Part I: Osiris / Salt. Preludes, bringing together the cabal, travelling to Egypt and encountering the land. This part deals with setting up the background for the rest of the chronicle, letting the PCs learn about their situation, gain some allies and enemies, and unlock some minor mysteries. This part is mainly social. It ends when the Armorers have gained enough information to decide that they really can build the two pyramids and set to work.
Part II: Isis / Sulphur. Preparing the project to finish the plan, researching the necessary magick, gaining needed allies and avoiding enemies and other groups. In this part the PCs will delve deep into the history of Egypt, trying to gain the necessary knowledge. This part is mainly intellectual and magickal. It ends when the Armorers begin the real project of building the pyramids.
Part III: Horus / Mercury. The completion of the project, removing hinders, keeping control over the situation and finally performing the great ritual to consecrate the pyramids. In this part the mages move from research and preparation to action. At the climax huge forces are unleashed, and if the foundations erected in the previous two parts are strong enough, then they can be balanced. Otherwise disaster will occur.
The research: the first problem is to find out whether the theories are right and the Pattern exists, if it can be completed and what forces are required to do it. This may involve plenty of both academic research, mundane and magickal archaeology and the need to contact and deal with some of the Awakened of Cairo.
Planning the Pattern: once the research conclusively show how it could be done, the real work begins. The first, and most important step is to plan how to implement the Pattern. How will the Pattern be built? It will be a huge project, requiring significant resources, the involvement of many sleeper agencies and a significant risk of discovery. How to finance, hide and consecrate the pattern?
Building of the Pattern: even if the plan is faultless there will be countless contingencies, ranging from accidents and builder strikes to occult blackmail. During the building of the pattern the PCs have to protect the project, and if necessary fend of attacks from the forces of Set.
The cleansing of the Pattern: during the millennia since the Pattern was abandoned it has decayed, and Set has done his best to desecrate it. The taint must be removed as far as possible, and this can be both troublesome and dangerous.
The completion of the Pattern: Finally, the grand consecration has to be performed. The rite will tax even the powers of the Masters, and if disrupted the consequences will be devastating. How to hide that a new era is being ushered in? Can the forces invoked be bound into an ordered pattern, or will chaos be unleashed?
The meeting is held in a comfortable if dark room on the second floor, with oak panelled walls with portraits of famous British mages, a fireplace flanked by two Egyptian statues (Isis and Osiris) and an antique table with inlaid Tree of Life with the sephiroth in different kinds of wood. When everyone has arrived, a butler closes the doors and Master Cavendish starts to explain. He unrolls a map of Lower Egypt with the Pattern superimposed.
"This, brothers and sisters, is the secret seal of our order. It is the pattern which the Egyptian priests prepared to perform the greatest invocation ever attempted. If finished, it would have allowed the great god Horus to manifest his influence in the physical world and once and ensured a kingdom forever ruled by justice and wisdom.After the speech Master Cavendish will gladly answer questions, discuss the feasibility of the plan (his opinion is that it is possible; hard but possible - the armorers were formed just for this purpose) and the practical matters of going to Egypt. Master Weith will keep silent, although he will answer questions posed to him.
But as you can see, it was never finished. The two pyramids corresponding to Betelgeuse and Rigel were never built. The Pattern remains uncompleted to this day, most likely due to the machinations of Set, the great enemy. Leadership has become a matter of power and force rather than righteousness, wisdom and truth, and Egypt have succumbed to conquerors and corruption.
But we can change that. The Pattern can be completed and consecrated, we have the secret knowledge of where the last two pyramids should exactly lie, and together we have skills, resources, allies and knowledge enough to bring the ancient plan to completion. Egypt will again become the centre of the world, and a new aeon will dawn."
The journey to Egypt will not be straight, Master Cavendish explains. The order will travel to Venice independently along several routes (a precaution to avoid surveillance of airports and to confuse potential enemies about their real destination). In Venice they will board the ship Letopolis of the West Delta Transport Company to go to Alexandria. On the way, they will briefly visit a cave on the Ionian islands where Cavendish explains they will seek guidance (he will be somewhat secretive about this). In Alexandria they will pay a visit to the Library, mainly to obfuscate their real purpose to other mages, and finally arrive in Cairo.
