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The Black Ankh Edit

At the edge of the desert, in between cliffs, there is a small gap in the solid rock formation. Beyond the gap and hidden from view lies an excavation camp nested around an ancient temple buried in the sand. The shape of the temple is unusual and its secrets are dark - from within, only terrifying, guttural sounds are heard.

This is the Black Ankh. 

When the earthquake hit the Valley of the Sun God, it unearthed many secrets. Most, like the Black Ankh, should have remained interred forever.

A high tech Orochi camp is set up around the temple. Most of the sand and rubble that covered it has been brushed away. The equipment looks like it was abandoned in a hurry, and today the place is plagued by death and decay.

Historically, the Black Ankh marks the birthplace of the Aten cult. It was here that Akhenaten made his first pilgrimage from Amarna towards the resting place of the sun god, and it was here that he first had his slaves dig to find his dreaded, beloved Aten.

Hundreds of lives were lost as the Pharaoh had slaves dig into the earth and construct passages around a natural shaft in the bedrock. Eventually, they reached the bottom where the walls and floor were slimy with thin, oily water that would later be known as the Filth. 

This was what Akhenaten had searched so diligently for. He called it the condensed breath of his dark god and had it harvested. A temple in the shape of an ankh was built over the shaft, a house of rebirth where willing - and unwilling - followers could be blessed by Aten.

The substance would dissipate in the hot desert air on the surface, so the baptism ritual was permanently moved underground. Chambers were carved out of the wall and a pulley system installed to extract the dark matter from below.

Not only was the Filth used in sermons to invoke visions of the sun god, but embalmers also used it to ensure the service of their members would be as eternal as their god. Deceased followers were brought to the chambers underneath the Black Ankh, prepared according to custom, and had their bodies covered with the oil before being laid to rest in the catacombs.

Aten's liquid breath increasingly eager to wash over its followers. The visions granted during the so-called blessings were more vivid than before, the addiction stronger, the deformations more severe.

And their god, it seemed, was pleased. As construction of the City of the Sun God continued, the deep well released more and more of the dark water -

The temple and the sinkhole changed. The Filth grew thicker, tar-like, overtaking chambers like a living thing, questing upwards in rivulets and tendrils, ensnaring walkways. The cultists were slowly but surely pushed up and out.

When the Marya fought off the Atenists after Akhenatens defeat, they found a vile place that was built to spite the symbol of the ankh. This was a place of death, not life. Even the Atenists had grown wary of the black pit and the power of its contents. 

Though the new Pharaoh would have preferred to level the blasphemous temple and fill in the shaft, he could not let any more people come to harm. Instead, the temple was sealed and the entrance to the hollow was collapsed. 

Over the centuries, the Filth level within the Black Ankh has gradually receded, surrendering the grim chambers it had overtaken, but its taint has never dissipated. It is a sunless, evil place, where monsters wander, forever in search of their god. 

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