Thief of royal blood, manhunted for the murder of his own Queen — something he himself is unsure of having the hand in doing.
Cyrus Rayim Zsethotep (Sy-russ Rah-eem Zzetho-tep)
Black komosian. Average height but toned build. Shaved head and face. Left brow is pierced twice with bronze hoop rings. Often lines eyes with galena, a cultural tradition of Vastaba. Karambit was pried from a dead Koshian elf, hand crossbow was purchased from a dwarven merchant from Castille.
Born in Waset, a city in west Vastaba, Cyrus Rayim is the son of Hebeny Tekhma Zsethotep III, highest priest of Wsir and pillar clergyman to Saqqara, Pharaoh of Vastaba. Raised to be ordained into the temple and eventually replace his father (and in spirit his father’s father and so on…), Cyrus showed no inclination to become a divine leader of his people and a hand of the pharaoh. While a believer of all of the Gods and Goddesses, a mortal life’s service to being a holy beacon caused Cyrus to crave biting nails. Instead, Cyrus saw unruly waywardness define his youth, spending most of his time outside of the temple and out of his father’s sight to avoid the temple’s swathe.
The begotten son of such a high priest was subsequently neglected for deviating from his own holy bloodline. Such a tenuous relationship between Father and Son enabled Cyrus’ sororal twin sister Nephthys to substitute for his intended path of divinity. Hebeny quelled his initial antipathy toward producing a holy heiress rather than an heir after Nephthys displayed adroitness in his temple, and an eager spirit to become a rightful hand of the Gods.
A byproduct of familial derelict, Cyrus felt a need to establish bonds with a substitute family. Clinging to Waset’s brick roads and his own lack of any readily employable skills, the son of Hebeny naturally found association with the rogues of the Vastaban underworld. Cyrus met a small group of banded free roamers in a commons area court after a night of drunken wandering in Djayet, a small city east of Waset.
The group featured an assortment of races, but all appeared to be natives of Vastaba. Cyrus noted that each of them wore finely threaded clothing and carried jewels and aureated gauds that appeared to rival the opulent trinkets that adorned many Vastaban royals. Cyrus was acknowledged by several of these rich-bearers when they beheld his gilded bracers and glistening galena. Their behavior was not in accordance with noble etiquette, as they spoke to one another in slang and jargon unaccustomed within royalty.
Intrigued, Cyrus joined them in conversation next to a smoldering brazier atop a center piece in the street. The group shared stories of daring excursions into dangerous territories. Each seemed to call upon a breadth of knowledge of ancient and magical lore, telling of riches and mythical beasts encountered in their attempts at prying invaluable treasures from forbidden vaults.
Admitting partial homelessness and lack of aid, Cyrus was invited by these treasure hunters to a guildhouse nearby. Cyrus then duly noted that each of the men and women wore a shen ring, each with a similar signet engraved upon its tanget — a spiraling serpentine creature sheathed in flame.
The guildhouse clung to an unassuming corner of Djayet’s trade street. The facets of the sandstone edifice were tall and wide, but plain — and they did not reveal the luxury unseen behind them. The ring-wearers ushered Cyrus into their pantheon of antiquities, every room featured some sort of peculiar artwork or delicacy. The interior looked to have an attraction about it that would make the most insatiable pinchfist water at the mouth.
It was here that Cyrus learned of the Ignis Shen, the brotherhood of treasure hunters who invited his hand in their enterprise of finding vast riches that lay scattered around the world. In hopes of achievement and solidarity, Cyrus became a willing peer of their trades; trap detection and disarmament, using special tools and equipment, keen appraisal and observation, and the art of remaining mute and hidden. Also available to him was a library holding a plethora of records on obscure and arcane lore, one which made tyros of secret culture into scholars of the esoteric — even though many of the Ignis Shen’s members were not wizards outright.
Years passed, and through the collective mentorship of the Ignis Shen, Cyrus became skilled and cunning. Several campaigns of dungeon-diving, monolith-scaling, and crypt-wading refined his skills of prying the gold from bygone abysms and hazardous monster’s dens.
However, one particular task would haunt Cyrus to the present day. A festival for the successor Pharaoh in Cyrus’ birth city, Waset, sent the Ignis Shen on a chase to lift a guaranteed assortment of wealth. Pharoah Kamose III’s untimely death several years prior endowed his young widow, Ebe, to take throne in Waset (as no heirs were born from their loins). The late Kamose III had ordained a massive tomb to be constructed for his inevitable ascension to godhood, but his passing occurred before the completion of his tomb.
Ebe ordered the continuation of Kamose’s tomb to its completion — after which a celebration was set to manifest inside of the great resting place itself. A collection of wealth was said to be found not only in Kamose’s sealed tomb, but in another location inside the pyramid — most likely in Ebe’s intended resting vault. The Ignis Shen saw the celebration as a daring opportunity to secure wealth unparalleled to what they had ever seen. Staking out the completion of the tomb, a chief segment of the brotherhood decided to infiltrate the tomb and plunder it.
On the night of The Pharaoh’s celebration, Cyrus, along with a handful of other Ignis Shen thieves percolated the tomb in hopes of making off with the buried fortunes of two Pharaohs. A healing and performance enhancing drug was ingested prior to the larceny, one local and new to the streets of Vastaba. After arriving at the pyramid, Cyrus followed his Ignis brothers through the internal ceremony to the main celebration chamber.
Predictably, touring the halls of the great stone pyramid proved bothersome as sentries led attendees to sanctioned areas only and with incessantly vigilant eyes. However, a plan had been set in motion beforehand and the drugged Ignis members took along a seasoned enchanter and the guild’s only diviner to counter the heavy guard inside. Once the diviner located the location of a secret corridor below the first level, the enchantment wizard provided a key distraction so that the thieves could do their work quickly and find Kamose III’s resting chamber. Once enough gold was collected in the conservatively-sized haversacks, they would make their way back to the main floor.
It is at this point that Cyrus’ memory lapses — a brief image of gold previously unimaginable appears before his closed eyes, which is then clouded by violent spurs of darkness and movement. Cries of fear and the sounds of dropped coins trickle in the broken memory.
A coma-like state later, Cyrus woke just inside the Ignis Shen guildhouse, which stood empty and appeared damaged by pillage or fire. His pockets and straps empty of all possessions, and no Ignis Shen guild members walked the halls (which were now ruined and barren of golds and silvers). After exiting the guildhouse in anguished confusion, Cyrus laid low. Peering into the local look of things, he discovered that Ebe had been murdered, and Cyrus’ own guild was condemned for her death. The plunder scheme was discovered, and many of the Ignis Shen were claimed captured or dead.
In a strange fugue-state, it seemed Cyrus had avoided death and capture, but answers to what exactly happened and why painfully eluded him. Cyrus buried himself in obscurity and fled Djayet and Vastaba, in hopes of keeping his life and freedom. But this was not to last. Bounty hunters were ordered to find him and return him to Waset. The crime of suspected regicide weighed like a stone monument, and the price on his head climbed high. Before sailing away from Vastaba, a lone orc-blooded bounty hunter caught wind of Cyrus…