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Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
The Prideful Father

All the people of the city of Sanntri were amassed in the plain, near the Great Pyramid.
On the top of a huge platform, the High Priest of the Mortuary Cult, the High Priest of Ptra, the Great Necrotect Techimech and the Master Craftsman were patiently waiting for the Pharaoh. The frontal side of the pyramid and its entrance, flanked by large statues and obelisks, were enveloped by immense linen drapery, that were hiding to the sight what could have been the last and greatest work of Techimech, his passport for the Awakening.
On the flight of the platform's steps, there were the priests, forming two colored wings, with increasingly less rich garments going downstairs.
The sector for the lesser nobles, from where there was the best view, was near the lowest steps of the stairs, in front of the lines of the Guards; slaves were holding parasols, to shield their masters from the heat of the sun.
Behind them, there were the members of the upper classes; merchants, officers and scribes, the richest of them with their own servant, each one armed with fans, to create some illusion of freshness.
More distantly, the open spaces were filled by normal peoples; the lifeblood of the city, and also its ignorant scum, at the eyes of the Master Craftsman. Many of them were shirtless, and their skin was glistening with sweat; the Master was grateful that they were too far to annoy him with their stink.

Finally, the magical enhanced voice of the Pharaoh's herald, announced the arrival of Pharakh III, Bringer of Life, Beloved by Ptra, Destroyer of infidels and Protector of Khemri; a roaring from the crowd accompanied the royal chariot.
Usually, the mere vision of their King would have been a sufficient reason to jubilate, but today it was different. The crowd's excitement was sky high, because finally, after a wait almost three years long, they would have seen the finished work of Techimech, the definitive homage to Pharakh's greatness.
Many were the rumors about it: a great number of the most beautiful stones of Khemri had been brought to Sanntri in the last years, and it was said that the first statue was demolished by an angry and unsatisfied Techimech, only to be built even Greater... but that was false, because there were two different statues, to honor the two Pharaoh's daughters... but even that was not the truth, because it was a huge Hierotitan, with a gold mask resembling the Pharaoh himself... even if someone knew for certain it was a magnificent warsphinx, pulling a flying chariot of the Gods.

The royal chariot arrived, and the Pharaoh slowly ascended to the platform while all the priests and the nobles were bowing down, as act of submission.
Even the High Priests paid the due tribute to His Majesty; only Techimech, in his pride, was standing high, bowing when it was almost too late, when a touch of the Master Craftsman shook him from his dreams of grandeur.
Pharakh noticed it, but was ready to pass upon that lack of respect... maybe.
"We have waited for long, Necrotect. And I see that you are eager to show Us your work. You have Our permission."
Techimech raised his hand; in the distance, the artisans pulled the ropes that were holding the drapery; the masterful mechanism of hidden counterweights worked perfectly, and all at once, the veils fell.

The rumors about two different statues, to honor the two Pharaoh's daughters, were almost right... but the ones that were flanking the main entrance of the pyramid were no simple statues; they were warsphinxes.
But the lionesque warbeasts had not the usual monstrous heads, nope: their features were the ones of beautiful maidens, with a superior smile, because they were the prideful daughters of the Pharaoh, and his eternal defender.
On the left there was Afrah, the second-born daughter. The main bulk of the construct was made by pure white marble, crossed by red gold belts; the graceful neck was framed by a necklace of huge light blue sapphires, of the same color of the princess' eyes; the shoulder plates were adorned with threatening scorpions, because the child princess was left unharmed by a scorpion that was hiding in her cradle, and so her tail was bringing the envenomed sting.
On the place of honor there was clearly Najat, the first-born; the lucid, red marble, was adorned with shiny platinum garments and the pectoral plate was emblazoned with the personal sigil of the princess; the sculpted muscles were tensed, ready to pounce, because Najat is a warrior, and a commander of the Guards, and so her Sphinx was the most intimidating. The huge red ruby of her crown, was the sign that the Sphinx was given the gift of the Fiery Roar.
And roaring was the crowd, because the two sphinxes were amazing beyond imagination: white with red, and red with white, even chromatically the two were showing a perfect specular resemblance, and the different attitudes were complementary to each other. The two jewels of the Pharaoh, guarding Him for the centuries to come, waiting for the Awakening.

