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In Egypt's heyday, before its conversion to Christianity at the hands of the Roman Empire, magic was commonplace, practised by mortal and vampire alike. Egyptians had several words for magic; the Setites used Heka (literally "magic") to refer to mortal magic, and Ahku ("spells") for their blood magic. By the Middle Ages the practice had been nearly been wiped out, however, and was incredibly rare until the 19th century when Champollion's translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs allowed for its rediscovery.
Practitioners of Akhu are known as Lector Priests, and they believe their magical power is drawn from Set himself. Their practices are near-identical to those of mortal Egyptian sorcerers, involving images, effigies, stories, names and words. Their most important tool, however, is the blasphemy-shrine, a ritual chamber in which the lector-priest defiles the bodies and belongings of the dead in an emulation of Set's blasphemous dismemberment of his murdered brother Osiris. This perversion of traditional Egyptian burial customs unleashes power which fuels the lector-priest's spells, allowing them to perform sorcery without the expenditure of Vitae. The magic need not be performed at the shrine, but it must be maintained for the magic to work.
The sacred book of Set's lore, The Book of Going Forth by Night, contains only a few key instructions for performing Akhu. Most importantly, it details how to construct a blasphemy-shrine, and some of the rituals that can be performed on the dead and their grave goods there. It also contains rituals for creating consecrated copies of itself, for brewing sacramental blood beer, and to "open the gate", or draw directly on the power of the dead to grant energy to the lector-priest, rather than power spells. All other knowledge of Akhu is drawn from the magical lore of Egypt, preserved by the Setites.
The knowledge required to make use of Akhu is vast: not only must a lector-priest understand the Egyptian lore of death, but also know the names of hundreds of gods, seek out the proper knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language, and must honour Set at least once a month in their properly constructed blasphemy-shrine.
Recently, branches of the Clan have tried to adapt Akhu for their own mythologies by drawing on mystic parallels of a primordial confrontation between rival gods within different mytholgies. One example of such an adaption is the confrontation between Loki (in the role of Set) and Baldur (in role of Osiris).
The following paths are unique to Akhu:
- Hand of Ptah: Remotely damage or repair to an object of 200 lbs or less
- Hand of Khnum: Remotely damage or repair an animal, mortal, or objects of 1000 lbs or less
- Hand of Anubis: Remotely damage or repair corporeal supernatural creatures or objects of 5,000 lbs or less
- Hand of Thoth: Remotely damage or repair incorporeal supernatural creatures or objects of 20,000 lbs or less
- Hand of Heka: Remotely apply a Discipline or other magical power to creatures or damage or repair objects of 100,000 lbs or less
- Whispers of the Sands: Communicate remotely with one's childer or ghouls
- Tongue of the Tempter: Cause a subject to reveal a secret fear or desire
- Voice of the Prophet: Deliver a cryptic message that speaks to a listener's deepest desires
- Lord of Storms: Summon a sandstorm or thunderstorm
- Dark Invocation: Place a protective curse on an object or place
- A Sending of Serpents: Cause a target to hallucinate being attacked by snakes
- Darkness of Duat: Blind a subject
- Suffocation of the Tomb: Render victim unable to speak or breathe
- The Narrow House: Paralyze a target
- Consignment to Duat: Slay a mortal or put a vampire into torpor
- Beauty Fades: Cause a work of art to cause revulsion in those who view it
- Trust Withers: Target begins to believe a friend or ally is planning to betray
- Love Dies: Destroy a subject's feelings of love for another
- Hope Dissolves: Cause a subject to become depressed, believing their goals cannot be obtained
- Thrones Crumble: Create mistrust and hostility in a subject towards a figure of authority
- First Taste: Create a pleasurable association with a minor, repetitive action
- Cross-Addiction: Temporarily change what an addict is fixated on
- The Jones: Remove a subject's inhibitions from indulging their addiction
- Fatal Compulsion: Cause a target to suffer harm from not indulging their addiction
- Temperance: Render subject unable to draw pleasure from their addiction
- Serpentine Sense: Gain ability to identify poisons and see in darkness
- Scaleskin: Make one's body incredibly flexible
- Venom Curse: Turn one's blood into a poison that blinds
- Touch of Typhon: Transform one's arm into a venomous snake
- Form of the Hydra: Transform into a mass of snakes nearly impossible to destroy
- Laborer: Create a simple servant for manual labor
- Servitor: Create a mildly intelligent servant
- Guard: Create a servant capable of combat
- Overseer: Create a skilled servant that can supervise others
- Gift of Khnum: Create a servant that thinks for itself but is utterly loyal
In addition to the above, lector-priests know many paths also used by Thaumaturgy, though they are known by different names and practiced in the Akhu style. The paths have nothing in common but their effects, and in most cases the Setite path is actually older than the Tremere one. Where names differ, the Thaumaturgical name is listed along with the reference.
- Alchemy (Alchemy)
- Path of Ptah (The Path of Conjuring)
- The False Heart (The Path of Corruption)
- Sebau's Touch (Path of Curses)
- Path of Thoth (The Focused Mind)
- Valour of Sutekh (Path of Mars)
- Vengeance of Khnum (Mastery of the Mortal Shell)
- Path of Anubis (Spirit Manipulation)
- The Breath of Set (Weather Control)
- Whisper of Quiet Stone (Elemental Mastery)
- Main article: List of Akhu Rituals
Similar to Thaumaturgy, Akhu has several Rituals that can be used to achieve static effects. Most draw on traditional Egyptian practices.
^ Divine Hand
|Divine Hand||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 25-26|
^ The Immanence of Set
|The Immanence of Set||Libellus Sanguinis 3: Wolves at the Door||Pg. 105-106|
^ Path of Duat
|Divine Hand||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 26-27|
^ Path of the Dry Nile
|Path of the Dry Nile||Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy||Pg. 116-117|
^ The Snake Inside
|The Snake Inside||Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy||Pg. 115-116|
|The Snake Inside||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 14|
^ Soul of the Serpent
|Soul of the Serpent||Cairo by Night||Pg. 88|
|Ushabti||Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion||Pg. 27-28|
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