During the journey from Venice Master Cavendish will explain the nature of the counsel they will seek: there is a natural cave on one of the Ionian islands, called the Ear of Odysseus. It is said to bring a prophetic dream to visitors who sleep in it. He suggests that it would be suitable for the characters to visit it before the last leg of the journey. The Masters will remain in the boat; if pressed they will admit that they have already slept in the cave and had their dreams.
The island is small and rocky, largely uninhabited. The Letopolis anchors in the afternoon, and the Masters give the characters a simple map of the way up to the cave. The first part is just a winding trek up to the slope of the cliffs through fallen rocks and thorny bushes, but later it becomes almost a climb along a nearly invisible path on the face of the sandstone cliff. Eventually they will reach the cave. It overlooks the western ocean, where the sun is setting. Its floor, walls and ceiling has been carved out by air and water into smooth undulations, but now it is dry and surprisingly warm.
As the dream begins, the characters are prince Thutmosis and his court on a hunting trip in the Valley of Gazelles. Each character has an alter ego:
Freeing the sphinx can be done in many ways. Brute force will work, but cleverness is better. There are too few servants in the party, but it might be possible to commandeer some of the villagers from a nearby village. The clever priests may come up with the idea to re-direct a small stream nearby so that it washes away the sand (this would explain some of the erosion found on the sphinx in modern times). Magick can also be used, but of course only magick of the classic Egyptian kind.
After freeing the sphinx the hunting party returns to Thebes and the royal court. Here they meet the aged king Amenhotep II and Thuthmosis two brothers, both boasting about their military victories. Play up the royal splendour and court intrigues.
How the brothers are disposed of depends on how active the characters are; if they just lean back and wait nothing seems to happen. However, if they start to plot then things start to happen. Use suitably ambiguous coincidences and omens to make it unclear how much is the work of the characters and how much is the work of the gods. Direct attacks are of course impossible since there are always people around the brothers, but accidents do happen. One of the brothers may suggest a hunting trip for lions in the eastern mountains. During the hunt the brothers might fall prey to a pride of unusually large lions. An even more elegant approach would be to turn the brothers against each other, so that they arrange their own assassinations.
The dream can be interpreted as follows: uncovering the sphinx represents completing the Pattern (the sphinx has sometimes been worshipped as Harmakhet, Horus in the Horizon). It can be accomplished in many ways, but cleverness works better than strength. The whole meaning seems to be a kind of promise: restore Egypt, and Egypt will bring you to greatness.
What is less clear is the meaning of the brothers. They actually represents the warring traditions and conventions of Egypt, who must eventually be defeated in order to bring completion to the new order. This defeat helped by the divine forces, likely lie beyond the end of this chronicle though.
As soon as the mages set their foot in Egypt they will feel something. To most it is just the feeling of getting back on dry land after several days on the sea, coupled with some anticipation of the adventures ahead. But Trond is hit hard: he feels as if something suddenly rears its head and looks his way, a huge force suddenly noticing their presence.
Once in Alexandria, it is time to find a hotel and to get in touch with the Library. Master Cavendish has the address to Osiris Hotel, but getting there might turn out to be more complicated than expected: it is a new city with a foreign culture (even if Alexandria has significant European influences compared to Cairo), the luggage is heavy, the presence of two Masters might make it hard to move around inconspicuously and the address is slightly wrong. This is a great time to test their cultural adaptability.
Once at Osiris Hotel (not the most comfortable hotel in the city, but the only one where your arrival is reported to the Library of Alexandria) they will get some rest for a few days while the question of their admittance is brought before the councillor of diplomacy. This is a good time to explore the city, visit sights such as Fort Quayt-Bay where the lighthouse of Pharos once stood (the resonance can still be felt in the stones), the mosque of Abu l- Abbas al-Mursi (Rebecca will immediately notice that the octagonal plan, three-tiered minaret and granite columns are definitely a case of modern sacred architecture are proof that as late as 1943 when it was rebuilt there were sacred architects around who knew how to channel quintessence), the Anfushi Tombs (with frescoes depicting Horus, Osiris, Isis and Anubis), the ruins of the Serapheum around Pompey's Pillar and the various museums; hermetic tourism.
The Masters will visit the ruins of Canopus, today just masses of rubble marking the once powerful city. Here they will privately perform some kind of ceremony that might remind the knowledgeable onlooker of a hermetic laying down of wreaths; they will keep silent of what it is and what is so special about the place, but might mutter that in 1915 another war occurred here.