And Pharakh was contemplating the warsphinxes with pride. All Nehekhara would have admired those magnificent behemoths, His Name and the names of his daughters would have been forever tied to such masterpieces.
"We are pleased, Techimech, such beautiful sphinxes honor Us. They are not beautiful as my daughters, but they are a comparable simulacrum. I suppose that the level of the details, must be of the same high quality... and it would be a pity, if the passing of time could ruin your excellent work.
We think you gained the right to preserve the beauty of your creation, and to keep intact its efficiency through the ages to come. The High Priest Khefar will prepare you for the Sacred Embalming, and you will rest in a place of honor, within my most valued servants. Well done."
Pharakh conceded himself another minute to contemplate the majestic statues, then he returned to his chariot, enjoining the jubilation of the crowd; in the meantime, the high priests and their attendants were escorting Techimec toward the temple. The Great Necrotect wore an ecstatic smile, marching to immortality; the sun would have been denied to him for millennia, but now, it was shining upon his triumph.
The priests were going away, and the crowd was swarming through the gaps between the relaxing guards, to see closer the two marvels.

For a moment, the Master Craftsman was the last one remaining on the platform. He was very satisfied by the Sphinxes, even if no one would have granted him the real merit of his work... not that it was important, since he was not ready to pay the price.
But every artist likes to sign its creation.
The thin layer of clay that covered the back of the pedestal of each sphinx, would have passed unnoticed for the next weeks, when the statues would have been the main attraction of the city. Within a couple of months, it would have been flaked off, revealing the engravings hidden behind it:
three things gave me birth.
The shaped stone. The Vision of a Man. The death of a fool.

Ramhotep smiled. His work here was finished, and it was time to leave the city.
In the Great Plains, Emrah was planning to build some impressive monoliths, and Ramhotep knew he would have needed a Master Craftsman
 
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Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
Some author's notes

For those of you that don't know Tomb Kings, Necrotects are the architects and artisans that build the great constructs of the army and give life to them (Ushabty, Warspinxes and so on). The usual destiny of Necrotects (when they were alive), was to be killed and buried alongside the King to serve him for eternity… a gift that the most famous of Nehekhara's necrotects (Ramhotep) was unwilling to accept)

Not all of TK players like how the figure of the Necrotect is portrayed, all these mad artists burned by eternal hate because OMG my preciousss creationsss!
But anyway, like it or not, Necrotects cover an important part in the army fluff, and Ramhotep the Visionary is THE Necrotect. Sadly, I don't like the part of his fluff, where he simply gives some drugs to the victims (other legendary Necrotects, BTW), takes their place with perfect masks, and then the victim is taken to death while they're screaming as madmen.
So, this is my take on that part of the legend: I've imagined Ramhotep more as a subtle manipulator; yes, he softened with drugs the spirit of the Necrotect-victim, just how much was sufficient to manipulate him and to give him the impression that he was taking the decisions, while the real project was developed and changed by Ramhotep, which was acting in plain sight, as the second-in-command, after the Necrotect.
In the story, the Necrotect-victim Techimec, just a little dazed by the drug addiction, is strongly convinced that the creation is his and he goes happily toward his death. And Ramhotep secretly signs his artwork, as a final joke and to be sure that in the future it will be known that the sphinxes were made by himself (otherwise, how could we know that he was the author of so many works?).
The title of the story was hopefully misleading: the prideful father is not really the Pharaoh (although he is), but Ramhotep, and the sphinxes are his daughters, cause he gave them "life".
 
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Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Sep 29, 2013
1,623
New Zealand
I like that interpretation of Ramhotep. And the scene itself was just awesome, like one of those things where you wish there was a film of it. And there is something (maybe twistedly) adorable in turning his daughters into/interring them into Warsphinxes to gaurd him for eterrnity.

One minor thing - do Nehekharans have the word Pharoah? I know they're pastiche Egyptians, but maybe I just haven't read enough Tomb King material but it just seems too much like a real world term. I got the impression they called their rulers priest-kings.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,148
Northern Italy
One minor thing - do Nehekharans have the word Pharoah? I know they're pastiche Egyptians, but maybe I just haven't read enough Tomb King material but it just seems too much like a real world term. I got the impression they called their rulers priest-kings.

Indeed, the rulers were usually called Priest Kings; viable titles were also King or High King.

The term pharaoh was introduced more from the fan base. it's often included in Blood Bowl teams, and many armies included references to pharaohs (The Tainted Pharaoh army is a notable example)

So yes, by lore the ruler were Priest Kings. But players often recurred to the use of the word pharaoh.
 

Disciple of Nagash

Oldblood
Staff member
Feb 12, 2008
27,732
Another brilliant story, and I appreciate the author's notes as well 👍 I always like to see players interpretations of known characters, and this one makes sense considering the background.

Please keep your stories coming!
 

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