We continue following Crodwell’s trail into rocky hills that have been visible for a day or so, arriving the nexd day. There an excavated opening is easily visible, leading into an ancient tomb that is open. There is a small camp nearby that seems unused for some time, and the place seems deserted. Crodwell’s trail leads directly to the camp. An newer camp was recently setup in the last day or 2, but is gone now. Fritz examines the perimeter as Rick examines the tomb entrance. The hieroglyphs on the entryway ID it as the tomb of Khmet. Fritz notices vulchers circling nearby and Billy and Mundabi investigate. A line of 8 mounds, shallow graves, lie near the camp. The porters dig a couple up to investigate, and they seem to be hired local hands but are all headless. Beneath the vulchers are several dead camels and mules, likely all or most of what had been leaving Crodwell’s trail. At the tomb entrance is a 3’ wide opening that has been pushed open. Our porters set up a temporary camp outside as Rick leads the way in with a lantern. Inside are ginning faces staring back at us in the shadow. Rick goes in further finding the heads of the hired men mounted on poles. Fritz, Mundabi and Billy enter with Hobbes bringing up the rear.
Inside the entrance is a long hall, 15’ high and 10’ wide room, covered with seemingly ageless reliefs and hieroglyphs. Rick “I can’t wait to bring this back to England”. A set of 3 tales unfolds in sequence as you travel down the hall:
- The first shows a priest doing what appears to be some sort of summoning, because several creatures appear to have come through an arcane gateway. Rick feels from the context that they are all the same being portrayed with many forms: one a gross bloated female figure as if it weighed a thousand pounds, another a faceless humanoid with a long bloody tongue, plus many more. However, the one in the middle is dressed like a pharaoh in jett black with the populace bowing down to him = the many masks of Nyarlathotep! He was brought through by the priest. It then shows another pharaoh striking him down. These are old kingdom, for in the background here is a partially built pyramid which Rick ID’s as one of the pyramids of Giza, likely Khufu’s Great Pyramid. So, Dark Pharah is c.2nd-3rd dynasty, perhaps in between.
- Further down the hall, both sides show a huge image set up so it straddles the hall, that of the god Set triumphant. Around him are anti-heroes, portrayed much smaller than him. One is Khmet, another one half the size of Set is that of Re-hotep! He is portrayed as a sort of physical vessel for Set coming to Earth. Bowing at Set’s feet are 2 beautiful women = Babet and Chafu, the daughters of Set! Set is shown as defeated by way of all his followers being destroyed. A pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom defeats them and the survivors go into hiding. Temples are built into the hills, where they go to escape. A tomb for the Set Re-hotep is shown as if being magically created, not physically dug out, and his followers take him in and close the tomb. Khmet is killed and the daughters of Set are said to have willingly gone in alive, to rise again one day to help bring the Set Re-hotep to power once again. Any of the approaching forces of victorious pharaoh are spontaneously slain. Oddly, the tomb is shown to have been sealed after the Middle Kingdom events. Odd because…
- The final story shows Amun as a benevolent god worshipped by the people, beckoning them into his temple. Then it proceeds to show the truth of Amun, as a wrathful demon tearing their heads off, mutilating them, and his priests laughing as he sends their souls to hell. This must have been what he was doing that caused the war with Akhenaten.It then shows the war with Akhenaten, Amun’s body being destroyed and people who try to destroy the organs are struck by lightning, so they are put into canopic jars… Rick places the style and writing as New Kingdom, prior to his battle with Akhenaten. So, how did the New Kingdom story get here if it was shut and lost in the Middle Kingdom?