Finally, just as the armorers are getting restless a messenger will arrive from the Library. He will bring them to a fairly modern shopping centre, filled with tourists and western goods. He ushers them into a passenger elevator and presses the buttons in a complicated numerological pattern based on the astrological conjunctions of that day. The elevator descends beneath the basements into an underground labyrinth of concrete, brick and masonry tunnels, suddenly opening up into the Library. There they will be greeted by the councillor of diplomacy and the High Librarian, who will greet the Masters cordially and invite them (not the characters) to his personal chambers. The councillor of diplomacy, Doctor Fuad Fawzi, will show them around and answer questions. Most likely several of the characters will feel like kids in a candystore - everywhere they turn there are treasures of magick and knowledge. At the same time it is important that they guard their tongues, since Fuad will discreetly try to get them to reveal their plans and goals (and he is not stupid - he will take note of what books they look at, and draw his own conclusions from their magickal abilities). The Masters will meanwhile discuss the whereabouts of the Book of Thoth, the state of Egypt and other small talk with the High Librarian. They are doing their best to misdirect him from their true purpose, a quite tricky objective.
The visit will likely be relatively brief; the Masters are eager to get to Cairo and even if the Library is safer and almost irresistible for hermetics hungry for learning, it is a place where prying eyes and secret agendas are far too common. It may be possible to get in touch with the Library later, as Master Cavendish consoles them.
The airport is harrowing; tourists and locals mill about each other, with a liberal sprinkling of stressed officials, heavily armed security guards, local guides, sellers and cab drivers looking for customers and the occasional thief and con-man. Getting to McPatric's place will turn out to be even more of a challenge - the highways are choked with noisy, polluting cars and the heat unbearable for most characters (making the car's air conditioning work is coincidental Forces magick, almost bordering on the vulgar). And since he lives near the Khan al-Khalili bazaar they will have to navigate labyrinthine passages often filled with people, animals, other vehicles and unexpected hinders such as the commotion around an impressive quarrel between two merchants. Give the players a feeling of the sheer vitality of Egypt, and how different it is from the cold, well-ordered streets of Europe or America.
Once at McPatric's apartment, they can relax and began to plan their stay more in detail. High on the list is a house to live in (since they will likely want to set up a sanctum to work it should be safe from prying eyes and easily hidden); this is likely a job for McPatric and his contacts. Other things that should be undertaken as soon as possible is a visit to the Luxor Club and the Temple of Sothis.
This is where the chronicle really starts; from now the actions of the characters will largely be the driving force. Introduce some of McPatric's contacts, give hints of the presence of other groups and generally let the Armorers begin their research on the Pattern. The goal of the Masters (who will keep in the background as they realise they are far too obvious and heavy artillery) is to set up a safe base of operations and to find out if their theories of the Pattern are true and the necessary information to decide if they should attempt to complete it.
Of course, it might be more useful to get down to the dig in the night when no sleepers are around. That requires the characters to get into the subway tunnels somehow and to avoid possible guards.
The visit will tell them that the Pattern was indeed a real project during the fourth dynasty, and that something may have happened during the fifth to end it. Most importantly, the starmap reveals the secret angles. It might also make them interested in tracing down the figurine of Sothis.
While there is practically nothing in the old texts referring to the Pattern itself, there are plenty of inscriptions that allude to magick relating to it. This may become very useful to reconstruct the old rituals, or to decipher the inscriptions in the Temple of Sothis.
It turns out that Rigel is located in the desert some kilometres to the north-west of the pyramids at Gizeh, just south of road 11 to Alexandria. The desert is completely empty, except for a small, unassuming knoll. The land is owned by the state, and likely not very expensive to buy.
Betelgeuse is to be built near the Nile, close to the small town Turah (where the limestone quarries of the Pyramids lie; possibly the intention was to have easy access to stone for the last and most powerful pyramid). The land is owned by several local homeowners and a small shoe factory, which means buying it could require some delicate diplomacy.
During this part the Armorers get in touch more deeply with the mages of Cairo, the complications of their project and the brewing Ascension Jihad. Their goal is to find the last pieces of information needed to complete the pattern, secure the resources they need and begin the work.
The most obvious way of finding them is to look for sacred architecture, and then trace down its builders. Unfortunately there is no such architecture from the modern era, just soul-crushing high-rise apartments, badly repaired ottoman houses or the occasional piece of bombastic socialist architecture. The last real sacred architecture date back to the 30's, and should provide the starting point for research.
