly on my face, and pace of my heart somewhat slowed. Bewilderment took hold of mind to bind in confusion. “I’m not like you, Kheba, yet am I you, too; and you knew I flew into rage even while appearing in old age. Yes, my smiling was beguiling, but was I lying? My smile came from both pity and humor o’er the witty critique of your boy-lover of such mystique; so, too, did I wink at the stink of ignorance, which caused him to blink in reply because deep inside keep of his soul, he knew he was singing the wrong song. And how far along have you led him, anyway? You have lofty ideas, but truly you are too softly, Kheba! You have no ambition, or even cognition, of strict discipline, which is more than complimentary to instruction, but necessary accessory … if it be done right in the sight of Dyēus.”
“And what in hand have you to correct me; I’ll not flee your wisdom,” Kheba stood straight and tall. “Tell what wrong have I done; will you sing that song?” Passersby casually looked our way with seeming apathy, but ne’er stopped to stay, nor did they say anything; Innana and Kheba may as well have been hired hands in harvest bands. Here divinity stood among them, but it mattered little more than the flung of dung. Did they even know? If so, it surely didn’t show! “Do you even know what my Soylu has been through? Do you know of his trek through hell, hearing death’s bell? About the fire and funeral pyre? About our brother, the One Son, and Mother Love saving him? About Dyēus blessing him, and caressing him through Şifalâhe? Ah! Surprised…? But you’ve already sized up dear Soylu, and despise him because he is sometimes still unwise. Oh! But he still tries, and flies higher and grows more than you seem to know.”
Innana now drew close enough to skew me, if she so desired, but it seemed her anger had expired … thank Dyēus and whomever else! “We shall see,” Inanna patted me on the cheek. “We shall see…”
Note: Second painting, “St. Ishtar,” (recast here as Innana) by terez_bellydancer; also, please do take my little poll in my previous post, Keep Playing Tweety Bird? And thank you!