The Children of AnubisThe jackal-headed Anubi are a brooking people with a doomful disposition. From below black-furred brow ridges, sulfurous yellow eyes gaze forlornly upon the world. In those sad eyes of the Anubi, the world - no matter how bright or beautiful the moment - teeters on the brink of unavoidable collapse. This perception infects their every thought and action. A joyous moment is a rare one for an Anubi. Despite their resignation to an unavoidable and bleak fate, the Anubi do not go to their end calmly and without a struggle. Instead, they strive with a tenacity born of the knowledge that life rarely lasts long, often ends painfully, and ceaseless exertion is required if one is to continue living.
An Anubi only finds humor in the most bitterly ironic situations, and his laugh is a harsh, mirthless barking. At that most bitterly ironic moment, his own death, his laugh is harshest. He is rarely disappointed since his cynical mind expects even the most grievous of wrongs. When striving against a hated enemy, his hackles rise baring yellowed fangs, and threatening growls escape from his throat. When he loves, whether be it a person, a place or an ideal, he considers his love with a sadness of untold depths - for he knows that soon it must end.
The bodies of the Anubi are gaunt and leanly muscled; their skin is jet-black and as dark as the deepest shadow. Often, their bodies are tattooed and their clothing decorated with warding sigils and protective signs. The Anubi are a superstitious race, prone to seeing omens and portents in the most mundane of happenings. They believe that the outcome of any action is fated, and can be foretold by what happens around them: a flock of vultures circling overhead and croaking hungrily; or a cluster of dark clouds scudding across the sky and obscuring the Sun's light.
Despite all portents of an ill fate, an Anubi will not be dissuaded from his intent. If what he intends is important and necessary, instead of trying to change his fate, he still pursues his goal. Certain that he is already doomed, he strives all the more fiercely. He knows that the hours of his life are few, and so acts heedless of any danger. Knowing that he is already doomed, he throws himself into peril with reckless abandon. He knows that at the end of the day, he will b dead; and it is far better to die with the blood of his enemies dripping from his fangs and salty on his tongue, then to go to his death meekly and without a struggle.
The Anubi are the Children of Anubis, guardian of the dead and lord of the necropolis. As such, they are the servants of the dead. The Anubi consider it the duty of the living to provide for the departed, and insure that they dwell in paradise for eternity. In their funereal city of Cynopolis, the plazas are filled with the tombs and crypts of the dead. While all Ægyptian communities have a necropolis - a city where the embalmed bodies of the deceased are laid to rest - only in Cynopolis is the city of the dead so completely joined with the city of the living.
Almost every Anubi serves the dead in some way. Embalmers prepare the bodies of the dead to withstand the ravages of time. Priests solemnly lead lamenting processions of the bereaved, accompanying their loved ones to their final resting place. Artisans craft the sarcophagi within which the dead are laid to rest. Warriors grimly stand guard at the gates of the necropolises, protecting the cities of the dead from the deprivations of tomb robbers.
The Children of the Gods go to great pains to preserve and guard the bodies of their dead. They believe that if a body is not embalmed or if a tomb is violated, then the deceased's soul will fall into the hellish Tuat to suffer never-ending torment. By their knowledge, art and skill, the Embalmers insure that the body is able to withstand the ravages of time. For many millennia, the art of the Embalmers was enough to keep a soul from being condemned to the Tuat, but with the advent of the Eater of the Dead, that is no longer true.
History & Society
The Necromancers of the Creeping Darkness have turned the Embalmer's art against them. They have caused the dead to rise up from their tombs and fight against Ægyptus. While the mummies of the Eater's army are a horrible sight to behold, more horrifying is the knowledge that the souls of the dead are taken to feed the insatiable appetite of the Eater of the Dead. No race feels this blasphemy more deeply than the Anubi.
The Anubi have always been a doomful and cynical race. The ravages of the Eater of the Dead have only made them more so. With each fallen necropolis, the Anubi despair of ever defeating this perverse evil. Their despair causes them to grow desperate, but it is not in their nature to surrender. Instead, they become more merciless in battle; and forever seek out more esoteric lores, searching for more powerful weapons to use against the Creeping Darkness.
Allies & Adversaries
There is a great deal of animosity between the Anubi and the Tethru, Children of Thoth. In seeking ways to defeat the Eater of the Dead, the Anubi have traveled down many dark paths, pursuing strange, shadowy lores. Traditionally, the Tethru are the keepers of lore, and judges of what is fit for Ægyptians to know. On many occasions, the Anubi have petitioned the Tethru for access to tomes and scrolls, which were long ago forbidden by the god, Thoth. Each time, they have been denied. The Tethru claim that the lores are too dangerous for any Ægyptian to know, but the Anubi accuse the Tethru of hoarding their knowledge for their own benefit. Even worse, the Tethru often work to prevent the Anubi from exploring the ancient ruins of long-dead civilizations, and unearthing lost knowledge. The attempts of the Tethru to thwart exploration often result in battles between the two races. As each year passes and the hordes of mummies attack again and again, the need of the Anubi becomes more pressing, and their dislike for the Tethru grows. It does not seem long before their dislike blossoms into violent hatred.
The Anubi are too grim and somber to enjoy the company of the other Children of the Gods, but they often find themselves allied with the Children of Horus or Set. Against the undead armies of the Eater of the Dead, only the Heru are possessed of the courage and discipline to stand side by side with Anubi warriors. And the battles with the Eater often take place deep in the desert, the habitat of the Typhon. While the Anubi find the bellicose and savage Typhon distasteful, they are fierce warriors and useful allies.
Way of War
Before a battle, the Anubi silently gather. In hushed tones, they discuss the battle to come and their dreams of the night before. They strive to understand their nocturnal visions, searching for some portent of the coming fight. If the portents are good, they cynically wonder what will go wrong to change their fate from weal to woe. If the portents are ill, they set their shoulders and clench their fists, readying themselves to meet their doom.
In battle, the Anubi fight with a despairing and ruthless tenacity. In the face of unbeatable odds, they make reckless charges, growling with determination; or take hopeless stands, fighting to the last man. An Anubi warrior will stand over bodies of his fallen comrades until he has beaten back his enemies, or else joined his comrades, dead on the sands. The Anubi often fight the Eater of the Dead, and know that the body of a fallen warrior left behind is one more undead warrior in its armies. Because of their frequent battles with the undead, they prefer weapons that sever limbs or crush bones like swords and slings, than weapons that impale or pierce flesh like spears and arrows.
Even if they have been victorious in battle, their duties are not ended. Anubi warriors are always the last to leave the field. Sometimes they linger for weeks, for they must assist the Embalmers in their grim task of preparing the fallen of both sides for the afterlife. Their responsibility to the dead transcends mortal allegiances, and all the dead of both sides must be tended to.