(This journal entry is an excerpt from a notebook Onuris uses to keep notes about his research on the Pharaohs of the First Age of Osirion. It is filled with notes, including hieroglyph rubbings and sketches. A smattering of entries are of a more personal nature. What follows is one of those entries.)
4 Pharast 4714
I am not usually one for writing about my own experiences, but last night’s events have left me with an odd feeling that I should put them to the page before the fever dreams — visions? — fade from memory.
Yesterday while exploring the House of Pentheru, we had the misfortune to discover a ring haunted by two young lovers who had met their fates while the Plague raged. Sitra and I found ourselves briefly possessed by these spirits, and while it seems she has escaped the encounter unscathed, I was left with a sickness. At first it was a simple fever, but as the day progressed, my symptoms worsened. By the time we left the Necropolis I was feeling terrible. With many of the larger temples tapped of their magical resources, Sagira suggested we visit the temple of Bastet to see if the priestesses there could aid me.
While they did not have the magic that could remove the Plague, Sabra, the high priestess, was kind enough to help me as best she could. Not long after arriving, I fell into a fever sleep.
When I ‘awoke’ I found myself in the Duat, and was confronted by a version of Wati that no longer exists in the lands of the living. I saw it as it was so long ago, the monuments whole, the streets filled with stone buildings rather than mudbrick hovels. There were of course fantastical elements. The moon hung large and low, and had the visage of a skull, the main roadway was a flowing river, and the jackal-headed servants of Anubis roamed the streets.
As I took all of this in, trying to figure out if death had taken me once again, a falcon wearing a pectoral landed before me. His right eye golden and blazing as the sun while his left was a white orb, glowing with soft moonlight. I had no doubt this was an avatar of my god, perhaps come to see me back to my place in the Field of Reeds. I managed to say a prayer before he told me I did not belong.. alive.
I had barely taken this in before the falcon took to the wing, and began circling over something in the distance. As I pursued him, I came across a Psychopomp in service to the Lady of Graves. It too mentioned that I had left the Duat, and when I asked it who had sent me back to the living, the spirit seemed to almost giggle, and pointed into the distance, where I could barely make out an impossibly tall spire.
Confronted with this new information, I continued to follow the path the falcon had laid out for me. I was not truly surprised when I found it perched atop a statue outside the House of the Pharaoh. Where else would I wish to go? This fierce avatar of the Distant Falcon asked me what I remembered, and then told me that I had left “us”. The word took my breath away, and I told him that I remembered some, but I did not know why I had left. I told him that I believed it had been he that had returned me life, and after a rather enigmatic exchange about if I knew who I really was, this avatar of Horus told me to keep my faith. Before taking to the skies once more, it told me she was here.
I knew the falcon meant her, Bahiti. She had to be the other part of the “us” I had left behind in the Duat. I had just worked up the nerve to go inside, to talk to her and tell her how sorry I was that I broke our ancient vow, that the whims of the gods were not something a mortal soul could control…when a giant housecat with Sudi’s voice bounded up to me and convinced me to drink a potion to remove the Plague of Madness.
Then I was standing the Wati of now, with its muddy hovels, the monuments in ruins, and a very concerned Sudi who was himself again looking at me as if I’d lost my mind.
After some convincing I finally got him to tell me where he had gotten the potion. He’d gone to the Mahfre estate, and Damej had given it to him, though not before telling him that I am crazy and dangerous, and not to feed into my “delusions”. It seems that she had no idea that I’d returned to Wati, and told Sudi she believed I had died in the desert. While I have not gone to the estate since my return, I have not gone out of my way to conceal my presence in the city from them. I’m actually surprised Damej hadn’t heard of my return. Sudi let slip that I’ve been working at the temple of Pharasma the last year, and I am quite sure Damej with speak with Sebti about my time there. I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
I spent the walk back to the temple contemplating Damej’s warning to Sudi. She has always believed I am insane, a danger the family’s reputation. If I could have left that house sooner I would have. I didn’t know who I was before I left, but when I found Tetisurah in the Parched Dunes I remembered. Not everything, but enough. Enough to know Damej was wrong, that I was not insane. Though as I walked old doubts that had been banished for years crept their way back into my thoughts. Was what I saw a fever dream, a product of the Plague, or had the sickness pulled me so close to the Duat that Horus was able to reach me?
I was in a foul mood when we returned to the temple. I thanked Sudi for his help one last time, and apologized to Sabra for any problems I had caused her before retiring to the room they had provided. As I was preparing to try and sleep, a falcon landed on my window. While it had no pectoral, its right eye was gold, and its left eye a milky white. It watched me intently for a moment, before taking flight and heading towards the Dead City. I have heard a falcon’s cry, or seen the bird, every day in the Necropolis. I had taken it as a sign from Horus that I was on the right path, and now, just as I was beginning to wonder, beginning to let that damnable woman’s voice back into my head, Horus sent me one final sign.
I know who I am. I was never meant to be Azizi Mahfre. I am Onuris. I know, perhaps now with even more certainty than before this vision, that I am walking the path that I am meant to. I still do not know why I have returned, or why I don’t remember everything, but I can say with some certainty that this is Pharasma’s doing. Did I agree to this? To break my vow to Bahiti and leave her side to do whatever task I am meant to? Or did the Gray Lady rip me from Bahiti against my will? I can only hope the answers lie somewhere down the path that has been set before me by the gods.
For now, I will continue my search in the Necropolis. No one will believe my claims unless I can provide them with proof, and Wati is the only place I can think of to find such a thing. If I cannot find proof than perhaps I can find the reason why I am here when even the Distant Falcon says I should be dead.