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As a dealer in antiquities, Halim Bey had an interest in the obscure. When he was a very young child, he had come to believe the tales of Scheherazade were true. Although he never really expected to find the lamp of Aladdin, he found Egypt's artifacts almost as romantic. Perhaps, then, he was in the right frame of mind when he found the Scroll of Nephren-Ka, an Egyptian artifact of mythic significance. He celebrated his achievement by reading it aloud, savoring the rich language of ritual. Intoxicated by the mere thought of the power it promised, he went through the motions of performing the ceremony it described. The results he achieved were sobering.
Halim intoned the sacred words and gesticulated as though an outside force compelled him. At the ritual's conclusion, his skin wept copious amounts of blood. At the moment he collapsed, he finally realized the magic it promised was real. When he awakened, drained and weakened, a silent servitor stood watch over his prone body. The artifact had rewarded him with power over Nephren-Ka, an ancient mummy from a bygone age. Yet the power held a curse: a sacrifice in blood for each year he held the Amenti enthralled. The next morning, he read in the London Times of three men who had been brutally slain within a mile of his home.
A bloody ritual had bound the immortal servant to the will of the ritualist. Other occultists had pursued such power; tracking the artifact through mystic means, they found Halim instead. These madmen, knowing an opportunity when they saw it, abducted the poor fool who had summoned Nephren-Ka. As they transported their prisoner's body down the Thames, the high priest of their Setite cult quickly and brutally Embraced him.
For three nights, the Setite cultists fled the vengeance of Halim's guardian. Sirian, their high priest, forced their captive into a blood bond as quickly as he could. Halim was kept imprisoned in complete darkness for a week. When he emerged from his oubliette, he still commanded the mummy, but Sirian held power over him. The antiquarian's innocence was gradually replaced by guile, if only to ensure his own survival. The Setite cultists swiftly returned to their temple in Alexandria. Faithfully, the mummy summoned by Halim followed, leaving death in his wake.
Despite the horror of this experience, Halim was astounded to see the wealth of Egyptian lore they had amassed. Their collection of artifacts impressed him even more, especially once he learned that several of them had been created by Assamite Sorcery. At first hesitant, he eventually found the idea of Set's actual existence to be a romantic one. Now that he knew that magic was real, he quickly adapted to the rituals of the cult. In darkness, dreams of great wealth and power took form.
By the early 1880s, foreigners had taken a particular interest in the artifacts Halim knew so well. The activities of a British archaeologist named Petrie began a veritable craze in the new science of Egyptology. When outsiders began to steal the treasures of Egypt, and even the artifacts dedicated to Set, Halim was outraged. He repeatedly summoned Nephren-Ka as the instrument of his vengeance, unintentionally adding to the mystery of Egypt when those same tomb raiders died horribly.
Halim Bey had spent most of his mortal life in Alexandria. When the British Empire decimated the city in 1882, slaughtering thousands of Egyptian citizens, his hatred of the empire became a frenzied rage. Yet his years of indoctrination among the Setites taught him that if he was to exact revenge, it was a task that should be pursued slowly and carefully. He savored the opportunity, especially when it meant he might recover more of Egypt's treasures from the musty hallways of British museums.
By that time, cults of Setites had made several brief forays into London. None succeeded as well as Halim Bey's enterprise. Masquerading as a dealer in Middle Eastern commodities, his years of business experience and impeccable English served him well. Halim Bey never needed to stain his hands with the blood of others — with an immortal minion at his command, he did not need to worry about performing such unpleasant tasks himself. When Set and the Pharaohs must be avenged, Nephren-Ka kills. Halim needs an Anglo face for many of his negotiations, and thus retains many mortals as intermediaries.
The thought of Embracing British men and women as Setites amuses him in a perverse fashion, though it is a risk to his carefully assembled organization. Nonetheless, he has done it on three occasions. One poses as a London Ventrue. The second watches over some of the more disreputable clubs visited by Cyril Masters of Clan Ventrue. The third is a beautiful English lady who has mastered the culture and arts of Egypt. His childer now serve as the high priests of three Setite temples in London. He takes pride in their accomplishments, but if any one of them strays, their indiscretions could be traced back to him.
The thousand-year-old kher-minu mummy Halim commands has also ensured his continued authority. This servant's soul has an abundance of ka energy, making him a useful guardian for the sites of the Setite's temples in London. However, across the years, the monster has become more difficult to control. Nephren-Ka has killed over thirty people, and Halim demanded the destruction of only ten of them. He has increased his blood sacrifices, but this has only added to the carnage resulting from his curse. Halim and his Setite cult are oblivious to a certain spiritual corruption that has set into the creature's soul. As such, Halim's most powerful weapon has become a sword of Damocles. It hangs over his head, threatening his own destruction.
Halim could pass for an Egyptian Ventrue if necessary, but he would secretly find the subterfuge too distasteful. Instead, he passes himself off as a mortal dealer in Egyptian commodities and antiquities. He deals with legal trade between Britain and Egypt, and thus maintains appearances as a Victorian businessman. His business suit and impeccable manners serve him admirably in such transactions, though his swarthy skin, kohl-dark eyes, and thinning jet-black hair all mark him as a foreigner, a handicap when dealing with the exclusive elements of London's business society.
- Amenti appeared only after the Sixth Maelstrom in 1999, meaning that the Mummy under Bey's control could not have been one of these kinds of mummies (instead, it was likely a Shemsu-Heru with a strong ka). This is likely an oversight by the authors.
Character Sheet Edit
Halim Bey, Scholarly Heretic
Clan: Followers of Set
Apparent Age: early 30s
Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2
Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 3
Talents: Alertness 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2, Intimidation 2, Leadership 4, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4
Skills: Animal Ken 1, Etiquette 2, Ride 2, Security 2, Stealth 2
Knowledges: Academics 1, Linguistics 2, Occult 4
Disciplines: Dominate 5, Serpentis 3, Thaumaturgy (Setite Sorcery) 3
Sorcerous Paths: Path of the Dry Nile 3
Backgrounds: Allies 1, Resources 4, Retainer 5
Virtues: Conviction 4, Self-Control 3, Courage 3
Morality: Path of Typhon 5
- London by Night, p. 74-76