The Children of PtahOf all the Children of the Gods, those of Ptah have the strangest appearance. While the other Children are distinctly mammalian, the To-tanem are shaped from the inert stuff of the earth. Roughly molded from clay or stone, their heads possess crude features: massive square jaws with a harsh gash for a mouth and heavy brow ridges looming over a slight pinch a nose. For eyes they have gemstones - brilliant diamonds, glittering amethysts and vibrant carnelians. An uncanny light shines from within those weird eyes of the To-tanem. When angry, their eyes glint like harsh sunlight off sharp steel; when covetous they shimmer like furtive torchlight off gold coins.
Their short, thick bodies are hewn from rock: sculpted form stone of a dull red hue flecked with fiery orange, or dirty gray speckled with murky black, or even glossy white streaked with veins of goldish brown. Their muscles are like thick slabs of stone. Their paunches like boulders of smoothed rock. Steaming blood, the consistency and color of magma, gushes from their deepest wounds. They have no need for food or sleep, and no race is as enduring as the To-tanem. They are as steadfast and immovable as an ancient mountain deeply rooted in the earth.
Deliberate and ponderous, the To-tanem speak in a deep voice which sounds like the grinding of boulders in a rock slide. Each of their words is harsh and massive, spoken with the heaviness of the entire world. The To-tanem are stubborn and intractable. They are slow to act once a course has been decided, and once they make a decision, very little can dissuade them from their task. Even in the face of the most eloquent and convincing arguments, they are slow to admit they were wrong. They are absolutely resolute and perfectly steadfast in their purpose. Even when they are horribly and unquestionably wrong, reasoning with them is as ineffectual as beating one's fists against the White Walls of Memphis and hoping to topple those impregnable barriers.
The To-tanem are greedy beyond words. They are possessed of an unreasonable desire hoard the treasures of the earth. It is a desire they are unable to resist. Nothing will satisfy their craving but to have all the precious metals and gems the earth has to offer. They cannot explain their greed. It is an irresistible urge integral to their existence, which cannot be denied anymore than a suffocating man could stop himself from breathing life-preserving air. Though their greed often causes conflict with the other Children of the Gods, they are not lawless thieves. They obey the Code of Ma'at and do not break laws in the pursuits of wealth. In fact the opposite is true: the Children of Ptah live in careful adherence to the letter of the law. It is just that a charitable act is nigh unthinkable to the To-tanem, and their labors always come at a price.
History & Society
The To-tanem are not born of a woman's loins as other Ægyptians. Instead, as a sculptor would chisel a statue, husband and wife craft their child from stone. Each one is shaped to perform a specific function - whether a laborer, who by the strength of his limbs pulls massive blocks of rock across desert sands; or a stonemason who designs fabulous edifices of grandiose proportions and towering heights; or an Artifex who imbues lifeless metal with a portion of his own vitality and grants it temporary powers.
Since each To-tanem is intended for a particular role, their society is rigidly ordered into distinct castes. There is no deviating from this structure. A To-tanem cannot advance to a higher station. A laborer will be a laborer for the rest of his days until his limbs erode away and crumble into lifeless pebbles. More so, the To-tanem do not desire to become more than what they are. They are content with their lot, and harbor no ambitions or aspirations for a higher station.
Their god, Ptah, is the carver of stone and forger of divine iron, and the focus of his Children's society is the working of stone and forging of metal. They have no need for sustenance, and so do not farm fields or herd livestock. Their skill with stone and metal is unsurpassed. The To-tanem are the builders of the fantastic edifices of Ægyptus. The cost of their labor is high. Even though the other races complain bitterly about the greed of the To-tanem, they pay them still. They know that only the works of the Children of Ptah are able to withstand the ravages of centuries.
The To-tanem are strangely unperturbed by the plight of Ægyptus. In long days ago, Ptah was known to disdain the company of the other gods, and like their god, the leaders of the To-tanem hold themselves apart from other Ægyptians. They are neither antagonistic nor belligerent - they work and fight with the other races when their price is paid or the cause is needful, but they are never friendly and seem forever apart. They are so unlike the other Children of the Gods that they find little common ground with their brethren. More so, the leaders of the To-tanem secretly believe that whatever doom should come to pass, the To-tanem will be safe and their existence will continue. Some day, the other Children may be ground under the heels of their enemies, but no enemy will be strong enough to breach the To-tanem's unassailable walls and shatter their impregnable defenses.
Allies & Adversaries
The To-tanem are a self-contained race. Only rarely do they rely on the other Children of the Gods. Usually, they only find themselves dependent upon others when it comes to the defense of their far-flung mines and quarries. Even then, the stalwart To-tanem are confident that if given time, they could prepare adequate bulwarks and walls for those places. This is not to say that the To-tanem do not fight beside the other races. The purpose of a To-tanem warrior is to fight, and they will fight under any leader whose cause they believe in.
The only race that is truly disliked by the stolid and taciturn To-tanem are the Basti. While the To-tanem are greedy, they have very strong convictions about possessions. What one owns is his and no-one else's until he sells it away. They do not tolerate theft. On the other hand, a Basti feels that if an item comes into his possession without anyone noticing for a moment or two, then it is his. It is not so much theft to the Basti, but liberation of something that can only be appreciated by a Child of Bast. Also, the To-tanem do not cheat or defraud. Whatever they are selling, they offer a fair price for it. On the other hand, the Basti cannot help but proclaim the unlikely, profound virtues of the must mundane of goods - and increase the price accordingly. Many times a To-tanem has been swindled by a Basti. To the Children of Ptah, this is unforgivable.
Way of War
The To-tanem prepare industriously to make war. Digging entrenchments, erecting barriers and sharpening weapons. They do not speak while they work. Each warrior follows unquestioningly the commands of his superior.
The To-tanem are disciplined warriors. They fight in large regular formations. While they are disciplined and never break ranks, they fight unimaginatively and without much strategy. In battle, they fight as if they were methodically chiseling away at a massive slab of rock. When attacking, they march forward in neatly formed ranks until they can engage their opponent. Once engaged, they fight until their opponent has fallen or retreated. They prefer to fight defensively, confident that no enemy can rout them from an entrenched position. Their confidence is not without reason. By many veterans, it is considered suicide to attack To-tanem who have been given time to erect defenses.
Their arms and armor are the finest in the land. Each To-tanem takes great pride in his war gear. It is proof of his wealth and a badge of his place in society. Their swords and hammers are encrusted with the finest gemstones, and engraved with hieroglyphs and sacred symbols. Their armor is the pinnacle of the armorer's craft. Each piece is exquisitely forged, gilded with gold and inlaid with lapis lazuli.
Despite their legendary greed, the To-tanem have a great respect for the belongings of their fellows, and after a battle the possessions of their fallen comrades are respectfully carried to the heir of the deceased.