Udja-sen: Werewolves of Ancient Egypt

When the Arisen went into their slumber, the werewolves of [[[hunting-grounds-sumer]| Sngar]]] were the enemy. They called themselves the Ur-Sag and from the cities of the empire later generations would call Sumer they ruled their subjects as open Dog-Kings from Eridu and Bad-Tibira, Larsa and Sippar, Shuruppak and Bau-Isin. The Iremites called them the Ki-En-Gir, after their own name for their land, and the Nameless Empire made war against them for decades before the Peace of Ubar.

At the start of the First Sothic Turn, many among the Deathless were shocked to find the wolf-men now allies in protecting the pharaoh’s realm. They are unsure what to think and many are unwilling to work with the shapechangers.

The Firstborn and the Arisen

In the beginning was Father Wolf and Amahan Iduth, the living moon. But they were not alone in this age of the dawn, the crude tribes of mankind also lived there and all the animals of the world. And there were the She-Digir, the tiny gods from some other place. Where Father Wolf and his children were inextricably tied to the world around them, the She-Digir were strange and alien creatures who approached the world like children with tools. They pulled things apart, examined them under magnifying lenses, poked and prodded to see what they would do. The tiny gods of Irem were not content with life, they wanted to create something more.

After generations, they finally did. They gathered slaves and killed them all in an unholy sacrifice which created the creatures that call themselves the Arisen.

The Legacy of the Ur-Sag

The deathless mummies created their own kingdom in the Black Land around the Nile but the children of Father Wolf created their own in the fertile plains between the Tigris and Euphrates. They forged an empire of might where they lived openly as gods themselves and cowed the spirits into obedience. The Pure Tribes were pushed to the hinterlands where they howled fruitlessly at the holdings of the Forsaken. It was a fantastic time of power and glory. Then it ended.

The wolf kings, the Ur-Sag, fell victim to their hubris and their empire fell. Scattered by the angry spirits and vengeful Anshega, they fled to the four winds. Many ended up in the lands of their former enemies, the realms of the sleeping mummies, offering an alliance. At first they came as equal partners but both sides quickly realized that the Uratha had very little to negotiate with. In the end, they came as servants cast into the wilderness and they were told to be happy with it.

Many of the Udja-sen remember the heady days of the Ur-Sag, though. They tell stories around desert campfires of their ancestors who lived as kings and the riches that the wolf-gods enjoyed. But they also tell of the mistakes that led to their downfall. In the days of the pharaohs, the Uratha are content to serve and to follow their nature. they will leave regency for other generations.

Of Luna and the Hesitu

In the ancient days of the Ki-En-Gir, Luna guided the Forsaken Tribes through her gifts of the auspices. The faces of Luna, common and rare, continue to be the touchstone for the pack roles of the Uratha, but Luna herself does not speak directly to the Udja-sen. Whether she is unable to pierce the control of the celestial masters of the Deathless (a blasphemous thought to many of the Uratha) or she has some agreement with her, she relies on the Aakhuit, the Eyes of Luna, to reach her children in the Black Land.

The Twin Souls and the Fivefold Soul

It is said that the Uratha are twin-souled, a binding of human and wolf into one creature. This is a challenge for many who undergo their First Change to grasp but Egyptians have the opposite problem of most. For them, it is a problem of having too few souls rather than too many. Egyptian culture sees five souls in every person, so the question naturally arises of how many souls a werewolf has. Two? Ten? Five?

The answer depends on who you ask. Some ascribe to the idea that the wolf-soul and human-soul are bound together into five hybrid soul portions. A few theories even go so far as to equate these five souls with the five forms of the Uratha: Hishu (the human form) is a manifestation of the precise ren (name-soul), Dalu (the near-human form) of the perceptive ba (spirit-soul), Gauru (the wolf-man) of the pure ka (essence-soul), Urshul (the near-wolf) of the silent sheut (shadow-soul), and Urhan (the wolf form) of the impassioned ab (the heart-soul). This interpretation, and even the designations, are by no means universal but they are known by many different packs.

Others see the wolf as a sixth soul in addition to the others, something they call the hatu (the animal-soul). This is a view shared by other changers, the so-called Changing Breeds, but not by many Uratha who think it insulting that a wolf should have less of a soul than a human. They believe that the wolf-soul and human-soul each have five parts. Some think this means Uratha have five soul portions, each alloys of human and wolf. Others think that there are five human soul portions and five wolf soul portions, all of them acting in concert as pairs in a complex dance of interactions.

