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|Meaning:||Born of Gold|
A guild of Arisen who see themselves as the nobles of Irem. While it is true that the Nameless Empire was built through the precious metals that they found or conjured, they are far from kings of the Deathless and many Arisen of other guilds resent the superior attitude of the Alchemists. Added to this, the Arisen's empire is no longer a powerful nation-state and so the ruthless Mesen-Nebu have become merchants, power brokers, and hedonists which further tarnishes their image. Still, the magic wielded by those Born of Gold is some of the most glorious that the Judges have shown to their servants. The Deathless continue to be funded and built by the Alchemists, though they have exchanged their palaces for penthouses.
At the core of the guild's philosophy is the idea of Dedwen, the Mesen-Nebu term for inherent value that lies at the heart of everything. All Mesen-Nebu philosophy grows out of the insight that power is a finite commodity for creative wills to gather and transmute. They see this on a small scale in the base materials they transform into beautiful substances of great value, and they see it cosmically in the order brought about by the Arisens' service to the Judges of Duat and the Great Work which will transform the world. They refer to this as the Subtle Bazaar, an infinite marketplace that can offer anything to those willing to pay the price.
Anyone can transmute Dedwen through the Subtle Bazaar, but they must bring it as both payment and the object to be transmuted. This is not a supernatural ability, nor does it require divine permission or any other magical privilege. If she makes the right bargain, she can earn all of these, transforming creative will into mystical might. A superficial observer might see a stolen papyrus, a payment in gold and a blood sacrifice, but it’s all alchemy. It changed one power into another. However, Dedwen is not a static force - once it has been fixed, it quickly loses its value. Mesen-Nebu regard Dedwen as a river that must flow until the world’s end. Expending Dedwen proves that their power isn’t mere adornment, but a reflection of their inner self, always transforming into something more pure. Only the Judges stand apart of this, administrating the flow of Dedwen throughout the universe. As a result of this approach, money is widely regarded as the most successful form of alchemy the mortal world has ever known. Through it, ordinary people manipulate Dedwen with greater ability than the guild could have imagined, turning paper and coded motes of electricity into food, shelter and weapons of horrifying ingenuity.
Some alchemists use the image of Azar’s spine to describe the hierarchy of Dedwen. This is the banebdjed: the “pillar of the divine ba,” incarnate as a ram-headed god, the sacred pillars of Irem, or the Nile itself. The banebdjed contains the hierarchy of alchemical transmutations. At its base, low material forms of Dedwen languish until Sekhem and will transmutes them. It is sometimes said that like the waters of the Nile, occult processes flood and fertilize earth, base metals and lower organisms, concentrating them into more beautiful, useful forms.
Unsurprisingly, the proud Mesen-Nebu are extremely hierarchical and status-conscious. They are also very concerned with guiding their members to the proper way of doing things and mentor-charge relationships are the norm. Every Mesen-Nebu is paired with both a superior member of the guild to take his cues from and an inferior member from a lower rank to similarly inspire (the lowest ranking members take proven cultists as their inferiors). Mentors show their charges advanced secrets to guide their growth, but they also watch them for failings and punish those who stray from the path.
The ranks among those Born of Gold are as follows:
- Hemt: Rank of Copper (Guild Status ): This lowest rank is a given for any member of the guild and only traitors and those punished and disgraced stop at this level.
- Hesmen: Rank of Bronze (Guild Status - ): Above basic membership, these alchemists are trusted to perform basic duties and missions without oversight and they can rely on the guild to take care of base needs so that they can concentrate on more important matters.
- Asem: Rank of White Gold (Guild Status - ): Named for electrum, the "white gold" prized by the ancients over normal gold, these highest-ranked members of the guild are charged with the most delicate of transmutations and planning for the Arisens' divine mission.
The Guild is organized after a set of various tenets referred to as the Alchemist's Way. Every Mesen-Nebu is expected to adhere to this system. Mesen-Nebu individualism compels them to recognize excellence regardless of affiliation. A true alchemist would rather lock his fate to that of an ingenious outsider than a dullard from her guild. As such, there is no central enforcement of the Way, as it is seen as the most effective methods of controlling Dedwen. Anyone who works outside its parameters can also achieve power, like their brother guilds do, but lacks the fundamental connection to its underlying principles.
- Everything to the Deserving, Nothing Without Effort: The Mesen-Nebu are covetous and proud but they are not lazy. They believe that they deserve the riches they have worked for and despise those asking for hand-outs or trying to take a short cut.
- No Inheritance but A'aru
- Excellence is the gate of Prosperity
- The Essence Attains Greatest Power at Its Most Mysterious: Alchemists see the world as both mystical and ordered. Even living in a modern age where scientific study is everywhere, they prefer a philosophical, spiritual approach to seeing the world around them. They also firmly believe in hierarchies of substance, and many different listings of base-to-noble exist to share and debate.
- Wills purifies Sekhem
- Excellence is the coin of Heaven
- Learn the Values of the Age: Dedwen might be universal, but it is not frozen. Those who awaken in a new age and expect to find all of their skills and habits to still matter are fools. Each era, an Alchemist must find the new shape of Dedwen in their Descent.
- Bronze in Sweat, Gold in Blood
- Profit from the Illusions of a Nation
- Spend as Much as Necessary: Mesen-Nebu are often seen as sensualists and it is true that they surround themselves with the comfort they consider theirs by right. Still, they retain the resources necessary for their mission and no display of power and influence is too much if it achieves the Deathless's ends.
- You can't steal from your own Tomb
- Theft is Property
- , p.36-40
- , p.21-33