The House of Life
In ancient Egyptian writings and architecture, the House of Life is an institution aligned with kingship, preserving and creating knowledge in written and pictorial form. According to House Records, it is also where magic was invented (though other organizations, The White Council in particular, would argue this fact). The House of Life, also known as the Per Ankh, is an organization of Egyptian magicians, founded by the god of learning, Thoth. In ancient times, each temple in Egypt had a branch called the House of Life. They could perform amazing feats via magic and could call upon the power of the gods. In modern times, the organization has become global and operates out of three-hundred and sixty nomes worldwide. The House is primarily operated in the First Nome, specifically the remains of the ancient city Heliopolis. Young magicians are trained here, acting as the House’s ‘operators’. At age thirteen, they are assigned to a specific nome and typically leave the city. The Chief Lector of the House of Life also resides within Heliopolis, sitting at the foot of the pharaoh’s empty throne.
Ranks of magicians:
The head of the House of Life is the Chief Lector, who served as the pharaoh’s head magician and right-hand man in ancient times.
Sem priests are the senior magicians, the eldest and most powerful members of the House, who oversee the 360 nomes around the world and report to the Chief Lector.
Scribes are rank and file magicians. They are called scribes because writing is a form of magic, and a scribe in the House of Life has learned to summon magic simply by writing or saying magical words.
Initiates are magicians in training.
The tools of a magician:
Each magician is expected to master the staff and the wand.
The staff is your primary offensive weapon. It can be used to control the elements, summon spirits, or simply whack bad guys on the head. It can also be turned into any number of helpful creatures like snakes, hippos, or crocodiles.
The wand is usually a curved piece of hippo ivory (yes, we know it looks like a boomerang). It is your primary defensive weapon, used to ward off enemy spells, counter curses, or repel enemies. It can be used as a throwing weapon to knock away attacks, or held up to create a magic shield. It can also be used to draw magic protective circles and cast healing spells.
The magician’s box: Each magician carries supplies for casting spells. These include papyrus, stylus and ink for writing scrolls, wax for making shabti statues, and other protective charms and amulets.
Shabti statues: Shabti means ‘answerer.’ A good magician can craft statuettes that come to life on command and perform any number of tasks, from doing laundry to fighting battles.
Major fields of study:
Elementalist: Learn to control the four basic elements, earth, fire, wind, and water. A good elementalist can summon the forces of nature to launch devastating attacks.
Diviner: A rare gift, diviners can tell the future. This is a dangerous path, and can lead to a terrible fate.
Animal charmer: It may sound simple, but animal charming was an important skill in ancient times, and can still be a very powerful discipline.
Necromancer (rehket, seer): Skilled magicians can summon spirits of the dead to answer questions or perform tasks, even haunt people’s dreams. The spirits of the dead were important forces in Ancient Egypt, and the necromancer can use these forces or ward them off as needed. (This is a very GREY area where the laws are concerned and this path should be tread upon lightly. Zombies and animated mummies are strictly forbidden)
Healers (sunu): The House of Life got its name from its ability to cure disease with magic. Back in ancient times, medicine and magic were the same thing. Magical healers can cure all sorts of wounds and diseases. This is a very popular and respected discipline
Charm-makers (sau): The sau are magical craftsmen who know how to make amulets, rings and other powerful charms. They aren’t always the fastest combat magicians, but they can make incredible tools to help in a fight.
Combat magician: Combat magic involves the use of an avatar, which envelops the user in magical armor. Not the subtlest form of magic, combat magicians require a great deal of stamina and strength.
Path of the gods: In the olden times, magicians could study the path of the gods, drawing magical power directly from one of the Egyptian gods. A combat magician, for instance, might draw on the power of Horus, god of war, to become unbeatable in combat. The ultimate goal was to become the “eye” of the god – a perfect combination of mortal will and godly power. The gods are unpredictable however, and often use mortals as their tools. This is why the path of the gods is now forbidden.
A Map of the Nomes
In olden times, Egypt was divided into districts called nomes. Today, the system is different. The entire world is divided into 360 magical districts called nomes. The magicians in each nome strive to protect the mortals in their region from magical threats like gods, demons and monsters. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
The First Nome: Egypt. Naturally. The headquarters for the House of Life lies under the modern city of Cairo. All initiates are trained here, and the Chief Lector rules from the foot of the pharaoh’s throne in the Hall of Ages. This is the very heart of Egyptian magic.
The Fourteenth Nome: Paris. Home of Michel Desjardins, sem priest and senior advisor to the Chief Lector. Paris has been an important nome since the days of Napoleon, who the French emperor invaded Egypt and brought back many relics. Later, Desjardins’ ancestor Champollion decoded hieroglyphics using the Rosetta Stone.
The Twenty-first Nome: Greater New York. The first nome established in North America, this is the home of the Kane family, whose headquarters is in a magical Brooklyn mansion overlooking the East River.
The Three-Hundred and Sixtieth Nome: Antarctica. The last nome established, there is no one here except a few very cold magicians and some magic penguins.