Reku: The Tribes

Within the borders of Egypt, the tribes exist between two hard forces. First there are the remanants of the mummies’ kingdom in the cities along the Nile River, ready to crush the werewolves should they try to take more territory. Then there are the Pure from without, eager to take revenge for their treatment by the Forsaken when they ruled as god-kings in Sngar. Each of the tribes maintains what networks they can but the People are scattered and endangered in this harsh land.

  • Blood Talons: Many of the Suthar Anzuth claim territories in the south where they defend their claims from Pure Tribes, Kushite sorcerers, and the spirit-hosts from farther south in the dark forests of central Africa.
  • Bone Shadows: Finding a place among the tombs and temples of Egypt, the Hirfathra Hissu lay low while trying to discover what they can about the spirit world within the Black Land.
  • Hunters in Darkness: Living among the jackals and dholes of the deserts have many of the Mennina angry and looking for revenge. They sometimes raid the administrative centers of central Egypt where they are blamed as agents of the dark god Set.
  • Iron Masters: Living among the marshes and wetlands of the Nile Delta, the Farsil Luhal have attempted to influence the growing trade centers of Lower Egypt. They must do so from the shadows, though, and escape the attention of the vampires.
  • Storm Lords: Once proud rulers, the Iminir are now reduced to nomadic chieftains and wandering mercenaries. They have the most contact with the vampires and mages of the cities, but only as subordinates.
  • Ghost Wolves: With the Forsaken tribes broken and sacttered, there are more Thihirtha Numea than ever before. They wander, confused and angry, through the wilderness or else use their abilities for crass benefit as swords for hire.

Totems

There are many different totem spirits ready to protect and aid a pack in Egypt. The common nature spirits in the area reflect the wildlife of ancient Egypt.

  • The falcon and hawk are representative of the god Horus, and are often believed to be the guardians of the pharaoh.
  • The ibis was a common bird in Egypt and was considered a sacred bird of Thoth. Many ibises were mummified and buried in temples and catacombs.
  • The vulture was also a figure of protection often seen on the ceilings of temples and was associated with the deities Nekhbet and Mut.
  • The rilapia and abdju fish were believed to swim alongside the sun god Ra as it sailed through the underworld. They were on the lookout for Apep, the snake, who was Ra’s enemy.
  • Cattle were special to the Egyptians: cows were often raised and slaughtered in the name of sacrificial offerings. Other ancient Egyptian animals such as pigs, goats, and sheep were used for food and clothing, reliable companions for villagers.
  • Horses were not a common fixture in Egyptian life until the New Kingdomm, despite the belief that they were introduced to Egyptians with the invasion of the Hyksos. Donkeys, however, were much more common and were used in processions, hunting and even pulled chariots during war. Horses were rare and much more expensive and were therefore a status symbol and were often used as gifts from a pharaoh to another ruler.
  • The role of cats in ancient Egypt was mostly a domesticated one, as well as a symbol of the goddess Bast. They were also considered a symbol of Ra, as he would battle his enemy, Apep.
  • Dogs were not domesticated in the way some are now, but were kept mostly for hunting purposes. Their utter loyalty - as opposed to the myster and aloofness of a feline - made them much lower in the eyes of Egyptians and calling someone a dog was a severe insult. But, as they were sacred creatures to the god Anubis, they were mummified in a similar fashion to many other sacred animals.
  • Due to geographical conditions in ancient Egypt, the wildlife surrounding the area was immense, and often dangerous. The Nile was full of crocodiles, the sand contained scorpions, and it was common to see lions and jackals running about.

The Pure

The Pure Tribes are out for blood. When the Forsaken ruled in their city-states as gods they tortured the Pure and forced them to live as savages in the mountains. Now the god-kings have fallen and the Pure are moving in for the kill.

  • Fire-Touched: The Izidakh use the occult trappings of Egyptian religion to create power bases for themselves. Operating in country villages and foreign quarters, they root out the Forsaken Uratha and make them pay.
  • Ivory Claws: With its long emphasis on nobility and living gods, Egypt is a rich breeding ground for the philosophies of the Tzuumfin. They have infiltrated many of the aristocratic families, getting close to the pharaoh himself.
  • Predator Kings: With the Forsaken scattered to the wilds, that is where the Ninna Farakh go as well. They hunt the deserts to the east and west, the headwaters of the Nile, and the marshes of the delta for their cousins.
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