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I am Amun-re, son of Takosh-re of the House of Mo-pelar!

by Tracy Hickman & Michael Falconer


Falconer GH: Regarding Pharaoh, The Acaeum notes: "Daystar West's introduction is exclusively Amun-re's dream-like chant that the adventuring party hears as they traverse the desert. This chant appears later in the TSR version (page 9). Daystar's and TSR's chant sequence have all the same elements but Daystar's is about 10 times longer. It's like reading a book!"

I don't suppose you would be so kind as to treat us by posting the unabridged original of Amun-re's tale?

Tracy Hickman: The ORIGINAL speech of Amun-re
It's a wonder anyone hung around long enough to listen to the whole thing...

I am Amun-re, son of Takosh-re, of, the house of Mopelar! These rags you see forever cross the desert ruin of my, kingdom in the vain hope that that which stirs the sand here and disturbs my wandering may be men of living blood who see the world through mortal eyes. I am blind and deaf to all things living now, even as I was in mortality, and I know not if you to whom I speak be a man or only the sunset or cold void of starlit night. Do not search too deeply the folds of my hood and robe, for, as I perceive but the shadow of your existence, you shall not find even a likeness of my former self. I beg you do not to fear a mere shadow but only pity what this wind tells you of my plight!

I, Amun-re, laid waste to my own kingdom, which sprawls before you like the bleached bones" of a long dead creature. It was not always thus. The years fold back in my mind and the dust of the present be- comes the green and fertile fields of my' youth. Throughout the land flowers grew in abundance amid thick and lush forestry, filling the air with pure fragrance and well being. Traders in their Sandships would travel a year and more to come to our oasis in the midst of desolation and bid a high price for our pleasing perfumes. The fields yielded a never ending variety of luscious crops for our feasts. Succulent fruits and sweet meats were the province of the fields, while within the city of Pazar, the mills turned out a secretly woven cloth so fine as to be borne back to kings and queens of' far lands as the highest of offerings

Pouring life itself into such abundance was the river Athis, mother of our land. Springing forth within the courtyard of' the Old Palace, Athis blossomed a11 that she touched, even in the heart of the desert, and gave strength and health to her children. My father would sit with me beside the spring and tell me the stories of her wonderful power and her blessing, to the land; the very gift of Isis, Thus, there by the raging torrents of Athis did I grow strong in the belief of my rather as we played and learned of life and its living.

But not by him alone was I instructed, Daily was I taught by the priests and wise men of my country regarding the order of Heaven as it pertains to the kings. I learned of the' passing of the kings and how they, after death, journey into Heaven Westward, making the long passage in their burial ships. Sailing across the River of Death until they reach the Farthest Shore, they are then admitted to their separate estates by Osiris, God of Death, according to the riches they have brought with them. I also learned of wicked men whose minds had darkened and forgotten the old ways and hallowed not the ancient dead of my fathers; men of insatiable greed who despoiled the Old One's tombs and took their riches, thus robbing them of their place in Heaven Westward. As a boy, I often at night would cry at such thoughts... and the fear of the judgment of Osiris lodged in my heart.

As my father withered in his age, I grew strong and well, bending my back and hurrying the preparations for his resting place. More ambitious a tomb had never before been created and, through all my toil and sweat, I knew with assurance that this tomb beyond all others would hold my fathers wealth secure, It was with such assurance that my father passed from his body. The rights of the priests were performed in the temple beside his tomb, binding his spirit to his stone likenesses. After that month, was his physical self placed within and the tomb was sealed.

Yet, a very few years after my fathers death, there were whisperings that even that burial place had been desecrated. I was tortured by thoughts of his spirit wandering forever unhoused. Cloaked inc the darkness of deepest night, I stole to my father I s tomb. No priest followed me to witness my trespass into the world of the dead. I entered the tomb by the secret way and, holding my lamp high, was grimly pleased at the spectacle which greeted me: the silent remains of those who had dared to desecrate that holy place lay where the trap had slain them. With sudden hope for my fathers fate, I pressed forward feverishly, a cry of-victory rising to: my lips...

... and then I came to the sarcophagus.

