River Ar-en-Gereh
River Ar-en-Gereh

River Ar-en-Gereh

Y’know what I hate most about the Clueless? It’s when they finally manage to go through a portal or two and reckon they know the dark about travellin’ the planes. Those sods’re convinced the only way a basher can plane-hop is through these gates.

‘Course, a real plane-tripper like yours truly knows the best way to travel from plane to plane is along a planar path.

True, planar paths’re less flexible than portals. If a basher knows the dark of enough portals and has enough keys, he can go almost wherever he wants. But it’s dangerous. Well-known portals’re guarded, and others keep changin’ their destination. On the other hand, a planar path just never changes. They’ve been there for millennia, and they’ll still be there when the last Power dies.

Most bashers’ll tell ya there’s only a few planar paths: the River Oceanus, the River Styx, Mount Olympus and Yggdrasil the World Ash. The real dark is there are some more, only few cutters know the dark of them ‘cos they’re rarely frequented. A real planar blood could tell ya of at least two more uncharted paths: the River Ar-en-Gereh and the Spirit Mountain of the Shamans.

The former’s mainly used by the Egyptian powers and their proxies, and that’s the one I’m gonna tell ya about — if only you’d be so kind as to keep my poor throat from gettin’ dry. Oh thanks, basher!

See, the Egyptian Powers’re a secretive and reclusive lot, and xenophobic on top of that. They ain’t unfriendly though; what I mean is they’d rather stay amongst their ilk and avoid non-Egyptians. Their realms’re scattered amongst many distant planes, but they like to stay in touch with each other in order to discuss family business and such matters.

It’s the River Ar-en-Gereh they use in such occasions. This planar path’s only known to them (and bloods like me, obviously), so they know they won’t meet too many foreigners while travellin’ on it.

The river’s uncharted as yet, so what follows is only based on my personal voyages, as well as on what I’ve eavesdropped on several occasions. If some leatherheaded Guvner says I’m wrong; well, he is.

The chant goes that the Ar-en-Gereh flows out of the Outlands into the Great Wheel. Its spring’s supposed to be the same as the River Ma’at’s — but this might just be the kind of rumour the Egyptians spread to comfort themselves they’ve got nothin’ in common with non-Egyptians. It’s a gentle-tempered sort of river, as if it’s reflectin’ the mood of its Egyptian parent powers.

Now listen carefully, berk, and keep this dark for yourself; it may get helpful one day—ya never know.

After leavin’ the Outlands, the Ar-en-Gereh flows through twelve Egyptian realms, then it disappears into some unknown place. Some bashers reckon that it meanders into the Astral, others say into an uncharted sea of the Hinterlands, but as usual the wisest bloods’re those that keep their bone-boxes from rattlin’ in the first place.

These twelve realms’re called the Twelve Hours by Egyptian petitioners, because their high-up Ra passes through each of them durin’ the twelve hours of the Arcadian night. ‘Course this don’t mean anythin’ since day and night depend on the whims of the powers in the first place, but then the Egyptians’re often speakin’ as if they were all fresh-faced Clueless.

The First Hour

Every Arcadian night, the Sun-god Ra travels through the Egyptian Netherworld, the Duât, so that all Egyptian petitioners—no matter what their alignment — can see his might, and so that all Egyptian powers’re reminded who’s the high-up in charge.

For this voyage, the Sun-barge Mesektet is put on the waters of the River Isis by the petitioners in Gizekhtet. They call this place the First Hour. The barge is manned by four proxies of Ra who’re deckhands; Ra sits on a rich dais atop the barge, his proxies Path-Opener and Spirit are on bow, and the goddess Hathor and the god Horus sit at stern. The decks’re covered with Einheriar warriors.

Mesektet fares through Gizekhtet with all the petitioners cheerin’ and shoutin’ from the banks, then she disappears with the River Isis under Mount Manu.

The Second Hour

Most berks believe the River Isis disappears after its left Gizekhtet. Truth is, it loses its holy powers, but it don’t disappear—it becomes part of Ar-en-Gereh, flowin’ through the many tunnels and siphons under Heliopolis. This underground realm’s called the Second Hour.

‘Tis a sight a plane-hopper don’t forget. Buseni swimmin’ and jumpin’ out of the water salutin’ the barge, and Ra’s deckhands pullin’ on ropes, manoeuvrin’ and swervin’ to avoid the rocks. It’s some experience! The Buseni’re particularly good-lookin’, like black dolphins with spiky backs—though they’re much less friendly with unwanted travellers than your usual buseni.

