Part 19 - The First False Pharaoh
They left the temple of Osiris and headed deeper into the ravine. They began to pass through a deep gorge, with a small shallow river running down the center of it. At various points, small structures could be seen the end of small offshoots from the main gorge.
They passed by all of these offshoots and continued straight ahead to the end of the gorge. There they found a chapel called the Temple of the Sun. It’s courtyard was filled with snakes. As long as they remained on the stone path leading to the interior, the many slithering serpents seemed to ignore them. There was little of interest within the temple itself. But stepping out the back exit they saw a sheer cliff up ahead. At the top of the cliff was a set of stone doors embedded into the mountainside.
With much effort, they were able to scale the cliff side and came to rest on a wide ledge. Carved into the side of the cliff were numerous pillars, creating a path to the stone entrance. Each pillar had a message written on it in hieroglyphics:
“He Who Should Not Be Named dwells within his eternal house, knowing full well the nature of man.”
“He sleeps alone with his dark gift given to him by That Which Should Not Be Named.”
“He lies within, awaiting the foolish who think to despoil what is His.”
“No prayers will avail you hereafter; so mutter them now and be done with it.”
“Those who enter are no longer men, but sacrifices to dark powers.”
“Do not think you can catch Him unawares, because with His dark gift, He already knows you are here.”
They opened the main entrance to the tomb. Beyond was a large rectangular chamber with four doors of four different colors. Along the back wall is a painting of the Pharaoh, sitting on a throne before a throng of worshipers. Behind him was a dark skinned man that appeared to be his advisor. The advisor’s very image seems to radiate a sinister nature.
They examined the four doors and all four proved to be trapped. Thumose was wounded while meddling with the green door.
When all four doors proved to be traps, they were unsure of what to do next. But then Hesh noticed that the mural of Pharaoh Nephren-Ka covered a brickwork that was different from the rest of the walls. They began to chip away at the wall and were able to open a hole just big enough to crawl through. Beyond was a whole other chamber.
The chamber beyond contained 12 sarcophagi. There was also a warning inscribed on the wall stating that those who sought Nephren-Ka would suffer his nine curses. Two anti-chambers diverged from this rule. One contained brass statues of the Pharaoh and his advisor. The other contained furniture and other comforts fit for the afterlife.
Along the back wall was another mural. It contained numerous hieroglyphics regarding the reign of Nephren-Ka. It inscription stated: “So you jackals enter my house, seeking all of my secrets. There is knowledge for all those who would touch the crook of sovereignty.”
Khonsu stepped forward and touched the image of a crook on the mural. He was zapped by a powerful energy that robbed him of much of his intellect. The 12 sarcophagi opened up and an undead creature stepped out of each. The mural also disintegrated revealing another set of stone doors.
The survivors recovered and opened the stone door. The first thing they saw beyond the doors was an inscription stating of the first curse of Nephren-Ka was upon them. Beyond was a shrine to Nephren-Ka. The walls were plastered over and alcoves were filled with various treasures. In the center of the room was a granite vault upon which was engraved the image of Nephren-Ka.
They then debated what to do next. There were only three of them left and they were sure that they were not strong enough to take on the ancient Pharaoh. So they decided to make their exit and returned to Aartuat.
Although they originally intended to only return to Aartaut, once there, they decided to continue traveling all the way back to Assuat. There they met with Rakandar and arranged four new Simulacra for Janu and Sesshomaru.
Sesshomaru was incarnated into a man named Utenven and Janu incarnated into a man named Ovek. They also convinced Rakandar to allow them to take three more Royal Guard back with them. With their numbers restored, they made the journey back to Aartuat. They returned to the gorge a full month after having fled it.
This time they decided to explore some of the smaller structures along the gorge. The first one they encountered was a Temple of Amun. Inside they were attacked by a creature who seem to be made of red mist. It was capable of doing great harm to them, but their weapons seemed ineffective against it. Finally, Khonsu tried wielding the Cleaver of Set against it. This weapon proved most effective at vanquishing the creature. Now having the opportunity to explore, they were able to discover an underground tunnel that went all the way to the Temple of the Sun.
In another offshoot within the gorge, they came across a set of tombs. Most appeared to have been pilfered by grave robbers. They eventually encountered said grave robbers, but opted to keep their distance and not risk a fight.
In yet another offshoot, they came across a temple to Tufnet, the god of rivers. The small temple proved to be loaded with traps. Ovek set off a spear trap, but avoided sustaining heavy damage. Hesh was not so lucky however, and was crushed by a falling rock trap. Rylan was able to avoid being pulled into it Stasis, and instead incarnated into the body of Tang-Ter, one of the grave robbers. Tang-Ter broke off from his group of fellow bandits and quietly made his way back to the rest of the Nephilim.
They made their way through the gorge back through the temple of the sun. They once again scaled the cliffs and entered the tomb of Nephren-Ka. They climbed through the hole in the wall and ultimately made their way to the granite vault.
They opened the vault to reveal the sarcophagus inside. They opened the sarcophagus to find a mummy wearing a golden funeral mask. The mummy’s arms were folded, clutching a flail and a crook in each hand, indicating that the deceased was a member of a royal family. Ovek attempted to remove the mask when the mummy became animated and attacked. They battled the undead creature and were victorious. Further examining the sarcophagus they found the fifth artifact, the Scepter of Set.
This victory was too easy however. There were also other artifacts yet to be found. They quickly began to suspect that this mummy was merely a decoy.