Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nefret, Chapter 2: The House of Pentheru


Pleased with your work with the Tomb of Akhentepi, Lady Sebti has asked you to explore another site in the Dead City: the house of a nobleman named Pentheru.  This estate is both the smallest and newest structure in Wati's noble quarter, and for that reason has caught the Peraten noblewoman's attention. After your last meeting with Sebti, she sent a messenger along to the Tooth and Hookah with more information.

That information is sparse, however.  What is known about this site has been gleaned from physical evidence (stone quality; outward construction; and its relative position among other estates) as well as tablets recovered elsewhere in the city by another team of explorers. The name Pentheru appears to refer to two men:  the minor noble who commissioned construction on the manor, and the nobleman's son who inherited it before construction was complete.  Evidence suggests that this family was  newly elevated to the social elite.

The House of Pentheru is nestled among larger estates in a region of Wati referred to in engravings as Vizier's Hill.  As the highest elevation of the city, it was specifically Vizier's Hill that was unearthed by the sandstorm four years ago.  The diggers who uncovered the remainder of the city did not spend much (if any) time on the Hill--so the estates here are untouched by your contemporaries.

Lady Sebti continues to deny any interest in the plague which caused the city's inhabitants to perish suddenly.  She maintains that her interest is exclusively in the lifestyle of the nobility during the Third and Fourth Dynasties.  Kiji's astute nature has proven that her intentions are not what she claims; and may in fact be the oppose.  In turn, Aloysa is not convinced that Sebti is as closely aligned with the Pharaoh's new faith as "the Crocodile" claims.

In Other News

Upon his return from personal business, Nephatus reports having seen Velriana Hypaxes in a deep, private conversation with an overweight Vanara street performer.

After a night of carousing, Cecil has gone missing.  A note on his pillow, written in Sphinx, says not to wait for him, but that he "shall return on the morrow, when the sun shines in the east over the river, sparkling."

The Ray of the ATEN

Important Locations


Peraten is the new capital of the empire. Construction of the city began under Atenhotep I, and was completed under his wife Moshet.  Atenhotep II continues to rule from Nefret from this city.  Religious practices other than worship of the Aten are not permitted in the city.  Believers of other traditions are permitted, and each is allowed to practice their own faith privately--but public displays of devotion (including spellcasting) are forbidden.  Temples to other gods are not to be constructed; and the devout of any other tradition may not gather in groups of 4 or more.

The Tooth and Hookah is an inn and tavern located in the merchant district of Peraten.  It generally attracts a middle-class clientele, though low-ranking nobility have also been known to patron the establishment. So long as the players remain employed by Lady Sebti, they will be able to stay nights at the Tooth and Hookah free of charge.

Wati "Necropolis"

Wati is a walled-in, long-dead city that was recently uncovered by a sandstorm.  Pharaoh Atenhotep II commissioned the initial excavation of the site--which included carving an entrance into the otherwise gateless city as well as erecting an obelisk dedicated to the Aten in a plaza "constructed" just inside the gate.  Now, petty noble who make their home in Peraten, such as Lady Sebti, have warrants from the Pharaoh to commission further expeditions into the Necropolis.

The House of Pentheru is located withing view of the Ray of Aten--though through a maze of estate walls on Vizier's Hill.  While the gates to the estate have decayed away, no one has yet to enter since the city was sealed.

Important People

Lady Sebti ("the Crocodile;" high elf wil olive-green skin) is a devout follower of the Aten, and a noble with a minor connection to Pharaoh Atenhotep II.  She has a warrant from the Pharaoh to fund expeditions into the Wati necropolis.  Prior to hiring the player charactrs, Sebti had contracted with another team to investigate an undisclosed site.

Uzoma is an overweight, whitecape vanara briefly in the employ of the player party.  He works as a contortionist and snake charmer outside of the Tooth and Hookah--where is a continued irritant to the proprietor.

Session 2.1

In their first foray into the House of Pentheru, the party explored the courtyards--including the family crypt and the old servants quarters.  After entering the house proper, they encountered a ghostly vision of the house's past ... and a macabre table setting.

Session 2.2

In the night, Cecil returned with a wild tale about a "Hungry Cloud" that ravages the river every 17 years, and of a hermit who survived it.  He'd gone to visit the hermit, but found the man long dead--his body still decaying in the same cave as dozens of scrolls.  Cecil collected the scrolls, and hopes to decipher their contents.

In the morning, Nephethus excused himself from returning to Wati citing "personal business."  The remainder of the party returned to the House of Pentheru to finish exploring the main structure.  An encounter with an inquisitive earth elemental led Jaeth to share his family history with the party--but that elemental would quickly turn on the party.  While the lower level was filled with public spaces, the upper level was private rooms--including a decayed office.  In Petheru's bedchamber, the party met (and dispatched) the demonic Imanesh.

Back in Peraten, while Cecil studied his scrolls and Nephethus remained MIA, the remainder of the party met with Sebti once more. Though she was not pleased with the information recovered this time, she still agreed to send the party back to Wati on one more expedition:  a temple to a minor netjer named Heka.  Sebti says that she has no personal interest in this site--but is curios to know why a previous party she'd hired was insistent that they be allowed to explore it.

Aloysa explored the archives at the Temple of Aten for references to Heka and Imanesh; while Kiji sought out any local temples to the old gods.  Aloysa uncovered little information that they did not already know.  Kiji, on the other hand, learned that the quarries outside the city have been re-purposed into shrines to the major netjeru.

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