The Architects have hidden well; it is not obvious who they are. Research in archives, the record of the Egyptian Architect's Association and history books will likely reveal a number of possible candidates (and likely alert the Architects to that somebody is trying to trace them down). If the characters start looking for the candidates they might notice the house of Qansuh Shaqra, which is a subtle hint to those who understand architecture. If they are getting too close, the Architects might try to send somebody to investigate or attempt to confuse the characters.
Once contact has been made, the next problem is to make a deal with the Architects. This is not that hard, since they would be delighted that their services are yet again needed, but since neither side fully trusts the other there will likely be much dealing, subterfuge and hidden information involved.
Archimedes Cavendish has influential connections in Britain, and the whole family has access to a sizeable fortune. Still, getting funding for the project likely involves persuading some major banks to invest, which means a good cover has to be developed.
Covering up the pyramid building requires some creativity. The pyramids do not need to look like pyramids to act like one, and they must not arouse any suspicion among the sleepers or mages in Egypt. One possibility is to make the Turah pyramid a tourist hotel; as long as it gets built it serves its purpose. The desert pyramid is harder, it will be built in the middle of nowhere.
Getting the necessary permits, buying the land and greasing plenty of hands is the next step. This is where the real work starts; most likely both Archimedes, Francis and Philippe will need to work together to gain allies and contacts, convince the right people and find consultants who can deal with the Egyptian bureaucracy.
It is not inconceivable that other groups could be helpful here. The Luxor Club has some influential connections, as does the Brethren, but involving them might give them too much information about the Plan. Both Masters have extensive contacts among hermetic masters across the globe, and can provide some long-range help, but this also comes with strings attached. If Laylah is involved with Philippe, she can bring in some help from her friends (including some secret help from the Priestesses). Another figure worth reckoning with is the enigmatic Mr Rifaie, who might be a great help or a huge block, depending on how he is handled.
In order to keep the plan secret, both projects should ideally be economically and politically entirely independent. If they are too obvious, other groups will investigate, and if any connection is noticed then people will get really interested. Obfuscation is second nature to many hermetics, so this will likely be fairly easy to hide. The problem is being able to control the project too.
Buying the land of Turah is another problem. There are several local landowners, and some might not want to sell. If the efforts to buy the land are too obvious, the locals might band together to raise the price or even prevent the buy.
This subplot consists mainly of mundane planning, social roleplaying (How to deal with the chain-smoking minor Egyptian bureaucrat who has decided to delay the survey permit just out of spite? What to wear on the fancy dress ball arranged by the director of the Bank of Egypt?) and some intrigue. This is a great chance to really get into the mysteries of Egyptian bureaucracy, financing, politics and land development. The most important lessons are of course the importance of contacts, and avoiding stepping on too many toes; it is easy to earn minor enemies when starting a big project, and they will get back at you later.
If the characters are already very busy, then this section could be left to the Masters who will vanish in search for the names. This is also an useful way of making them rely less on the masters if they treat them as an ever-present cavalry or free mentors; now they are on their own. Otherwise this could provide a mythical quest through the Egyptian mythology, far from the everyday concerns of the material world.
If the characters can somehow get the imam to preach for the invisible Watchers (just because they are mentioned in the Quran doesn't mean every imam will believe in them, or be willing to preach), they will in turn lead the character through the deep desert to a small hovel where a withered old man lives utterly alone (it is not certain if this is in the real world or somewhere else). The hermit indeed knows the seven names but will only reveal them if the characters can defeat him in a Contest of Names; if they fail, he will get their True Names. "For am I not the Guardian of Names?" he asks rhetorically. The Contest of Names is the classical naming of opposing forces, where the next true name must be something that overcomes the previous; there is great potential here for trickery on both sides. At the same times, a tiny scorpion sent by Set listens from a crack in the wall, hoping to overhear something useful to its god.
The next scene is an immense swamp, a labyrinth of reeds, channels and small silt islands. Finding ones way is hard, and there are many dangerous animals around. Suddenly they come upon a small islet where they find a beautiful woman in dirtied finery nursing a small child, the baby Horus. The characters will have to defend themselves and the family against the spirit crocodiles, snakes and scorpions of the swamp. This name is The Widow's Son (characters familiar with Masonry will immediately see the connection with the Masonic myth), and it is linked to Mercury. If the characters defend the family very valiantly Isis might give them a gift of some kind, like the Box of the Seven Scorpions.
