Background: Casket of Phatep

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  • Background: Casket of Phatep

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    I write this in haste. If I escape this place, it will ensure I forget
    nothing of what I have seen — if not, I hope it will serve as a warning
    to those who come after.
    With our escape blocked by the collapse of the tunnel, we headed
    down into the darkness. It seemed like an age until we reached the
    bottom of the narrow passageway, each sealed with a stone slab. One
    had been broken, no doubt by Valdes’ men. This, then, was the burial
    chamber of King Kharatep. Inside, the light of our torches reflected
    from a dazzling hoard of treasure.
    A golden casket of exquisite craftsmanship stood on a stone dais above
    the other grave goods. If the histories of Kharatep’s reign are true, this
    was one of the nine funerary caskets of the god-king Phatep himself,
    recaptured by King Kharatep at the Battle of the Burning Sands. It
    shone magnificently in the light of our torches, as bright and untarnished
    as the day it was made.
    Before I could shout a warning, Gunther and the porters rushed forwards
    to open it, overcome by greed. The moment they had levered
    open the lid, a searing light burst from inside, and howling spirits
    swarmed from the casket, babbling curses on those who defiled the
    mortal remains of their god. Where they struck, men fell dead without
    a mark on their bodies, faces contorted in terror.
    To my shame I fled, leaving the others to die. I ran until I could no
    longer hear the screams of the hunting ghosts. Now I hide in an alcove
    of the pyramid’s internal passageways, writing these words. I
    will never forget what I saw — not only when the casket was opened,
    but during my flight. The second archway we passed — the one still
    sealed with a stone slab that would have taken a giant’s strength to
    move — is now open.

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