The Third Hour

Ar-en-Gereh emerges on the first layer of Arcadia, Abellio, out of a great cavern at the foot of Mount Bakhau. The river then flows through a beautiful, moon-lit country of rich and well-kept cereal fields. This realm, called the Third Hour or Uernes, is where the souls of Egyptian commoners work as petitioners of the Psedjet, meanin’ of no god in particular.

Most of the produce from Uernes is shipped to Buxenus to feed the petitioners livin’ in the desert there, but this don’t bother the petitioners — they’re just happy to know they’re helpin’ fellow Egyptians.

The Fourth Hour

At the far end of Uernes, Ar-en-Gereh flows under a huge arch of basalt guarded by two huge guardian tasked genies. See, these bashers got two heads each, so ya can’t sneak behind ’em to pass unnoticed through the gate.

Past this gate, Ar-en-Gereh becomes thunderin’ and flows through the realm of Seker, also called the Fourth Hour or Ro-Stau. This realm lies on Thalasia, the fourth layer of Elysium, and is a pleasure house filled with all manners of perfumes, flowers, good food and Egyptian ale.

When the barge gets here, Seker greets his high-up Ra, and everyone on board’s offered a good Egyptian meal. A rare breed of delphons who only live in these waters gather to sing Ra’s praises. Here dwell also those Guardians of Egyptian descent; some of them always get on Mesektet to go and assist Ra in his voyage across the planes.

The Fifth Hour

Past Ro-Stau, Ar-en-Gereh’s waters get calmer and the river widens so much as to nearly become a lake. In the middle of this lagoon lies the realm of Hathor, Amenti or the Fifth Hour. Since Hathor’s already on the barge when she leaves the First Hour, her proxy Khentamentiu—a most loyal lupinal—greets Ra and asks for him blessin’ all the babies born in Amenti. See, Hathor bein’ the Egyptian goddess of birth, all petitioners in her realm’re blessed with bein’ able to bear children.

The Sixth Hour

Ar-en-Gereh then leaves Thalasia to enter Belierin. ‘Tis an unknown layer for most berks, but not for the Egyptian powers—after all, they have to cross it every night on their way to visit relatives and to battle Apophis. The Sixth Hour is Mount Gereh, the mountain upon which lies Nut’s realm, Refuge of Night. See for some dark reason, many Egyptian monsters of legend, lead by Aker, the two-headed giant lion live on its slopes and prevent Ra from enterin’ Refuge of Night and punishin’ Nut.

The voyage on Belierin’s always the occasion for some Guardians to show their commitment to Ra’s cause and to leave Mesektet and the protection of Ar-en-Gereh (whose waters the monsters of legend can’t bear) to go and fight against ’em — only to be put in the dead-book. Knowin’ the Guardians though, I reckon martyrdom’s what they were lookin’ for in the first place.

The Seventh Hour

Ar-en-Gereh then flows into the first layer of Ysgard, through the realm of Bast. Again, ’tis a dangerous place for the passengers. Felines who dwell in the thickets of Merratet—the Seventh Hour—love nothin’ more than attackin’ the barge from the safety of the banks. This realm’s quite peaceful durin’ the day hours when the sun beats down on it—Bast’s cats’re too lazy to do anythin’ but sleep—but it gets mighty perilous at night when Mesektet’s there and Bast’s mighty cats’re out huntin’. As fits a chaotic power like Bast, the cats might as well attack the Sun-barge as ignore her.

The Eighth Hour

After a twist or two through the dark thickets of Merratet, Ar-en-Gereh washes the infertile, sandy banks of Tukhamen, the Eighth Hour. Tukhamen lies on Stygia, the fifth layer of Baator—home to Seth, the evil great-grandson of Ra, and the mightiest Egyptian power. The sky here’s a sooty black and it’s even blacker when the barge comes alongside. Seth’s petitioners are all on parade, arms ready, to impress his relatives. Irisiri, Seth’s proxy in Tukhamen, welcomes Ra and berths Mesektet.

Gimme some more ale, berk, or I’ll stop here. Ya know, it ain’t somethin’ pleasant to recall, that stop in the Eighth Hour. Next thing I remember, Seth appears on the bank, clad in black armour and carryin’ huge, baatific weapons.

