The Akhem-Urtu, also known as the Deceived or the Lost Guild, was the sixth guild of the Nameless Empire, dedicated to the arts and the power of True Names. They differ from regular Arisen not only in their guild affiliation, but also in certain aspects of their existence that are the result of something referred to as the Betrayal.
In Irem, the Akhem-Urtu were stewards of the pharaoh, the mortal chosen to represent Azar in rituals. To their students, the Shan'iatu of the Restless Stars taught observation, thought and imagination: the power to tear hidden dreams out of human hearts. They devised rituals to call these powers forth and reveled in the adoration they received from their mortal subjects.
When the Rite of Return was devised, the Shan'iatu of the Akhem-Urtu sought to reconfigure it to place themselves above their brethren in Duat. The other Shan'iatu apparently learned of this and made their own alterations to the Rite that resulted in the binding of the Temakhs of the seven Shan'iatu of the Akhem-Urtu to their respective Arisen.
The mummies of the Lost Guild are possessed by their former masters and as such, driven by their goals. These goals often seem to be contradictionary and random, but usually focus on getting revenge on the other Arisen and the Judges of Duat and furthering the arts they once encouraged. Yet as an Arisen is not defined by his Judge, so can the Deceived emancipate from their Temakh, even if the process is much more ardous.
All Deceived feel a reverence for the stars and an intrinsic awe regarding the workings of Fate. Some are fatalistic servants of providence; others erudite astrologers. A few stand defiant beneath the face of cosmic mysteries, proclaiming the essence of their being no less profoundly than the Arisen cry out their decrees.
The modern Deceived are ridden by the remnants of the Shan'iatu and therefore possess different aspects, even when they are part of the same master. Deceived traditions emphasize the temakh’s supremacy, but it would be foolish to forget the formerly mortal vessel that holds it. The artists of their guild share many of the concerns of other Deathless. Degraded Memory instigates a yearning to discover who they once were and some even come to resent their masters.
- Am-Henuset, who presided over music
- Hakkar-Zozer, who presided over natural arts (tattoos, scarification, monuments built out of animal bones etc.)
- Kehetkhat, who presided over physical expressions (dance, violence, acts of pleasure)
- Neshebsut, who presided over philosophy
- Nephir Un-Akh, who presided over storytelling, poetry and oration
- Siranuthis, who presided over song
- Tutkepertanu, who presided over painting
Differences to the ArisenEdit
In contrast to the Arisen, whose sahu mimicks the form they had in life, all Deceived are disfigured by their Temakh, appearing as fundamentally wrong to any onlookers. These are often strange fusions of their former mortal forms and the alien symbolisms that constitute their former masters, as if the mummies somehow got stuck partway into shape-shifting between two forms. Most wrap themselves in heavy clothing with deep hoods, or even full face masks, if they do not wish to frighten or at least disturb all who encounter them.
The Deceived inflict Sybaris as the Arisen, but instead of displaying the animal iconography of their Decrees, they present the shadowed and star-spattered presence of the temakh superimposed upon its servant. Also, their Sybaris is more likely to trigger prophetic visions. The Deceived themselves have always at least one Derangement.
All Deceived are unable to leave the material plane except for Neter-khertet (Twilight) during their death cycle: They can neither enter Duat nor other realms of existence like the Shadow or the Underworld. As eternal beings, they can never turn into Shuankhsen and can rise again from any corpse with its four organs intact. If mankind should go extinct, the Deceived will still survive and resurrect wherever Fate allows it.
While the Deceived experience Memory in largely the same way as the Arisen, they have no wall of separation between their recollections of life and death. Instead, each henet counts as part of the Descent immediately preceding it for the purposes of Memory recall. Should their Memory sink to 0, the Temakh overtakes the body and uses it to fulfill its needs.
All of the Lost Guild were deceived, but that does not mean that they have much common ground beyond that. Even Deceived with the same Temakh can struggle against each other. Despite this, common movements among the Deceived have crystalized over the aeons that seek to fulfill their masters agenda.
- The Rotten Temple, who seeks to bring down civilization to spite the Judges of Life, Azar and the Shan'iatu that have betrayed them.
- Scions of the Emerald Ankh, who seek to free Sekhem that is trapped in Vessels, Amkhata, Sadikh and similar unnatural beings to deny its flow to Duat.
- The Shattered Crook, who see the Su-Menent and their virtues of obedience as the main force of the Judges of Duat and seek to destroy them.
- The Pardjedsa, the Tomb-Legion, who seek to unify the Deceived for one last battle against the loyalists of the Judges.
There exist numerous minor movements, often tied to an Akhem-Urtu Cult, but these are the four most common.