The Third Hexad
Seventh Time the Seventh Son of Suns Doth Rise
To Send the Knave to an Eternity of Cries.
Third Verse of The Hexad of Hyskosa the Seer.
The magical ankh shattered against the bronze gong, sending out a reverberating sound so loud that it reached into the deepest levels of the tomb and echoed through The Valley of The Pharaoh's Rest.
Hidden deep within the earth, a form stirred. Ancient, powerful and regal, his deeply sunken eyes burned like orange stars in his withered face.
Anhktepot, God-King of Har'Akir, Pharaoh of The Black Land, had awakened once more.
He quickly took stock of the situation. Someone had violated his tomb. He reached out with his mind to touch those of his mummy servitors, and found several missing. They had been destroyed.
His withered heart shattered as he realized that he could no longer sense the presence of his firstborn son, the only one of his children to have been mummified and entombed when Har'Akir was dragged into this hellish realm. The last of his family left to him in his eternal prison.
Thutepot had been destroyed.
Anhktepot loosed a roar that shook the walls of his tomb. With a speed unthinkable to an ordinary mummy, he forced his dry, shriveled muscles into action, fairly leaping from his sarcophagus. He thundered toward the stairs and the upper levels of the tomb.
The interlopers would pay, and pay dearly.
Senmet listened in mounting dread as the ankh's blow resounded throughout Anhktepot's Tomb like a death knell to his grand dreams. The mortal adventurers had wisely fled in anticipation of the dread Pharaoh's awakening. His plot to overthrow the Lord of Har'Akir was in tatters. His co-conspirator, Isu Rehkotep, was dead, and he had not had time to re-animate her. His desert zombies, whom he had created from those foolish or careless enough to fall into his blood-stained hands, were wandering the sands above. They could not reach him in time, nor had they the wits to evade the many traps in the Pharaoh's tomb. He was utterly alone, and Anhktepot was coming for him.
But was this not what he had desired, the chance to slay Anhktepot with his own hands?
A large door lead to Anhktepot's resting place, flanked on either side by two stone golems. The inner tomb was deep, and he was already almost a hundred feet beneath the stupendous facade of Anhktepot's Tomb . Senmet stood in the room where Anhktepot's funereal barque sat waiting for a voyage to the afterlife that would never come.
Unless Senmet personally sent the Pharaoh to his judgement.
The ancient priest readied his spells as the sound of footsteps echoed from the darkened stairway.
Now that he was fully awake, the information came almost instantly to his mind, for Anhktepot was tied to Har'Akir. He was, in a sense, a part of the land itself. And he could feel what was wrong with his realm deep within his dry bones. He could feel the fear of his people, sense the presence of many undead that he himself had not created, and see through the eyes of his loyal undead. The pieces came together quickly. A name came to his mind, a familiar name at that.
While both had yet lived as mortal men, Senmet had been a high-ranking priest, but his duties toward the divine had not satisfied him. Hungry for power, he had organized a conspiracy to murder Anhktepot and his family and seize the throne for himself. The plot had been uncovered by his loyal slaves and the traitors had been caught and executed. Anhktepot had used his Touch of Death to personally slay Senmet, knowing he would be reanimated as an undead, bound to his own will forever.
That had clearly been a mistake.
A woman, a false priestess of Osiris, had awoken his old enemy, freeing him from Anhktepot's bonds through the darkest of fell magic. Those who had violated his tomb and destroyed his son had also slain the treacherous priestess, but Senmet survived and even now awaited him in the room above. One death had clearly not been enough for the traitor. He thought to overthrow Anhktepot, The Eternal Pharaoh, and usurp the throne. He and the woman had murdered many Akiri and foreign travelers to create desert zombies loyal only to them. While the lives of peasants meant little to one such as him, they were his people. He would not allow this low-born cur to murder his subjects with impunity, to spit in his face. Rage, grief and hatred mingled in equal parts in Anhktepot's twisted soul.
He would punish the usurper in a manner that would make the gods themselves tremble!
Senmet saw the Pharaonic mummy rise to the top of the stairs and pass into the room.
Anhktepot still wore the crown, Senmet noted, as well as the magical ankh that prevented his withered carcass from being truly destroyed. (He would have to remove that.) Aside from that his royal finery had been replaced by the tattered, yellowed swathing of the dead. Bright orange lights in deep, barren sockets glared at the usurper in hatred and madness. The weathered, shrunken skin on his face was twisted in rage.
Senmet launched a Greater Fireball spell. Anhktepot simply barreled through it, he would not be stopped. Some of his wrappings were aflame, but he neither noticed nor cared.
Anhktepot did not bother with the spells he still possessed even as a fallen priest of Ra. He physically lunged toward Senmet, seeking the visceral solace of rending flesh from bone.
