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Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see…
TRANSMIT - initiate the ka signal - RECEIVE - initiate the Book of the Dead - FOR HE WOULD ARISE A WALKING DISEASE, A PLAGUE UPON MANKIND - illumine the Cult of Aten - WITNESS - The Mummy.
Listen, sweetling. The whisper of antediluvian linen over sand-kissed stone… Not mere zombies, these are the ancient dead. Their bodies and souls have been dissected, some vital parts removed, some new parts added. The cries of the unquiet dead echo between the rock faces, on occasion, but mostly it is silence, silence that desiccates sanity. That is the sound of the mummies dwelling in the Valley of the Sun God.
Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife of immortality. Parts of the human soul would leave the body after death, journey through the underworld to pass judgement and finally reunite to energise the effective being in the afterlife. The elaborate ceremonies and rituals surrounding the dead were exceedingly important, sweetling, and are well documented in the archaeological findings of your kind. Mummification, casting of spells, written instructions and grave goods were all crucial to ensure the deceased had everything they needed to succeed on their journey and in their afterlife.
In rare cases, by some magical, mystical means, their life could be extended past physical death – like in the case of the mummies of The Kingdom. These mummies, the rulers of Cairo's underworld, found themselves in an undying state as a result of flukes and chance. They were ordinary people passionate about immortality, like most Egyptians. Whether a blessing or a curse, their ka – life force – never left their body after their passing and they have since been stuck in a state between the living and the dead, their minds and personalities intact.
Centuries earlier, death had already been cheated by a group with much darker intentions, and by very different methods – the Atenists. Always looking to pervert and subsume tradition and common beliefs, the Aten cultists conducted a different kind of burial ritual than the customary one, constructed to quicken the dead body in this world rather than in the next, to forever live in the glory of their dark god. Death could not be an escape from the duties of their faith. Rituals and symbolic ceremonies were twisted into something cruel, embracing death instead of life. Funerary texts and magical spells were altered to restrain the deceased rather than guide them to the fields of Aaru.
These undying would be the the voice of Aten, a voice made of preserved flesh. Imagine them, sweetling. Bound to the table, still alive, as metal tools enter their nose, stirring their brains, souls torn apart, and what was left, gibbering and mad, held together by bandages and wards -- denied the scales of Anubis or the cycle of Maat. The process was a grotesque success. The Marya of that time fought hundreds of these living mummies during the revolt against Akhenaten.
When sunrise shone upon the victors, and Aten's cultists had been culled and scattered to the winds, the mummies were pacified and lulled to sleep by the Sentinels. In unmarked tombs, they have slumbered deeply for three thousand years. But now, something stirs and awakes them. The powers that confined them are failing. They are free. They act on embedded instructions and blind faith, driven insane by the whispers that command them.
We spy the varied mummy kinds. We see the Vessels of Aten. We see the shamblers, the least preserved, ambulating skin and bones. Linen wraps fall and dangle from them as they lurch through the ancient city of their burial. Their mortal lives ended in ritual sacrifice, transforming them into the mouthpieces of Aten. Final death would be a blessing for these unfortunates. They are direct conduits to the dreams of the Sleepers, their sanity pulverised to paste that lubricates the titanic thoughts of their gods. They channel those chthonic dreams and deliver the sun god's wishes to all true believers. Listen. Their whispers become chants become screams. Do not listen for too long.
We spy the Wrath of Aten. We see the gargantuan dead. In their fragmented memories, echoing in the mausoleum of their skulls, they can faintly remember their time as highly devoted cultists, willingly sacrificing their bodies. They were ritualistically bathed in Filth-contaminated water. Their pickled flesh hosts a plethora of vile spirits and parasitic demons, stretching and swelling their bodies to inhuman symmetry.
We see the Hands of Aten. The most devoted -- their enemies say the most insane -- of the sun god's children. They boast the greatest success with the bending of necromantic energies. In their mortal life, they were talented magi, anima flowing in their veins. They wilfully renounced all possibility of an afterlife, chaining their souls to their bodies. Neither dead nor living, they walk between. Their wait is over. Their faith repaid. They rise to the baking desert heat. They take their place as the honour guard of the rising Black Pharaoh.
The Sol Invictus took the mummification knowledge of their elder sister cults, and tried to replicate the process, and perhaps improve it. There is dangerous wisdom there, sweetling, if you dare to prod it. It requires a fresh corpse, infected by the Filth. It then requires the special embalming fluid of the Sol Invictus of the past. Once this is poured down the cadaver's throat, it only takes three thousand years or so. How does one make the time fly?
ACCESSING… The secret wisdoms…
The Sol Invictus set about to create their own mummies in service to the Dreaming Ones. It did not quite work out. They admired the ends, but they did not respect the rituals as the Atenists had. Something was lost in translation. And so they created the Filth-charged walking dead, akin to the zombies, without the chthonic powers that come from the subtle dissection and rearrangement of the soul as in the mummy proper.