A/N: Heya! Here's another chapter. Given as there aren't any announcements I need to make, without further adieu, I present to you Chapter I of Cyrus Vulpus and the Revolutionary Raids!
I stepped out of the black door, and into the middle of an open-air flea market. At least, I thought it was that - until I looked up. Instead of a sky, there was a ceiling, made of sandstone. As I looked around and listened to the noise around me, I realized that everybody was talking in Ancient Egyptian, and things were written in the same language.
"Welcome to the First Nome, Cyrus, or at least its headquarters. We're currently in the ruins of Heliopolis - at least the sections that haven't been discovered by archaeologists. The First Nome is the base of our entire organization - the Per Ankh, or House of Life."
I stopped in shock at Sadie's short speech.
"But the Per Ankh was dismantled after the Romans conquered Egypt!" I argued, telling her what I'd learned from my mum's lessons on Ancient Egypt - and given as she specialized in Ancient Egyptian ruins, I'd think she'd be quite accurate.
"That's what the history books say, yeah - but we really just went underground," explained Walt patiently.
"But the First Nome isn't at Heliopolis!"
"No, not in ancient times. But since we went underground, we've gone global. We now have 360 nomes, like the degrees in a circle, and the First covers the entirety of Egypt."
As we talked, Sadie and Walt guided me through the First Nome. Around us, there were merchants hawking about their product. Hieroglyphic amulets, potions, other arcane items - all were on sale here. I felt a twinge of nostalgia as I was vaguely reminded of Diagon Alley back in Britain. Eventually, we stepped out of the underground city and into a long, dark hall, with an extremely tall ceiling and illuminated by floating, multicoloured balls of flame, impressing me more than the floating candles in the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
In the middle of the room, there was a blue carpet, showing a path to walk on. Along the walls, there were shining golden images which came in and out of focus as we approached them. I saw a mountain carrying the sun rising from a vast, unknowable sea. I saw a falcon-headed man, bearing the sun on his head, weep in front of two young adults, one male, one female, and his tears landed on the earth below him, making humans. I saw a man with ostrich feathers on his head lift up a woman with star-spangled skin, arching over a man with nature all over his skin.
"Be careful not to look at them for long, and whatever you do, don't leave the carpet, and don't even think of touching them," warned Sadie. Her accent was primarily American, but there was a tinge of Britishness.
"Right now, we're looking at the Age of the Gods. If you dwell on these memories, your mind will likely be destroyed," informed Walt, whose accent was pure American.
I hummed in acknowledgment of her commands and made sure to follow them, thinking about the fact that they were able to project memories on the wall. Did they have a more advanced form of a Pensieve? Soon the images turned silver.
"Here's the Old Kingdom."
The Old Kingdom. I began recalling my mum's lessons on Ancient Egypt, given in the times before Hogwarts where she was home between Curse-Breaking expeditions. The Old Kingdom started when Narmer united Lower and Upper Egypt, becoming the first pharaoh to wear the Double Crown, or pschent. Djoser, on Imhotep's advice, built the first Egyptian step pyramid in Saqqara. Khufu built the Great Pyramid of Giza, which would be the tallest building in the world for nearly 4,000 years. Many more images, matching what I'd learned, passed by.
As the images turned to copper, Sadie spoke up. "Now we're looking at the Middle Kingdom when the House fully developed."
Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty used the revolt in Thinis to take control of the entirety of Egypt, starting the Middle Kingdom off. In the aftermath, he consolidated his power, becoming worshiped as a living god, and reclaiming Nubia and Sinai. His son, Mentuhotep III built forts across the land. Following him came seven years without a true pharaoh of all Egypt, as Mentuhotep IV relinquished lots of his authority. Eventually, his Chief Lector rose to claim the pschent, and the Twelfth Dynasty began. More images passed.
"And now, the New Kingdom."
The New Kingdom was the last time Egypt was ruled by Egyptians, and it was represented by bronze images. Hatshepsut donned a false beard and ruled as pharaoh. Ramesses II lead expeditions into Canaan. Moses - known by Musa by the Egyptians and Moshe by his own people - became the only foreigner to ever beat the House in a magical duel. Nectanebo II, the last native pharaoh, commanded his armies with his enchanted war table.
"When Alexander invaded, he instated his general Ptolemy as Pharaoh, leading to the Pharaonic period."
The images were blue now, and fittingly sad, and short, too. Ptolemy I Soter ruled over Egypt and fought with the other Diadochi. Ptolemy VIII Physcon was expelled from Alexandria by his sister-wife Cleopatra II and murdered his son. Cleopatra VII Philopator tried to defend Egypt against the Romans and failed. Instead of being killed by the Romans, she dropped an asp down her dress, and its venomous bite killed her. The House of Life was forced underground.
"After Cleopatra's death, Chief Lector Iskandar commanded that the Path of the Gods, one of the oldest forms of Egyptian magic, was banned," commented Sadie.
The images turned red, and the images became more modern. Arabic and Turkish armies marched into Egypt. Napoleon made his expedition, and Jean-Francois Champollion decoded the Rosetta Stone. The British Empire constructed the Suez Canal. Cairo became modern, and the ruins of Ancient Egypt were buried under the desert sand.
"Now, the modern age."
The images became purple. This section was the shortest. The first picture was two men, struggling bodily in front of a flaming throne. A great serpent rose from the same sea the sun-mountain came from and swallowed the sun. The sun burst free, and the serpent was destroyed. A falcon-headed man wearing the pschent sat on a throne, wielding the crook and flail of the Pharaoh, and a teenager, with a man wearing a leopard pelt cape by his side, sat on a throne, also wielding the Pharaonic weapons. The hints of an image appeared to be forming at the end of the hall, but then we came into a throne room.
In the throne room, there was a dais. Upon this dais, there was a throne of gilt wood, with hieroglyphics carved into the wood and filled with gold. Sitting in this throne, there was a man that appeared to be around twenty. His skin looked like coffee beans, and his hair and eyes were both an even darker brown. The man wore elegant and regal linen, and in his hands were a crook and flail - he was obviously the Pharaoh. Flanking him, standing on the dais, were two individuals. One was an Arabic woman with caramel skin, jet black hair at shoulder-length, and piercing amber eyes outlined in kohl. The other was a tall, barrel-chested man, clearly in his thirties at least, wearing a red suit, fedora, and glasses alongside a long, leopard-skin cape, with roasted coffee skin, matching eyes, and black hair braided back with garnets.
We weren't the only people in the room, though. There was a man in his mid-twenties, with an aristocratic air around him, wearing a black robe with red highlights that seemed much more wizardly than the other clothes I'd seen magicians wearing. His chocolate hair went down to the middle of his neck and waved slightly. I couldn't see his eyes, as he was facing the pharaoh. Flanking him were two magicians, both female, who fit the general appearance of magicians I'd seen - simple white linens, and holding a staff in their right hand and an Ancient Egyptian wand in their left.
It seemed the aristocratic man, who had a decidedly British accent, was arguing with the Pharaoh. I couldn't make out what they were arguing about, however. Eventually, the aristocrat and his entourage turned around and stormed out. Sadie, Walt, and I all stepped out of his way. When he and his two guards had passed us, they continued for a few meters, before the aristocrat grabbed the arms of his two guards, and all three disappeared with a loud crack.
"Well then, now that William is gone, I think it's time to introduce you, Cyrus," said Sadie with a grin.
A/N: So, what do you think? If you have any comments, critiques, or criticisms, please leave them in the Review section, preferably in a way I can respond to them. Also, any Britpicking would be highly appreciated! Thanks for reading!