- Next, in Egyptian style but modern dress, figures get into the tomb and take the heart. Leaving the tomb with it are the daughters of Set! Then it shows 4 men with the heart. By the dress it can only be…US! Rick-Fritz-Mundabi-Billy. The heart is then shown to be with the cult, us held captive and tortured while the heart revives into Amun, then we are sacrificed to Amun. But, the entrance to the tomb shown at the end is not that of Amun, it is the tomb of Rehotep. Striding out is Rehotep, with the figures of Amun and Dark Pharoah with him. The figure, like the Old Kingdom figure, is the embodiment of all 3! 9 artifacts are shown to have been used to bring him back. He is then shown triumphant, people of all cultures shown bowing down in worship to him. A prophecy of the future and we are defeated! This can not be set in stone, we must stop it from coming to pass.
We have found a treasure trove of the history of cultism and Mythos in ancient Egypt, and though it does not bode well for the future, Good seems to win over each incarnation. Are all these simply aspects/avatars of Nyarlathotep? Can’t wait to discuss this with Archimedes if we survive.
The passage narrows to 6’ wide and goes downward at a 45degree angle, and seems to level out at the shadowy reach of our lantern light. At the bottom, Rick gets a bad feeling and thinks the floor looks suspicious. We call for a long tentpole, and Mundabi and Billy push from a distance. We hear a click and a noise from the top of the ramp as a big slab drops behind us at the top of the ramp and shatters. A cylinder of stone falls and begins rolling toward us. We rush into the main hallway, about 80’ long, with a passage going down and another passage next to it going up. We run for the upward passage but Rick passes another pressure plate halfway down, and yells for the rest behind him to jump it. Everyone does, but the roller sets it off, causing a part of the ceiling crumble onto the roller, crushing it into large pieces and partially blocking the hall. About 2/3 up the passage Rick spots another likely pressure plate. Rick checks it out, and sees scratches on the floor and bloodstains. It must have been put back in place, perhaps from the other side from a survivor. There, Rick seees a pushable square on the wall which releases after a lot of pushing and deactivated the plate. Likely, all the traps here can be deactivated like this. The hall opens through a arched ceiling into a large room with an impressive statue of Set. On the far wall is a curved, carved map and etches hymns of praise to Set, Lord of Serpants. The map shows our location, and another spot higher in hills marked as a Temple of Set, plus an area in the desert showing the Gorge of Osiris, the Tomb of Rehotep within,and the oasis landmark. Fritz says there is a village called Artwah nearby the area. The gorge is in a place of the desert called The Devil’s Anvil. Horribly hot, no cover, bedouin do not even enter it. A large serpent statue in the room has holes where the fangs were removed, and looks like they were set intending to be removed. Feeling a finger inside reveals an odd shape inside, as if they did not simply slide out but had to be turn like unlatched. Are they a key?
We backtrack and go downward, Rick finding and deactivating another trap. At the end is a room with a large sarcophagus. It lies open with a mummy within, and in poor shape. No valuables inside, it’s been looted of anything were there. Writing reveals it to be Khmet, as it sings his praises as a warrior-high priest of Set. An ignominious end it seems. Crodwell must have been here of course, but with or without the Daughters? Did he take anything from the sarcophagus? As Rick is examining the tomb, Fritz thinks the wall behind it looks different than that around it. Rick searches and finds a catch in the wall adjacent, and the wall behind the tomb slides aside revealing a passage going steeply downward. There is a triggered trap here, another roller, but has been reset poorly by someone. At the bottom is a squashed white man, but not Crodwell. One of his loyal henchmen who has been dead a while. Fritz “Must have been from his first venture here, when he brought the women back.” Rick “Right, but the ‘prophecy’ upstairs shows the girls walking out themselves. It’s not an unflinching prophecy, it can and has been altered already. Remember they also did not walk out of the tomb of Amun with the heart, Somerfield brought it out. Whoever fortold it was wrong.”