My hope turned to helpless rage as I gazed down at the broken clay pots that had contained the gold. The once jewel-encrusted hull of my father's craft stared at me from great gouges and I knew with certainty that he could not have approached the great Osiris in this mockery of a ship ... without so much as a humble clay token.

In weakness and horror, I sat upon my father's sarcophagus and stared at the scarred wooden image of his face .,..it had once been covered in the purest of gold leaf. His golden Staff of Rule was nowhere to be seen. I laid myself upon the scarred surface to hide its imperfections. Embracing it, I wept great tears of fury. My lamp gutted and I lay in that tomb of darkness and death pondering how any soul could insure his place in Heaven Westward. I emerged from the tomb as the sun arose, but its rays did not pierce my soul. From that time forward, there was no light in me. Clutching my own staff, I swore by all the gods that I would not be cheated of my place in death.

The years to follow were bloodied with the wars I waged on far kingdoms, plundering them of their riches and diverting that river of gold into my own 'coffers. All the while, in every land, we searched, by my Order, for the man who could build me tomb that was secure and theft-proof". Even from those far flung lands did we 'send messengers to the unknown world to seek out he who could fulfill my rightful destiny. But no word returned, for the messengers did not come back. And after years of bloody war and pillage I returned home with my great ransom, still unsure as to how I would keep it safe in my death.

It was late in the warm season when he appeared. Lqng nights were common, for I studied the thousands of designs I had ordered, none of which pleased my 'eye. I lay asleep with my head upon the drawings spread before me when I suddenly awoke to hear my name. His voj.ce was full of gravel, but its depths could have shaken the foundations of the world. I started; The door to my chamber was still bolted and the guards were sure- ly just beyond them. I willed my arm toward my sword and made to cry out. The old bent and gnarled man that stooped before me but lifted his arm in leisurely gesture and; I found myself unable to move! Then he spoke;

III am Kordan. the Archmage. Master of Wizardry and Power in this world of Mnemen. I know well of your desires and your faith and I will build for you your theft-proof tomb ... should you be willing to pay the price! His quiet voice reached into my soul and I knew that the man had at last been found. He would not tell me how 'for he said, the power was beyond me. He insisted that the price be fully one-half of the riches of my treasury at the current time. I nodded in agreement,..:the thought immediately entering my heart that 1 could somehow cheat this old man out of so large a share. Suddenly he waved his arms in a most peculiar fashion and cried out in q most unnatural voice. A sudden wind rushed through the room and there, glowing in tihe air before me, appeared the symbols of a contract. The Archmage started to read them and as he did, the words moved up toward the ceiling and disappeared.

I...and wherein the parties of the first part have, by the signatures affixed below, agreed to all terms, obligations, and commitments as stipulated in Section C, paragraph 43a. 43b, and 43c inclusive and do recognize and agree to all penalties, levies and fees as noted in paragraphs 52 and 53 ... I'

The Archmage read faster and faster and the glowing words, in obedience, also flew by at an 'ever increasing pace. My mind began to swim and whirl and all too soon I could not keep up with either the words the mage spoke or the glowing symbols before me. When, at last, both he and the words halted with one gasping rush, a strange quill appeared out of the air. I numbly grasped it and made the symbol of my reign in the air. That, too, glowed for a time, and then, suddenly flashed and disappeared, the symbols of the contract vanishing with it. The Archmage had also disappeared ... he was already at work.

The tomb was to be built on the Old Palace grounds, directly over the spring of the river Athis. Kordan had the Old Palace leveled and created, somehow, a new spring for Athis, south of the construction and in the same river bed as before. But, as fast as the slaves worked, it was not fast enough. As the walls of the tomb grew, so did my obsession. Year after year passed and the work progressed but slowly. I pressed the freemen of my nation into. services, leaving the overripe crops to be gathered by the women and ch1.1dr{~l)..,.j When the men were not enough, then they, too, were forced to pull. the stones and work the quarries. Our crops still. grew through the blessing of Athis, but there were none in the fields to reap her abundance. Shop merchants and nobles alike sweated under their imposed toil.; young backs bent under the strain and became old without ever having known youth. Rations were meager, for none were left to till the fields and in my mind ever on the judgment of Osiris, was loathed to part with even the smallest part of my treasury for the support of my people.