It was as if a mad bull had struck Senmet as the two mummies slammed into an ornately decorated wall with such force that the wall shattered and the entire tomb shook. Plaster and dust clouded the air as Anhktepot lifted his enemy bodily and threw him to the stone floor with a sound of shattering tile and breaking bone. Senmet moved to flee but one of the golems now blocked the door by which he had entered, the other blocked the door to the inner tomb. He turned in desperation and struck a staggering blow to Anhktepot's face, knocking the crown from his shriveled scalp. Anhktepot howled in inhuman rage, and, hearing that, it was hard for Senmet to believe that he had ever been human.
He was too close to use another Fireball, as he'd be caught in the conflagration as well. He grappled with his hated master, struggling to overcome his awesome power. He'd known that Anhktepot was powerful, but this was beyond anything he could have comprehended. His divine curse had seemingly made him unstoppable.
The gods themselves did not want him to die, he realized far too late, they wanted him to suffer for all time.
He'd never had a chance to defeat the damned Pharaoh.
Anhktepot seized Senmet's right arm and ripped it from his shoulder, tearing dry, withered but still powerful muscles and tendons like a sheet of papyrus. Senmet screamed in agony.
"I am Pharaoh! I alone!" Anhktepot roared, his voice like a raging sandstorm. "I am your master! You have slaughtered my people to create your undead to use against me. You have led mortals to defile this tomb and destroy my son! I slew you before, but I shall not be so merciful with you this time." His words conveyed the promise of unspeakable torments.
A promise he was all too eager to fulfill.
A small but regal figure stood in the moonlight, looking over The Valley of The Pharaoh's Rest. Even from above she could see the tomb shudder as the two mummies did battle. She had watched the adventurers enter, then flee, but had not interfered. Nephyr had sensed that her stepson, Thutepot, had finally been put to rest, and for that she was grateful towards them. She was not an evil creature like Senmet or Anhktepot. She had been banished long ago from his presence. She thought back to that night when she had come to him, newly undead and seeking her loving husband. She'd found only a cowering old man who had ordered her to leave him forever.
Nephyr looked sadly at her statue on the facade of the tomb, so utterly defaced as to be unrecognizable.
It had been centuries, but still Anhktepot had not repented his monstrous crimes. She heard terrible screams of agony coming from deep within the tomb, and frowned with withered lips. Nephyr turned and staggered away toward the cavern were she slept, barred from her own crypt within her husband's tomb, grieving for a man who no longer existed.
Senmet continued to scream, though he could make no sound without his lungs. His head lay in total darkness in an otherwise empty sarcophagus, his body scattered in pieces throughout the tomb. He had gambled and lost, and forever more he would be denied even the cold mercy of his undead form.
Anhktepot lifted his son's remains from where he had fallen. He was too badly damaged to repair, and his soul had already fled for the afterlife. He gently set Thutepot within his sarcophagus and sealed it tightly. What little goodness and decency he had left in his lifeless heart felt a sense of relief. Thutepot's suffering and rage had ended.
He had gone to his reward.
All Anhktepot had to look forward to was an eternity of hateful unlife in the all-consuming darkness of his own soul.
He turned and slowly made his way back to his own sarcophagus, where he could live again, if only in his fitful dreams.
Touch of Death, the Ravenloft adventure this story is based upon, never touched upon what happened when Anhktepot awoke and battled Senmet. So I decided to write a story of what I think happened.
Anhktepot, as Pharaoh and representative of the sun god Ra, is 'The Son of Suns'. This was his Seventh Arising, (wakening from undead slumber), hence the 'Seventh Time the Son of Suns Doth Rise'.
Senmet, who seeks to usurp the throne, is 'The Knave'.
'An Eternity of Cries' is his punishment for his crimes.
The Hexad of Hyskosa was a prophecy that foretold events leading up to a disaster called The Grand Conjunction, which nearly destroyed the entire Demiplane of Dread. The Seventh Arising of Anhktepot was one of these events.
Background: Anhktepot was an evil Pharaoh who desired immortality and turned against the gods when they would not give it to him. He slew many priests and razed temples in blasphemy. As punishment, the gods gave him a lethal touch. Unknowing, he accidentally killed his favorite wife, Nephyr, his firstborn son, Thutepot, and several others. They were revived as mummies under his control. Eventually his evil became too much to bear and his own priests murdered him. They didn't realize that he was still aware and awake while they mummified him, undead and unable to defend himself. He'd achieved immortality as an undead mummy.
His tomb and a small village nearby were taken into The Demiplane of Dread, where he was able to gain control of his body and walk about once more, but he spends most of his time resting in his tomb, dreaming of all he's lost.
Senmet's story is pretty much laid out in the story here.
Everything is copyright TSR and Wizards of The Coast.