‘Twas though he’d even dwarf Ra, gods forbid, as if his black aura’d overcome Ra’s own light.

Then Seth gets into the barge, next to his great-grandfather as his champion, not somethin’ to please Horus but after all Seth’s still the stronger — and the worst is still to come.

Ar-en-Gereh leaves the Eighth Hour through its dark desert. So does Mesektet, berk. The air is damp and warm—and silent, as no one on board dare to speak, knowin’ what comes next.

The Ninth Hour

On Stygia, the waters of the River Ar-en-Gereh get mixed with the foul waters of the River Styx. Only Path-Opener can get through the incredible watery labyrinth which lies between the Eighth Hour and Khalas, the first layer of Gehenna.

Lava and molten metal spurt out of the water as the river plunges through Khalas, and as Path-Opener guides Mesektet through the narrow gorges that Ar-en-Gereh’s sculpted out of Khalas’s rock and hostile marraenoloths cross the path of the Egyptians’ barge, everyone on board readies their weapons for the fight to come in the Ninth Hour.

A huge, skyless hall appears: the realm of the serpent Apophis. Ra, his proxies and his relatives must battle it every night or it might regain enough power to threaten Heliopolis and other Egyptian realms. I tell ya, berk, I’ve seen more battles than you’ll probably ever get to, but this ‘un is a huge ‘un. That basher, Apophis; it’s mightier than any power man or monster worships. It really takes Ra’s light, and the combined strength of Seth and Horus to defeat it. Plenty of Egyptian bloods also get killed each time in the fight against Apophis’ snake petitioners. Yet the serpent ain’t dead, it’s just kinda banished ’til the next battle the followin’ night.

After the battle, the survivors clamber back onto Mesektet and she leaves for the next realm.

The Tenth Hour

Y’know berk, the battle on Khalas actually serves Ra well, ’cause it shows every night to all Egyptian bashers that he’s unbeatable and thus is rightfully in charge.

When Ar-en-Gereh’s left the Ninth Hour, it flows through Pluton, the third layer of the Gray Waste, not far from Hades, in a vast plain known as the Field of the Asphodels.

See berk, when an Egyptian dies, his soul becomes a kind of undead bird, a ba, which somehow flies to the Tenth Hour. There, the ba patiently waits for Ra’s arrival and the Judgement of the Dead.

Anubis reads a summary of what each ba did in life. Ra then decides if it’s allowed to become an Egyptian petitioner, a ka, or if the ammut eat it. What did ya say berk? Ya never seen an ammut! Gods forbid you ever should. They’re obese, lion-headed monsters with a hippo’s body who eat a poor ba like I’m eatin’ your scone here.

So after he’s judged ’bout a thousand of these bashers, Ra just leaves and everybody’s back on Mesektet again.

The Eleventh Hour

‘Tis quite odd berk when the barge hits her next stop. After all those horrible nether realms it’s such a relief to be in Quietude, the Eleventh Hour, that any peery basher’d think he was about to get peeled in some way. Well, he doesn’t, ’cause Quietude’s on Amoria—it’s really a nice place with plenty of Egyptian petitioners healin’ those who got injured in the battles against Aker and Apophis, and bringin’ fresh water and great food to everybody. The high-up here’s a lovely lupinal called Sirian Goodwife who really makes sure everyone’s treated well.

Most bashers get off Mesektet here to get back to their kips on Thalasia or just to get some rest. In Quietude, the river Ar-en-Gereh’s called Serenity. Quite a fittin’ name if ya ask me.

The Twelfth Hour

When everybody’s ready to leave Quietude, Mesektet sails forth on Ar-en-Gereh to the last realm to be visited durin’ the Arcadian night. The Sun-barge fares back to Buxenus, to a place called the Offering Fields or the Twelfth Hour, where the river just disappears into the desert. Here, Osiris’ petitioners take it outta the water to be repaired after all this voyage.

The next Arcadian day, Mesektet’s back in the First Hour and looks as if its brand new—ready for another voyage through the Duât.

Well, I think I told ya ‘nough for today, berk. See, as I told ya ’bout those Egyptian bashers—they’re jus’ so peery of strangers, I’d advise ya to forget what I said. After all, ya wouldn’t like to get eaten by an ammut or to accidentally meet Seth, would ya?

Source: Gianni Vacca, mimir.net

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