In the next scene the child has grown to a young infant, standing alone and silent. On his head a real cobra forms a royal uraeus, and around him the wild animals of the swamp lie mastered. He will smile enigmatically, and the sun rises behind him through the mists. This secret name is Horus of the Young Sun and is linked to Venus. He makes a gesture to the characters, beckoning them to follow him through the reeds.
On the other side Horus is a grown man, powerful and armed with his magickal weapons. On the other side of the small island stands Set, armed with an immense bronze club. The two contenders rush towards each other, using all their might. The earth trembles, and the gods shift shapes to better defeat their opponent. During the fight the characters are themselves confronted with minions of Set, Egyptian warriors wearing animal masks of hippopotami, crocodiles and the Set-animal. They have to elude them or in some way defeat them. Eventually Horus kills Set, and proceeds to hack the body into tiny pieces. This secret name is The Vanquisher of the One With Club and is linked with Mars.
The next scene is a grandiose palace, filled with all the Egyptian splendour imaginable. On the throne Horus sits together with the goddess Hathor, crowned with the crown of the two kingdoms. The secret name here is Ruler of the Just of the Two Lands and is linked to Jupiter.
In the next scene Horus is suddenly old and wrinkled. But his power is greater than before, and as the characters watch his eyes become the sun and the moon, his flesh turns into pure blinding light. The secret name here is The Countenance of the Sky and is linked to Saturn. If a character does not look away he will be blinded.
In the final scene Horus is a winged sub-disk, fighting an immense battle with the forces of darkness at the centre of the universe. The characters are surrounded by a vast cosmos of spirits, divinities, realms and forces involved in all kinds of activities; watching, fighting, praying, making love, doing magick, revealing secrets - everything. The threat here is subtle: in this realm everything might be possible, the greatest secrets learned, the gods befriended, but all these seductive possibilities distract from the real goal of learning the name and are illusions. If the mages forget what they were there for, they will be trapped. Continue describing all the wonders to the players, but without referring explicitly to Horus at the centre beyond the initial description. The only way of overcoming the realm is to concentrate on the centre, where the Horus-disc gyres. If the mages concentrate on it, they will learn the seventh name: Horus, Centre of All Things (linked to the Sun). And suddenly they stand in the temple of Edfu before a wall showing Horus Behudety, the solar disc.
Finding Tass in Egypt is both simpler and trickier than finding Tass elsewhere. In Egypt there are significant amounts of free Quintessence around, but getting it is usually trickier than in the west. The Pyramids are immense nodes, but their Quintessence is already being channelled into various magick. The Mosques sometimes accumulate Tass in the form of holy water or other relics, but for obvious reasons it is not advisable to steal it. Several archaeological finds contain significant amounts of Tass, but most have been sanitised by the Technocracy or are in private possession. There are a few nodes where the Masters could gather Quintessence, but many are under surveillance.
The wards need to keep the building hidden from the attention of other Awakened groups. This requires both a shield to mute flashes of Prime (and possibly Paradox) from the building site, and magickal cloaking that makes others overlook the site. The first kind of ward is mainly a Prime effect, traditionally linked to grounding the Quintessence fluctuations in the earth or flowing water (like the Nile, which is ideal for this). The second ward is a Correspondence-Mind effect. A third kind of ward might be needed for defence, preventing intruders. Designing these wards and setting them up is important and will involve the entire group.
Organising the building projects is a taxing task for even an experienced administrator, and when the also have an occult agenda things get even trickier. There are wages to pay, accidents, spurious complaints from the inhabitants of Turah, misdirected supplies, surprise inspections from government bureaucrats and everything else that has made builders grey-haired since Imhotep built the first pyramid. But the building must not be disrupted magickally; Set will likely try to sabotage the building somehow, by inserting rowdy and violent agents among the workforce in the hope of undermining morale and sabotage the project, by causing accidents intended to disrupt work or by adding sewer waste to concrete shipments, hoping to desecrate the site. The Armorers must be vigilant.
Another problem is getting access to the other 5 pyramids. They need to be secretly cleansed and (in the case of Abu Ruwash) partially rebuilt at least in the Umbra. The pyramids at Gizeh and Saqqarah are surrounded by the tourism apparatus, guarded and climbing them is forbidden except with special permission from the Department of Antiquities (this is also needed to enter the Djoser pyramid). The characters need to bribe, manipulate or otherwise gain undisturbed access to the sites at least for the final ritual. Abu Ruwash is closed to the public and will likely require some official permissions to visit.
