The Sothic Turns
The First Turn: 2371 BCE
Pharaoh Unas is a far cry from the rulers who preceded him. Courtiers divide his mandate among themselves, and many are buried in temples that approach his own in magnificence. Unas is the last king of the Fifth Dynasty and appears to be revered for his religious role, rather than significant worldly influence. During the Sixth Dynasty that follows his reign, local lords (Nomarchs ruling over nomes to the Greeks) seize effective command over much of Egypt, and challenge central authority with wars and assassination plots. The last Pharaoh, Pepi II, rules for 64 years and his heirs are too bereft or old to succeed him. Decades after he dies, the Nile barely floods, one aspect of a drought affecting the entire world. The Old Kingdom shatters under war and famine.
The Second Turn: 910 BCE
Egypt is weak, and the mighty line of Ramses has been lost for centuries. Osorkon I inherits his father Shoshenq’s conquest of Judah, and treasure from the temples of Jerusalem decorate his chambers. These victories, however, do little to cure the rot that has infected Egypt, and most of the Pharaoh’s of this time rule only Upper or Lower Egypt, contending with regional kings, priests, and petty lords who challenge their reign. At one point, Pedubast I and Takelot II both claim the title of Pharaoh. Pedubast prevails long enough to father a successor, but this Shoshenq IV quickly topples from the throne. Nubian kings await any opportunity to assert authority over Egypt, and although they renew the kingdom for a time, they will never give it the strength to resist the invasions by Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.
The Third Turn: 551 CE
Newly fallen from a nation of mystics and philosophers, Roman AEgypt is a Christian country by decree. From Byzantium, Theodosius I imposes his faith on the entire empire and orders the destruction of pagan works. This includes the razing of Serapeum, the final remnant of the Library of Alexandria. Lost works include accounts of Irem and its sorcery. The Arisen enter a world a century too late to save any evidence that their civilization ever existed. Neoplatonists, Manicheans, and polytheists avoid the death penalty by practicing in secret. Arisen drift into the pagan underground, building cults and raging over lost vessels and defiled ruins. Even in decline, Roman influence eases travel to distant places, and some Arisen leave their broken homeland behind in search of distant artifacts and places they might rule as lords or demigods, far from imperial sanction. To the Arisen, Christianity tells a familiar story but gets the names wrong. A tortured king who becomes a god and guides followers to resurrection is familiar enough, as well is judgement and damnation. Azar was their wounded king; the Judges identified sin and meted out punishment. Egypt enjoys prosperity until its conquest by the Sassanid Persians. Eventually Umar, the second Rightly Guided Caliph, brings Islam to Egypt.
The Fourth Turn: 2012 CE
Arisen who first hear the call of Sirius awaken to find their possessions scattered by the British Empire, and some crawl from sarcophagi in museums or mansions, vessels and cultic artifacts under glass. They learn that forgetful descendants have ground sacred cats into fertilizer; even that 100 years before, mortals used ground, mummified flesh as snuff. The Arisen see treasures wrested from the best-guarded tombs on display for the world to see and learn that modern explorers have invaded Egypt’s most secret and sacred places. Cults learn modern security techniques and ways to invest money for the ages, and the increasing pace of technology proves challenging for the Arisen, who must absorb new skills to blend in; posing as country aristocrats just won’t cut it anymore. Fortunately, they are builders and makers with a knack for understanding the logic behind innovations. In the end. things are not all that different. Iremite and dynastic Egyptian symbolism penetrate every layer of culture, and as ever before, it remains a world of masters, workers, and slaves.