Eventually, the shrine to my death was completed. My season had passed and, after the 44 years of construction, my countenance had grown worn and pithy. 1. knew it would not be long until 1. could give myself over to the realm of Osiris and claim a glorious estate by right of the riches I would bring him. And yet, still 1. was uneasy, for, 1:;hough 1. had hidden my treasure well. and placed the finest of guards about it, the moment the tomb was complete and Kordan keyed the final spell at the entrance, both he and half my hidden treasure disappeared and have not been seen since in this land. When word of this came to me, 1. lusted after the riches I had lost and turned upon my people ... plundering what meager belongings they had, for had not these same people plundered the tombs of my ancestors?

But the people, far from broken, arose one night like a wounded lion. They rolled through the streets of Pazar as a great black storm and broke upon the New Palace gates. The gates soon sundered, the guards fled their posts, and instantly the mob began beating upon the palace walls, crying out my name in one murderous voice. I stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the courtyard arid found myself pelted with the rotten fruits and putrid filth the crowd had gathered in their rage. As the refuse trickled down the fine linen of my raiment, the years of dark anger welled up in my heart. These dark faces beneath me had dishonored my father in death and would now dishonor me in life. I raised my golden staff, and cried aloud, my voice cutting through the noise below me like a keen blade and silencing their protests:

"By Osiris, God of the Dead, Power of t-he: West; by this golden staff, symbol of my rightful power here and by the Star of Mo-pelar, gem of my ancestors and symbol of their power over this land... I swear by these implements that should any of you raise his arm against me and steal away my life before its time, then, by Osiris holy name, the spring;~ Athis will dry up and "flow no more! This land will return to the dust and you and your kin shall blow away with the desert wind! The wealth of this land have I already moved into yon edifice and not a copper piece of it shall again be seen in this land. Leave me to a rightful death and return to your poor homes... for you cannot drink dust!

By Osiris will Athis stop should you strike me down!

A shaft whistled in the dark and a piercing pain shook my soul. That night did Athis stop to flow.

For a time, I found myself amid darkness. But ;this too passed to once more reveal the streets of Pazar ... though they seemed grey and color- less. The living were but, as a wind to me when they passed by and I could no longer see them. .,' for I had passed beyond them,. I laughed, for this was my day of triumph and I strode through the empty streets of Pazar to- ward my tomb and the sh1p that was to take me Westward. I passed through the temple into the courtyard and was about the climb the great stairway & the entrance when, looking up, I was shocked to see a man form stand1ng at the top of the'. stairs. I had then why so '.now?

I slowly climbed the stairs, ever watchful of the form above me. My dread grew and grew as I neared the top, for the form was indeed that of' a powerful man nearly 30 hands high but black as smoke and had the head of an eagle. I knelt before him at the top and murmured, 'Osiris'. "

His voice cut like thunder through the air. "Thy reward in death was to be the monument of your life's work ... not this edifice of stone in glory of your death. The fruits of your earthly estate have withered on the vine until the people, in their hate, turned against you. You sealed your fate in cursing this people in my name, which curse I am bound to invoke. In life you saw only your death, so in death shall you search for your life. Thou boasts that this tomb be proof against all theft ... so it may be. But until your riches see the light of day shall this curse hold sway. Kordan worked well and not even you know the passages that lead to your own treasure... or to your bones. Thus, I bar you from this tomb ... that you may not enter in until your curse be broken. Until such time as the Ruling Staff be wrested from your grip and the glory of Mo-pelar's stone again sees the light of day, you forfeit your ship and physical conveyance. I condemn you to wander through your land as a beggar, until such time as you find someone among the living who will undo this thing that you have done."

I have talked with many a wind in hopes of help. Uncounted seasons have passed and my kingdom is not now to be seen in these desert sands save only my tomb which stands now as then. Many have tried, I trust, and none have yet succeeded. If ye be wind, you have heard this tale before, but if ye be the living ... I am Amun-re, son of Takosh-re of the house of Mo-pelar! These rags you see forever cross the desert ruin of a kingdom in the vain hope that that which stirs the sand here and disturbs my wandering may be men of living blood...

errors in the above I blame entirely on my scanner. I cleaned up the text as best I could. Enjoy!

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