Further down, Rick misses and triggers a trap, causing the floor beneath him to start to fall away. He barely (using Charmed) realizes what’s about to happened and leaps back into Billy’s arms who steadies him. We light a torch and toss it down, seeing below a floor covered in sharpened spikes some 80’ down, a recent dead body lies there. Mundabi jumps the 6’, and it begins to slowly self-reset. There on the other side Mundabi sees planks leaned against the wall, which Crodwell must have used. Finally we come to a stone door, and Mundabi and Fritz push it open, Rick watching closely to stop them quickly if necessary. It takes a few tries but they finally push it open. Within is a ‘mourning hall’. Ornate carvings all around the room so Set and his minions engagind in worship, victories over enemies and various slaughter, snakes rising from the ground during battle. 2 bodies seem to be in the gloom, but they are statues of probably 2 figures. They show evidence of being damaged, including bullet marks. Were they animated statues…golems fought by Crodwell? The room has 2 smaller doors and one wide door. Behind one of the smaller, is a room. The far wall shows a hieroglyphic message covering the entire thing. 3 stone sarcophagi are open, and missing the coffins. Rick “Must the the bitches and the kyton.” Examining the writing proves this to be the case. A message on the wall, in a hieroglyphic code, requires some time for Rick to figure out: Tells Babet and Chafu to return to the temple of Set to prepare for their masters return, “The serpent fangs are the key, and Ilric, Gax and Thax will obey the old words”. So they had to return for the fangs. Somerfiels and Crodwell screwed up their prophecy! Now it’s all up to us.
Back through the other smaller door, is a room foul smelling and streaked with blood, the grisly remains of 3 humans and demolished mummy remains around them. Rick “They fought an undead mummy and won, but lost these 2”. Within seconds, a groan and scrape give away the 4 others coming from the shadowy corners of the room. They are upon us! And ony 10’ away.
Billy reacts immediatey and charges the nearest one, and would have been quicky followed by Mundabi had he not become paralyzed with fear upon the site of the mummies and fails his sanity check(-1). Billy Fish swings his kukri-12, Rick fires his Thunderer-8, Fritz fails his sanity but fires 2 shots from his carbine and hits Rick’s-32, Billy is attacked in turn by his and another which both miss, the shot mummy goes for Rick and hits-9, and the last moves to the paralyzed Mundabi and hits-7; Rick steps 5’ back and fires again-7, Billy hits-10, Fritz hits twice-24, Mundabi is hit again-6 as he comes out of his fright, Billy is hit once-6, Rick is hit again-10; Rick retreats 5’ again and hits-5, Fritz hits once out of 2 shots-12, Mundabi strikes at his-9, Billy hits-9, Rick is hit-7, Billy is missed twice, Mundabi is missed; Rick, now running out of space, pulls his machete while sidestepping 5’ and hits-7. Mundabi misses with a mighty but wild swing, Billy hits-12, Fritz hits with 2 shots again-13. Billy hit once-6, Mundabi and Rick both are missed; Fritz misses, Rick gets room to shoot and hits-7, Mundabi hits-14, Billy hits-10. Rick is then hit-8, Mundabi is missed, Billy is hit twice-14 total; Rick swings machete-7, Mundabi hits-15, Fritz hits twice-31 and drops empty rifle, Billy hits-12. Rick and Mundabi are missed, Billy is missed twice; Rick fires the Thunderer-4, Billy hits-11, Fritz charges with his kopesh to help Billy and hits-12, Mundabi hits-18 with his spear. Billy is hit once-9, Rick and Mundabi are missed; Mundabi hits-17, Rick misses with the machete, Billy hits-9 and Fritz-11. All of us are missed but Fritz is hit-6; Mundabi hits-17, Fritz and Billy both hit-11, Rick hits-6 DEAD. Mundabi is hit-7, Billy is missed, Fritz is hit-5; Fritz hits-12DEAD and Fritz hits the other-12, Rick moves to help Mundabi and sweeps the mummy to the ground (card) from behind, Mundabi hits-15 DEAD. Rick then fires at the last and hits-3. Final mummy hits Fritz-7; Rick charges with his machete and hits-3, Mundabi charges and hits-18, Billy and Fritz miss. Fritz is hit-8; Billy hits-8 and Fritz-12, Mundabi hits-12, Rick hits-7. The mummy misses Fritz; Fritz hits-12 and Billy-11, Mundabi hits-17, Rick hits-7. Mummy misses Fritz; Rick hits-10 DEAD as Billy comes down with Mummy Rot.