Strengthening the other pyramids is simpler; it is mostly a matter of symbolically pouring consecrated oil and removing some of the most disruptive rocks. However, the fines for littering or vandalism of Egypt's monuments are harsh, so discretion is required.
It is also during the building a confrontation with the other traditions is likeliest. If not before, the Shayks of the White Night will take contact with the characters even if they do not know about the project, and try to convince them to join forces with them in an anti-Technocratic jihad. While Hasan would just want to invite the western mages to a meeting, Mohammad might choose to interpret his order as kidnapping one or more mages to force them to a meeting (something that will greatly irritate his father, who will immediately apologise for the grievous error).
The Dogs of Shaitan will also likely be inspired by the forces of Nun to strike against the characters in various ways, ranging from desecration to murder attempts. If their nature is discovered, a general attack against the Nephandi could serve as an excellent diversion for the Shayks and possibly Technocracy.
Most of the old desecrations have been washed away by time, and only the major ones are really important. Some graffiti on a pyramid or the presence of a small town inside the Pattern doesn't matter, it is simply too large. But there are at least two real problems.
The most recent and important desecration is the Asal garbage dump north of Gizeh. It is located on top of the Sword of Orion, a symbolic desecration of Horus' Sekhem. It is a typical dump, with piles of garbage, flocks of birds pecking at it and a general attack on the nose. It is owned by the Asal family, a Copt family who has a thriving business of garbage collection and dumping. An old uncle acts as its single guard/worker, while the rest of the family drive the trucks, haul garbage or do the accounting.
It was fairly trivial for Set to subtly influence events around 20 years ago to get the dump started, and it is a great success. Mages can feel the entropic taint of the dump as garbage mixes with desert sand - this place must be cleansed before the Pattern is consecrated, or Horus will be severely desecrated if he manifests in the physical world.
Getting rid of the dump is not easy. The Asal family will not sell it; they live off the garbage traffic and would not be able to prosper without their own dump. It might be possible to offer another one in exchange, but that would likely look suspicious. It is conceivable that the government could be made to step in and close it (for example by showing that it is a health hazard or bad for tourism), even if that would be a disaster to the family and likely not clean it up. Just sneaking in and letting loose Prime, Forces, Spirit and Entropy might solve the problem briefly, but the Asal family will likely continue to use it. The garbage has to be removed, and the dump must be closed. One solution suggested by the play-testers was to use the connections of the Order of Hermes in the EEC to institute a few minor details in the new environmental program for the development grants to the Mediterranean countries, suddenly making it very profitable for the Asals to export the garbage to another dump; a few hints and some bribes to the right bureaucrats, and everybody got happy.
The second major problem is hidden. Beneath one of the ley-lines between the pyramids in the desert lies the tomb of Asal-Apophras-Set, one of the priests of Set who was given an eternal duty: to recite the curses and maledictions against Horus forever, making completion of the Pattern impossible. If any quintessence is sent through the ley-line, it is cursed and given a resonance of Set. The tomb can only be found if the Armorers walk along the lines, finding the remaining problems (if the characters do not suggest this, the Masters will). How they find it will depend on how they search; the presence of something inimical is subtle but could be detected both by Entropy, Mind, Spirit or Prime, or by an omen like the cry of a falcon or the sudden attack of a snake. In the Umbra a faint chanting in ancient Egyptian can be heard.
Dealing with the tomb is tricky, albeit more magickal than the waste dump. It is inhabited by a live Osirian, who is very much active and likely has the paradigm on its side inside. Getting sleepers to investigate is one possibility, but that could result in a major dig right on top of one of the central ley-lines (including the risk of technomancers sanitising the grave, thus placing a block for the ley-line). Going into the tomb will lead to a magickal fight, which may be exciting but very dangerous. And once the characters discover the dead priest, he will be aware of their presence and immediately begin to stretch his shadowy feelers into the physical world to do them harm. The most likely event is a magickal storming of the grave, seeking to silence the osirian and if possible banish him.
The characters should work together with the Masters to arrange the ceremony properly. Beside the obvious practicalities of getting censers, ceremonial robes, hermetic regalia proper for each person and bringing them to the tops of the pyramids (not to mention bribing enough be allowed there), they have to figure out how to guard the ritual, what wards to set up and how to signal each other. It is likely a good idea to complete the two pyramids as part of the ritual; activating them before would attract undue attention - it is hard to hide a real pyramid from mages, regardless of how it looks.
The ritual begins as the stars of Orion first rise above the horizon. On each of the seven pyramids there are mages, representing the planets and occult forces. At Chefren Philippe (and if possible, Laylah) stands representing the sun. At Saqqarah Rebecca stands representing Mercury. At Turah Arthur and Archimedes Cavendish stand representing Jupiter. At Cheops Jean stands representing Mars. At Mykerinos Alicia represents Venus. At Abu Ruwash Trond and McPatric represent Saturn. At the desert Pyramid Griffin and Weith represents the Moon. If they have set up a temple of Sothis in Cairo one of the mages should be there.
During the ritual the power builds. At first the wards and magickal veils will hide what is happening, but at a certain point it will become too big to conceal anymore. Mages in Egypt will start to feel the energy being channelled. At Aswan the construct technicians will watch in horror as quintessence begins to leave the Dam instead of accumulating, in Cairo the Shayks will gather on rooftops, trying to discern the source while the Dogs of Shaitain howl in the alleys. Now comes the great test: the mages must complete the ritual even as other groups begins to realise what is happening.
The most obvious threat is the Void Engineer strike force at Helwan. It will take them just a quarter of an hour to reach Turah and half an hour to get to Gizeh (if the Turah pyramid is hidden well enough; if nothing of the Plan has been revealed comptroller Jeremy might be convinced the trouble comes from the three big pyramids). It consists of an armoured vehicle manned by men in black, void engineer sanitizers and HIT Marks dressed up like police; if they could disrupt just one of the rituals the whole ritual will fail. The challenge for the characters is to defend themselves without breaking the great rite. To their support they have preparation, enormous amounts of quintessence and a paradigm which is quickly becoming more and more flexible - it might turn out that the strike force will fall prey to the Sphinx or (if one of the characters realises it and prays) divine intervention.
At the same time Set gathers all his forces in a last desperate attack from the desert. Set will do anything to stop the ritual, but lacks the time to do it with finesse. A storm rages towards the Pattern, hiding his minions: masked Bedouins, dwellers of Tuat, camels of pestilence, snakes, scorpions and djinns. This battle is similar to the one against the technocracy, but here dynamic magick will used by both sides.
As the attack occurs, Set tries to seed doubts in the minds of the mages. He will bring up visions of past acts, trying to remind them of things they have done that were counter to the ideals of the Armorers and Horus. Are they really worthy and pure? He will try to show them their insecurities. What if they fail? Can they really finish the ritual? And he is not beyond revealing the injustice done to the Seti people by the followers of Horus, showing the story from his perspective. Should the Armorers really invoke Horus the Avenger? What if he is cruel and aloof?
If a character is overcome by the visions and gives in, that part of the Pattern begins to weaken and will fall unless another mage can step in and take his or her place. There must be a mage on every pyramid to complete the pattern (vulgar correspondence suddenly becomes very useful). If the Pattern holds, then the storm will dwindle, leaving confused and frightened minions to fend or flee for themselves.
At the climax of the ritual the pyramids and ley-lines suddenly erupt Quintessence which grounds as strange auroras across the Nile valley and pyramids. The earth trembles with a resonant rumble. From high above the cry of a falcon is heard. Master Cavendish raises his hands intoning a single syllable and falls down dead. In the sky Betelgeuse flares into brilliance, so brightly that it casts shadows. The Eye of Horus has been opened. All the participating mages feel a Presence tower above them - immense, titanic, triumphant but also just and... grateful. It is as if the whole of Egypt has awakened.
Across the planet mages feel the shift. In busy command centrals deep beneath the ground or in space technocracy analysts watches their monitors in fear and surprise as something ripples through the quintessence fields of the Earth. For a moment the Nephandi falter and feel doubts in their labyrinths and pits. In hidden chantries and horizon realms tradition mages feel something strange in the air; some welcome it, others have dark misgivings. In the Underworld a new star burns brightly on the sky, and from one of the new pyramids a great magician descends, the osirians bowing before him as he walks towards the anchored Bark of the Sun.
In cities everywhere people take to the streets or flock to windows to see the new star; tomorrow the headlines will tell of Betelgeuse going supernova, but tonight it is a brilliant mystery. In Cairo people flock to the prayer-houses and mosques to hear the words of the imams. Somewhere the cry "Michael is with us!" is heard and repeated thousandfold; across the city green flags appear as if from nowhere. And despite the Assuan Dam, the Nile begins to rise.
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