No sooner does he finish giving Billy what treatment he can, Fritz does as well. Fritz hit for 7 cha and 7 con, and Billy 4 and 7 respectivey. We pull them out to camp.
There situation becomes dire quicker than we could imagine over the next several hours: Fritz is hit for -4cha and -5con more. Not until next morning does he seem stabilized. Billy fights like the condition like a man possessed, writhing in frustration and resentment of the rot and is stable within a few hours later with miraculous saves and AP rolling to save against mutiple infections. Billy rests at 10con and 4 cha. Fritz is much worse to the con and kept immobile. Such was the effects of the battle in the Tomb of the Guadians room.
Without Fritz, we open the larger doors, Rick packing Frit’z carbine. A larger room here, with a stone coffer at the left and right walls each with a statue resembling a demonic crocodie. The back wall covered with runes and hieroglyphs fronted by a cobra-headed deity standing watch over the room. In the center of the room lies a large ornate sarcophagus 20’ away. Seconds after Rick’s scan of the room is complete, the top of the sarcophagus begins to slide open revealing its’ contents, which climbs our and after us.
Rick fires a few shots to no avail, Billy fires while sweeping right doing some damage, as does Mundabi with 3 javelins while moving to our left. As the mummy engages, Rick attacks with a lit torch and Billy and Mundabi charge in, flanking the fiend. Rick and Mundabi are badly damaged by the end, and Mundabi and Billy combining for the killing blows. His blade is picked up by Billy, being a large Khopesh and is one of impressive power.
We put his mummy back into the coffin, to blame the damage to grave robbers when we take him back to the museum. This mummy was that of Kholan, warrior of Khmet, not Khmet. There is much treasure to be had in the tomb, to total 35,000 pounds upon our return with it all. Per Rick’s usual deal, his share will be a 10% Finders Fee from the crown. Finally, Hobbes is sent into the tomb to document it all.
Next Day: Rick, Billy and Mundabi hed for the Temple of Set on the trail of the Daughters of Set and Crodwell. They take the porters and several guards with them, leaving Fritz behind to recover his grievous Rot, and Hobbes to finish his photographic work, along with the rest of the soldiers in case of trouble. It looks to be a short, under 2 day ride.
Day after they leave, our caravan led by Zakir and the Salvatore sisters cathes up with Fritz at the tomb. Doc Bryce begins to see to Fritz though he has recovered well, Zakir begins to see to the packing up of the historic treasures from within. Fritz informs them of what has transpired.
Only a couple of hours after their arrival, a guard notices a very small group of men coming through the sands south of the rocky hills we are in: 3 white men on mounts with guards and porters. Zakir rides out to meet them with Fritz and 2 soldiers. Two white men are mounted on horses, the other a pony. They ride up to meet Fritz. Fritz “Whay might you men be doing here?” as he rides up. He quickly recognizes one as a big game hunter collegue, but one that usually operates in South Africa. “Tom Spading, what brings you into this scorched land? Quite a bit north for you”. Tom “Fritz, we’ve been doggin your trail for days. If we had gotten to Thebes 2 days earlier we could have caught you before you left. So, found the Gorge of Osiris already have you, old son?” Fritz “I don’t know about that. Got myself wounded pretty good, and had to be left behind for the time being.” They have been trying to catch up with us for some time, feels he coud be useful. He introduces Doctor Edwin Tarr and Major Mortimer Feather. Fritz “We got sidetracked from getting to the Gorge a couple times I was infected by a living mummy, if you can believe that.” They don’t seem surprised. Fritz gives them a secret Iluminati hand gesture, and they give the correct reply back! They are obviously in the know. Fritz tells them of Rick going on to the Temple. Tom “I hope he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew. We should make haste!”
Fritz quickly readies and, along with the 3 of them, ride as fast as they can for Rick and company…